Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Occam's Razor and the Wuhan Lab Hypothesis

Was the SARS-COV-2 virus created (or at least made infectious to humans) in a Chinese research lab?

Well, maybe, I guess. So far, it looks like a hypothesis, not a theory (that is, the method of testing/falsification isn't clear).

When looking at the hypothesis, Occam's Razor seems like a good starting point.

There are lots of versions of said razor, but here are three I'm thinking of:

Theodore Woodward: "When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don't expect to see a zebra." (He said that in Maryland, where horses were plentiful and zebras rare/exotic)

Bertrand Russell: "Whenever possible, substitute constructions out of known entities for inferences to unknown entities."

"The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct."

So, which explanation of COVID-19 requires fewer assumptions?

  1. That, like bazillions of other diseases (according to CDC, 60% of the world's known infectious diseases and 75% of new or emerging ones), SARS-COV-2 made a spontaneous jump from animals to humans via random mutation? or
  2. That, COVID-19, unlike any other past disease that we've ever known/verified/proven to have been the case, was created in a lab and accidentally or intentionally released into the human population?
The latter could conceivably be correct, but it's an extraordinary claim that would require extraordinary evidence. And I've yet to see any actual evidence at all for it.

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