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  • Hah, Hah, I Was Right, Thrppppt!

    Posted by Shannon Love on October 24th, 2010 (All posts by )

    One shouldn’t gloat but…

    I was right about the bogus Lancet Iraq Mortality Survey.

    There were actually two studies done by the same Soros funded group of “researchers”. I did fourteen posts on the first study back in 2004-2005, and I demolished its conclusions using simple methodological arguments that you did not need a degree in statistics to understand. The study was so bad and so transparently wrong that you didn’t need to understand anything about statistics or epidemiological methodology, you just needed to know a little history and have a basic concept of scale.

    In my very first post on the subject I predicted that:

    Needless to say, this study will become an article of faith in certain circles but the study is obviously bogus on its face.[emp. added]

    That prediction proved true. Leftists all over the world not only accepted the 600% inflated figure without hesitation but actively defended the study and its methodology. I confidently made that prediction almost exactly 6 years ago because I was even then beginning to understand a factor in leftists’ behavior: they are nearly completely controlled by delusional narrative

    A self-delusional narrative drives almost all leftists’ thought and distorts their understanding of history and ongoing events. The bogus Lancet/John-Hopkins study resulted solely from the same type of “atrocities” delusional narrative employed against America in the Vietnam era.

    I think the leftists’ arguments in support of the 2004 bogus study demonstrates in microcosm how leftists cannot intellectually or emotionally process data that conflicts with the narrative. In this, I would argue they exhibit the same behavior as the pathologically religious. It is simply that they have substituted their own intellects for the divine. Just as the pathologically religious won’t accept scientific evidence that conflicts with the narrative of their faith, leftists cannot accept any scientific evidence that conflicts with the narrative about the intellectual and moral superiority of leftists.

    Leftists around the world simply knew, as if by divine revelation, that the Lancet/Johns Hopkins study must be true because the study fit and reinforced the narrative of America’s evil and the left’s heroic role in combating that evil. The narrative required that America be slaughtering vast numbers of Iraqis just like the Vietnam narrative required the same thing WRT Vietnamese.

    The same narrative’s needs drives the left’s complete and wholly uncritical acceptance of the idea that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming has been absolutely proven. They can’t accept that anthropogenic global warming might just be something we need to keep an eye on. No, it is absolutely proven without a doubt that it not only exists but will result in a catastrophe that will kill billions and render extinct half of all life on earth. If global warming is a minor long-term problem, it doesn’t provide much basis for a heroic narrative does it?

    As always with these delusional narratives, the leftists who hold them never pay the price of their delusions, it is always someone else. The people of Vietnam and Cambodia paid the horrible price of the “peace” movement’s delusions, not the actual members of the “peace” movement and certainly not the leadership. The people of Iraq and American soldiers paid the price for the delusional narrative of which the bogus Lancet/Johns Hopkins study was a part. The study was used as propaganda by the worst actors in the war. It boosted their morale and hopes of victory, and thereby extended the length and increased the intensity of the conflict, which cost thousands of lives.

    Meanwhile, the people who conducted the study and hurried it into publication won accolades and increased professional standing…

    … and all that time they thought they were the ones with both scientific integrity and genuine humanitarian concerns. You can’t get more dangerously delusional than that.

    Thinking upon that, I really can’t gloat. I like to think that maybe my own post on the subject did some little good, but I can’t be sure and, more importantly, I shouldn’t have had to make the effort. The Lancet, Johns Hopkins and the credentialed scientists should have never have allowed this study to enter the public arena.

    I wouldn’t have been in a position to prove myself correct if our scientific institutions hadn’t been subverted in the first place.

     

    23 Responses to “Hah, Hah, I Was Right, Thrppppt!”

    1. Michael Kennedy Says:

      The Lancet has had a history of bad scholarship for a while now. The autism vaccine scare began with a bogus study they published. It has ruined the journal that published Lister’s paper on antisepsis in 1867.

    2. renminbi Says:

      They will conveniently “forget”that they ever suported the Lancet paper.

    3. veryretired Says:

      But collectivism is religious in nature, and in its basic appeal to the human psyche. In particular, it’s a form of the ancient gnostic heresy—a mystery cult in which the insiders believe they have obtained “secret knowledge” that other mere mortals are not privy to, and wouldn’t be able to understand even if they did come across it.

      The “raised consciousness” nonsense is one of the forms in which it is expressed, but there are many other variations. All of the various myths of the collectivist narrative revolve around this idea—that those inside have a way of discerning complex truths hidden from ordinary, less enlightened people.

      This is why facts can be dismissed, the past history of collectivism’s many failures can be ignored or explained away, why “good intentions” excuse any bad consequences, indeed, why cause and effect cannot be allowed to apply to collectivist actions at all.

      Collectivists are much like the millenial cults who regularly predict the end of the world, and, then, when it doesn’t happen, go back to the scriptures to find some obscure passage that they can use to explain how they misinterpreted the clues that only they could ever understand.

      And, of course, the prophet will get it right this time.

      It’s a cult, with initiations, orthodoxy, penalties for heretics, and the infinite, unassailable self-satisfaction that comes with knowing one is part of the elect.

    4. setbit Says:

      Shannon Love Said:

      In this, I would argue [leftists] exhibit the same behavior as the pathologically religious.

      veryretired Said:

      But collectivism is religious in nature….

      I raise a minor objection to this, on the grounds that comparing leftism to pathological religiosity is an insult to the pathologically religious.

      Those who literally claim divine revelation have the potential to be logically consistent, in that they can dismiss the reliability of rational thought for everyone, themselves included. Someone claiming to be a prophet can acknowledge that he or she is just as totally depraved as those in opposition. They don’t need to claim any superior morality or intellectual insight; God just came and explained what was going on, and the prophet was the one God chose.

      Leftists, on the other had — especially of the Deconstructionist variety — must simultaneously argue that their world view is the supremely rational one, while simultaneously dismissing anyone who actually attempts to engage them in rational argument.

      Accordingly, I suspect it must be exhausting for many who maintain a consistently leftist world view. That would certainly explain the mixture of anger, sadness, and weariness I see in some.

    5. Thers Says:

      You are, and were, wrong. Unless you’re willing to argue that the Wikileaks documents account authoritatively for every death?

      These docs merely establish a new lower bound. They support the Lancet study.

      You don’t even need to know math to know this. A conscience would help, though.

    6. Hurling Dervish Says:

      Exactly, Thers. The Wikileaks is only counting the deaths known to the troops. The Lancet study estimates all deaths caused by the war. And we now know that at least 60,000- some innocent civilians died because of the war.

      That’s probably why it’s more fun to deflect to collectivism and religion.

    7. Jim Miller Says:

      Shannon – I have been expecting you to do a little victory dance; in fact, I was planning to send you an email urging you to do so. So I am pleased to see this post.

      (FWIW, I recall glancing at the reports of the Lancet study, realizing that their conclusions were obviously wrong, and expecting that they would be ignored, except by those specialists who study failures. I was wrong about the last, and am grateful that Shannon, among others, took the time to debunk the study.)

      Now, here’s the next question: Will those who have been proved wrong admit their errors? As I recall, one of the loudest defenders of the Lancet study was one Tim Lambert. Has he fessed up yet? Have the authors of the study?

    8. Ric Locke Says:

      Jim, please note “Thers” and “Hurling Dervish”, above.

      The whole point of a self-reinforcing delusion is that it cannot, even in principle, be proved wrong to the person who holds it. As seen here, an attempt to do so produces wild excursions into illogic and irrelevance that support the delusion.

      It will be fun, in a sadly ironic sort of way, to watch this process play out.

      Regards,
      Ric

    9. bgates Says:

      Unless you’re willing to argue that the Wikileaks documents account authoritatively for every death?

      Are you willing to argue that the Lancet survey does that? The Lancet people don’t even make that argument. “The [Wikileaks] reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq. These include 66,081 “civilians,” 23,984 “enemy” insurgents, 15,196 “host nation” (Iraqi government forces)”, says the CSM. Meanwhile, the Lancet said “the causes of violent deaths were gunshot (56% or 336,575), car bomb (13% or 78,133), other explosion/ordnance (14%), air strike (13% or 78,133)” – how do you account for the discrepancy? Were Americans forces unaware of 80% of the violence in Iraq?

      And we now know that at least 60,000- some innocent civilians died because of the war.

      We now know that at least 60,000 civilians died from violence during the war. In keeping with the hallowed Lancet methodology, that must be compared to the pre-invasion violent death rate. They found a pre-war mortality rate of 5.5 per 1000, or 137,500 per year in a country of roughly 25 million. If that pre-war mortality rate continued for the 6 years covered by the Wikileaks data, there would have been 825,000 deaths in Iraq during that period. If we assume gun violence was as rare in Saddam’s pre-war 3rd world police state as it is in the US, gun violence would account for 1.2% or 9900 of those deaths. That would reduce the excess violent civilian deaths to 50,000. If pre-war violent deaths accounted for anything beyond 7% of total mortality, then that rate has actually gone down since the US got there.

    10. Shannon Love Says:

      Thers,

      You are, and were, wrong. Unless you’re willing to argue that the Wikileaks documents account authoritatively for every death?

      Every death? Of course not. 95% of all real deaths? Quite certainly. The war in Iraqi was not some colossal, chaotic battle raging across thousands of square miles of wilderness wherein no on had any idea who was killed. It was a low-intensity conflict of numerous small scale clashes in which coalition forces always ended up in control of the battle field and could count the dead.

      In addition, all other researchers EXCEPT the bogus Lancet/John-Hopkins study have produced results in keeping with Coalition and Iraqi formal sources.

      These docs merely establish a new lower bound.

      No, they do not. The idea that there are hundreds of thousands of unknown dead people squirreled away in hundreds of hidden mass graves is simply ludicrous yet that is exactly what you must argue happened for the larger numbers to be true.

      Moreover, there were many incentives to exaggerate civilian deaths even in official records. The Coalition paid an indemnity to families and the enemy of course sought to manipulate people like you by exaggerating causalities.

      They support the Lancet study.

      No, they demolish it. Go read the original 2004 study. Its main conclusion was:

      Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100 000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths.

      It’s not just the numbers of people killed, its where and how they died. All subsequent studies, including the second “study” by the same group, found no mass killings from air strikes. The Wikileaks just puts the nail in the coffin by demonstrating beyond all doubt that the Coalition at the time properly understood both the scale of civilians deaths and their primary cause.

      You don’t even need to know math to know this.

      That’s true. Just knowing about the scale of deaths produced in conflicts such as WWII is enough to know that the Lancet study is nonsense. The original study claimed that in a mere 14 months, helicopter airstrikes in Iraq caused nearly twice as many deaths per capita as did the carpet bombing and nuking of Japan during WWII. That is clearly nonsense.

      A conscience would help, though.

      That’s pretty funny coming from the people who fawned over the Khmer Rouge and sneered at anyone who thought maybe letting such nutjobs take over Cambodia was a bad idea.

      My conscious is clear. I kill people in the name of freedom and democracy. By contrast, you support tyranny, oppression and mass-murder for no other reason than to feel morally superior.

    11. sol vason Says:

      This reminds me of the Taming of the Shrew. Lefties want us to believe the moon is the sun, jihadis are misunderstood freedom fighters, and Hussein was a force for peace and good will to men.

    12. Thers Says:

      Oh dear.

      Every death? Of course not. 95% of all real deaths? Quite certainly. The war in Iraqi was not some colossal, chaotic battle raging across thousands of square miles of wilderness wherein no on had any idea who was killed. It was a low-intensity conflict of numerous small scale clashes in which coalition forces always ended up in control of the battle field and could count the dead.

      That is an extremely silly assertion. Even if it were true, which it isn’t, it doesn’t count the patient dead because the doctor was accidentally shot.

      Moreover, there were many incentives to exaggerate civilian deaths even in official records. The Coalition paid an indemnity to families and the enemy of course sought to manipulate people like you by exaggerating causalities.

      Yes, yes, the “incentive” to “exaggerate” in documents that were leaked. Wow. You seem to be pretty confused as to the provenance of the documents in question, also, because… wow.

      It’s not just the numbers of people killed, its where and how they died. All subsequent studies, including the second “study” by the same group, found no mass killings from air strikes.

      Hee hee. It’s the second study that’s relevant. And the Wikileaks docs simply don’t tally what the Lancet study set out to study. And the WL docs are incomplete — as a lower bound, they are in fact too low.

      Just knowing about the scale of deaths produced in conflicts such as WWII is enough to know that the Lancet study is nonsense. The original study claimed that in a mere 14 months, helicopter airstrikes in Iraq caused nearly twice as many deaths per capita as did the carpet bombing and nuking of Japan during WWII. That is clearly nonsense.

      No it isn’t. And in the absence of an actual point on your part, no more rebuttal for you!

      That’s pretty funny coming from the people who fawned over the Khmer Rouge and sneered at anyone who thought maybe letting such nutjobs take over Cambodia was a bad idea.

      Your knowledge of my opinions about the Khmer Rouge is even scantier than your grasp of epidemiology.

      My conscious is clear.

      On this point at least, we agree completely.

    13. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© Says:

      My conscious is clear.

      Indeed.
      ~

    14. Thers Says:

      I kill people in the name of freedom and democracy.

      Uh, can I quote you on this…?

    15. veryretired Says:

      Oh Shannon, why do you bother. Some ignorance truly is invincible.

    16. Shannon Love Says:

      Thers,

      I kill people in the name of freedom and democracy.

      Yes, please do. Unlike you, I accept responsibility for deaths that result from the policies I advocate. I also have a mature understanding that every positive act comes with negative consequences. I understand that like the Founders, Lincoln, FDR and other similar actors, I have blood on my hands. My consolation is that the blood bought something better for the people of the world.

      Don’t you feel you too have to accept the inevitable blood price of the policies you advocated? People like you argued that it would best for everyone just to leave Saddam in power. In your pursuit of “peace” you were willing to embrace a murderous terror state instead. Would you not have been responsible for all the people Saddam then killed. Had you succeeded in forcing the abandonment of the people of Iraq, wouldn’t you have to had accepted responsibility for all the people who would have died in the ensuing multisided, bloody scramble for control?

      Of course you don’t. Leftists never accept responsibility for anything. The narrative says that leftists like you are either (1) always correct i.e. your plans don’t have negative consequences at all or (2) if you did make a mistake it doesn’t really attach any blame to you because you honestly intended the best so you get a pass.

      Just ask the the 1 in 5 Cambodians who died under the Khmer Rouge how good leftists are at avoiding responsibility for the policies they advocate. Whoops, can’t they’re dead.

      The narrative tells you mock and jeer at anyone like myself who accepts that all actions have tradeoffs and that people who make decisions must accept responsibility for those tradeoffs.

    17. Shannon Love Says:

      Thers,

      Regarding your October 25th, 2010 at 8:54 pm post:

      I find it very revealing exactly how fact and data free your arguments are. All your arguments are either rhetorical or are based on the assertions of your delusional narrative that you treat as facts.

      Even if it were true, which it isn’t, it doesn’t count the patient dead because the doctor was accidentally shot.

      Oooh! Nice attempt to do a bait and switch. Of course, since the wikileaks docs only deal with violent deaths and all my arguments are based on the bogus Lancet/John-Hopkins reports of the violent death. We are just talking about violent deaths. The real or imagined deaths owing to stress or lack of medical care were not addressed. However, if the study can’t measure one cause of death accurately it is highly unlikely to measure the other. The same methodology was used to measure both.

      Yes, yes, the “incentive” to “exaggerate” in documents that were leaked.

      Do you have any evidence that the documents are not complete? After all, the documents are the ones used by the US military to estimate combat deaths. No, you don’t. It is just that the narrative tells you the documents must be either incomplete or utterly inaccurate as to the number of combat deaths. You have no evidence independent of the narrative that says otherwise.

      It’s the second study that’s relevant.

      Why? There are two studies by the same “researchers” using the same methodology covering the same geography with overlapping time frames. Shouldn’t they both produce the same rough results. Why do argue that the first study is hopelessly flawed but that the second one is golden?

      Again, the narrative is controlling your intellectual process. You just assume the documents must be incomplete and represent the lower bound because the narrative says so. Remember we are talking about a 600% difference between violent deaths between the ALL other estimates and the outlier Lancet/John-Hopkins studies.

      And in the absence of an actual point on your part, no more rebuttal for you!

      Yeah, here’s the thing. In science, scale is everything. Each phenomenon has its own plausible scale or magnitude. When a study comes out that says that a country of Iraq suffered proportionally more deaths from helicopter airstrikes in a mere 14 months than Japan did being carpet bombed in WWII. You should know something is wrong.

      You lack a number gut i.e. an intuitive feel for the scale or magnitude of a phenomenon. You’ve also clearly never read the studies in any detail. Here’s what I observed back in 2005:

      A lot of people who would know better in another context seem perfectly willing to swallow the estimate of 300,000+ dead that LIMS reports with the Falluja cluster included. Examined in detail, LIMS reports that of those 300,000, roughly 250,000 died from violence, and of those something like 220,000 died from Coalition airstrikes. The LIMS authors even suggest [p6 pg7] that this is likely an underestimate.

      Given the historical evidence, does your gut tell you that is anyway plausible?

      Your knowledge of my opinions about the Khmer Rouge is even scantier than your grasp of epidemiology.

      Oh, I am sure you hold all the correct upright views of them TODAY. What I meant was back in the early 1970s, you simply would not have cared about the Khmer Rouge one way or the other. You wouldn’t have bothered to learn anything about them. You would have dismissed all warnings about them from people like me. The narrative of the “peace” movement would have told you that America was so evil and so wrong in fighting the communist that ANY non-American backed government would better than fighting the communist.

      It’s the same essential narrative that has hijacked your brain now.

    18. PenGun Says:

      Thanks Thers. The man of straw would have us believe his scarecrow is real.

      It’s quite obvious there are far more deaths than a small subset of the data will reveal. One could also make the point that the many deaths accredited to sectarian violence are largely the fault of the good ol’ USA.

    19. mlyster Says:

      Shannon,
      Well done. Wasted effort, unfortunately; convincing the liberal groupthinkers that their collectivist meme is wrong is on a par with teaching monkeys to sing: even if you COULD, is it really an efficient use of time?

      People die in wars. Very unfortunate. We are unequivocally the most cautious and careful nation when it comes to avoiding deaths of noncombatants. My brother is a military lawyer, currently in the field: does any other country have lawyers assigned to field commanders to vet targets and monitor compliance with rules of engagement? Yes, I’m sure the Russians did so in Chechnya. No doubt the Taliban, and Al Qaeda in Iraq very carefully avoid needless civilian deaths, as well.

      Thers, you’re a socialist lackey. Men and women are in the field, defending our country from people. Who Want. To. Kill. Us. What were you doing on 9/11/01: redecorating your ice cave on Mars? Have you not noticed that Islamic fundamentalism is intrinsically, and violently opposed not only to our nation, but to democratic government (it’s unIslamic—check their websites), education and personal freedom for women (see prior), and the free exercise of religion (There is only one God, and Mohammedblah, blah, blah…). Ground Zero mosque an expression of tolerance? Been to Catholic services in Riyadh, lately? Observed Shabbat in Tehran? No; thought not. Nor can anyone else.

      Hussein and his regime was a clear and present danger. We KILLED them. Thousands of them. Obliterated their military. Erased their oppressive government. Good; and, good riddance. One hundred years from now, historians and more importantly Iraqis will look at what we did in that country, flaws and all, and conclude that it allowed for the emergence of representative democratic government, where it had not existed for thirty centuries. No thanks to Harry Reid, Obama, nor you and your apologist colleagues. Many thanks in contrast to people like my brother, first in Iraq and now in Af’stan, as a result of President Bush and his military advisers. An imperfect effort? Monumentally so. Far better however than the ‘cowering and apologies’ theory of the current administration and their adoring saps—-sorry, supporters.

    20. Shannon Love Says:

      PenGun,

      It’s quite obvious there are far more deaths than a small subset of the data will reveal.

      Really, do you think that US murder statistics are off by a factor of 600%? There is no reason to believe that in a country like Iraq with a flat arid landscape and a largely urban population that there are huge numbers of unknown dead. What? Do you believe that the insurgents were somehow hiding vast numbers of dead people?

      The wikileaks (which are supposed to be complete by the way) and ALL OTHER sources strongly disagree with the bogus Lancet/John-Hopkins studies.

      This is how the narrative controls you. You don’t actually know ANYTHING about the subject. You don’t know what the historical norms are for any type of war. You don’t anything about the region geography, biomes, population distributions, burial customs, death certificates, cemeteries or anything else that would inform you about what is and is not plausible. You haven’t read the studies and wouldn’t even begin to understand them if you did because you are (apparently) just a photographer.. You did not even bother to read the 15,000 words I wrote on the subject just to understand what I was saying…

      …because you don’t have to. You have your script and the script tells you everything. The script says that huge numbers of people died and that all you need to know. There is absolutely no argument myself or anyone else could make that would ever convince you that you are wrong. That is called faith, BTW.

      Oh, and let me just say that I find if rich to be criticized on a matter of war deaths by someone who has a website called “Carnage Pro”.

    21. Anonymous Says:

      Yes, please do. Unlike you, I accept responsibility for deaths that result from the policies I advocate.

      How many people have you shot?

      Just curious.

    22. Thers Says:

      The Khmer Rouge stuff is interesting — apparently I am a moral delinquent for being 5 years old at the time. Fortunately for the pre-school me, the logistical questions involved in an invasion of a southeast Asian nation on the heels of a failed adventure in an adjacent Southeast Asian nation were not mine to answer. Never mind the moral questions — how could this easy intervention have ever worked? I mean, surely it’s all Sy Hersh’s fault that it went sour, but maybe Regnery will pay for the narrative where it all comes up ducks’ bottoms?

      Anyway, you don’t seem to even remotely grasp the difference between an estimate and a passive count, or more likely, don’t care. But I found what I was looking for, a chara.

    23. GettingReal Says:

      Shannon, You Go Girl!
      I love to read your arguments. You slice’m and dice’m and there is nothing they can do about it. I do hope you are able to breathe and recover from the battle. I am amazed at how you are able to keep the ammunition flowing with just simple facts, repeat the facts, and add more facts. Another hearty hurrah! for a job being well done.