Equation shows that large-scale conspiracies would quickly reveal themselves

January 26, 2016
Credit: George Hodan/Public Domain

If you're thinking of creating a massive conspiracy, you may be better scaling back your plans, according to an Oxford University researcher.

While we can all keep a secret, a study by Dr David Robert Grimes suggests that large groups of sharing in a conspiracy will very quickly give themselves away. The study is published online by journal PLOS ONE.

Dr Grimes, a physicist working in cancer research, is also a science writer and broadcaster. His profile means that he receives many communications from people who believe in science-related conspiracies. Those messages prompted him to look at whether large-scale collusions were actually tenable.

He explained: 'A number of conspiracy theories revolve around science. While believing the were faked may not be harmful, believing misinformation about vaccines can be fatal. However, not every belief in a conspiracy is necessarily wrong - for example, the Snowden revelations confirmed some theories about the activities of the US National Security Agency.

'It is common to dismiss conspiracy theories and their proponents out of hand but I wanted to take the opposite approach, to see how these conspiracies might be possible. To do that, I looked at the vital requirement for a viable conspiracy - secrecy.'

Dr Grimes initially created an equation to express the probability of a conspiracy being either deliberately uncovered by a whistle-blower or inadvertently revealed by a bungler. This factors in the number of conspirators, the length of time, and even the effects of conspirators dying, whether of old age or more nefarious means, for those conspiracies that do not require active maintenance.

However, the equation required a realistic estimation of the chances of any one individual revealing a conspiracy. Three genuine conspiracies were used to provide this - including the NSA Prism project revealed by Edward Snowden.

In each case, the number of conspirators and the time before the conspiracy was revealed were over-estimated to ensure that the odds of a leak happening were a 'best case scenario' for the conspirators - around a four in one million chance of deliberate or accidental exposure.

Dr Grimes then looked at four alleged plots, estimating the maximum number of people required to be in on the conspiracy, in order to see how viable these conspiracies could be. These include: the theory that the US moon landings were a hoax (411,000 people); that Climate Change is a fraud (405,000 people); that unsafe vaccinations are being covered up (22,000 people assuming that only the World Health Organisation and the US Centers for Disease Control are conspirators and that others involved in advocating, producing, distributing and using vaccines are dupes. 736,000 people if, as would be more likely, pharmaceutical companies were included); that the cure for Cancer is being supressed by the world's leading pharmaceutical firms (714,000 people).

Using the equation, Dr Grimes calculated that hoax moon landings would have been revealed in 3 years 8 months, a climate change fraud in 3 years 9 months, a vaccination conspiracy in 3 years 2 months, and a suppressed Cancer cure in 3 years 3 months. In simple terms, any one of the four conspiracies would have been exposed long before now.

He then looked at the maximum number of people who could take part in an intrigue in order to maintain it. For a plot to last five years, the maximum was 2521 people. To keep a scheme operating undetected for more than a decade, fewer than 1000 people can be involved. A century-long deception should ideally include fewer than 125 collaborators. Even a straightforward cover-up of a single event, requiring no more complex machinations than everyone keeping their mouth shut, is likely to be blown if more than 650 people are accomplices.

Dr Grimes said: 'Not everyone who believes in a conspiracy is unreasonable or unthinking. I hope that by showing how eye-wateringly unlikely some alleged conspiracies are, some people will reconsider their anti-science beliefs.

'This will of course not convince everyone; there's ample evidence that belief in conspiracy is often ideological rather than rational, and that thrive in an echo chamber. This makes challenging the more odious narratives much more difficult. If we are to address the multitudinous difficulties facing us as a species, from to geo-politics, then we need to embrace reality over ideologically motivated fictions. To this end, we need to better understand how and why some ideas are entrenched and persistent among certain groups despite the evidence, and how we might counteract this.'

Explore further: Psychologists investigate online communication of conspiracy theories

More information: On the viability of conspiratorial beliefs, PLOS ONE: dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0147905

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foolspoo
2.1 / 5 (14) Jan 26, 2016
Loooooololololololoooooooooooooololololoooooooooollolololololoollooooooooooolllololololololol for shame
julianpenrod
1.6 / 5 (19) Jan 26, 2016
In other words, "Doctor" Grimes concocted a collection of symbols, all guaranteed to produce a value between 3 years and 4 years and he's instructing the gullible to believe that it is legitimate. How soon before it is revealed that the Bush White House knew there was no mass production of banned weapons in Iraq and knew they were lying through their teeth with all the depictions of biological and chemical warfare labs loaded on flat cars? Notice, though, the defining quality of conspiracy theories is given as secrecy. The military and the federal government keep many secrets, too. Why are they able to keep them from leaking out? And, if you don't think they still have the answers to questions that they wouldn't want released then blame yourself when misplaced trust whips back around like a snake and bites you. How soon before it's generally realized that "Doctor" Grimes' "equation is a fraud?
JongDan
1.6 / 5 (20) Jan 26, 2016
Well climate change doesn't have to be a fraud to be false, it's not something scientists are deliberately doing. It could just be bad science displayed by the community since the only way to predict future climate is to make a computer model, which isn't granted to work perfectly. But that's not science yet.
daqman
4.3 / 5 (28) Jan 26, 2016
It has always been a puzzle to me how people can see a government as capable of keeping vast conspiracies secret while also viewing the same government as completely incompitent.
victor_gallagher
2.8 / 5 (17) Jan 26, 2016
I was hoping that he would take on the anti-GMO movement, the 9/11 truthers and the chemtrail nutters.
jimmcginn
1.4 / 5 (11) Jan 26, 2016
It's not a conspiracy, it's a religion. Hmm. How long have the major religions been around. Hmm.
promile
Jan 26, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
voltariat
3.2 / 5 (11) Jan 26, 2016
Is there no weight in 'key' contributes to the conspiracy. The article talks about numbers of people that have to be involved in a conspiracy but if you established a few key people in larger group to disseminate miss-information you could really cut down the number of people that is needed to keep the "secret" because they just believe the lie or have enough miss-information that they can't viably prove the lie and defend the conspiracy unknowingly.

I'm also pretty sure there is a large group of people involved in "something that is not right" but don't have the nerve to buck the system or enough evidence to whistle blow. Does this calculation take any of this into consideration?
rwcarmichael
1.4 / 5 (10) Jan 26, 2016
One should remember that PLOS ONE is a pay-to-play journal that covers all areas of science. There is little to no peer review since a) they would have to have reviewers for every conceivable branch of science and specialty therein, b) serious scientists do not take PLOS ONE seriously because it has little to no scientific impact.
julianpenrod
1.4 / 5 (10) Jan 26, 2016
daqman tries to portray those who accept conspiracy theories as inconsistent by saying government is "capable of keeping vast conspiracies silent", but also view "the same government as completely incompitent [sic]". In fact, those who accept huge conspiracies by government do not accuse government of incompetence! In fact, it is shills for the New World Order's "official story" of everything who regularly mock and ridicule various politicians. To convince the dullards that they aren't really in bed with the NWO and shilling for their lies. For it all, note how often those who condemn all politicians as witless also recommend voting a new one of the witless crowd in to repair things!
RichP
1 / 5 (9) Jan 26, 2016
It often takes quite a few people to reveal a conspiracy sufficiently for the public to accept it. One person can be branded as crazy. Also, when it comes to classified information, governments are often extremely coercive. Very few people are so disconnected from family and friends that they cannot be threatened even while dying.
4arrows
2 / 5 (8) Jan 26, 2016
Voltariat makes some good points. In addition the likelihood of a leak should be weighted by what the conspirators believe is the motivation for keeping the conspiracy a secret. If the conspirators have a very strong motivation for keeping the secret the odds of a leak would go down. A good example would be the Manhattan Project. With huge numbers of people involved it would have been leaked very early on in the program according to the math above. These people probably believed their way of life depended on secrecy. On the other hand some conspiracies common today there would be great motivation to leak the secret (9/11 truthers). Admittedly it would be hard to characterize how to weight this parameter of the equation.
MickLinux
1 / 5 (12) Jan 26, 2016
So this measures the unrevealed conspiracies. However, this does not address the "officially denied" conspiracies, such as the cell-phone/cancer link (officially denied for twenty years, then accepted); the Clinton sex-fiend coverup (denied, denied, denied, obvious), the danger of the DTP vaccine (which was denied and forced on children, until consumer demand forced the introduction of DTaP) and so on. It doesn't cover the official attempts to label as nuts, those who publicise already-leaked conspiracies.

It also doesn't cover the falsely-believed conspiracy theories that are claimed to have been leaked.

Thus, almost all existing conspiracy theories, labeled as such, are completely irrelevant to this study. The only thing that is not irrelevant, is that it tells government officials, "if you want to run your conspiracy, start planning ahead how to destroy those who find you out."

This is excellent advice to give during the "most transparent administration ever".
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.5 / 5 (16) Jan 26, 2016
I don't think he is thinking Big Enough. After all, who invents religions and stages wars? Who Times the release of disruptive technologies so that they will not critically endanger civilization?

zB who staged the world wars for the express Purpose of creating the tripartite superpowers, thus producing a pan-global sociopolitical environment stable enough to allow the safe development of nuclear weapons and space travel?

Hint: who staged the french revolution and the napoleonic wars to enable the safe inception of the industrial revolution?

Of course the cold war was a sham. Communism and capitalism are both unsustainable. Do you really think that the People in Charge of this world would let the people upon it destroy it?

Despite what you are told, events of this magnitude do not Engineer themselves. Alexander and darius learned this when Aristotle taught them how to conquer the world.

Hint: Leaders above a certain level are always on the Same Side.

Hail Empire
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.5 / 5 (11) Jan 26, 2016
Rulers discovered early on that the people are the true enemies of rulers everywhere. Their numbers would always grow past the point of stability, and their children would always begin to starve, and they would always blame whoever was in charge for their troubles no matter how benevolent and wise these rulers happened to be.

Rulers began to talk among themselves. Today we call this diplomacy. And they concluded that the only way to create lasting stability and progress was to divide the people up and set these groups against one another in Creative and Constructive ways.

These Shepherds intermarried and became a Tribe unto themselves, existing wholly apart from the flocks whom they Managed.

The bible explains this Process in great detail. Moses gathered a suffering people together and set them upon distant tribes.
Cont>
Uncle Ira
4.5 / 5 (10) Jan 26, 2016
Ol Ira-Skippy sees the sockpuppets marshaling their marchers. I wonder if we are in for another one of those voting wars like pussy-cat-richie-Skippy and Herbert-et-al-Skippy had going a while back? If I remember correctly they were coming at Nounmeman-Skippy and Estevan-Skippy from both sides of political science isles. I sure do hope they aren't coming after ol Ira-Skippy. You know how easy my feeling get hurt.

Hooyeei, physorg was dong the land rush business with the couyons staking out all their new claims to names.

@ Otto-Skippy, you remember that one?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (12) Jan 26, 2016
Solomon the wisest and most powerful king that ever was, declared that everything was meaningless. And then the heavenly choir opened up, and told him in ecc3 that the Inevitable must be made to happen at the Proper Time.

'There is a Time for everything, a season for everything under the Sun' (yes Jesus the son of god is a sun god)

'Everything is beautiful In It's Own Time' says Solomon the Leader.

Very nice of Leaders to provide a book describing exactly how They Operate.

I mean, what else would 'greatest book ever written' be about, but the greatest conspiracy ever foisted?

'For god so loved the WORLD' (not the people) that he would promise them just about anything, including immortality and wish-granting and retribution and absolution of guilt (whatever nonsense it took) to save IT from THEM?

The People who concoct these religions do not care what happens to you after you die. They DO care a great deal what you think, say, and do while you are here.

Hail Empire
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (10) Jan 26, 2016
Ole ira

Otto's computer died and his galaxy stupidphone won't let him select stars any more.

Anybody out there know how to fix this?

Keep up the good fight.
Uncle Ira
4.1 / 5 (9) Jan 26, 2016
Ole ira

Otto's computer died and his galaxy stupidphone won't let him select stars any more.

Anybody out there know how to fix this?

Keep up the good fight.


Sorry Otto-Skippy. I am the last person you want to ask for advisement from when it comes to computers.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (8) Jan 26, 2016
I do remember when estevan thought I was a bad guy until a bona-fide psychopath showed up here.

Spanky vs chucky.
James_Mooney
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 26, 2016
I've also said this after thinking about conspiracies. The sort of people who do them don't want a boss and don't live by ideals. So there would be smaller, shorter term conspiracies of interest. What we call monopolies. But for political as well as monetary gain.

However, although not One Great Conspiracy, they are big enough to do a lot of damage. The FDA, Monsanto, food companies, and various congressbums form one smaller conspiracy regarding food, for instance. That's why Congress just forbade country-of-origin meat labeling, even though nearly every one of their constituents would be against that.
Uncle Ira
4.1 / 5 (9) Jan 26, 2016
I do remember when estevan thought I was a bad guy until a bona-fide psychopath showed up here.

Spanky vs chucky.


Well I was the new-Skippy when that was going on so I did not want to get in it.

Some of these (only about four or three with mental conditions) people should count their lucky stars that all they have to whine and cry about is mean ol Ira-Skippy, eh? Can you see them trying to play the BIG SCIENCE CHIEF with those couyons?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.5 / 5 (8) Jan 26, 2016
I've also said this after thinking about conspiracies... smaller, shorter term conspiracies of interest. What we call monopolies.
But such conspiracies we are told only happen for power or greed.

But Solomon told us that rulers are powerless over the people. And what good is money if the govts which guarantee it collapse?

There is a great swath of land from the Sahara to the gobi which has been stripped of vegetation, denuded, desertified. This is the result of neither the quest for power nor the desire for money, but from the inevitable overgrowth of a tropical species.

Nebuccadnezzar had a grand plan to strip the topsoil from the entire euphrates valley because it had become satisfied due to irrigation. He gave up.

Conspiracies are inevitable. Corruption, collusion, and organized crime are unavoidable. Empire uses inevitability to their advantage by causing it to happen at the Proper Time.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (11) Jan 26, 2016
mental conditions
I think if there is a cure, or at least a remedy for psychopathy then science will produce it. We need a reliable way of identifying such people and limiting the damage that they do.

Above - 'satisfied' should read 'saltified'.

Stupidphones still have spellcheck don't tgey? And why didn't they fix 'tgey'?

Goddammit.
bla
2.6 / 5 (10) Jan 26, 2016
Well climate change doesn't have to be a fraud to be false, it's not something scientists are deliberately doing. It could just be bad science displayed by the community since the only way to predict future climate is to make a computer model, which isn't granted to work perfectly. But that's not science yet.


Bad science, supported by all the relevant scientific community, but hey, you know better than everybody else, regardless of their years of expertise, don't you? The entire scientific community are just a bunch of professional crackpots?

"(...)is to make a computer model, which isn't granted to work perfectly"
Tell me, what do you know about such models, besides the fact that they verify data up to the error bar and machine precision (did you even know that?), what do you know about the physics inside? What do you know about radiative hydrodynamics schemes, their state-of-the-art, the numerical Godunov-type schemes developed for such purposes, etc? What do you know??
jimckii
1 / 5 (9) Jan 26, 2016
The NYT reported that there were WMD's. The NYT is not a right wing mag. The Dr. probably published his equation. If his equation is a conspiracy it should be trivial to prove by inspecting it.
spymon74666
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 26, 2016
I'm a little confused...

The timeline regarding the NSA spying started back in 2000, when the NSA realized they needed to be on the network.

It wasn't until 2013 that Snowden exposed them, and had he not done so, it would still have been continuing. None of the big players, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc had any idea the spying was going on....

That time line is at least 3-4 times the amount of time that you describe above....and I agree with others here...as part of their simply just "doing business" the government and military keep secrets...for a long time....
eric_in_chicago
2.3 / 5 (6) Jan 26, 2016
The Dr.s ideas neglect the possibility of sophisticated techniques such as "cover stories"

Say the majority of the dumbest 9/11 conspiracy hypotheses are actually planted noise--holographic planes, Israeli art students, missiles etc., then what?

then the actual conspiracy can take place in full-view and so disclosure is irrelevant. You just kill the expendable members of the inner circle.

eric_in_chicago
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 26, 2016
Go with Occam's razor and the most simple hypothesis would be something like, 1) Propose to Bin Laden, "You will be the most famous Jihadi in all of history and you will start the unraveling of American society and democracy. You will get around ten years to live in hiding afterwards, then you are martryed. Just do the following." 2) Jihadi sleeper cells in America are funded to learn to fly jet airliners, with the help of Bin Laden and Saudi govt agents. 3) Jihadi agents are taught short-blade knife fighting. 4) Main motive; of the $4trillion spent in Iraq and Afghanistan more than half was fraud and waste. Heroin is now cheaper in America than good pot. Constitutional rights are further eroded. Simple and plain, no Israelis necessary.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (6) Jan 26, 2016
Anybody out there know how to fix this?

Try a different browser, like firefox or chrome (via google play, they're free). Hopefully that helps.
antigoracle
3 / 5 (8) Jan 26, 2016
Ole ira

Otto's computer died and his galaxy stupidphone won't let him select stars any more.

Anybody out there know how to fix this?

Keep up the good fight.

When you go to the m.phys.org site, you'll see a row of icons at the bottom, click on the rightmost one that looks like a monitor, then select the "full site" option.
Caution: It might be difficult to scroll around the full site on a small display. To switch back you can manually enter the mobile url m.phys.org
TehDog
3.9 / 5 (7) Jan 26, 2016
"Otto's computer died"
:(
"and his galaxy stupidphone won't let him select stars any more.
Anybody out there know how to fix this?"

You can try selecting the desktop version of this site in your phones browser (assuming chrome, top right icon). Zoom in, may or may not work, cba to try atm :)
TehDog
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 26, 2016
Ah, Anti, a constructive comment :)
That's not like you.
Looks awfully like a copy and paste from a manual.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (7) Jan 26, 2016
I always use the desktop version with the comments at the bottom. The quote and edit buttons work sometimes but the stars never do. Clicking on names does not take me to profiles either.

I had this same problem with my ipod touch and wifi.

I want to get a tablet perhaps surface pro 4 with Windows 10 but not if I have this problem.

Sorry for off-topic.
eric96
1 / 5 (6) Jan 27, 2016
His discovery is true if we are talking about a non-corrupt government i.e., the US.
It has corrupt officials but as a whole it is sound and any large scale conspiracy would probably fall in place with Dr David Robert Grimes's finding. So it is true that large scale conspiracies by sound government will reveal themselves which completely punches the Moon landing conspiracy in the face.

BUT...

The fact is that conspiracies are usually orchestrated by few people and as few as one, and normally these people are people with great power or money. To be continued...
eric96
1 / 5 (5) Jan 27, 2016
Take just about any conspiracy relating to pharmaceuticals. Let's take cancer more specifically. So rumor has it that on more than one occasion cancer researchers have stumbled upon a cure and either their work is discredited, erased, they are fired or they are killed as a means to continue receiving funding to do research for cancer. Interestingly many companies that do research on cancer do not produce drugs which means a cure for them equals a loss. There are two exceptions; universities and big drug companies that do their own research; these two bodies don't incur a loss so a conspiracy would be mute point. There is also an even more important angle; the ecosystem of drugs for cancer, because you make more money selling drugs that don't work than selling drugs that do, and you only need one cure. This means drug companies financially speaking should do anything possible to cripple alleged cures. Immediately you can see the research companies and the drug companies in bed.
rrrander
1.8 / 5 (10) Jan 27, 2016
Global warming may have started as a conspiracy by hoary old socialists as a way of replacing the goal of world socialism with something, but it's become a plan by millions to ensure their own life-time employment in an industry that uses tax payer money and returns nothing.
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
4.6 / 5 (9) Jan 27, 2016
Interesting lackmus test for conspiracy nuts. They have to double down.

So not only is a conspiracy the least likely explanation for anything due to the many factors involved and the cherrypicking that moves the conspiracy outside of testing (but of course statistically some happens), they are also the least likely to survive scrutiny. Figures.

I am not going to comment on the known conspiracies, the nuts can knock themselves out denying science. But on this article specifically:

[tbctd]
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
5 / 5 (8) Jan 27, 2016
[ctd]

@rwcarmichael: "One should remember that PLOS ONE is a pay-to-play journal that covers all areas of science. There is little to no peer review since a) they would have to have reviewers for every conceivable branch of science and specialty therein, b) serious scientists do not take PLOS ONE seriously because it has little to no scientific impact."

- All open journals have publication fees. [ https://en.wikipe...blishing ]
- PLOS ONE has no less peer review than other journals, see their info. "LOS ONE upholds rigorous standards for quality. Every article we publish undergoes peer review led by one of approximately 6,000 PLOS ONE Academic Editors."
- The papers are heeded, and the journal has no less impact than other journals below the top pack. (E.g. Science, Nature, ...)

[tbctd]
jimmcginn
2.1 / 5 (9) Jan 27, 2016
The absence of a conspiracy does not bring me to suspect the presence of sound science.
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
5 / 5 (8) Jan 27, 2016
[ctd]

@eic: "Go with Occam's razor and the most simple hypothesis would be something like".

That is exactly my and this paper's point. That is a very non-Occam conspiracy, and since it involves so many it won't live long enough.

Oh, okay, because this is too funny:

@mrander: Did you even read the article? It shows how climate science can't be involved in the type of hoax you dream up from nothing. (In the real world, independent economists have found that using climate science results is the economical alternative.)
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 27, 2016
@jim: Factual enough, but at the same time science is at most 30 % incorrect (social sciences with 2 sigma tests) and in some case now pinned down to 'eternal' facts. (Non-exotic basic physics, i.e. the completed standard model in a semi-classical gravitational spacetime, which is unlikely to change and means we now know basic physics in general form.)

So you can't turn around and say that a peer reviewed science work is not science (because it is peer reviewed) or likely to be unfactual (because the statistics is against that). If you are not an expert you have to accept that it is what it claims to be. (Until enough experts say against.)
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (7) Jan 27, 2016
So not only is a conspiracy the least likely explanation for anything due to the many factors involved
Organized crime is conspiracy. Cronyism is conspiracy. Humans have a natural tendency to collude and conspire which is the basis of tribalism.

The suspicion of conspiracy is also the basis of tribalism. Individuals suspect other individuals of plotting against them to further their lot unlawfully, and seek to develop their own support networks as a result.

Deception based on the anticipation of the potential for attack is normal. It is usually better to attack an enemy before he is ready to attack YOU. All that is needed to recognize that proaction is essential, is to accept that attack is INEVITABLE.

And since overpopulation-driven conflict is inevitable, proaction is ALWAYS justified.

Conspiracy is the norm. This is why neither capitalism nor communism can be allowed to operate without control from Above.

Hail Empire
steve_dutch_564
1 / 5 (4) Jan 27, 2016
Predictably enough, people who believe in conspiracies don't like this result. But here's my question: why do you believe in conspiracies in the first place? You must have seen or experienced something first hand to convince you that's how the world works. If you "figured it out," you must have some personal experience that convinced you to reason that way. So what was it? Because I've asked this question many times and NEVER gotten an answer. Not one. As far as the data I have so far, not a single person who believes in conspiracies has any first-hand knowledge to justify it. If you had a bad tour in 'Nam and saw rampant record faking, or were falsely imprisoned, I could see it, but conspiracy believers all seem to have led safe, comfortable lives and never experienced any danger or serious discomfort.
antigoracle
2.7 / 5 (7) Jan 27, 2016
Back in the early 1970s, under the auspices of WHO, fluoride was injected directly into the gums of children.
eric_in_chicago
1 / 5 (4) Jan 27, 2016
OK, Steven Dutch.

My father worked as a doctor in the Army supervising the MK-ULTRA testing of psychoactive drugs on servicemen.

I believe there is enough evidence to suggest that TV and other media are carefully planned and designed tools of mind-control.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to go into everthing I know and have seen, in this forum.

However, I will give you this, there are a lot of JUNK hypotheses out there, more than there is truth.
gkam
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 27, 2016
eric, which hospital or clinic or station?
eric_in_chicago
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2016
gkam, Edgewood Arsenal, of course...
eric_in_chicago
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2016
"the vital requirement for a viable conspiracy - secrecy.'"

Has this guy ever heard of "plausible deniability"?

At this point it has been factually established that there were more than a dozen warnings given to the whitehouse pre-9/11, they sat on their asses; Cheney's business partners are friends with the House of Saud; we let the Bin Ladins leave America when no one else could fly; more than a trillion dollars was stolen from the American people in the wars; less money was spent investigating 9/11 than was spent investigating Clinton's affairs; the Bush whitehouse didn't want and resisted a 9/11 investigation.

This is not secrecy. This is plausible deniability, done right in your face! Who would believe that good old American boys would do such a thing to this country when there are plenty of culpable brown-skinned people and Jews that can be blamed?
spchunk06
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2016
This is built around the faulty premise that secrecy is necessary for conspiracy. In fact, very few--if any--of the conspiracies I am aware of seem to be secret. This would suggest that the opposite may be true, that by definition a conspiracy is a failed secret. Certainly one would suppose that if science were responsible for conspiring to omit certain knowledge that acted against its funding interests (e.g. debunking climatology) then a scientific study of this kind does nothing to reassure its skeptics in the face of evidence to the contrary. The better approach would be to acknowledge data inconsistencies and explain/refute them directly instead of ad hominem attacks on those who raise the questions.
spchunk06
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2016
This is built around the faulty premise that secrecy is necessary for conspiracy. In fact, very few--if any--of the conspiracies I am aware of seem to be secret. This would suggest that the opposite may be true, that by definition a conspiracy is a failed secret. Certainly one would suppose that if science were responsible for conspiring to omit certain knowledge that acted against its funding interests (e.g. debunking climatology) then a scientific study of this kind does nothing to reassure its skeptics in the face of evidence to the contrary. The better approach would be to acknowledge data inconsistencies and explain/refute them directly instead of ad hominem attacks on those who raise the questions.
gkam
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 28, 2016

E Howard Hunt, on his deathbed confessed to his son he was one of the backup crew to kill John Kennedy. That was a a pretty big conspiracy and they got away with it.
gkam
2 / 5 (8) Jan 28, 2016
Was this funded by the Bush Crime Family?
AGreatWhopper
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2016
The language is wrong. They're a mythos, not a theory. The difference is the falsifyability criterion. That's where faith and ego identity and mental deficits take over from testability or the ability to state exactly what your null hypothesis is. I've never heard one of the nutters coherently state nor test any null hypothesis.

You have to laugh at all those "open minded skeptics"...who just happen to agree on exactly what all the conspiracies are. Saw some nutter with a "Conspiracy Theorist" tee the other day. That's it in a nutshell. It's about an a priori attitude and ego identity. Work backward from a conclusion, cherry-pick data, and to the uneducated you pass as a theorist.
steve_dutch_564
1 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2016
Fair's fair. I asked people why they believe in conspiracies, so let me tell you why I don't. You can go to http://stevedutch...acy.html to read the whole thing. The TL;DR version is that the logic sucks. eric_in_chicago was the only person to answer my question (thank you) and MK-Ultra was a thing. But there's a huge leap from MK Ultra to believing the Twin Towers were an inside job or the Apollo landings were faked. Sure there are conspiracies: drug cartels, bribery, ISIS, etc. None of those require some grand global oversight. And real conspiracies leak like sieves. Iran/Contra was exposed by an angry Iranian who didn't want Iran dealing with the U.S. Watergate was blown by a stray piece of tape on a door lock (you'd think someone like Liddy could pick a hotel door lock), and once exposed, there was a trail leading right to Nixon.
steve_dutch_564
1 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2016
"the only way to predict future climate is to make a computer model"

Well, actually there are quite a few climate computer models. But the fascinating thing is that people who reject those models believe predictions about what will happen to the economy if we try to reduce carbon emissions. Climate computer models have uncertainties, but economic forecasting is on the level of killing a chicken and reading the entrails. So how come climate models are unreliable, but voodoo economic predictions are reliable?
gkam
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 28, 2016
If you wonder why there are conspiracy nuts, it is because there are conspiracies. The Gulf of Tonkin was one. Another reason is the evidence: I have seen military aircraft crash, all kinds, and cleaned up from a few. In every case, the jet engine spools survive battered, but are unmistakable. No bypass engine spools were found at the Pentagon. The empennage of most typical aircraft such as the Boeings break off and often survive fairly intact. No trace of one here at all. The wings make large areas of damage. None of that was evident at the Pentagon. No Boeing airliner went into that building.

I have no idea what really happened, or where the real airliner went, but it was not into the Pentagon.
antigoracle
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2016
"the only way to predict future climate is to make a computer model"

Well, actually there are quite a few climate computer models. But the fascinating thing is that people who reject those models believe predictions about what will happen to the economy if we try to reduce carbon emissions. Climate computer models have uncertainties, but economic forecasting is on the level of killing a chicken and reading the entrails. So how come climate models are unreliable, but voodoo economic predictions are reliable?

It's rather easy to tell where that came from. You should really try to keep your pants on whenever you find the urge to spew online. Have someone with intelligence explain how the proposed methods to reduce carbon emissions; viz. carbon tax, carbon trading, fuel from food crops, etc, can and will affect the economy.
gkam
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 28, 2016
We can live without an economy, but not without a nurturing environment.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2016
eric, which hospital or clinic or station?
George kamburoff the psychopath (IMO - of course?) just wanted to make sure it wasn't the one he has been treated at for the last 50yrs or so.

Hey georgie - how's that lawsuit against me coming? Haven't heard anything - Perhaps you have the wrong address.

MK ULTRA was run by psychopaths you know. They actually enjoy making people suffer.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2016
The language is wrong. They're a mythos, not a theory. The difference is the falsifyability criterion. That's where faith and ego identity and mental deficits take over from testability or the ability to state exactly what your null hypothesis is. I've never heard one of the nutters coherently state nor test any null hypothesis.
Historical events are unfalsifiable.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2016
"Theories of history or politics that allegedly predict future events have a logical form that renders them neither falsifiable nor verifiable. They claim that for every historically significant event, there exists an historical or economic law that determines the way in which events proceeded. Failure to identify the law does not mean that it does not exist, yet an event that satisfies the law does not prove the general case. Evaluation of such claims is at best difficult. On this basis, Popper "fundamentally criticized historicism in the sense of any preordained prediction of history"
Mulligan Stew
1 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2016
Dr Grimes:

My rebuttal equasion has two elements and one date: U2 1952
gkam
1 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2016
Okay, Mulligan, howabout this:

When I was in the Air Force at Edwards we had two XB-70s which could go Mach three, 2,000 mph, and well as three variants of Blackbird, and X-15s which hold the world record of 4,500 mph. That was in 1967.

I am not convinced those are still the fastest we have flown. But to assume otherwise requires a lot of closed lips.
steve_dutch_564
1 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2016
....The better approach would be to acknowledge data inconsistencies and explain/refute them directly instead of ad hominem attacks on those who raise the questions.


Oh, my yes. People can accuse NASA of faking the moon landings and duping all the people in the Apollo Program as well as the American public, and can accuse the government of bringing down two buildings full of people, but heaven forbid we call them out and engage in "ad hominem arguments." Because there's nothing at all ad hominem about accusing people of criminal conspiracies.
KBK
1 / 5 (3) Jan 28, 2016
large conspiracies are actively held secret for long periods of time due to credulity barriers in the public mind. Hurdles they cannot easily mentally cross, denial in the mind, animal group behaviors, and much more. I see no psychology being considered in this article.

I know historians who would vehemently disagree that vast conspiracies cannot be held secret.
We have a historical track record chock full of them.

Historical precedent? Wartime Germany and German citizens.

Or, currently... the insanity and apartheid of Israel. Or, the US public indifference and denial of what goes on in and around Israel.

And much much more.

The other item, is that the article being listed here is click bait - and it is going to be used for the purposes of profiling.

What we have is a scientist who does not know shit about humanities, or human interaction, claiming to use numbers to interpret a psychology ---he does not understand.

He's either an idiot or a shill, or both.
steve_dutch_564
2.3 / 5 (6) Jan 28, 2016
You should really try to keep your pants on whenever you find the urge to spew online. Have someone with intelligence explain how the proposed methods to reduce carbon emissions; viz. carbon tax, carbon trading, fuel from food crops, etc, can and will affect the economy.


Man, that's even better than a computer model. You mean unsubstantiated claims pulled out of thin air? Maybe by Trump, who's so expert in business he's only been bankrupt four times?
steve_dutch_564
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 28, 2016
If you wonder why there are conspiracy nuts, it is because there are conspiracies. The Gulf of Tonkin was one. Another reason is the evidence: I have seen military aircraft crash, all kinds, and cleaned up from a few. In every case, the jet engine spools survive battered, but are unmistakable. No bypass engine spools were found at the Pentagon. The empennage of most typical aircraft such as the Boeings break off and often survive fairly intact. No trace of one here at all. The wings make large areas of damage. None of that was evident at the Pentagon. No Boeing airliner went into that building.

I have no idea what really happened, or where the real airliner went, but it was not into the Pentagon.


I will give you credit for coming closest of anyone to eyewitness testimony. Did any of those planes hit a solid object at several hundred miles an hour, head on? There are a couple of impressive You Tube videos of high speed test impacts of aircraft.
Fudog
2 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2016
This argument is not new even if the math is. It already has an easy answer:
"It's unlikely they could've kept that conspiracy a secret."
"That's why we all have already heard about it!"
KBK
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 28, 2016
Additionally:

Large scale conspiracies do reveal themselves all the time.

This is why large scale conspiracies have clean up and silencing crews who end 'problems' for the conspirators.

Historical fact and precedent is easy to find in any given decent history book.

The names of hundreds and hundreds of people who tried to reveal conspiracies can be found all over the net. All silenced, all killed.

So what the hell is this pedantic little article about, anyway?

These are subjects that can only be covered in large books - the kind of data package that is required to get a person to change their mind. Reams and reams of footnoted and correlated data.

Such books are out there.

However: Psychology says that a little bit of a 'top up' of 'yes men' at the right time, parroting the given meme, is enough to hold disbelieving people ---in the spell state. Psych 101 class.

And that is what this article is about --refreshing the spellbinding, refreshing the hold.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Jan 29, 2016
Okay, Mulligan, howabout this:

When I was in the Air Force at Edwards we had two XB-70s which could go Mach three, 2,000 mph, and well as three variants of Blackbird, and X-15s which hold the world record of 4,500 mph. That was in 1967
Okay psychopath how about this:

Who gives a shit about who you are or what you did?
I am not convinced those are still the fastest we have flown. But to assume otherwise requires a lot of closed lips
-And what makes you think that soldering wires and plugging things in as a 20yo tech makes you an authority on anything besides plugging and soldering?

And WHAT makes you think that anyone here would fall for that bullshit??

So sorry you can't even get psychopathy right.
Cave_Man
1 / 5 (1) Jan 30, 2016
Considering all the conspiracies ive heard of and all that have been discovered this means nothing. Also what about when the conspiracy is so grand and earthshaking that revealing it causes a backlash of disbelief or there is simply nothing to do about it, as in for example, aliens control the world, or we never landed on the moon? Whats there to do about it when the conspiracy is that big?
Bongstar420
1 / 5 (2) Jan 30, 2016
Large scale conspiracy is conducted with authentic beliefs by the vast majority of its participants.
HarryVoyager
1 / 5 (2) Jan 31, 2016
So how did the author account for things such as the Klu Klux Klan? As I recall, it involved a massive number of people in the subverting of the legal structure, and yet was very successful for a very long time.

It seems to be a glaring exception that probes the rule of conspiracies breaking down faster the more people involved.
viko_mx
1 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2016
"Equation shows that large-scale conspiracies would quickly reveal themselves."

The logic of this conclusion is flawed because the Bible reveals the biggest conspiracy in the human history, which will continue to the last days of the world. Just because many people are tolerant to the lawlessness thanks to the social engineering and their passions and unwittingly or not facilitate such plots.
promytius1
1 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2016
FOUR? Four data points?

That won't create much of a Bell Curve now, will it.
What's amazing tho is that anyone listens to absolute crap - or publishes it as "science"
Four unrelated things don't prove anything other than the ability to count to FOUR!!!!
A study - this doesn't qualify even as a BLINK. LOL.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Feb 01, 2016
"Equation shows that large-scale conspiracies would quickly reveal themselves."

The logic of this conclusion is flawed because the bible reveals the greatest conspiracy in human history
Haha you don't know how true this actually is. Because, well, you're a god lover aren't you?

The bible reveals obvious evidence of being written for sociopolitical purposes. It vilifies Jews because their expansion and proselytism around the Mediterranean was a grave threat to rome.

It actually describes how paul, a roman jew, commandeered your faith for the purposes of uniting warring euro tribes under roman rule.

It creates millions of martyrs with conflicting beliefs which Rome can use to tailor the flock.

And the book itself standardizes the belief in a portable reference book that priests can carry with them throughout the empire and be reasonably certain that they are all saying the same things.

The pagan religions until that time had no such standardization.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Feb 01, 2016
So how did the author account for things such as the Klu Klux Klan?
This is very interesting. The war itself was fought to destroy a slave-based economy which had become obsolete with the industrial revolution. Sizeable percentages of the workforce north and south had been killed, leaving jobs open for millions of former slaves.

But the real danger was that these new citizens would congregate to southern cities where they would form their own caribbean-centered culture and pursue independence in only a few generations.

Obviously, they had to be moved by force.

The klan was sanctioned and funded by local govts as a demographic tool. Blacks were driven north and west, and their communities were kept small.

And once distribution was complete their own growth was funded using welfare in order to reach demographic goals.

The klan was resurrected at the beginning of the 20th century to process euro immigrants in the same way.

This is conspiracy at the Proper scale.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Feb 01, 2016
The golden circle could be considered a feasibility study of this potential
https://en.wikipe...country)

-Slave-based economies were obsolete. There was no question of this. They were being abandoned and destroyed worldwide.

And so there was no chance that the golden circle was what it purported to be.

The redistribution and incorporation of ex-slaves into the American culture took a full century to implement. The timing of the civil rights movement was no accident. The complete and total rebranding of the black population in only a single decade can only be explained if understood as the culmination of a multi generational Plan to add this group to the gene pool.

Which is after all the primary function of this great melting pot we all reside in... the Effort to reverse the speciation of the human race, to homogenize it as thoroughly as possible and reduce the tendency toward tribalism and it's evil big brother, nationalism.

Hail Empire
inOr
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 02, 2016
A few things: First, equations do not "prove" anything. They are mathematical ways of encoding features of a model of reality. Equations can, however, predict the world's behavior if the predictions are tested and found accurate. We are not provided with the methods and model used to predict the numbers of people who would be included in conspiracies.

The numbers look awfully large suggesting that there could be faults in the model. I say this because I know there are mechanisms by which conspirators don't recognize that they are participants. One is compartmentation. In large institutions, responsibilities are rigidly divided into sub-tasks. Anyone exceeding their authority is swiftly punished. Only a few coordinators are needed for this to work.

Also conspiracies succeed when they are exposed, yet nothing is done about it. This is true whenever terrorists were found to be on suspect lists after their crime. This was true of the 9/11 terrorists, for example.
kochevnik
5 / 5 (2) Feb 02, 2016
This article is completely correct, beyond all doubt. Russian Revolution 1917 never happened! It was just big misunderstanding. All those secret clearances and death threats to friends and family were just big joke!
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Feb 02, 2016
Well, now we know with certainty the number of articles needed to call those who will fall for any conspiracy theory out of the woodwork: 1
jim_xanara
5 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2016
What about the role of online advertising, degrading what people consider to be valid reasoning? This site uses Adblade, Taboola and Outbrain to pimp the page out and they don't have a legitmate customer or accurate advert between them. Check out Adblade's Web of Trust rating. If you were running a serious science site, would you use these crooks? https://www.mywot...lade.com
antigoresockpuppet
not rated yet Feb 02, 2016
Ah, Anti, a constructive comment :)
That's not like you.
Looks awfully like a copy and paste from a manual.


Sugar Daddy wasn't feeling well. Wouldn't even play "Hide the Weasel" that morning.

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