jump to navigation

Why statistics are dangerous in the hands of the Stupid October 12, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Cultural Pessimism, Liberal Hypocrisy, Pandamansanity.
trackback

After weeks of relative quietude, Amanda at Pandagon is back in full-blown, barking-mad mode, citing the new Hopkins report that claims total dead caused from the Iraq War is at 655,000 and climbing.
Some of her choicer idiocies:

Naturally, the chickenhawks are squawking. LGF and Hot Air are already making noise about how this is supposedly unfair to whip out in October. Which just goes to show how screwed up the discourse is in this country if people think it’s appropriate to withhold actual, verifiable, relevant information from the voters before an election, because god forbid people be informed about the issues before they vote.

Brushing off 2.5% of the population dead to war is nothing, done automatically without a moment’s pause to consider what it means to have 655,000 individual, unnecessary, unjust tragedies dealt to a single nation.

Now they blow off 655,000 dead, and indeed seem incapable of understanding that each of these dead was loved by someone, that each one is not just the loss of a human life, but the ruin to other human lives.

Let us consider the Hopkins methodology, as reported by the eminently sensible RightWingNutHouse:

the researchers were able to discover and confirm 547 dead in the post invasion period by interviewing a little more than 1800 families. And from that sample, they extrapolate 600,000 dead.

Rick goes on:

There are other sources for counting Iraqi dead. The well respected Iraq Body Count, run by academics opposed to the war, lists nearly 49,000 civilian dead since the invasion. Their methodology is sound and their numbers are based on actual reports from morgues, the media, and the military. Their number of confirmed dead is still less than half the number estimated in the 2004 Lancet study. (Emphasis is mine, admin) (link)

But Amanda, because it furthers The Narrative that Bush And Everything About Him Is EVIL, swallows the Lancet report hook, line and sinker.

Surprised?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Bueller?

UPDATE: PZ piles on. Imagine that.

Advertisements

Comments»

1. Sophist - November 3, 2006

So your problem with the methodology is, what—that they used a sample to draw conclusions about a larger population? Do you just not belive in statistics or something?

Oh, and Iraq Body Count is not an alternate way to calculate the total number of dead, it’s literally a count of specific dead bodies mentioned in the media, which will by it’s very nature be a fraction of the total number of dead.

2. demolition65 - November 3, 2006

So your problem with the methodology is, what—that they used a sample to draw conclusions about a larger population? Do you just not belive in statistics or something?

Of course not. But stat requires proper context for its data. When that project is including all people who committed suicide or died from “stress-related illness”, and then they lay this at the door of the Occupation. . .well, at best that’s a correlation, not a causation. Battle deaths are likely proof of causation. Death from perforated ulcer is not.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: