Will the COVID lab leak theory be proven by 2025?
21
188
1k
2025
4%
chance

This market is supplimental to "Did COVID-19 come from a laboratory?":

https://manifold.markets/IsaacKing/did-covid19-come-from-a-laboratory

Did COVID-19 come from a laboratory?
75% chance. This market resolves once we have a definitive answer to this question. (i.e. "I've looked at all notable evidence presented by both sides and have upwards of 98% confidence that a certain conclusion is correct, and it doesn't seem likely that any further relevant evidence will be forthcoming any time soon.") This will likely not occur until many years after Covid is no longer a subject of active political contention, and motivations for various actors to distort or hide inconvenient evidence have died down. I will be conferring with the community extensivly before resolving this market, to ensure I haven't missed anything and aren't being overconfident in one direction or another. As some additional assurance, see @/IsaacKing/will-my-resolution-of-the-covid19-l (For comparison, the level of evidence in favor of anthropogenic climate change would be sufficient, despite the existance of a few doubts here and there.) If we never reach a point where I can safely be that confident either way, it'll remain open indefinitely. (And Manifold lends you your mana back after a few months, so this doesn't negativly impact you.) "Come from a laboratory" includes both an accidental lab leak and an intentional release. It also counts if COVID was found in the wild, taken to a lab for study, and then escaped from that lab without any modification. It just needs to have actually been "in the lab" in a meaningful way. A lab worker who was out collecting samples and got contaminated in the wild doesn't count, but it does count if they got contaminated later from a sample that was supposed to be safely contained. In the event of multiple progenitors, this market resolves YES only if the lab leak was plausibly responsible for the worldwide pandemic. It won't count if the pandemic primarily came from natural sources and then there was also a lab leak that only infected a few people. I won't bet in this market.

I found a few problems with main COVID market including a long resolution threshold (17 years) and an inactive market creator. I believe the long resolution time might be the primary culprit for the YES market skew.

Resolution Criteria

This market will resolve as YES if clear and definitive evidence is presented by investigators of a lab leak. Evidence of the potential for a leak including evidence of irregular or faulty containment practices... will not be regarded as evidence of a leak. This evidence needs to be widely accepted by the scientific community (>95%) and by the political leadership of >80% of the world's countries. I would interpret moves by global health organizations to develop new standards for funding, containment, communication... as potential evidence that the global political leadership was starting to accept the leak theory as probable.

This market resolves as NO if any theory for zoonotic origin gains near universal scientific acceptance to explain the origin for SARS-CoV-2 (>95%). This market would also resolve as NO if there is no clear and definitive YES resolution by the close market date.

This market will only resolve as YES or NO.


Clarifications: Both a scientific and political consensus are required for a YES resolution. I understand that it might raise the bar slightly but this kind of consensus is not without precedent. I have also clarified the terms of the political consensus as requiring ">80% of the world's countries".

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>80% polttical leadership and >95% scientific community? Anthropogenic climate change doesn't have either of those. Those are insanely high criteria especially for something as divisive as this.

@ShadowyZephyr I was under the impression that anthropogenic climate change is supported by roughly 97% of scientists? Definitely agree that political leadership is nowhere near 80%, though.

predicts NO

Maybe 80% of heads of state, weighted by population?

@ShadowyZephyr There is a general consensus on the existence of viruses and pandemics that easily fit both those criteria. Most of our shared reality as humans easily meets those criteria. In this case, I don't believe a scientific consensus will be achieved until there's a significant political consensus.

I think your issue might also be with the shorter resolution deadline. Is 2025 a realistic deadline for achieving a general consensus on this issue? It might be. 2027? 2030? 2040? 2060? 3330?

predicts NO

@evergreenemily I think it’s 97% of climate scientists, not of the general scientific community (though maybe it’s not far off).

bought Ṁ100 of NO

It seems clear how you’re going to resolve this so betting NO.

@NicoDelon You should bet with your convictions. I will be resolving this as YES if the criteria are met.

bought Ṁ0 of YES

@marnet My belief is that you’re unlikely to resolve YES based on the sort of evidence I would find conclusive (the political leadership condition, for instance, is just bizarre). My beliefs about the relative real world probabilities don’t track the probabilities this market should be at given your criteria.

bought Ṁ10 of NO

@NicoDelon I can lower the threshold for political acceptance to 65% if that would make more sense. It's a global issue so I'd expect global political leadership to have an opinion on the matter.

@Joshua can you elaborate? Do you mean auto-resolution using wikipedia?

predicts NO

@Joshua Pretty disappointed in that article (and surprised by what they’re letting stick there that they would otherwise edit out). But that’s of course more like common ground.

predicts NO

@marnet Well, I’m not sure you should change (as opposed to clarify) the resolution criteria after people have placed bets. More substantively, I find the introduction of political leadership just plainly irrelevant to the facts (but it’s just me being distrustful of governments as sources of information, let alone arbiters of truth). Your markets, your rules. I’m just telling you why I’m betting the way I am.

@NicoDelon I will clarify that the political consensus would be required in addition to the scientific consensus. That was my intention and it's not something unreasonable or novel when you consider that there is a global political consensus on climate change in addition to the scientific consensus.