Thursday, 12 July 2012

Marcus Allen at the BIS (Update)

A few weeks ago I posted an article about Marcus Allen attending a debate at the British Interplanetary Society at their headquarters near Vauxhall Bridge in London. The BIS was founded in 1933 as a think tank and advocacy group for space exploration. Its membership includes such illustrious figures as Arthur C Clarke and Sir Patrick Moore. Naturally they very passionately believe that the NASA Apollo Missions were real and that they really did land men on the moon between 1969 and 1972. Here's their website: I originally heard about the debate before it happened and, impressed by Marcus' guts for "taking the fight to the enemy", looked into the possibility of attending to support him. I quickly learned that this was out of the question; the debate was not open to the public, so I waited eagerly to hear the result. The first news to emerge was in the Skeptic internet media and this was the basis of my original article, see: .

As you can see the initial reports portrayed the event as a decisive victory for the Apollo-believer cause with Marcus being completely demolished in the debate, and eventually even becoming a "reformed character" and recanting his entire theoretical model of the Apollo Hoax Theory. My main objective in writing that article was to attempt to protect Marcus from the retaliation that would result if he had indeed swapped benches as the Skeptics claimed he had. The Charlie Veitch scandal has taught us that there are thug elements within the Conspiratorial community who react very unprofessionally and spitefully against turncoats. I find this behaviour immoral and extremely counter-productive so I wished to appeal for calm. However, as you can see, I also treated the reports themselves with caution and scepticism; I withheld judgment until more information had been released, and I'm very glad I did. This experience has taught us that we should always be sceptical of the Skeptics! (Notice how I spell the word in two different ways. I consider these words to have very different meanings, even though they are homophones, see: A couple of days later Mary Bennett, co-author of the book Dark Moon- Apollo and the Whistle-Blowers, published her own report on the debate. Like me, she had been unable to attend and her report was based on a verbal interview with Marcus: . As you can see, this tells a very different story; it's strange how separate people can interpret the same events such diverging ways. Which was the most accurate report? I had to wait until the release of the film of the debate to find out. It's available on YouTube, posted by the BIS' YouTube account: "DeltaVeeMedia": . As soon as I watched it I realized that Mary's report on the proceedings was by far the most accurate.  

The very decision to hold this debate with Marcus caused a storm of controversy, with many people protesting that the possibility that the Moon Landings were faked is even being discussed, including the Skeptic forum, see: . As you can see, they believe that Marcus' very presence at the BIS gives him a prestige they feel he doesn't deserve; he's been brought "into the fold" of a distinguished scientific institution. They'd feel more comfortable with him just sticking to the UFO and conspiratorial conference circuit like he used to. As it happens there was a lot of internal barracking at the BIS too. This resulted in the title of the debate being changed at the last minute. I think Marcus originally planned to give the BIS his usual shpiel which I've seen many time before myself, eg: . Here's one recorded on YouTube: . In this he gives the audience a comprehensive and complete analysis of the whole lunar exploration mystery. However by the time the debate kicked off its title had been changed to Perceived Anomalies in the Apollo Lunar Surface Imagery, see: . Marcus' brief for the debate was that he and his opponent would discuss only the questions relating to the veracity of the photographic record, not the entire Hoax Theory, which of course is very holistic and covers many separate disciplines. (Here's one of my own articles on the subject: However, as you can see from both Mary's report and the film, Marcus' opponent, Jerry Stone, did not obey the new brief himself; he launched into a series of the very general comments on the Hoax Theory that he had told Marcus to omit. Why was this? If my mind worked in... certain ways, I might be suspicious about the way the brief was changed so close to the night. Jerry would have done just as well with his rebuttal if he'd just let Marcus do his usual multi-layered performance. When he finally got round to his photographic riposte I felt that he didn't so much respond to Marcus' points as make a series of his own different points. Therefore my impression of the event was not so much a debate as two men talking on entirely cross-purposes. As you can see, Mary has provided her own counter-argument to the points Jerry makes; she also mentions all the occasions he doesn't address one of Marcus' points. One discrepancy between the film and Mary's report is that according to her Jerry, proving Godwin's Law true immediately, brought up the subject of Hitler and Holocaust denial in relation to the Hoax Theory. This clearly is not present in the film. There are two possibilities that explain this: Firstly Marcus and Mary were simply mistaken and Marcus misremembered what actually happened that evening; or that they lied in their testimony. But there is another possibility we must consider: That this part of Jerry's speech was edited out of the film uploaded by "DeltaVeeMedia". As you can see if you watch this film, the section Mary and Marcus address is all a single shot; there is no cut to the view of the audience, which occasionally occurs elsewhere, during which the offending footage could be removed. Does this mean such a "director's cut" can't be done? No. Using modern electronic editing it's conceivable that a section of a single continuous shot could be edited out and a small amount of animation and morphing used to smooth over the break. Is there any evidence that this has been done? Well, I don't have the capabilities to analyze the video itself, but I am drawn to the part of Mary's report subtitled "Record of the Meeting": "But then again, given that when Marcus Allen asked for a video copy of the presentation (a normal courtesy to a guest speaker), the answer was not ‘Yes, of course,’ but ‘We’ll try’ does not augur well." The BIS may have needed a delay because they didn't want to hand over a copy of the proceedings' video record without snipping out that embarrassing gaff by Jerry. After all, wheeling out the Nazi's is the ultimate in the fallacy of getting personal usually nicknamed: Reductio ad Hitlerium. It's ironic indeed that the BIS couldn't imagine that NASA would be able or willing do the same with the Moon Landings photographic record! Then again, maybe the remark actually was made elsewhere. If you read Part 2 of Mary's article she refers again to the "Hitler/Holocaust" angle, but says Jerry introduced it at the end, not during his introduction. This would make editing it out far easier of course. I'm glad the BIS did, but it was disgraceful of Jerry to bring it up in the first place!

One thing's for sure: The celebrations on were very premature. Marcus definitely doesn't seem to have experienced a road-to-Damascus conversion at all. He wins the debate in my view simply because his case was not seriously challenged; there wasn't really any attempt to do so. As for myself: I'm very familiar with all the factors in the Moon Landing Hoax Theory and I have debated them many times with Apollo-believers. There was only one piece of information tabled that I'd never heard before; in the Q and A where somebody mentions the "sandblasting" of the moon by electrical discharge with the Earth. That's a new one on me!

The BIS contingent were very civil and professional with Marcus the whole time. They listened to his testimony in respectful silence and gave him a courteous round of applause afterwards etc. But you can just imagine what was going on inside their heads, and their animosity did poke out through their self-control occasionally, as Mary points out in her article. I'd like to pay tribute to Marcus' courage for standing on stage, completely on his own, and presenting this theory to what must be the most hostile audience imaginable.


The Truth Seeker's Guide said...

Thanks for bringing us up to date Ben.
I'm glad that Marcus (if his presentation is anything to go by) has apparently stood to his principles and beliefs.
Do you know if the claims that he was offered BIS membership (or that he accepted!) are therefore also a load of old bobbins?
All the best mate.
Carl (The 'Guide)

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Hi Carl. Cheers, mate.

Yes Marcus us now a BIS member and can attend more meetings there. He's our man on the inside! ;-)