Though it is newly respectable, the Wuhan lab theory remains fanciful | David Robert Grimes
Conspiracy theories on origins distract from tackling the pandemic and boost tawdry blame games
In the storm of disinformation since the emergence of Covid-19, the assertion that the virus is human-created has lingered on the fringes. This outlandish conjecture, once confined to conspiracy theorists, has undergone a renaissance after Joe Biden’s insistence that scientists should investigate the possible lab origins of Covid. From Vanity Fair to the Washington Post, the theory has been given a veneer of respectability.
But there is an essential caveat that has been overlooked – that two different hypotheses are possible does not make them equally likely. Occam’s razor is a general rule of thumb, an injunction to “keep it simple”; when confronted with competing explanations for events, it is usually sensible to adopt the interpretation that pivots on the smallest number of supplementary assertions and assumptions.