An introduction to the mother of all conspiracy theories
Are believers in danger of extinction?
Coming up is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. In 2016, a surveyshowed that 52 percent of the British public thought that Apollo missions were faked. Skepticism is highest among those who were too young to see it live on TV: 73 percent of aged 25-34 believe we didn’t land on the moon, compared to 38 percent of those aged 55 or more. These numbers seem to be rising every year. British unbelievers were only 25 percent ten years ago. It is not known how may they are today, but a 2018 poll by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center revealed that 57 percent Russians believe that there has never been a manned lunar landing. The percentage rises to 69 percent among people with higher education: in other words, the more educated people are, and the more capable of rational reasoning, the less they believe in the moon landings. In the US, the percentage seems much lower: A 1999 Gallup poll indicated just 6 percent Americans doubting the moon landings, and a 2013 Pew Research showed the number to have risen to a mere 7 percent. Not surprisingly, then, a 2010 Pew Research poll showed that 63 percent of Americans were confident that NASA would land an Astronaut on Mars by 2050.
The moon hoax theory was almost unheard of before the spread of Internet, and gained momentum with the development of YouTube, which allowed close inspection of the Apollo footage by anyone interested. Before that, individuals who had serious doubts had little means to share them and make their case convincing. One pioneer was Bill Kaysing, who broke the subject in 1976 with his self-published book We Never Went to the Moon: America’s Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle. He may be called a whistleblower, since he had been working for Rocketdyne, the company that designed and built the Apollo rockets. Then came Ralph René with his NASA Mooned America!, also self published.
Research gained depth and scope, and disbelief became epidemic around the 30thanniversary of Apollo 11, thanks in great part to British cinematographer David Percy, who co-authored the book Dark Moon with Mary Bennett, and directed the 3-hour documentary