Saturday, February 13, 2021

Adverse Inference

Asked by Bill Maher two weeks ago on Real Time whether there is a 50-50 chance that SARS-CoV-2 originated in a lab, evolutionary biologist Brad Weinstein, appearing with wife and colleague Heather Heyer, remarked

it’s far more likely than that. I think I said last June that the chances it came from a lab were about 90%. This was never a conspiracy theory. In fact that term was used to simply make it go away. It’s an obvious hypothesis that is in need of testing, and we are only now, a year [into the pandemic], getting to the point where we can discuss it out loud without being stigmatized.

However stigmatized or not, when a scientist or a comedian questions the virtue of the mainland Chinese regime (3:17 of the video), the race card is always not far behind. And if Twitter is the land of bad takes, this guy is king:

Timing can be so unfortunate. This fact-free defense of the Beijing regime ironically appeared less than a day after we learned

Chinese scientists refused to share raw data that might bring the world closer to understanding the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, independent investigators for the W.H.O. said on Friday.

The investigators, who recently returned from a fact-finding trip to the Chinese city of Wuhan, said disagreements over patient records and other issues were so tense that they sometimes erupted into shouts among the typically mild-mannered scientists on both sides.

China’s continued resistance to revealing information about the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, the scientists say, makes it difficult for them to uncover important clues that could help stop future outbreaks of such dangerous diseases.

“If you are data focused, and if you are a professional,” said Thea Kølsen Fischer, a Danish epidemiologist on the team, then obtaining data is “like for a clinical doctor looking at the patient and seeing them by your own eyes.”

Following this second impeachment of President Donald Trump, Lead Impeachment Manager Jamie Raskin invited Trump to testify in the impending trial. He wrote "if you decline this invitation, we reserve any and all rights, including the right to establish at trial your refusal supports a strong adverse inference regarding your actions (and inaction) on January 6, 2001."

Failure to cooperate supports a strong adverse inference regarding your actions. The company line throughout has been that SARS-CoV-2 originated at a wet market in Wuhan. However, despite- or because of- mounting evidence that it instead came out of a laboratory in that city, Chinese authorities have denied investigators from the World Health Organization access to patient records, access to vital lab employees, and other "issues" necessary to prove or disprove the official line of the totalitarian regime in Beijing. 

It's time to take a strong adverse inference regarding claims from mainland China, meanwhile rebuffing charges of racism for questioning a modern fascist state.

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