The covid-19 lab leak hypothesis: did the media fall victim to a misinformation campaign?

I find it interesting that the articles criticize people for calling the Lab Leak Hypothesis a conspiracy theory, and then those very same articles try to support the possibility of a lab leak by claiming there were scientists who conspired to hide evidence of a lab leak.

Considering the possibility that specific people and entities, those with verifiable means and obvious motivation to do so, covered up embarrassing information is not a conspiracy theory. It’s just basic due diligence.

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I think we are confused on terminology. A conspiracy theory is a theory where you claim a group of people are conspiring to do bad things. Conspiracy theories can be true. I’m not saying that no one hid evidence. What I am saying is that accusing people of conspiring to cover up a lab leak is a conspiracy theory, by definition.

Where we run into problems is when there is a naked conspiracy theory, where the only piece of evidence is motivation to cover up evidence. These types of conspiracy theories can be alleged for almost every single event on the globe which is why they aren’t helpful.

We don’t call fraud Investigators and scientific misconduct investigators conspiracy theorists. Even when they are investigating a bonafide conspiracy, we don’t say that hold to a conspiracy theory.

It seems pretty clear that the use of this term here is meant to be disparaging and discourage due diligence and whistleblowers (presuming that there was wrong doing, which we don’t know for sure as yet).

I have not been using the term “conspiracy theory” about this.

I do think some people have jumped to conclusions that are not warranted by the available evidence. Others, more sensibly, have called for more evidence.

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We would hope that those investigators had not already claimed guilt before the investigation began.

We should.

What we’d say is:

they are investigating a possible conspiracy…

Or…

they found strong evidence that indicates a conspiracy…

We would not say,

They are proffering a conspiracy theory.

“Conspiracy Theory” here is almost synonymous with “baseless” and “unsubstantiated.” The use of the term “theory” means unsupported, unlike how scientists use the term “theory of evolution.”

We all see examples of people trying to denigrate evolutionary science by calling it a “theory” and equivocating that word with “baseless.” This is the same thing, but even worse. Because no one who has evidence of a conspiracy self-describes their findings as a “Conspiracy Theory”, while scientists do actually describe evolution as a theory.

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