Now There’s a Math Formula for Disproving Conspiracy Theories

surveillanceBy Joshua Krause

Truth be told, the world is riddled with conspiracies. A conspiracy is, at minimum, nothing more than a handful of people working together in the shadows to accomplish a goal that benefits themselves and hurts everyone else. By that definition, there are countless conspiracies in the world. There are so many conspiracies that, in all likelihood, the vast majority of them will never reach the public’s awareness.

However, that mainly applies to conspiracies committed by a small group of insiders. When you have hundreds or even thousands of people who are in on the conspiracy, there’s a much greater chance that at some point, somebody is going to spill the beans. How likely that is, would be anyone’s guess of course. Human beings are pretty unpredictable. It’s not like you can come up with a mathematical formula for predicting how long it would take for a conspiracy to unravel, right?


Dr. David Grimes from Oxford University would beg to differ. One human being may be unpredictable, but when you look at a large group of people, certain patterns emerge. So by looking at past examples of conspiracies that have since seen the light of day, how many people were involved in each conspiracy, and how long it took for someone to blow the whistle, you can predict the longevity of any given conspiracy.

Specifically, he was missing a good estimate for the intrinsic probability of a conspiracy failing. To determine this, Dr Grimes analysed data from three genuine collusions.

The first was the surveillance program conducted by the US National Security Agency (NSA), known as PRISM. This programme involved, at most, 36,000 people and was famously revealed by Edward Snowden after about six years.

The second was the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, in which the cure for syphilis (penicillin) was purposefully withheld from African-American patients.

The experiment may have involved up to 6,700 people, and Dr Peter Buxtun blew the whistle after about 25 years.

The third was an FBI scandal in which it was revealed by Dr Frederic Whitehurst that the agency’s forensic analysis was unscientific and misleading, resulting in the imprisonment and execution of innocent people.

Dr Grimes estimates that a maximum of 500 people could have been involved and that it took about six years for the scandal to be exposed.

Dr. Grimes determined that at any given time, the odds of a conspiracy being foiled by one of its own members, was four in one million. Obviously, the odds rapidly increase as time passes, and as more people get in on the conspiracy. So he came up with a formula that can take those factors into account, and produce an estimate for how long a conspiracy might last. The first thing he did then, was apply this formula to several popular conspiracy theories.

Dr Grimes’s analysis suggests that if these four conspiracies were real, most are very likely to have been revealed as such by now.

Specifically, the Moon landing “hoax” would have been revealed in 3.7 years, the climate change “fraud” in 3.7 to 26.8 years, the vaccine-autism “conspiracy” in 3.2 to 34.8 years, and the cancer “conspiracy” in 3.2 years.

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So does this prove that these conspiracies are untrue? Not exactly, though that’s certainly the conclusion that Dr. Grimes wants us to reach. However, he came to these numbers based on the assumption that a certain number of people were involved in the conspiracy. But it’s impossible to really know how many people are involved in a conspiracy, if it hasn’t been conclusively proven to be real. Here’s where the formula gets really interesting in my opinion. Take a look at the numbers for the Moon landing hoax:

The Moon landing hoax, for instance, began in 1965 and would have involved about 411,000 Nasa employees. With these parameters, Dr Grimes’s equation suggests that the hoax would have been revealed after 3.7 years.

Additionally, since the Moon landing hoax is now more than 50 years old, Dr Grimes’s equation predicts that, at most, only 251 conspirators could have been involved.

So the formula doesn’t really disprove anything. What it does show is that if the Moon landing hoax were real, only 251 people were in on it. In other words, his formula is a great tool for determining whether or not a conspiracy is compartmentalized.

The Manhattan Project is a perfect example of compartmentalization. The race to build the world’s first atomic bomb employed over 120,000 people, but only a handful of them really knew what they were working on. Everyone else in the project was in the dark. They were given instructions and goals that only pertained to a very narrow segment of the project, and they didn’t really know about the other groups of scientists and engineers who were working on their own narrow goals.

Thus, they were just as surprised as everybody else in the world when the US dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. I’d wager that if the bomb wasn’t used, it would have remained a state secret for many years afterward.

All in all, I’d say this formula is helpful, but limited. Dr. Grimes thinks that he can use math to boil down human behaviors into a formula, but you can’t. It’s great for playing devil’s advocate, and helping us reach certain possibilities about conspiracies based on certain assumptions, but it doesn’t uncover the indisputable truth, as much as Dr. Grimes would like it to.

Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.

  • Jillian Perkins

    First of all, all of those conspiracies have been revealed; it’s just that the mainstream media hasn’t acknowledged it. Secondly, a formula based on a sample of three doesn’t seem particularly meaningful – it’s just a way of looking at things but is in no way an indication of reality.

    • Marie Altomare

      You are absolutely right, Jillian. You learn in the 6th grade that climate is essentially controlled by solar activity and the oscillation of the earth on its axis. The world’s active volcanoes spew more gases into the atmosphere in a few months than all the cars in China- and everywhere else- do in a year. Doctors who are ignorant of the fact that vaccines can predispose one to autism (specifically, their children) are blind sheep that follow all the propaganda of the FDA, CDC and other lettered organizations. I personally know several doctors who absolutely will not let their kids be vaccinated. As for the moon landing, the conspiracy-busting story goes that it was real, but that NASA had Stanley Kubrick shoot a simulation because there was not adequate real footage. Although Kubrick was sworn to secrecy, there are allegedly several visual clues in The Shining that support this contention. But then, that may be a theory too.

    • John Cook

      Lol, you said exactly what I was going to say!

  • CATRYNA49

    Dr Grimes’s analyses is indeed fraught with glitches and short sighted. When you take into consideration conspiracies that have been going on for 100 years or more, and encompass generations of families, as well those beneath them. Also, this type of long time conspiracy would also explode into conspiracies within conspiracies and involve 100’s of thousands of people. When this proportion is reached the power involved is phenomenal and those who defect or become whistle blowers, are dealt with as any Mafioso or Cartel type organization would, with assassination. This is the situation, in the USA, for the past 150 – 200 years and has spread worldwide.

    • William Burke

      “100’s” translates as “[some things] belonging to one-hundreds”.

      Or else “…one hundred is.” My 11 year-old grandson can understand apostrophes. Why do you expect a pass? Because you were too lazy to pay attention in class?

      Reviewing: “100” is pronounced “one hundred”, not “hundreds”. It’s definitely not rocket surgery.

      • blue579

        Rocket surgery? We all make mistakes. Better to have a comment from someone with a mistake or two who can think outside the box than a “respected” brainwashed academic using perfect grammar. I’ve encountered far too many of the latter.

  • William Burke

    George Carlin understood another type of conspiracy: the Tacit Conspiracy. In a Tacit Conspiracy, the conspirators don’t need to actually talk with one another to agree upon a course of action (conspiracy); they understand what needs to be done and how to go about implementing it. They’ve been at this game for generations and they’re almost always on the same page.

    A lot of nuts-and-bolts stuff gets done on an ongoing basis, and the Matrix can act in their mutual interests (which is the opposite of ours!). It was decided upon by talking a long time ago; no need to muck things up by saying what might be overhears or read by outsiders….

    • John Cook

      This describes most of the Tribes (the ‘Chosen Ones’) actions. You don’t have to get together and plan the destruction of people morals, just put degenerates in charge of things like the movie industry…

    • blue579

      Good point. That kind of thing is common place in the minion class, they know which way the current flows and go along for the ride. The top tier psychopaths probably still do most of their planning the same way they did Jekyll Island to get the Federal Reserve Act passed in 1913.

  • yEshUA ImmAnUEl * ben-‘Adam

    ” Fate!?
    There is no fate! Between the thought and the success, God is the only agent; and
    I shall not be deserted. Visions
    by night, even while thine arms are
    around me: omens and impulses, stirring and divine, by day, even in the
    midst of the living crowd — encourage
    my path, and point my goal. Now,
    even now, a voice seems to whisper
    in my ear — Pause not: tremble not: waver not: — for the eye of the All-Seeing is upon thee, and the hand of the All-Powerful
    shall protect! ”

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