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Response to Remmah2 (Reply #72)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 11:25 AM

73. LOL. That's not a "Harvard Study".

It's a "study" published in The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, a law review edited by a conservative/libertarian student group at Harvard Law School. It was not peer reviewed, and the people writing it are pro-gun ideologues, neither of whom, to my knowledge, have ever published a peer reviewed study on the effect of guns on suicide.

Also, as I pointed out last time someone brought up this hilarious piece of junk, that "study" actually uses false data...

Most incompetent pro-gun "researchers" tend to try to use at least slightly subtle methods for distorting and misrepresenting data. A good example is Gary Kleck, comparing estimates of defensive gun uses arrived at using one very loose methodology versus gun crimes estimated using a tighter methodology in order to come to the absurd conclusion that there are more defensive gun uses than criminal gun uses, despite the fact that any "apples-to-apples" comparison shows that there are far more criminal gun uses.

But Kates and Mauser raise the bar by simply using false data. It makes propagandizing so much easier! As has been pointed out on this board before, the authors quote the homicide rate of Luxembourg as 9.01/100K. Of course, as anyone even marginally knowledgeable about international crime statistics knows, this is completely out of the question, unless there were some kind of anomalous mass killing in that year. It is common knowledge that the only first-world nation with a homicide rate even close to that is the USA (which, not coincidentally, has far higher gun ownership than any other first-world nation).

What happened was there was a decimal point error: the Luxembourg homicide rate is actually 0.9/100K. Now, if this was some number hidden away in some table, maybe it wouldn't matter much. But it's not: they refer directly to this supposedly sky-high homicide rate of Luxembourg in the text, and they even highlight the number in Table 2. And with good reason: if that actually were the homicide rate of Luxembourg, then it would deserve to be highlighted.

This leaves us with the standard two possibilities for pro-gunner propaganda:
1) (Dishonesty) Kates and Mauser knew the number was bad, but chose to highlight it anyway, perhaps because it felt so good, for once, to have a statistic that didn't have to be further manipulated in any way in order to support their case.
2) (Incompetence) Kates and Mauser really didn't double check the number despite the fact that even an amateur would instantly be able to spot this as way out of line with reality.

To be honest, I'm not sure what the answer is. For most people I'd say dishonesty is the only possible answer, because it's such an egregious error. It would be like a climate scientist citing an increase in temperature of 8 degrees Celsius as opposed to 0.8 over the last century. But, based on the quality of the rest of this paper, along with other things I've seen by Kates and Mauser, in this case it is possible that these guys are actually clueless enough to slide by with the incompetence defense.


http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=118&topic_id=475526&mesg_id=475562

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LineLineLineNew Reply LOL. That's not a "Harvard Study".
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Remmah2 Jun 2012 #74
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