Nevertheless, they persist in demanding our trust and respect
Andrew Stiles • June 17, 2021 1:15 pm
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists implored the public to trust and abide by their expert opinions. Those who questioned their judgment were denounced as ignorant rubes. By their own admission, however, these expert opinions weren’t based on science at all but, rather, on a partisan dislike of Republicans and former president Donald Trump.
Yahoo! News reports that many scientists have finally acknowledged that the so-called lab leak theory (regarding the origin of COVID-19) deserves to be taken seriously and investigated further. It’s a rather infuriating development, given the sanctimonious fashion in which numerous scientists, journalists, and Democratic politicians rejected it as a racist “conspiracy theory.”
Furthermore, the scientists are basically admitting that their previous efforts to dismiss the theory weren’t based on any scientific evidence. They just didn’t want to admit that Donald Trump and other Republicans who called for further investigation into the lab leak theory might have been onto something.
And while public discussion of a potential lab leak has shifted significantly in recent months, as more people pay attention to a theory that was originally promulgated by former president Donald Trump and his followers, the scientific evidence has remained unchanged, according to interviews with five virologists who have experience in microbiology, infectious disease ecology and viral evolution.
The researchers offered near-uniform summations that few conclusions can be drawn based on the available scientific evidence, but they noted that the context and circumstances of the origin debate have changed, particularly as critics point out that China hasn’t been fully transparent about the earliest days of the pandemic.
The shift reflects how some scientists who previously avoided the topic, or were quick to dismiss it, are grappling with enduring uncertainties about the virus’s origin, free from the politicization that clouded such discussions during the Trump administration.
The New York Times published a similar story in the fall of 2020, in which scientists admitted that their expert proclamations—regarding the risk of protesting in public—were purely partisan and not based on scientific evidence. One scientific expert told the Times she was having a “hard time articulating” why she condemned anti-lockdown protests as irresponsible, but not the much larger protests following the death of George Floyd. More than 1,300 public health officials endorsed those protests, arguing that racism was an even greater threat than COVID-19, or something like that.
Arguably an even greater threat to public health is the shamelessness of these scientists, who demand to be taken seriously yet are so blatantly beholden to the prevailing “wokeness” of our age.
Alina Chan, a postdoctoral associate at MIT and Harvard, told Yahoo! News the scientific community’s previous assessment of the lab leak theory was based on little more than their belief that Trump was a racist monster whose statements must be condemned, regardless of the facts.
Chan said there had been trepidation among some scientists about publicly discussing the lab leak hypothesis for fear that their words could be misconstrued or used to support racist rhetoric about how the coronavirus emerged. Trump fueled accusations that the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a research lab in the city where the first Covid-19 cases were reported, was connected to the outbreak, and on numerous occasions he called the pathogen the “Wuhan virus” or “kung flu.”
“At the time, it was scarier to be associated with Trump and to become a tool for racists, so people didn’t want to publicly call for an investigation into lab origins,” she said.
Great. Thanks for letting us know.