“SA, I cannot see how it would be possible to prove that this or any of the recent viruses didn’t escape from a biolab, and there have been multiple previous escapes.”
You have just repeated what I said earlier which is that absence of proof is not proof of absence. This is an attempt to shift the onus on someone to refute an accusation rather than providing substance for the accusation. CTs use this device often. So let us look at the possibilities:
1. That this is a bioweapon developed by the Chinese that escaped and a coverup followed.
2. That this is a bioweapon developed by the US and released in China deliberately.
3. That this is an accidental release from a biolab in Wuhan.
I hope that we can agree that we are only considering 3 as a possibility and that previous discussions have shown that this is not a bioweapon and therefore we shall only consider accidental release of the virus.
Prerequisites to the accidental release of such a virus is the existence of a pathogenic virus accidentally isolated in the lab that was capable of infecting humans and that working on this virus was hidden from scrutiny and that this escape was covered up. We would then have to explain as to why the Chinese scientific community has covered up such a serious fact having discovered such a potentially dangerous pathogen. In the case of previous laboratory escapes there were valid reasons for the pathogens being present in these labs, and their presence was fully acknowledged. These are not secret biolabs but medical and biological biolabs, subject to international registrations and submissions. There are also treaties regarding biological weapons which I believe China has signed but the USA has not ratified. As far as I know the Chinese have no record of developing bioweapons whereas other countries, notably the US and Israel, have and these countries also have military biolabs.
In biolabs you will have to have the approval to works with certain pathogens with approval from national and international authorities. So the first thing if you postulate the presence of the pathogen in the lab, before it was spread is that there was a conspiracy to work secretly with a potentially dangerous pathogen by the Chinese. This to me counts as a conspiracy theory.
You then have to postulate the purpose of a medical scientific biolab having the pathogen: is it to study its possible effect to understand mechanisms of disease or in order to develop a vaccine or something else not nefarious? There is very little evidence for any of this.
When you look at the past history of accidental laboratory release you will find that the research on these were not secret it was very clear that the labs were working on this for example to develop a vaccine, and that negligence led to escape. These were recognised quickly because it is very important to do so in order to get over the unknown possible consequences.
If you also look at the current concerns about the covid-19 being a lab escape, none of these have come from established scientific communities, but have been led by politicians and conspiracy theorists.
I hope you understand what I am trying to say. The problem here is that despite the lockdown, I have so many things to get on with than trying to refute conspiracy theories based on circumstantial evidence of a biolab being nearby. I take your point that it highlights the dangers of these biolabs and that is an important message, but in the current crisis it does not appear to help international collaboration to control the virus to carry on with this unsubstantiated accusation.