I have heard someone say once that there is no such thing as a coincidence. I respectfully disagree with that. I do believe in coincidences. However I also believe in probability theory.
When several coincidences are stacked together in a chain of events, the probability of those being merely random coincidences becomes so astronomically improbable that there has to be an outside influence.
Conspiracy theorists usually gain strength in these multiple coincidences. When on thinks of a “Conspiracy Theorist” one usually thinks of a crazy person. This may be true if that person views multiple things in life as conspiracies. But to try and make sense of multiple coincidences and then theorize a conspiracy based upon real events does not make a person crazy or a generalized “conspiracy Theorist”.
In science, practitioners look at causality and correlations; taking random events and measuring them to see if there is any statistically valid association between the events sometimes accomplish this. When the association is strong it could be causality. That means that one event caused or influenced the next event. A correlation usually means that while no direct interaction as a causality would have, exists, there is a high degree of probability that there is something else that is affected that would then cause or reflect in the correlation between the otherwise unrelated events.
Simply if A happens and B reacts there is most likely Causality.
If A happens and B reacts and then C, D, E, F, G etc ultimately reacts then there is a correlation between A and the subsequent reaction of the others (other letters C,D,E,F, G etc.). Further study needs to be done to determine if other stimulus to B will cause the same reaction in the subsequent event to determine the relationship.
When A, and B and C and D and E happen in a row the probability that they even get to F or G become less likely. If they do get to F or G then the likelihood of manipulation is high. This takes the series of events from being a correlation to more of causality. If those events are too “coincidental” and thus produce a result that is desired before the events took place then there is a greater probability that such series of events are man made. Such as the adding of heat, or the change I light, or in human interactions a collaboration to affect the outcome to where someone wants events to culminate.
Conspiracy is a theory when the events are manipulated and/or controlled in secret and to force and outcome that otherwise would not have occurred. Therefore one conspired with others to manipulate the outcome in an inappropriate or sometimes criminal manner. That is why there are criminal charges for conspiracy to commit a crime.
Science tries to be an exact art where all steps are meticulously detailed. They are open about the methodologies used and clearly mark every event. While scientists manipulate events and try and discover reactions, they also sometimes manipulate events to produce a desired outcome. When they do this together it and share information they are collaborating. There is no conspiracy.
Coincidences are thoroughly examined and methodologies are reviewed to see if a mistake was make or if some unknown event was not measured or not measured properly. Someone’s something as simple as a sound wave or a microwave on the other side of the room can cause varying results that cause different results of the same experiment.
When coincidences happen in human interaction people attuned to the events as curious sometimes catch them. Some call it intuition, others their internal scientist. Whatever the reasons it raises a question and then if there is a direct affect to them they have doubts about the series of coincidences being purely coincidental or man made. The more things in the series of coincidental events the more suspicion grows.
In legal matters coincidences are often looked upon with greater suspicion. If one unusual event occurs then there is suspicion. But when more then one event occurs there is a higher degree of probability that the events were manipulated to affect the outcome of the legal proceeding. If more than one person was involved in the planning or execution of one or more events then there is conspiracy.
Proving conspiracy is difficulty, as you need corroborating evidence. That means someone has to admit they were inappropriately asked, enticed or forced to do something they would not normally do that had a direct effect on the results sought by another person and that one or more persons were responsible for that coercion or manipulation of events.
ExParte (Meaning without the other party) communications between lawyers and judges are prohibited to stop any potential of allegations of impropriety or worse conspiracy, but it does still happen by direct or indirect means. Not frequently but nonetheless it happens and proving it can be difficult but not impossible.
Do not confuse conspiracy with collaboration. The two are different. Collaboration can be good or bad. You can collaborate without a conspiracy. But to collaborate to do wrong or to hurt another or to unfairly or unjustly or even illegally alter the course of events is a conspiracy.
Very few people will ever come forward to say they had conspired to do wrong. The only way to discover is through the investigation of coincidental events. While a single coincidence can raise suspicions, a succession of coincidences should at least give someone pause to see if there was manipulation of the events and look closer.
I do believe that coincidences can happen by themselves. But I also believe that the probability calculation of a series of coincidences is a fairly accurate indicator of manipulation to achieve desired results.
When Coincidences are questioned it is unfair to call someone a conspiracy theorist especially if the probability factor is calculated.
In practical business and Government applications and in organizational dynamics coincidences must be examined to determine the nature of the organization and the strategic objectives of the governments or companies affected. The results can offer not only greater insights into the dynamics but potentially lead to the discovery of mew opportunities for products and or services in both horizontal and vertical integrations and new alliances not considered before. Such analysis is a “systems approach” to strategic planning and new business development that is not usually done but is the hallmark of my personal consulting business. Finding new synergies and avenues based upon a coincidence or series of coincidences is but a small area of my work but nonetheless important in determining options when faced with problems or issues that arise. For more information see the “About Craig Eisele” section of this Blog.