Faked moon landing would have been exposed within 4 years
In a new paper published in PLOS One Oxford University physicist David Robert Grimes argues that the more people are in on a conspiracy, the less likely it is to be a successful conspiracy for long. Even with almost everyone dedicated to keeping it secret, it’s only a matter of time before something slips, and, Grimes calculated, on average, the more people involved, the smaller that amount of time is.While conspiracy theorists might still insist that man never landed on the moon, faked moon landing would have been exposed within 3.7 years.Dr David Grimes, a post-doctoral physicist at Oxford devised an equation to express this, and then applied it to four famous collusions.The equation relied upon three factors: the number of conspirators involved, the amount of time that had passed, and the intrinsic probability of a conspiracy failing.Dr Grimes then applied his equation to four famous conspiracy theories: the belief that the Moon landing was faked, the belief that climate change was a fraud, the belief that vaccines caused autism, and the belief that pharmaceutical companies had suppressed a cure for cancer.Dr Grimes’ analysis suggested that if these four conspiracies were real, most were likely to have been revealed as such by now.
The researcher estimated that 411,000 NASA employees were involved in the moon landing in 1969. The moon landing conspiracy could have been confirmed in only three years and eight months after the event and the calculations prove that maintaining this hoax a secret for a longer time would have been impossible with that number of people involved.Many have shown apparent evidence to prove that the landing was fake over the years such as the flag blowing inaccurately which reflects the environment that does not have an atmosphere and the incorrect direction of the shadows that does not match the light source.Dr Grimes believes that a number of conspiracy theories revolve around science and remarked that conspiracies such as the moon landing hoax are harmful but conspiracy regarding vaccination is fatal.Many people believe that vaccines cause autism or cancer, and misinformation such as this can have negative consequences.Dr Grimes advices that a better understanding is needed of how and why some ideas are embedded and unrelenting in certain groups of people despite numerous scientific evidences. Normally, people do not take conspiracy theories seriously but looking at a conspirator’s perspective may help experts counteract this.To determine this, Dr Grimes analyzed data from three genuine collusions.The first was the surveillance program conducted by the US National Security Agency, 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 6700 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 estimated that a maximum of 500 people could have been involved and that it took about six years for the scandal to be exposed.The equation he created represented a “best case scenario” for conspirators, that is, it optimistically assumed that conspirators were good at keeping secrets and that there were no external investigations at play.And to those planning a conspiracy, Dr Grimes asserts that the maximum number of people involved in a secret has to have 2,521 “plotters” for it to last five years. Fewer than 1,000 people are needed to keep a secret undetected for more than ten years but it can last more than a hundred years if there are only 125 or fewer people plot to expose this secret. And if you want to have a conspiracy that lasts a century or more like the DaVinci Code, then you need to keep your numbers really small, down to 125 people.Of course, this is all a thought experiment in the real world notes Dr Grimes, other factors might come into play, most especially the actions and motivations of an individual person, and also the actions of people outside of the conspiracy, which this study does not fully explore.