Re: Lott update

[On Oct 03 2002 I posted this to firearmsregprof.]

Glenn Reynolds writes:

I agree that Mr. Lambert’s “payback for Bellesiles” angle is pretty obvious.

Your allegation is false.

I also note that Lott isn’t accused of publishing fraudulent scholarship, but rather of making public statements that appear to be obviously true, but for which he has not published research as a backup.

Are you actually asserting that it is “obviously true” that “98 percent of the time that people use guns defensively, they merely have to brandish a weapon to break off an attack”? That’s the claim that Lott has made on at least forty (40) occasions.

If it turned out that Lott had pretended to conduct a survey that in fact he never did, that would be serious—not of Bellesiles’, er, caliber, but serious. Of course, if it turned out that Lott were the second gunman at the grassy knoll, that would be serious as well.

At the moment, Lambert appears to have as much evidence for the one proposition as for the other.

The evidence, yet again, is that all seven other surveys gave a radically different figure. That it is mathematically impossible for a survey of the size of Lott’s to give a number that Lott says that he obtained from his survey. That Lott first claimed (falsely) that the 98% figure came from Kleck, and the first printed mention of this 1997 survey was in 2000 despite Lott citing the 98% figure dozens of times. That no-one, not colleagues, not collaborators, not experts on surveys that he consulted at the time on other matters, that not a single person that Lott can name was aware of a survey that would have required at least 300 person-days of work. That Lott has not provided any evidence that the survey was carried out, despite having had ample time to do so.

It would be more constructive if you commented on the evidence instead of pretending that it does not exist.