Lies, Propaganda, and the Truth
Earlier this month, friend-of-the-blog Michael P. Senger wrote a generous and thoughtful response to my review of his book, Snake Oil. Everyone should read it, and buy his book and subscribe to his Substack, if he hasn’t already.
Our point of disagreement will surprise nobody: From the beginning, Senger has viewed the lab-leak theory of SARS-2 origins as an essentially unsupported hypothesis, deliberately put about as one element of the Xi Jinping’s lockdown propaganda. Your faithful eugyppius, on the other hand, tends to find the theory rather more convincing.
A fuller discussion will have to wait for my long-delayed review of Alina Chan and Matt Ridley’s book Viral, which offers a good compendium of the evidence for the artificial origins of SARS-2. This will come soon. Here, I just wanted to revisit a few side matters, to prepare the way.
For a long time, I’ve tended to suggest that the enormous panic we’ve endured over Corona – a virus which just isn’t that special – owes something to the relationship between SARS-2 and the virus at the heart of the 2002/4 SARS-1 outbreak. Senger objects that the specific genetic relationship is underwhelming, as the genomes of both viruses have only about 80% nucleotide similarity. In this he is totally right. Even RaTG13 and the more recently discovered viruses from Laos are less than 97% similar – too distant to be any kind of direct relatives. The onl
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