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Veranstaltungen · Universität Innsbruck · Medizinische Universität Innsbruck

Mittwoch, 24.04.2024


‚So friggin‘ likely!‘: gatekeeping as a propaganda tool regarding covid origins.

16:45 - 18:15 Uhr
Dekanatssitzungssaal, Karl-Rahner-Platz 1

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Eric Winsberg

Eric Winsberg is British Academy Global Professor of History and
Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge and Professor
of Philosophy at the University of South Florida. His main research
interests lie in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of physics,
the philosophy of climate science, and the role of models and
simulations to guide policy, especially in climate and public health.

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One of the most successful gatekeeping exercises in the history of science is exemplified
by the „Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals, and medical
professionals of China combatting COVID-19“ which urged that „Scientists ... overwhelmingly
conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.“ The authors and signatories urged that
dissenters were promoting „Conspiracy theories that do nothing but create fear, rumours,
and prejudice.“ They were incredibly successful in quashing debate about this topic for
over two years, and continue to be mostly successful to this day. But though we do not yet
know with certainty what the true origin of SARS-COV-2 is, we do know that gatekeepers
like Peter Daszak and Kristian Andersen were gatekeeping with political, rather than
epistemic, motives. Andersen, indeed, expressed the view, privately, that the ‚conspiracy
theory‘ he publicly condemned was „so figgin likely“. In this talk I explore this and other
episodes of gatekeeping during the pandemic as episodes of highly effective propaganda,
rather than as attempts to preserve the epistemic integrity of science, or to prevent the
spread of anything the gatekeepers themselves regarded as genuine „misinformation“


Institut für Christliche Philosophie
ICPR - Innsbruck Center for Philosophy of Religion
Doktoratskolleg Religionsphilosophie