It’s nice when someone who understands medical journals and statistics has the same reaction you do to the ridiculous Lancet story that claimed 655,000 Iraqi war-related deaths in a mere two years. Medipundit puts it all in perspective:
The researchers spent two months canvassing households in various regions of Iraq asking about deaths in the family. Sometimes they were able to confirm the reports with death certificates, sometimes they weren’t. They didn’t ask if the dead were combatants or non-combatants. They were afraid to ask that question. Afraid for themselves and for those they were asking. They interviewed 40 households in each of their selected regions, then extrapolated the 600,000 figure from the number of deaths they had recorded in their interviews. The margin of error of +/-200,000 speaks for itself. It’s not reliable.
I especially like that little margin of error problem. Whoever the heck came up with the phrase that there are “lies, damn lies and statistics,” would be in convulsions of laughter if he or she could read this.
Medipundit has a lot more to say on the subject, and you can read it all here.
By the way, while people who actually think about things, and who apply logic to the world around them, may be more than a little dubious about The Lancet‘s latest venture in meddling with American elections, it’s good to know that our credulous American news agencies (which is the kindest thing I can think to say about them), are peddling this story as the God’s honest truth.
Hat tip: Independent Women’s Forum
UPDATE: Because a good cartoon is worth at least several hundred words: