They say that Russia is the motherland of conspiracy theories, and public reaction to the sudden meteor strike a week ago that stunned people in the Ural mountains, and injured more than 1,200, seems to be proving that true.
A survey published today by the fairly staid Moscow daily Noviye Izvestia found that barely half its readers believe the official report that the blast was caused by a meteor.
According to the newspaper, the other half prefer to believe in an assortment of bizarre explanations, including that the blast was a secret US weapon test, an off-course ballistic missile, a message from God, a crashing alien spaceship, or even an extraterrestrial trojan horse carrying a deadly space virus to wipe out the Earth.
This distrust in the official word seems to stem from decades of the government ACTUALLY covering up and lying. Russians do seem to embrace fringe ideas in general but we can say the same about the U.S. Regardless, this astronomical event was one of the best recorded in history. Scientists are pretty clear about what happened and pieces of debris were recovered. Hard to get much more evidence than what we have. However, people don’t necessarily WANT to believe it was a meteor as much as they want to believe it was something else that fits into their worldview.
“Unfortunately we stopped teaching astronomy in our schools long ago; people are not equipped, or inclined to see these things in a rational light. I read recently about a survey that found half the population of the world believes that the Sun revolves around the Earth. There you go,” she says.
When I heard more about the meteor explosion, I recall thinking, “Oh, this will put an end to that silly discusssion about Tunguska blast being some bizarre thing.” Nope. It just reignited the debate. Tunguska is mentioned several times in here.
Coincidentally, the Smithsonian channel has a show about Tunguska. Looks woo-ey.(Smithsonian? REALLY?)
Also relevant to the whole conspiracy mindset, check out this new site by JREF president D.J. Grothe by going to this post: Just The Facts Are Not Enough | Conspiracy Check.