Dep’t Of Equal-Time

John Lott, in comments, contributes the following:

John Lott said,
December 7, 2007 at 22:56

Evidence regarding survey:

Responses from the authors who published the paper with the pretty trivial coding errors

Problems with relying on some of the sources that you rely on:

Levitt case

Indeed, perhaps it’s all a string of unfortunate events, one after the next, creating greater and greater chaos until the original goal has vanished to the exigencies of the moment:


Comments: 27


I demand pictures of the bookshelf that emitted an EMP when it fell on his computer or I start releasing the results of my definitive research on blown goats.

I’d provide original data but it was destroyed when aliens broke into my house and used my computer to download porn from Alpha Centurai.

Smiling Mortician

This word, evidence. I do not think it means what he thinks it means.


Hoo-kay. And for a moment there I was worried he might be nuts.


“Mr. Men”. Is this product available on this side of the pond?


Perhaps he could borrow some of Kaye Grogan’s commas.


What’s wrong with Lott’s evidence regarding the alleged survey.

What’s wrong with Lott’s claim that the coding errors were “trivial”

Lott’s next link is pretty funny. He used a sock called “Timewarp” to edit his wikipedia page. Instead of admitting or denying it he’s done some misdirection.

He lawsuit against Freakonomics got thrown out, so now he’s appealing. He’ll lose the appeal.


You know who else he looks exactly like? Just dawned on me: Jeffrey Jones. The ubiquitous actor most commonly known as the principal in Ferris Beuhler’s Day Off, and recently arrested for having kiddie porn.


Lott’s a crank whose main goal appears to be to launch as many frivolous defamation suits as possible. He’s a forger of data, incompetent at manipulating data so that his forgeries are inevitably caught, and willing to say anything for a dollar.

I really hope he sues me for defamation now because I could use the money a countersuit for malicious prosecution would inevitably bring.


Good job with the rebuttal there Tim. I especially enjoyed the statistical analysis showing the impossibility of the 98% figure.

I wonder why none of these people ever bother to do a little basic research into how the murder rate looks in nations of similar wealth, where citizens have LESS access to firearms.

Maybe because New York has a murder rate 3 times higher than London, and Washington DC is TEN times higher?

Even the quickest look at international trends show that tighter gun control and less poverty means less crime.


There are many paths to fame if one doesn’t have what it takes to become famous on one’s own.
You can be related to someone famous.
You can marry, date or fuck someone famous.
You can write about someone famous.
Or you can sue someone famous.

I’m not one for tort reform but Lawsuits as Publicity Stunt piss me off.


Whores* have no shame – it simply isn’t possible.

*whoring has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with some burning inner need that will never be satisfied.


John Lott? Now there’s a blarst from the parst. You’ll be publishing Part II of your Jeff Goldstein profile next.

i prefer to remain anomalous

Oh god, you’re engaging with the Lottbot? A fair warning: he will not stop emailing you. Ever.


No, he looks like Tim Russert.
In fact, I have definitive proof they are the same person right here.
Whoops, the cat’s eaten it.


“Whoops, the cat’s eaten it.”

That’s ok; the cat will give it right back to you in a few hours, and it will be in the form of a Lott policy paper.


Did anyone notice that all of the “supporting evidence” that he provides all point back to his site, with the exception of one weird Wiki entry?


Lott keeps insisting that he had a hard-disk crash. What, he didn’t have a backup? I would think any serious academician doing research would carefully guard his raw data and have off-site backups. Hell, I have off-site backups, and I’m a disabled, unemployed person with no career-critical data on my computer

Rob J (math geek with a law degree)

You forget one thing, D.F.: Lott’s an incompetent idiot. It’s entirely plausible the man had no backup of his important data.

He tried to make a go as an economist but couldn’t put two and two together to get four, much less get a paper past real peer review. He turned to law and economics, which basically meant he could publish economic gibberish in law reviews where it would pretty much only be reviewed and seen by other people as scared of numbers as Lott. But even there he was too big of a joke and got smacked down whenever trying to publish outside his inbred circle of “specialization,” so now he’s a wacky conservative think tanker and his other publishing is limited to occasional bad economic articles in Law Reviews edited by an english major with delusions of numeracy (Richard Posner) and his disciples.

The man’s a moron and a failure; not backing up his data would be completely in character for him.


rob j

i totally believe you. that is some authentic math/law specialization gibberish right there.


If John Lott is done lying to the country, he may go now.


Oddly, none of these links explain why all of Lott’s results seem to be the product of a surreal “anti-math”.


Oddly, none of these links explain why all of Lott’s results seem to be the product of a surreal “anti-math”.

Oh, you crazy liberals and your “math” and your “facts” and your “reality.”


Remember this rather witty article from Skeptical Inquirer?


I am suffering from Link Insecurity! I need that Skeptical Inquirer link now!


Good link, Smut.

The key point, of course, is that for any set of data there are an infinite number of otherwise completely contradictory models each of which perfectly fits the data. Anyone who ever took a beginner calculus class should know this from exercises in deriving polynomial equations that fit some fixed number of data points, and anyone who took a couple of classes down the statistics chain should know this as well.

What this means is that the correlation of a model with the data used to derive that model bears no relation whatsoever to the soundness of the model beyond the relationship of prerequisiteness. The only test of a model is how well it predicts data that wasn’t used to derive the model. That’s why people like Lott who don’t do predictive testing on their models are cranks of such order that no one even needs to look at their data to prove they’re wrong. A Lott paper is like taking a data sample from days with total eclipses of the sun and concluding that the sun rising inevitably causes the moon to block out the sun–i.e. it’s the sort of sophomoric nonsense that gives gibberish a really bad name.

No wonder Lott seeks out wackaloon righties and English majors with law degrees to edit and publish his work–Lott professionally relies on his consumers’ fear of numbers, so it helps to have numerophobes validate his masturbatory dreams before he publishes them.

Insufferable Grammarian

Wherefore the apostrophe in “Dep’t”? And why no abbreviating period? Must I continue to suffer such a sling and an arrow?


Robert Green:

rob j

i totally believe you. that is some authentic math/law specialization gibberish right there.

Heh. Sure was.

Combine my math geek/law background with my love of a good rant and, well, lets just say that people who intentionally butcher math in pursuit of justifying law or other policy really shouldn’t be in the same room as me. They piss me off and I don’t believe in being polite to fundamentally dishonest people.


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