Lott vs Wikipedia round 3 continued

The John Lott article at Wikipedia was unprotected and the edit
war
has
restarted. Lott is using a sockpuppet called Timewarp to try to make
massive changes to the article. Some of the additions
he wants to make
are interesting:

Although Lott has published in academic journals regarding education,
voting behavior of politicians, industrial organization, labor
markets, judicial confirmations, and crime, his research is hard to
consistently tag as liberal or conservative. For example, some
research argues for environmental penalties on firms.

Hmmm, that sounds familiar. Here’s Mary Rosh

I had him for a PhD level empirical methods class when he taught at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania back in the early 1990s, well before he gained national attention, and I have to say that he was the best professor that I ever had. You wouldn’t know that he was a “right-wing” ideologue from the class. He argued both sides of different issues. He tore apart empirical work whether you thought that it might be right-wing or left-wing.

And of course, Lott’s research does give consistently right-wing results:
guns good, media biased against
Republicans
, votes for
women bad
,
Florida spoiled ballots hurt
Republicans
, Rush Limbaugh was
right
, and so on. One paper with two other authors makes little difference to the general pattern.

In fact, Lott’s 98%/2% figure contradicts the other two surveys over
the last twenty years that estimated this rate. However, “Kleck and
Gertz’s estimates rise to 92 percent when brandishing and warning
shots are added together.”

Actually nine published
surveys

contradict Lott. Nor do Kleck and Gertz’s estimates rise to 92% if
warning shots are added. Their estimate is 84%. And it is wrong to
compare this number with Lott’s 98% brandishing number, since it is
measuring something different.

Before the controversy arose, Lott had repeated his survey for a book
that he had written in 2002.

In fact, Lott “repeated” the survey in December 2002 because of
the controversy, which arose in September
2002
.

Comments

  1. #1 rollo
    October 25, 2005

    Cheers to you Tim Lambert.

  2. #2 Scott Church
    October 25, 2005

    The remark about spoiled ballots hurting Republicans is interesting. For those who didn’t follow that whole spectacle, Lott consulted for the two dissenting members of the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) in 2001 regarding the many irregularities in the year 2000 U.S. presidential election in Florida. The USCCR documented numerous displays of negligence and highly partisan election stacking on the part of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and the Bush Campaign, and showed that the impact fell disproportionately on minorities. As might be expected, two of the Commission’s members–who also happen to have been the only extreme Right-Wing members at the time–contracted Lott to help them “prove” that there were no racial biases in the Florida election process. To no one’s surprise, he did it with a multiple regression analysis that was riddled with the very same multicollinearity and data clustering problems that plagued More Guns, Less Crime.

    As it turns out, a close election fiasco very much like Florida 2000 happened last fall in the gubernatorial election in my own home state of Washington. This time the bomb landed in the Republican court. To no one’s surprise, 1) the irregularities and consequent disenfranchisement were for the most part, orders of magnitude less severe, 2) No racial biases of any kind were documented, 3) Far-Right interests in Washington and across the U.S. were consumed with rage and accused Democrats of fraud, negligence, and foisting the worst atrocity against democracy in history on them, and 4) Not one of their allegations was ever proven in Court, even after 5 months of investigation and millions spent in challenges to the election–thesame type of challenges mind you, for which they have been accusing Democrats of petty self-centeredness ever since.

    I spent 6 months researching both elections and wrote a paper comparing the two at length, including a fair amount of attention at Lott’s analysis. For those interested, it’s at my web site in HTML and PDF formats. That paper has been provided to the Caltech/MIT Voting Project, Allan Lichtman (who did the USCCR’s analysis that demonstrated racial biases), and to Washington’s Secretary of State (whom, I might add, requested a copy from me and provided it to his staff).

  3. #3 Dano
    October 25, 2005

    Scott Church is in the building.

    D

  4. #4 Scott Church
    October 25, 2005

    Hi Dano! I guess Troll season is open now. I just got my first piece of hate mail at home in response to the post below. A guy who wanted to know why I “lied” about the Florida and Washington elections at a “foreign web site” (sturrin’ up trouble with dem’ fureigners who ain’t kin folk…). Didn’t I know that “major news outlets” had “proven” that everything in Florida was as pure as the driven snow (but of course, the Washington election wasn’t)? Hadn’t I heard that Paul Krugman apologized for some editorial? Taking note of my landscape phography gallery there, he concluded by saying that he’d buy some of my images when he was dead. Real man of character.

    Needless to say, he hadn’t bothered with reading my paper or checking any of my sources–including all the ones to “major news outlets”–and he he didn’t bother to cite the allegedly relevant Krugman apology or anything else.

    The older I get, the less anything surprizes me….

    All the best!

  5. #5 alex
    October 25, 2005

    How do you know that Lott and Timewarp are the same person?

  6. #6 Tim Lambert
    October 26, 2005

    Scott, that sounds like [hate mail guy](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2005/06/hate-mail.php), real name [Joe Cambria](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2005/08/hatemail2.php).

    alex, the writing style and and uncanny familiarity to Lott’s work is a dead give away. Plus he made an edit without logging in to Wikipedia, so it appeared under an IP address, which turned out to be in Swarthmore.

  7. #7 Scott Church
    October 26, 2005

    Tim,

    Bingo! It was a Joe Cambria that emailed me. I now remember the posts you linked but I hadn’t connected the name when I saw it. His diatribes did fit the pattern you described there. An odd thing though–I noted below that he’d originally badmouthed me for posting at a “foreign” site…. but his return email address goes to an Optus mail host in Australia. ??? I replied and told him that if he thought I was a liar he was welcome to actually read my paper–which he obviously didn’t do–and check my sources, 80 percent of which were to his so-called “major news outlets”. He replied to me later that day demanding that I “read his comments” and saying that,

    1) He hadn’t said anything I claimed he did (he had of course).

    2) That he didn’t need to “discredit” me (i.e. produce a halfway professional and properly cited demonstration that my conclusions were incorrect).

    3) That the “Electoral Commission” said I was wrong (no citation demonstrating either context or relevance to my claims).

    4) Once again, the “major papers” said I was wrong (as before, no citations or any evidence that he’d checked even one of my major newspaper sources of which there were well over 100, most accompanied by links to the articles).

    5) “Everyone knew” that the USCCR was nothing more than an “Astroturf” group (this was particularly entertaining–apparently, he has no idea what this term even means, much less that it’s a reference to extremist groups on hisside of the political fence, so he actually thinks he’s insulting me with the label…. :) )

    All this was followed with a diatribe about how ignorant, worthless, evil. etc. (or words to that effect) you and I were, and finished off with “f**k you leftie scum”. I added him to my Junk Sender list and will also probably block him at my ISP too.

    So what’s this guy’s story? Is he just some sociopathic nobody trying to get attention or is he affiliated with an extremist outfit down there? Is he one of Tim Blair’s mercenaries?

  8. #8 Ian Gould
    October 26, 2005

    Re the reference to a “foreign website”, poor Joe like many non-American camp-followers of the American extreme right seems to get confused at times and fancies himself a member of the American Herrenvolk.

    He doesn’t seem to grasp that the American rightwingers harbour the same hatred and contempt for him and his fellow-travellers as they do for all foreigners – and for all of their fellow-Ameircans who aren’t white, heterosexual Christian Republicans.

  9. #9 Tim Lambert
    October 26, 2005

    Cambria [certainly isn't a fan of Tim Blair](http://www.brookesnews.com/031808cambria.html).

  10. #10 Scott Church
    October 27, 2005

    So I see that Joe Cambria used to be a “Wall Street Trader” and now is some sort of commentator/polemicist for the Extreme-Right in Australia. Well, since the guy appears to be more visible than I thought–and taken seriously by at least one major news outlet–a snapshot view of his character is probably in order.

    After he sent me the original flame-mail accusing me of lying in my other post, and in my Florida 2000/Washington State 2004 election paper (PDF Version here), I responded as follows;

    If you think I’m lying you’re more than welcome to actually read my paper. All my statements are well documented there and my figures are presented in tables and my sources. Nearly all of the information I obtained on the Washington election was obtained from the office of the Secretary of State. As for all those “major news outlets”, every one of theme was cited in my references. Most are linked to the original articles.
    Have at it champ.

    So did he actually investigate my sources? Demonstrate errors or omissions in my data? Provide any information that I’d missed and show how it would have altered my conclusions? Offer any constructive suggestions at all?…. You be the judge. Here’s is the full text of the response I received a few hours later (profanity edited of course).

    You like Lambert are intellectually dishonest. I don’t need to discredit you. Read my comments again. I am not saying those things. The electoral commission is and the major papers are. And we all know the human rights commission is an Astroturf organization. Like your buddy Lambert you are a lying deceitful piece of s**t. F**k you lefties are lying scum

    Perhaps I’m a little naive about the realities of human nature and the professionalism of some “major papers”, but could someone please tell me how a sociopath like this gets taken seriously by anyone–even the Far-Right? My wife is a psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. She prescribes psychotropic meds like thorazine and lithium for mentally ill patients whose behavior problems aren’t nearly this bad. I honestly don’t get it.

    I know I shouldn’t laugh. It really isn’t funny, especially when he’s being published. But I can’t help it–reading this guy’s rants is some of the best free entertainment I’ve had in months. Even the grammar is botched. Maybe I shouldn’t block his emails to me after all. :)

  11. #11 Dano
    October 27, 2005

    Hey Scott:

    keep in mind trolling and astroturf is a viable information delivery channel for some interests. Hey, some guys gotta make a livin’, knowwhutImean?

    Hope yer doin’ good over there and I believe soon enough I’ll emerge from my social hermitage and ring you up, sir.

    Best,

    D

  12. #12 z
    October 27, 2005

    This same guy, too?
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2005/06/not-hate-mail.php
    A troubled soul.

    What a life history, though:
    “We don’t call him ‘Joe Cambria,’ we call him ‘Papa Joe,’ because really, to most of us, he was like a father. If we have any problems, well, we go to Papa Joe.”
    ? Julio Bécquer on superscout Joe Cambria, who signed some 400 to contracts with the Senators

    Joe Cambria, SC 143C – 1993 S&W dragster with 400 CI SBC by Ray Barton Racing. Crew chief is Phil Cambria. Phil and Joe use a complete selection of Family Software equipment including the DataMaster Sportsman Computer, RaceLog Pro Software, and the ET Predictor II Weather Station. Winner of NHRA Div 1 race at Cecil County. Finished #2 in NHRA Div 1 in 2000. NHRA Div 1 All Star Champ in 2000. Three time winner at Maple Grove in 2001.

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