UFOs, Havana Syndrome, and the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 was developed in a Chinese laboratory are all security threats. But not the way you may think.
All three posit diabolical motives and capabilities on the part of our adversaries. To the extent that those motives and capabilities don’t exist, we get our adversaries wrong. That hurts national security. Additionally, accepting poor science weakens us.
The three have other commonalities.
All three depend on marginal cases.
- UFOs are unexplainable observations, left over after similar observations have been explained.
- Havana Syndrome refers to incidents that can’t be explained, left over after similar cases have been explained.
- Evidence accumulates for a natural origin (zoonosis) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but not for a lab leak.
All three depend on claims of secret technology.
- UFOs are alien technology; or else the government has secret files locked away.
- The government knows who is attacking and the technology they are using in secret files locked away.
- China has all the information locked away in secret files.
Two depend on claims of great strides in technology that are otherwise unknown. This verges on “Prove me wrong,” a popular trope on the internet but without a base in logic. The burden of proof is on those who make a claim, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
- UFOs observations seem to defy the laws of motion or what can be done in a vehicle containing humans.
- Many explanations of Havana Syndrome require a directed-energy microwave device which has never been demonstrated.
- A laboratory origin for SARS-CoV-2 is possible, but the path has never been detailed and supported by facts by the proponents.
All three have more supportable explanations.
- The observations labeled unidentified are probably glitches in instruments or human perception, as are those that have been identified.
- The incidents of Havana Syndrome follow a pattern common to mass psychogenic illness.
- The balance of evidence currently falls on the side of zoonosis for the virus that plagues us.
There are good summaries of the evidence.
- Joel Achenbach
- Dan Vergano at BuzzFeed News has been using the Freedom of Information Act to obtain government documents on Havana Syndrome. He hasn’t done a summary, but here’s his latest. This Twitter thread by Natalie Shure summarizes much of the evidence.
- Justin Ling
Some of the people pushing these issues genuinely believe they have a case. Others are agitating to increase hostility with Russia and China. Time and energy that go into these arguments could be used in more productive ways. And the refusal to accept the need to present proof of their allegations damages discussion.