Thursday, July 26, 2007

Iraq's "excess deaths": Lancing The Lancet 

Remember the famous studies published in The Lancet -- one on the eve of the 2004 presidential election and the other just before the 2006 mid-terms -- that purported to show hundreds of thousands of "excess deaths" in Iraq's civilian population since the invasion in March 2003? They have become holy writ on the left, from George Galloway's stump speech to the HuffPo to Juan Cole. Well, a Harvard statistician named David Kane seems to have blown a rather enormous hole in both the studies themselves and the credibility of their authors, who have steadfastly refused to subject their data to third-party analysis. Run on over to Michelle Malkin's site for the details.

I have had enough experience with shoddy statistics in medical journals (as opposed to economic and social science journals, which tend to have rigorous statistics) that I have long wondered whether The Lancet's referees knew what they were looking at when they approved the original articles for publication. It will be interesting to see whether The Lancet has the courage to accept Kane's paper.

Kane will present his paper at an academic conference on Monday, supposedly the largest gathering of academic statisticians in the country. I, for one, eagerly await the front-page exegesis in The New York Times. Not. In fact, somebody with more energy than me should gear themselves up to compare the mainstream media coverage of Kane's paper with that of the original studies. I bet there are roughly 600,000 more articles on the original Lancet studies than on Kane's deconstruction of them.

Shannon Love of the ChicagoBoyz has more -- including a victory lap.

CWCID: Glenn Reynolds.


By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Thu Jul 26, 10:52:00 AM:

I understand Kane's analysis, which is a fine excercise.

However, the most telling debunking of the Lancet came from Al-Jazeera.

Not in what AJ was reporting on, rather in what they WERE NOT REPORTING on -- that being video and pictures of the massive number of fresh graves that would have been required to house all those claimed victims.

Had those fresh graves been available for pimping, one has to believe AJ would have been all over that story like stink on shit. That they were NOT, spoke volumes.  

By Blogger antithaca, at Thu Jul 26, 11:30:00 AM:

The study is/was worthless but, that's not the point.

The message was sent and, like the bomber, it will always get through.

Both studies (the '04 and the '06 versions) are part of a narrative and will never, ever be otherwise.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 26, 12:39:00 PM:

Lancet won't release their methods or numbers.

Francois Kerry won't release his military records. Trust him, Swiftboat vets are liars.

Al Gore won't debate global warming. Trust him, it's science.

Yet 50% of America, our MSM "journalists" and Hollywood believe these guys?


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 26, 10:07:00 PM:

More energy than I.  

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