Conspiracy theories are defined as an attempt to explain some event as a secret plan by a group of powerful people to do something unlawful or harmful. The US moon landings were a hoax, the Earth is actually flat and climate change is a fraud are just 3 examples of the vast amount of conspiracy theories out there. Recently, conspiracy theories have become a hot topic of discussion as celebrities, such as BoB, have tweeted about there belief that the Earth is actually flat.

“here n america, you can be anything, worship anything, & believe anything… EXCEPT the earth not being round… they’ll hang u 4 that 1,”

But is there actually any truth behind them? Dr David Robert Grimes, a researcher at Oxford University, has come up with a mathematical model to test whether they are true. This model plays upon the fact that the main criterion of success for a potential conspiracy is secrecy, which is largely based on the number of people who know about the plan. The model calculates the maximum amount of people required and therefore how long it would take for the plan to unravel.

Some of his calculations include:

  • The hoax moon landings: 410,000 people, 3 years 8 months to reveal
  • Climate Change fraud: 405,00 people, 3 years and 9 months to reveal
  • Coverup of unsafe vaccinations: 22,000, 3 years and 2 months to reveal
  • Suppressed cancer cure: 714,000, 3 years and 3 months to reveal

Additionally, Grimes looked at the maximum number of people who could take part in a conspiracy in order to maintain it:

  • 5 years: 2,521 people
  • More than a decade: less than 1,000 people
  • A Century: fewer than 125

His results show that any conspiracy dependant on over a few hundred people rapidly collapses, therefore big science conspiracies would not be sustainable in the long run. Grimes also argues that although some theories are real (such as Watergate), conspiracies in scientific areas are particularly hard to sustain due to the scrutiny by fellow scientists: “Even if a small devious cohort of rogue scientists falsified data for climate change or attempted to cover up vaccine information, examination by other scientists would fatally undermine the nascent conspiracy. To circumvent this, the vast majority of scientists in a field would have to mutually conspire – a circumstance the model predicts is exceptionally unlikely to be viable.”

What do you think about this topic? Do you believe in any conspiracy theories? M x



8 thoughts on “Conspiracies”

  1. Some people’s imaginations can be quite… creative when it comes to thinking of conspiracies. They would give all kinds of convoluted and contrived arguments just to prove their points. Most importantly, they would over-emphasize certain coincidence that would further support their claims.

    Each of us has to be good at something I suppose…

    Another number that I am interested with is how much total profit conspiracy theories generate. It’s a big industry after all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just yesterday, while my friend and I were talking about a tv program, an elderly woman suddenly asked us if we know that the government has installed a “subliminal mind control mechanism” on every tv.

    I just gave her a weird look but I didn’t really want to be rude to elderly people so I just thanked her for her advice.

    My friend however just laughed out loud and told her that it’s a ridiculous theory.

    Then she just looked at him with a sympathetic expression and said , “That’s what the government wants you to believe…”, then promptly left.

    I was taken aback not because of the absurdity of her belief but because of the conviction in her tone when she spoken those words.

    It’s certainly a surreal Sunday night conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

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