(Mirror Daily, United States) – Math and statistics were able to answer a very interesting question of our age: how long do conspiracy theories last? A team of researchers delved into the matter and sought to measure how long it would take for such a theory to be either revealed or debunked. It was found it depends on a series of factors.
The research team was led by Dr. David Grimes, a post-doctoral physicist at Oxford University. Grimes claims that he was able to come up with a formula that showed how long it would take for a conspiracy theory to be either uncovered or dismissed. According to the researcher, however, he did not take the side opposed to conspiracy theories, as some would assume. Instead, he took a different approach. He focused on how such theories would be possible.
Dr. Grimes took three factors into consideration by answering a simple question. What could decide the fate of a conspiracy theory? The total number of people involved, the amount of time since the event actually happened, and the intrinsic likelihood of the theory’s ultimate failure. These were carefully taken into account, using the “the same mathematical methods” that he used for his academic research on radiation physics.
For example, for a plot to last 5 years, the maximum of people involved would be around 2,500, and for it to last 10 years, there could be no more than 1,000 people in the loop. For long questionable lies to last 100 years, there would have to be no more than 125 collaborators involved in the plot. If the numbers exceeded the limit, the secret would be out sooner or later. One way or another, someone would’ve revealed the truth, be it by accident or on purpose.
The premise stands to reason: the more people involved, the lesser the chances of something remaining a secret.
The researcher took four famous conspiracy theories as samples: the “fake” Moon landing, climate change allegedly being a fraud, vaccines causing autism, and the theory that pharmaceutical companies already have a cure for cancer that they do not disclose to the public. These are conspiracy theories that have had numerous people debating along the years. Chances are that everyone has heard of them at one point, and may have even discussed their likelihood.
However, Grimes’ formula found that if either of those were true, they would’ve been proven by now. The “fake” Moon landing for example had an estimated of 411,000 people involved. If the conspiracy theory were true and the entire thing was a hoax, it would have been revealed in 3.7 years. The same went with the rest of the three alleged schemes.
The climate change fraud conspiracy theory would last between 3.7 to 26.8 years, the vaccines causing autism possibility in 3.2 to 34.8 years, and the possibility of a hidden cure for cancer just 3.2 years. If there was any validity to either of them, the public would’ve known by now, simply because someone would’ve spilled the beans.
This was a first of its kind research, published in a recent edition of the esteemed PLOS One journal that might just add enough weight to Grimes’ research to be believable. If it’s true, it means most conspiracy theories can be measured, and we can know how long they would last before the truth came out.
Image source: craveonline.com
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