If you read my last article at BizCatalyst – you might be forgiven for thinking that I am on a bit of a roll. This is yet another article to ask – nay, plead with everyone to stop, think, smell the roses, wait … anything before pushing out stuff into the ether that really makes no sense.
Forty minutes ago I received an email from a group I belong to. It’s a prestigious group, and some members have names that you would recognize if I shared them. They are not stupid people.
Within thirty minutes, I had clicked through the links, speed read the material, had completed my research and sent an email back into the group. By the time BizCatalyst receives this article. less than an hour will have passed since receipt. So it doesn’t take a lot of time.
The message I received contained this extract from someone called ‘Dr, Breggin’. I confess I had never heard of him – so part of that 30 minutes was looking into him.
In 2015, American researchers and Chinese Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers collaborated to transform an animal coronavirus into one that can attack humans. Scientists from prestigious American universities and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) worked directly with the two coauthor researchers from Wuhan Institute of Virology, Xing-Yi Ge and Zhengli-Li Shi. The team succeeded in modifying a bat coronavirus to make it capable of attacking human hosts.
The claim amplifies the ongoing rumor that COVID-19 is a virus created by humans and maybe even as a weapon of war. The writer of the email then added that they had just seen PBS Newshour and they were talking about this very topic.
PBS should know better – I will try to catch it later … but like CBS – they do seem to lack simple fact-checking – and do devote a little too much to me towards what I call ‘biased balance’ … (My piece on CBS fact checking)
Meanwhile – if he (Breggin) is anything – he is (from his site)
… a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and former Consultant at NIMH who has been called “The Conscience of Psychiatry” for his many decades of successful efforts to reform the mental health field.
I am not sure of the overlap between that background and unearthing this story.
Also on his own site, his latest media interview listed is from 2016 – maybe he needed to kick start his career?
Meanwhile, I notice that Quackwatch (Your Guide to Quackery, Health Fraud, and Intelligent Decisions) has this to say about the Good Doctor.
Now, I’m not saying he’s wrong – after-all – as I reported in my newsletter this week …Nearly a third of Americans believe a coronavirus conspiracy theory – and fully 23% believe that it was made by humans – so who am I to disagree?
BUT – putting PBS, CBS et al aside – I am reading nothing about this in places like Vox, The Intercept, The Guardian AlJazeera, Mother Jones .. to name a few .. places where rigor is employed along with great reporting and not worrying too much about calling out people and going against the grain of ’the message’.
If I am wrong can you please share those links.
BTW – in conclusion, if you look at the research paper that Breggin himself references here, you can scroll to the bottom there is a ‘change history’ paragraph.
30 March 2020 Editors’ note, March 2020
We are aware that this article is being used as the basis for unverified theories that the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 was engineered. There is no evidence that this is true; scientists believe that an animal is the most likely source of the coronavirus.
I am not a scientist or a researcher or a medical person … just a guy who looks at stuff and when it doesn’t seem right – sometimes looks a little deeper.
Bottom line – just a plea and to highlight that fakes news, of any kind, wins when we don’t pay attention.
And again, this is not a statement that the claim is absolutely false. BUT – nothing I have seen from any reputable source anywhere in the world supports the claim. As I said in the original email – if I am wrong – please send me some links and references.