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Exercise 6.1 Model Answer
 
Task

This argument map is the model answer from Exercise 3.5:

It lists all the objections to the claim that the Apollo astronauts landed on the Moon from pages 3-8 of Apollo Moon Landings.

Revise this argument map so that it observes the Pyramid Rule.

 
Model Answer

 

 
Discussion

Lets start from the beginning and work through this step by step.  Recall that:

The Pyramid Rule: More general or abstract considerations should appear higher in the argument tree, and considerations at the same level of the tree should be at roughly the same level of generality or abstraction. 

The easiest way forward is to start with the second aspect of the rule.  Are all considerations at the primary level at roughly the same level of generality or abstraction? Or are some more detailed and particular than others?  Scan across the full set of objections and compare them from the point of view of their level of generality.

It is soon obvious that the answer is no; some considerations are more general than others.  Lets roughly sort them into three bins, from less general to more general:

Less General

More General

Most General

#1 no stars in pictures

#2 no dust on footpads

#3 no blast crater

 

#4 Apollo pictures taken in a studio on Earth (lighting)

#5 American flag scenes filmed on Earth

#9 LRV could not have been transported to the Moon

#7 lunar surface pictures tampered with

#6 astronauts cannot have been to Moon

#8 equipment could not have functioned

You can probably now see how some are more general than others.  Part of what this means is that the more detailed considerations do not really bear directly on the main contention; they are part of the evidence for some more general claim which does bear directly on the main contention.

Here is another version of the table, this time putting each consideration on its own row (and with a little re-ordering):

Less General

More General

Most General

#1 no stars in pictures    
#2 no dust on footpads    
#3 no blast crater    
  #4 Apollo pictures taken in a studio on Earth (lighting)  
  #5 American flag scenes filmed on Earth  
  #7 lunar surface pictures tampered with  
    #6 astronauts cannot have been to Moon
    #8 equipment could not have functioned
  #9 LRV could not have been transported to the Moon  

If the less general considerations are really part of the evidence bearing on more general considerations, what are those?  Here is another version of the table, filling in the blank spaces with considerations of approximately the right level of generality:

Less General

More General

Most General

#1 no stars in pictures Apollo scenes were artificially created Documentary evidence of Apollo landings was fabricated
#2 no dust on footpads Apollo scenes were artificially created Documentary evidence of Apollo landings was fabricated
#3 no blast crater Apollo scenes were artificially created Documentary evidence of Apollo landings was fabricated
  #4 Apollo pictures taken in a studio on Earth (lighting) Documentary evidence of Apollo landings was fabricated
  #5 American flag scenes filmed on Earth Documentary evidence of Apollo landings was fabricated
  #7 lunar surface pictures tampered with Documentary evidence of Apollo landings was fabricated
    #6 astronauts cannot have been to Moon
    #8 equipment could not have functioned
  #9 LRV could not have been transported to the Moon Apollo equipment could not have been transported.

On the argument map, then, we need one more primary objection:

Objections #4, 5 and 7 evidence for this new primary objection, and so should be moved below it as reasons:

Making these moves, and adding another reason (Apollo scenes were artificially created) we get:

The next thing to do is to move #1, 2 and 3 under their "parent" reason:

Resulting in:

At this stage the only problem is #9.  There is a missing layer between it and the main contention - the claim that the Apollo equipment could not have been transported to the Moon.  Adding this primary objection, and shifting #9 below it as a reason, we get:

Notice two things about this new argument tree:

(1) The primary objections form a smaller, more coherent set.  Previously the primary considerations were a dog's breakfast.  Now they suggest a well-ordered mind at work.  The Apollo astronauts did not land on the Moon, because

Looking at it this way makes much more sense of the overall case made by the hoax believers.

(2) The revised argument map is closer to a pyramid shape than the one we started with.  It is not yet a perfect pyramid, and probably never will be, but it is heading in that direction.  Once the rest of the arguments have been added to the map, it will look still more like a pyramid.

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Copyright Austhink 2003-2006

 Last updated 11-Jul-2007