Mathematics and the Art of the Conspiracy Theory

I didn’t write this article myself, but I did find it quite informative and interesting.

012816- conspiracy theories
Credit: NASA

Did man really walk on the moon? Is climate change a big hoax? Do vaccines cause autism?

These popular conspiracy theories might take up plenty of space on the internet, but a new study shows they and other alleged conspiracies are bogus because it’s too hard for thousands of people to keep something so horrible from the public for so long.

Basically it all comes down to one fact: the more people who are required to keep a secret, the less time it will remain a secret.

David Grimes, from Oxford University in the U.K., said he came up with an equation that tested the life of a conspiracy theory based on previous scandals that had been proven true. Grimes considered the number of conspirators involved, the amount of time that has passed and the intrinsic probability of a conspiracy failing.

He applied his equation to four famous conspiracy theories: the Moon landing was fake, climate change is a fraud, vaccines cause autism, and pharmaceutical companies have a cure for cancer but refuse to share it with the public. His equation determined that if the four conspiracies were real, facts supporting the claims would have been made public by now.

Mathematics, y’all! Click here to learn more and find out how long it would take for the secrets to spill.


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