A new survey says about eight out of 10 French people regard at least one conspiracy theory as true.
According to a poll conducted by Ifop group on behalf of the Fondation Jean-Jaurès think-tank and the Conspiracy Watch organization, large sections of the French society believed in theories with no roots in established fact.
The survey, whose results were published late on Sunday, tested some of the most famous conspiracy theories on a group of 1,200 people.
Of the well-known of these theories was the one that claims the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 35th American president, in 1963, which was believed by 54 percent of respondents.
The Apollo moon landing hoax, which generally believes that men never stepped on the Moon in 1969 and that some or all elements of the Apollo program and the associated Moon landings were hoaxes staged by NASA, was regarded by 16 percent of the respondents as true.
Another conspiracy theory, which worries France’s current centrist government, is the most widely-held one that claims the ministry of health was conspiring with pharmaceutical companies to hide the danger of vaccines. A total of 55 percent of respondents believed in this theory.
Last Friday, Health Minister Agnes Buzyn called on all the French people to pay no attention to this theory, saying “I hope that… our country will return to the rationality that has always been its marker.” She added that he respective country was “a global exception” when it came to opposition to vaccines.
Ten percent of the respondents thought it was possible that the Earth was flat, while 18 percent supposed that God created life less than 10,000 years ago.
Researchers behind the survey, which was conduct online on December 19-20, said that of around 12 theories tested some nearly 80 percent of French people believed in at least one of them.
“The results of the survey confirm that we are facing a phenomenon that is not only real but also major, which cuts across our society and influences our collective views to a worrying degree,” the think-tank said.