Conspiracy theories update.

It doesn’t seem to me that there’s actually much new evidence suggesting that the coronavirus came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. There’s now a confirmed record of safety concerns about the lab. That evidence moves the dial a bit, I guess, but there’s nothing directly tying the virus to the lab.

What this news does illuminate is that the lab-accident theory has been plausible this whole time, while we’ve been calling people conspiracy theorists and banning them fromĀ social media for saying so. It is in fact deeply suspicious that a bat coronavirus started spreading among humans a few miles away from China’s top lab for studying bat coronaviruses and the threat they pose to humans.

Mind you, most of these people are sloppy – they drew overly certain conclusions from weak evidence, made unjustified claims about the virus being a genetically engineered bioweapon, and so on. But people make sloppy arguments all the time – should we really be deplatforming people for spreading a theory that might be substantially true?

One thing’s for sure: If at some point good evidence emerges that the virus did come from the lab, I’ll have to drop my claim that no fringe conspiracy theory has ever turned out to be right.