Large-scale Conspiracies Fail On Revelation? – A Contrary Example

Large-scale conspiracies would quickly reveal themselves, equations show

From the post:

While we can all keep a secret, a study by Dr David Robert Grimes suggests that large groups of people 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 moon landings 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.

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 equates revelation with “failure” of a conspiracy.

But what of conspiracies that are “revealed” that don’t fail? Conspiracies sustained in spite of revelation of the true state of affairs.

Peer review has been discredited too often to require citation. But, for the sake of tradition: NIH grants could be assigned by lottery as effectively as the present grant process, …lotteries to pick NIH research-grant recipients, editors and peer reviewers fail to catch basic errors, Science self-corrects – instantly, and replication is a hit or miss affair, Replication in Psychology?.

There are literally thousands of examples of peer review as preached not being realized in practice. Yet every journal in the humanities and sciences and conferences for both, continue to practice and swear by peer review, in the face of known evidence to the contrary.

Dr. Grimes fails to account for maintenance of the peer review conspiracy, one of the most recent outrages being falsification of research results is not misconduct, Pressure on controversial nanoparticle paper builds.

How is it that both the conspiracy and the contrary facts are revealed over and over again, yet the conspiracy attracts new adherents every year?

BTW, the conspiracy against citizens of the United States and the world continues, despite the revelations of Edward Snowden.

Perhaps revelation isn’t “failure” for a conspiracy but simply another stage in its life-cycle?

You can see this work in full at: David Robert Grimes. On the Viability of Conspiratorial Beliefs. PLOS ONE, 2016; 11 (1): e0147905 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147905.

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