As many have already figured out long ago using that gray mass between our ears, that much-touted 2004 Lancet study — claiming 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths following the US invasion — has once again been discredited.
First, it was Shannon at Chicago Boyz (among many others) way back in October 2004.
In science, replication is the iron test. I find it revealing that no other source or study has come close to replicating the original study. All my original points still stand.
And now, most damning, is a study about to be formally presented on Monday by David Kane, Institute Fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. Michelle Malkin has the exclusive preview.
Much of the math here is mind-numbingly complicated, but Kane’s bottom line is simple: the Lancet authors “cannot reject the null hypothesis that mortality in Iraq is unchanged.” Translation: according to Kane, the confidence interval for the Lancet authors’ main finding is wrong. Had the authors calculated the confidence interval correctly, Kane asserts that they would have failed to identify a statistically significant increase in risk of death in Iraq, let alone the widely-reported 98,000 excess civilian deaths.
An interesting side note: as Kane observes in his paper, the Lancet authors “refuse to provide anyone with the underlying data (or even a precise description of the actual methodology).” The researchers did release some high-level summary data in highly aggregated form (see here), but they released neither the detailed interviewee-level data nor the programming code that would be necessary to replicate their results.
Please make sure to tune into CBS Evening News tonight when Katie Couric will not be doing a follow-up story to set the record straight….
UPDATE (from GPW): Busy with schoolwork today so I may not get to blog, but just wanted to note that David Kane who wrote the piece debunking the Lancet study is like yours truly, a graduate of America’s finest liberal arts college and blogs about our alma mater at Ephblog. Check it out!