Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hare Krishnas and the faked moon landing

I sometimes encounter beliefs that are so outlandish as to be immune to parody. Take Hare Krishnas and the moon landing.

krishna.org has a lengthy pseudoscientific article on why they feel the moon landing was faked, and a shorter example of poor maths directed at the same goal. I've met moon landing deniers. Some of them can make a superficially compelling case by referring to the tension of the cold war and the pressure to outdo the Russians, but ultimately they fall down under the weight of scientific facts. Still, you can have a conversation with them. I've known them to change their views.

But it turns out it is not doubts about moon landing footage or radiation levels that cause their dubiousness. Krishna Consciousness' founding dates all the way back to the mid 1960's when His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (henceforth Prabhupada, I don't want to get RSI retyping that title) formed the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. He had some interesting views on cosmology which are thoroughly defended by krishna.org here. An excerpt:
"The Vedic account of our planetary system is already researched, concluded, and perfect. TheVedas state that the moon is 800,000 miles farther from the earth than the sun. Therefore, even if we accept the modern calculation of 93 million miles as the distance from the earth to the sun, how could the “astronauts” have traveled to the moon–a distance of almost 94 million miles–in only 91 hours (the alleged elapsed time of the Apollo 11 moon trip)? This would require an average speed of more than one million miles per hour for the spacecraft, a patently impossible feat by even the space scientists’ calculations."

That's right, the moon landing can't have happened because they believe the sun is between the earth and the moon. Words failed me at this point so I decided to draw a picture (not to scale):


Distances to the edge of the universe taken from this interview with Prabhupada  here: http://www.harekrsna.org/moon-landing.htm

But am I just picking on two websites here? One would hope that krishna.org and harekrsna.org are legitimate - they could however be elaborate ruses. Here are some other examples:

http://www.dandavats.com/?p=7481
"I have heard that some Apollo astronauts set up some reflector equipment which scientists still bounce lasers off of, and some powerful telescopes can see debris left by the astronauts on the moon. But that still does not make me doubt Sukadeva Goswami’s statements.
The main thing is, this method of proving something based on photographs and expert and percipient witnesses still is in the realm of imperfect senses and faulty speculations. The method of parampara which reveals the Absolute Truth to the sincere disciple is foolproof, whereas in the courtroom there is always some room for doubting if the jury got it right. 
Srila Prabhupada requested us to build a planetarium in Mayapur and I assume the planetarium will show the moon farther from earth than the sun, as mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX7cnzvD8OM

http://www.krishnaconsciousnessmovement.com/moonlanding.html
"they were watching the Moon landing. I sat down with them and we watched them land on the Moon. Immediately afterwards Prabhupada turned off the television and declared, “They did not go.” He looked at the TV and said it “This is an idiot box and it has made idiots of us.”...
“They have simply made false propaganda. They cannot go there. So because the atmosphere is different... There is also blazing fire surrounded by ice... And therefore at night it is so pleasing. You have got experience. Fire coming through ice, the rays, that is very pleasing. Therefore sunshine is making the whole thing very hot and the moonshine making it pleasing... Moon is the cause of vegetation in all planets; and they say there is no vegetation, it is simply dust. So we have to believe it? And when you present actual fact it is mysticism or mythology."
http://krishnatube.com/video/147/Did-we-Land-on-the-Moon

http://harekrishnamalaysia.com/KRSNAinsight/2009/07/30/srila-prabhupada-a-conditioned-soul/
"So you have a little background in physics and this makes you the exception to Srila Prabhupada’s comments and/or his purpose for expressing them? [...]

Easy Journey to Other Planets is filled with comments on this so-called “space travel” and they are perfect. 
Srila Prabhupada had his reasons for identifying the entire project (moon landing) as a bluff and a hoax. We just accept it – even if we cannot fully explain it to anyone’s, everyone’s or your satisfaction...
I’m sure that devotees who are more erudite than a mere woman can come up with much better citations to substantiate that Srila Prabhupada was not a mere conditioned soul, but an eternally liberated soul descending from the spiritual sky."
http://www.amazon.com/Journey-Other-Planets-Bhaktivedanta-Prabhupada/dp/0912776102
"This book sets out to discuss and prove that Vedic swamis have been travelling to other planets for thousands of years through meditation. They are not embarking on a mental journeys [sic] but are actually physically travelling to other planets. As all of Prabhupada's other works, this one is completely engrossing and highly recommended."
 Anyone convinced by this approach of using religious texts to disprove science?

11 comments:

maynootharchaeology said...

I found your comment on the diagram 'not to scale'very amusing. It added to the image of words failing you...

Geoff said...

Thanks! I briefly considered doing it to scale, complete with relative sizes of sun and moon and a sidenote on the impact of putting a body larger than the sun within 800,000 miles of it, but that'd take me all morning.

That said, if a physicist would like to crunch the numbers I'm happy to update the article with full credit.

ciaran mac aoidh said...

Nah, it's way better not to scale. I got a giggle out of that too, like it had to be said to fend of certain types of commenters...

John said...

If the sun is closer than the moon, how do they explain a solar eclipse?

Geoff said...

I haven't fully researched, but I believe some feel an otherwise invisible planet passes in front of the sun at that time.

Alternatively, demons

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slummingitforthelord said...

John said...
If the sun is closer than the moon, how do they explain a solar eclipse?

Rahu, of course. Duh (that's the name of the invisible planet) As to my using Duh. That was for my own amusement, I was just recently blocked on facebook by a young Hare Krisha who was an idiot "....because if you can't respect Srila Prabhupada, you must not have very much respect for yourself either." Who said "DUH" way too often and seldom in moments in which it made any sense.

slummingitforthelord said...

John said...
If the sun is closer than the moon, how do they explain a solar eclipse?

Rahu, of course. Duh (that's the name of the invisible planet) As to my using Duh. That was for my own amusement, I was just recently blocked on facebook by a young Hare Krisha who was an idiot "....because if you can't respect Srila Prabhupada, you must not have very much respect for yourself either." Who said "DUH" way too often and seldom in moments in which it made any sense.

WillemV said...

You'll find just about everything related to ISKCON and their idea about the moon landings addressed (and refuted) here: http://kuruvinda.com/moonhoax.aspx

Shyamasundara dasa said...

Hey, good work, Geoff. And Willem V also.

I am an ex member of the Hare Krishna cult, having awoken from 30 years of cult induced madness whereby I was actually persuaded to think the moon is further away from the sun and that going to the moon was impossible.

Very dangerous cult, as can be seen at my blog www.breaking-free.info

j jones said...

They seem to have to treat the Prabhupada founder as infallible, when he said lots of nonsense things, such as women having half the brain size of men and single women who aren't married as children are prostitutes. Women only exist to make men fall from their spiritual path, and women are maya and keep men attached to the spiritual world. They don't say anything about how men sometimes do bad things to females. They say all that, when the male members caused Iskcon in the USA to go bankrupt paying damages to abuse victims of the pedophile gurus, and many of the gurus had homosexual relations with each other. They say no sex, when the founder married an 11 year old girl who had many miscarriages from being too young, before having 5 children. Then they say a woman's life should only be about serving her husband, before he abandons her for his spiritual path. He also said no tobacco when it's well known he used snuff.