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Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer puts the 9/11 conspiracy theories in perspective. Given how little we still know about the Sept. 11 attacks, it's no wonder that so many Americans are examining explanations that range from the plausible to the absurd. Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer puts the conspiracy theories in perspective.

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I (TD managing editor Blair Golson) have studiously avoided blogging about "The U.S. government planned 9/11" conspiracy theories because, frankly, they're crap they strain credulity; no government it seems unlikely to the extreme that the government could keep a secret like that from leaking* (see editor's note on the jump). But Time magazine has a good explanation of why 36% of people polled lend credence to these claims: We need grand theories to make sense of grand events, or the world just seems too random.

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The Gallup report summarizes the findings: "[A] substantial portion of Americans[are] not so quick to agree with the preponderance of scientific evidence" Support for the such beliefs declines steadily with education: Among those with high school diplomas, 58% are Bible backers; among those with postgraduate degrees, only 25%.

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The president may be urging algebra and chemistry on high-schoolers, but his administration can't run away from the chilling effect it has had on scientific inquiry For example, a young presidential appointee at NASA ordered Web designers to append the word "theory" after every mention of the Big Bang (scroll half-way down the article)
Wanna know what it takes to become a NASA spokesman? Well, it doesn't hurt to write columns linking Saddam to Al Qaeda, or insisting that Rumsfeld had nothing to do with the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandals.

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