Thursday, October 12, 2006

If You Don't Like The Science, Ignore It

You can see this standard Republican reaction in action in Bush's press conference yesterday. When he was asked about the Johns Hopkins study that was published in The Lancet, he dismissed it.

Bush dismissed as "just not credible" a controversial new study that contends nearly 655,000 Iraqis have died because of the war. The study was based on interviews by researchers with Iraqi families and suggests a far higher death toll than other estimates.

A highly respected university does a study that appears to use valid sampling to study a population. They gather this information, present it to one of the worlds top medical journals, who decide it is worthy of publication, and our President decides (without even bothering to read it or learn about the methodology, not doubt) it is not credible.

Just like stem cell, global warming, and countless other issues, when the science doesn't agree with your notion of reality, just ignore it.



Anonymous said...

Where are the bodies that the Lancet study describes?

Where is the ensuing refugee crisis across neighboring nations that would result from over 600,000 deaths, meaning that there would be at least 2.5 million wounded?

Shouldn't a scientific study include actual data?

If this is some sort of right-wing attempt to disregard science, why are Harard, biostatisticians from the MD Anderson Medical Center, the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Brookings Institute disputing this study? Are all of these groups in the slimy grasp of Karl Rove now too?

Maybe a duplicate study can be done to verify the results, say see if the Lancet researchers will go to Kim's North Korea to determine deaths by starvation? Or would that be too difficult from their cushy research chairs?

hfiend said...

Well Anonymous, my interpretation of this report is that they used a large sample of Iraqis -- enough to have a relatively low MoE -- and asked them controlled questions about known deaths. Then they reported their results. It is an application of statistics and while stats are not always exact, they are usually close and almost always within the MoE. It is a far better gauge than the 'guess' the DoD puts out of 50k. That, suspiciously enough, lines up with the number of deaths reported in the press since 2003. If Iraq could provide safety for reporters to be in every city and cover the large state, those numbers would be higher. Heck we can't even control the Green Zone. Where are we to place estimates on a country that is in a state of anarchy and obviously out of our control.

And no this statistical study doesn't need actual data, it’s a statistical study. I'm so sorry it conflicted with your rosy view of Iraq but the reality is that we've killed a lot of civilians there, Iraqis have killed a lot of civilians there, and the jihadists we’ve brought to the country have killed a lot of people there. It shouldn't be such a shock to place that number somewhere between the 50k and 600k mark. This is what this report is suggesting we do, reassess the false reality created by the White House.

John said...

Where are the bodies that the Lancet study describes?

You do understand that the cultural tradition demands burrial by sunset. Family burrial is very common, and one of the most common grave yards for children killed in this war has been the family's yard.

Where is the ensuing refugee crisis

You are aware that right now the UN list well over a million Iraqis as Displaced, about 1 million outside the country, and about 300,000 displaced inside Iraq.

that sounds like a refugee crisis, even if you have not heard about it

say see if the Lancet researchers will go to Kim's North Korea to determine deaths by starvation?

Actually this is exactly the type of studt that this system is used for in the past.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1 this is Anon 2 - there are OVER 1 million Iraqis displaced. In a country formerly of 26 million people a I would say that is a lot. Furthemore being a refugee in that region is not all it is cracked up to be. Check out their boarders! Fleeing into Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the Green Zone and the areas controlled by the kurds is not an option. This leaves only Jordan and Syria but you have to go through some of the area I mentioned to get there. That is about 95% of the boarder shut off for most Iraqis. If this were not the case I think the refugee number would far exceed 1 million.

Barry said...

I think this number is not accurate. Not because of some left wing plot to denounce the war. The actions of the present, administration does enough to denounce the war.

The flowed numbers are a result only of the lack of ability to track the actual deaths in Iraq.

I will concede, that there is probably only a 12% +/- difference in the number of deaths related in the war to the number supplied ny this study.

The reason is because this study does not limit it's citeria for incluson to battle deaths, but also includes all deaths from the fall out of the war, to include poor medical care for the sick, etc.

Jenifer D. said...

Maybe the question was phrased wrong. The question should have read like this: "How many civilians have been killed in Iraq since March 2003?" I think the inquiry should have been more specific about the time frame. You have to dumb things down for some folks these days....waaaay down