GPT-4 agrees with me

“China lied, people died.” In a sense this is true, but not in the way that lab leakers assume.

New evidence shows Covid samples closely associated with raccoon dog DNA in that famous Wuhan animal market. The Chinese government denied that raccoon dogs were being sold there. It seems they lied. (Just as they lied about the death toll from the recent Covid outbreak in China, which was an order of magnitude higher than the official figures.)

People who rely on lab leaker “evidence”, may wonder why GPT-4 apparently views the zoonotic origin hypothesis as being more plausible. This LA Times story does a nice job of laying out the evidence that the animal market is the culprit. (BTW, It’s written by a scientist that had previously called for more research on the possibility of a lab leak.)

Of course the lab leakers are already trashing the Atlantic story, whining that the scientific findings have not yet been released. Wait, aren’t these the same people who recently touted the US intelligence community’s claims? Has that evidence been released?

So cute, but so deadly:



53 Responses to “GPT-4 agrees with me”

  1. Gravatar of David S David S
    17. March 2023 at 17:15

    Covid-19 was released on the instructions of Hillary Clinton, who was seeking revenge on Trump and Bernie Sanders for stealing the election in 2016. Specially trained racoons infected Chinese spies who spread the virus through New York City. Only Ron DeSantis was able to stop the virus by unleashing the power of his deadpan stare on Critical Race Theorists who were trying to enslave Americans with N-95 masks.

    I’m worried that if post this I’ll get invited to appear on Tucker Carlson. “Internet Troll from Obscure Economics Blog Reveals Secret History of the Covid Hoax”

  2. Gravatar of Matthias Matthias
    18. March 2023 at 03:06

    I wouldn’t trust anything a language model says.

  3. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    18. March 2023 at 06:18

    The sources and authors for these articles are all ridiculously biased. And don’t buy the crap about “it’s written by a scientist that had previously called for more research on the possibility of a lab leak.” The scientist self-describes himself that way simply to disguise the fact he has from day one been a vehement proponent of the zoonotic theory.

    BTW – I sometimes see racoon dogs (tanuki in Japanese) outside my apartment in Tokyo. They are in fact very cute.

  4. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    18. March 2023 at 06:58

    The language model doesn’t “believe” anything you doofus.

    It’s not sentient. It’s gathering information on a database, and parcing that information; it also has certain parameters within its algorithim which enforces how it answers certain questions; those parameters can be changed by anyone with access to them.

    Not to mention their is bias in the articles and papers it sources, and the sources of course are determined by the algorithim.

    You are inept and wrong. You insane in the membrane. You are as dotty as a donut, and wacky as Wonka.

  5. Gravatar of Ricardo Ricardo
    18. March 2023 at 07:18

    ChatGPT also seems to agree with the Austrian school.
    I suppose that means you are defeated, and should stop your blog immediately, since ChatGPT is apparently always correct.

    Or is it only correct when it supports your poorly thought out conclusions over virus origins, and efficacy? Hmmm….

    Furthermore, if 99% of its input data is gathered via the NYT and organizations like Lancet – where hacked emails now show the board of LANCET refusing to publish credible scientific data that refutes Pfizer’s claim of 95% efficacy because the writer, a prestigious University of London Academic had views that were anti-vaccine – then we can conclude the outputs of such a machine will be Sumneresque. Which is to say: not very informed.

  6. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    18. March 2023 at 08:06

    dtoh, You said:

    “he has from day one been a vehement proponent of the zoonotic theory.”

    That’s completely false. He publicly complained that the lab leak theory wasn’t being taken seriously enough, and even signed a letter to that effect. You ought to become better informed before commenting.

    “The sources and authors for these articles are all ridiculously biased.”

    Unlike those pushing lab leak theories, who are completely free of anti-Chinese bias?

    I have no axe to grind on this issue—I follow the evidence. And right now the evidence points to the animal market, and a Chinese government cover-up of that fact.

  7. Gravatar of Edward Edward
    18. March 2023 at 08:16

    As we can see, Scott, gravitates towards authority. This is one of the reasons why he likes the CCP’s style of government, answers from A.I, trusted experts, and why he wants to replace the U.S. government with the CCP’s more hardline, some might say totalitarian, version.

    You can see from his writings, quite clearly, that he is not a risk-taker. Scott really likes order, harmony, and safety; he likes to sit back and methodically plan everyday, every hour, and you can see this for example in his outrage over having to sit in a car, in traffic, during his trip to Chile. You can see it when he proposes big government solutions to social problems, and when he seeks to enforce and impose his own value system on other states and countries with very different cultures. His hatred for the people living in Donbas and Crimea, for example, who prefer Russia to Europe, is a trigger for this type of outrage towards people who refuse to accept his preferred value system; a domestic example is his desire to force all states to accept the same abortion laws, imprison Trump on any charge he can think of, and as he’s written a few years back, to even pack the supreme court to help centralize policy into the hands of Washington, or end the electoral college. all of this of course is manifested from his love of order and hatred of chaos/risk.

    Scott, is someone who also seems to struggle with an inferiority complex, and this manifests itself in a number of ways: namely, the constant beating of the chest, in which he tells us that he was “right” about a particular event, the incessant smirking at public events, or when he tells us that “trusted experts” (presumably himself) are the gatekeepers and anyone who disagrees, like Malone, is practicing “anti-science.”

    Generally, those with inferiority complexes are the most arrogant because they are trying to hide their insecurities through chest-beating, facial expressions, and other obnoxious and childish displays of masochism. You can see of course that Scott often discusses how people are “weak” as he described those unwilling to live in the cold in the Andees. He also described the conservative party as “weak” and “wimps”. This is a recurring theme in his writings, which usually means his subconscious is trying to hide from some external actor, in this case it is designed to shield his mind from the chaos entering his preferred world of order.

  8. Gravatar of Student Student
    18. March 2023 at 12:51

    An interesting coincidence experts in this area might want to think about.

    1.). The raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), the only extant species in the genus Nyctereutes of the family Canidae, is indigenous to East Asia. Its original area of distribution is restricted to the eastern parts of China, Ussuria (Russia), Korea, and Japan. At the beginning of the 20th century, raccoon dogs of the N. p. ussuriensis subspecies were introduced into various territories and republics of the former Soviet Union in an attempt to make fur hunting more profitable.

    2.) A comparison of two virus strains in the Betacoronavirus 1 species bovine coronavirus and human coronavirus OC43 indicated that the two had a most recent common ancestor in the late 19th century, with several methods yielding most probable dates around 1890. The authors speculated that an introduction of the former strain to the human population, rather than influenza, might have caused the 1889 epidemic.

  9. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    18. March 2023 at 13:29


    “He publicly complained that the lab leak theory wasn’t being taken seriously enough, and even signed a letter to that effect.”

    But only to pretend like he was an objective researcher. Read all his work.

    And BTW – it’s an ad hominem argument (“I’m objective and therefore you should believe me”) which should make you even more suspicious particularly when it’s made about oneself by someone who’s been trained in and understands that that type of argument has no place in academic research.

  10. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    18. March 2023 at 13:47


    Can you even state what the “new evidence” is?

  11. Gravatar of Student Student
    18. March 2023 at 14:26


    A baby could understand the evidence… swabs taken from the wuhan market soon after the outbreak show there was a lot of raccoon dog nucleic acid and virus nucleic acid in the same place. It’s far from a smoking gun as it doesn’t tell us why they were in the same spot… but they were in the same spot. The weird detail is that, the sequences soon disappeared from GISAID. Why delete them from the database… especially if the cover up was about a lab leak? Seems like the opposite of what they would want to do if they were covering up a lab leak.

    IMO… demonstrating a link between raccoon dogs and the 1889 Russian “flu” pandemic would be the most convincing evidence. If so, it would show a link between a coronavirus pandemic and raccoon dogs before any viruses were being messed around with at all. It would show, this wasn’t the first time this has happened.

  12. Gravatar of Student Student
    18. March 2023 at 14:45

    From wiki on the Russian “flu” pandemic…

    “In 2021, examination of contemporary medical reports noted that the pandemic’s clinical manifestations resembled those of COVID-19 rather than influenza, with notable similarities including multisystem disease, loss of taste and smell perception, central nervous system symptoms and sequelae similar to long COVID.[6][9][8] Other scientists have pointed to the fact the mortality curve for Russian Flu is J-shaped, as found in COVID-19, with little mortality in the very young and high mortality in the old, rather than the U-shaped mortality found in influenza infections, with high mortality in the very young and very old.”

    We have evidence that the 1889/1890 pandemic could have been caused by OC43 (a corona virus) and that raccoon dogs were introduced at about the same time (10 years is not that far off) in western parts of Russia. If someone could specifically link the introduction of raccoon dogs to the same place where pandemic emerged… that would be quite a coincidence.

  13. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    18. March 2023 at 16:26


    Yes. I know what the evidence was. I was asking Scott if he knew what the evidence was.

    Also note (I’m sure you probably know this)
    1. Virus nucleic acid was found widely throughout the market. In something like 10% of all samples.
    2. All the Virus nucleic acid found in the market was human virus.
    3. Nothing in the evidence gives any indication of whether the virus nucleic acid and tanuki (raccoon dog) nucleic acid arrived in the same spot at anywhere near the same time.
    4. The GISAID data probably disappeared because it was going to be used in an article and the authors didn’t want someone else jumping the gun.
    5. The fact that live raccoon dogs were present in market is nothing new. It was reported by many including Chinese researchers in 2020.
    5. Don’t forget that introduction of raccoon dog to western Russia also coincided with a significant increase in human trade and travel between western Russia and the far east.

  14. Gravatar of Student Student
    18. March 2023 at 16:32


    Good points. But if someone links raccoons dogs to OC43… it game set match IMO. I don’t know if that will happen. Point is, the odds this thing was zoonotic have risen with the new developments.

  15. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    18. March 2023 at 17:03

    dtoh, I know that Fox News reporters routinely pretend to hold views that they do not in fact hold, but most normal people don’t behave that way. To think that that scientist went through a long charade of pretending to hold one set of views in order to gain credibility is pretty far-fetched. Where’s your evidence? In any case, it’s the evidence he presents that I care about, and that has not been refuted.

    As for the new evidence, I’ve always suspected they had raccoon dogs, but the Chinese government was denying it.

    Student, Lots of people think the Chinese government has been promoting the animal market hypothesis, while the truth is they’ve been cover-up evidence pointing to the animal market. Not from the very beginning, but from the point when China began to be blamed for the pandemic. Recall that in February 2020, Trump was highly complimentary of China’s actions, and then suddenly started blaming them for the pandemic in March 2020. (Hmmm, I wonder why?) That’s when the Chinese got defensive.

  16. Gravatar of Student Student
    18. March 2023 at 17:25


    I hear you. I agree.

  17. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    18. March 2023 at 18:01


    The fact that were live raccoon dogs in the market was well established a long time ago.

    The Chinese government denies that the virus came from the market. They also say they the lab leak theory is even less likely. And…they claim the virus did not come from China. Why you would listen to anything they say is beyond me.

    “Where’s your evidence?”
    Read the rest of Worobey’s work. There’s no way you could think him objective if you had.

    “In any case, it’s the evidence he presents that I care about, and that has not been refuted.”

    You don’t even know or understand what the new evidence is or means. Nobody is refuting the evidence at this point, the issue is that the evidence is statistically meaningless and tells us nothing that we didn’t already know.

  18. Gravatar of Kangaroo Kangaroo
    19. March 2023 at 04:51

    Lab Leak Hypothesis:

    LLH has always been and still is implausible at best and ridiculous at worst. Natural virus emergence is widespread and evolutionarily speaking extremely common.

    LLH would need to present extraordinary and irrefutable evidence to overcome the mountain of evidence for natural virus emergence. Given an approximately equal balance of evidence the conclusion would have to be natural.

  19. Gravatar of Stanley Greer Stanley Greer
    19. March 2023 at 09:51

    I don’t have a strong opinion about whether COVID-19 emerged naturally or not. I think it’s an important question, but maybe not in the top five for importance with regard to the entire COVID-19 controversy.

    Scott would have more credibility on COVID if he ever, ever acknowledged having been wrong about anything on this topic. I read this blog religiously, as well as Scott’s contributions on the Econlog blog, and don’t recall ever seeing anything of the kind.

    Scott, what about Sweden? You insisted again and again its anti-lockdown strategy was a failure. One example is linked below, The latest analysis shows that, in fact, Sweden had just about the lowest, if not the lowest, increase in excess mortality from 2020 to 2022 of any OECD country, including the other Scandanativian countries that Scott repeatedly cited as proof Sweden was a failure. Why Sweden’s COVID data should only be compared to those of Scandanavian countries completely mystified me, and Scott never offered a reason why. But now it it is a moot point. A report on the new analysis is also linked below.

    Scott, you occasionally admit you missed the boat on matters related to moentary policy, your actual area of expertise. Why are you such unwilling to admit you have ever, ever been wrong about COVID, when you obviously have. I could cite other examples easily, but I will stick to one for now.

  20. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. March 2023 at 11:15

    dtoh, You tell me he’s not objective, and then provide zero evidence.

    As for “listening to China” I made it very clear I didn’t believe what the Chinese government said, so I have no idea what you are talking about.

    Stanley, Lots of misconceptions in your comment. I never criticized Sweden’s anti-lockdown policies, I criticized their recommendation not to wear masks. I stand by that. I don’t favor lockdowns.

    And when I did the 2020 post that you referred to Sweden’s Covid death rate was far lower than other Nordic countries. So you are being disingenuous in citing a 2023 study to criticize my 2020 post. Obviously the gap narrowed with Omicron.

    Why compare Sweden to other Nordic countries? Ever heard of ceteris paribus?

  21. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. March 2023 at 11:32

    Stanley, And please cite the other examples of where I was wrong about Covid. I need to learn from my mistakes.

  22. Gravatar of Kailer Kailer
    19. March 2023 at 12:11

    It was known that raccoon dogs and several other potential hosts were sold at the market. This was included in the original WHO report. This was based on research later published here:
    The Chinese most certainly did not cover this up.
    The sample with racoon dog DNA also had human dna and the virus was the same as the human version. It was an environmental sample. All this proves is that there were raccoon dogs in the same area as infected animals and humans, but that has been public since Jan 2021.

  23. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    19. March 2023 at 13:48

    If you seriously want to learn more about the issue, see

  24. Gravatar of Stan Greer Stan Greer
    19. March 2023 at 13:52

    You definitely criticized Swedens and other jurisdictions for not pushing hard enough for “social distancing.” You call state sanctioned restrictions on social gatherings “social distancing,” I call them “lockdowns.” Moreover, obviously, the data about the low excess mortality in Sweden during the COVID years undercuts arguments for mandatory masks as much as it does arguments for lockdowns/mandatory “social distancing.” In addition to the “lockdowns” word games, you claim you can’t be criticized for claiming Swedes were dying in droves in 2020, because that’s what the data said at the time. That’s a good reason for you to acknowledge you were relying on questionable data at the time.

    Another area in which you have been extremely wrong is illuminated by the Swedish discussion here. You insisted, again and again, that variations of COVID death rates in countries actually reflected how many people were dying of COVID in different countries. Other people, like me, suggested the disparities were largely if not mostly a reflection of different ways of measuring COVID deaths. The fact that there is little correlation between how many measured COVID deaths a country had between 2020-22 and how much excess mortality it had strongly suggests you were wrong to pooh pooh the practically if not entirely unique laws in the U.S. giving the medical industry a huge incentive to report hospital deaths as being caused by COVID rather than something else.

  25. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    19. March 2023 at 14:03

    You always quote K Anderson research for this theory. Are there no other groups of researchers? The same one who went from lab leak to not a lab leak in 3 days after Fauci intervened.

    The two event markers does sound zoonotic

    After the he just does a lot of low-manning of lab leak ideas and doesn’t refute anything strong.

    And his 99% chance of rural transmission not creating an epidemic doesn’t mean much. Because there’s also orders of magnitude higher chance that a rural person would interact with wild animals. So 1% probability multiplied by 1000 more interactions is still higher than 33% probability. Making up numbers since I don’t know the exact interaction rate increase for rural but seems odd a scientist would use such a weak stat for definitely not a lab leak.

    The issue here is few of us can really do the science. So it ends up being trust me I’m an expert when all these guys have conflicts of interests. A lot of them are getting paid to say not a lab leak. And Scott only quotes this one cluster of scientists.

  26. Gravatar of Stan Greer Stan Greer
    19. March 2023 at 14:05

    Other things being equal, or whatever it is in Latin, is all well and good, but when you reduce the sample from all the OECD to Sweden, Norway and Denmark (and Iceland?), you also get a ridiculously small and unreliable sample. But if the results are congenial to you, who cares?

  27. Gravatar of entirelyuseless entirelyuseless
    19. March 2023 at 14:52

    “May wonder”

    Actually I don’t care what a language model says, or why.

  28. Gravatar of Dave Schuler Dave Schuler
    20. March 2023 at 06:07

    Something is being missed in this discussion. Assumed the zoonotice transmission hypothesis is correct—that’s what the persistence theory would suggest. The persistence theory is always good until it isn’t.

    However, assume zoonotic transmission. Doesn’t that imply that Chinese customs, e.g. lack of dietary taboos, “wet markets”, people living in very close proximity to livestock in rural areas, along with a global economy present a global risk that should be factored into calculations regarding trade with China?

  29. Gravatar of Student Student
    20. March 2023 at 09:15


    It’s a global economy. If the U.S. trades with them or doesn’t, it doesn’t change a thing in the grand scheme of things. Just like shutting down travel with China didn’t do a thing to stop Covid19’s global spread. The world is integrated man. Shooting one’s own foot off doesn’t benefit anyone.

  30. Gravatar of Tom M Tom M
    20. March 2023 at 09:56

    One way or another, SARS-CoV-2 traces back to a bat coronavirus… The new report surrounding the raccoon-dog DNA does not even clarify whether the virus entered the market via an animal or a human being.

    More than a year after Covid-19 began, no food animal has been identified as a reservoir for the pandemic virus. That’s despite efforts by China to test tens of thousands of animals, including pigs, goats, and geese, according to Liang Wannian, who leads the Chinese side of the research team.

    In September 2021, Chinese researchers contended that they had tested 17,000 bats from across the country and hadn’t found a single case of SARS-CoV-2 or any variation of it.

    We know the Wuhan Institute of Virology was conducting gain-of-function research on bat coronavirus genome sequences, and testing them on mice whose lungs had been genetically altered to be more like humans. Chinese documents indicated the lab faced “an acute safety emergency” in November of 2019…

    The NIH has been extremely incompetent in it’s handling of COVID. Honestly, like the former CDC Director just this month, talked about how Anthony Fauci ACTIVELY worked to exclude or silence anyone who failed to go along with his version of the pandemic origins. If you’re a scientist, which Anthony Fauci clearly is not, would you not have an interest in learning about the origins?

    They took Redfield off the COVID response because he refused to go along with the chosen narrative at the time. The NIH specifically commissioned a study to show why the virus could not have been leaked from a lab. Weird to have the conclusion, prior to conducting the study. This was used as the only piece of evidence Dr. Fauci referenced early on on COVID origins.

    Dr. Fauci, knowingly lied under oath to congress (NIH not admits to funding gain of function research via EcoHealth Alliance). So strange that this information comes to light, after the house flips to Republican’s who now have the ability to hold their own investigations. Guess it could just be another weird coincidence.

    They knowingly lied about the vaccine’s ability to reduce transmission, as pointed out by the Pfizer executive. They knowingly pushed falsehoods about the vaccine for months/years at this point. Dr. Fauci still is going on TV and pushing vaccine boosters for the general population, which at this point is hilarious. Not until 50% of your body is made up of vaccine will they stop. Cant’ wait to see what board of director role Fauci lands after a few months.

    Science isn’t about narrative, anytime you have “experts” calling for the silencing of other experts for different view, that should be a red flag. I mean the NIH went out of its way to specifically try to target individuals looking for grants/funding to research COVID origins UNLESS those individuals were already on their list of pre-approved “experts” who publicly had already claimed their belief the virus originated from an animal. I.E. Kristian Andersen – anyone who looks at that sequence of events, without questioning the legitimacy… I have a bridge in brooklyn to sell you.

    All of this could 100% absolutely be coincidence and a combination of the “experts” being massively incompetent. The desire to silence dissenting opinions always sets off alarm bells. Let’s have a few hearings, get all this information out in the open, bring Fauci and other members of the NIH under and dare them to perjure themselves.

  31. Gravatar of Tom M Tom M
    20. March 2023 at 10:00

    P.S. SouthPark had a GREAT episode about chat bots/gpt 😀

  32. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    21. March 2023 at 06:22

    Now do the Epstein suicide.

  33. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    21. March 2023 at 09:58

    Everyone, I can see by the discredited “research” all of you are citing that you are living in a conspiratorial anti-Chinese bubble. You might want to get out and explore other perspectives.

    BTW, the evidence in the new report goes well beyond “raccoon dogs were in the market.” If you aren’t aware of that, then read the report. The raccoon dogs were in the specific location where a high concentration of environmental Covid samples were found.

    Kailer, You said:

    “It was known that raccoon dogs and several other potential hosts were sold at the market. . . . The Chinese most certainly did not cover this up.”

    My blog seems to be attracting an unusual number of uninformed commenters. Here’s Vox:

    “Beijing maintained that no illegal animals — like raccoon dogs — were being sold at the market, even though researchers in June 2021 published a study documenting that sales were occurring up through late 2019 at the least.”

    dtoh, You are citing Alex Washburne? And you complain about who I cite. (Yeah, I’ve seen his “research”.)

    Stan, Repeating lies about my views doesn’t make them true. I did not support lockdowns, I supported voluntary social distancing. And I stand by my claims on relative Covid death rates. Excess mortality data is very useful but should be viewed with caution. The fact that initially successful countries got hit hard by Omicron in 2022 doesn’t mean their approach wasn’t successful in 2020.

    In many posts, I argued that government mandates had little impact on death rates in most places. Cultural differences were more important. (I’m excluding zero covid places like New Zealand.)

    Sean, You said:

    “You always quote K Anderson research for this theory.”

    Huh? I quoted Worobey, not Andersen. The lab leak community is obsessed by the fact that Andersen changed his mind. So what? People change their minds all the time.

    Dave, You asked:

    “Doesn’t that imply that Chinese customs, e.g. lack of dietary taboos, “wet markets”, people living in very close proximity to livestock in rural areas, along with a global economy present a global risk that should be factored into calculations regarding trade with China?”

    Obviously not.

    Tom, You said:

    “Let’s have a few hearings”

    By the Republicans in Congress who have been putting out fake evidence against the Chinese? Or scientists who know the field?

    “Chinese documents indicated the lab faced “an acute safety emergency” in November of 2019…”

    If you are going to put forth totally discredited “evidence” then don’t expect me to take you seriously. You might want to go beyond Fox News when getting your information.

    Brian, You asked:

    “Now do the Epstein suicide.”

    OK: Epstein committed suicide, obviously. I would have done the same. Who in their right mind wouldn’t have?

  34. Gravatar of Tom M Tom M
    21. March 2023 at 12:08


    What fake evidence did the Republican congress put out? Sorry I haven’t seen anything.

    I did notice that when democrats had control of congress, they were happy to spend most of their time drumming up fake evidence on Trump/Russia Collusion and January 6th.

    After what likely amounts to millions of man hours investigating Trump, the most they’ll come after him for is possible campaign finance issues stemming from a $130K payment?? LOL!

    I don’t mind the investigations into Trump, I think the opposition party should do things like that. Republicans should investigate the Biden family the way Democrats did Trump. If you disagree, I’d be curious to know why?

    RE: “Acute Safety Emergency” – That isn’t discredited evidence, at most you could say its ambiguous because the WHO tried to obfuscate what happened (clearly not an unbiased party in this).

    The fact that people are SO against looking into the origin, should cause a red flag – if it doesn’t, you’re part of the sheeple class of society. I’m not even saying they it came from a lab leak, but why do so many people start to sweat every time it’s even mentioned. Anthony Fauci looks like he’s about to have a full on panic attack any time he has to talk about the possibility.

    You think the government and “experts” aren’t capable of lying? You don’t believe in ANY conspiracy theories? Lol, the government is just batting 1000%?

    Epstein committed suicide “obviously”… yeah, it is was so obvious that Epstein Island didn’t exist back in the 90s/2000s when “crazy conspiracy theorists” new about it. You probably thought the government was telling the truth when past administrations said they weren’t collecting data on US Citizens 😀

  35. Gravatar of Stan Greer Stan Greer
    21. March 2023 at 12:31

    If voluntary social distancing is all you wanted, Scott, why blame “Sweden” back in 2020 for not doing enough social distancing, If the government isn’t responsible for social distancing, then government policy is immaterial. But you assumed it was.

    Also , whoy when I tried to get you to critize Australia and New Zealand for their draconinan lockdowns a year or a year and a half ago, you refused to do so?

    You were awfully quiet about your opposition to lockdowns until 2022, I can’t remember your saying a word against them in 2020 or 2021, when it actually mattered.

    I do remember your saying lockdowns make no difference, because people were so terrified they would stay inside whether they were forced to or not. That stance does not manifest any opposition to lockdowns as far as I am concerned.

    You were dead wrong about the lack of importance of lockdowns, anyway. I can elaborate about that some other time.

    Your assumption that omicron can explain away all the discrepancies between overall excess mortality (a much, much more reliable statistic than “COVID deaths”) in countries that did “volutnary social distancing” (like Australia, which you praised time and again! and New Zealand, ditto) and those that didn’t has no statistical basis.

  36. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    21. March 2023 at 14:56

    “The raccoon dogs were in the specific location where a high concentration of environmental Covid samples were found.”


    What do you mean by a high concentration?

    Do you know in how many locations there were there was a “high concentration” of Covid samples.

    Do you you know in how many locations there were raccoon dogs samples.

    Do you know when the racccoon dog genetic material was deposited? December 2019? October? 2018? 2010?

    Was it raccoon dog Covid? Has Covid ever been found in raccoon dogs?

    If you were to sample the street outside my apartment you could find racoon dog genetic material and human covid genetic material in the same sample.

  37. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    22. March 2023 at 08:05

    Hi Stan Greer:
    You said

    You were awfully quiet about your opposition to lockdowns until 2022, I can’t remember your saying a word against them in 2020 or 2021, when it actually mattered.

    A 10 second search of the website turned up:

  38. Gravatar of Stan Greer Stan Greer
    22. March 2023 at 08:38

    I admit that I forgot about this comment. I apologize for the oversight. However, it does not really explain away your praise of Australia and New Zealand, which you called COVID-19 “successes” even as jack-booted lockdown tactics were being deployed routinely against ordinary citizens.

    Moreover, your 2021 exchange with Bryan Caplan, in which you said you were “concerned” about mandatory vaccines and masks and other COVID restrictions, including presumably lockdowns, though you didn’t think them important enough to mention specifically, certainly doesn’t show a strong supporter of civil liberties. You chuckled about how anyone who objects to being forced to wear a mask is a neurotic, as far as you’re concerned, while “generously” acknowledging that others may have other opinions. And you said COVID restrictions were less of a problem than at least 100 other restrictions on civil liberties.

    It’s as if, during the 1960’s, someone said, “I understand Martin Luther King’s concerns about state-mandated segregation, but really, why focus on this when there are a hundred bigger problems? Then, during the 1970’s, that person depicted himself as a strong supporter of civil rights.

    That’s about what I think of you and your “oppostion” to lockdowns.

    You also explicitly endorsed bans on intercity travel in 2020.

  39. Gravatar of Stan Greer Stan Greer
    22. March 2023 at 08:42

    Forced masking in schools created enormous problems for kids who were lucky enough to be in schoo at all. And by all evidence this forced masking was medically useless. I don’t know if even you are crazy enough to claim otherwise. You never said a word about it. So no, I don’t think you have a stellar record with regard to COVID.

  40. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    22. March 2023 at 10:20

    Raccoon dogs were the first guess of the German Corona researcher with the most renomee (Mr. Drosten). It is certainly a possible theory. Drosten, however, can also be roughly assigned to the Peter Daszak group. So critical distance cannot be guaranteed with certainty. He settled on a hypothesis relatively early on, and who likes to row back completely? Nevertheless, I consider him to be fairly respectable.

    What is supposed to be implausible about LLH? How about some arguments for once? LLH explains perfectly plausible why it happen exactly in Wuhan. NVH does not.

    The Natural Virus Hypothesis (NVH) has to explain why this new type of virus, with its very new ability to infect people on a mass airborne basis, appeared in the very place where exactly this type of “research” was being conducted.

    Of course, it can be an incredible coincidence, roughly in the dimensions of a jackpot lottery win. Who can rule that out for sure? But it’s not a hypothesis that regulators or law enforcement will find most likely at the end of the day.

    U.S. laboratory oversight now assumes LLH, and so does the FBI. Of course, NVH is still possible, but arguments in that direction would be useful.

  41. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    22. March 2023 at 11:02

    Everyone, I can see by the discredited “research” all of you are citing that you are living in a conspiratorial anti-Chinese bubble. You might want to get out and explore other perspectives.


    you’ll probably say, as usual, that I completely misunderstood you. (Could be true).

    But: Hasn’t your position over the last few months always been that Animal Market Theory is supposedly hurting China and its government much much more than the Lab Leak Theory, and that we’re all massively underestimating how much the Animal Market Theory is being covered up?

    So, according to your position, Animal Market Theory is way more anti-Chinese and we, the Lab Leak Theory advocates are doing China a pro-Chinese favor. So, if at all, it’s a pro-Chinese bubble.

    At least stay coherent in your reasoning.

  42. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    22. March 2023 at 16:14

    Tom, The GOP said records showed an emergency at the lab in November 2019. No such records exist. If you don’t know about these fiascos, then re-evaluate where you get your news.

    Sorry if I don’t follow you into all your crazy Epstein conspiracy theories; I like to stay in the real world.

    Investigations of Biden? Sure, the more the merrier. I don’t like Biden; he’s a lousy president. (But not the worst president in US history.)

    dtoh, You keep nitpicking the animal market evidence, meanwhile there is not a single shred of evidence pointing to the lab. Nothing at all. Every single thing cited by the lab leakers has been thoroughly discredited. Sure it may have been the lab (say a 10% chance), but Occam’s Razor suggests the market is the most plausible source. That’s where the first cases were—that’s where previous outbreaks began. Why not accept the obvious?

    Stan, You don’t think Australia and NZ succeeded in keeping fatalities at ultra-low levels during 2020 and 2021? Just because I cite one success doesn’t mean I agree with everything they did. I don’t support all policies in any country.

    As for masks, the evidence that they work is overwhelming. Why do you think doctors wear them?

    You are right that I view mask mandates (which weren’t even enforced) as being less serious than 400,000 Americans in prison for drug violations. I’m not a fan of mask mandates, seatbelt laws, etc., but I blog on what I view as most important. Drugs, zoning, trade, abortion, immigration, etc. These are the big freedom issues, and conservatives are on the wrong side of all of them.

    “You were dead wrong about the lack of importance of lockdowns,”

    I said Sweden’s recession was as bad as the other Nordic countries, which happens to be true.

    Christian, You said:

    “you’ll probably say, as usual, that I completely misunderstood you.”


    “Hasn’t your position over the last few months always been that Animal Market Theory is supposedly hurting China and its government much much more than the Lab Leak Theory”

    Nope, my position is that people think the lab leak is worse, but objectively speaking the animal market is far worse.

    As for your other comment, the incredible coincidence would be that the outbreak occurred right where there’s the sort of animal market that caused previous outbreaks, and miles away from the Wuhan lab. So if your argument is based on geography . . .

    BTW, lots of other Chinese cities have virus research labs. Beijing has four of them.

  43. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    22. March 2023 at 17:49

    Nope, my position is that people think the lab leak is worse, but objectively speaking the animal market is far worse.”


    This is indeed a fair summary of your position.

    However, “worse” and “better” are obvious subjective human evaluation categories. Everyone finds something else worse or better.

    In this case, you admit yourself that people think lab leak is worse. So far so correct.

    Then you carry out an astonishing intellectual train of thought, where you name your subjective evaluation, which you then declare without further ado to be “objective”, which from your point of view has the consequence that the subjective opinions of the people may be evaluated as inferior and your own subjective opinion as “objectively” speaking. Wow. This is so grotesque.

    Rorty would either be shocked or he would laugh himself to death. Well, he probably wouldn’t even be surprised. He would probably just think: Humans are really something, and some humans especially.

    BTW, lots of other Chinese cities have virus research labs. Beijing has four of them.

    It is pretty established from my point of view that the most important corona research took place in Wuhan. That this laboratory was the most important. That Shi Zhengli is the most important corona researcher in the whole country of China. That the controversial Corona gain-of-function “research”, sponsored by America, was centered in this lab. And that there have been perhaps a maximum of four other labs in the world doing this kind of Corona research, probably none of them in China, or at most one other.

    Imagine a large virus research laboratory for simian immunodeficiency viruses. The most important laboratory in the world. It doesn’t matter where, it could be anywhere, in Miami, in Houston, in Moscow, in Wuhan, it doesn’t matter. And it conducts highly controversial gain-of-function “research” on these viruses. And then HIV breaks out right in that very city. Exactly in that city. Not in the jungle or somewhere else. No, right in this city. Then you’d be skeptical, too.

    My impression after three years continues to be that this very place was indeed Wuhan (purely by chance), and not Moscow or Houston or Miami. My impression continues to be that this still clouds your critical judgment and your critical distance a lot. It’s hard to come back from this position, I understand that.

    By the way, you also know that U.S. laboratory oversight now assumes LLH, and so does the FBI.

    What are your theories on this? Are these people idiots? Political hacks? From which camp? Do they live in a bubble? Do they hate China? Do they hate China since yesterday? What about the two or three years before that? Are these the same FBI people who were so brave and so right against Trump? What are your theories on that? How do you fit that into your thought structure? This is really amazing.

  44. Gravatar of Adam Adam
    23. March 2023 at 03:32

    There was also fish DNA and coronavirus positive samples but no one is claiming the virus came from fish. The sample was obviously collected from a stall who sold fish and shed viral particles.

    If we know that it is possible to sell something and it not being the origin of the virus — why is the racoon dog any different?

    These samples were collected in January when the virus was already spreading in early December and probably November. What are we really learning from a human COVID sample a month and half after the virus was already in the the market.

  45. Gravatar of Student Student
    23. March 2023 at 08:42

    Folks… it seems like a lot of you are misunderstanding the evidence. The fact that viral dna (I believe it was technically just nucleic acid but dna is easier to type and understand) was highly co-located with raccoon dog dna is important because it is a candidate animal for cross-over to humans… like pigs, chickens, cattle, goats, sheep, camels, pangolins, bats, civets, ferrets, and rodents and such. Why the evidence is important is because raccoon dogs are a potential candidate for a cross-over event and viral dna was present in high concentrations very near them in the market where that seems to have played a key role in the event. While it is no smoking gun… it is correlational evidence between a candidate animal and human transmission.

  46. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    23. March 2023 at 10:43

    This is even worse than I thought. Oh my god. They found out that there were animals on an animal market. That’s it, that’s all. And that is now the proof that it is a zoonosis. Oh my God, that is the level that these people have gotten to now. It’s so incredibly stupid, it’s mind-boggling. Are you people actually serious or have you all lost your minds?

  47. Gravatar of Student Student
    23. March 2023 at 11:34

    No they found viral dna co-located with raccoon dog dna. Not just animals, a specific animal in a specific place in the market. It’s more like a cell phone ping of a guy from Washington state being found across the street in Idaho from a house full of girls where someone was murdered.

  48. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    23. March 2023 at 11:47

    Dude, they did simple swabs. You will find dozens to hundreds of DNA parts there. And parts of it, of course, were the animals that live there plus the plague that was raging there at the time. Proof for anything??? It doesn’t get any more absurd and partisan than this.

  49. Gravatar of Student Student
    23. March 2023 at 11:55

    Then point out other candidate animals where such swabs existed. And make a contribution.

  50. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    23. March 2023 at 16:55

    The possible animal species have been known since the outbreak of the disease. Researcher Drosten said at that time that the Chinese government should please let him in, then he would focus on civets and racoon dogs in farms, detect the actual virus there and then one can “back-calculate” relatively well via various methods based on the evolutionary development whether it is a zoonosis or not.

    He was never allowed to enter the country. Relevant investigations by international experts have never been allowed. The Chinese government blocks everything until today. The degree of suppression of any serious investigation is mindboggling.

    What has been evaluated now, three years later, are swabs that prove there were animals on the animal market. You don’t do that because it makes much sense, but only because you are not allowed to collect data otherwise. The gain in knowledge is very close to zero. If you don’t want to realize that, then I can’t help you.

  51. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    24. March 2023 at 10:50

    Christian, As usual, your comment is full of nonsense. But this takes the cake:

    “What are your theories on this? Are these people idiots?”

    Take a look at the evidence provided by our intelligence services in support of lab leak. It’s pathetic. (BTW, four of our six intelligence services favor zoonotic. Are they idiots?)

    “They found out that there were animals on an animal market. That’s it, that’s all.”

    When you say things this stupid, don’t expect to be taken seriously.

    “Are these the same FBI people who were so brave and so right against Trump?”

    LOL, the head of the FBI was appointed by Trump.

  52. Gravatar of Stanley Greer III Stanley Greer III
    25. March 2023 at 13:39

    The fact that there was some news report at some time agreeing with you is not substantial evidence that you were right. Sensible people change their views over time if the evidence changes.

    Sensible people also believe that the number of COVID-19 fatalities is not the ONLY criterion to be considered in assessing the success or failure of COVID-19 policies. The fact that you called Australia and New Zealand “successes” in the midst of the human rights disasters stemmimng from their lockdowns shows you’re not a serious person on this subject. I continue to read your comments on monetary policy with interest.

    Overall, Sweden’s excess mortality during COVID was less than Australia’s or New Zealands. High omicron fatalities in the latter two countries cannot possibly explain this. How do you explain it?

    Overall, the states that practiced the most “social distancing” have suffered much longer slumps in their employment levels (employment in NY and CA is still far below their Feb. 2020 levels, whereas FL and TX are far above their Feb 2020 levels) without saving any lives. So it is not true that people n FL and TX remained locked int heir homes in terror in late 2020, even though their governors said they could go back to work safely. They went back to work, while people in NY and CA couldn’t,even if they thought they were safe.

    So I reaffirm that you were dead wrong about lockdowns not making any difference economically.

  53. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    25. March 2023 at 17:56

    Staley, Reading Australia and NZ, there’s no shame in having problems with reading comprehension, but please don’t blame me for your problems.

    And Florida and Texas were already far more fast growing states than California and NY, even before Covid. They have more pro-growth economic policies.

    Your data is pretty meaningless.

    BTW, I live in California and my life went on pretty normally during Covid. I certainly was not “locked in my home”. Perhaps you live in a sort of media fantasy land.

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