What if scientists decided to create a virus that could kill all humanity? What if the scientific community had become so compromised by the woke cancel culture that no one would risk his/her job by challenging weak theories? What if the media and academia had become so politicized that the vast majority believed a fictional narrative and failed to investigate false claims? We would have a recipe for chaos.
Nicholas Wade, a science writer, editor, and author who has worked on the staff of Nature, Science, and the New York Times, addressed the question of the title of his article published May 5 in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: “The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?”
Until recently, the media have nearly unanimously “debunked” the theory that the virus was created in the Wuhan Institute of Virology and escaped in the fall of 2019. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began an investigation into the origin of the virus in fall of 2020, but President Joe Biden shut it down in March. Suddenly Biden reversed course and asked the intelligence community to research the origin of COVID-19 and report findings to him within 90 days.
Go back to the beginning. Wade learned that a scientist named Shi Zheng-li aka “Bat Lady,” China’s leading expert on bat viruses, and Ralph S. Baric, an eminent coronavirus researcher at the University of North Carolina, received a grant “to create novel coronaviruses with the highest possible infectivity for human cells.” He also learned Shi’s work “was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. And grant proposals that funded her work, which are a matter of public record, specify exactly what she planned to do with the money.” Grants were awarded in 2018 and 2019.
If the scientific community were aware of this work, and they should have been because the grants were public knowledge, why didn’t someone raise alarms? Did Shi and her team create the virus? China has closed all the records and continues to deny the virus originated in the Wuhan lab.
To muddy the water, two groups of scientists published strong denials that the virus could have been made in the lab. One group of virologists wrote in the Lancet in February 2020, “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.” The scientists “overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.” Wade noted, “the signatories of the Lancet letter were behaving as poor scientists: They were assuring the public of facts they could not know for sure were true.”
Armed with this and other weak science, media and academics viciously attacked President Donald Trump and other conservatives for speculating the virus might have come out of the Wuhan lab. The narrative of the left was, "Trump is bad and lies about everything."
Ironically, those who were attacking Trump were deceived and merely following the political science of their own left narrative. What if scientists, media, academics and ideologues had not so sold out to the narrative, but had maintained a semblance of rational thought enough to consider the theory that the virus could have been engineered in the lab?
The left narrative is a recipe for chaos.
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, Miss. You may contact him at PJandMe2@gmail.com.