Remember the David Kane paper we mentioned that supposedly refuted the Lancet study? The one that Malkin published and did that little dance about, and that Glenn Reynolds linked to, and so forth?
If you hit control-F9 on any of our computers, it pops up a list of phrases meaning ‘Malkin has egg on her face.’ F-9 is one of those keys with a shiny center and a dirty ring around the outside, like ‘S’ or ‘R’ or F-12 (which sends a bot to Bartleby.com and pops up title puns on Mark Noonan’s name). It saves us time that can be spent on life’s worthy pursuits, such as gourmet cooking, Frisbee-catch at the dog park, and GTA: Scarface, not to mention making fun of Glenn Reynolds.
Over at Crooked Timber, Daniel Davies lacks our technical resources and has had to respond to the Kane paper by hand.
Shorter Daniel Davies
Above: Normally quite civil
- Holy God, I have had it with this cargo-cult nonsense. Among other problems, this extremely bad paper literally assumes a negative Fallujah where everyone is immortal and the dead can come back to life.
‘Shorter’ concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard.
In comments there, we’re treated to the spectacle of Malkin’s anointed statistical debunker, one Shannon Love of the blog, Chicago Boyz, displaying that he’s bone ignorant of any difference between the notion of ‘a drop in the rate’ (e.g., of deaths) and that of ‘a negative rate’ (e.g., of deaths), and then pratfalling into the argument that people who are dead can totally come back to life in a lot of different ways without actually, you know, so-called “returning” from the dead:
You appear to be arguing that the failure to observe mass resurrection in Iraq invalidates the [Lancet] study
No, I am arguing that study as outlined in the paper could have detected whether the mortality rate improved, stayed the same or worsened. If the study could not do this, then it could never detect whether mortality had improved.
If you think real hard, I am sure you can think of way that people come to be alive beyond return from the dead. Les Robert et al were in fact smart enough to structure their study to capture this somewhat less than mystical effect.
Posted by Shannon Love · July 27th, 2007 at 11:49 pm
The next commenter suggests that it might be zombies, although we’re not well-versed in stats and haven’t read Les Roberts‘s epidemiological work on zombie infestation.
But see, here’s what we were saying before. Ever on cue, Michael Fumento dons his wicker headphones:
Above: The Basil Fawlty of right-wing junk science
So much for the Lancet’s “massive Iraqi civilian death” study
By Michael Fumento
Remember the Lancet study in 2004 claiming that “about 100,000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq,” and that “Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths?”
I wrote on this as soon as it appeared, observing that several indicators showed it was a piece of crock.
Not to interfere with the flow here, but are guys like Fumento and Thomas Friedman getting so many of their quotes from foreign cab drivers that they’ve started to curse in amusing malapropisms?
“So Friedman say, ‘Aah, is no good. This is a fuck!’ And I say to him: ‘You are bullshit! Is not a fuck. We go see my friend.’ And he say, ‘Piece of crock. Your friend is a bunch of assholes.’”
Sorry; let’s continue.
But others did much more in-depth analyses, including Shannon Love at Chicago Boyz. He has now found out via Michelle Malkin and Instapundit that a forthcoming study by David Kane, Institute Fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University, shows just how wrong the original study was. Love notes among other things that that “if the Falluja cluster is included in the statistical calculations, the confidence interval dips below zero” meaning that it loses statistical significance. Without statistical significance, the findings mean nothing,
There are two possibilities here.
1) Fumento has an odd notion that an ‘in-depth analysis’ means a paragraph summarizing a paper’s claims and saying ‘booyah!’ while making basic statistical whoopsies.
2) Fumento doesn’t understand the Lancet study, the Kane paper, the Love response, or anything else about the issue, but saw something that flattered his prejudices at Michelle Malkin’s site and decided to blow some pompous gas around, confident that no one would notice the worthlessness of his opinion.
Number Two starts off looking pretty good. And indeed, we soon find out that the issue of Iraqi civilian deaths is really not about Iraqi civilians being dead, but all about Michael Fumento — because the Kane paper (which Fumento can’t even read) shows that he was right all along:
I claimed at the time the “100,000 death study” was pure politics (It came out right before the presidential election) and intentional deception on the part of the authors and the Lancet editor himself and there’s no reason to think otherwise now.
Perhaps Mr. Fumento can explain about the zombies. We yield the floor expectantly to Mr. Fumento.