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.