Michael Shermer on Lott vs Levitt

Michael Shermer’s September column in Scientific American is on Lott’s lawsuit. He got some comments from both Lott and Levitt:

I asked Levitt what he meant by “replicate.” He replied: “I used the term in the same way that most scientists do–substantiate results.” Substantiate, not duplicate. Did he mean to imply that Lott falsified his results? “No, I did not.” In fact, others have accused Lott of falsifying his data, so I asked Lott why he is suing Levitt. “Having some virtually unheard-of people making allegations on the Internet is one thing,” Lott declared. “Having claims made in a book published by an economics professor and printed by a reputable book publisher, already with sales exceeding a million copies, is something entirely different. In addition, Levitt is well known, and his claims unfortunately carry some weight. I have had numerous people ask me after reading Freakonomics whether it is really true that others have been unable to replicate my research.”


  1. #1 Pinko Punko
    August 21, 2006

    The answer, Mr. Lott, to your question is apparently “yes. Others have been unable to replicate your results. You may pick your own definition.” As for evidence that I even made this comment, I assume a computer crash will get me off the hook!

  2. #2 mike
    August 21, 2006

    I can’t stand either Levitt or Lott.

    Lott is making an absurd charge. On the other hand, Levitt’s claims in Freakonomics concerning abortion and crime are also absurd.

    Steve Sailer and others have rightly trounced Lott’s sloppy arguments on the abortion-crime link in a number of pieces:


  3. #3 bigring55t
    August 21, 2006

    mike- Hmm… I see you got the construction “Steve Sailer and others” directly from FoxNews. For those of you who might bother to look, don’t. Steve Sailer( the person responsible for all of the links above) is a movie critic for the American conservative and, after reading his latest online column in Vdare, a racist hack. I suppose a movie critic. technically counts as an appeal to authority in today’s age. Hang on while I dig up some quotes from Roger Ebert to refute your statements. Oh wait, here’s one “two thumbs down”.

  4. #4 mike
    August 22, 2006


    Ad hominem attacks do nothing to diminish Sailer’s arguments about Levitt’s false claims, which are perfectly valid – unlike Levitt’s spurious arguments.

    In fact, you sound just like the sort of whiners that Sailer mocks in one of the links I provided; the sort that don’t want to grapple with his arguments, but instead are content to rest their laurels on Levitt’s authority in spite of all evidence to the contrary. I suppose you couldn’t have known that, since you didn’t bother reading the links.

    In fact, if you had bothered to check out even the first link I provided and read a page or two into it, you would have quickly discovered that Sailer also links to two other economists who who challenge Levitt’s claims.

    Yes people, please do look at the links I provide. If bigring55t had bothered to, he wouldn’t look as foolish as Levitt after Sailer got through with him.

  5. #5 Not a sock puppet i swear!
    August 22, 2006

    well i for one think that john lott is a well reasoned and well thought out individual who supports his theories with facts and is not seedy at all! His book PROVES that the more guns the less crime through use of statistics. STATISTICS! You can’t argue with statistics can you?

  6. #6 Tim Lambert
    August 22, 2006

    mike, I commented on Levitt and Sailer and abortion [here](http://timlambert.org/2005/12/levitt-strikes-back/).

  7. #7 mike
    August 22, 2006

    Thanks for the link, Lambert. I wasn’t aware you had any prior role in the Freakonomics/abortion debate. However, I think Strocchi answered your criticisms adequately.

    Besides, as a paper Sailer recently pointed to demonstrates, Levitt’s “new and improved” abortion/crime hypothesis just doesn’t hold water:


  8. #8 Tim Lambert
    August 22, 2006

    I doubt that Dills and Miron will be the last word on the matter. I would not rely on Sailer on this question — he touted Lott’s work as a refutation of Donohue and Levitt.

  9. #9 bigring55t
    August 22, 2006

    mike- actually, i did look at the links, FWIW, and i found Steve Sailer to be a movie critic for the American conservative, and a columnist at Vdare. When i read his column, (Andy Young) it contained a statement that was thoroughly vile and racist. This is a fact, not ad hom. However, I am glad to see that you are perfectly willing to go all ad hom yourself, rather than reading the column and seeing for yourself what i meant.

    BTW, Of course, you already knew i looked at the links, because i knew his bio, so nice try, saying i didn’t, but once again the cold harsh light of reality demostrates exactly how full of shit you and Sailer really are.

  10. #10 Webster Hubble Telescope
    August 22, 2006

    Leavitt also hasn’t a clue about oil depletion. His book redefines the term shotgun science — he hits as much as much as he misses. But of course Lott has even a worse track record.

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