Friday, January 24, 2003

I posted a version of this in the comments at Hit and Run here, but I'll repeat:

It is weird how there's this cabal of Bellesiles worshipping gun control fetishists out there who are obsessed with finding revenge. I mean, I haven't met one. I haven't read one. I was never invited to the meeting.

I'm not saying they don't exist, but I would like them to be, well named. As far as I can tell most of the people who are looking into the John Lott situation are former supporters.

My own objections of Lott have not much to do with caring about the gun issue, and nothing to do with Bellesiles. It's all about exposing a huckster who has leveraged his supposed credibility into other areas.

Kierhan Healy has more:

I picked the brains of a few people who know more about sampling methods than me about this topic. In each case, I had trouble getting to the weights issue because they were laughing so much at the background information. Lott says he has no dataset, no paper records of any kind, no memory of the precise wording of questions in the survey instrument, and no recollection of the names of the students involved in the data collection. He did not apply for any funding, paid for the survey out of his own pocket, and did not collect the data via a phonebank. Instead, "one of the students had a program to randomly sample the telephone numbers by state. My guess is that it was part of the [marketing] CD [he obtained from an unknown source and no longer has], but on that point I can't be sure." Lott claims that he had two students on the job, working from their own phones, and they "had also gotten others that they knew from other campuses from places such as I think the University of Illinois at Chicago circle (but I am not sure that I remember this accurately)." Did they all get copies of the CD and its "program"? Did Lott do anything to oversee the data collection and coding? How was it all collated? Phone surveys have low response rates. Getting 2,424 respondents would have meant the RAs made at least twice that number of calls. That's a lot of long-distance calls to be making from your dorm room.