عربي | كوردى



We must work hard to negate conspiracy theories

We must work hard to negate conspiracy theories

2019/07/12 | 07:20

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)-











NIDHAL GUESSOUM







We do

not have any surveys on this subject in the Arab world, but if we judge by the

opinions expressed on social media, the number of Arabs who doubt that American

astronauts walked on the moon between 1969 and 1972 has been growing

alarmingly.The

first time I encountered this issue was in 2001, after Fox TV broadcast a

documentary titled “Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?” and I started

receiving emails asking me whether I agreed with that, and if not what were my

counterarguments. I then started giving a talk titled “Did NASA fake the moon

landing — or are we miserably failing to educate the public?” so I had a chance

to witness the impact of the “moon landing hoax” claim on people. They were

really impressed with the arguments that the US flag could not be waving on the

moon (due to the absence of air) as it seemed to be doing in the photos, the

absence of stars in the pictures, the impossibility of traveling through the

lethal (Van Allen) radiation belts, and others. The good news back then was the

fact we didn’t have social media.A few

years ago, I set up a YouTube channel, “Ta’ammal Ma’I” (“Reflect with me”), and

one of the first videos I posted was titled “The proofs of human moon landing.”

Indeed, I had again been receiving an increasing numbers of queries and

straight-up attacks about NASA’s moon landing claims. So I explained again how

one can easily explain the above issues, and I added two solid proofs of the

moon landing: The existence of close to 400 kilograms of moon rocks that have

been analyzed and shown to be from the moon, and the analysis of images of the

trajectory that we see the dust taking when kicked up by the moon rover’s

wheels. Indeed, the trajectory that a particle takes in an environment of low

gravity and no air resistance is noticeably different from the trajectory in an

earthly environment.And so

I thought that I was done and would never need to come back to this issue. But,

as time passed, the ratio of “dislikes” on that video rose to more than 20

percent, whereas the average of “dislikes” for the 150 videos in my channel is

less than 4 percent.In the

last year, the issue exploded again when the Arabic RT (Russia Today) channel

broadcast a five-part interview with Dr. Alexander Popov, who presented new

“proofs” that the Americans never walked on the moon. Over more than two hours,

this physicist (with no professional experience in space sciences) presented

his arguments. First, that the Saturn V rocket had many problems when it was

being developed, and then suddenly it could send a spacecraft to the moon, only

to be retired soon afterward. Second, top secret photos show the Soviets

recovering a rocket in their territorial waters, proving that the American

rockets carried no people and were not being sent to the moon, but rather to

the Azores archipelago (west of Portugal), where the US Navy had a big base.

Third, that the Americans only shared “moon rocks” with Canadian and Australian

scientists (“their friends”), never with the Soviets. And finally that there has

been a huge conspiracy operation, with some American officials being retired

and silenced, some astronauts getting killed, and the Soviet leadership being

bribed with luxury cars, investments (a Pepsi factory), etc.All

these unbelievable claims can easily be rebutted, as I’ve recently done in a

new video on my channel. But the worrisome part is that one retired scientist

making mostly risible claims about such a momentous and historic event as

humanity reaching the moon can be taken so seriously by an important TV channel

(giving it over two hours of air time) and countless people (in less than a

year, that interview, despite its length, has been watched 1.3 million times

and has a “like” ratio of 83 percent).Two

months ago, I conducted a poll on Twitter asking people whether they agreed or

disagreed that American astronauts walked on the moon in the late 1960s and

early 1970s. A total of 3,174 people participated, and the results were: 30

percent were fully convinced that they did; 23 percent tended to agree with

that; 31 percent had doubts about its truth; and 16 percent were fully

convinced that it’s untrue. I am fully aware that this is not a scientific

survey, indeed I don’t know the demographics of the respondents, but I think

this says something about what people think.The

exchanges that followed the survey presented me with a host of reasons that

people cite as a basis of their doubts, such as why was the landing on the moon

not repeated? First, the landing was repeated five times, indeed 12 astronauts

from six missions walked on the moon, and, secondly, once the primary objective

was achieved, the high cost led to the decision to discontinue the program and

focus instead on satellites and space stations. Others asked whether NASA

really did have the technical capability to achieve that spectacular feat in

1969, whether the moon rocks are really available for examination (yes, some

are on display in public places, such as the National Air and Space Museum in

Washington), and other such queries.Indeed,

one must ask why people believe in big conspiracy scenarios of this sort.

Studies have shown that the belief in conspiracies correlates with: Doubting

science; questioning authorities (especially the US government); overestimating

what the “powers” can do; and a sense of helplessness and inability to

influence the world — an unconscious feeling of “defeatedness.”Let

us, scientists, educators and the media, make a more resolute effort to educate

the public about scientific and technological achievements and work hard to

negate conspiracy theories and people’s tendency to indulge in them.









TRENDING News



Latest News Today






Videos and Photos


TRENDING NOW