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What Will the Moon Landing Mean to the Future? (theatlantic.com)
38 points by benbreen 59 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 21 comments



I hate to say this, but this whole piece just reeks of reactionary postmodern celebration of a lone, absurdist contrarian. I stopped reading when the author doled out the painful phrase “It must mean something that only 12 humans have walked, laughed, and even danced on the lunar surface, and all were white men”. Beg your pardon? It certainly doesn’t need to mean anything beyond that we collectively abandoned our ambitions before the modern drive for equality kicked in – and that means that the moonshot was a throughly modern, as opposed to societally self-absorbed post-modern enterprise. Trotting out a theologian, if the Catholic vein who allegedly believed in a personal and very much masculine God in the Judeo-Christian tradition and using his words as an excuse to segue into this kind of tacked-on, post-hock drivel is nigh unforgivable.

Should’ve people of other races and genders walked on the moon too? Certainly. Because we shouldn’t have stopped going there once the symbolic victory was attained. But to disparage the achievement by draping it in the cultural terms of our time is just... hideous revisionism.

I’m beside myself with contempt for the author and the editor. Stuff your revisionism and woke virtue-signalling where the sun doesn’t shine and at the awkwardest angle you can devise.


I think it's in Vernor Vinge's "A Deepness in the Sky", space faring humans far in the future are still using the Unix Epoch in their time keeping code, but it's so ancient by then that the exact origins are lost and they are conflating it with the Moon Landing, a more concrete seminal event for such a civilization.


10-15 years ago it was sort of an ironic joke to mock moon landing conspiracy theorists, ("Moon landing? We never landed on the moon!" lulz) that sarcasm was lost and now I meet lots and lots of people who think it's a legitimate position to deny the moon landing. Like everything - it's just a belief or an opinion.

So I think it'll be remembered as a hoax in the future thanks to memes and just general internet fuckwadery.


Is there any serious and generally respected organization that denies the moon landings? 99.99% of memes will be forgotten forever, crushed quietly by the grinding stone of time.


Except they don't. The little bits of nonsense people glean from them live on in swapped bar room factoids and water cooler smalltalk. I still hear rubbish about "death panels" from memes about Obama care from when he was in office.

Memes come and go but the effects linger and shape culture.


The only way I would pay attention to denial of the moon landing is if it was someone like Russia. The fact that Russia did not dispute the moon landing seems like a very strong signal that it actually happened.


I was simply being skeptical of the idea that historical records in the future will, in any serious way, deny the moon landings. Seems quite far fetched to me. Moon landing denial seems pretty fringe from my understanding.


It comes as no surprise that the author of one of the least subtle allegorical strawman attacks on scientific institutions in literary history- That Hideous Strength - can see a stunning feat of engineering and human will only as an attack on the mystery and romance of the natural world.

To explore and understand our universe cannot diminish it- it only enriches our ability to appreciate it. I for one hope the future will regard Clive Staples Lewis as a dogmatic, small-minded fool.


Obligatory link of Feynman expressing the same thought: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbFM3rn4ldo


Yes! That was the first thing I thought of: "I don't understand how it subtracts"


I remember reading that Osama bin Laden had a similar perspective on the Moon landing.


I think you missed the point of That Hideous Strength, which is not an allegory by the way. In an allegory, you must be able to say some person or thing in the story is equal to some thing in the real world. For example, Animal Farm by George Orwell is an allegory. In it, the farm is the Soviet Union and the pigs are the Communist Party. That Hideous Strength does have a scientific institution, NICE, but it does not stand for any particular institution, or scientific institutions in general. NICE is a hypothetical example of what a scientific institution might become if it took ideas that were in operation in the 1940s to an extreme, as happened in Nazi Germany. (NICE has some similarities to Nazi Germany, but I don't think it is a symbol for it, just like Tolkien's Morder has some similarities to but is not a symbol of Nazi Germany.)

For Lewis, science is not evil, but it can be used to dehumanize, especially when people focus solely on the scientific and throw out or de-emphasize all other aspects of human existence. Anyone who cannot see some measure of dehumanization in the modern world is blind. I see huge changes just during my life. When I was a child, we knew the names of at least 20 families within a block of our house, and had been in the home or had had in our home at least half of them. Now, most people have much less knowledge or contact with their neighbors, and that isolation is greater for those who benefit the most from the fruits of modern technology.

If Lewis had lived to see the moon landing, I think he would have admitted it was an awesome achievement. I certainly think it was. It was a defining moment in my childhood (I was 6 years old). However, if you compare the pre-modern conception of the moon with how we see it today, it has been reduced from a heavenly body to a large rock in space. This reduction is symptomatic of the reduction of our conception of our own humanity from spiritual beings loved by the creator of the universe to accidental products of random, blind, impersonal, physical interactions. The modern conception of man is a product of evolution that was probably a bad turn since we seem to be damaging the planet on which we arose.

If you think Lewis was dogmatic, I'm sure you must really think Tolkien was, since he was Roman Catholic, which is by definition dogmatic. (To be a faithful Catholic, you must believe the dogmas of the Church. Anglicans, which Lewis was, have no such requirements. In fact, I don't think the Church of England has anything they call a dogma, but I could be wrong.) I don't know if Tolkien said anything against space exploration, but he did have strong views against the headlong rush of scientific progress that had no regard on its effects on humanity or the environment. I think most people today can see that his environmental concerns were well founded, even if they don't see the deeper human impacts.


The moon is devoid of everything interesting.

If it was easy to extract water from the moon then we would have colonized the moon merely a decade after the first moon landing. The true space age could have started before the age of the internet. Unfortunately it just didn't happen.


Due to the amount of money involved in these ventures, the phase in the future will be 'Moon Branding'.


The furthest a human ever went :/


The furthest people have ever been was actually when Apollo 13 swung around the moon. A nice consolation prize for those guys


... and, I am afraid, ever will. One just needs to realize that life (on Earth) critically depends on being able to increase the entropy of the environment. A spaceship (smaller than a planet) simply cannot provide an environment that could support such need for an extended period of time.


Except for the fact that we continuously discover new energy sources and new ways to store information. There are indeed fundamental limits imposed by thermodynamics, but something as crude as space travel is not limited by them. Rather the limit is the immaturity of our technology.

And a space ship is not an isolated system: it can shed waste heat, and as long as it has a power source, the entropy of the living space can be controlled.


> Except for the fact that we continuously discover new energy...

Is that really a fact? Is it guaranteed to be true in the future? Past discoveries seem very lumpy and unpredictable to me.


What's more important: The first man in space or the first on the moon?


I still don't know what I just read. Random opinions/feelings regarding a historic event?

What's next? How one feels about vanilla icecream? I don't understand the human race sometimes, I have to admit :)




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