For some months there has been a bogus consensus that the theory that the virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan was a crackpot conspiracy theory:
About two weeks ago, 18 highly respected scientists wrote to Science Magazine that “we must take hypotheses about both natural and laboratory spillovers seriously.”
And no less an authority than Dr. Anthony Fauci, the very talisman of science for roughly half the country, has now reversed himself and no longer rules out the lab theory.
The science writer Nicholas Wade wrote a long article on Medium earlier this month that was a breakthrough in the debate. He noted that a letter in The Lancet in February 2020 and another letter in Nature Medicine a month later had huge roles in ruling the lab theory out-of-bounds, even though the missives were premature or otherwise flawed…
It’s not as though a lab leak is a scenario out of science fiction. Wade notes it is dismayingly common: “The smallpox virus escaped three times from labs in England in the 1960s and 1970s, causing 80 cases and three deaths. Dangerous viruses have leaked out of labs almost every year since.Rich Lowry, “Beware of bogus scientific consensus” at Jewish World Review (May 26, 2021)
Most people, understandably, don’t care that much about bogus consenses that don’t affect them. So it’s hard to talk about the problem. A bogus consensus around a life-threatening disease may be, unfortunately, what is needed to get their attention for the problem in general.
See also: Getting to the bottom of what happened in China China knowingly violated the terms of a World Health Organization (WHO) disclosure agreement.