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Will it turn out that Covid-19 originated inside a research lab in Hubei?
Cross-posted on Metaculus.
The origins of the Covid-19 disease-causing coronavirus are rather obscure, and Chinese authorities have held information about the disease in tight control. This has led to some speculation of various types of coverups. One of the most provocative is the idea that it did not have a natural origin. There's a lengthy writeup of the idea here.
The proposition in question will be taken as:
The the origin of the Covid-19 coronavirus infection involved the release of a pathogen from a research laboratory in Hubei province.
That's not terribly precise, by design. But this question is a bit experimental, one of a series of "self-resolving" ones. Resolution to this question will be determined as follows:
If at any time after the date of May 1, 2020 the community prediction is > 97% or < 3%, the question closes. Then, with 90% probability (as called by a quantum RNG), resolves positively or negatively, respectively. (With 10% probability the question is referred to the below committee.)
Otherwise, on or about the close/resolve date of May 1, 2021, the question will be decided by unanimous vote of a council of three people as to whether the proposition listed above is true, at 50+% credence (i.e. more true than its negation), resolving ambiguous in the case of disagreement. The council of three will be chosen by quantum mechanical random numbers from a list of 12 people that will be composed by the author around the time of 2020-05-01, and held secretly until the time of question resolution.
(Edited 2020-04-15 to include 10% probability to being kicked to committee.)
Metaculus help: Predicting
Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.
The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available.
The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.
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Metaculus help: Community Stats
Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.
When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.