There have recently been claims that China had developed the Coronavirus on purpose, to use as a weapon.
Is it possible this is true?
Yes. The Chinese government could have devised and attempted such a plan. After all, we’ve been killing each other in the most creative ways since we could pick up a piece of rock. Cultivating a murderous virus is a logical continuation of the human tendency to beat the shit out of one another.
Now, is it possible that the claim above is not true?
Yes. The virus could have sprung from a species of bat or mutated from an earlier, less dangerous strain of the virus. There’s no artist quite like biology. More than that, it is statistically much more likely that China had not done it. There are many more natural viruses than there are lab-developed ones.
Now, while both the first and second case is possible, the first one is much more satisfying. There is something in us that wants to pin the guilt on the big, bad, monstrous foreigner, especially one with morals as dubious as China’s.
“Fine,” I said, “let’s get into it then. What are the arguments?”
“China is a powerful economy. An ideological juggernaut hell-bent on brainwashing the entire species into speaking Chinese and getting a Mao Zedong haircut!”
While the above may be true, it says nothing about the origins of the virus. Non-sequitur. It does not follow. It would be like saying that, because the Nazi leadership were killers, they must be at fault for all the killings to have ever occurred.
“I read about an educated virologist, an eminent person, who claimed China was the mastermind behind the current crisis!”
Immediately, I used the godlike powers of Google to dig up other virologists who made no such claims. For every authority, there’s a rival authority.
“How can you even know your virologists are any good?”
“Excellent, appropriate question! Have you asked yourself the same?”
Then I was accused of trying to vindicate China and profess my adoration for the Great Leader. That’s the headache – everything’s taken too literal. No room for nuance. You’re either with us, or against.
Now, my point is merely this:
The origin of the coronavirus is a complicated topic with more theories than I had pimples back in highschool.
Don’t give in to the urge to choose camp until you exhaust all ability to doubt and be skeptical. If a particular question has five theories, hold them all in your mind at once. Compare one to the other, see where they succeed and where they fail. Some of them will be similar, others diametrically opposed. It will be difficult to choose what to believe.
That’s all right.
You don’t have to.
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” – Scott F. Fitzgerald