Digging deeper into SARS-CoV-2 origins

A cogent, “just the facts” study of possible origins and the evidence for them. The links at the bottom are extremely valuable as well. Some excellent, in-depth research behind them.

Interesting. Talking to a researcher friend who is concurring with the content’s possibilities.

The Overton window for discussion on this is moving extremely fast, and it’s kind of scary how fast it can move.

Well … I’m going to say the left’s rejection of the distilled ‘china virus’ version of the hypothesis is pretty reflexive, and it’s completely understandable that a narrative that the previous POTUS was just being prejudicial as versus poorly summarizing a briefing (hey why not both) can become a defining narrative.

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So much spin everywhere… even in this article pointing out spin…

The cited “pause” was specifically regarding specific kinds of research “Involving Influenza, MERS, and SARS Viruses”, as is quoted in the article (shortening influenza to flu). Yet paragraphs are spent conjecturing why the pause didn’t halt funding for research on /other/ coronaviruses. The title and text both discuss 3 specific classes of viruses. That all viruses, or even all coronaviruses, weren’t intended seems obvious in that both MERS and SARS viruses are mentioned as distinct classes. Let’s not waste a chance to suggest blame because the cited facts get in the way… Sigh.

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That sounds an awful lot like “well we can’t know anything for sure so why bother trying” to me… I hope that’s not how you intended it.

Er… by your own apparent definition of “spin” I’m going to say your paragraph here meets it better than the article. The entire discussion around the “pause” was that there WERE loopholes which permitted funding to continue, and to debunk the idea that just because somebody says there were no gain-of-function research funded by that institute does not mean that research that would ordinarily have been GoF did not profit anyways - I don’t see how pointing out that “Washington cannot be trusted and here’s one potential example of how” can be thought of as “spin”, personally. This whole section is countering an argument brought up against the lab case, and showing that it’s not substantive, not making an argument FOR the lab case. Different purpose, different burden of proof.

Indeed. But don’t worry, the New York Times Covid reporter is hoping that eventually we’ll be able to admit the racist roots of the concept that a lab investigating exactly this sort of thing may be somehow tied to the release (intentional or not) of the things they’re investigating. Because Trump thought it, so of course that means it’s 100% wrong in every possible way.

But, remember, it’s vitally important to Trust Science. Have you taken the pledge?

One of the tropes that somewhat reliably shows up in various genres of post-industrial fiction is that the “scientific establishment” goes rogue in various ways (often along the lines of “We can therefore we must!” without ever asking “But should we?”), does things they probably shouldn’t have, and manages to get their labs burned down by mobs with torches and pitchforks.

I’ve not been paying terribly close attention to the shift in the Overton window movement (though I recognize it’s really whipped to the other side lately), but as evidence mounts that the virus showed up, fully formed, right around a lab that literally does research into creating this kind of virus, people got sick of being told to ignore the evidence in front of their noses.

According to the media it’s racist/hate filled/“Trump thought it so it’s wrong.” You can only tell people to ignore the obvious facts for so long before they tell you to take a hike. I expect we’ll see yet less trust for the major media outlets who have abandoned any sort of objective external reality in favor of pushing their preferred ideologies (I remain slightly surprised that there’s any trust at all remaining to lose), and another step down in the trust of “the science.” You don’t need pledges to agree with something that everyone already agrees with…

Which, in particular? I really didn’t get “so much spin” out of this article, more an attempt to lay out what we do know, and compare it to several possibilities. That one possibility requires improbable, never-before-seen jumps of a type viruses aren’t known to do, and the other is a pretty straightforward “You… did what, in a lab coat and gloves?” sort of scenario doesn’t automatically mean the simpler story is true, but it adds some weight to it.

It’s interesting to me because you can almost determine people’s goals from how they act - in the case of a jetliner disaster, many procedures can be added simply because a possible problem was identified and you want to prevent it. NASA’s ASAR is built around this - identifying accidents that never happened and preventing them from happening: https://asrs.arc.nasa.gov

So the real question shouldn’t be “did this leak from a lab” or even “did this intentionally leak” but instead “could this have leaked from a lab” and “what can we do to prevent that”.

Part of “politics” in the Aristotelean sense is figuring how to discuss the later two points without forcing countries involved to “save face”.

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Halt all GoF research entirely would be an excellent start, considering as it hasn’t been remotely useful and poses an immense threat.

What does it even matter what the exact origin is? I expect this question to irritate you. I’m the same way, I’d like to know the actual truth. But it is beyond too late to matter. The actual truth is so toxic at this point because of Trump and his racist assface supporters that knowing one way or the other isn’t going to meaningfully change any policy decisions.

Go and do the origin research. The ball is rolling so that’s going to happen anyways. Make findings. But the conclusions everyone will accept won’t match and actions are already being taken based on existing biased presumptions. The truth has already become irrelevant. The best thing that can come out of it is a footnote for history books that gets censored out in many states.

The virus exists. The world has to deal with it. We’re all well aware of what biological horrors we as humans are capable of cooking up. If this is created, so what? This is small fry and relatively harmless compared to the monsters were capable of making…

The reason people are hoping to find a creation story seems to be that they started out biased against a combination of a number of things and merely want an “I told you so” feather in their cap to gain power with. (Things: science, biological research, and significantly: asian hate - because racism whips up a fervent base happy have an excuse to ignore atrocities).

If you find a lab creation story, will anyone blame the lab team and practices and leave it at that? Nope. So you honestly think anyone is going to pay for it? Nope. That isn’t possible. At best a wealthy victim or three to be blamed would be chosen politically and token actions are taken against them. But they’re wealthy enough to have pre-prepared for this potential outcome. Even if the action is being forced to fall on a sword.

Because if it is an escaped “gain of function” experiment, the argument made for those experiments (to steamroll those who asked annoying questions about them) was, “Well, by creating these hybrids, we can learn useful things about how to combat them in the future.”

If it was naturally occurring, those experiments didn’t seem to have a lot of value in early understanding of it, and if it was actually an escaped experiment, it’s a solid argument that those lines of experimentation are radically more dangerous than useful.

If someone is lighting random sections of forest on fire to help understand forest fires, and the results from that set of experiments are useless to fighting actual forest fires, but manage to spark actual, uncontained forest fires on at least an occasional basis, it’s reasonable to suggest that the experiments aren’t of any real value, are of very real harm, and that one ought stop lighting random sections of forest on fire.

Yet the actual truth is still worth seeking, because there’s value in truth.

I’m not sure how much it’s toxic because of Trump, and how much it’s toxic because the media, for the past several years, spent their lives insisting at the top of their collective lungs that literally anything Trump said was wrong because Trump said it. Even when it was far from clear he was wrong. I would have enjoyed watching a more focused effort on his part in the last year of his office to simply make the most blindingly obvious statements about things, simply for the sport of watching the media insist that water isn’t really wet, because, see, at a subatomic level…

If particular lines of research that were asserted to be helpful are, in practice, harmful, I expect this would lead to some rare bipartisan consensus.

You’re probably correct. However, it’s still worth pursuing truth. Even if’s an archaic, obsolete concept these days. :confused:

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Wow, rereading what I wrote, my whole post was poorly written.

Everyone having bias doesn’t mean I give up, but it is tiring, and it reminds me of my own limitations.

That article presents itself as trying to present multiple scenarios and consider their merit. Good for that. I don’t recall seeing that before on this topic, so it’s a nice contrast.

Even so, I don’t completely trust the source, and I can’t completely research all the references. I followed one and found it said what the article claimed it said, but it very much didn’t say what the article seemed to imply it said.

Now I’m not sure. I thought the grant and research topic being discussed under “The US Role in Funding the Wuhan Institute of Virology” were with “grants for fiscal years 2018 and 2019” which would conduct further GOF research on coronaviruses, but no indication was given that this later research would involve SARS1 viruses. Now I see it talks about several, and I’m fuzzy on which ones it refers to when. Under my previous reading there was no “loophole” as the pause plainly didn’t cover the relevant research (and was also already expired).

I see the section as having already concluded the more likely origin and “trying to assess responsibility for the pandemic, at least in a provisional way, because the paramount goal remains to prevent another one.”

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There is value, but there is also cost.

How far does that line of reasoning go? It seems to me that each of these is true.
There are some truths which cost too much to afford to discover.
The are some truths which can bring harm but not help.
There are some truths I can’t be trusted with.

The first might apply to actual lab records (international black ops?).
The third might apply to engineering a more deadly virus.

Political, but even the current adminstration/NIH director is querying it.