May 25, 2007

"When painting there is a point u must step away from the canvas as the work is done."

That's Rosie O'Donnell's way of saying she's leaving "The View" before her contract expires. She just can't deal with that vicious harpy, Elisabeth Hasselbeck. If you've seen the video of their supposedly gigantic collision, that you know it all started when Rosie said: "655,000 Iraqi civilians have died. Who are the terrorists?" and then, when some right-wingers had the gall to read that as calling our troops the terrorists, Hasselbeck did not step forward and defend her.
"You said nothing and that's cowardly."
Eh. If Rosie's ready to light into dear sweet Elisabeth and tar her as "cowardly" for the mere failure to speak, that only makes it more likely that she'd slap the label "terrorists" onto our troops for the civilian deaths. She's wielding her big brush with Abstract Expressionist fervor. She steps back, admires her painting and declares it a masterpiece.

In case you missed the video:



Okay, let's go check Rosie's blog. Here's her own post about the original "Who are the terrorists?" dialogue with Elisabeth. She provides the transcript:
O’DONNELL: …… I just want to say something. 655,000 Iraqi civilians are dead. Who are the terrorists?

HASSELBECK: Who are the terrorists?

O’DONNELL: 655,000 Iraqis — I’m saying you have to look, we invaded –

HASSELBECK: Wait, who are you calling terrorists now? Americans?

O’DONNELL: I’m saying if you were in Iraq, and the other country, the United States, the richest in the world, invaded your country and killed 655,000 of your citizens, what would you call us?

HASSELBECK: Are we killing their citizens or are their people also killing their citizens?

O’DONNELL: We’re invading a sovereign nation, occupying a country against the U.N.
Oh, for the love of Baba. She's obviously calling the Americans terrorists. How mindcrushingly absurd it is for her to come back and bully Hasselbeck for holding her tongue. Hasselbeck should be credited with bending over backwards to be nice to Rosie.

177 comments:

Seven Machos said...

I would add here:

1. There is no way that 650,000 Iraqis have been murdered at the hands of anyone since we invaded Iraq.

2. Whatever the case, people die in wars.

3. The word terrorist is a dumb, loaded, conceptually flaccid word that should be stricken from the English language.

XWL said...

If Rosie's ready to light into dear sweet Elisabeth and tar her as "cowardly" for the mere failure to speak, that only makes it more likely that she'd slap the label "terrorists" onto our troops for the civilian depths

Interesting error, Rosie certainly sunk to her usual depths, but I think Letterman might be able to help you with that last word.

If our soldiers are responsible for every death, every trampled daisy, and every kite not flown in Iraq since the invasion, that's a standard that no military or country has ever had to live up or down to.

It's unfair, and un-American (yes, I question Rosie's patriotism).

AJD said...

dear sweet Elisabeth

Give me a break. She's a dim bulb from that wretched show, Survivor, and she has little to recommend her beyond her white teeth and fake blonde hair.

Oh, now I see why you like her!!

The Drill SGT said...

Beyond poor victimized Rosie.... I'd like to shift the discussion to ABC. Both in the press release from the Infotainment division and from ABC news, they obfuscated the story by not quoting from the actual original statement, but rather using the more balanced cat fight the other day. The news divison tries to make it into a free speach and limits of truth to power story rather than what I consider to be slander on US Soldiers.

Slanted story

Rosie was over the limit with this and with the WTC 7 fell because someone blew it up after the Towers fell.

Harkonnendog said...

Rosie quits the second Elizabeth stopped taking her shit.

What surprised me most about these clips (never watched the show) was how stupid these women were. They constantly say stuff that has been proven, over and over again, dead wrong.

650K dead? Bush stole the election? wtf? If this is a show by women for women, women should be embarrassed.

Get on there, Ann, show them a woman with a brain, a pair, and minimal respect for reality. Er, at least minimal, I mean.

AJ Lynch said...

Who'd have thunk anyone and I mean anyone would defend the crazed, America-hating and deeply troubled Rosie? But someone already has.

CR said...

The redhead set the tone for the whole segment. Reciting a load of crap: "Bush stole the election,"..."Bush sat there in that school house for seven minutes while the country was being attacted"...etc. I'm sick of Bush too, but I think I can make more substantive arguments than that idiot.

I hope the show loses all its viewers.

Gary Carson said...

What Rosie seemed to be obviously saying is that from the point of view of an Iraqi the US are terrorists, which isn't exactly the same thing she'd accused of saying.

Tim said...

"...fire doesn't melt steel."

Rosie O'Donnell
The View
29 March, 2007


How much more do you need to know?

Ann Althouse said...

"civilian depths"

weird! corrected.

"'dear sweet Elisabeth' Give me a break. She's a dim bulb from that wretched show, Survivor, and she has little to recommend her beyond her white teeth and fake blonde hair."

Sexist. Elisabeth isn't dumb. Watch that clip. You're just assuming she's dumb because she's angelically beautiful. Hey, what do you look like?

AJ Lynch said...

Ann said:
"Elizabeth isn't dumb".

Wouldn't it be neat if we could find out the SAT scores of all these big-mouthed public figures to validate who is and isn't a numbskull?

Wish there was a website that had that info- you know like the smoking gun. It could be called www.whoyoucallingadimbulb.com

Suzie Nolen Bennett said...

Angelically beautiful??? Ack!

Hasselbeck is as plastic as a Barbie doll.

Ann Althouse said...

AJ: that url takes me nowhere.

tc said...

You know...Rosie,I believe,is -or says she is- a lesbian. But I have nothing to say about that.
Yet I really wonder how many of our lesbians and their leaders are actually genetic
men whose mother's attending physi- cian at birth sliced off the infant's
tookus because the child had "ambi- guous sexual organs".
And much the same could and should be said for all feminists
and their leaders. Who would know if the doctor kept his mouth shut.
Moreover,all this could be a result of chemicals in the water...
we drink,inadvertantly causing genetic damage in mothers and fathers without anyone knowing of such effects. And,of course,if this is so,it is only going to get worse.
In addition,this could also permenantly affect the nonsense that is the womans,gay,lesbian... civil rights movement.

downtownlad said...

. There is no way that 650,000 Iraqis have been murdered at the hands of anyone since we invaded Iraq.

Rosie is obviously confusing increased deaths with "killings".

But make no mistake about it, the 655K number is as close to we have for accuracy right now for the increased number of deaths in Iraq according to the Lancet study. The number is certainly higher now.

The second survey[2][3][4] published on 11 October 2006, estimated 654,965 excess deaths related to the war, or 2.5% of the population, through the end of June 2006. The new study applied similar methods and involved surveys between May 20 and July 10, 2006.[4] More households were surveyed, allowing for a 95% confidence interval of 392,979 to 942,636 excess Iraqi deaths. . . The Lancet surveys' reliability was widely criticized by the US and Iraqi governments, the Iraq Body Count project, and various other sources. However, the Lancet surveys were supported by many epidemiologists and statisticians.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancet_surveys_of_mortality_before_and_after_the_2003_invasion_of_Iraq

Considering that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis HAVE died, Rosie O'Donnell is posing a very interesting question.

How do they view us?

Fifty-one percent said they thought it was "acceptable" for "other people" to attack coalition forces. In the 2004 survey, 17 percent said such attacks were acceptable.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/19/AR2007031900421.html

Harkonnendog said...

"What Rosie seemed to be obviously saying is that from the point of view of an Iraqi the US are terrorists"

I think she was claiming the Iraqis think we're terrorists and that their point of view is valid. The fact that she finds it valid and publicly says so while our troops are in hard way is objectionable. That 650k number is a ridiculous lie, which she repeatedly claimed was fact. Our troops don't target civilians, they risk their lives in order to avoid killing civilians, so if some Iraqis consider our troops terrorists they're wrong. For a fellow American to ignore their valor, courage, and sacrifice, is disgusting.

downtownlad said...

Harkendog - Can you please provide evidence that the 650K number is a lie? It's based on the Lancet study, which like it or not, is the the most accurate estimate we currently have.

And if that number is a lie, what is the real number? Evidence please.

And just what exactly do you think the Americans are doing over there? 3500 Americans are dead. How many combatants do you think we've killed?

You do realize that the vast majority of the combatants are Iraqis, don't you?

Harkonnendog said...

It is NOT the most accurate estimate we have. It is a stupid lie. The best estimate is between 64333 and 70471. (And NO, that number is not the number Americans have killed- dumbtich O'Donnell conflated the lie about the number killed in Iraq with people killed by Americans.) The study dumbitch cited has been debunked so often and so well that I hesitate to provide evidence, as the simplest google search would provide all the evidence you could possibly need.

But fine. Here's a smidge, from Iraqbodycount:

A new study has been released by the Lancet medical journal estimating over 650,000 excess deaths in Iraq. The Iraqi mortality estimates published in the Lancet in October 2006 imply, among other things, that:

1. On average, a thousand Iraqis 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;
2. Some 800,000 or more Iraqis suffered blast wounds and other serious conflict-related injuries in the past two years, but less than a tenth of them received any kind of hospital treatment;
3. Over 7% of the entire adult male population of Iraq has already been killed in violence, with no less than 10% in the worst affected areas covering most of central Iraq;
4. Half a million death certificates were received by families which were never officially recorded as having been issued;
5. The Coalition has killed far more Iraqis in the last year than in earlier years containing the initial massive "Shock and Awe" invasion and the major assaults on Falluja.


Here's another linke, this one to the Times Online: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article1469636.ece

PatCA said...

downtownlad,
The number is not a lie, it's a statistic. Same thing sometimes.
Could that many have died?

In Lancet's earlier study, the numbers they reported were: 95% sure that the deaths were somewhere between 8,000 and 194,000! Slate's rebuttal

The telling thing about this tempest in a teapot is that for once an America basher, Rosie, made the mistake of ranting with someone else present who would challenge her, and the far left doesn't do that too often. So now she won't face the music, or the Truthers she was bringing on, because Elizabeth won the argument. I'm sure by tomorrow she'll be claiming some sort of victim status.

AJ Lynch said...

Ann:

I said wouldn't it be neat IF THERE WERE A WEBSITE WITH SAT SCORES.

The url name was just one I made up to add some dramatic license. Got it?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Harkonnendog writes, "Get on there, Ann, show them a woman with a brain, a pair, and minimal respect for reality. Er, at least minimal, I mean."

And that reminded me...Althouse will be in New York for the next year. Hey, ABC! Give the Blogstress a shot! She would be a fitting replacement to Meredith Vieira. Then we can put this whole year of Rosie in the "Bobby-Ewing-Dallas-Dream" category.

Harkonnendog said...

"Hasselbeck is as plastic as a Barbie doll."


Jealous.

downtownlad said...

Slate's rebuttal? Wow - Slate is absolutely amazing. They rebutted the 2006 Lancet study that claimed 655K deather, a whopping TWO years before the study was even done.

Incredible.

Most sane and rational people would realize that the link you gave me is from 2004. The second, more accurate, Lancet survey was released on Oct. 11th, 2006.

Must be fun living in a fantasy world Patca.

Ann Althouse said...

Elisabeth, plastic? I saw her on "Survivor." That was raw skin. She was ethereally beautiful in that state. She is not plastic. Face it.

AJ Lynch said...

Patca:

Good smackdown of dtl's shoddy research.

Dtl:
For a brief moment, let's say I agree the Lancet study's number of 655,000 is correct. But as you said that was a year ago and is higher now. So let's estimate it is 750,000 now. Is that in your ballpark?

If so, it would mean than 1 out of every 33 Iraquis has been killed since the war began. Over a four year period since war began, it would mean an average of 3,600 Iraqi deaths per week or more than 500 per day!!

Do you really believe that is possible, reasonable and accurate?

Synova said...

I Googled "Iraqi children dying clean water" (I can't find anything in phone books either) and found one estimate (granted it was in the context of "unsupported") that in 1995 *alone* there were 500,000 "excess" deaths of children under the age of 5 in Iraq.

This is the problem with the whole notion of "excess" deaths caused by this war.

Firstly, it's most certainly *not* a count or even estimate of people that Americans have killed so that is an out and out lie. It's not even a count of who Americans *and* terrorists and insurgents have killed. It's an estimate of how many more people die of all causes right down to crib-death and old age, than would normally die.

And that requires some sort of baseline to compare against. But the baseline is Saddam and his own claims were stuff like 500,000 *excess* children under the age of 5 dying because we wouldn't let him have his weapon grade chlorine... that's 500,000 *more* than normal infant and toddler mortality. And then we have to add to those made-up stats the mass-graves and attempted genocide of various groups that we know happened.

The idea of "excess" deaths is that a certain number of people would have died under Saddam of all causes including crib-death and old age, and 650,000 *more* have died of all causes including crib-death and old age, since we invaded Iraq.

I watched the video. Rosie was mad at Hasselbeck because Hasselbeck wouldn't say what Rosie absolutely refused to say... That Rosie does not believe Americans are terrorists. She wanted Hasselbeck to say it and asked her many times if Hasselbeck thought that Rosie really thought Americans were terrorists. But Rosie never once said, "Americans are not terrorists." She didn't and she wouldn't. Rosie refused, as Hasselbeck repeatedly said, to answer her own rhetorical question.

How is Hasselbeck a coward for not answering it for her?

Still, she should have just said, "Yes, Rosie, I think that you believe that our troops are terrorists."

She should have.

boston70 said...

Now that Rosie has left "The View" what will conservative websites and Fox News have to talk about?

Not the actual war. No they can't do that. That would actually bring up actual american deaths and our "progress". I am sure another "liberal" boogie man will be coming around the corner soon to dedicate their time. Oh look, Michael Moore's movie "Sicko" is coming up. Excellent Smithers!

Synova said...

It's a matter of where they started the counting from... like zeroing out a scale so you're weighing the contents of a container and not the container.

downtownlad said...

Good smackdown of dtl's shoddy research.

So AJ Lynch thinks that an article from 2004 somehow discredits a study from 2006. Congratulations AJ Lynch. You've just proved yourself to be an moron.

Do I think 500 deaths a day is accurate? Sure - I definitely think it is in the ballpark. Take child mortality alone, which has increased by 150% in Iraq since the 1990's. In 2005, 122,000 Iraqi children died before the age of five. So that's 73,000 increased deaths from child mortality. That's 200 of your 500 right there.

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1621812,00.html

How many people do you think died? All those pretty pictures that the Pentagon released at the beginning of the war of us blowing up buildings - do you really think that they were empty?

Synova said...

Boston70, conservatives talk about the war. That they don't say what you think they ought to say doesn't mean they aren't talking about it.

The blogs I read talk about progress and American deaths all the time. But they don't say what you want them to say.

Oh, Sicko is going to be nothing much, really. It's just Moore deciding what *he's* going to switch his focus to since Bush isn't going to be president that much longer and there seems to be increased reports of progress in Iraq.

Oops... guess that's talking about progress.

Hoosier Daddy said...

How do they view us?

Maybe they need to think how we view them. 650K deaths and how much of that is from US action? Last time I checked we're not the ones setting off car bombs taking out 20-50 a pop, they are. Yet all those deaths are our fault. I think thats called projection.

Hey, Iraqi peeps...you have an elected government, try addressing your issues with those representatives rather than blowing up people to make a point. That is, if you have evolved to the point of making rationale thought beyond killing yourselves.

Worst thing we did was depose Saddam. Evidently they can't play well without the likes of him.

Palladian said...

"How many people do you think died? All those pretty pictures that the Pentagon released at the beginning of the war of us blowing up buildings - do you really think that they were empty?"

They were almost certainly full of anti-gay bigots far worse than any you'll encounter in Tribeca, so why do you care? I'd think you'd be happy about it.

Thorley Winston said...

So AJ Lynch thinks that an article from 2004 somehow discredits a study from 2006.

Well since both studies were conducted by same organization using pretty much the same methodology and the 2004 “results” was pretty much shown to be garbage, then yes.

downtownlad said...

Thorley - You just don't like the results of the study, so you and the rest of the conservatives just call it a "lie", despite the fact that reputable pollsters and statisticians such as Zogby call the methodology sound.

What's wrong with the study? Can you please tell us about thaws in the methodology, and why are they are not statistically sound? Because if you can't, then the number is accurate.

AJ Lynch said...

DTL:

No you are a fing moron if you believe an average of 500 Iraqis per day have been killed by the war over the last four years.

As to your claim of 73,000 added child deaths, I guess scum like you automatically chalk these up the American terrorist soldiers? You are an America-hating ahole and are ever eager to blame America as long as a repblican is in the White House.

You and Rosie have a lot in common and could make a good couple. Too bad she hits from the wrong side of the plate. Maybe you could get her to switch.

downtownlad said...

Palladian - Stop putting words in my mouth.

Who said I gave a flying f&ck about dead Iraqis. I have zero qualms with Iraqis dying and have stated on here before that I couldn't give a rats ass if there is genocide in Iraq after we leave. Boo hoo. That's their problem, not ours.

But I don't like seeing Americans dying for a stupid cause. And Iraqis are not going to look favorably upon us, which is why 51% of Iraqis think it's ok to attack coalition forces.

We should get out of there - we have no strategic reason to stay - and if they want to kill themselves, I won't lose a wink's sleep over it.

But I still believe in facts, and the Lancet study is the most accurate study done of Iraqi deaths thus far.

Cedarford said...

Gary Carson said...
What Rosie seemed to be obviously saying is that from the point of view of an Iraqi the US are terrorists, which isn't exactly the same thing she'd accused of saying.


No, that is you and your soulmate Rosie projecting your thoughts that the troops (that you support so much!) are terrorists, and that Bush is the ultimate terrorist.

The Milblogs, inc. one my young nephew is running, say the bad guys they capture want to kill us as occupiers manipulated by Jews and big oil firms - not as terrorists.
The Iraqis know terrorists when they see them. Americans they all say, in surveys, may be killed as infidel occupiers or are just unwelcome, but in polls say US atrocities are the exception, not the rule. A sizable number of Iraqis actually complain the US is far too soft on captured Al Qaeda and powerdrill Death Squads.

Only the Left that "loves our dead troops sooooooo dearly" are accusing them and the Brits of being "the true terrorists".

*********************
The 655,000 was part of a discredited Johns Hopkins study that was roundly condemned as the product of Leftist professors with badly flawed methodology that ducked peer review in order to publish in the AntiAmerican Lancet in a timed article and media campaign the profs enlisted Lefty NGOs to publicize right before the 2006 elections.

Their study was off by an exponential factor of 10 from studies by UN-funded NGOs and Iraq government. 14 other lists maintained from 2003-2006 stated that the dea

It also attempted to say the 10s of thousands killed by Al Qaeda and other terrorists were "root cause" the fault of America. And treated terrorists killed, civilians, police, foreign fighters - as "Iraqi civilians". And were railed on by peer academics for their deception, since other studies attempted to separate combatant from non-combatant casualties.

The same JOhn Hopkins assholes were lambasted for releasing an equally flawed study right before the 2004 election.
****************
Why is it that Lefties, Jewish progressives, Euroweenies - folks like Freder and DTL - seem so eager to seize on and publicize anything they see as hopefully damaging America? Are they Copperheads? Or people, as they constantly claim, that are deeply patriotic and love and support every terroristic murderous American in uniform?
****************
Patca links to the Slate article and the academic peers that demolished the John Hopkins article in Lancet done in 2004 as politically motivated and not following any approved methodology in use in other studies of vital stats in war-torn nations.

And the Hopkins assholes, despite being trashed even by Hard Left Euroweenie NGOs in 2006-2007 for both studies and their professional reputations and objectivity in doubt? They have yet to answer and formally defend themselves that they corrupted scientific method to advance politics.

Like true Lefties, they refuse to apologize.

And other "deeply patriotic" Lefties here and in the UK love to try and repeat the Lancet number as if it was true.

*****************
On Rosie - She will be paid millions extra on her next contract by eager Hollywood-types for her anti-American smears.

It's all about money to them, and controversy spikes ratings. For her, its also about the money and people who know the industry know that Rosie did not get a piece of any gross profit take & syndication action which is where the real money is. Bawa Wawa kept all that. Her leaving so she could get a bigger piece of the pie was inevitable as soon as the industry moguls communicated that O'Donnell had resurrected her career with ratings spikes...

But she couldn't be honest, so she had to say she was leaving because she was a poor, martyred little women persecuted for "speaking truth to power" or some other Lefty garbage.

Nice, though, that on the surface it appears that the loud-mouthed bulldyke bully simply couldn't abide a nice, perhaps not so bright woman standing up to her intimidation...and quit.

downtownlad said...

You really are a moron AJ.

A complete bumbling idiot.

No matter what you say - a 2004 article will NEVER refute a 2006 study - unless you're a FOX News watching Republican idiot.

Oh - and how silly of me to think that 500 more Iraqis are dying a day because of the war. Silly me, even though I just gave you an article from Time Magazine that shows that there are 200 extra deaths a day just amongst children under five.

You still haven't given me the number that you think is accurate. How many deaths? Proof please. What's wrong with the Lancet study.

I'll tell you who is anti-American AJ Lynch. YOU are anti-American, because you think that Americans should ignore FACTS because you decide that you don't like them. You want to turn Americans into a bunch of zombies that never question our Dear-Leader.

I have a brain on my head and I'll use it. Such a shame that you're an idiot and can't use yours.

No matter how you spin it, 2004 is not greater than 2006. Unless you're a Republican.

Cedarford said...

Clipped out:

Their study was off by an exponential factor of 10 from studies by UN-funded NGOs and Iraq government. 14 other lists maintained from 2003-2006 stated that the dead numbered between 50,000 and 80,000 "excess deaths". They stand by their scientific epidemiological methodology, accurate sample points, and decision to not count dead foreign fighters, cops, Iraqi soldiers as "civilians"

Cedarford said...

DTL - Maybe you should move to Hollywood and be Rosie's "beard".

If you had a brain, and knew anything about science, you would know that what the Hopkins people did was doubly disreputable because they never answered the formal critiques of peers after their ridiculous, "gotta Help Kerry!!" 2004 publication, but went right back at it with the same old quackery in 2006.

That is why the Slate article on how bad they messed up their 2004 study is relevant to the awful 2006 done by them. They did it with no rebuttal to peer reviewers charges from the 2004 fiasco.

hdhouse said...

ann, like ya' love ya' but you are wrong.

she most assurdedly isn't calling americans terrorists. she is saying from the point of view of Iraq citizens what would you call a nation that does what we do. She doesn't say "i think we are terrorists". she is much too careful. she simply says from their point of view.

when england invaded the US during the war of 1812 did we not call them terrorists or did they not strike terror in our country? did England feel they were terrorists? not at all.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and more so in the eye of the winner.

downtownlad said...

Cedarford - I was a math major and a quantitative economics major at one of the top schools in this country, so sorry - I'm pretty certain that I know about 1000 times more on this subject than you do.

The Lnacet study went to Iraq and interviewd 1500 families based on random sampling. Any statistician will tell you that you're going to end up with an accurate estimate based on such a large sampling.

I don't care if the people conducting the study are biased. Is the data accurate? Unless you can show me how they "lied" you're just talking out of your ass.

The 95% confidence interval is "392,979 to 942,636 excess Iraqi deaths."

You're telling me not to believe this, because the headline deaths is much lower. Well guess what - not all deaths are reported in the paper. The 100 Iraqis killed in the market will make headlines. But the 200 children dying from malnutrition will not. The scores of combatants that Americans kill will not, etc.

Please give me some evidence on how the study is flawed. And if Republicans are so confident that it's wrong, why don't they conduct their own study to counteract it.

What do you think the number of increased Iraqi deaths is?

Palladian said...

It's just amusing that people are defending this moron. I mean, even if you think she's on your "side", so what? She a flippin' moron!

Y DO U WANT HER ON YR SIDE?!!!?!11

John Stodder said...

I imagine this thread is like a transcript of a Sunday brunch at Rosie's house.

Mary said...

Hasselbeck should be credited with bending over backwards to be nice to Rosie.


Funny...
That's exactly what the good majority was saying about Garance and you.

Michael said...

Let’s do it; let’s Impeach Bush

PatCA said...

"I imagine this thread is like a transcript of a Sunday brunch at Rosie's house."

Thank you, john stodder. That was funny...and scary.

dtl is having the vapors again because Elizabeth smacked down a Gay-American! Bigot!

As for the date of the "study" Rosie was quoting from, she didn't give a date. The 650K study, as well as the Lancet study, has been debunked.

Statistical James said...

downtownlad,

If you're going to throw out credentials, here's a column co-written by a former president of the American Statistical Association, whose academic specialty happens to be survey sampling.

I had a subscription to Amstat News when he was president. Judging by the tone of his editorials, I'd be very surprised if he's ever voted for a Republican in his entire life. He probably opposed the current war in Iraq, too.

Here's a quote from an article he wrote in this month's Amstat News:

The jury is still out on The Lancet results. Statisticians must assess the process used, not the outcome. But there is a lot wrong with the process, leading to the conjecture that the results are most probably wrong. Our view, based on discussions on the ground, is that it would take another survey to sort out matters—partial replication at the very least.

I'd go into more detail about the design of the Lancet study, but the "I know 1000 times more than [Cedarford] about this subject" comment makes me have doubts that you're debating in good faith.

Christy said...

If I remember correctly didn't The Lancet study involve asking random Iraqis how many people they personally knew who were killed during a set period of time? I'm sure there are ways to control for duplication and that a valid study could be done. But I don't believe it in this case. And I am always dubious, contemptuous even, when a study doesn't go through the normal peer review before publication.

And further, the Iraqis are survivors. They have been trained for over 30 years to tell the powers that be exactly what they want to hear. If the bias of the researchers was as obvious to the Iraqis being interviewed as it was to those of us reading the gleeful results, of course the data isn't valid.

Jennifer said...

But I don't like seeing Americans dying for a stupid cause.

You've said before that you think the military is full of anti-gay bigots and that any gay people in the military are traitors to the gay community. Why do you suddenly care that people you consider to be bigots and traitors are dying?

Jennifer said...

I agree that Elisabeth is beautiful and I find the idea that she's plastic laughable.

This is the only segment of the View I've ever watched. Why do people even watch this show?

Biff said...

I'm a medical researcher, and I started taking articles published in The Lancet with a grain of salt way back in the 90s. I'm so tired of seeing it described as "prestigious." It's actually not a particularly prestigious journal at all; it's more accurately described as a widely distributed weekly publication that sometimes publishes some really good stuff, but mostly publishes "filler" articles by English physicians who want to see their names in print...four thousand pages a year's worth of it. My grad school thesis advisor (whom many from the right would no doubt consider to be an Ivy League left-wing hippie moonbat) would often ask me, "You couldn't cite anything better than an article in The Lancet to make your case?" FWIW, I came to these conclusions based upon science, long before I started paying attention to politics. Once I did start caring about / paying attention to politics (last ten years or so), The Lancet's political bias was inescapably obvious.

I give you the esteemed Editor of the journal speaking at an anti-war rally:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csxvUzpIQ18

Jonathan said...

Downtownlad wrote:
What's wrong with the study? Can you please tell us about thaws in the methodology, and why are they are not statistically sound? Because if you can't, then the number is accurate.

and later...

The Lnacet study went to Iraq and interviewd 1500 families based on random sampling. Any statistician will tell you that you're going to end up with an accurate estimate based on such a large sampling.

There were two main problems with the original Lancet study. One, it assumed that the distribution of war deaths is statistically similar to that of deaths in an epidemic, and therefore that sensitive statistical techniques like cluster sampling, used to extrapolate from limited but statistically normal data samples, would produce useful results in this case. Two, the study ignored obvious issues that might make interview-based data-gathering in the aftermath of a war unreliable (e.g., respondents had an incentive to exaggerate reported deaths from US actions, both to avoid retribution from US enemies and to gain compensation). The fact that the 95% confidence interval here is so wide (between 8k and 194k deaths) confirms the data problems and makes clear that the results of this study should at best be treated with caution.

Also, while I don't think the investigators were necessarily dishonest, it's obvious that they had an anti-war political agenda (for example, they insisted the study be published before the 2004 presidential election). I haven't read the later study, but since the investigators didn't seriously address the objections to the first study, and since the first study had extreme results, and those of the second study were even more extreme, I think it's reasonable to assume that the second study is also flawed. (And this isn't even to consider obvious questions such as: Where did 650k bodies go?)

rsb said...

I have seen that show and both Rosie and Elizabeth are equally stupid. Hen Chatter.

Galvanized said...

Both are clearly women of conviction -- you've got to give Rosie at least that. But the difference is that Rosie doesn't offer respect to those whose views differ from her own. Hence, "The View" has been exactly that for Rosie's time there -- "THE (Rosie) View."

Still, Rosie is still not totally unlikeable to me for some reason. I think that it's because she always has a heart for the underdog and isn't afraid to question. However, this crossed the line. Still, I don't think she was calling all of America terrorists, just the Bush Administration (a view with which I disagree). And why she didn't take pains to clear that up herself, and expected Elisabeth to clean it up for her, I just can't understand except to suggest that she maybe wanted to see if there were a unified front with the show's cast in not allowing her to be villified by the press.

This war has been, in a sense, a conscience-questioning civil war in America - without so much civility in recent months. "The View" has done a good job representing that this year on the panel. I think that is what they intended, but not at such a personal price to the cohosts. About time it was laid to rest.

Rock Wren said...

Rosie's comments about "stepping away from the canvas" of the view because "the painting is done" -- that's pretty much exactly what her ilk want President Bush to do in Iraq... no, no, it's not a "surrender" that she's leaving weeks earlier than she planned, she wasn't "defeated" by her enemies who are dancing in the streets with joy that she's gone... no, no, she didn't "withdraw" from the view... she's only "redeploying" because her work there is done.

Galvanized said...

And anyone who has ever heard Elisabeth Hasselbeck speak on just about any subject would find her to be intelligent, articulate, and quite knowledgeable about a number of subjects...and knows to admit when she's not and keep her composure, which is not an easy thing to do when you've got an audience. I find her always ready with her facts and, when not, at least a good fund of knowledge from which to draw.

In short, Elisabeth's no empty-headed Barbie doll.

Crimso said...

"Can you please provide evidence that the 650K number is a lie? It's based on the Lancet study, which like it or not, is the the most accurate estimate we currently have."

Haven't yet read all of the comments after this one, so apologies if others have pointed out the bullshit that this statement is. The very fact that the authors of this "study" refuse to release their raw data makes it imperative to assume it is fraudulent. Any scientist who refuses access to raw data on which they publish conclusions should be shunned and mocked, not relied upon.

rsb said...

Yes, Elizabeth can tell you all about "Intelligent Design".

Zach said...

It is interesting that Rosie accused Hasselbeck of cowardice for being silent, and then didn't follow through with the logical conclusion of her statements. She only asked a rhetorical question, which is a far more "cowardly" technique than if she came out and said it. Isn't saying "Who are the terrorists?" far more cowardly than saying "For the Iraqis, we are the terrorists!" and then to follow that up by attacking someone for not defending you, even though you made an at best ambiguous statement is even more cowardly.
If Rosie is simply saying that we are all terrorists from a particular point of view, then the word is drained of any meaning or significance.
As for the Lancet study, the basic flaw is the old "correlation is not causation" error. A show of hands as to who thinks that if the US left tomorrow the number of "extra" deaths would fall to zero? The implicit assumption is that the US caused all the deaths and if you removed the US the deaths would not occur, but these are so obviously faulty that they remain implicit assumptions. But even if millions more Iraqis died, we wouldn't care because the US would be gone and there wouldn't be any Lancet studies so we would never know. Just like we didn't care that millions died after we evacuated Saigon in 1975. The killings didn't end because we left. Indeed, the reviled "domino effect" occured and millions were killed by Marxists in Cambodia.

EnigmatiCore said...

We are in a dangerous place.

There are a lot of people who think like Rosie. Like Keith Olbermann.

Its been easy during the rise of the on-line left, to think that while some of them appear crazy as a bedbug, that they are not representative of Democrats as a whole. However, I think it is becoming clear that they are representative of a non-trivial portion of Democrats; perhaps even a majority of them.

It's not as bad on the right, but you add the percentage of them who are nuts to the percentage on the left who are nuts, and we are approaching a majority in this country who are dangerously deluded.

The Populist said...

Ain't this the same blogger who had a screaming meme fit because a Liberal blogger put you in your place during a videocast?

Get real.

-The Populist

david said...

Who is Rosie O'Donnel? What does she see when she looks in the mirror? Is she another shooting star across the firmament of Hollywood or yet another dying ember?

Pogo said...

I find Rosie's method of argument by insinuation execrable.

Like her high school text message way of spelling, it is sophomoric and unintelligent. More, allowing her to suggest something in such a way as to allow plausible deniability. ("That's not what I said..., like some petulant pre-teen caught in a lie.)

Further, she is cowardly, unwilling to stand up and be counted. Of course she thinks the US is the terrorist here. But she cannot bring herself to draw the logical conclusion, that her abstract charge against some amorphous "they" means in fact that actual US soldiers are committing terroristic acts.

And that exposes the paucity of thought behind her speech. She's an angry populist, a demagogue. She argues exactly like Joseph McCarthy, by defaming without facts, and ignoring the times she's wrong.

This modern righteous witch-burning is painful to watch, as it is being joined by some very bright people. The harm to us as a nation will last for decades to come, just like the 1600s, just like the 1850s and 1950s. The same mechanism operates in all.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Is she another shooting star across the firmament of Hollywood or yet another dying ember?"

Rosie was a schoolgirl, when she heard her first Beatles song.

"Love Me, Do", I think it was, and from there it didn't take too long...

Buddy Larsen said...

All that Lancet ever intended to do was to throw out there the largest number that could possibly be defended in even the slightest (most disreputable) way, in order to create a bumper sticker.

Bourgeois "truth" (snicker), was always irrelevant

It's an MO. Any effort spent on search will reveal unequivocally that Lancet's a left-wing political organization organized around medicine, just like, say, AARP is a left wing political organization organized around retirement.

Did Hasselbeck challenge that 655K number? If not, she shoulda. Rosie is a stupid loudmouth. Her looks and sexuality have zero to do with that. ABC promotes her because people gawk at traffic accidents. Just quit watching ABC.

richard mcenroe said...

"...as the work is done."

Because, loud, ignorant, angry, paranoid painters have given the world so much. Just ask Europe...

Fen said...

dtl, the Lancet study is a joke. They basically went door to door in insurgent neighborhoods and asked "how many Iraqi's do you think the Amercian occupation has killed?". Its like surveying Dems re how many votes they think were stolen in 2000, then presenting it as "fact".

Buddy Larsen said...

Fen, it's a fraud, but it's not a joke. It juiced up the Rosies of the world just fine --and that's all it was ever meant to do.

stepskipper said...

jennifer is right about dtl. he's admitted to being a bigot against red staters with social values shared by most people in the military (socially conservative values i don't agree with). he hates 'em and doesn't give a sh*t about 'em.

joe said...

Rosie combines the traits of being both extremely nasty and incredibly stupid.

Seneca the Younger said...

AJ: that url takes me nowhere.

Uh, Ann, that was a subjunctive URI: he wishes there were such an address.

Seneca the Younger said...

Harkendog - Can you please provide evidence that the 650K number is a lie? It's based on the Lancet study, which like it or not, is the the most accurate estimate we currently have.

A "study" with a completely discredited methodology that reached a conclusion approximately 20 times the number of recorded deaths according to Iraqi morgues.

Dave said...

Having followed the second Lancet study and the discussion pretty closely, let me point out that, despite some claims to the contrary, the study was *not* conducted in a random sample measurement. You have to chase it down, but it used a clustering technique (that is at least plausibly useful for epidemics in a relatively modernized country) that had only a modicum of random sampling at the front end.

The clustering technique is useful for epidemiology because there is a 'vector' spreading the disease. That is, a bacteria or virus that must be spread from person to person by some mechanism must be present (even if second-hand such as bad potato salad at a salad bar) in order for the technique to be useful. This is not particularly useful in deaths by violence without incredibly careful preparation. That preparation is not present in the 2006 Lancet 'study'.

A street was chosen (at 'random' although the technique described is definitely *not* random) not by the researchers but by associates who served as translators and go-betweens. That is, the data was quite likely biased by the associates, either knowingly or not.

Households where no one answered the door were skipped. I have seen no data on this 'refusal' or 'failure' rate, which would affect the robustness of the results. Doors were continued to be knocked on until some 40 or so respondents had been found.

The 'clusters' were data-cleaned in a manner I wouldn't accept from a student (based on statements by the 'researchers' who weren't actually present at the interviews) and then reported.

All in all, a highly flawed technique, accepted only by those with an ideological ax to grind.

All it really shows is what many of us already knew: if you want to reach a desired conclusion, you can manipulate your methodology to get there.

Buddy Larsen said...

One wonders, what did Lancet trade away for its credibility? Normally that commodity is highly prized by an information vendor --it's the stock in trade.

Bart said...

The Lancet and other organizations also claimed millions of excess deaths in Iraq due to the sanctions, and these deaths were cited prominently by OBL when he declared jihad against the US. So, the liberals say we aren't allowed to go to war against Saddam or to levy sanctions against him so, we really can't do anything but capitulate to rogue, megalomaniacal, genocidal dictators around the world. Why is it that "liberals" always side with the very forces that stand against everything they claim to believe in?

Andrew Shimmin said...

O'Donnell thinks Bushitler is the terrorist. The logical consequence of this is that she must also think the soldiers are dupes for permitting themselves to be used to inflict Bushitler's terror. Which is problematic, since O'Donnell supports the troops so strongly--no good calling all of them morons. There's also the whole Nuremberg thing, but I expect O'Donnell hasn't any too much more nostalgia for hanging Nazis than she did for hanging Hussein.

Buddy Larsen said...

Rosie's problem is that she's stuck on a point, and that point ("war is bad") happens to be true, and she knows it, and so is utterly bewildered that she encounters resistance.

If she had a little more IQ, she could figure out that actions exist in time, and that everything is part of everything else, and that context and circumstances matter in the past and the future.

LoafingOaf said...

Rosie is a loudmouthed bully with her ignorance and hate, but she's also what happens when someone gets their information exclusively from the left wing web sites and certain other publications. She's read in a hundred places that Bush steals elections, his administration was behind the 9/11 atrocity in some way, that America is the biggest rogue state in the world, that we're unfair to poor and innocent Iran, and that we've murdered almost a million people in an illegal war.

This is stuff I've had professors tell me in class. I was in a law school class about race, racism, and the law around the time of the Afghanistan invasion and students in the class requested that we devote one class to the war on terrorism, most specifically about what was going on domestically with Muslim immigrants, but also about the foreign policy. The professor put together reading materials that were straight from the Noam Chomsky wing of the left, including an article that used Chomsky's argument that we were intending a "silent genocide" in Afghanistan and America was going to intentionally cause the deaths of millions of Afghans. Also, that Americans were so filled with hate towards Muslims in the wake of 9/11 that Muslim-Americans were being terrorized across the country.

This sort of anti-American propaganda was being pushed on me at an American law school. Rosie's under the influence of the same kind of propaganda and she's all caught up in it. SO of course she hates her country right now. That's the whole point of illiberal, anti-capitalist, far left wing propaganda.

I don't excuse her personality flaws, but I don't see anyone on the "progressive" left encouraging her to check her facts. When she said that WTC 7 could not have collapsed the way the government claims, and must've been wired with explosives by our own government, were there any people of the left angry at her for spewing such misinformation about the 9/11 atrocity? They're the only people she will listen to, and they seem okay with Rosie going on ABC and saying Bush blew up WTC 7. It doesn't matter whether they know better or not - the end result is Rosie wanting to support their goals, so let her believe that junk if it gets her on board, and let her say it on ABC unchallenged if it gets others on board.

What I'm saying is, Rosie is a victim of propaganda which the far left in America is okay with people being duped and manipulated by if it means they will resist "American imperialism." I'll never forget sitting in that law school class and being forced to read a bunch of B.S. suggesting that America was intervening on the Taliban for a laundry list of evil reasons and most definitely not because we had any sort of just cause. And then to have a professor attempt to reprogram me into believing that right after 9/11 the average citizens of America reacted in rampaging, mob-like hate against any Muslim or mosque they saw.

The left needs to police the lies coming out of their wing. They should've asked Rosie to have experts come on the show and talk to her about WTC 7 (the editors of Popular Mechanics would've been happy to). Rosie is an unbalanaced and boorish person, but I actually believe she means well deep down inside. She just doesn't know that she's getting her information from very bad people with a very anti-American agenda. She's a useful idiot.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

cedarford wrote:

[a load of crap] plus this:

The 655,000 was part of a discredited Johns Hopkins study that was roundly condemned as the product of Leftist professors with badly flawed methodology that ducked peer review in order to publish in the AntiAmerican Lancet...


Hey boob! The Lancet is a high "impact factor," peer-reviewed medical journal. Putting aside all the other misinformation you littered your comment with, how did you manage to get the fact that The Lancet is peer-reviewed wrong? Are you merely regurgitating misinformation that was fed to you by a radio show host? Or is your "research" always this sloppy?

If you can't get the simplest of facts right, why should anyone believe anything else you say?

Damn I'm tired of these partisan hacks who feel obliged to comment on scientific issues about which they have absolutely no understanding...

From Inwood said...

Folks: you're discussing the wit & wisdom of Rosie O'D.

Do you not see the irony of this?

Could we say that you're "trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear"? OOPS that might be an MCP analogy. Sorry.

Maybe it’s not fair to judge the show from what I’ve seen on YouTube excerpts, but this is what I get from them:

Elisabeth seems to be intelligent & not just a Barbie doll but her shtick seems to consist of saying "Oh, Rosie, that's just not so", rather than attempting to refute Rosie with facts.

I suspect that it’s a MSM set up: Rosie makes sophomoric inarticulate statement about Bush’s Presidency. To the extent that she is understandable at a level beyond “US under GOP President is mean & unfeeling toward poor, woman, gays, minorities, & non-Americans”, her babbling is laughably false.

And whenever Elisabeth has caught Rosie babbling untruths, Joy jumps in to save the day & says something like "Bush lied & is a chicken hawk", causing the audience to clap & snigger. Then Barbara adds "Can't we all stop bickering? Let's call it a day & get on to something important like why guys keep the 'fridge open too long & leave the toilet set up!" Joy then spews the supposed coup de grĂ¢ce: “I bet Laura has to get after the fool for that when he’s looking for his ribs in the fridge!”

Mind candy for the profanum vulgus.

And ABC can say “It’s fair & balanced.”

And while trying to elevate a discussion of ribs into haute cuisine, some of you resort to language & analogies worthy of a Rosie clone.

Buddy Larsen said...

hey, it's "cultural studies".

Buddy Larsen said...

Oops, I guess that would be "culture studies".

Pogo said...

According to the NY Times on Oct. 10, 2006:

"Robert Blendon, director of the Harvard Program on Public Opinion and Health and Social Policy, said interviewing urban dwellers chosen at random was “the best of what you can expect in a war zone.”

But he said the number of deaths in the families interviewed — 547 in the post-invasion period versus 82 in a similar period before the invasion — was too few to extrapolate up to more than 600,000 deaths across the country.

Donald Berry, chairman of biostatistics at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, was even more troubled by the study, which he said had “a tone of accuracy that’s just inappropriate."

And neither does Michael E. O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, which also tracks Iraqi deaths.

"I do not believe the new numbers. I think they're way off," he said.

Other research methods on the ground, like body counts, forensic analysis and taking eyewitness reports, have produced numbers only about one-tenth as high, he said. "I have a hard time seeing how all the direct evidence could be that far off ... therefore I think the survey data is probably what's wrong."


The article is biased crap.
The Lancet is biased crap.
Their peers couldn't review a movie and get it right.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

pogo wrote:

The article is biased crap.
The Lancet is biased crap.


Pogo, I don't believe you've read either article, nor do I believe you're a regular reader of The Lancet. Why do you feel compelled to comment on subjects about which you are ignorant?

Buddy Larsen said...

All marsupials do that. It's a behavioral trait.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

statistical james wrote:

Here's a quote from an article he wrote in this month's Amstat News:

The jury is still out on The Lancet results.


This is an accurate statement. Those who accept the estimates as fact and those who dismiss the estimates as "obviously wrong" don't understand the study or criticisms of the study.

Also, those who are fond of citing the IBC (Iraq Body Count) ought to read about the IBC methodology before referring to the data.

Buddy Larsen said...

How about some common sense? It works even without submergence into litigous parisan expert consequence-free testimony.

Okay, if the report is eight + months old and alleges 500 killed/day, then ceteris paribus there's been another 120K atop the 650K, for 770k as of today.

Since USA population is 12 times Iraq's, that would be roughly 10 million war dead, or about the population of Michigan or Ohio.

We know from the news that a bad day kills maybe 50 Iraqis, and that there's a few of those bad days per week.

So, where is the news on the other more than 450 every day?

Are the reports being buried under Building 7 every day, where fire can't melt steel?

Richard Fagin said...

Whatever else there is to say about Donald Trump that is not particularly nice, he got one thing dead on. Rosie IS a pig.

PatCA said...

"They should've asked Rosie to have experts come on the show and talk to her about WTC 7 (the editors of Popular Mechanics would've been happy to)."

But people with her extreme views do not want to debate and find the truth--they are beyond facts. They're running on emotion (hatred for Bush)--true believers. The last thing a Rosie could tolerate is letting her Truthers face experts who dispute their outlandish theories.

She's fighting the war against Bush; I think we have bigger enemies to worry about.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Those who accept the estimates as fact and those who dismiss the estimates as "obviously wrong" don't understand the study or criticisms of the study."

The estimates in that study are obviously wrong. Why? The argument made above sums it up in a nutshell:

"If so, it would mean than 1 out of every 33 Iraquis has been killed since the war began. Over a four year period since war began, it would mean an average of 3,600 Iraqi deaths per week or more than 500 per day!!"

It is obviously wrong to say that there have been 3,600 Iraqi deaths per week above and beyond what would have occurred had we not invaded.

Honestly, any analysis of the methodology is superfluous given the fact that the numbers it produced are nonsensical on their face.

It really is that simple.

There is a reason the smart Democrats are not throwing around those numbers as authoritative. They know the numbers are lies, and they know that they would destroy their credibility with voters. We're not stupid.

From Inwood said...

Cyrus

You prove my point about The View: It's a setup.

If the producers wanted a fair & balanced view, they'd get someone more adept at Debating 101 than Elisabeth.

Someone who could say exactly what Pogo & a few others have said on this thread and as clearly: The Lancet results are counter-intuitive (OK scientific results may well-be counter-intuitive, but should not beggar belief); its authors are clearly motivated by the deep scientific principle of "Hate Bush" (OK prejudiced surveyors can leave their prejudices behind, tho publishing the original report just before the 2004 Election, makes one wonder about whether this was not a partisan shot, Statistics 101 be damned!), & more important, nay most important, reputable folks (cited on this thread) have criticized The Lancet study as problematic; faulty in its methodology; its assumptions; as failing Statistics 101.

I don’t know what your statistics credentials are vs. Pogo, Stat James, or the other non-believers of the Lancet studies on this thread but I suggest that you read Huff’s “How To Lie With Statistics”, an expansion of his then famous 1950 Harper’s article, especially the chapter on “How To Talk Back To A Statistic”. The article was one of the best things I, who never cared enough to get my PhD in Stats, came across in my college education. As expanded into book form, it makes me secure in discussing polls, surveys, etc. performed by the best & the brightest of our statisticians. Or non-statisticians posing as such. Or uncredentialled commentators citing faux stats as real.

Would my summary win the day for the person we wish were in the Elisabeth seat (assuming that we care what anyone on this show says)?

Probably not because, when cornered by logic, people like Rosie will often attack the credentials of someone like Elisabeth without having better credentials themselves. But at least it would mean that someone could articulate a point of view other than a simplistic, apparently apologetic, "Rosie you're wrong, but I love you & I’m not a coward for disagreeing with you."

BTW, I don’t think that Stat James has to read every issue of The Lancet to criticize this questionable study or even read this study word for word. Statistics show that most people know that one doesn’t have to eat the whole egg to know that it’s bad.

kristan said...

just to throw a little bit of historical perspective onto the size of the Lancet claim, consider that ~600,000-1 million japanese civialians died during WWII. you know, the war with two nuclear bombs and numerous firebombings against poorly built civilian targets.

dtl:
fixating on a silly counterargument (2004 rather than 2006) and hauling out rather minor justification for your opinion ('I have an undergraduate degree in math! listen to me!') does not, surprisingly, substantiate the veracity of the Lancet claim. in the future, please summon your vast intellectual prowess to note the difference between sandblasting a non-argument and participating in a substantive inquiry.

Buddy Larsen said...

I think Lancet, faced with 300,000 skulls recovered from Saddam's mass graves, just decided to double that number. You know, to load their Rosies with exciting ammo. Truth be damned, it's only a "construct" anyway.

Crimso said...

"Damn I'm tired of these partisan hacks who feel obliged to comment on scientific issues about which they have absolutely no understanding..."

I am a scientist. I will email you my CV if it will help, though I doubt you would concede that I know at least a little bit about the subject (having peer-reviewed publications of my own, and having reviewed both manuscripts submitted for publication to highly reputable journals as well as grant applications). I don't need to dissect their methodology, I don't need to know their politics, I don't need to know their qualifications. All I need to know is that they are refusing to release their raw data to anyone other than who they deem to be qualified to judge it. They should be presumed guilty of fraud on that point alone. It is absolutely mind-boggling that anyone with a shred of ethics would refuse access to their raw data, especially when their conclusions are being called into question. I guess I know where to submit my manuscripts should I decide to just start making up my data.

Eric said...

So who will replace Rosie?

How about Camille Paglia? Or Tipper Gore, Connie Chung or Maria Shriver?

Or if they want to nudge the show a bit to the right, Michelle Malkin or Ann Coulter.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Inwood,

I have to say that, as with Pogo, cedarford, and many others, you've clearly not read either study, not understood the methodology, not thought through the criticisms, and yet you've drawn a conclusion on the findings. Thank you for sharing your gross ignorance of the subject with the rest of us.

A couple of quick examples of the ignorance shown by your comments:

1. You wrote: publishing the original report just before the 2004 Election, makes one wonder about whether this was not a partisan shot

Apparently you don't realize that researchers don't control the publication date of a journal article. Moreover, Les Roberts has publicly addressed this issue in many forums; his most detailed explanation is given in his response to John Paulos at Temple University. (You can read it on the internets!) Why do you feel obliged to comment on things you don't understand?

2. You wrote: reputable folks (cited on this thread) have criticized The Lancet study as problematic; faulty in its methodology; its assumptions; as failing Statistics 101.

I don't know if anyone here has read either study. I don't know if anyone here has the background in statistics that would allow them to comment intelligently on either paper. The evidence I have so far suggests that none of the other commenters have read either paper or understood the methodology. And to claim, as you do, that the research "fails Statistics 101" shows monumental ignorance of the work.

If, as you claim, the research is fundamentally flawed, why has there been more support for the study than criticism of it? If it has no merit, why wasn't it killed in the peer review process? If it "fails Statistics 101," why did Sir Roy Anderson, the Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK's Ministry of Defence refer to the study as "robust" and its methods as "close to best practice?"

Finally, you wrote this:

BTW, I don’t think that Stat James has to read every issue of The Lancet to criticize this questionable study

I assume you've read my handful of posts. Strangely enough, Stat James is the only person I've addressed who I didn't criticize for making foolish and/or ignorant remarks. Nor did I suggest to him that he read either study. So your comment, in context, is bizarre.

Just to be clear, I don't think anyone is required to read either Lancet study before commenting. People are free to express ignorant opinions, and unfortunately, many choose to do so frequently. However, those who haven't read the study on which they comment lose credibility in my eyes. I'm unwilling to show any respect for the mindless babblers who come here to parrot the opinion of someone else.

If you want to share your informed opinion, that's great. If you have to copy someone else's opinion, don't bother.

Buddy Larsen said...

If, as you claim, the research is fundamentally flawed, why has there been more support for the study than criticism of it?

Now that's what I call an airtight argument!

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

crimso wrote:

I am a scientist. I will email you my CV if it will help...


Yes, that would be helpful.

I don't need to dissect their methodology, I don't need to know their politics, I don't need to know their qualifications. All I need to know is that they are refusing to release their raw data to anyone other than who they deem to be qualified to judge it...It is absolutely mind-boggling that anyone with a shred of ethics would refuse access to their raw data, especially when their conclusions are being called into question.

Here's what has been reported in the journal Nature:

Although many researchers say the questions hanging over the study are not substantial enough for it to be dismissed, a vocal minority disagrees.

The controversy creates extra interest in the authors’ decision, made last week, to release the raw data behind the study. Critics and supporters will finally have access to information that may settle disputes.


They aren't refusing access to their raw data. Both critics and supporters will have access to it. There's clearly no fraud, as you suggest.

Can we all try to keep the misinformation to a minimum, please?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Buddy wrote:

Now that's what I call an airtight argument!


Actually, Buddy, it was a question, not an argument. It would be very helpful to you, and very considerate to us if you would bother to learn the difference.

Buddy Larsen said...

Oh, so the question wasn't asked in order to make a point?

Then it must have been an actual question. Sorry.

Gonna be hard to answer, though, unless you can teach us to how to quantify and certify "more support than criticism".

Where do we start, word-counts on LexisNexis?

Buddy Larsen said...

The raw data isn't going to be much good, anyway, if you believe Steven Moore of the Wall Street Journal is at least as credible as the editors of Nature:

With so few cluster points, it is highly unlikely the Johns Hopkins survey is representative of the population in Iraq. However, there is a definitive method of establishing if it is. Recording the gender, age, education and other demographic characteristics of the respondents allows a researcher to compare his survey results to a known demographic instrument, such as a census.

Dr. Roberts said that his team’s surveyors did not ask demographic questions. I was so surprised to hear this that I emailed him later in the day to ask a second time if his team asked demographic questions and compared the results to the 1997 Iraqi census. Dr. Roberts replied that he had not even looked at the Iraqi census.

And so, while the gender and the age of the deceased were recorded in the 2006 Johns Hopkins study, nobody, according to Dr. Roberts, recorded demographic information for the living survey respondents. This would be the first survey I have looked at in my 15 years of looking that did not ask demographic questions of its respondents. But don’t take my word for it–try using Google to find a survey that does not ask demographic questions.

Buddy Larsen said...

link

Buddy Larsen said...

comments on the WSJ article. If I can have the same 1200% MOE as the researchers gave themselves, I can safely conclude from here that the study's authors deliberately produced a political ad, then used their CVs to sell it as a research paper.

Pogo said...

Cyrus,
Your curent discussion about a worthless article is even worse than your prior "economics" argument.

I have read Lancet,inlcuding the first Iraq article (but not the second ..why waste my time?). I am a physician. I have had peer- reviewed articles and text book chapters published. I have taken statistics courses for additional training after my MD was completed. But even if I had none of those credentials, I could have figured out how grossly erroneous that political hit job was. The authors should be ashamed. It really belongs in the Journal of Irreproducible Results.

You are a debater of the worst sort. Unable to concede even the tiniest flaw in this clearly flawed opinion piece, you attack the questioners. Legitimate complaints have been raised by more serious thinkers than you, as my previous post had supplied. But instead of answering them, you flail wildly.

This is a dead issue. The Lancet numbers are fatally flawed. But feel free to use them. The rest of us, the ones not as stupid as Rosie, will free to laugh at you when you do.

Crimso said...

"They aren't refusing access to their raw data."

I'll take your word for it and stipulate that they are letting anyone analyze it. The fact that they initially refused to do so is unconscionable and strongly suggests they have something to hide.

Where do I send the CV?

Buddy Larsen said...

And how does the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health rehabilitate its reputation?

Buddy Larsen said...

I guess the school could ask Michael A. Bellesiles for some tips.

Bart said...

Guys, see my earlier post. The question is moot. The Lancet says the war killed 500k or 600k or whatever. It also says the sanctions killed millions. So, whatever action we might take to keep Saddam in check results in the deaths of just gobs of innocent Iraqis.

What I want to know from the proponents of the Lancet study is, what do you think we should have done about Saddam? Are you afraid to admit you'd just like him to have been allowed to do whatsoever he pleased? Or, do you realize that if you boil your essential argument down to the pudding, what you advocate is a complete non-starter with the American people?

From Inwood said...

Cyrus

You have not addressed my point about The View being a set up.

Judging from your earlier quote of Stat James I thought that you were saying that it was he who had to read every issue of The Lancet & every word of this report before commenting. OK, you were saying that about Pogo. So, with a correction in name, my comment about not needing to eat the whole rotten egg still stands then re your criticism of Pogo.

And you warn us who you assume haven’t read the entire reports that we “lose credibility in [your] eyes.” So rather than address our comments or the comments of published dissenters you dismiss all of us as not having read the reports. None of us. Wow, even tho it would appear that you haven’t read the critiques dismissing the reports. And, you have the nerve to repeat yourself by saying that

“The evidence [you] have so far suggests that none of the other commenters have read either paper or understood the methodology.”

Good grief. Speaking for myself & I’d guess several others, some have read the 2004 report & all have read the conclusion & the methodology, & the conclusions & critiques of both reports' unsupported conclusion & methodology. This proves to us, under the rotten egg theorem, that we don’t need a PhD in statistics to think that we’re correct under Stats 101 in our commonsense belief that both the 2004 & 2006 Lancet reports beggar belief & further that we as educated people have the right to “talk back to a statistic”, even a “robust” statistic as your “Chief Anderson” would have it. None of your spinning, huffing & puffing, & posing addresses our position, much less refutes it.

Also, you, without presenting your credentials, challenge those of us who did criticize the report as being uncredentialled guys.

And you claim it’s quantity rather than quality re the number of people supporting the Lancet reports. Sorry. Doesn’t work that way.

You next say that there was a reason for publishing the earlier report right before Election 2004, tho you coyly refuse to summarize such reason, telling me that I’m too stupid to understand such weaseling. There’s a reason for everything. And some things are, indeed, coincidental or cannot be delayed. But we are not convinced here. We are not amused.

And, you’re still evading the point of this thread: Any setting for Rosie to paint a picture unimpeded is a set up.

Rosie, who’s unaware of Anything Substantive 101, has, to use your words “parrot[ed] the opinion of someone else” on national TV & has declared that she’s painted a picture. I take it that you agree with her parroted painting of the later 650,000+ figure &, QED, tho she thinks that fire doesn’t burn, she doesn’t “lose credibility in [your] eyes”.

But on this thread there’s a chance for reasonable people to have debated you (tho you’d contemptuously dismiss them). On The View, on the other hand there is no debate. And, yes, Elisabeth finally blew up at Rosie, but said nothing substantive, including whether she disputed the 650,000+ figure, & in such cases the “blower up” generally looks like a loser.

BTW, I think that you have just blown up & said nothing of substance.

Fen said...

You prove my point about The View: It's a setup. If the producers wanted a fair & balanced view, they'd get someone more adept at Debating 101 than Elisabeth

Agreed. After all the drama surrounding Star/Barbara/Donald/Rosie, its become obvious that The View is junk trying to prop up its ratings with sensationalism. Who would bother tuning in if it wasn't a catfight/trainwreck.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Inwood wrote:

You have not addressed my point about The View being a set up.


I have no interest in The View or other trash television shows. In fact, I've never watched The View, so I have no basis for responding to your observations about it. And in that regard, I'm quite happy to leave your question to those who are fans of The View.

In general, I don't feel obliged to comment on subjects which hold no interest for me or about which I'm am not sufficiently knowledgeable.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Inwood wrote:

Judging from your earlier quote of Stat James I thought that you were saying that it was he who had to read every issue of The Lancet & every word of this report before commenting. OK, you were saying that about Pogo.


Thank you for trying to correct your previous error, but you've simply replaced the old error with a new one. I did not write that Pogo needed to "read every issue of The Lancet and every word of [the] report[s] before commenting." For the record, this is what I wrote to Pogo:

Pogo, I don't believe you've read either article, nor do I believe you're a regular reader of The Lancet. Why do you feel compelled to comment on subjects about which you are ignorant?

I followed my remarks to Pogo with this general comment:

Just to be clear, I don't think anyone is required to read either Lancet study before commenting.

Inwood, the facts directly contradict your claim. If you can't be bothered to get the facts straight on the simplest of matters, why should I (or any other honest reader) believe you about anything else?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Buddy wrote:

The raw data isn't going to be much good, anyway, if you believe Steven Moore of the Wall Street Journal is at least as credible as the editors of Nature.


This is a typically idiotic statement from Buddy. Buddy, let's analyze your claim honestly...

Steven Moore is a partner in the firm Gorton Moore International, "a political consultancy aligned with the Republican Party." He contributes to the website truthaboutiraq.org, which was "established to promote a positive view of the U.S. military role in Iraq in contrast to that presented by most other media sources."

It's telling that you present Moore as an "unbiased" commenter. Were you ignorant about Moore's background when you made your comment about his "credibility," or were you trying to cover up his involvement in pro-Iraq war activities? Buddy, which is it: ignorance or dishonesty?

Buddy, there is plenty of interesting and pertinent criticism of the Burnham/Roberts studies within the scientific community. I suggest you reference those for scientific "authority" rather than using the writing of a political hack.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

buddy wrote:

Then it must have been an actual question. Sorry. Gonna be hard to answer, though...


Buddy, let me rephrase the original question for you to see if you can understand it better...

If, as Inwood claims, the research "fail[s] Statistics 101," why has there been significant support for the methodology among the academic community?

Buddy, do you understand the question now? If so, take a stab at answering it. If not, dance around the edges of the issue as you've been doing up to this point.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

re: Buddy referencing Steven Moore's WSJ editorial...

It's worth mentioning for anyone who hasn't already noted this, but generally formal scientific debate appears as exchanges in scientific journals, not as dialogue carried out in newspaper editorials. So why has Steven Moore opted to share his criticisms in the WSJ? Likely it's because he's not a scientist.

Here's a link to the Steven Moore bio at Gorton Moore International. In addition to extensive involvement in GOP politics, Moore has a political agenda that he's pushing (in this case, his support for invasion and occupation of Iraq). The last section of the bio notes that Moore's degree is in "International Management" from Thunderbird.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

crimso,

I was kidding about the CV. It's nice of you to offer, and I don't doubt your sincerity or specifically question your claims, but online resumes are fairly meaningless.

I want to comment on something you've said about providing raw data to the public. Scientists are under NO obligation to release raw data to the public. They are also generally under NO obligation to release raw data to the scientific community at large. In laboratory work, scientists are obliged to provide enough detail about experimental work to allow others to reproduce their experiments. In field work, scientists are obliged to provide data (not in raw form and upon request) on which analysis has been completed. This is quite different from what you imply, and I hope you'll understand that the "requirement" you put on Burnham/Roberts is far in excess of what is generally expected from researchers.

Pogo said...

Re: "the "requirement" you put on Burnham/Roberts is far in excess of what is generally expected from researchers"

It is an uncommon demand, but not an excessive one. It is only sought when an author's claims are felt to be implausible. There are several cases that have made the news over the years. Such is the case here. Even back-of-the-envelope math doesn't make sense. High claims, but no bodies to match up.

But you are being disingenuous in your own demands. Stating I don't think anyone is required to read either Lancet study before commenting. doesn't diminish your comtempt for them, as you expressed in saying "Pogo, I don't believe you've read either article ...Why do you feel compelled to comment on subjects about which you are ignorant?"

That is, you can comment, but you're just ignorant if you do.

Look, I myself have been a peer reviewer for medical journals. This article smells of one that skipped the usual referee process. In fact, it reminds me of college chemistry, when people faked their data to get the desired result, called "dry-labbing". Yes, I think they dry-labbed it. Their records are meaningless. Can't prove it, but it smacks of Bellesiles. I want to see morgue data, not surveys. That's how this question should be answered.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

pogo wrote:

Your curent discussion about a worthless article is even worse than your prior "economics" argument.


My argument in a previous blog entry about the effect of income tax rates on income tax revenues is irrelevant here, as you well know. The fact that we disagreed previously is irrelevant, as you know. The fact that you found my economic argument unconvincing and I found your response idiotic is irrelevant here, as you know. So why do you insist on making irrelevant points? I wish I knew, but apparently there is no end in sight to this practice of yours. Too bad; it's very tedious.

I have read Lancet,inlcuding the first Iraq article (but not the second ..why waste my time?). I am a physician. I have had peer- reviewed articles and text book chapters published. I have taken statistics courses for additional training after my MD was completed. But even if I had none of those credentials, I could have figured out how grossly erroneous that political hit job was. The authors should be ashamed. It really belongs in the Journal of Irreproducible Results.

Pogo, perhaps you are an MD, perhaps not. I have no way of knowing. However, in this paragraph, and in most of your writing, there is no evidence of a scientific mind at work.

As you should know (if you weren't intellectually lazy), Les Roberts' work in Rwanda and in the Congo is well-regarded. His studies in Iraq with Burnham et al have been criticized by Iraq war supporters and some scientists. At the same time, numerous statisticians and epidemiologists have supported his studies in Iraq.

You indicate that you have read the first study, but can't be bothered to read the second. Again, this suggests intellectual laziness. Based on your reading of the first study, can you tell me why the numerous statisticians and epidemiologists who support the Burnham/Roberts methodology are wrong, and you, a nonspecialist, with little background in statistics, are right? I'm very curious on this point, Pogo, so please share your specific substantive criticisms with us so I can understand the basis of your dismissal of the research.

You are a debater of the worst sort. Unable to concede even the tiniest flaw in this clearly flawed opinion piece, you attack the questioners.

Pogo, you are a very poor reader. Here's what I wrote about the studies:

Those who accept the estimates as fact and those who dismiss the estimates as "obviously wrong" don't understand the study or criticisms of the study.

Do you now understand that I'm NOT endorsing the estimates?
The fact that I refuse to dismiss the estimates seems to indicate to you that I accept them, but that is both illogical and in contradiction with my own statements. Why does this confuse you, Pogo? (And I would argue the a "debater of the worst sort" is one who consistently ignores facts and distorts the views of those with whom he disagrees.)

Legitimate complaints have been raised by more serious thinkers than you, as my previous post had supplied. But instead of answering them, you flail wildly.

It's true that serious criticisms of the studies have been made. You don't mention any of the best of these criticisms (e.g., the "Main Street Bias," questions regarding mortality rates in Iraq prior to the invasion, etc...), and instead include nonscientific criticisms such as this:

Donald Berry, chairman of biostatistics at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, was even more troubled by the study, which he said had “a tone of accuracy that’s just inappropriate."

You then concluded with this remarkably idiotic summary:

The article is biased crap.
The Lancet is biased crap.


I chose to reply, briefly, to these incredibly stupid opinions by you. I didn't believe your comments deserved a more thorough reply, as your post revealed no depth of thought or insight into the studies. In other words, you got the response you deserved.

This is a dead issue.

Spoken like a true partisan who has no understanding of scientific issues. Unfortunately for you, the scientific community disagrees.

The Lancet numbers are fatally flawed.

Within the scientific community, there remains a lot of skepticism about the estimates. However, it is the politicians who support the Iraq war, not the scientists, who are quick to dismiss these estimates.

But feel free to use them. The rest of us, the ones not as stupid as Rosie, will free to laugh at you when you do.

Pogo, I am convinced you are the poster boy for the expression "ignorance is bliss." If you were paying attention (which seems to be rare for you), you would note that I have not cited the Burnham/Roberts estimates. What I've done is to point out the stupidity of those who dismiss the estimates out of hand for political reasons. It's not a coincidence that those who are citing the estimates here are opponents of the war, and it's certainly not a coincidence that Iraq war supporters are the ones who are quick to dismiss the estimates as "obviously wrong." The partisan hackery is quite clear.

I understand your motivations, Pogo. However, I don't understand why you willingly sacrifice your intelligence and integrity in the service of partisanship. Can you explain that to me, Pogo?

[BTW, I note your position on another scientific issue (global warming) is completely consistent with my observations here.]

Pogo said...

I dismiss their estimates, not "out of hand", but because they showcase very bad science. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. They made the former, but backed it up with a flimsy poll. They have received severe criticism about their fundamental methodology, and therefore are required to prove themselves (opponents are not, as you suggest, required to disprove them). Moreover, it would be foolish to read a second article by an author who hasn't modified his errors. What a colossal waste of time.

By far the simplest thing for them to prove their detractors wrong was corroborate their poll with morgue deaths in that neighborhood. Why was that not done? Because their data were faked. Their response? Another poll.

I really don't give a damn whether you believe my credentials or not. Go ahead and defend Rosie O'Donnell. Her best role was playing a reatrded woman in "Riding the Bus with My Sister", for she reached a remarkable degree of verisimilitude, and amazingly it is indistinguishable from her appearances on The View.

Pogo said...

Is it retarded to misspell retarded?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

pogo wrote:

It is an uncommon demand, but not an excessive one. It is only sought when an author's claims are felt to be implausible. There are several cases that have made the news over the years. Such is the case here.


Let's be clear here. It is an uncommon demand for data, particularly raw data, to be made available to the scientific community. There is no precedent that I know of for scientists to feel any obligation to release raw data to the general public on demand, as has been suggested here. As I've already noted Roberts has indicated that raw data will be made available. Consequently, the complaint that the raw data is being withheld has been withdrawn.

Even back-of-the-envelope math doesn't make sense. High claims, but no bodies to match up.

Pogo, it's when you write nonsense like this that I wonder if you have any background in science. "Back-of-the-envelope" math? Pogo, there is no "back-of-the-envelope" math that can quickly show that the Burnham/Roberts estimates are wrong.

Bodies? Do you know of anyone in Iraq claiming to count dead bodies? Did you or did you not read the Burnham et al study? Did you understand it? Do you realize that they weren't trying to find and count dead bodies? Do you understand why there aren't many researchers doing the work that Burnham et al undertook?

Pogo, with each new post, you further convince me that you don't know what you're talking about.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

pogo wrote:

But you are being disingenuous in your own demands. Stating I don't think anyone is required to read either Lancet study before commenting. doesn't diminish your comtempt for them, as you expressed in saying "Pogo, I don't believe you've read either article ...Why do you feel compelled to comment on subjects about which you are ignorant?" That is, you can comment, but you're just ignorant if you do.


Wrong again. Whatever "contempt" I have for any particular comment depends strictly on the content of the comment.

Having said that, I believe it would be difficult to write substantively on the Burnham/Roberts studies without having read them. Moreover, I would question the intellectual honesty of any commenter who felt qualified to post at length on papers he hadn't read.

As for your summary of my opinion (i.e., "That is, you can comment, but you're just ignorant if you do."), I think you've stated it wrong. Since I can only judge what you may or may not know based on what you write, and since I assume going in that all Althouse readers are brilliant, this is what I'm left with for guidance:

- If a commenter posts ignorantly about the Burnham/Roberts research, I assume he hasn't read the papers.

- If a commenter hasn't read the research papers and yet feels compelled to comment ignorantly and at length on them, why should I show that commenter any respect?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

pogo wrote:

I want to see morgue data, not surveys. That's how this question should be answered.


Pogo, when you get a chance, please join us in reality.

Pogo, do me a great favor, please. Tell me what you believe the total excess mortality in Iraq has been. Please indicate your reasoning in arriving at whatever estimate you provide. Thank you.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

pogo wrote:

By far the simplest thing for them to prove their detractors wrong was corroborate their poll with morgue deaths in that neighborhood. Why was that not done? Because their data were faked.


That's a serious charge, Pogo. Do you have any evidence to support it? I've read numerous serious scientific criticisms of the Burnham/Roberts methodology, but I've seen no claim of data "faking" by any of the scientific critics.

Pogo, please tell me how you've reached the conclusion that the data is "fake." Also, considering that you're a bright person and wouldn't bring a charge of scientific fraud lightly, will you promise to submit your evidence to Nature so that we can make sure that the "data fakers" are sanctioned?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

pogo wrote:

Go ahead and defend Rosie O'Donnell.


Pogo, does your inability to read hamper you in your medical work? Where have I defended Rosie O'Donnell? Where have I cited the Burnham/Roberts studies as having provided good excess mortality totals?

Pogo, please understand that I don't inhabit your little black and white world. I can remain skeptical about the Burnham/Roberts estimates without dismissing them as "bad science."

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

pogo wrote:

I dismiss their estimates, not "out of hand", but because they showcase very bad science. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. They made the former, but backed it up with a flimsy poll. They have received severe criticism about their fundamental methodology, and therefore are required to prove themselves...


You need to join the real world sometime, Pogo. Roberts is a well-regarded epidemiologist. The papers by Burnham et al were submitted to a highly respected journal (The Lancet). They were peer-reviewed. The reports have generated both criticism and support in the scientific community. Your implication that there as been a widespread dismissal of the studies in the scientific community is simply untrue.

It's clear that you aren't speaking as a scientist when you make these ridiculous remarks. You're speaking as a partisan hack, and frankly, I think it's shameful that you don't admit as much. You're a cheerleader for the war in Iraq. Stop pretending that you're speaking as a scientist and admit that you are pushing your political agenda here.

Pogo said...

Roberts used to be a well-regarded epidemiologist, at least he was until this fiasco. Lancet used to be a highly respected journal. Articles they printed used to undergo rigorous peer-review. All but the most blinkered leftist saw their slip hanging out.

If you argue the very same points as Rosie, how can I distinguish your points from hers?

Again, you are asking me to disprove their claim. The burden of proof for an extraordinary claim (that iraqi deaths have exceeded those in WW2 mainland Japan, where we set off 2 atomic bombs) falls on the claimants, and this case requires extraordinary proof. This poll simply doesn't cut it, no matter how much you type or try to insult those who disagree.

I think their result is so ludicrous it could only have been intentionally falsified (that's what you can do on the back of an envelope, as other commenters above have repeatedly demonstrated, and you have ignored). Proof they are correct requires counting the bodies. Where are the 650,000 bodies buried? "Research" that doesn't even pass the sniff test cannot rest on someone's reputation.

Cyrus, you seem quite earnest about this. But you lack the requisite skepticism required to sift through scientific claims, and therefore blame those who question biased research for being biased themselves. You're being fooled on this; you just refuse to see it. I cannot help you with that kind of blindness, however. I suggest you do as before, and claim victory, and stop typing.

From Inwood said...

Cyrus

Just when I thought that you couldn’t blow up more, you’ve proven me wrong. Wow.

You are the Defender of The Faith.

And good trick; you make Pogo explain his bona fides & bring forth none of your own. One suspects then that you have none. But, hey I’m open to facts & I shouldn’t misjudge you. Except that you don’t sound like a dispassionate scientist to me. You certainly don’t sound dispassionate.

And though Pogo says he’s an MD who knows a thing or two about Peer Review you attack him:

“Pogo, perhaps you are an MD, perhaps not. I have no way of knowing. However, in this paragraph, and in most of your writing, there is no (bf in original) evidence of a scientific mind at work.”

I suspect that when you say that you’d “have no way of knowing whether Pogo was a MD, you are probably correct. (In case you didn’t get my irony, I am saying the fault would be yours!) BTW, it is not necessary to use bold face when making a point. I suggest to you that it’s not a sign of a “scientific mind at work” &, if I may play shrink, it’s definitely a sign of insecurity & a self-recognition of inarticulateness.

There is no need for me to repeat in a less detailed, probably less articulate, way what Pogo has said in his devastating scientific refutations of your unthought. But I will respond to your personal attacks. You disdain Rosie & yet sound just like her. Bullying. Cloaking yourself in a spurious air of scientific precision.

You said to Pogo that he obviously didn’t read Lancet & hadn’t read the reports in question. And then you said to me that “as with Pogo, cedarford, and many others, [you, Inwood have] clearly not read either study, not understood the methodology, not thought through the criticisms, and yet [you, Inwood have] drawn a conclusion on the findings.”

And, then you wobble by pointing out that you did say as you now repeat that you “don't think anyone is required to read either Lancet study before commenting.” But you leave out your added warning to us uncredentialled profanum vulgus [i.e. those including Pogo & moi you mentioned] that if we dare to comment without reading the reports we’d would “lose credibility in [your] eyes”.

Is this supposed to be cryptic? Or do you just not pay attention when you contradict yourself? Blog tip: Don't believe everything you say. Try reading your stuff before pushing the “Send” button.

BTW, we agree that though this thread is about Rosie, you & I are much too important to watch Rosie, but may I suggest to you that junk science repeated without refutation tends to get traction. That’s Goebbels 101.

And don’t try to dismiss a critic who writes in the WSJ because you decree that “generally formal scientific debate appears as exchanges in scientific journals, not as dialogue carried out in newspaper editorials”. Excuse me? When a “formal scientific” report is released to the public (just before Election Day, no less!) with a summary in layman’s language, we have left the narrow area of experts communicating to only to experts. You do see this, no?

Again, the point of this thread: even a generally uninformed Rosie has now latched on to these alleged scientific reports as another stick with which to beat The President. If no one can criticize a published scientific report sent to the press with a layman’s Press Release & analyze its methodology other than in learned journals using the jargon of the trade, while others popularize it using the wording of the Press Release, then the report becomes a Bible.

Wait, I get it: you’re a fundamentalist who will not accept criticism of sacred writings, which can only be interpreted by the high priests who are its guardians. Defender of the Faith.

Do yourself a favor: Read Huff’s chapter on “How to Talk Back to a Statistic.” But why do I suspect that you already do this back talk with statistics presented by those on your Index Of Forbidden Reports?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Inwood wrote:

[a hefty load of bullshit]


Inwood, I have to first note that your 12:43 pm post is the most intellectually dishonest comment I've read since Methadras the Plagiarist shared his opinion on bald eagle reproduction and DDT. However, you are not guilty of plagiarism; you are guilty of criminal stupidity. Okay, stupidity isn't a crime, but if it was, you'd be serving multiple life sentences.

Let's look at some of the dumb and dishonest things you wrote:

1. you make Pogo explain his bona fides & bring forth none of your own. One suspects then that you have none.

Wrong and stupid. I didn't make Pogo do anything. He volunteered that he's a doctor, etc... I assume he did so because he thought it would win him some credibility that he isn't gaining from his comments. In any case, it makes no difference to me what he claims because I realize that there is no way for me to check those claims.

What is relevant here--what we are all judged by (at least by the intelligent readers)--is the content of our posts. In your case, I judge you to be not particularly bright. However, if you want to claim to be a doctor too, go ahead. It makes no difference to me.

2. And though Pogo says he’s an MD who knows a thing or two about Peer Review you attack him

I see no evidence that Pogo understands peer review (see above). I see no evidence that Pogo understands the research methodology he is dismissing. He's had ample opportunity to explain precisely what he finds wrong with the research, but he refuses to engage substantively.

Pogo has recently identified the Burnham/Roberts data set as fraudulent. He doesn't actually provide any evidence to support this claim; rather, he just insists it must be so.

Inwood, Pogo displays no significant knowledge of the Burnham/Roberts studies or scientific research in general. I've indicated as such. Consequently, I've attacked his posts where he makes false claims. I'm sorry that you are foolish enough to believe that Pogo should be judged on something other than the content of his posts.

3. BTW, it is not necessary to use bold face when making a point.

It certainly is not necessary, but with poor readers such as you and Pogo, I hope that the use of boldface will help draw your attention to the essential details that you reliably miss. In other words, I do it because I want to.

4. if I may play shrink, it’s definitely a sign of insecurity & a self-recognition of inarticulateness.

Definitely? Are you sure of your diagnosis, Dr. Inwood? Why don't you and Pogo buddy up and he can play doctor while you play shrink? It sounds like a match made in heaven: Tweedle-dumb meets Tweedle-dumber.

5.There is no need for me to repeat in a less detailed, probably less articulate, way what Pogo has said...

It wouldn't be possible, although I'm sure you'd try and come close.

6. in his devastating scientific refutations of your unthought.

The funny thing about this (and it is genuinely quite funny), is that you have no idea how moronic your statement is. Pogo has made no scientific refutations of the Burnham/Roberts studies. I've invited comment on the "main street bias" criticism. Pogo passed. I've invited comment on the question of mortality rates in pre-war Iraq. Again, Pogo passed. Pogo prefers to ridicule the estimate itself rather than discuss the methodology. Clearly Pogo prefers not to discuss the science. And you clearly have not been paying attention.

7. You disdain Rosie & yet sound just like her. Bullying. Cloaking yourself in a spurious air of scientific precision.

Rosie O'Donnell "cloak[s]" herself "in a spurious air of scientific precision?" Really? I didn't know that.

For the record, I don't "disdain" Rosie O'Donnell. I don't track her political thought because her opinion doesn't matter to me. In fact, I'm surprised that it matters to anyone. Perhaps you'd like to share with us why you know so much about her thought and tactics.

I do find it interesting, however, that you and Pogo have different interpretations on this point. You conclude that I "disdain Rosie" while Pogo writes:

If you argue the very same points as Rosie, how can I distinguish your points from hers?

Tweedle-dumb and Tweedle-dumber indeed!

8. then you wobble by pointing out that... you “don't think anyone is required to read either Lancet study before commenting.” But you leave out your added warning to us uncredentialled profanum vulgus [i.e. those including Pogo & moi you mentioned] that if we dare to comment without reading the reports we’d would “lose credibility in [your] eyes”. Is this supposed to be cryptic? Or do you just not pay attention when you contradict yourself?

There is no contradiction here. My statements are quite clear. No one is required to be informed before commenting. Ann has no rules to keep the uninformed from posting. However, those who comment while ignorant (CWI) obviously lose credibility when they post gibberish. Get it now?

9. but may I suggest to you that junk science repeated without refutation tends to get traction. That’s Goebbels 101.

Please mention this to Methadras when you see him next.

One of the reasons I bother to respond, at length, to the truly stupid posts at this blog is that I have no intention of letting these distortions of the record stand. For instance, someone claimed that The Lancet isn't peer reviewed. As you and I know, that's pure nonsense. Someone later claimed that it is standard practice for scientists to release raw data to the public on demand. As you and I know, this is pure nonsense. So, in summary, one of the reasons that I'm responding to you and Pogo at length is because I feel some obligation to refute the nonscientific garbage that the two of you are spewing.

10. And don’t try to dismiss a critic who writes in the WSJ because you decree that “generally formal scientific debate appears as exchanges in scientific journals, not as dialogue carried out in newspaper editorials”

Excuse me, but you've clearly not been paying attention. There are two points to be made here. First, the WSJ editorial page is not the typical forum for scientific criticism of scientific studies. There are many reasons for this, one of which is the absence of a peer review process. Another is that there is no evidence that the WSJ intended to offer editorial space in the future for a continuation of a scientific debate of Burnham/Roberts methodology. The WSJ has no obligation, based on the merit of what is submitted, to provide any future column space to the scientific discussion. This is one reason why serious scientists do not use newspaper editorial pages to launch criticisms of scientific work; those criticisms are found in scientific journals.

Second, to the extent I "dismiss" Steven Moore's editorial (and for the record, I didn't "dismiss" it), it is based on his long links to GOP politics and his active participation in consulting with the Bush administration on how the Iraq invasion and occupation would be sold to the American public. He isn't a scientist; he's a partisan operative. And still, good old Buddy states that Steven Moore is more credible than the editors at Nature. (Buddy qualifies as Tweedle-dumbest.)

I'm stunned that you don't see how Steven Moore's association with GOP politics and with Iraq war propaganda doesn't immediately identify him as someone with a significant bias. Are you blinded by your own bias, or are you too dishonest to admit that the editorial by Moore (who is not a scientist) has less scientific value than the criticisms leveled by scientists in scientific journals?

11. When a “formal scientific” report is released to the public (just before Election Day, no less!)

I've already discussed this complaint, but as you aren't a careful reader, I'll briefly repeat the essential points for you. (If you want more detail, see the letter of explanation sent by Roberts to Paulos.) Burnham and Roberts finished their research prior to the election. They submitted it to The Lancet, and had no control over the publication date once the manuscript was accepted. Roberts has argued that, as both Bush and Kerry supported the war and continued US presence in Iraq, the study mortality estimates would have no influence on electoral politics. In retrospect, he appears to be right on this point.

12. If no one can criticize a published scientific report sent to the press with a layman’s Press Release & analyze its methodology other than in learned journals using the jargon of the trade, while others popularize it using the wording of the Press Release, then the report becomes a Bible.

This is extremely nonsensical. People are free to comment on anything they like. Bush himself commented on the study, and he surely hadn't read it. (Bush's comments were, in fact, irresponsible, but what's new about that?)

It would be nice if public figures would rely on scientific advisors before commenting on scientific work with which they are unfamiliar. In Britain, the report was first analyzed by the Chief Scientific Advisor at the Ministry of Defence; he found the study to be "robust." He passed this advice on to Blair who decided instead to reject the Burnham/Roberts conclusions. As in the US, politics trumped science.

I see the same thing here, although it plays out here far more stupidly. As I noted before, the pro-Iraq war commenters reject the Burnham/Roberts mortality estimates as "nonscientific," and the anti-Iraq war commenters accept the mortality estimates. I see no sound scientific basis given for acceptance or rejection of these estimates and, in fact, the commenters repeatedly make factually incorrect and/or scientifically ignorant remarks about the research. This leads me to conclude that their opinions about the scientific research are being guided completely by partisan political concerns. Of course, you can't acknowledge this because your position is also guided by partisan politics. However, unlike the other "scientists" here, I won't sacrifice my integrity to play politics.

13. Wait, I get it

No, you don't, and you quite possibly never will. You've made no attempt to discuss specific flaws you've identified in the Burnham/Roberts methodology. (I assume this is because you haven't read or understood the research.) Like Pogo, you'd rather shriek "it's gotta be wrong!" than discuss the science.

However, because I'm a generous soul, I'm going to give you a chance to prove me wrong. If you will, please tell me what estimates the Burnham/Roberts methodology would have predicted if they had used the same pre-war mortality rate that Pederson used. After calculating a new estimate, give me your verdict on the new excess mortality total.

Thanks Inwood, I'm looking forward to your substantive reply.

Crimso said...

"It is an uncommon demand for data, particularly raw data, to be made available to the scientific community. There is no precedent that I know of for scientists to feel any obligation to release raw data to the general public on demand, as has been suggested here."

Tell that to David Baltimore.
(In case you're still wasting your time here)

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Crimso wrote:

Tell that to David Baltimore.


In what way do you think the Baltimore case is relevant to what I wrote?

From Inwood said...

Cyrus

Let me see.

Apparently you believe in the last person standing school of argument. And that you will wear everyone down & declare victory.

Sounds substantive to you, I guess.

So, after all this huffing & puffing you now say that

“[You] see no sound scientific basis given for acceptance or rejection of these estimates [in these reports].”

Wow, I guess I misjudged you. Could that have been caused by, for instance, your vitriolic attacks on some of us as follows:

"I have to say that, as with Pogo, cedarford, and many others, you've clearly not read either study, not understood the methodology, not thought through the criticisms, and yet you've drawn a conclusion on the findings.

And then more bile added on:

“The evidence [you] have so far suggests that none of the other commenters have read either paper or understood the methodology. And to claim, as [I] do, that the research ‘fails Statistics 101’ shows monumental ignorance of the work.

”If, as [I] claim, the research is fundamentally flawed, why has there been more support for the study than criticism of it? If it has no merit, why wasn't it killed in the peer review process? If it ‘fails Statistics 101,’ why did Sir Roy Anderson, the Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK's Ministry of Defence refer to the study as ‘robust’ and its methods as ‘close to best practice?’ ”

All that sure sounded to me & apparently to others that you were endorsing the reports, especially when you accepted the lame excuse for the 2004 release as an October Surprise. (The Force made me release it at this time. The Force has power over weak minds.)

But wait, you now go on:

“and, in fact, the commenters repeatedly make factually incorrect and/or scientifically ignorant remarks about the research. This leads [you] to conclude that their opinions about the scientific research are being guided completely by partisan political concerns.”

Oh I get it. Some are more ignorant than others, in this case the critics are more ignorant than the authors of the reports.

Again, is this supposed to be cryptic? Or do you just not pay attention when you contradict yourself? Blog tip: Don't believe everything you say. Try reading your stuff before pushing the “Send” button.

And you challenge me to do my own survey. Good try. Are we back in High School? Anyway: asked & answered clearly by Pogo.

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. They made the former, but backed it up with a flimsy poll. They have received severe criticism about their fundamental methodology, and therefore are required to prove themselves (opponents are not, as you suggest, required to disprove them).”

I can certainly “talk back to a statistic” without doing my own study. And I stand by my criticisms of these reports which you now…. um, where are you now? My position is simple & does not need 13 posts each of 13 paragraphs: I have no personal knowledge of how many people died in Inwood much less in Iraq. The 650,000+ Iraq figure is counter-intuitive & apparently counter-factual. (Mr. Chairman, I’m holding in my hand a list of known communists in the government. How many? Fifty Seven.) I would expect someone to prove to me their figure re deaths in both places & these guys don’t seem to have done so re Iraq, though they’ve been “robust” in doing whatever they’re doing according to your robust rants.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Inwood,

The evidence is now indisputable that you are an idiot. Your reading comprehension is dreadfully poor, and your ability to reason logically is MIA. Very sad.

Again, let's review the slop you've delivered...

1. Apparently you believe in the last person standing school of argument. And that you will wear everyone down & declare victory. Sounds substantive to you, I guess.

Inwood, I've invited substantive replies on the research by Burnham/Roberts. I've specifically invited comments on the "main street bias" and on questions of pre-war mortality rates in Iraq. Still, neither you nor Pogo have made any attempt to discuss the research with specific substantive comments. Why is it that you two continue to duck the scientific issues?

2. Wow, I guess I misjudged you.

Indeed. This is because you don't read carefully. I've been entirely consistent in my position.

3. If you are going to quote me, do so accurately. In the following passage, the pronouns that you've inserted in the brackets are incorrect.

“The evidence [you] have so far suggests that none of the other commenters have read either paper or understood the methodology. And to claim, as [I] do, that the research ‘fails Statistics 101’ shows monumental ignorance of the work.

(This should read
"The evidence I have..."
and
"...to claim, as you do ...")

It's incredibly sloppy and/or dishonest to misquote me like this. You continue to misquote me in the next paragraph as well. ("The evidence [you] have..." should properly read "The evidence I have..."). By changing the pronouns in quoting me, you've created a completely false sense of what I was saying. (You do understand what quotes mean, right?)

Why have you intentionally misquoted me, Inwood? What is the point of lying about what I've said?

3. All that sure sounded to me & apparently to others that you were endorsing the reports

This is because you don't read carefully and don't think logically. I've been consistent in my position. I neither endorse the report findings nor dismiss them. The methodology is basically sound, and to the extent that there is a "main street bias," I think the estimates could be mildly inflated. More troubling is the pre-war mortality rate estimate. This is a far more serious concern in influencing an overestimate of excess mortality totals. The research of Pederson et al makes an interesting companion study in this regard.

4. when you accepted the lame excuse for the 2004 release as an October Surprise.

I've explained this twice now, and I'm not inclined to explain it again. Clearly you don't have the ability to understand, or alternatively, you prefer to be dishonest about this point as it serves your partisan interests.

5. Oh I get it. Some are more ignorant than others, in this case the critics are more ignorant than the authors of the reports.

No, you don't get it. Sheesh. In the passage you quote (again, misquoting me, as you like to do), I observe that the commenters here, at the Althouse blog, have made a number of "factually incorrect and/or scientifically ignorant remarks about the research." This is not a comment about the scientific critics of the Burnham/Roberts studies, as you erroneously conclude.

6, Again, is this supposed to be cryptic? Or do you just not pay attention when you contradict yourself?

Again, there is no contradiction whatsoever. I've been entirely consistent in my remarks. The problem here is that you don't read with comprehension, so you keep having your faulty "ah ha!" moments in which you erroneously conclude that I've contradicted myself. Unfortunately, you're wrong every time you do this. The key for you is to learn to read with comprehension. Then you won't make so many foolish errors that I have to correct.

7. And you challenge me to do my own survey. Good try.

No, not at all. And the fact that you've responded in this way proves to me, beyond all doubt, that you don't understand the research you are attacking. What I asked you to do is a very simple math problem (i.e., using the Burnham/Roberts survey data, recalculate the excess mortality rate by starting with a different pre-invasion mortality rate). The fact that you don't understand a very basic feature of the research methodology shows your ignorance in its full glory.

8. Anyway: asked & answered clearly by Pogo.

No and no. Pogo did not ask this question. Pogo did not answer this question. I asked this question, and I did so at 3:32 pm. Pogo has not posted since then. Therefore your response is obviously incorrect. In fact, your response strikes me as a calculated lie. However, if you want to argue that you are simply an ignorant boob, I'll consider the evidence.

9. I stand by my criticisms of these reports...

Too funny! What criticisms are those, Inwood? So far, you've relied on arguments like "I don't like the estimates so boo hoo, they must be wrong!" Considering that you don't understand anything about the research itself, what do you think you've said that qualifies as a valid criticism?

10. My position is simple

As are you. That doesn't recommend it however.

11. The 650,000+ Iraq figure is counter-intuitive & apparently counter-factual.

How is it "counter-factual?" That is, what "facts" do you have to prove that their estimates are wrong? Don't hesitate to try to answer this, Inwood.

12. I would expect someone to prove to me their figure re deaths...

Ah, the Pogo argument. So you too expect someone to do an actual body count? You do realize, I hope, that the folks at Iraq Body Count don't actually examine bodies as a way of counting. I assume you know why this is not possible. So, assuming you and Pogo understand the reality of Iraq in wartime, how is it that you imagine bodies would be systematically collected and counted? I'm anxious to learn about the novel scientific method that you and Pogo intend to apply to this research. Please share the details.

13. [Burnham et al] [have] been “robust” in doing whatever they’re doing according to your robust rants.

Well, it's not just according to me. If you were at all familiar with the controversy, you'd know that many statisticians and epidemiologists have supported the Burnham/Roberts methodology. But again, your comments show that you are grossly ignorant about this subject. Unfortunately your ignorance hasn't kept you from commenting at length.

14. A final comment...

Will you please find an adult who will explain to you what a quote is? If you are going to continue to quote me, I'd prefer you do so accurately. This means that you don't get to change words arbitrarily. Please, make an effort to learn at least this one lesson today.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

pogo,

Since you've failed to reply to my request (at 11:01 AM), I'll repeat it here:

Pogo, do me a great favor, please. Tell me what you believe the total excess mortality in Iraq has been. Please indicate your reasoning in arriving at whatever estimate you provide. Thank you.

Pogo, I don't understand why you haven't addressed this in your posts since 11:01 AM. Will you address this issue now, please?

Fen said...

Cyrus: [...]

Hold on a sec there tiger before you start handing out homework assignments. I've been waiting over a week for your promised response to:

What real evidence do we have that Iran has a WMD program, and how is that evidence any better than what we had on Iraq?

Cyrus, I don't understand why you haven't addressed this in your posts since xx:xx AM. Will you address this issue now, please?

Buddy Larsen said...

Cyrus the Grate, what about the Moore article?

Call names all you want, and castigate Moore because he isn't a numbskull leftoid, but what about the statements re the discipline of surveying?

Is Moore mistaken? Or lying? You don't say, so I guess you can't address the statements. No doubt because they're true, and you're trying (laughably unsuccessfully) for something else.

As for me, I'm embarrassed to admit I even read your last few posts. Won't do that anymore, you're too wrong to be so snotty.

Unpleasant combo --like Rosie.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

fen wrote:

What real evidence do we have that Iran has a WMD program, and how is that evidence any better than what we had on Iraq?


Hey fen. Sure, I'll answer your questions now.

Our evidence for WMD programs in Iran is worse, not better, than the evidence from Iraq. From 1991-1998, UNSCOM inspectors provided extremely detailed information about Iraq's WMD progam. From 2002-2003, UNMOVIC provided the clearest, most reliable information about Iraq's remaining WMD capabilities. We don't have a similar information source in Iran, although Iran has signed onto the CWC, and there have been inspections in Iran. There are also IAEA inspectors in Iran, with limited access to nuclear facilities, in accordance with a safeguards agreement of the NPT.

In short, the reliable information we have about Iranian WMD programs now is far poorer than the information available to us about Iraqi WMD programs prior to the invasion.

As for "real evidence" about Iranian WMD programs that we have from intelligence services, it hasn't been shared with me. I suspect it hasn't been shared with you either.

(We agree, I hope, that the story Manucher Ghorbanifahr was pushing is a fabrication.)

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Buddy, poor dumb Buddy...

Yes, Steven Moore is mistaken or lying.

Here is Les Roberts' written response to Steven Moore's WSJ criticism...

Distinction between criticism and fabrication regarding deaths in Iraq

I read with interest the October 18th editorial by Steven Moore reviewing our study reporting that an estimated 650,000 deaths were associated with the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. I had spoken with Mr. Moore the week before when he said that he was writing something for the Wall Street Journal to put this survey in perspective. I am not surprised that we differed on the current relevance of 10 year-old census data in a country that had experienced a major war and mass exodus.

I am not surprised at his rejection of my suggestion that the references in a web report explaining the methodology for lay people and reporters was not the same as the references in our painstakingly written peer reviewed article. What is striking is Mr. Moore's statement that we did not collect any demographic data, and his implication that this makes the report suspect.

This is curious because, not only did I tell him that we asked about the age and gender of the living residents in the houses we visited, but Mr. Moore and I discussed, verbally and by e-mail, his need to contact the first author of the paper, Gilbert Burnham, in order to acquire this information as I did not have the raw data. I would assume that this was simply a case of multiple misunderstandings except our first report in the Lancet in 2004 referenced in our article as describing the methods states, "...interviewees were asked for the age and sex or every current household member."

Thus, it appears Mr. Moore had not read the description of the methods in our reports. It is not important whether this fabrication that "no demographic data was collected" is the result of subconscious need to reject the results or whether it was intentional deception. What is important, is that Mr. Moore and many others are profoundly uncomfortable that our government might have inadvertently triggered 650,000 deaths.

Most days in the US, more than 5000 people die. We do not see the bodies. We cannot, from our household perspective, sense the fraction from violence. We rely on a functional governmental surveillance network to do that for us. No such functional network exists in Iraq. Our report suggests that on top of the 300 deaths that must occur in Iraq each day from natural causes; there have been approximately 500 "extra" deaths mostly from violence.

Of any high profile scientific report in recent history, ours might be the easiest to verify. If we are correct, in the morgues and graveyards of Iraq, most deaths during the occupation would have been due to violence. If Mr. Bush's "30,000 more or less" figure from last December is correct, less than 1 in 10 deaths has been from violence. Let us address the discomfort of Mr. Moore and millions of other Americans, not by uninformed speculation about epidemiological techniques, but by having the press travel the country and tell us how people are dying in Iraq.


You really ought to inform yourself before babbling, Buddy.

Buddy Larsen said...

Cyrus, what did you actually just say? That Les Roberts defended the work by saying, in essence, that we should believe him, and not our lyin' eyes?

Why didn't his defense go for the kill, and characterize, or even summarize, the work of the mysterious "don't blame me, blame him" Gilbert Burnham?

Do YOU have *anything* other than your usual sophomoric grasp at wisdom-by-wordiness?

There's a slew of questions for you, in the thread above. Lets go back to your assertion that the study has more supporters than critics.

My impression is that the study has been widely criticized in academia and elswhere. Moore is just one critic (who happens to write for the most respected newspaper in the country).

And at any rate, you can do a simple search and see the broad debunking of the work.

Also, as another asked above, why, if the study has a shred of respectability (with anyone besides lunatics such as you & Rosie), did it not get extended play (Abu Grabe-style) in the national press, and why haven't the anti-war candidates in the subsequent election campaigns--including the current--made ANY referential use of it?

And didn't even the Democrat flagship NYTimes essentially cold-shoulder the study? Why, just answer why the NYTimes treated it as it did? Even you should be able to figure out that the masters at propaganda recognized a counter-productive pratfall when they saw it.

So, what's the matter with you? What is your major malfunction, that you prefer a lie over a truth?

There is, you know, such a thing--in Nature--as a fact, and your type's specialty, the fraud-derived manufactured-perception "fact", is historically just the sort of fraudulent crap that gets peoples and nations into the worst sorts of trouble.

You can wise up, or you can stay a punk. Which would be better for you, *really*?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Poor dumb Buddy wrote:

Cyrus, what did you actually just say? That Les Roberts defended the work by saying, in essence, that we should believe him, and not our lyin' eyes?


Poor dumb Buddy, you really are terribly dumb, aren't you?

Let's look at the facts, Buddy:

1. Here's what Steven Moore wrote in his WSJ editorial:

Curious about the kind of people who would have the chutzpah to claim to a national audience that this kind of research was methodologically sound, I contacted Johns Hopkins University and was referred to Les Roberts, one of the primary authors of the study...Recording the gender, age, education and other demographic characteristics of the respondents allows a researcher to compare his survey results to a known demographic instrument, such as a census. Dr. Roberts said that his team's surveyors did not ask demographic questions...This would be the first survey I have looked at in my 15 years of looking that did not ask demographic questions of its respondents. But don't take my word for it--try using Google to find a survey that does not ask demographic questions.

2. Here's what Les Roberts reports:

What is striking is Mr. Moore's statement that we did not collect any demographic data, and his implication that this makes the report suspect.

This is curious because, not only did I tell him that we asked about the age and gender of the living residents in the houses we visited, but Mr. Moore and I discussed, verbally and by e-mail, his need to contact the first author of the paper, Gilbert Burnham, in order to acquire this information as I did not have the raw data. I would assume that this was simply a case of multiple misunderstandings except our first report in the Lancet in 2004 referenced in our article as describing the methods states, ".interviewees were asked for the age and sex or every current household member."

Thus, it appears Mr. Moore had not read the description of the methods in our reports. It is not important whether this fabrication that "no demographic data was collected" is the result of subconscious need to reject the results or whether it was intentional deception.


3. Here's what the study published in The Lancet says:

If the household agreed to be interviewed, the interviewees were asked for the age and sex of every
current household member. Respondents were also asked to describe the composition of their household on Jan 1, 2002, and asked about any births, deaths, or visitors who stayed in the household for more than 2 months...


4. Summary for poor, dumb Buddy:

- Steven Moore claims that the survey did not ask demographic questions.

- Les Roberts states that he told Moore that demographic information was collected.

- A look at the original paper shows that the authors stated clearly that demographic data had been collected.

- The obvious conclusion is that Steven Moore was stupidly mistaken, or more likely lied in his editorial.

Do you get it now, poor dumb Buddy? Do you realize how pathetic you look by asking a question, getting an answer, and then asking what the answer means? Sharpen up, Buddy.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Poor dumb Buddy wrote:

if the study has a shred of respectability (with anyone besides lunatics such as you & Rosie), did it not get extended play (Abu Grabe-style) in the national press...


"Abu Grabe." Heh.

Buddy Larsen said...

I spell it that way on purpose. It's easier. Lots of people do it (check it). I could spell-check it if it was pertinent to anyone but a name-calling troll who has no argument.

This thread wasn't about Steve Moore, but I urge you to search the name. He's highly respected, an economist, and an editorial board member of the WSJ. He appears several times weekly on CNBC's Larry Kudlow Show (a show that brings together national figures on both sides of the great economic debate), where his segment is a head-to-head debate with Robert Reich, Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, and Clinton's Secretary of Labor. Pretty lofty for a lyin' war-mongering right-wing propagandist, eh?


So, between Les Roberts (whose study is universally derided outside moonbat circles) and Steve Moore (who is a young feller riding his brains and reputation to fame & fortune), I'd be really surprised if Moore was the one trying to propagandize.

As far as you, judging by your posts, you're coming unglued. Sorry, old boy.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Poor dumb Buddy wrote:

I'd be really surprised if Moore was the one trying to propagandize.


Well, we know that Moore does political work for the GOP. He's paid by the GOP to spin for them. He's not a scientist. So it doesn't surprise me at all that you find him more credible on scientific issues than scientists.

In any case, I've established that he was mistaken and likely lied in his WSJ editorial. And I think it's just peachy that your case rests on his criticisms. Good choice Buddy.

Buddy Larsen said...

Well, we know that Moore does political work for the GOP. He's paid by the GOP to spin for them. He's not a scientist

Oh? Where's the data on this assertion?

Buddy Larsen said...

then we can proceed to the UN report on the topic. Or is the UN also spinning for the GOP?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Poor dumb Buddy wrote:

Oh? Where's the data on this assertion?


Buddy, Buddy, poor dumb Buddy. All you have to do is read my previous comments on the subject. Here are two of them...

From my response to poor dumb Buddy at 4:59 AM:

Steven Moore is a partner in the firm Gorton Moore International, "a political consultancy aligned with the Republican Party." He contributes to the website truthaboutiraq.org, which was "established to promote a positive view of the U.S. military role in Iraq in contrast to that presented by most other media sources."

From my response to poor dumb Buddy at 6:45 AM:

Here's a link to the Steven Moore bio at Gorton Moore International. In addition to extensive involvement in GOP politics, Moore has a political agenda that he's pushing (in this case, his support for invasion and occupation of Iraq). The last section of the bio notes that Moore's degree is in "International Management" from Thunderbird.

Buddy, I also discuss Moore's background in responses to Inwood and Pogo. Don't you read at all?

Summary for poor dumb Buddy:

- Moore does political work for the GOP.
- He's paid by the GOP to spin for them.
- He's not a scientist.

From Inwood said...

Cyrus

I’m afraid that you embody the Gresham’s Law of blogging. So, this will be my last response to your fact-free & fantasy-full stentorian hectoring. And while you may think that that leaves you “Last Person Standing”, it simply leaves you “Last Person Sputtering”.

And you keep harping about “peer review”. Your problem on this thread is that you don’t get peer review. You are reviewed by your betters & found wanting.

Anyway, I didn’t answer you yesterday & so I’m not sure which Cyrus I’m answering.

Cyrus One who, um, robustly bites at the ankles of critics of the Lancet reports while disingenuously (or ingenuously, can’t tell with you) accepting the timing of the 2004 release of the first one.

Cyrus Two who says that he doesn’t endorse the estimates of the reports, ya see.

You babbled something about criminal plagiarism, though you indicated that you were not accusing me of such, just foaming at the mouth about some criminal, some plagiarist. One thing for sure; I would never plagiarize anything of yours! Especially since it’s robust rather than meaningful.

OK, maybe you’re trying to be the smartest kid on the block, here with this sidebar into the Lancet figures, which, to paraphrase Dan Rather’s supporters, are “fake and inaccurate”. You’re trying to tell us poor dolts that you’re so smart that you don’t accept either the reports or the critiques. Tho, hey, you’ll “robustly” defend the reports & snip at the critics, while accepting the lame excuse for the first report being released as an October Surprise in Election 2004. (Gee, we think it hurt both candidates equally. Right. As Orwell said - you’ll probably think I’m plagiarizing - if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.)

And your defense of what Buddy, spot-on, calls your “wisdom-by-wordiness” (er, Buddy, can I call it his “wisdom by ‘Boldface’ wordiness”?) is to pretend that your readers are incapable of understanding your, to be kind, pleonasm, which would embarrass even Rosie.

But I can live with your Yosemite Sam blustering & ranting, your boldface philippics if you agree that the Lancet figures are in the end, unsubstantiated.

To restate, the point of this thread was that Rosie, given a platform on National Network TV, thought that she was “painting a picture” of both the US & Alquida as terrorists, tho, ya see, she supports the US troops & is a lesbian victim unfairly being accused of attacking Christian Elisabeth. And she, um, harps on the Lancet 650,000+ figure as her master stroke. You might say, in keeping with her painting analogy, that she went from pigment to a figment of imagination!

And the very first comment on this thread (by Seven Machos) brought out this rogue figure & we were off to the races.

You dismiss Rosie as irrelevant, but, of course, it was Rosie who attracted you, yes, you, to this post. And while Rosie is inarticulate, uninformed, uncouth, uncontrollable, unthoughtful, & unready for Prime Time (just like you), she’s had a national platform to repeat what’s known as a “wild & crazy” figure if you’ll pardon me for using such a technical term, normally reserved for what you & I recognize as “generally formal scientific debate … exchanges in scientific journals”.

Again, this is not just a boring debate about Stats 101, it’s Goebbels 101: the Lancet figure, unchallenged on National TV, becomes lapidary. Elisabeth lets us down. But this is what the producers of this mindless dreck want: Rosie stands for the poor, the minorities, the women, the civilians (your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free); Joy tries to giggle through a Bill of Impeachment from DNC talking points, & Barbara complains that she can’t cross Fifth Ave ‘cause “Emperor” Bush is in town. Then, for the “fair & balanced” part, Elisabeth gets to mumble “I disagree” once in a while. Or blow up without attempting to refute the specifics.

BTW, of course you were quoted accurately in my post (be careful what you wish for!). But it’s OK if you don’t understand the rules of quoting; we understand that though you are a self-anointed statistician you’re certainly not a writer. And, Good Writing Tip: you could use an editor.

Bye bye.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Inwood,

I'm not going to respond to the entirety of your drivel. Instead, I'll make a few observations...

1. You misquoted me many times, but instead of admitting your errors and dishonesty, you now try to excuse it on the basis of "the rules of quoting." The "rules of quoting" don't allow you to substitute whatever words you like in place of mine. You are allowed to substitute an equivalence (e.g., "[Cyrus]" for "I," etc...) but not one pronoun for another (e.g., not "[you]" for "I," etc...). What you did was stupid, wrong and dishonest.

2. You have established quite clearly that you don't have the intelligence to understand the issue you are trying to discuss. I haven't attacked anyone here for expressing reservations about the Burnham/Roberts research. Rather, I've attacked based on the excuses given by the partisan hacks here for dismissing the report. As you would understand if you were actually following the discussion, none of the critics of the study here have given scientific reasons for dismissing scientific research. Instead, they fall back on "it's just gotta be wrong!" I've called them on it.

3. If you were paying attention, you'd have noted that my position is that the Burnham/Roberts estimates depend critically on their pre-invasion estimate of mortality rates in Iraq. The study by Pederson et al uses a significantly higher pre-war mortality rate, and therefore estimates a much lower excess mortality rate in post-war Iraq. This does not lead me to conclude that the Burnham/Roberts estimates must be wrong; instead it suggests to me that this important issue should be examined much more closely before accepting any of these estimates.

Of course, this doesn't interest you at all, in part because you don't understand the research, and in part because you don't need to understand the research to decide it is wrong. Your guide to scientific issues is political partisanship. How very sad.

4. In support of my conclusion that you're remarkably dim for an Althouse commenter, you wrote this:

I can live with your ... boldface philippics if you agree that the Lancet figures are in the end, unsubstantiated.

Clearly this is not what I've been saying. For you to conclude this proves, as I've been saying, that you don't read well.

5. You've now promised to scamper away and to remain silent. I think this is wise. Your contribution here was characterized by factually incorrect statements, misquotes, illogical blundering, and a dazzling display of painfully poor reading comprehension. You never addressed any of the scientific issues related to the research. You repeatedly failed to respond substantively to questions. Your tactic here was pure rope-a-dope; you made a fool of yourself with your persistent mindless babbling in the hope that I would tire of pummeling "the dope" against the ropes. Now that you've realized your tactic has failed, you announce that you are scurrying away because you've "won" (also known as cut-and-run).

Inwood, you can believe whatever victory fantasy you like, but please keep your promise to run away and not come back.

The Exalted said...

pogo said...

She argues exactly like Joseph McCarthy, by defaming without facts, and ignoring the times she's wrong.


the irony

Harkonnendog said...

The ignorance on this thread is amazing. Randomly sampling homes in Iraq does not work. If you randomly sample homes in the Kurdish north the Iraq is safer than Manhattan, if you do it around Baghdad you get a completely different answer.

A new study has been released by the Lancet medical journal estimating over 650,000 excess deaths in Iraq. The Iraqi mortality estimates published in the Lancet in October 2006 imply, among other things, that:

1. On average, a thousand Iraqis 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;
2. Some 800,000 or more Iraqis suffered blast wounds and other serious conflict-related injuries in the past two years, but less than a tenth of them received any kind of hospital treatment;
3. Over 7% of the entire adult male population of Iraq has already been killed in violence, with no less than 10% in the worst affected areas covering most of central Iraq;
4. Half a million death certificates were received by families which were never officially recorded as having been issued;
5. The Coalition has killed far more Iraqis in the last year than in earlier years containing the initial massive "Shock and Awe" invasion and the major assaults on Falluja.

If these assertions are true, they further imply:

* incompetence and/or fraud on a truly massive scale by Iraqi officials in hospitals and ministries, on a local, regional and national level, perfectly coordinated from the moment the occupation began;
* bizarre and self-destructive behaviour on the part of all but a small minority of 800,000 injured, mostly non-combatant, Iraqis;
* the utter failure of local or external agencies to notice and respond to a decimation of the adult male population in key urban areas;
* an abject failure of the media, Iraqi as well as international, to observe that Coalition-caused events of the scale they reported during the three-week invasion in 2003 have been occurring every month for over a year.

In the light of such extreme and improbable implications, a rational alternative conclusion to be considered is that the authors have drawn conclusions from unrepresentative data. In addition, totals of the magnitude generated by this study are unnecessary to brand the invasion and occupation of Iraq a human and strategic tragedy.

If you still believe that study is correct after reading the above you're a fucking moron.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

harkonnendog wrote:

If you still believe that study is correct after reading the above you're a fucking moron.


You've provided no criticism of the Burnham/Roberts methodology. Instead you criticize the estimates. In addition, you make several factually incorrect statements about the implications of the mortality estimates. Your analysis is poor.

If you want to have any credibility in discussing scientific research, address the specific scientific issues involved. The Burnham/Roberts methodology has flaws and it's worthwhile examining those flaws in detail. However, none of the commenters here have done so yet. Rather, they do as you do; they apply the "it's just gotta be wrong" argument to the estimates. In other words, in their analysis, the estimates must be wrong because they seem wrong. Profound, huh?

Buddy Larsen said...

So, what, you're saying if it walks, talks, quacks like a duck, it isn't, unless a left-wing terrorist-enabling duck dna expert sez so?

And of course I read your "proof". I just don't buy it, that's all.

No one with half a mind would--all you "proved" is that it is possible for a Cyrus to find someone to quote who says that because Steven Moore doesn't agree with lunatics, then he's a fraud.

What you should be defending--that is if you yourself weren't a fraud--is, for starters, the criticism of the extremely low number of cluster points. One need not be a statistician to understand that a sample can be too small. And that's just for starters, a roadblock that must be negotiated, because without an explanation of that point, the rest of your defense is merely political huff-puff.

Instead you make accusations, and call names.

What a turkey you are. Just like Rosie. Neither of you are doing a damn thing but hurting the people you purport to help--the Iraqi people.

Adults understand that outrageous claims obscure truth. The truth you're obscuring is that people ARE getting killed. You & Rosie and your ilk do little but turn real life into little dramas starring yourselves. Just what you're doing on this thread. Playing.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Poor dumb Buddy wrote:

I just don't buy it, that's all.


Your comment refers to the Steven Moore bio at the Gorton Moore International website, of course.

Poor dumb Buddy, given that Moore is a junior partner at Gorton Moore, why would he have a "fraudulent" biography on the company website? When the biography proudly lists his various affiliations with GOP politicians, why do you dismiss it? When the biography lists the work he's done as a GOP consultant, why do you doubt it? When the biography mentions his work as a promoter of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, why do you scream foul? When the biography details his nonscientific educational background, why do you insist it is wrong?

Your response to the Steven Moore bio is much the same as your response to the Burnham/Roberts surveys. Because you don't like the message, you fall back into irrational denial. Poor dumb Buddy!

BTW, I haven't accused Steven Moore of being a "fraud," as you put it. I've simply referenced his official Gorton Moore bio (undoubtedly approved by Moore), and noted that

- he's not a scientist
- he has a history of work as a GOP consultant, and
- he's paid by the GOP to provide positive spin on the war in Iraq

That doesn't make him a fraud; it makes him a partisan hack who has no scientific background. I assume this is why you defend him so staunchly.

However, your denial of reality is duly noted.

Buddy Larsen said...

What you don't get, Cyrus, is that all these big scandals, like the Plame affair (hey, new news today on that), and Memogate, and "Gonzales" and many others, are of a piece with the Lancet article.

They're manufactured scandals, created by partisan hacks, in order to provide fodder for the likes of you and Rosie--to give you a peg from which to howl.

Trying to say that Moore--or anyone who challenges these conspiracies--is doing the same thing, just doesn't hold up to the evidence.

As far as concerns Moore, no matter who he supports politically, he has no history of lying.

THAT's the difference. It's really very simple.

If it's so important to you that everyone acknowlege your superior intellect, you might start by quitting being such a gullible sheep. Gullible sheephood is a bad sign for 'brains', no matter how many excess words you use to frame small, ignorant, notions.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Poor dumb Buddy wrote:

What you should be defending ... is, for starters, the criticism of the extremely low number of cluster points. One need not be a statistician to understand that a sample can be too small.


Poor dumb Buddy,

As I am short on time at the moment, I'll refer you to a decent, basic analysis by Goldin and Butterworth. (See below for the relevant section from their analysis.) If you read it, you will possibly understand why Steven Moore's "small sample size" whine is misguided.

Happy reading!

Did Wall Street Journal Find Fatal Flaw in Lancet Iraq Study?
October 18, 2006
Rebecca Goldin Ph.D. and Trevor Butterworth

In an opinion column for the October 18 edition of the Wall Street Journal, Steven E Moore argues that the Johns Hopkins researchers who conducted a survey of excess deaths in Iraq since 2003 screwed up – not through the statistical tools they used, which are sound, but through parsimony:

“…the key to the validity of cluster sampling is to use enough cluster points. In their 2006 report, "Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional sample survey," the Johns Hopkins team says it used 47 cluster points for their sample of 1,849 interviews. This is astonishing: I wouldn't survey a junior high school, no less an entire country, using only 47 cluster points…

…What happens when you don't use enough cluster points in a survey? You get crazy results when compared to a known quantity, or a survey with more cluster points….

…With so few cluster points, it is highly unlikely the Johns Hopkins survey is representative of the population in Iraq.”

On the face of it, this sounds like a fatal flaw. But unless the sample is actually biased, a smaller number of cluster points only has the effect of widening the confidence interval. Polls don't like large confidence intervals, but for the purposes of estimating large numbers of people, even the wide confidence interval of the Lancet study is informative.

The point is that the number of clusters relative to the size of the population is less relevant than whether the sample of clusters is representative of the population. So when Moore implicitly criticizes the Lancet study in relation to a similar study on Kosovo which used 50 cluster points, “for a population of just 1.6 million, compared to Iraq's 27 million,” the issue is not one of brute numbers, but whether the clusters chosen are representative of the overall population.

Research biostatistician Steve Simon explains the principle:

“‘Every cook knows that it only takes a single sip from a well-stirred soup to determine the taste.’ It's a nice analogy because you can visualize what happens when the soup is poorly stirred.

With regards to why a sample size characterizes a population of 10 million and a population of 10 thousand equally well, use the soup analogy again. A single sip is sufficient both for a small pot and a large pot.”

...Moore has ended up over-reaching in an effort to prove the Lancet figures “bogus.”

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Poor dumb Buddy wrote:

As far as concerns Moore, no matter who he supports politically, he has no history of lying.


Actually, the evidence suggests he lied in his WSJ editorial, as I've detailed previously. Not that you've been paying attention, but if you had been, you'd know that already.

Hey, I'm glad to see that you are a fan of Alberto Gonzales and that you believe he's the victim of a "manufactured scandal." (Damn, they forced him to lie!) This theory is bound to amuse everyone I share it with. Thanks for the chuckle, Buddy.

Buddy Larsen said...

he's paid by the GOP to provide positive spin on the war in Iraq

This is "dialecticism" --AKA "boilerplate" --understood, in western culture, as intriniscally immoral argumentation.

What does it mean, exactly, other than that anyone who disagrees with you is ipso facto illegitimate?

Buddy Larsen said...

a smaller number of cluster points only has the effect of widening the confidence interval

Hah --yep.

Buddy Larsen said...

Gonzales is VERY guilty --of mishandling a false accusation.

Okay, so Butterstats and Goldworth claim that Lancet is not necessarily wrong, that it (Lancet) could possibly be right, that the methodology does not necessarily preclude having chanced into true numbers. Well, great.

But *why* the small sample? That's your blind spot, Cyrus --that and overweening, snotty, comic arrogance.

And what about the other objections to the number, such as those by Harkonnendog? Do Snapsworth and Goldbutter have anything to say about matters such as "no evidence" in circumstances where evidence would be plentiful?

90% of the death cerificates and mort records non-existant?

Oh, don't bother with that, because the methodology isn't necessarily wrong (IOW, it had a statistal chance to have been right)?

Do you read your own "proofs"?

Buddy Larsen said...

Even the Economist, bending over backwards to support Lancet (what else but a bend-over is such a sub-head as "Can We Accept The Lancet's Result Without Accepting their Number?"), had to slip into the rambling dissemble this little gem:

"I was simply interested in finding out what it would mean if Burnham et al were correct. This was hard to do because the study's results are extremely poorly presented from the point of view of anyone who wants to use them for analysis—especially their apparently arbitrary decision to omit the provincial raw numbers in favour of dividing them into three baskets of provinces by violent death rates per thousand per year: under 2, 2-10, and 10+. As you'll see if you look at the spreadsheet, there's a lot of variance in what those numbers could mean."

Harkonnendog said...

"You've provided no criticism of the Burnham/Roberts methodology."

I did criticize it, you must have missed that part.. "Randomly sampling homes in Iraq does not work. If you randomly sample homes in the Kurdish north the Iraq is safer than Manhattan, if you do it around Baghdad you get a completely different answer." Do you understand this, that random sampling can't work in this situation? Beyond that, why exactly do you think the people being sampled would tell the truth? Do you think they don't know how public opinion effect policy? Anyway, I was just explaining why it didn't work. The proof that it didn't work lies elsewhere.

Anyway, why would it be necessary to criticize the methodology when it is self evident that the results are wrong?

Explain this:
1. On average, a thousand Iraqis 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;

Oh, you can't. Nobody can. So okay, explain this:
2. Some 800,000 or more Iraqis suffered blast wounds and other serious conflict-related injuries in the past two years, but less than a tenth of them received any kind of hospital treatment;

Oh, you can't. Okay, explain this:
3. Over 7% of the entire adult male population of Iraq has already been killed in violence, with no less than 10% in the worst affected areas covering most of central Iraq;

Oh, you can't. Okay explain this:
4. Half a million death certificates were received by families which were never officially recorded as having been issued;

Oh, you can't. Okay, explain this:
5. The Coalition has killed far more Iraqis in the last year than in earlier years containing the initial massive "Shock and Awe" invasion and the major assaults on Falluja.

Oh, you can't. The entire discussion is ridiculous. It is like a wife caught her husband cheating, in the act, and the husband demands proof that the wife didn't have a hallucination. "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?"

Harkonnendog said...

I don't understand the thinking here.

Hypothesis: the Lancet survey is accurate.
Test: Can that number be confirmed by any other method?
Answer: No.
Conclusion: The Lancet study is accurate.

I mean come on...

Buddy Larsen said...

the Rathergate memo defense: "Fake, but accurate".

The Lancet defense: "Inaccurate, but not fake".

Feh. Thomas Sowell has a new book out, in an interview today he said that this sort of dishonesty is breaking down society so fast that he would not be surprised to see a military coup in the future--to preserve the nation.

He said that we are seemingly enduring it only because we're still for the time being able to "live off the social capital of the past".

The Rosies, the Cyruses, all the fundamentally dishonest loons left and right, are almost literally killing us.

Some would say it's already quite literal.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Harkonnendog,

In reference to your post of 4:25 PM, I note with disgust that the vast majority of your commentary is lifted verbatim, and without attribution, from a press release by Hamit Dardagan et al at IBC. A link to the original source is here . Harkonnendog, what you have done is known as plagiarism. This is not an isolated incident of plagiarism, however, as you plagiarize again in your 8:45 PM post.

I had hoped to have an honest intellectual exchange here about the scientific issues involved in the research of Burnham et al. Sadly, an honest intellectual exchange is not possible with a plagiarist because a plagiarist, by definition, is not honest.

Harkonnendog, I can only speculate on why you plagiarized. Perhaps you are lacking in the intelligence required to discuss the issues; perhaps you are too lazy to do your own thinking and writing. Perhaps you feel that unethical behavior is acceptable in pursuing your partisan agenda.

In any case, I suspect I'll never understand why people like you so readily sacrifice their integrity. It may be that, in your case, it is the smallest of sacrifices.

Harkonnendog, although you'll be leaving without your honor, I do hope you'll leave immediately and in silence.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Poor dumb Buddy wrote:

This is "dialecticism" --AKA "boilerplate" --understood, in western culture, as intriniscally immoral argumentation.


"Intrinsically immoral argumentation?" Ahahahahahahahahahaha!

Ooh, Buddy, you are such an amusing little fellow. Thank you for the many laughs!

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Poor dumb Buddy,

You pointed to Steven Moore's editorial in the WSJ and in particular, to his criticism of the number of cluster points used in the Burnham et al study to suggest that their excess mortality estimates are statistically invalid.

In response, I provided you with a basic statistical analysis which specifically looked at the consequences of sample size. The conclusion is

"a smaller number of cluster points only has the effect of widening the confidence interval."

Your reply to this is

Hah --yep.

Am I to conclude from this response that you are admitting the error in your previous argument, and finding some humor in it? Or should I conclude that you are too stupid to realize that you've been proven wrong, again?

Buddy Larsen said...

Stumbled across this Gateway, thought it belonged here (see also links @ bottom).

Oh, and here's a comprehensive reply for you, Cyrus.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Hey, poor dumb Buddy is back with another bit of stupidity!

Poor dumb Buddy, can you imagine how impressed I am that you were able to search the prestigious internet to find and cite a nutty rightwinger blogger with no background in science who dismisses the studies in The Lancet?

Poor dumb Buddy, when you finally decide to make a substantive scientific criticism of the research, I'll give you a thoughtful scientific response. In the meantime, I'll continue to mock your mindless babbling.

Ann Althouse said...

Cyrus: I'm not really following this thread, but enough with the abuse.

Buddy Larsen said...

He's not bothering me, Ann --I've just been sort of drawing out an example of the quality of a 'Lancet study' defender.

But you're right--enough silliness--I'll quit.

But, to answer one real charge, that of scouring for nutcase objections, The Lancet reference appears at the bottom of a current Gateway post, on Achmadinejad, on how he too is attempting to use a bogus study to advance his lies. Gateway of course is a reputable blog, Instapundit links it often, esp when it compiles otherwise under-reported international news.

Okay --I'm done.

Buddy Larsen said...

Scroll to "Ahmadinejad Proves Any Fool Can Find a Poll to Back Them Up" --posted on 5/29/07. See bottom of this day-old post.

'kay --all through now--
:-)

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Ann wrote:

Cyrus: I'm not really following this thread, but enough with the abuse.


Sorry Ann, no, you haven't followed the thread so you are in no position to judge. If you had read the posts, you would realize that I've been assaulted by idiotic garbage. My tolerance for stupidity is limited, and I'll continue to show my disdain for those who direct dumb comments my way.

If you are going to play referee (and I don't know why you would want to), may I suggest that you follow the thread before taking sides? If you are simply playing favorites, will you just say so and drop the pretense of fairness?

Also, it should be noted that what I've said to Buddy is really quite mild compared to things you've posted about other bloggers. I assume that in those instances in which you've referred to other bloggers harshly (e.g., recently calling one a "dick"), you felt they deserved it. Why should I be held to a different standard than you apply to yourself?

Anyway, if Buddy stops posting stupid comments to me, I'll return to calling him plain old Buddy. If that doesn't suit you, just give me the boot.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Buddy,

There are some good science blogs, although you have yet to cite one. Still, if you want to follow scientific debate, the best place to look is in scientific journals. There are several interesting and intelligent scientific criticisms of the Burnham et al studies that are available on the internet and are not overly technical. (Google "main street bias" for a link to one of them.)

BTW, Buddy, don't feel you have to move on. Ann's trying to push out me, not you.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm in no position to judge???? It's my damn blog. I don't like this kind of abuse aimed at another commenter. Raise the level of your comments. Argue the substance. Don't make personal attacks.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Ann wrote:

I'm in no position to judge???? It's my damn blog. I don't like this kind of abuse aimed at another commenter. Raise the level of your comments. Argue the substance. Don't make personal attacks.


This is an interesting argument, Ann. Here's how you prefaced your first comment on this subject:

Cyrus: I'm not really following this thread...

Clearly you're not following the thread. How are you in position to judge the content of the posts in this thread if you haven't been following it?

If you were reading the thread, you'd note that I've consistently invited others to argue the substance of the science they gleefully dismiss, and they consistently refuse to do so. Moreover, others have directed comments at me that are more abusive than my calling Buddy "dumb," and yet you selectively scold me. Why is that, Ann?

It seems to me that if you are going to play the role of "blog mommy"--and I can't imagine why you'd want to do this--you at least ought to make some effort at fairness. On the other hand, if you intend to play favorites, why not just get on with bouncing the people you don't like? As you say, it's your damn blog, so you can and will ban me whenever it pleases you.

Ann, when people have been abusive to me at the Althouse blog, when I've been the subject of the kind of personal attacks that you claim not to like, why didn't you rush in and rescue me? Why should I believe that you have principled concerns about abuse on your blog when you express that concern so selectively?

Now, I suspect Buddy doesn't have a problem with me, as he likely realizes that my comments weren't serious in the way you've interpreted them. (And somehow I managed to survive his attacks on me for being a "fundamentally dishonest loon," "gullible sheep," etc...). It seems to me the problem here is one that you have with me, and that problem has little or nothing to do with anything I've posted here.

Janus said...

"... Gateway of course is a reputable blog, Instapundit links it often."
Wow.