Question about Tony Fauci

So, if this topic is already somewhere else, I apologize. I scanned the Quarantine Zone, and didn’t see a similar topic.

I’m trying to understand one of the lies told about Fauci, namely that he helped engineer the virus.

So, the NIH gives a small grant to a non-profit, which directs that money to the WIV (the Wuhan Institute of Virology) to do what some people call gain-of-function research. There isn’t full agreement on what gain of function research is, but I digress. This is to study viruses associated with bats, but it’s a completely different type of virus, and couldn’t have resulted in the Covid virus. And evidence is still piling up that this most likely came from the Wet Market (i.e., the latest is the raccoon dogs evidence).

But somehow, through all of this, a significant portion of the right-wing in America thinks Fauci had something to do with the virus’ origin. He either directed it, or knew it was coming or something crazy like that.

Is there a good authoritative takedown from this type of misinformation? I hear it, and it’s such nonsense.

There is a saying: “You can’t reason someone out of something that they didn’t reason themselves into.”

These people aren’t looking for truth. They’re looking for a totemic enemy.

You can’t authoritatively take down this misinformation any more than than you can authoritatively take down moon hoaxers or sovereign citizens or flat earthers.

Yep, when dealing with people using motivated reasoning, simply correcting their facts isn’t going to work. So far, nothing seems to work. They just want to be wrong, because that somehow serves their political agenda.

Agreed. But I’d turn that sideways / inside out a bit if I may. How about:

They just want to serve their master’s political agenda, and if that entails being wrong, so what?

In greater detail, but not nearly as memorable as your catchy formulation:

The propagandists want their public to believe certain things since that makes their public easily controllable. Their public wants to believe whatever they’re told because that gives them hit after hit of sweet, sweet rage and of equally sweet validation that they’re part of a cohesive hive-minded team. Herd animals are like that.

Truth, facts, and all that boring rage-free stuff has nothing to do with it.

So, getting people to be reasonable when they’re coming into this issue with a lunatic fringe perspective isn’t possible, I guess. But here’s a good summary of how Fauci didn’t have a role in the pandemic origin.

This article summarizes reasons for suspicion and hatred directed towards Fauci, the baseless claims seized on by his enemies, and what could have been handled better.

“Fauci has become an effective boogeyman for the right—invoked to whip up anger against the bureaucratic establishment and blamed for both the pandemic and the measures that were put in place to curb it.”

“As Andrew Jewett, a historian who wrote a book on cultural battles over science and scientific authority, put it: Fauci has become an ideal representation of the powerful and out-of-touch “unelected bureaucrat,” a character deemed suspect multiple times over.”*

Fauci has effectively replaced Bill Gates as the #1 right-wing/antivaccine boogeyman, though Gates still figures prominently as a target of loathing and conspiracy theories.

*central to this is the generalized contempt we now see for experts of all kinds. A lot of people would rather believe unqualified, uneducated politicians, pundits and bloggers, feeling superior just based on their own beliefs and mad Google skilz.

Here’s a great example of trying to reason with people who aren’t looking for truth. This thread starts off with a good faith question about the fight between Rand Paul and Fauci and gain-of-function research. People have a nice discussion and share information. Then it goes off the rails and the thread has to finally be closed.

Totemic Enemy

(band name)

Did I read correctly that Fauci was quoted as saying We’re going to have another pandemic, probably next year?

The message was garbled in translation.

He said inevitably, there will be another pandemic, whether this next year or decades from now.

He’s hardly alone in that prediction. It’s Epidemiology 101. This will keep happening as long as there are living beings on the planet.

What can change is how well we plan for, prepare for, and react to, the inevitable occurrence. No different than tornados, floods, hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes, droughts, or heat waves. It’s gonna keep happening at unpredictable intervals with unpredictable severities. We can keep being surprised or we can start planning ahead for realsies this time.