Saturday, November 13, 2004

"Flypaper for innumerates"

Crooked Timber's Daniel Davies has a comprehensive review of critiques of the Lancet study, which he calls "flypaper for innumerates". His conclusion?

The bottom line is that the Lancet study was a good piece of science, and anyone who says otherwise is lying. Its results (and in particular, its central 98,000 estimate) are not the last word on the subject, but then nothing is in statistics. There is a very real issue here, and any pro-war person who thinks that we went to war to save the Iraqis ought to be thinking very hard about whether we made things worse rather than better

He also notes

It is notable how very few people who have rubbished the Lancet study have shown the slightest interest in getting any more accurate estimates; often you learn a lot about people from observing the way that they protect themselves from news they suspect will disconcert them.

Maybe our local "pro-Iraq" study rubbisher should take that to heart?