Skeptics with a K: Episode #304

Marsh presents part two of his three-part investigation into the White Rose. Meanwhile, Mike talks about the social effects of naming the COVID-19 variants and looks at whether SARS-CoV-2 may have leaked from a lab. Mixed and edited by Morgan Clarke.

  1. #1 by Johnny Walsh on June 15, 2021 - 12:59

    …only that brand of label maker will do then? That’ll be Big Br…(I’ll fetch me coat)

  2. #2 by Abhi on June 15, 2021 - 23:48

    I’m looking forward to the vedic astrology in the next episode. I live with my Indian Hindu family and my dad especially follows vedic astrology and make decisions based on it. My dad got all of our astrology reports done. Indians will seek advise from astrologers on significant occasions such as marriage dates and even to see if couples are compatible with each other.
    There are channels on Sky where people can phone in on health, relationships, finance etc. and astrologers will try and give advice based on their birth charts.
    I believe our reports were generated by an astrologer via computer program where you input information such as birth date, time, place of birth etc and the program will spit out paragraphs of your life and future life. It’s basically a bunch of Barnum statements.

  3. #3 by Muz on June 21, 2021 - 01:53

    Folks, how did you get the movie bit so wrong?
    Contagion stars Gwyneth Paltrow and the virus source is a transfer from bats to pigs, in China no less. How did you single out the one good virus outbreak movie? (Well, the movie Outbreak has a natural source too, but it’s not a good movie)

  4. #4 by Mike on June 21, 2021 - 22:40

    Fair point, I was unclear about Contagion. It was a zoonotic virus in Contagion, but people believe itโ€™s a bioweapon at the start of the film, right? From what I remember. Long time ago now. Heh.

  5. #5 by Maarten on June 22, 2021 - 09:39

    The plot thickens!

    I don’t quite understand how “skeptics” (like yourselves), don’t ever seem to doubt “scientific” claims simply because it’s being promoted/spread by scientists. Does no one else remember “cold fusion”? When a scientist says “Covid-19 was probably not man made” without any actual science backing that up is for me only slightly more plausible than “Covid-19 probably escaped from a lab” without any actual science backing that up.
    Why? Well surely there is a real reason for scientists (especially those directly involved in pathogen research given how basically all science is funded now) to be deliberately disingenuous about the origins of Covid-19. Can you imagine the damage and loss of credibility this would cause for scientists in this and related fields if this disease was a direct result of “gain of function research”? It will set back public trust in any and all science being carried out for “the greater good” for a decade. Scientists know this better than anyone.
    IMO there is nothing “wrong” about applying a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to Covid-19 information spread by the MSM, politicians, and even government appointed scientist mouthpieces at this stage – it’s clear Covid-19 has been politicised to near Orwellian levels at this point with all that this entails.
    I will wait for the actual published science before jumping to conclusions and until then will remain skeptical.

  6. #6 by Mike on June 22, 2021 - 09:59

    I think we covered it quite clearly in the episode, Maarten.

    Zoonotic viruses happen frequently. Lab leaks are rare. A lab leak is not impossible, they do happen, but it is far less likely than a zoonotic origin.

    If you think that’s “not doubting a claim because it’s spread by scientists”, then I don’t know what to say to you. Especially when the back end of that story was me specifically doubting a claim made by two scientists.

  7. #7 by Maarten on June 24, 2021 - 04:43

    Well you did discuss it, but you didn’t mention any of the counterpoints that skeptical (to a fault perhaps) people like myself should be at least considering:

    The facts on the ground we know know are:
    1. Wuhan Lab staff got sick from a mystery illness in November 2019:
    2. No Covid has been found in any wild animals (so far) – which seems extremely unlikely if the virus mutated in the wild:
    3. No bats or pangolins were traded in Wuhan wet markets during 2017-2019 which thus makes the required human/animal contact with an infected animal unlikely:
    4. While the Wuhan Lab apparently did study bats:

    Combine that with “coincidences” that Fauci immediately became the US/Global spokesman for all things Covid-19 given that:
    1. He was financially involved with Wuhan Lab research (via EcoHealth Alliance):
    2. When EcoHealth was clearly studying Corona viruses (including in bats) at Wuhan with three published articles (linked and discussed in this article):
    3. And finally, the head of EcoHealth (Peter Daszak) openly discusses their research into Corona viruses at Wuhan:–w?t=1664 (Link to relevant soundbite) where he clearly says modified Corona viruses (including from bats) were being put into “humanised mouse models”.

    Now individually all of that of course can be waved off as circumstantial evidence and/or mere coincidence, but taken together…

    I personally suspect that the near immediate dismissal of the “lab origin” theory started with articles like this one, largely imo due to media (and even some scientists) being triggered by the “Orange Man”‘s rhetorical incendiary and, let’s be honest, crazy Tweets, as opposed to any actual science:

  8. #8 by Mike Hall on June 25, 2021 - 13:44

    For someone claiming to be waiting “for the actual published science before jumping to conclusions”, you seem to be jumping to an awful lot of conclusions.

  9. #9 by Maarten on June 26, 2021 - 01:04

    Not really – I’m just presenting the stuff out there. I am not trying to refute anything you said, but rather was playing “devil’s advocate” as a counter to your clear preference (prediction?) toward the “natural origins theory” (and thus glossing over any counter-arguments which I think is not normally a “skeptics” approach). But of course we all have our own personal biases ๐Ÿ˜‰ ! I think the “wait and see” approach is the best option, but I understand you might get a lot of people asking you to weigh in (which you did).

(will not be published)