But it is massively easier to find virologists who do not.
It used to be so. Now I don't think so, since any google search will give you both right away, so it's about equally easy.
Also, in the beginning - well, not exacty in the beginning, but a while later -, the lab leak hypothesis was strongly condemned, laughed at, etc., so disagreement or even a request for evidence would likely have a huge social cost. Humans tend to avoid those instinctively, so that probably convinced many. But in spite of that, that has changed. Now it's not a fringe hypothesis, or laughed at - well, not by the community of experts at large. Still, the strong initial condemnation of the lab leak hypothesis by so many experts and their own research in the past will make it very hard for them to change their minds. Humans tend to be defensive and instinctively try to save face. But given the general trend and the evidence, in time, the lab leak hypothesis will probably gain more support.
I am mostly using my education in molecular biology, and my experience in reading and interpreting biological research. It's fairly dated, but not completely obsolete.
How are you doing it?
I'm human, so I look at the whole of the evidence and make an intuitive assessment.
In this case, I read the arguments I can understand, think about them, try to find counterarguments, and so on.
Additionally, I look at what different experts say. When I find disagreement, I look at who assigns what probability to which hypothesis, whether the people who disagree address the position they disagree with or just generally laugh at others, I look at how they approach scientific evidence in this particular case, their commitments, conflicts of interest, etc. Additionally, I look at the general trend among experts, as well as the assessments by people who are good or better excellent predictors, and so on. On that note, Bomb#20 made excellent points, and also provided in this post
. Have you read it? Here is the link again:
If the case that SARS2 originated in a lab is so substantial, why isn’t this more widely known? As is now obvious, there are many people who have reason not to talk about it.
It's a very interesting read, but I am willing to listen to counterarguments...though perhaps, in addition to looking for counterarguments, you should read it and consider whether he has a point.
In particular, how are you assigning those numbers to the probability that you keep bandying around? You surely must realise that they are utterly meaningless.
No, they are not meaningless. I am human, so instinctively I make probabilistic assessments all the time. Things like >0.5 are easy. Precise numbers have the difficulty of the imprecision of the assignment itself (...still, there are prediction markets for example and other similar prediction sites; a working approximation can be given at least).
Unfortunately, in my experience most humans do not realize they are doing that all the time - just not giving numbers, but words like 'probable', 'very probable', 'very improbable' and so on - and if someone explicitly says what they are doing, they tend to unfortunately think the person in question is not being rational.