A math formula devised by an Oxford University researcher suggests that large-scale conspiracies have short lives, as when there are too many conspirators one of them would eventually blow their cover.
David Grimes of the Oxford University developed an equation that suggests popular conspiracy theories such as the 1969 moon landing, the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, or the September 11 attacks would have been revealed by now.
Grimes explained that his math formula takes into account three factors: (1) the number of people who know the truth behind the conspiracy, also known as conspirators, (2) the probability or chances for a conspiracy to be unraveled, and (3) the amount of time since the event.
Grimes tested the formula on four popular conspiracies that divide the public until now: the conspiracy that the Americans were not the ones to first land on the moon, the conspiracy that global warming is a hoax, the conspiracy that vaccines could trigger autism in small children, and the belief that there is a cure for cancer but big pharmas keep it secret for financial purposes.
The scientist said that his study revealed all these conspiracies would have been proven as real by now if it were the case. His probabilistic calculations show that a phony moon landing would have been revealed 3.7 years later, while a global warming hoax would have been proven real in 4 to 26.8 years. Additionally, it would take up to 34.8 years for the vaccine conspiracy theory to prove right, while the cure for cancer conspiracy would have been unraveled in less than 3.5 years.
Grimes explained that he based his statistical model on the Poisson distribution, which assesses the chances for a specific event to occur given some particular circumstances and a set time frame.
At first, the scientist took into consideration a variety of assumptions to devise the model, but the formula was incomplete. Next, he added the probability for a conspiracy theory to fail.
So, he drew inspiration for his probabilistic assumptions from three popular conspiracies that in the end were proven real.
He analyzed the NSA surveillance program conspiracy which was proven real by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, although 36,000 people were involved in it.
He also sifted through data on the Tuskegee syphilis experiment conspiracy which was also proven real by a medic 25 years later, though about 6,700 people had known about the experiment.
Plus, Grimes also analyzed a major scandal involving the FBI, which showed that some of the agency’s forensic analyses, which lacked any scientific basis, got innocent people in jail or on the death row.
Next, Grimes assumed that conspirators involved in a conspiracy were fairly good at keeping a secret. So, his formula revealed that the chances for a conspiracy to be proven real were four in a million; but the chances grow as time go by and more people get involved in the hoax.
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