Press release №2089
27.07.2018
SCIENCE AND SOCIETY: PRESTIGE AND TRUST

IN BRIEF

  • Scientists hide the truth, according to 59% of respondents
  • An absolute majority of respondents (93%) agree that Earth is round
  • 45% believe that aliens exist

Despite trust in science and occupational prestige, an overwhelming majority of Russians share antiscientific views and suspect scientists of hiding the truth from the public.

MOSCOW, July 27, 2018. Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the data of a survey describing Russian views on Earth, alien civilizations and the first Moon landing. 

The data of the surveys from 2010 to 2017 show that Russians trust scientists: the trust levels have fluctuated from 66% to 79%. For the time being, most of respondents (59%) think that the scientists are hiding the truth. Those who distrust the most are people who did not complete their secondary education (77%), whereas this percentage is smaller among people with higher education diploma (45%).  

Russians are divided in their opinions on whether scientists know the truth or not: 42% say they know, 41% say they delude themselves. People with incomplete secondary education more often say that scientists do not know the truth (54%).

The Earth is spherical and there is irrefutable evidence of that, according to most of Russians (93%). This point of view is shared by both respondents with incomplete secondary education (92%) and respondents with higher education diploma (95%). But the idea is mainly supported by those persons who think that scientists tell the truth (98%).  

Currently, 42% of Russians consider that extraterrestrial species do not come to Earth or are nonexistent. Also those people who trust scientists are more skeptical about inhabitants on other planets (52%). However, 45% of respondents believe that aliens exist: 27% of them say that they are hiding from humans; a further 18% believe that the government is hiding them.

More than half of Russians (57%) state that there was no Moon landing, and in 1969 the American government made a fake documentary about the Moon mission. This opinion is mainly expressed by those with secondary education (65%). Every fourth respondent (24%) opposes this stance. Those who tend to consider that scientists tell the truth often support this viewpoint (38%).

The VCIOM-Sputnik survey was conducted on May 29-30, 2018, and involved 2,000 Russians aged 18 and over. The survey was telephone-based and was carried out using stratified dual-frame random sample based on a complete list of landline and mobile phone numbers operating in Russia. The data were weighted according to selection probability and social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 2.2%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.

The 2010-2015 results are based on household surveys.

To what extent do you trust scientists? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  2010 2012 2013 2014 2015 2017
Completely distrust 3 5 3 4 4 2
Likely  distrust 5 8 7 5 4 3
Likely trust 43 39 39 39 35 40
Completely trust 28 28 29 29 31 39
Don’t know 21 20 22 23 26 16

 

In your opinion, do most of scientists tell the truth or hide the truth from us?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Elementary (incomplete secondary) education Secondary education (school, vocational school) Specialized secondary education  (technical school) Incomplete higher (not less than three years in a higher education institution), higher  education
They tell the truth 28 17 18 21 40
They hide the truth 59 77 71 67 45
Don’t know 13 6 11 12 15

 

In your opinion, do scientists know the truth or basically delude themselves?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Elementary (incomplete secondary) education Secondary education (school, vocational school) Specialized secondary education  (technical school) Incomplete higher (not less than three years in a higher education institution), higher  education
They know the truth 42 27 36 43 45
They simply delude themselves and do not know it 41 54 45 40 39
Don’t know 17 19 19 17 16

 

Which statement do you agree with the most?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Elementary (incomplete secondary) education Secondary education (school, vocational school) Specialized secondary education  (technical school) Incomplete higher (not less than three years in a higher education institution), higher  education They tell the truth They hide the truth Don’t know
The Earth is round. There is irrefutable evidence of that. 93 92 89 94 95 98 91 93
By telling that the Earth is round scientists intentionally mislead the public. Actually the Earth is flat 3 5 6 3 2 1 5 2
Don’t know 4 3 4 3 3 1 4 5
 

 

Which statement do you agree with the most?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Elementary (incomplete secondary) education Secondary education (school, vocational school) Specialized secondary education  (technical school) Incomplete higher (not less than three years in a higher education institution), higher  education They tell the truth They hide the truth Don’t know
Representatives of extraterrestrial civilizations come to Earth, and the government hides this fact   18 17 19 21 14 11 23 9
Representatives of extraterrestrial civilizations come to Earth but they are hiding from us 27 26 28 29 25 28 26 27
Representatives of extraterrestrial civilizations do not come to Earth or are nonexistent 42 44 39 37 47 52 40 31
Don’t know 13 13 14 13 13 10 11 32

  

Which statement do you agree with the most? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Elementary (incomplete secondary) education Secondary education (school, vocational school) Specialized secondary education  (technical school) Incomplete higher (not less than three years in a higher education institution), higher  education They tell the truth They hide the truth Don’t know
American astronauts landed on the moon in the last century 24 30 15 18 32 38 18 21
There was no Moon landing. In 1969 the American government made a fake documentary about the Mission to Moon 57 53 65 63 49 46 63 52
Don’t know 19 17 20 19 18 16 18 26

  

Note: Using materials from the site www.wciom.ru or wciom.com, as well as distributed by VCIOM, the reference to the source (or hyperlink for the electronic media) is obligatory.
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