The sudden – and now-hidden – reason scientists did an instantaneous 180 on the origins of Covid-19 underlines the fundamental weakness and unreliability of science:
The Government has been condemned after refusing to release details of key email conversations involving leading scientists over the origins of Covid-19.
This newspaper used Freedom of Information rules to obtain a cache of 32 emails about a secretive teleconference between British and American health officials held early in the pandemic.
But officials blacked out almost every word before releasing the crucial documents.
Before this discussion, several of the world’s most influential experts believed the new virus most likely came from a laboratory – but days later, the scientists began dismissing such scenarios as ‘implausible’ and branding them conspiracy theories.
The critical call is at the centre of concerns that the scientific establishment tried to stifle debate on the pandemic’s origins, as damning new evidence emerges of US ties to high-risk research on bat viruses in Wuhan, where the first cases emerged in late 2019.
The Mail on Sunday requested emails, minutes and notes on the call between Sir Patrick Vallance – Britain’s chief scientific adviser – and its organisers Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust medical charity, and Anthony Fauci, the US infectious diseases expert and presidential adviser.
Yet when the documents were released they had page after page redacted with thick lines of black ink by Whitehall officials. Even the names of experts copied in on discussions were blocked – and exchanges as trivial as one Edinburgh biologist’s ‘thank you’ for being invited – leaving only a few basic details about the call visible.
The lines left intact include a demand for the discussions, involving 13 participants around the world, to be conducted in ‘total confidence’, and an intriguing email line suggesting ‘we need to talk about the backbone too, not just the insert’.
Science has no intellectual or moral anchor. It is no more intrinsically reliable than News or Marketing or Propaganda because it is just as much at the mercy of the human factor as the other institutions.
The correct rhetorical response to “I trust the science” is “then you are both stupid and uninformed.”