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I've never been super invested in this debate, but to me one of the most striking features is that almost all the evidence we have available is filtered through people who have a strong incentive for bias in favour of the zoonosis side. The chinese establishment seems to favour a variant of zoonosis with a heavy implication of coming from somewhere abroad, the local chinese lab favors zoonosis for obvious reasons, and even the global biomedical establishment is hardly unbiased on the matter. Further, I find the justifications on the biggest coincidence, the failed grant for a similar furin-cleavage site, very poor - I'm literally currently working on a project which I failed a grant on. I know how labs operate in the west and almost all of the claims that they would never do this or that are ... just BS, honestly. And chinese labs have a well-deserved reputation to be even worse.

I also agree with the rootclaim guy that the wild overconfidence of the zoonosis side is a very poor look. I really don't get how many people apparently got convinced by this debate, though I only read Scott's textual account, not the full video debate.

I also agree with the rootclaim guy that the wild overconfidence of the zoonosis side is a very poor look.

Rootclaim currently assigns a 93% probability to lab leak or bioweapon, which isn't any more overconfident than Scott's 90%.

I was talking about Peter who assigned something ridiculous, though now he claims he was just trolling with that one.

Why is Astral Codex Ten so poorly made? I've checked the article on multiple different computers and my browser constantly has performance issues or other bugs with it, despite the website not doing anything but show me text. I've tried to read this article multiple times and been unable to finish due to performance problems and bugs on the site - is there an archive or text-only copy somewhere?

That is because it is on Substack and Substack manages to have problems with displaying text.

In AD 2024, on computers with 64GB RAM and processors more powerful than supercomputers few decades ago. No idea how they managed to achieve this feat. Probably a lot of JS frameworks.

Use your browser's options to disable Javascript on that domain.

It's apparently on Substack now. Do other Substack blogs cause you trouble?

ACX just seems to be Substack already, unless there's some other way to view the posts. I also notice awful, awful chugging on ACX. I think the problem is that the comments section always loads everything, which is a lot of text and images to render, whereas normal Substack makes you go to a separate page to see all of them.

ACX just seems to be Substack already

Yeah, the domain just forwards to Substack.

I think the problem is that the comments section always loads everything, which is a lot of text and images to render,

There is no way these loading times are caused by the amount of text and images. I dare you to just repost the content as a post on a phpBB forum, on the cheapest web server you can find, and compare the loading times. It's downright depressing how bad the Internet has gotten, and how many people think this is somehow the cutting edge. I wanted to quote a recent comment describing the more general phenomenon of unsolving solved problems, but when I looked it up it turned out that you're the one who posted it.

I dunno, maybe it is something with the background scripts on ACX, but I could swear the reason is "the page for any ACX post is like 43 times longer than any non-TV-Tropes webpage needs to be, because the comments section is not truncated like on any other Substack post."

I can't easily find a reference for it, but I think Scott asked for his full comments to be inlined as part of his deal for moving his blog there (which was a big deal for Substack at the time).

I'm not sure if there's an option for it that just nobody else uses, or he's given a special case.

I guess since the comments perform fine in the tiny paginations everyone else has, and he's no longer as important to them since they've grown by orders of magnitude, they've never bothered fixing it.

I can't easily find a reference for it, but I think Scott asked for his full comments to be inlined his deal for moving his blog there.

Possible source (after holding the "end" key on my keyboard for five minutes to overcome the infinite scroll on the "archive" page)

I know some of you are skeptical. I was too at first, but Substack has gone above and beyond in allaying my concerns. They've let me test out a "no popup telling you to subscribe" feature. They've changed the comment section to be more like WordPress. We've agreed I'm here for a year, but if it goes badly I can leave in 2022 with no hard feelings.

You might be right that the issue lies in the substack comment section, but what I'm saying is that if they implemented it well, it wouldn't be an issue. With today's hardware and infrastructure you should be able to load a book's worth of comments without batting an eye.

Yeah, I only notice it on mobile, but Substack has terrible performance. Thankfully they're nice enough to support rss:

They don't usually, although I've noticed the occasional bit of slowdown or unresponsiveness. Astral Codex Ten gives me more issues than the rest by far.

Astral Codex Ten shows comments by default. This should not stress browser but Substack is extremely poorly done from technical side so it does.

I've just watched this footage of Rand Paul asking Anthony Blinken for information relevant to the lab leak debate. It seems clear that there is information on file that would settle the debate, one way or the other. The AstralCodex article is about sifting the information that we are allowed to see, hoping to work out the answer from that limited information. This seems futile; once the real information comes out, it will trump all that we learned with our attempts at Bayesian integration of piles of weak, probabilistic evidence. Worse still, the refusal to release the information that we are not allowed to see is also informative. I think the fact of the refusal is in itself sufficient to prove that it was a lab leak.

That video has negative information content. Blinken is following a reasonable general policy of saying nothing of substance whatsoever, because sounding like a politician all the time is better for him than seeming reasonable and informative 95 out of 100 times and saying something that blows up on him occasionally. Paul takes advantage of Blinken's empty statements, using them as a canvas for an uncontested and vague picture of withholding critical information.

This doesn't imply there's secret information that'd settle the debate. This is exactly what would happen if government agencies were taking years to do simple procedural things (as happens constantly), and politicians wanted to make hay with it (as also happens constantly). Paul doesn't even have to be intentionally lying, just be someone who's willing to believe things that are both emotionally compelling and convenient, as most people are.