Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
 

Recommended Photo Store
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading? Click here to find out.
 
Make your Amazon purchases though this banner to support our blog:
(If you don't see the banner click here for our Amazon store.)
 
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Contributors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Lex's Tweets
  • Jonathan's Tweets
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Compare and Contrast

    Posted by Jonathan on March 24th, 2005 (All posts by )

    (From the comments on this post.)

    dsquared:

    This is, of course, untrue, though I doubt any neutral observers were fooled. If Shannon decides to declare victory on this account he/she is a bigger fool than I thought, which is quite some fool.
     

    [. . .]
     

    By the way, can we get the charge clear; Shannon is still saying (falsely) that the authors made “sweeping claims of mass murder”, but appears to have dropped the accusation that they did so specifically in order to provide propaganda for Iraqi fascists? I only ask for the benefit of the libel lawyers who I still hope will take an interest in this series.

    Shannon Love:

    One of the disturbing things about the sociology of this study is the degree to which many have embraced its findings as revealed truth even though, just as any other scientific study, it must be verified through replication before we can confirm its accuracy. (Our arguments over methodology are so vociferous because we don’t have any other means of evaluating the accuracy of the study. Solid science ends arguments, it doesn’t start them.)
     

    If we use a single, unverified study to direct our policy we are not actually basing our decisions on good science.

     

    39 Responses to “Compare and Contrast”

    1. Kevin Donoghue Says:

      “If we use a single, unverified study to direct our policy we are not actually basing our decisions on good science.”

      Is a “verified” study one which tells you what you want to hear? The Lancet study was competently vetted and it has stood up well to inspection – as witness Shannon Love’s increasingly frantic efforts to debunk it.

      Or is “unverified” simply repetition of “single”?

      Ignoring the only reputable study that is out there, instead basing decisions on blind faith, is a prescription for ending up in an even worse mess.

    2. Disputo Says:

      You cherry-pick two unrelated comments out of a thread, decontextualized, and place them on the front page for people to compare and contrast?!

      This is one step removed from photoshopping the faces of your opponents into depictions of pornography.

      I was about to create a detailed response on the thread on which this originated, addressing some of the misconceptions that have arisen since my last post, but I now see what a fruitless venture that would be. It is sad enough that most arguments would evaporate if people would take the time to carefully read the original Lancet paper, but now I see that I am actually dealing with people who lack the baseline level of integrity necessary to honestly engage in discourse.

      It is one thing to see such shameless behavior by anonymous folks in the comments, but to see such behavior from first page bloggers — who have the audacity, no less, to associate themselves with the luminaries depicted on the frontpage and the great University of Chicago — is quite disgraceful.

      You people should be ashamed of yourselves. At the very least you should dissociate yourselves from the Chicago Boys and the UC until you learn a little intellectual honesty.

      Does the University of Chicago know that you are abusing their name in such a manner?

    3. Tim Lambert Says:

      Here is the Shannon Love quote that Daniel Davies was referring to:

      When you realize that without the Falluja data the study tells a very different story than the one widely reported and that the Falluja data could only have been collected with active collusion of the Baathist and the Jihadist who ruled Falluja at the time, the publication of this study assumes a very sinister cast. Either through intention or willful disregard, the researchers and publisher acted as a propaganda tool for the Fascist elements in Iraq. Given the degree to which they carefully spun their results, I conclude the effect was intended.

      Jonathan do you agree with Shannon that the researchers and the Lancet intended the study to be Fascist propaganda?

    4. Steven Den Beste Says:

      Ah, my old friend Daniel!

    5. AMac Says:

      “Both sides” (as if it is natural for there to be sides, like in a pickup stickball game) in this dispute have taken a lawyerly, adverserial approach to interpreting the Roberts paper. Its authors and the Lancet editors got this started with the way they published and adverised its finding, but certain bloggers have picked up the ball and run with it.

      This is unlike science as I have seen it practiced, with a few memorable and rather ugly exceptions.

      More typically, a different approach is employed, where interested parties discuss and interpret published results and their interpretations in a more-or-less collegial fashion. One assumption is that all parties will agree on the validity of facts and interpretations that are clearly shown to be true or correct (and the converse), and then move to the next issue. Often, consensus isn’t achieved for years, until other data comes in and other methods are used. But most interested parties come to understand the issues better, through discussion.

      In the adverserial approach on display here, the client’s interests are paramount. “The client” being “Validate the study’s findings” for the Defense, and “Invalidate” for the Prosecution. It’s a different way of getting at the truth. It works, in the legal system and here, even if the ride isn’t altogether fun. In the Courts, decorum limits participants’ freewheeling application of insults and sarcasm to the other side. Regrettably, such restraints don’t hold in the blogosphere.

      In usual scientific practice, anyone who discovers a flaw is expected to bring it forward, whether it helps their case or not. In an adverserial proceeding, this is an unrealistic expectation. Readers new to these threads should bear that in mind.

      > It is one thing to see such shameless behavior by anonymous folks in the comments…

      Pseudonymous Disputo (4:54am), I am one of the pseudonymous (not anonymous) commenters on ‘the other side’ from you. If knowing my identity–at least, who I say I am–is important to you, email me. If you don’t have me and my ilk in mind when discussing “such shameless behavior,” may I suggest that you use a brush that is not quite so broad.

    6. Tim Lambert Says:

      Amac, the Lancet study is a scientific paper. It was peer reviewed and published in a scientific journal. The authors do, in fact, point out all the limitations and weaknesses of the study. Somehow, to you, this justifies all the innumerate attacks from folks that neither follow nor care about scientific practice. Shannon Love is one of the worst offenders, though he can’t hold a candle to Michael Fumento

    7. AMac Says:

      T. Lambert (9:03am),

      Thanks for reminding me that Roberts is a scientific paper, and that it was peer-reviewed and published in a scientific journal. I have peer-reviewed some papers, and published others in scientific journals, myself. I acknowledge that you believe that this paper’s authors did point out all the limitations and weaknesses of the study.

      If you wanted to know the answer to your implied question (Does this somehow, to you, justify all the innumerate attacks from folks that neither follow nor care about scientific practice?), you would have to ask me. We would first have to identify the antecedent to “this.” Then, we would need to separate your compound sentence into a series of questions that are amenable to straight answers.

      Readers will decide for themselves whether T. Lambert’s response rebuts my earlier (8:35am) comment on the strident, adversarial nature of this discussion, or supports it.

    8. Tim Lambert Says:

      Amac, you claimed that the authors of the paper started the adversarial stuff by publishing their paper. How was their paper adversarial rather than scientific?

    9. James R. Rummel Says:

      I think that Jonathan was trying to point out the levels of civility between Shannon and some of her critics. The quote from Shannon, the one where she says that solid evidence ends arguements, seems to be pretty clear. It looks like it went right over your heads, though.

      I am amused by dsquared’s threats of legal action. Makes me think that he’s not a US native since he doesn’t understand our 1st Amendment at all.

      C’mon, guys. Unclench.

      James

    10. AMac Says:

      T. Lambert (10:23),

      The ChicagoBoyz post that contains the relevant comment is Fisking Fallujah, and my appreciation of the question you raise appears on 3/24 at 3:11pm. My close reading suggests that the authors were not straight (or, invited an adversarial response) with their presentation of their own data in the paper’s Summary.

      You’ve invited me to cite from a thread that you have presumably read, as you posted after me. I can thus expect that you disagree with me, and I provide the link not to convince you otherwise, but as a reminder, and for the benefit of any readers who are curious about this point.

    11. dsquared Says:

      Hmmm, I think someone with a little bit more experience of these things would have waited for the “whoring out science”/”providing propaganda for Fascists” post had dropped off the front page before trying to get away with this one.

    12. Steven Den Beste Says:

      Daniel is a Brit.

    13. Jonathan Says:

      Disputo wrote:

      You cherry-pick two unrelated comments out of a thread, decontextualized, and place them on the front page for people to compare and contrast?!
      This is one step removed from photoshopping the faces of your opponents into depictions of pornography.

      Your argument fails because I was not mischaracterizing dsquared, as one would be doing in your photoshopping analogy. If you read through dsquared’s many comments in the linked thread and in the other threads about the Lancet article, you can easily see that the tone and style of his arguments in the comment I cited are typical for him. The photoshopping analogy fails additionally since, far from hiding my sources in an attempt to pass off a forgery as fact, I provided obvious links to the source quotes and published my post on the site where all of the source material appears.

      Tim Lambert: I don’t know if Shannon is correct in the passage that you cite. But even if he is wrong on the point of intentions he may be correct, as I think he is, in his other arguments. And even if the investigators did not intend to aid our enemies, they effectively did so. I think it’s important to recognize that fact, not to assign blame but because, as the Lancet defenders tirelessly argue in a slightly different context, the consequences of the fact are too important to ignore in our public policy.

      And even if the investigators and the Lancet editors meant well, I am convinced that they were motivated to a significant degree by political considerations. I don’t think that’s necessarily bad, but it strikes me as contradictory to argue, as some of the Lancet article’s defenders seem to be arguing, that 1) the investigators weren’t biased but 2) the topic of the study is of such great political importance as to justify rapid publication before an election. You can’t have it both ways.

      Steven Den Beste: Thanks for the links. I had forgotten about your experiences with dsquared/Davies.

      James: Yes, thanks. I intended to highlight the difference in tone and attitude between Shannon and one of his most vociferous critics. As SDB argues so effectively in his archived posts, to which he helpfully links, dsquare’s arrogant assertions of superior knowledge and his belittling tone toward opponents are essentially dishonest. He’s made some valid points but on the whole his contribution to the discussion has been negative. I think that this is a legitimate topic for a post.

      I see that dsquared has left a comment. Characteristically, he suggests that I am corrupt and/or don’t know what I’m talking about but ignores the substance of my argument.

    14. dsquared Says:

      Just to clear up one issue that seems to have caused confusion; I of course cannot “threaten legal action”, because I haven’t been libelled. The Lancet study authors, however, have been libelled, and I do hope that they decide to do something about it, for no better reason than simple, honest malice.

    15. Shannon Love Says:

      dsquared,

      “I do hope that they decide to do something about it,”

      Man, me too! I don’t suppose there is anything you could do to chivy that along by any chance?

    16. James R. Rummel Says:

      Man, me too! I don’t suppose there is anything you could do to chivy that along by any chance?

      They’ll never do it, Shannon. After all, the guys who wrote the Lancet study are biased hacks who are trying to influence the politics of a foreign country through carefully edited data. That doesn’t mean that they’re as lacking in common sense as some people.

      James

    17. Steven Den Beste Says:

      Daniel, under American libel law, opinions are never libelous.

      Lucky for you…

    18. Steven Den Beste Says:

      And I might also mention that there’s no question that the Lancet authors would be considered “public figures”, and thus they would have to prove “actual malice” by “clear and convincing evidence” to prevail in any libel suit.

      No court in any other country (e.g. the UK) would have jurisdiction over something written by an American which was posted on a server located in America, even if it could be accessed from elsewhere, so libel law in other countries (e.g. the UK) is uninteresting.

    19. Kevin Donoghue Says:

      “No court in any other country (e.g. the UK) would have jurisdiction over something written by an American which was posted on a server located in America, even if it could be accessed from elsewhere, so libel law in other countries (e.g. the UK) is uninteresting.”

      Got a link for this claim? I only ask because Abiola Lapite says precisely the opposite. It would be mildly interesting to see which of you is wrong.

    20. Steven Den Beste Says:

      James R. Rummel posted the link two posts above mine. Look for “lacking in common sense”.

      I don’t have the slightest idea who Abiola Lapite is. My source is U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel, in his written opinion deciding a case where the French League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism tried to sue Yahoo to get material removed from Yahoo’s servers in the US.

      Judge Fogel told the French group to get stuffed, because the material on the Yahoo server was protected by the First Amendment, even though it violated French law.

    21. Tim Lambert Says:

      Amac, I looked at your comment in the other thread that purports to prove that the authors misrepresented their data. You claim, falsely, that the statement that the majority of the excess deaths were due to violence depends on the inclusion of Falluja. It does not. The statement is true regardless of whether Falluja is included. So a major part of your justification for adversarial rather than a scientific response to the study is based on a false premise.

    22. AMac Says:

      T. Lambert wrote (9:14am):

      > You claim, falsely, that the statement that the majority of the excess deaths were due to violence depends on the inclusion of Falluja.

      Your paraphrasing is incorrect. Note that Roberts distinguish between Violence-not-Coalition and Violence-by-Coalition, e.g. in Table 2.

      In a comment timestamped 3/24 3:11pm on Fisking Fallujah, I said that Roberts are unclear to the point of being misleading in the paper’s Summary, and quoted from the Summary to show why I think so.

      In a comment on A Challenge to Lancet Defenders, timestamp 3/26 6:46am, I said that Roberts have not stated their best-estimate of excess deaths from the nine EFC Violence-by-Coalition deaths they record, or the 95% CI that goes with it. The arithmetic I used to arrive at my guess for those figures (26,000; 1,000-103,000) are in that comment and an earlier one (3/25 5:07pm).

      In that 3/26 6:46am comment, I fault both Lancet editor Horton and Lancet invited commenter Bushra Ibrahim Al-Rubeyi, quoting each to show why. Here’s Al-Rubeyi, again:

      In this week’s Lancet, Les Roberts and colleagues show that the death toll from the invasion and occupation of Iraq is about 98000 civilians, and it might be considerably higher. The deaths are mostly related to air strikes. [emphasis added]

      T. Lambert, I’ve used hyperlinks and timestamp references so that you and other readers can critique and correct what I’ve written. You have asserted that a claim of mine is false, and that “a major part of [my] justification … is based on a false premise.”

      Kindly show your work, or retract the assertions.

    23. Deltoid Says:

      ChicagoBoyz on Lancet Study

      After accusing the researchers and the Lancet of fraud
      and treason
      , Shannon Love is back with another accusation. The latest crime he accuses them of is…

    24. AMac Says:

      Tim Lambert responded on his website (29/3 16:37).

      I replied:

      Thanks for responding. In my first contention, I misinterpreted excess deaths as deaths. So we agree. I retract that contention, and hold to the second one.

    25. Jonathan Says:

      AMac,

      Thanks for the updates. I’ve noted them in a new post.

    26. dsquared Says:

      Jonathan, if you’re going to call me “essentially dishonest”, then you ought to do so to my face.

    27. john b Says:

      On libel, Abiola is right, and Judge Fogel’s opinion as cited by SDB is irrelevant. An article is considered libellous under English law if it has been accessed by someone in England, irrespective of the nationality of the writer, publisher or hosting provider (and, obviously, if it meets the requirements for being libellous under English law). And at the very least, D^2 and I have accessed Shannon’s comments from England.

      A US court would not enforce a UK damages award, or compel the site to remove the article. However, if Shannon either has assets in or were to visit the UK, then the judgement could be enforced (anyone know if it would also be enforced were Shannon to visit/own property in other EU countries, or is that currently only the case with criminal law?)

    28. john b Says:

      Substituting “only, obviously, if it also meets” for “and, obviously, if it meets” in the comment above would improve its clarity somewhat.

    29. dsquared Says:

      I would disagree with John on two points:

      First, I think that de facto, UK courts operate on a slightly more restrictive standard on what cases they will take; you would have to be considered to be “publishing” in the UK and what constitutes “publishing” in this context is ill-defined in the context of online media. I think that if the Chicago Boyz were to libel me, they would probably get away with it on this one, though I personally would not want to take the risk.

      Second, US courts *do* enforce UK libel judgements on occasion. Fogel’s opinion in re: Yahoo! France is irrelevant because Yahoo! France did not lose a libel action; they were in breach of a French law which would be unconstitutional in the USA. Libel is a tort in the USA just as much as in the UK, and in general, US courts have only refused to enforce UK libel judgements on the grounds that the UK judgement was “repugnant to US law”. I don’t think that it is at all obvious that it is repugnant to US law to find that calling a professor of medicine a “scientific whore” is libellous.

      All of which is of course a by-point, since the Chicago Boyz haven’t defamed me (Jonathan G ewirtz’ accusation that I am “essentially dishonest” is too trifling and silly to be worth bothering with). They have, in my opinion, defamed Les Roberts and Richard Garfield, both of whom are Americans. I’d also caution against the Chicago Boyz relying on the “public figure defense” if sued; the plaintiffs would have, by way of evidence that “reckless disregard for the truth” was shown, reams of comments from me, pointing out that you were wrong.

    30. john b Says:

      Even a Usenet posting counts as ‘publishing’ in English caselaw, with the author and the operator of the local NNTP server jointly liable (following Godfrey v Cornell and Dolenga and Godfrey v Demon), so it would be a challenge to claim that a blog post didn’t.

      You’re right on the rest…

    31. Jonathan Says:

      dsquared, you wrote:

      Jonathan, if you’re going to call me “essentially dishonest”, then you ought to do so to my face.

      What I actually wrote in a comment above was:

      . . . dsquare’s arrogant assertions of superior knowledge and his belittling tone toward opponents are essentially dishonest.

      As I also wrote in that comment, I agree with Steven Den Beste on this point. Your belittling of opponents in argument is a form of ad hominem attack, and is essentially dishonest because it attempts to discredit the opponent’s argument by diverting attention to his supposed personal characteristics. For example:

      If Shannon decides to declare victory on this account he/she is a bigger fool than I thought, which is quite some fool.

      So rather than discredit Shannon’s argument by discussing mainly what you see as its logical and/or empirical flaws, you call Shannon a fool. IMO this is dishonest behavior on your part.

      And note that I did not write that you are essentially dishonest, but rather that your “arrogant assertions of superior knowledge and [your] belittling tone toward opponents are essentially dishonest.” These are not the same thing, and I don’t think your casual conflation of these two different positions advances your case.

      And why should I say anything to your face? I have an ideal forum here in which to make arguments, and you have access to that forum to refute my arguments. And there are other blogs in which you may respond if you don’t like this one. It sounds like you are saying that I am afraid, which sounds like you are off in ad hominem territory again.

    32. dsquared Says:

      Well, let’s go to the bloody tape then shall we, lugnuts?

      The actual comment that you selectively excerpted from was:

      [SL]dsqaured seems to think that the study has practical utility because body counting will miraculously reduce non-combantant deaths[/SL]

      [DD]This is, of course, untrue, though I doubt any neutral observers were fooled. If Shannon decides to declare victory on this account he/she is a bigger fool than I thought, which is quite some fool.

      You will note that the logical and empirical flaws in this argument was that it was a big fat untruth, attributing to me something which I had never said. Having dealt with the “logical and empirical flaws” with my sentence “This is of course untrue, although I doubt any neutral observers were fooled”, I moved on to offer Shannon a bit of advice (don’t declare victory on this ground, or you will look ridiculous). Only then did I offer my opinion that Shannon is a fool, and by this point I think I had earned it. To quote something I read recently “These are not the same thing, and I don’t think your casual conflation of these two different positions advances your case.”

      Cherry-picking quotes is a completely dishonest thing to do, and you did it here. You cherry-picked one of the few passages in Shannon’s posts when he wasn’t calling someone a whore or a traitor. Then you cherry-picked one of the only personal insults I made, in the face of very severe provocation. As far as I can tell, you didn’t fool, a single person, but that’s hardly the point. Then you had the nerve to call me “dishonest”, but *not* the nerve to stand by your accusation. I have an abiding affection for the City Of Broad Shoulders, but not once in my life have I ever met anyone there who was like you.

    33. aaron Says:

      D^2,

      Here are some more type M “arguments” to throw ontop of yours:

      Link

      Link

      Maybe many, many more Iraqi will live longer, be born, and live better in the future because of it. Maybe we’ll learn better ways to prevent causualties from the conflict and effective ways to use that data, maybe the Lancet study will inspire this.

      Maybe 100,000+ more Iraqi’s did die in the post invasion period than would have. Of course, maybe this methodic study isn’t worth a shit whether that’s true or not.

      Maybe the presentation wasn’t intended to lead to rash assumptions, unfounded conclusions, and ineffectual political blubbering. Maybe it did anyway.

      Maybe you’ll get tired of jerking yourself off.

    34. Jonathan Says:

      In the example dsquared cites, Shannon presented an opinion: “dsquared seems to think. . . ”

      dsquared responded by 1) stating his own opinion (that Shannon’s opinion is invalid) and 2) calling Shannon a fool.

      I don’t know if Shannon’s inference is correct. dsquared says it is not and I am willing to give dsquared the benefit of the doubt. But note that Shannon does not call dsquared a fool or otherwise belittle him as a way to discredit his argument. By contrast, dsquared, in this and other instances, interprets intellectual disagreement as personal attack and is quick to belittle his opponents. This is the contrast I was trying to highlight in my post at the top of this thread. The personalizing of intellectual arguments, particularly in cases like this, where the argument is politically charged, IMO is generally counterproductive. (And I say this as someone who has personalized arguments and regretted doing it, though I don’t think that’s what I have done here.)

      aaron seems to understand this.

      Anyone who thinks that my quoting of dsquared is an instance of “cherry picking” — i.e., selecting quotes to convey a false impression — is invited to skim dsquared’s comments in the various Lancet-related posts on this and other blogs. You might start by checking out a comment of mine here.

      Finally, dsquared takes me to task for supposedly being dishonest. Not only did I (according to dsquared) select misleading quotes, I also asserted that “dsquare’s arrogant assertions of superior knowledge and his belittling tone toward opponents are essentially dishonest,” and dsquared says that by doing so I was calling him dishonest. I responded by pointing out that I had found this particular behavior of his to be dishonest, and I continue to think that this is the correct way to characterize it. I do not know enough about dsquared to know whether he is dishonest in other ways, and I would be happy to accept that he is not. But I know that he is quick to make personal attacks on people with whom he is arguing, and as I previously stated, perhaps not clearly enough, I think that such attacks, besides being jerky behavior, are dishonest because they are intentionally diversionary: they deflect attention from consideration of an argument’s logical and empirical validity. If logic and evidence are on your side, why call your interlocutors fools? (Indeed, why call them fools even if you think they are fools. Name calling serves no purpose in reasonable discussions.)

      BTW, is “lugnuts” a friendly term where you come from?

    35. "Mindles H. Dreck" Says:

      Dsquared used to frequent our blog. I don’t know if he still does – I’ve been on an extended hiatus.

      He does get a bit personal. I used to work with/sell to UK clients, and I’ve noticed that Brits feel more free to insult, as long as their insults are sufficiently clever (a word typically used in the appropriate rejoinder). Insults are certainly a form of comedy (Blackadder, anyone?) and I have succeeded in enjoying them – most of the time, anyway.

      If you read through his own posts and compare them to his comments, you’ll find he holds others to higher standards (the Den Beste flap also shows it). Dsquared seems to view commenting as a competitive sport – find a weakness and exploit endlessly. He discovered Shannon was wrong about the use of cluster sample techniques in war zones and built most of his end-zone dance around it. Absent these triumphs, he typically takes his leave with a bit of jargon. None of this behavior encourages dialogue, nor does it seem to be intended to do so.

      All that being said, it appears to me that the Lancet study is equidistant from discredited and conclusive. While I am also suspicious of the apparent rush to publish, I’m afraid the blanket condemnations of the authors seem hyperbolic. Perhaps a more polite commenter might have gained that admission.

    36. Jonathan Says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments. IMO the acrimony has been counterproductive, partly because, as you suggest, it leads opponents to harden their positions, and also because, by focusing disproportionate attention on analysis techniques, it distracts from important questions about how the data were gathered.

      I’ve been agnostic about whether the investigators are as corrupt as Shannon thinks they are, but find it increasingly difficult to accept that they both 1) knew what they were doing and 2) expected to gather reliable survey data in a place like Faluja last September. It might have been wiser either to have postponed conducting the survey or to have published it with extensive data-related caveats in the summary. Instead the authors make bold inferences that raise obvious questions about agendas.

      This study raises almost as many questions as it purports to address. I doubt whether the questions can be resolved without gathering much more data.

    37. dsquared Says:

      I’d point out that I’ve observed, scrupulously, a policy of being polite to people who don’t accuse Les Roberts and team of “scientific malpractice” or dishonesty, and being very rude to people who do. In my book, if you throw around, baselessly, accusations of the kind which could certainly cost a man his job, then why should you expect the kid-gloves treatment in return?

      Furthermore, I always seek dialogue as long as I expect to find it. Shannon came straight out of the gate with accusations of “scientific malpractice”, upgraded them without evidence to accusations of intentionally providing propaganda for fascists, repeatedly made simple mistakes based on misreadings of the paper and continually revived arguments shown to be bad, as soon as he thought I wasn’t looking.

      You, for your part, cherry-picked quotes from me out of context to try and make me look bad, called me dishonest and then tried to wriggle out of it with Clintonian parsing (“I didn’t call you dishonest I said your behaviour was dishonest” For crying out loud). Remind me again why I might want to have a “dialogue” with people like that? What might I possibly learn, other than that there are people out there who behave like that, which I knew anyway?

      The only reason I participate in comments threads like this is that I want to make sure that in places where there is a particularly prominent bad Lancet-denialist argument, there is a counterargument, factual correction and explanation of the mistake, in the same place. This a) possibly reduces the number of neutral onlookers who might be bamboozled and b) reduces the opportunity for the original author to reproduce their claim elsewhere and claim it was an honest mistake. That study presents facts, I want those facts are given proper weight in the policy formation process, and anything I can do to reduce the ability of others to muddy the waters helps a bit.

      If in those comments threads there are well-intentioned and sincere discusants like Mike and Heiko who actually contribute information then that’s great; if not, well so be it.

    38. Jonathan Says:

      I’d point out that I’ve observed, scrupulously, a policy of being polite to people who don’t accuse Les Roberts and team of “scientific malpractice” or dishonesty, and being very rude to people who do. In my book, if you throw around, baselessly, accusations of the kind which could certainly cost a man his job, then why should you expect the kid-gloves treatment in return?

      How selfless you are, guarding Roberts’s virtue from a bunch of right-wing bloggers who are somehow both 1) obscure dimwits and 2) capable of getting a well-known scientist fired. Yeah, you’re just here because of your committment to the truth, not because you enjoy argument for its own sake or because you like to bully people whom you regard as intellectual inferiors.

      If you don’t understand why treating disagreement as evidence of the other side’s bad intentions is inappropriate, you are either more ignorant than you intimate or you have a real character flaw, or both. I’m betting on “both.”

      You, for your part, cherry-picked quotes from me out of context to try and make me look bad, called me dishonest and then tried to wriggle out of it with Clintonian parsing (“I didn’t call you dishonest I said your behaviour was dishonest” For crying out loud). . .

      I picked characteristic quotes and provided links so that there would be no question about context. I think that the quotes I selected were enough, by themselves, to make your abusiveness clear. You have only yourself to blame for the impression you created.

      As to my supposed “Clintonian parsing,” I see that the great expert completely missed the point, namely that I was giving him the benefit of the doubt by not speculating about his behavior outside of this argument. But since you asked, I think that Steven Den Beste sized you up accurately as a dishonest gamester. I regret spending so much time debating you.

    39. dsquared Says:

      If you don’t understand why treating disagreement as evidence of the other side’s bad intentions is inappropriate, you are either more ignorant than you intimate or you have a real character flaw, or both. I’m betting on “both.”

      If only you understood irony; we would be able to laugh together at that one.