Interesting levelheaded "lab leak" discussion

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This topic contains 26 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  TheEncogitationer 8 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #49608

    Unseen
    Participant

    Sam Seder has been on the “the lab leak theory is crazy and/or propaganda” bandwagon, and while Ryan Grim doesn’t take the totally opposite position, his view is more balanced. Of more interest, perhaps, is the part of the viddy where the censoring of the theory on social media is discussed.

    The whole video is interesting but the lab leak part starts at around 59.12:

    #49613

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    “the lab leak theory is crazy and/or propaganda” bandwagon

    PB’s broken record repeats: The world should care about both the lab leak and the zoonotic possibilities wrt future pandemics. Because lab leaks, even the intentional biowarfare kind, are increasingly possible. While zoonotic origins are already historically proven in previous pandemics, and are increasingly possible again due to civilization increasingly clashing with wild zoological frontiers.

    60 Minutes, 6 August 2023, the first segment is directly relevant to this topic. (I also love the second segment on Sona Jobarteh, first female to rise to the level of highly respected, Gambian traditional kora player.)

    #49614

    Unseen
    Participant

    @ PB

    You’ll remember that Grimm says something like the experts tell him that if there was a lab leak, it will likely be impossible to prove. But still, for me the concerning part is how proponents of the lab leak theory were treated in social media, expressions of it even theoretically being suppressed. Only now, on some of those forums, can one talk about it without being suppressed or punished for it.

    #49615

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    But still, for me the concerning part is how proponents of the lab leak theory were treated in social media, expressions of it even theoretically being suppressed. Only now, on some of those forums, can one talk about it without being suppressed or punished for it.

    I mostly agree with that, and it harmed credibilities when the scientists and political left pushed back so hard against Trump’s idiotic declarations, e.g. by cutting off discussions… “censorship”, as some call it. It was a mess and difficult to have many decent conversations way back then. That’s why I think there’s no reasonable discussion possible on the leak vs zoonosis hypotheses until we know how to make any two way discussions work. So few people know who’s credible, and so many people choose to believe sources according to their political affiliation, while evilizing the other affiliations. The damage to conversations started long ago, and lab leak vs zoonosis discussion and prejudices is just one of the casualties.

    You’ll remember that Grimm says something like the experts tell him that if there was a lab leak, it will likely be impossible to prove.

    Yes, and as soon as he said that I thought he could have been inferring a “therefore, it’s not unreasonable to believe there was a lab leak”. He made more innuendos than he presented facts to back them up, and didn’t sound as “balanced” as I was expecting.

    Censoring restricts conversation, but two-way conversation has been losing oxygen to tribalisms and “alternate facts” for several years. Bannon/Trump (and probably others) exacerbated that, in order to capitalize on it. BTW I don’t know how to solve this, either. I only have some ideas on how to reduce political corruption, to help keep them from fucking us over.

    I was glad to see Seder hold the line on “there’s no smoking gun” and “we don’t know”.

    Sorry, one more late edit… I forgot who mentioned on Seder that China would likely want to prove that the cause was zoological rather than a lab leak. Well maybe, but a zoological spillover via a wet market would also be an embarrassment to CCP. Wet markets were made illegal after a zoological spillover several years before, but the CCP did not step up to enforce the law. It’s been a huge, billions of dollars industry.

    #49616

    Unseen
    Participant

    @ PB

    So, let me understand you here. Are you saying it’s good for people who know (or assume they know) what’s good for us to hear to curate what goes into the conversation? And if we allow the “good” people to assume that role this time, who might it be next time? Especially considering I’m not so sure the results were good this time.

    I have never heard any intelligent person saying that the free flow of ideas is bad. At least, not until Covid came along. I’m not ready to give up on it.

    I didn’t see Grimm promoting the lab leak theory. Rather, you have to understand that prior to Grimm’s appearance, Seder toed the party line that there was no chance in hell it came from a lab leak and there was something suspicious about someone who held that position. So Seder even conceding that “We don’t know” is a softening of his position.

    That it can’t have been a lab leak is an insupportable position because I’ve heard many times from a variety of sources that “lab leaks happen all the time.” Some of the people who believe it was a lab leak are as qualified to express that opinion as those who feel it had to be zoonotic. Anyone who thinks there’s something amiss in that doesn’t understand how science works.

    Consider that one reason for wanting to pooh-pooh the lab leak theory is due to the government not wanting to further complicate the sore relations between China and the U.S.

    #49618

    _Robert_
    Participant

    It’s amazing how 99% of talking mouths have close to zero knowledge about that they speak of. For example, I am a computer designer. If I came on YouTube and started talking about good signal integrity in computer design, you would all be lost in 10 seconds. That is the reality of all things scientific. Yet the truth of all this ends up “owned” by the guy who “seems like they know what they are talking about”. Usually, it is some politically or financially invested talking head who goes on a click-bait podcast.

    PhD’s that invested decades into the study of viruses, epidemics or bio-lab safety are missing in these conversations. Their discussions would be way over our heads anyways. It’s the people who had “something to do with it” at some point that we get to hear. As a working engineer there were always plenty of “pseudo experts” standing in the wings. Usually, big talkers too. They get a lot of “eye rolls” when they talk in front of the competent staff.

    So why waste my time listening to clowns on a podcast and rush to conclusions. You will never know how much they really know, and I’d bet it is often very little. Even the popular science communicators like Harris or Tyson are the first to say they are now out of the loop and not the definitive experts. That alone gives them a degree of merit above what is filling up the pod-cast-o-verse.

     

    #49619

    If I came on YouTube and started talking about good signal integrity in computer design, you would all be lost in 10 seconds..

    It would feel like I was thrown under the bus and I would blame the driver 🙂

    #49620

    Unseen
    Participant

    It’s amazing how 99% of talking mouths have close to zero knowledge about that they speak of. For example, I am a computer designer. If I came on YouTube and started talking about good signal integrity in computer design, you would all be lost in 10 seconds. That is the reality of all things scientific. Yet the truth of all this ends up “owned” by the guy who “seems like they know what they are talking about”. Usually, it is some politically or financially invested talking head who goes on a click-bait podcast.

    PhD’s that invested decades into the study of viruses, epidemics or bio-lab safety are missing in these conversations. Their discussions would be way over our heads anyways. It’s the people who had “something to do with it” at some point that we get to hear. As a working engineer there were always plenty of “pseudo experts” standing in the wings. Usually, big talkers too. They get a lot of “eye rolls” when they talk in front of the competent staff.

    So why waste my time listening to clowns on a podcast and rush to conclusions. You will never know how much they really know, and I’d bet it is often very little. Even the popular science communicators like Harris or Tyson are the first to say they are now out of the loop and not the definitive experts. That alone gives them a degree of merit above what is filling up the pod-cast-o-verse.

    And yet, Dr. Redfield, who was Fauci before Fauci was Fauci at the CDC, thinks it’s most likely a lab leak. He said it 2 years ago:

    He hasn’t changed his mind. This from his congressional testimony 4 months ago:

    He even admits it’s an open question, but that was not the official position which was that if you didn’t buy into the animal-to-human origin, you must be stupid or have an irrational hatred of all things China.

    As for your other topic, talented scientists have a knack for explaining difficult concepts to the layman. I can’t review Einstein’s formulas, for example, but he explained how relativity and gravitation work so that people of reasonable intelligence can understand the concepts.

    #49621

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    And yet, Dr. Redfield, who was Fauci before Fauci was Fauci at the CDC, thinks it’s most likely a lab leak. He said it 2 years ago:

    But something isn’t necessarily correct because so-and-so person says it.  Correct ideas are correct as far as they account for both available and new evidence and can generate new ideas.

    In this case, there is potential evidence either way, so logic dictates we don’t know for sure.  What this or that person thinks about it, in itself, is surely irrelevant.

    #49622

    Unseen
    Participant

    In this case, there is potential evidence either way, so logic dictates we don’t know for sure.  What this or that person thinks about it, in itself, is surely irrelevant.

    Maybe you didn’t read. I granted that it’s up in the air and may remain there. The point I’m making is that anyone, at least until recently, who took the lab leak position, even as a possibility, which is all Dr. Redfield has done (he does see it as more likely, with reasons) was portrayed as an idiot or a sinophobe or worse, often with their view being censored or back paged or defunded or ridiculed.

    Dr. Redfield is fully qualified to have his view, is he not? If Fauci maintains that the animal origin is the only correct theory, he’s the one being irrational because he can’t provide conclusive evidence for that position.

    #49624

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Dr. Redfield is fully qualified to have his view, is he not?

    Anyone’s qualified to have a view.

    #49625

    Anyone’s qualified to have a view.

    As Clint Eastwood said, ‘Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one’.

    But some views carry more weight than other views.  I will give more credence to a qualified virologist than a news anchor on the subject of virus transmission or to The Lancet over a TikTok post. Dr. Redfield is not being ultracrepidarian as it is his sphere of expertise but as there is no definitive proof for either origin story, the Lab leak or the wet market, nobody can offer anything but their subjective view.

    #49626

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I will give more credence to a qualified virologist than a news anchor on the subject of virus transmission or to The Lancet over a TikTok post.

    That’s true, but we still have to test these things out for ourselves, as far as we are able.  The true test of an idea is if it matches up with reality.  How this might apply to Covid, I’m not sure.

    #49627

    Unseen
    Participant

    Dr. Redfield is fully qualified to have his view, is he not?

    Anyone’s qualified to have a view.

    Anyone’s free to have a view (and to have their view repressed, suppressed, and censored as well, as is obvious). Not everyone can say their view comes out of a technical qualification. I submit that Redfield’s professional qualifications are roughly the same as Dr. Fauci’s. You disagree?

    #49628

    Unseen
    Participant

    The true test of an idea is if it matches up with reality.

    Reality isn’t a scientific concept, it’s philosophical. Reality may not exist except in high order superposition, like Schroedinger’s Cat.

    Science searches for the truth. Science has more than one test for what to tentatively accept as the truth. The first is does it fit in with what we already think we know? Does it make sense, in other words? The second is does it pass a well-designed highly discriminatory test repeatedly? The third is this: Is it useful? Does it explain something heretofore unknown? Finally, does it imply other areas for exploration?

    This last one seems to be somewhat optional, but all of the great discoveries that have advanced science and expanded our reservoir of knowledge have done this.

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