Will a $100k "Rootclaim Challenge" debate btw Peter Miller and Saar Wilf on the origins of COVID-19 go ahead in 2023?
resolved Oct 29

Rootclaim is an organisation, founded by Saar Wilf, that performs analysis and makes truth claims on various, possibly controversial matters. One current such claim is that COVID-19 originated in a lab leak, with high probability.

Rootclaim has a standing offer called the Rootclaim challange, in which someone who disagrees with their analysis may challenge them to a debate judged by professional judges, with each party having $100,000 at stake.

No such debate has yet taken place.

AstralCodexTen commentor Peter Miller (who goes by the handle BSP9000) is currently considering taking them up on the offer, on the topic of whether COVID-19 originate in a lab leak. They and Saar Wilf are currently attempting to find judges.

Will such a debate go ahead in 2023?

This market will resolve YES if a debate largely matching the spirit of the Rootclaim challange, with approximately $100,000 at stake, goes ahead this year. Reduced stakes will not count, other than as needed to pay for the costs of the judges and other costs relating to the debate itself, which is stipulated as part of the challange.

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I understand the judges won’t be named until after a decision is made but can we know anything about them and/or how they were selected?

predicted YES

@NicoDelon I can't name the judges, not sure I can say much about them. We looked for smart people in several ways. There was that reddit post but we also found some candidates on a site where scientists offer freelance services, I e-mailed a few candidates directly, and we talked to a few people who were recommended to us. The best candidates did an interview with me and Rootclaim. There were double digit numbers of potential judges found, but less than 10 were interviewed. We had unanimous agreement on the 2 best qualified judges and were in pretty good agreement on how we ranked the others.

predicted YES
predicted YES

I'm the guy challenging Rootclaim (this site's cool with insider trading, right?)

The judges are picked out and both sides have their money in escrow. Debate should start before November, but further delays could be possible if there are unexpected issues.

It will be 3 debate sessions held in front of 2 judges. The judges won't be named and videos won't be released until after the final decision is made. That should probably be some time in December. Each judge is allowed to vote for lab leak, natural origin, or undecided. Pay-out will be 100k for a unanimous decision. One judge undecided and one judge voting in one direction will be 50k. Split decision or both judges undecided means no one wins anything. Judges are strongly encouraged to make a decision one way or the other.

That should be enough details for betting on the outcome, but let me know if there are any questions.

I'm not sure if it's possible to rename a market, but maybe it would be better to change these to my name instead of my reddit account.

@PeterMillerc030 Have you written your arguments publicly anywhere?

predicted YES

@Akzzz123 The first blog post I wrote about lab leak is here:

That's a bit out of date, I've done 9 months of research since then. I'll be presenting a longer and better version at the debate and I'll release my slide decks with all the information after the debate is over. But that post should still give a fair overview.

I also wrote a few shorter posts, since then. I think the most recent was on the "3 sick researchers at the WIV", when Shellenberger announced 3 names on substack:

@PeterMillerc030 Thanks for sharing. If that post is what you are going by I am not too confident about your chances. I would expect even high school students to look through some of the blatant flaws in Worobey's arguments yet you uncritically repeat them. I don't see this ending in your favour.

predicted YES

@Akzzz123 Well then you should probably bet against me. It looks like you've got 34,000 mana bet in Isaac King's "is covid a lab leak?" market and you can only bring yourself to bet 200 against me? That doesn't sound confident at all. Maybe you should move the 34,000 to betting whether or not I will win the Rootclaim challenge. This contest should resolve one way or another before the end of the year, and then you'll have lots of fake money.

I think it would be awesome if I could bet real money on this issue at 20% odds and make 5 times my money when I win. Sadly, the best I found was Rootclaim's challenge at 50/50.


I am ready to meet your bets here. There's only so much one can buy without pushing the price too low.


predicted YES

@Akzzz123 It's at 26% right now. That's free money, right? It would be free money at even 10%, if I'm wrong.

You've put in less than 300 mana. That's worth less than 3 dollars. I'm betting $100,000 of my own real money that I'm right. I'm the man in the arena, you're just some random conspiracy theorist with 3 dollars to spare.

Surely you can try harder than that.

@PeterMillerc030 I don't even know whether you're the person debating Rootclaim and the more you talk the more I'm moving towards that you're not.

predicted YES

@Akzzz123 Yes, maybe you've found another conspiracy. I struggle to keep up with your powerful critical thinking.

@PeterMillerc030 if you prove you're the Reddit user by writing a reddit comment saying as much, I'll rename the markets. Thanks for the comment! Looking forward to the debate.

predicted YES

@chrisjbillington Thanks, Chris. It looks like that reddit user left a new comment in the old thread.

bought Ṁ60 of YES


predicted YES

@chrisjbillington Does this resolve when the debate commences, or finishes, or how do you plan to decide this?

@PeterMillerc030 let's say that if it commences but doesn't finish for whatever reason, I'll still resolve this market YES, but the market on the outcome may be delayed or N/Ad depending on if the debate is rescheduled or cancelled.

bought Ṁ100 of YES

@chrisjbillington One debate has occurred. It will be a while before this is over and the videos are public, though.

predicted YES

@chrisjbillington Let me know if you need more evidence than that to resolve this market.

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