Conspiracy theories are kept alive by larger numbers of people discussing the supposed conspiracy. Actual conspiracies are pulled off if the number of people involved in the conspiracy is small. Dr. David Robert Grimes of the University of Oxford in Britain reported the development of probability equations that can test the likelihood of the reality of a conspiracy theory in the Jan. 26, 206, edition of the journal PLOS ONE.
The premise of the research was to develop an irrefutable means of determining if a conspiracy theory had any validity. Grimes scaled the equation in favor of the actual existence of a conspiracy so that the chance of accidental or deliberate exposure was four in one million. The researchers tested the equations against known conspiracies like the NSA Prism project revealed by Edward Snowden and the Tuskegee syphilis experiments and against popular unproven conspiracies like a fake landing on the Moon, the potential that global climate change is a constructed fraud, and the idea that unsafe vaccinations are being covered up by national and international health organizations.
The major factors that produce a workable conspiracy are a minimum number of people being involved and a short duration of the scheme. For global climate change to be a worldwide fraud the maximum number of people involved in the fraud would have to be 405,000 and the fraud could not have lasted more than four years. The distribution of unsafe vaccines could involve no more than 736,000 in WHO, the CDC, and the pharmaceutical manufacturing community and could have lasted only three years before being exposed.
Any plot to defraud the world on a massive scale for five years would have to involve a maximum of 2521 people. The secret would leak because people either leaked the secret by accident or by an act of conscience. The other possibility of safely keeping a secret is the death of the conspirators by natural or planned causes. The maximum number of people that could cover up global climate change is dwarfed by the number of people that have conducted experiments that show man-made climate change exists.
Grimes found that some of the top conspiracy theories in the world are not based on fact but are based on ideology. Ideologically or monetarily motivated gains keep conspiracy theories alive long after facts have proven them false. The more frequently ideologues discuss a conspiracy theory the longer the theory will survive despite fact that totally refutes the conspiracy.