Philipp Markolin Profile picture
Jun 16 18 tweets 14 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
#Information cascade alert!

The US #intelligence agencies are supposed to reveal all information they have with respect to the #OriginOfCovid

I wanted to use the opportunity to explain exactly what you will see happening in the media, no matter the content of those reports
🧵 Image
First, let's talk about expectations.

From the get-go, it is absolutely clear that there is no #smoking gun or similar to be expected.

The intelligence services all had access to the same information and most assessments are low confidence, with 4 agencies favoring #zoonosis. Image
Within the 'manmade' mythology, too many unverified stories are taken as gospel truth.

Overall, the best LLs can hope for is that the IC can verify some #circumstantial evidence that they have spun into their #mythology; but honestly, I highly doubt that.
But let's pretend that is the case.

Let's say the IC found evidence that WIV workers had visited the #hospital. Does that prove anything?

Well, not really. Unless they were diagnosed with #Covid and went somehow to the #Huanan market, it just means they visited a hospital.
In China, the healthcare system is #hospital centered, and instead of going to a GP or similar, most Chinese visit a hospital, for things big and small. 🔽

Being to a hospital is not condemning unless one knows why the people went there.

In a big institute like the WIV, one... Image
...might even expect that from dozens of employees, a few might be getting sick, especially in November during flu season

So just having sick WIV employees (which, as of today, is still unverified) is not enough to satisfy an extraordinary claim they were 'patient zero' of Covid Image
In a similar spirit, let's pretend the IC found evidence that suggested the WIV had worked on more CoV projects that were previously appreciated.

Is that prove anything? Again, not really. A lab has many researchers and students, and some might go off on a hunch or try a small..
...side project that does not work out or is not good enough to get published. Some might even get forgotten (@edwardcholmes 😉) & resurface later to prove Zhengli was honest. 🔽

Unless it can be shown that any alleged work was directly related to SARS-CoV-2, it is irrelevant. ImageImage
Point is, no matter what #circumstantial evidence the IC reveal might verify, if it does not matter to move the agencies on the #origins question, it will not be enough to sway the scientific estimates, which are entirely one-sided for #zoonosis given a detailed body of evidence. Image
Now let's talk about the more likely case:

The IC has nothing on offer, no new evidence, data, or compelling analysis, just a bag of uncertainty, a handful of talking points, and a feeble "cannot be disproven it leaked from a lab".

Does that mean zoonosis got more likely?
Because the evidence is already entirely one-sided and only fools and #buffoons think that any magic "reveal" ever had the power to fundamentally change the game.

We do have detailed #evidence for zoonosis that can not be explained with any plausible #lableak scenario.
Alright, but I promised you to explain what will happen in the media, and it will be entirely #detached from the two scenarios outlined above.

First, no matter what the report says, #lableak advocates will claim vindication for the 700th time for no reason.
A sleuth of media #manipulators will get to work to #lie about, #spin, #doctor, #milk, #distort and #misrepresent the contents of the reveal in whatever shape they need it to sell to their audiences.

They will do this because they can get away with it & it brings engagements. Image
A minority of more responsible journalists, fact-checkers, and scientists will have a couple of shitty days trying to put the revelations into the appropriate context and will be harassed for it by #lableak and other anti-#science trolls who fell for the media manipulators.
About maybe a week later, the dust will have settled and the #mainstream media will get their assess up to claim in self-righteous #op-eds that actually, even after the IC reveal that did not bring anything, a "#lableak can not be excluded" & China is truly to blame for the mess
Depending on what sources you followed, what networks you were part of, and what side of the #lableak controversy you were on before, you will feel more confident and confirmed in your belief, be it #zoonosis, #lableak or "we will never know".

Because that is what always happens
The reality is that our beliefs are not fully our own; we get shaped by our information environment and the decisions of our peers, often in subtle ways beyond our conscious cognition.

The #originofcovid news cycle grabs attention & reshapes social networks via info #cascades Image
Given the incredible amount of media #manipulators, entrenched #conspiratorial communities & financial incentives of news media, I do not believe there is a productive public conversation to be had around this topic anymore

So if you don't want to be fooled, stick with #science. Image

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More from @PhilippMarkolin

Jun 14
Surprise, the climate change denying, Twitter-files propagandists find themselves coming down on the #bioweapon myth too.

@shellenberger @mtaibbi are such bottom-feeding losers it would almost break my heart if they weren't as malicious & intentional in their quest for attention Image
The alleged sick workers are neither a new nor true part of the #bioweapon mythology; it is made up BS from David Asher and the State Department under Pompeo, going back to 2020 and laundered through some unnamed intelligence sources that got wide media coverage in 2021. ImageImage
The thing is; these #rewarmed talking points about sick workers have not only never been substantiated, but they are inconsistent with scientific evidence 🔽 & are also directly contradicted by serological tests of workers at the WIV, showing nobody was infected with Covid prior Image
Read 8 tweets
Jun 11
At some point, every #lableak advocate can't help but go full radical. "Crime of the century", "avoidable pandemic" dogwhistle and calling for a "tribunal" based on nothing but vibes.

These people have no place in any normal society and their #lies deserve to haunt them forever. Image
Oh look, the lackeys of actual criminals like billion-dollar-fraudster Miles Guo have no shame to lie about ordinary scientists.

@DiLiMengYAN1 everybody knows you are a liar, fraudster and exchanged you modest credentials for a media stunt by con artists.
Was it worth it? Image
@DiLiMengYAN1 Conspiracy theories attract losers.

There is a reason why all the usual suckers who can't understand a scientific paper on the origin topic turn to the tabloids for vindication

They know it is bullshit, but it brightens their sad life for a day or two.

Read 4 tweets
May 15

#Distort, #discredit, #dismiss - 6 additional tactics of media manipulators and why they work to sabotage public discourse


Details follow:
1/ 6 types of media manipulators
Anti-science activism never went away, it got a new ugly face in the #information age:

Quacks, gurus, contrarian doctors, fake experts, influencers, political commentators and similar media manipulators.

Previously we looked at "merchants of #doubt"

Today, we take a look at the "merchants of #ambiguity"

Their overarching goal is to create the perception that scientific issues are either eternally #unresolved or that #alternative interpretations are just as plausible or likely.

3/ Image
Read 12 tweets
May 2
Frustrating but important perspective by @PeterHotez:

"The phenomenon of red Covid was not a random occurrence but instead an expected outcome of predation linked to extremist politics"

Read in full:

A few thoughts follow 🔽…
In this perspective, Dr. Hotez offers some insights on the topics I have been writing & talking about, namely the #weaponization of conspiracy #myths by political actors to attack unwelcome scientific authority in public discourse.

He first outlines the damage: Needless deaths Image
How could it have come so far?

For Dr. Hotez, part of that answer lies with anti-science messaging from political elites; how else does one explain the "red covid" phenomenon?

Furthermore, there has been no course correction by political elites. If anything, they doubled down Image
Read 10 tweets
Apr 4
My talk at @fiocruz about the #lableak theory and the rise of #information pathogens is now freely available.

Thanks @cmmorel and @KropfSimone for this wonderful event.

Here is the youtube link to the full video with time stamps for easy accessibility:
@fiocruz @cmmorel @KropfSimone Here are some more highlights from the talk:

First: How do scientists deal with uncertainty and how can this help us inform ourselves about the most likely
#originofcovid ?

It comes down to asking P(Evidence|Hypothesis):
@fiocruz @cmmorel @KropfSimone Second:
What is the state of evidence (now in 2023) for a #zoonotic origin of SARS-CoV-2 versus a #lableak ?

If you don't have the time, energy or interest to watch the whole talk, here are some take away summaries:
Read 7 tweets
Apr 2
Fascinated by the dispute around #theoriginofcovid ?

I was invited to give a talk at Fiocruz. The event takes place in Rio de Janeiro, starting at 12:30 EDT / 5:30 pm CEST and, and will be broadcast via Zoom.

Access link can be found here tomorrow:… Image
Still working on the presentation (also, my luggage did not make it... thanks airfrance), but this will be the approximate outline of the talk: Image
There will be a Q&A and discussion following up; and one gets a chance to see me being uncomfortable being the one interviewed rather than the other way around. 😅

Please join via zoom on Monday if you are interested.
Read 5 tweets

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