It’s off topic for ID as such. But it is important for helping people work through a general principle that concerns all issues that pertain to science:
“Trust the science” is not a good approach when the science is so clearly not bound by any standards of grappling with the facts. (Darwinism anyone?)
But in this case, millions of people died. Millions of people would not have died over some silliness involving the tyrannosaur or the trilobite.
The WSJ editorial board wrote that it is a shame that it has taken so long for the Biden administration to reopen an investigation into the Wuhan Institute of Virology “because the suspicious facts have been apparent from the start.” The board outlined circumstantial evidence that was dismissed because of political preferences rather than the strength of the evidence and pointed out that “news reports relished the divisions between the White House and scientific advisors.” Significantly, previous viral pandemics like SARS and MERS were traced to an animal source but so far, an animal origin for SARS-CoV-2 has not been found: “This scrutiny should have started a year ago, but media partisanship derailed fair discussion. Many ‘experts’ made political calculations and fell prey to groupthink rather than following the science.”Heather Zeiger, “Covid-19 lab leak theory upgraded from conspiracy to plausible” at Mind Matters News
But “following the science ” has become a problematic concept. It does not seem to mean “following the evidence”:
Lab leaks happen. For example, in January of this year, Nicholson Baker, who has written about biological and chemical warfare based on public historical records of past lab accidents, wrote an article for New York Magazine making an excellent case for why a lab leak is plausible. He does not believe that SARS-CoV-2 is a bioweapon, but based on his research of past lab accidents, he is confident that this pandemic was caused by an accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology:
“A lab accident — a dropped flask, a needle prick, a mouse bite, an illegibly labeled bottle — is apolitical. Proposing that something unfortunate happened during a scientific experiment in Wuhan — where COVID-19 was first diagnosed and where there are three high-security virology labs, one of which held in its freezers the most comprehensive inventory of sampled bat viruses in the world — isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s just a theory. It merits attention, I believe, alongside other reasoned attempts to explain the source of our current catastrophe.Nicholson Baker, “The Lab-Leak Hypothesis For decades, scientists have been hot-wiring viruses in hopes of preventing a pandemic, not causing one. But what if …?” at New York Magazine (January 4, 2021)
Baker talked to several experts who doubted the claimed consensus that SARS-CoV-2 originated outside a lab. Alina Chan with MIT and Harvard believes a lab leak is a reasonable assumption but she is also pessimistic about knowing for sure. Jonathan King, a molecular biologist and biosafety advocate from MIT, said that he and some colleagues were concerned about a lab leak but they had experienced subtle and intense pressure to not speak out. Baker also talked to three other molecular biologists and immunologists, one from NIH, another from University College of Medicine in Adelaide, Australia, and another from Rutgers, all of whom thought the lab leak was a valid possibility.
If you didn’t hear anything like this, for your own sake, change the science channels you listen to.