Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Retraction Watch co-founder on the lab leak theory re COVID


According to Ivan Oransky, “If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, labels get in the way of facts and make the truth that much harder to find.:

First, what is the “lab leak” theory? The idea is that the virus was either developed in a lab or brought to a lab for study without enough precautions, then it accidentally infected a lab worker, who somehow spread it in the community. Many in the media, as well as some scientists, quickly labeled it a conspiracy theory, designed to shift focus away from the missteps of their own countries. But, like everyone else involved in the discussions about the lab leak theory, scientists have something at stake: If SARS-CoV-2 did escape from a lab, it could further shake trust in research, and threaten funding…

I co-founded the science watchdog site Retraction Watch more than a decade ago, and faced with some truly awful scientific papers that made me and co-founder Adam Marcus wonder how they were ever published, we frequently would use such phrases as “anti-vaxxer” and “conspiracy theory” in our critiques. It was one way we dismissed ideas as unworthy of discussion.

But we’ve stopped doing that, in no small part because we’ve seen how this kneejerk dismissal — from both “sides” — has played out time and time again during the pandemic.

In the last 18 months, for example, practically no one could have a dispassionate discussion of the evidence — or the lack thereof — for using various older drugs, usually approved to treat parasites, against Covid-19.

Ivan Oransky, “Question the ‘lab leak’ theory. But don’t call it a conspiracy.” at MercatorNet (December 6, 2021)

By now, any astute human being should see that the main reason for dumping on the lab leak theory is that workers in the field do NOT want an audit of what they are actually doing and how it aligns with safety goals — especially when they know that China will do what it wants anyway but no one is ready for a rational discussion of that fact.

KROK @ 4 "Similarly, we see other post-truth claims in the denial of the historical Jesus..." I read a WHOLE lot about writings from the "Early Christian" period, and there simply AREN'T ANY reliable documents from "0 to 100 AD" period that support the existence of the purported "Jesus". Most especially, the mention of Jesus in "The Jewish War", THE document most focused on "the Early Christian period", makes NO MENTION of Jesus or his followers. (The versions that DO mention Jesus are known to be hoaxes. The fact that someone thought they NEEDED to create the hoax is the, how you say, "nail in the coffin".) I'd go on, but it's been a long day and I ain't in the mood to dig out my notes. People who like to believe lies with believe the lies. People who who expect History to drive out FACTS will let the mess rot with the rest of the lies in religious writes. mahuna
Never ceases to amaze seversky that you’ll take any opportunity to whinge about religion smh. Bob
I don't see a "post-truth" world. What I see is that if something is asserted to be true or denied as "fake news" by some authority figure then there those who will accept such claims as true without question. Why that should be the case is not clear. Perhaps such people prefer a false certainty to an unsettling uncertainty. How much confidence we have in a claim ,i>should be weighted according to the evidence. For example, we have far more evidence for the Holocaust or the Battle of Gettysburg than we do for an historical Jesus or the parting of the Red Sea on the flight from Egypt. We cannot say for certain the latter did not exist or never happened but the evidence for them is much flimsier. If people want to believe Trump's claim that the 2020 election was "stolen" from him, in spite of the complete failure to find any evidence to support that claim, they can do so. But to me that is evidence that Trump is being turned into a cult-leader by followers who would unquestioningly "drink the Kool-Aid" if he told them to. Seversky
We live in a post-truth world (thanks to postmodernism) where truth is no longer discerned through facts, but is now often discerned through one's emotions. Thus, the idea of labeling those who suggested that COVID came from a lab as conspiracy theorists is hardly surprising. The facts did not matter at the time; all that mattered was ridding the world of the so-called big-bad orange man. Similarly, we see other post-truth claims in the denial of the historical Jesus, as well as in the denial of the holocaust. And such convictions, unfortunately, will only continue to rise if our academic institutions keep severing themselves from reality, in my opinion anyway. KRock
RetractionWatch.com first time i heard of this website as it mentioned an origin-of-life paper retraction published by world-famous OOL researcher and Nobel laureate Jack Szostak. Here it is: "”Definitely embarrassing:” Nobel Laureate retracts non-reproducible paper in Nature journal" "A Nobel Laureate has retracted a 2016 paper in Nature Chemistry that explored the origins of life on earth, after discovering the main conclusions were not correct. " "The errors were “definitely embarrassing,” Szostak told us: In retrospect, we were totally blinded by our belief [in our findings]…we were not as careful or rigorous as we should have been (and as Tivoli was) in interpreting these experiments." https://retractionwatch.com/2017/12/05/definitely-embarrassing-nobel-laureate-retracts-non-reproducible-paper-nature-journal/ martin_r
"Trust in research" has a perfectly negative correlation with funding. Trustworthy research is ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN. Only perfectly evil and unimaginably false NAZI research is funded. polistra
If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, labels get in the way of facts and make the truth that much harder to find
Truer words have never been spoken. Assigning a label to a person is generally a dishonest attempt to discredit their views. Whether it be Creationist, Darwinist, Materialist, right-wing, left-wing, progressive or fundamentalist, assigning a label is usually done when the labeler disagrees with someone but is having difficulty countering that person’s arguments. Joe Schooner

Leave a Reply