Dec 12 2017

Space Policy Directive 1 – Return to the Moon

Yesterday President Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1 (SPD1), an executive order that will shape NASAs priorities going forward. Essentially the directive states that NASA’s primary mission is human space exploration, with a specific goal of returning to the moon.

The Directive is the result of recommendations made by the National Space Council (NSC) – a council of experts that advises the executive branch on all matters dealing with space. According to NASA, in June of this year:

President Trump has signed an executive order reestablishing the National Space Council. The council existed previously from 1989-1993, and a version of it also existed as the National Aeronautics and Space Council from 1958-1973. As such, the council has guided NASA from our earliest days and can help us achieve the many ambitious milestones we are striving for today.

The NSC recommended to the White House that NASA’s priority should be the Moon, and SPD1 is the result of that recommendation.

I think the core vision for SPD1 is solid, and something I have supported for years. Specifically, our human exploration priority should be establishing an Earth-to-Moon infrastructure, including a permanent presence on the moon. We should only set our sights on Mars after we have a stable moon base. There are several reasons for this.

First, colonizing the moon is much easier than Mars. The moon is three days away from Earth, while Mars is 9 or more months. We don’t even have the technology at this point to protect martian astronauts from the radiation they would be exposed to on the trip. Going to Mars is a logistical and technological problem perhaps an order of magnitude more difficult than going to the Moon.

Being close to Earth also means that resupply and rescue missions would be much more feasible. If something goes awry on Mars, good luck to you. Don’t expect help anytime soon. For a moon base, however, we could theoretically have a rocket on standby, something that could launch within a week, and be on the moon in another three days.

All of the main issues we would confront on a Mars colony would also exist on a moon colony, and so once we developed the knowledge and technology to have a self-sustaining base on the moon, we could use that knowledge to then build bases and colonies on Mars. A moon base would need proper shielding, an energy source, and sources of food, water, and oxygen.

We are currently eyeing possible lava tubes as locations for permanent bases on the moon.  These are caves carved out by ancient lava. They could be geologically stable locations under ground, which would provide natural shielding from radiation and micrometeors. The same is true on Mars.

So walk before you run. It is likely hubris and folly to set our sights on Mars when the moon is much closer and more feasible.

But further – the moon could be a stepping stone to Mars. A trip to Mars could have two stages. The first is getting to a way station on the moon. This will get you largely out of the gravity well of Earth. You can also optimize ships and other infrastructure for getting from the Earth to the moon, and then have a separate infrastructure for getting from the moon to Mars or elsewhere.

SPD1 mentions a Deep Space Gateway – this is a station that would be in lunar orbit. The Gateway would be the transfer point to Mars and other distant destination in the solar system. NASA describes how this might work:

“This spacecraft would be a reusable vehicle that uses electric and chemical propulsion and would be specifically designed for crewed missions to destinations such as Mars,” agency officials said. “The transport would take crew out to their destination [and] return them back to the gateway, where it can be serviced and sent out again.”

One advantage to this kind of system is that you don’t have to lift all the fuel it takes to get to Mars with you out of Earth’s gravity. You just need the fuel to get to the Moon, and then take a separate ship to Mars. This all comes from the rocket equation – you need enough fuel to carry the fuel to carry the fuel, etc. So making one big trip with all the fuel is inherently inefficient. Any way we can break it up into stages, or refuel along the way, is highly useful.

Ideally we would produce the fuel on the moon, which is entirely possible. NASA is already working on ways to extract oxygen, water, and volatiles from the lunar regolith.

The new directive also has a loser, however. It ends NASA’s goal of sending a mission to an asteroid – the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). This is unfortunate. Asteroids are also a potentially very useful resource. Developing the technology to mine asteroids could have a massive economic impact on our planet. Asteroids could be a source of fuel, water, oxygen, and enough metals to dwarf existing supplies of gold, platinum, and other precious metals.

While I know we can’t do everything, and we need to have priorities, I do lament the missions we must forgo. Of course, I would much rather see just a net increase in our investments in space. I think these are likely to be worthwhile investments which will pay for themselves many times over in the long run.

But there is another aspect to SPD1 that is encouraging – in addition to establishing NASA’s goals, the directive discusses optimizing how NASA will collaborate with the growing private space industry. I am perhaps even more encouraged by the development of private space companies in the last decade than by any NASA directive. Once we cross the line where going to space can be profitable, then space exploration will really take off.

There is, for example, a company called Planetary Resources, Inc. Their goal is to mine the solar system. If they manage to get their hands on one asteroid with platinum group metals, they will potentially net trillions of dollars. That is a big risk, but also a huge potential payoff. We may see a future with space mining corporations more wealthy and powerful than most nations.

I did not see any mention in the coverage of SPD1 of robotic exploration. I presume that NASA will continue this core mission as well. Robots are still the most efficient way to explore space. While I support human exploration and colonization, I recognize that humans are fragile. We are not built for space. Keeping people alive and healthy in space is a major part of the expense of human space travel. I still think it is a worthy endeavor for our species.

But we should ride on the backs of our robotic servants. Robots don’t need food, water, oxygen, or atmospheric pressure, and are much more tolerant of a wide range of temperature and exposure to radiation. If we just want to send a pair of eyes to a location to explore, robots are the way to go. Robots can even pave the way for our travel to new locations, like Mars. Let them do all the hard and dangerous work, and create an infrastructure for us to inhabit.

Overall I think the SPD1 is a good thing. I like that it shifts the focus away from Mars and towards the moon. That puts things in its proper order. I would much rather have a successful moon mission, that establishes a long term lunar presence, then a one-off or failed Mars mission.

47 responses so far

47 thoughts on “Space Policy Directive 1 – Return to the Moon”

  1. Nareed says:

    One idea that may work on the Moon is an electromagnetic launch track, which could conceivably launch large, massive payloads to Mars (and elsewhere) cheaply. Of course the capital costs of building it would be huge, so it wouldn’t be justified until there’s a large volume of freight to manage.

    And let’s not forget single-stage-to-orbit on the Moon is easy.

  2. DrNick says:

    I wonder if Trump will actually follow through on this and lobby Congress to appropriate enough funding to meaningfully pursue moon colonization. If not, this EO may wind up being another symbolic empty gesture, like the border wall EO, the religious freedom EO, the Obamacare EO, etc, etc. After all, in Trump World, announcing that you’re going to achieve something is the same thing as actually achieving it.

  3. MosBen says:

    Reading between the political lines, there are two primary implications that I’m taking away from this. The first, and most obvious, is that though this sets a priority of NASA doing a Moon mission, it doesn’t provide a budget to do so. The grand space plans envisioned by both former presidents Bush and Obama were ultimately not worth much without additional funding. Given the latest “tax reform” proposal from the Republican Congress, I wouldn’t hold my breath for a new bump in funding for a mission to the Moon.

    Which leads me to the perhaps too cynical, but I don’t think so, takeaway, this was less about having NASA go to the Moon and more about saying that space exploration, and not investigating things like climate change, should be NASA’s mission. I don’t expect this to represent a bold new initiative as much as an explicit directive to shift priorities away from Earth-based projects.

  4. PunctureKit says:

    Agreed the moon is a far better priority than Mars. A Phobos landing would be another pragmatic step before jumping down that old Martian gravity well too. Phobos would also be a good platform for real-time control of Mars surface robots. via a constellation of relay satellites that is, as Phobos is only above any horizon for a short time, having such a low quick orbit.

  5. MosBen – that is probably correct. The saying I have heard is, “Don’t tell me your priorities, show me your budget.” The budget is the priorities – no matter what it says on the mission statement. So we will see how NASA’s funding as affected. Or, they may just be shifting around existing funds, which is what I suspected. That’s why ARM was quietly cancelled.

  6. Johnny says:

    Steve, what do you think human presence on the Moon should amount to? Should it “just” be a base with scientific research, or do you think it should be(come) a city akin to human cities on Earth?

  7. DrNick says:

    The reason it’s so short is that it’s a presidential memorandum laying out general policy goals rather than an executive order directing federal agencies to take specific actions. It’s a largely symbolic gesture (Trump is fond of these) that while it carries the force of law will have little or no effect on actual space policy unless and until Congress appropriates funds and establishes specific mission goals and parameters.

  8. PunctureKit says:

    On the subject of executive orders, next time a flat earther or moon landing denier tells you NASA data is all faked, point them to data.nasa.gov. Say “There you go: download it all and run your own analysis. If it’s fake, it’ll be full of smoking guns. You can thank Bill Clinton for the opportunity to prove that us sheeple have all been had.”

  9. > DrNick says:
    > December 12, 2017 at 6:37 pm
    > The reason it’s so short is that it’s a …..

    Ok, but where is the ” Space Policy Directive 1″ that is the subject of this blog item, which
    apparently has a “solid” “core vision”, refers to ” Deep Space Gateway”, and “ends NASA’s goal of sending a mission to an asteroid”?

    It looks like the ” Space Policy Directive 1″ thing is really just a fiction, and all there
    is the content-less memorandum.

    Maybe Steven Novella himself can clarify where did he find it?

    In this following page somebody else asks the question, and gets the memorandum as a reply:

    https://space.stackexchange.com/questions/23987/where-can-i-find-space-policy-directive-1

  10. SlowlyButSurly says:

    On permanent base vs colony; the latter suggests “living” on the Moon which seems unworkable, at least until we build a dome over a large crater, or the like. Image living in a VW micro-bus for a few years…

    I’d assume something along the lines of a Antarctica research bases, where specialists work for a few months, and not families migrating to the moon.

  11. DrNick says:

    That’s the entirety of Space Policy Directive 1. Most of what Dr. Novella discusses in this post is the list of recommendations for future NASA objectives made to the White House by the National Space Council. None of these specific recommendations is in President Trump’s policy directive, other than the vague goal of returning to the moon, then mars.

    Yes, the policy directive is almost entirely content-free, and almost entirely meaningless in terms of what future U.S. Space policy will actually be. That’s the whole point – Trump gets to take a victory lap, gets some positive press coverage, and doesn’t actually have to do anything.

  12. > Nick says:
    > December 13, 2017 at 3:18 pm
    > That’s the entirety of Space Policy Directive 1. Most of what Dr. Novella
    > discusses in this post is the list of recommendations for future NASA objectives
    > made to the White House by the National Space Council.

    But that is not what he says. He starts:

    “Yesterday President Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1 (SPD1),
    an executive order that will shape NASAs priorities going forward. ”

    Which refers to an “executeive order” called “Space Policy Directive 1 (SPD1)”, which is a
    fiction. He then goes on to refer to this fiction:

    “I think the core vision for SPD1 is solid, ..”
    “SPD1 mentions a Deep Space Gateway –…”
    “The new directive also has a loser, however. It ends NASA’s goal of sending a mission to an asteroid …”

    That is fake news, without the double quotes.

    Presumably that is regurgitated from somebody else’s text, but that make it only slightly
    less appalling.

  13. DrNick says:

    You’re correct, Dr. Novella’s post does incorrectly attribute to SPD1 content that actually appears in the NSC recommendations. I assume this is just an oversight, and perhaps Dr. Novella can correct the record. Calling this fake news is a misapplication of the term, in a way Trump and the alt-right often employ. Fake news refers to stories manufactured out of whole cloth. Biased, incorrect, or misinterpreted reporting of real events is not fake news.

  14. BillyJoe7 says:

    You could say, Yehouda Harpaz’ interpretation of Steven Novella’s interpretation is appalling but that would be shrinking to his level of discourse. 😉

  15. > BillyJoe7 says:
    > December 14, 2017 at 3:26 pm
    > You could say, Yehouda Harpaz’ interpretation of Steven Novella’s interpretation
    > is appalling but that would be shrinking to his level of discourse.

    Interesting comment.
    Which bits of what I wrote you consider ” interpretation of Steven Novella’s interpretation”?
    All the text in the quotes in my previous message are exact quotes from Steven Novella.

  16. Charon says:

    Novella: “I did not see any mention in the coverage of SPD1 of robotic exploration. I presume that NASA will continue this core mission as well.”

    You do, do you? Don’t presume this, if all the money’s going to idiotic manned spaceflight. Pointing out that the Moon is a good stepping stone to Mars begs the question that humans going to Mars is worthwhile.

  17. BillyJoe7 says:

    Yahouda,

    It is appalling only if it is fake news and SN either made it up himself or repeated it knowing it was fake news. So, you calling his post appalling is appalling because, firstly, you haven’t shown that it is fake news (as opposed to a misunderstanding) and,secondly, you surely do not think he either made it up himself or knowingly repeated it as fake news (or a misunderstanding)

    My impression so far is that there has been a misunderstanding by someone somewhere and that SN and others have unknowingly repeated that misunderstanding.

    The irony is that it is the first time that I can remember that SN has praised something Trump has done, and it turns out he has not done that.

  18. BillyJoe7 says:

    Also….

    I agree with those who favour robotic missions over manned space flight. The knowledge that can be obtained by robotic missions outweighs that of manned space flight by orders of magnitude. And a colony on Mars does not seem to be an urgent priority at this juncture. Of course, manned space flight is much more appealing to Joe Public, and there is an argument that this would help secure funds, but I don’t think that’s a good enough reason.

  19. > BillyJoe7 says:
    > December 16, 2017 at 1:03 am

    > It is appalling only if it is fake news and SN either made it up himself or
    > repeated it knowing it was fake news.

    You seem to think that “appalling” implies bad intentions. The interwebs don’t think so.
    I use it to mean something like “awful”,”very bad”, “lousy”.

    > So, you calling his post appalling is appalling because, firstly, you haven’t shown that
    > it is fake news (as opposed to a misunderstanding)

    I have shown it is false statements about current affairs. How is this different from the actual
    meaning of the words fake news?

    > and,secondly, you surely do not think he either made it up himself or knowingly repeated
    > it as fake news (or a misunderstanding)

    I wrote “Presumably that is regurgitated from somebody else’s text”. I don’t think it is
    intentional, but I think it is appalling (lousy, very bad) even if it is not intentional.

    At minimum you will have to agree that he didn’t read the “SPD1”, and I think it is clearly awful
    performance to refer to the content of a document that you didn’t read without making it clear
    that you didn’t read it. Specially when it comes from a skeptic, and that we are talking about
    a public gesture by Trump.

  20. Creeping Malaise says:

    Is it possible that a return to the Moon could be the first stage of a plan to carve out lunar territory in preparation for helium-3 mining?

  21. BillyJoe7 says:

    Yahouda,

    “I have shown it is false statements about current affairs. How is this different from the actual
    meaning of the words fake news?”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fake_news

    It’s appalling that you apply the word fake news when you do not understand the meaning of that phrase. Fake news is deliberate misinformation. You have not shown that the misinformation was deliberate. Therefore you cannot in all honesty call it fake news.

    “I think it is appalling (lousy, very bad)”

    Here is a list of synonyms of appalling:
    shocking, horrific, horrifying, horrible, terrible, awful, dreadful, ghastly, hideous, horrendous, frightful, atrocious, abominable, abhorrent, outrageous, hateful, loathsome, odious, gruesome, grisly, monstrous, nightmarish, heinous, harrowing, dire, vile, shameful, unspeakable, unforgivable, unpardonable, disgusting, revolting, repellent, repulsive, repugnant, sickening, nauseating, egregious

    No doubt you can find a list that includes the word “bad” but you are clearly overreaching with the word “appalling” and I think it is deliberate and I find that appalling.

    “Even if it is not intentional”

    If it is not intentional then it is not fake news.
    It was simply unintentional misinformation.

  22. BillyJoe7 :
    (Other readers are invited to also say what they think)
    I think we agree on the following statements (Correct me if you don’t agree with any of these):
    1) This blog entry contains false statements.
    2) That is bad (maybe even very bad?).
    3) SN probably innocently copied it from somewhere else.

    What we don’t agree: about fake news, I don’t follow your logic. You write
    “If it is not intentional then it is not fake news.” But it is possible, at least
    in principle, that the text from which SN copied was written with the intention to
    mislead (and any other attribute that is required to make it fake news). That
    suggest that you think that either:
    1) Once SN quoted it innocently it sops being fake news.
    If so, does it apply in all people in all circumstance?
    2) SN will never copy from fake news.
    If so, how you can be so confident?

    Or maybe you think something else altogether?

    We also disagree about “appalling”, but I want first to clarify the fake news
    issue before checking that.

  23. BillyJoe7 says:

    Listen, Yahouda, you used the phrase “fake news”. That means it is you who needs to back up that accusation. It’s not up to me to prove that it isn’t fake news. Moreover, it is clear that you have no idea if it is fake news or not. Not only that, but you accused SN of spreading fake news when it is clear that you have no idea if it is fake news. And, on the basis of your unsubstantiated accusation that it is fake news, you described his act as appalling. The only way SN’s act was appalling is if it is fake news AND if he knowingly spread that fake news. You have substantiated neither so your accusation that his act was appalling was unquestionably appalling in itself. The only thing left for you to do now is apologise to your host for your false accusation.

  24. DrNick says:

    “1) This blog entry contains false statements.
    2) That is bad (maybe even very bad?).
    3) SN probably innocently copied it from somewhere else.”

    3 does not follow from 1 and 2. It’s far more likely, and in fact completely clear from the post itself, that Steve just confused SPD1 with the NSC policy statement issued earlier this year.

    “If it is not intentional then it is not fake news.” But it is possible, at least
    in principle, that the text from which SN copied was written with the intention to
    mislead”

    There are precisely two direct quotations in the entire blog post. Both of them quote directly from NASA press releases. Unless you’d like to claim that NASA press releases are fake news? The only error in the entire post is a misattribution of information form the NSC policy statement to SPD1. This about as far from fake news as you can get.

  25. — BillyJoe7
    You didn’t answer my question, and somebody that doesn’t answer questions
    doesn’t worth the trouble arguing with, so I am ignoring what you wrote.

    — DrNick
    — December 17, 2017 at 11:17 am

    > 3 does not follow from 1 and 2.

    It wasn’t supposed to follow, it was a statement that that I (wrongly)
    thought I and BillyJoe7 can agree on.

    > It’s far more likely, and in fact completely clear from the
    > post itself, that Steve just confused SPD1 with the NSC policy
    > statement issued earlier this year.

    Can you give a link to this “NSC policy statement”? What was its title?

    Googling the following didn’t find such statement:
    NSC policy statement
    NSC policy statement site:gov
    national space council policy statement site:gov
    National Space Council Policy for Future American Leadership in Space

    To me it looks more like SN relied on the news item in space.com (a
    private space news site), to which he links with the words “Space
    Policy Directive 1” in his first sentence:

    https://www.space.com/39050-trump-directs-nasa-humans-to-moon.html

    Can you clarify why do you think it is clear that the “NSC policy statement”
    is the source of SN confusion?

    > There are precisely two direct quotations in the entire blog post.
    > Both of them quote directly from NASA press releases. Unless you’d
    > like to claim that NASA press releases are fake news?

    It is not the direct quotes that are false statements.

    In addition, the NASA press release (to which you (and SN) didn’t give a link,
    but I assume you refer to this:
    https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/new-space-policy-directive-calls-for-human-expansion-across-solar-system)
    does contain few quite misleading statements and at least one which is plain false.
    Specifically, it says:
    “… the policy also ends NASA’s existing effort to send humans to an asteroid.”

    (“The policy” is a reference to the SPD1.)

    This is plain false, because the SPD1 does not end anything. Also I
    don’t think NASA have any “existing effort” to send humans to an
    asteroid. SN above says (presumably based on the space.com item):

    “The new directive also has a loser, however. It ends NASA’s goal of sending
    a mission to an asteroid – the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). ”

    This is mixed – SPD1 does remove the goal of sending humans to an
    asteroid from the guidelines for The Administrator of NASA, but that does
    not end anything, and doesn’t affect the status of non-crewed missions.
    Particularly relating to the ARM, it has already been cancelled in the
    spring, so this bit is completely false. The cancellation of ARM
    became public in June, though it seems that it was not the intention
    of the top management of NASA:

    http://spacenews.com/nasa-closing-out-asteroid-redirect-mission/

    (documented in wikipedia on 14 jun 2017 : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_Redirect_Mission)

    It looks like somebody really wants the world to believe that the SPD1 ended the ARM,
    and that this somebody has enough influence to affect the content of NASA press release
    and the items in space.com. I have no idea why would anybody push this,
    and I wouldn’t say it is necessarily NASA.

    I wrote email to the address at the bottom of the NASA release asking
    about it and also to the author of the space.com item, but I don’t
    really expect a useful answer from either of them.

  26. MosBen says:

    The term “fake news” is a very loaded term these days, with a very specific meaning. Something is not “fake news” merely because it is incorrect. To qualify it needs to be incorrect with the intention to mislead. While it is obvious that the attribution of certain things to SPD1 in this post was incorrect, there is no evidence that this was intentional, nor is there any evidence that the sources from which the information used in the blog were intentionally misleading either. It therefore follows that the use of “fake news” has not been justified. This is important because, as noted earlier, the term “fake news” has taken on serious political meaning in our current discourse, and it should not be used as a rhetorical bludgeon without basis.

  27. BillyJoe7 says:

    Yahouda,

    “You didn’t answer my question, and somebody that doesn’t answer questions
    doesn’t worth the trouble arguing with”

    What? You think I didn’t see through your strategy of diverting attention away from your appalling comment in this thread?

    Also…anybody can ask any question of anyone on the internet. No problems. But no one should expect, let alone demand, a reply from anyone.

    “so I am ignoring what you wrote”

    I hope you don’t think you’ve fooled anyone.
    You are ignoring it because it cuts to the core of that appalling post you submitted a few days ago and for which still haven’t had the decency to apologise.

  28. MosBen:
    You don’t seem to even follow the links I gave, let alone check the specific statements in context.
    That is ignorable too.

    BillyJoe7:
    > Also…anybody can ask any question…

    It was not “any question”. It was questions about the way you think and the logic you
    use in your previous messages.

    I don’t “demand answers”, but I do expect anybody that wants to seriously discuss
    anything to answer about their logic and the way they think. If you can explain why
    you don’t think that a reasonable expectation, go ahead.

    For other readers:
    We have a case when SN apparently based his information on a lousy
    piece of journalism (by space.com), without checking sources.

    Am I the only one that think that this is sub-standard?

    Or maybe even if it is sub-standard you are not allowed to criticize SN?

  29. Bob.Newman says:

    Sub-standard probably. Fake-news no. You are more wrong Yehouda Harpaz and not because you criticize SN. However, it seems like you are OK with that.

  30. BillyJoe7 says:

    Yahouda,

    I did not criticise you for using the word “substandard”.
    How could I? You didn’t even use that word!
    I criticised you for using the word “appalling”.

    You can’t substantiate your accusation of fake news.
    You can’t provide any evidence that SN knowingly repeated fake news.
    And you are still refusing to apologise for your appalling behaviour.

    And now you seem to be quietly withdrawing from your characterisation that it was appalling.
    Why don’t you just simply apologise?
    Come on, it can’t be that hard!

    And it has nothing to do with not being allowed to criticise SN.
    We have all, at times, criticised what SN has written.
    But what we have refrained from is doing this in the appalling manner that you did.

  31. Bob.Newman:

    > Sub-standard probably.

    Why probably?
    What makes you doubt that it is sub-standard?

    >Fake-news no.

    How do you know?
    Did you figure out the sources of all the false statements and establish
    that none of them was intentional?

    BillyJoe7 :

    You didn’t answer the question yet from my message of the
    December 17, 2017 at 8:06 am. Maybe you should?

    > You can’t substantiate your accusation of fake news.

    I have established for one of the statements (about the ARM) that it is false and is
    apparently intentionally pushed by somebody, in my message of the December
    18, 2017 at 7:14 am. Apparently none of you bothered to read it, but that doesn’t affect it.

    > You can’t provide any evidence that SN knowingly repeated fake news.

    I never claimed that, and I never even implied that he did it knowingly.

    This implications, that I hold that SN knowingly did it, is pretty dishonest.

    I explicitly stated that SN copied unintentionally (December 16), that
    he copied it innocently (December 17), and that what he did wrong was
    to relying on space.com without checking sources (December 18 and
    December 19). You have no excuse to pretend that I hold that he did it
    knowingly.

    > And now you seem to be quietly withdrawing from your characterisation that it was appalling.

    Correct, because the responses that I get are nonsensical. I am avoiding the FN phrase
    from the same reason.

    > Why don’t you just simply apologise?

    Because I still think that it is appalling (very-bad, lousy, awful). I
    also still wait for SN to correct the false statements and explain how he
    got it so wrong. I have already said how I think it happened, but it is
    better if he explain it himself.

    > We have all, at times, criticised what SN has written.

    So how come nobody except me is criticising him about this item?
    Not bad enough to be criticised?

  32. BillyJoe7 says:

    Yahouda,

    It seems you’ve withdrawn the salient parts of your comment that I was criticising – “appalling” and “fake news” – so I guess I’ll have to accept that in lieu of an honest apology.

    As for no one criticising what SN said – apparently your reading comprehension is appalling as well.
    We just haven’t been assholes about it.

  33. > BillyJoe7 says:
    > December 20, 2017 at 5:58 am
    > Yahouda,

    > As for no one criticising what SN said – apparently your reading comprehension
    > is appalling as well. We just haven’t been assholes about it.

    Really? can you give an example of somebody criticising SN for making these false statements,
    except in a reply to what I wrote?

    By “being asshole” you mean what? Using the word “appalling”?

  34. BillyJoe7 says:

    Yahouda,

    I see you’ve retracted yet again.
    Apparently you now agree that we HAVE criticised what SN said.
    Soon you may even get around to apologising!

  35. MosBen says:

    Yahouda, you speculated that the information may have been both false and intentionally pushed in order to mislead people. You’re making an assumption about what “somebody” wants, rather than applying the principle of charity and allowing that it was simply a mistake. That’s why people are criticizing your use of “fake news”. It’s a loaded political term that has specific implications for purposeful action. You haven’t shown anything even close to that kind of purposeful intent; you just assume it. You either don’t know what the term “fake news” means, or you’re intentionally using it as a cudgel, neither of which is something to be proud of.

  36. —– BillyJoe7:
    > I see you’ve retracted yet again.
    > Apparently you now agree that we HAVE criticised what SN said.

    Honesty not your thing, is it? You again mischaracterize
    what I say. I clearly didn’t retract anything, and don’t agree
    that you criticised what SN says in this blog item.

    In the replies to me, nobody said that what SN did is bad,
    or that he needs to correct it, or that they expected better from him.
    The closest to that is DrNick saying

    “I assume this is just an oversight, and perhaps Dr. Novella
    can correct the record. “

    That is not criticising, that is peppering over it.

    —– MosBen

    > you speculated that the information may have been both false and intentionally
    > pushed in order to mislead people.

    It is not speculation. I look the actual relevant documents, considered
    what they say and what their authors must have known to have written it, and
    based on that concluded that they must have known that what they write is false.

    I explained it in the the December 18 post, and if anything in it is not clear,
    I can explain more. But as far as I can tell, none of you have bothered to
    read it, nobody bothered to follow the links, and certainly nobody asked any
    question about it. You all just say things without bothering to give
    any grounds for saying them.

    > You’re making an assumption about what “somebody” wants,

    No. I deduced it from the documents that you didn’t bother to read.

    > You haven’t shown anything even close to that kind of purposeful intent

    I am repeating myself: I did show it, and you couldn’t be bothered
    to read it and to follow the links.

    To make sense, you should Either:

    Read what I wrote, follow the links, and if it still not obvious to
    you that somebody wants to push the idea that the SPD1 ended the ARM,
    try to come up with other sensible explanations for these “mistakes”.

    Or:

    Explain what make you think that you know the answer without doing the above.

    > You either don’t know what the term “fake news” means,

    As I wrote above (December 20), I have stopped using the FN phrase, not because
    you convinced me that I got it wrong, but because you all seem to lose your
    head just seeing it.

  37. BillyJoe7 says:

    Yahouda,

    Well now you’ve retracted your retraction!
    And, even worse, projected your dishonesty.

  38. MosBen says:

    Yes, we’ve read your posts. No, you haven’t made the case that anyone knew that the information they were presenting was wrong. You’ve asserted that they must have known, but you haven’t made the case at all. Again, the principle of charity is a good policy, and employing it here it seems quite likely that the conflation of these issues was simply an error, rather than an affirmative attempt to mislead. You just keep referring people back to your old post. We’ve seen it. You don’t make your case there.

  39. > Yes, we’ve read your posts.

    Ha Ha Ha.
    You completely ignored the links, even though:

    1) My argument is clearly based on the contents of the
    documents pointed by the links.
    2) I repeatedly (3 times) mentioned “following links” in my
    previous message, and also made a point about it in 19 December.

    It was obviously very selective reading, without any effort to
    actually understand my argument.

    — Other readers:

    Did anybody actually follow the links?

    By “following the links” I mean reading the documents
    they point to and thinking about their contents.

    In general, what should skeptics do about links?

    1) Always follow links.
    2) Follow links when the person that put them gave some explanation
    why they are relevant.
    3) Never follow links.
    4) Follow links when they clearly support what the reader believe in.
    5) Other (please specify).

  40. MosBen says:

    I did follow the links, and nothing there makes your assumption that the information was intentionally presented incorrectly instead of it being a mistake reasonable. You’re attributing to malice what is more easily explained by innocent error.

  41. BillyJoe7 says:

    Yahouda,

    To clarify my point:

    You characterised SN’s post as “appalling”.
    To call SN’s post “appalling”, the following two things would have to be true:

    1) This is “fake news”.
    2) SN knowingly repeated the “fake news”.

    Firstly, it is clear you were using a incorrect definition of “false news”.

    I gave you the correct definition which included the key characteristic “deliberate”.
    You then doubled-down and started linking to articles that you thought lent support to the view that it was “deliberate” even though, when you originally used it, you didn’t seem to understand that the key characteristic of “fake news” is that it is “deliberate”!

    That’s the first bit of dishonesty.

    Secondly, it is clear that you didn’t think SN knowingly repeated it.

    Please note that I never accused you of saying that SN knowingly repeated it. What I said was that, to justify calling SN’s post “appalling”, you would have to believe that he knowingly repeated it. The fact that you did not think he knowingly repeated it, means you were therefore not justified in using the word “appalling” to describe his post.

    So, the accusation that SN’s post is “appalling” is not justified.
    It was not “fake news” and SN did not knowingly repeat it.
    It was unintentional misinformation and SN “unintentionally” repeated it.
    …which was unfortunate, not “appalling”.

    You seemed finally to agree when you stopped using both “fake news” and “appalling”.
    But when I called this a retraction, you said you still thought it was “fake news” and that SN’s article was “appalling”, but for some reason you were just going to stop using both.

    That’s the second bit of dishonesty.

  42. —- MosBen:

    > I did follow the links,

    Ha Ha Ha again.

    1) You didn’t write anything, in your latest post or any previous
    post, that relates to specific text in the documents.
    2) You also didn’t refer to any specific argument that I made.

    These make it obvious that you didn’t actually read the documents.

    If you want to convince anybody that you did read them, write
    something that would be difficult to write without reading the
    documents and thinking about their contents. Very easy thing to
    do (once you read and think about it).

    Once you do read the documens, try to come up with explanation of the
    kind of mistake that can cause somebody to produce the statements that
    I mentioned.

    > … and nothing there makes your assumption that the information …

    It is not an assumption, It is (obviously from what I wrote) a conclusion
    from reading the douemnts and thinking about their contents.

    You have already made this “assumption” claim, and I already
    replied to it (21 December). Do you actually have any grounds to claim
    it is an assumption?

    —- BillyJoe7

    Your writing is by now below the level I am ready to go to.

    I will answer any of it only if other reader(s) ask about any
    of the “points” you blurb about.

  43. BillyJoe7 says:

    Yahouda,

    “Your writing is by now below the level I am ready to go to”

    This from the guttersnipe who characterised SN’s post as “appalling”, and didn’t even know the meaning of the “fake news” label that he used to guttersnipe him, and didn’t understand that he would have to make the case that SN knowingly and deliberately used what he falsely labeled as “false news” in order to justify his appalling characterisation of SN’s post.

    And don’t think I don’t know why you won’t respond to my comments.

  44. I think three years ago you could expect flatly false statements in this blog to be
    corrected asap. Didn’t happen here. That is a serious deterioration.

    Moreover, it seems that readers here don’t care anymore about falsehoods. This
    is also a bad development.

  45. BillyJoe7 says:

    Let it go, Yahouda, you’re just embarrassing yourself.
    My guess is that SN has not revisited this article since he posted it.
    And stop lying about commenters not caring about errors – several of us have pointed them out as you are well aware. We have simply not given them the false characterisation you’ve insisted on and that you haven’t justified in any way.

  46. —– BillyJoe7

    > My guess is that SN has not revisited this article since he posted it.

    You look for excuses, rather than trying to get SN to correct the falsehoods.

    > And stop lying about commenters not caring about errors – several of us have
    > pointed them out as you are well aware.

    Examples?
    Certainly nobody (except me) pointed any of the falsehoods in this blog.

    And the fact is that SN apparently didn’t realize he wrote falsehoods proves
    that it wasn’t pointed enough.

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