Got into a minor comments spat with a certain gentleman on Youtube recently over the Wu-flu pandemic lockdown that our spineless politicians don’t currently seem to have a plan for getting us out of. At least in Canada the lockdown rules are being applied very unevenly. Politicians may go to their Summer cottages or visit friends and family, but should your average John Q Public try it, the Cops are all over them like a cheap suit.
It’s a bugger if like me you need a decent haircut and you can’t get one because all the barbers are still closed ‘by order’. Although the politicians all look well groomed enough in their TV appearances. Doesn’t look like their significant others are doing their haircuts either. Boris Johnson excepted. We’re talking Canadian politicians here.
Anyway, I stated four known facts for which I had primary source information, a ‘thought crime’ for which this person labelled me and others ‘simple minded conspiracy theorists’. He may have been right about them, but I was not amused about being lumped in with the real tin foil hat wearers. He pointed anyone who was interested to a ‘debunking’ video by someone calling themself ‘potholer24’. I won’t link to it, but I found this specific ‘debunking’ video full of rather dubious rhetorical traps for the unwary.
In my quest for evidence this exchange gave me pause for thought and I thought I’d check my sources and run an additional evaluation of them. Were they primary as I thought, or simply part of anti-Chinese Communist Party propaganda from Australia, India, Taiwan and other English speaking Asian sources?
There’s a form of decision making I use that I call ‘probability bingo’, which loosely translates as “If the facts line up”, which is the process I use after a ‘reductio ad absurdum‘ exercise to cut through the media corn. This is the rational threshing floor upon which I try to winnow reliable facts from Fark. It’s not an exact process, but as a quick and dirty decision making tool, normally good enough.
My algorithm normally works like this; Someone has stated a ‘fact’ which to me sounds counter-intuitive, I ask myself – is this a real or a political fact? What is the supporting evidence? How accurate are the sources? Or are they simply trying to snow me with rhetorical tricks?
Say for example that someone makes the claim that the EU has kept the peace in Europe over the last seventy years. Do the facts support this? No. NATO has secured peace in the West in counterbalance with the USA forming the largest part of an occupation force along the eastern border of mainland Europe. The EU has no military component (yet), but it’s member nations, as a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, have done so. The claim that the EU has ‘kept the peace in Europe’ fails the probability bingo test because it only crosses off one number on the probability bingo card, whereas NATO, as a military organisation, under the leadership of the USA, has provided a bulwark against possible aggression from the East and Soviet Russia, thus making at least one line across and a couple of diagonals as well on my probability bingo card. Not quite a full house, but close enough.
As for the other claims that the EU is somehow a benign institution and not a club for bureaucrats who could not run a bath in real life, one need only read the content of the EU’s own web site. It’s all there. The plans for a common Police force, armed forces and intelligence service. Ever closer union. Well it was when I last looked. If they’re bragging about it on their own web site, the likelihood that “It’s just a conspiracy theory” can be safely pointed to as a form of conspiracy theory in it’s own right.
Similarly; the probability bingo for the origins of Covid-19 tend to line up. Chinese state media were, several years ago, lauding one of the lead researchers from the Wuhan lab for bravery shown during his collection of bat virus samples to find the cause of bronchial infections to miners in caves some 40-50km from Wuhan. So there is a high probability of virus samples being brought back to that lab for inspection as that was his base. The Wuhan lab in question has also had multiple reports of poor containment protocols from US Diplomatic sources as far back as 2016. CCP employed researchers have demonstrated a singularly cavalier attitude to biological samples, even to the point of being found with such samples in their carry on luggage passing through US customs. Then there was the well publicised arrest and deportation of three Chinese researchers from a Canadian lab for nicking biological samples and sending them to China. Pictures have surfaced of Wuhan lab workers injecting bats / taking biological samples from them at the Wuhan lab wearing street clothes. Hardly good practice. The bat species host to the original Covid-19 variant A, were not known to be sold in the notorious ‘wet’ market of Wuhan. Assertions to the contrary have no supporting evidence apart from a couple of doctored photographs. So, the probability bingo score for a lab release is not a full house at this juncture, but one line across and a diagonal are good enough for an educated value judgement. Representatives of the Chinese Communist Party can threaten and bluster all they like, but the basic facts line up against them.
Nothing matters but facts. All else is rhetoric.
Because these observable facts line up, there is a high probability, but not yet conclusive proof, which incidentally, we may never obtain because of the major arse-covering going on in CCP quarters, that the original virus was being worked on within the Wuhan lab. Whether the Covid-19 viruses release was accidental or deliberate one can judge from the immediate reaction of the local CCP chiefs, who first went into denial, then panicked with massive over-reactions. The probability bingo score, or burden of proof if you like, indicates that this release was a cock-up rather than conspiracy.
That evidence of ham-fisted local covering up of the virus release by local Chinese Authorities is known and documented. The release became a pandemic because the response was delayed for weeks, thus allowing regional, then national and international contamination. The current propaganda blitz of denial, like “Oh no, it ain’t so” or “You’re a waaaacist” can be dismissed as pure “Quia inquam sic” (Because I say so) rhetoric and thus not credible as there is no hard data to back it up. Likewise ‘debunkers’. You cannot argue from a vacuum.
So, does this make me a ‘simple minded conspiracy theorist’? I say not. I may occasionally toy with conspiracy theories because there is a possibility they may contain some small truths, but I do try to moderate my curiosity with a well honed scepticism. As for being ‘simple minded’, I leave that for my last remaining reader to judge.