Saturday, January 05, 2008

Lancet Report lies (McMendacity II)

Perhaps some humans out in consumerland recall that geek-speak maxim, GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). GIGO sort of reduces the problems with the Lancet report, and one might say the Lancet ideology (the Lancet researchers purport to offer an estimation of civilian deaths in Iraq) into a pleasant conceptual package. The Lancet ideology has unfortunately become part of the accepted lies dogma of the contemporary PC left.

Rationalists would do well to keep GIGO in mind when reading high-powered demographics (especially when there are Dems, marxists, dixie evangelicals, or Kennedy's involved in the research). Anyone who assumes the reliability of data they have no aquaintance with, especially when it's not being released (academia depends on that "transparency" of data--and peer review---not withholding of evidence) has in essence taken sides with zealots.

Say one was to recreate the Lancet research, using their data (i.e. their hunches). Before inputting the numbers into the little SPSS app, grinding out mean, standard deviation, confidence intervals, obtaining a bellish-curve (maybe one with a few cracks) how do we know that the data collection of the Lancet researchers (and the sample itself) should be assumed to be reliable? However "vulgar" empirical questions concerning verification seem to some, they ALWAYS remain an issue with high-powered, politically-significant studies. In many journals that withholding of evidence (a "peer review" requirement) would prevent their study from being published. Americans, excepting maybe military personnel, weren't there anyways. So consumers are taking their word--and their spurious demographics---- on faith. Iraq Body Count, on the other hand, works from confirmed deaths, formerly known as facts.

Noting the prevalence of the Lancet hoax in (in ways, more pernicious than 911 conspiro-nut claims) some humans may be tempted to take down their pic of Harry Truman or Eleanor R., and cancel their Dem registration: that is, if they didn't after 9-11. Don't take Contingencies' word for the Lancet BS, however; consider some of the Tenured mafia thoughts:

""""Professor Spagat says the Lancet paper contains misrepresentations of mortality figures suggested by other organisations, an inaccurate graph, the use of the word “casualties” to mean deaths rather than deaths plus injuries, and the perplexing finding that child deaths have fallen. Using the “three-to-one rule” – the idea that for every death, there are three injuries – there should be close to two million Iraqis seeking hospital treatment, which does not tally with hospital reports. """""

“The authors ignore contrary evidence, cherry-pick and manipulate supporting evidence and evade inconvenient questions,” contends Professor Spagat, who believes the paper was poorly reviewed. “They published a sampling methodology that can overestimate deaths by a wide margin but respond to criticism by claiming that they did not actually follow the procedures that they stated.” The paper had “no scientific standing”. Did he rule out the possibility of fraud? “No.” """""



The IBC's rebuttal of Lancet should especially be noted: the IBC people for one wield a few nice reductio ad absurdum sorts of arguments (they may not be contradictions, but induction rarely offers contradiction): ""On average, (according to Lancet) a thousand Iraqis {would have been} violently killed every single day in the first half of 2006, with less than a tenth of them being noticed by any public surveillance mechanisms."
There are many other such rebuttals. Bias of course should be kept in mind: the skeptics might work for the Oppressor.

"""""Still, the authors have declined to provide the surveyors' reports and forms that might bolster confidence in their findings. Customary scientific practice holds that an experiment must be transparent -- and repeatable -- to win credence. Submitting to that scientific method, the authors would make the unvarnished data available for inspection by other researchers. Because they did not do this, citing concerns about the security of the questioners and respondents, critics have raised the most basic question about this research: Was it verifiably undertaken as described in the two Lancet articles?

"The authors refuse to provide anyone with the underlying data," said David Kane, a statistician and a fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Statistics at Harvard University. Some critics have wondered whether the Iraqi researchers engaged in a practice known as "curb-stoning," sitting on a curb and filling out the forms to reach a desired result. Another possibility is that the teams went primarily into neighborhoods controlled by anti-American militias and were steered to homes that would provide information about the "crimes" committed by the Americans.""""

And it's just pure coincidence that George Soros, millionaire communist and hater of the USA, provided the seed money for the research.

"""""Critics say that the surveys used too few clusters, and too few people, to do the job properly.

Sample size. The design for Lancet II committed eight surveyors to visit 50 regional clusters (the number ended up being 47) with each cluster consisting of 40 households. By contrast, in a 2004 survey, the United Nations Development Program used many more questioners to visit 2,200 clusters of 10 houses each. This gave the U.N. investigators greater geographical variety and 10 times as many interviews, and produced a figure of about 24,000 excess deaths -- one-quarter the number in the first Lancet study. The Lancet II sample is so small that each violent death recorded translated to 2,000 dead Iraqis overall. The question arises whether the chosen clusters were enough to be truly representative of the entire Iraqi population and therefore a valid data set for extrapolating to nationwide totals."""""


Preposterous! He's probably a neo-con, and so we don't have to pay attention to the fascist punk. Really, on closer inspection, the Lancet does not even appear to be an analysis of mortality ratios. It's a study (or poll, really) regarding various anecdotal reports of deaths--alleged deaths. In effect, it's a large collection of hearsay evidence--and really inadmissable. But it serves a purpose. The little undergraduate confidence intervals, the rest of the stats hype (ANOVA! whoa), the APA format, are there to impress, like little leftist undergraduates. The fact that the researchers do not submit their research/data collection to peer review makes it mostly irrelevant, except as an example of gauchiste agit-prop disguised as academic research. Bukharin and the Cheka boys most likely blow some infernal kisses to the JohnsHopkins comrades for a prevarication job well done.

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