People who live in glass houses...

The Wall Street Journal has published an op-ed by Kimberley Strassel who writes about Bellesiles:

Mr. Bellesiles, when asked to explain, provided ever-more outlandish excuses: that his notes had been lost in a flood, that his Web site had been hacked, that he couldn't remember where he'd found certain documents.

which lambasts Bellesiles for his latest defence, a pamphlet entitled "Weighed in an Even Balance" and which is critical of Soft Skull Press for publishing the pamphlet and reissuing Bellesiles' discredited book. I don't think Bellesiles' pamphlet successfully addresses the the serious criticism of his work and it does not change my opinion of what he has done.

But the Wall Street Journal is hardly in a position to criticize Soft Skull when it continues to publish John Lott. And while they have extensively covered Bellesiles' problems (see here, here, and here, their silence about Lott has been deafening. Strassel wrote this about Bellesiles, but it seems to apply to Lott as well:

But perhaps the most disturbing aspect of L'affaire Bellesiles is that despite the enormity of the scandal, nearly every institution involved---from Emory University, to Columbia University's Bancroft Prize Committee, to the publisher--has refused to take a professional or moral stance. The silence of these bodies---groups charged with maintaining the standards and ideals of the academic profession---has been so deafening, that even the traditionally closed-mouth world of scholars is calling for some public disclosure.

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Donald Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief of Science has an editorial (subscription required) in the April 18 edition entitled "Research Fraud and Public Policy". Here is some of it: Michael Bellesiles, of Emory University, supported the gun control case with a book called Arming America. Part of his…
John Quiggin has a thoughtful post on the parallels between the Bellesiles and Lott affairs. Meanwhile, Charles Murtaugh, responding to this Tapped piece reckons that there is an important difference: there are pro-gun people like Michelle Malkin criticizing Lott, but there weren't pro-control…
Otis Dudley Duncan has sent me some comments on the attempts by pro-gun folks to dismiss criticism of Lott as some sort of payback for Bellesiles: I have gone out of my way to remark that the Bellesiles case is not helpful for evaluating Lott's work. My statement is in section 4 of the…

vauge answers like that are out of place here. If you have a problem say it. Don't go around mouthing endless NRA propaganda. Bellesiles answered his critics, his thesis still stands "a people numerous and armed" simply did not exist in colonial America.

By ThinkTank (not verified) on 13 Feb 2004 #permalink

The Emory Report CONTRADICTS Lindgren, or didn't you even read it. All the others are on the take. If you are going to say anything about Bellesiles Tim you should ACTUALLY SAY WHAT THE PROBLEM IS. Saying, oh its serious problems with his data, or some such vague non answer is Bullshit. Bellesiles has no way to respond to that. He HAS answered in SPECIFIC ever criticism of those scholars. And THEY ARE WRONG. And you claim to want good science to prevail.

By ThinkTank (not verified) on 13 Feb 2004 #permalink

The Emory report, which I have read, thank you very much, basically agrees with Lindgren. There are a couple of unimportant differences. It is misleading to claim that the report contradicts Lindgren. Please present your evidence for your claim that the other scholars are "on the take".
My answer is not vague. The sources I gave list quite specifically the problems with Bellesiles' work.

there's no way he can defend himself against such a vague accusation. As for the others the Emory said that Lindgrens critcisms were nothing more then a different interpretation and that THERE WAS NO GOOD REASON to take Lindgrens over Bellesiles. The others are answered in "weighed in an Even Balance."

By ThinkTank (not verified) on 14 Feb 2004 #permalink

The Emory report did not say that Lindgren's criticisms were nothing more than a different interpretation. Here is their conclusion:

In summary, we find on Questions 1 and 2, that despite serious failures of and carelessness in the gathering and presentation of archival records and the use of quantitative analysis, we cannot speak of intentional fabrication or falsification. On Question 3, we find that the strained character of Professor Bellesiles explanation raises questions about his veracity with respect to his account of having consulted probate records in San Francisco County. On Question 4, dealing with the construction of the vital Table One, we find evidence of falsification. And on Question 5, which raises the standard of professional historical scholarship, we find that Professor Bellesiles falls short on all three counts.

Question 3, that was a closed hearing if others can't see this "strained character" its not on the level of a reasonable argument.

Also those records SAY San Francisco County ON THEM, and they were kept just across the bay in Contra Costa, hardly anything worth noting except in a witch hunt.

Question 4, first table 1 is NOT VITAL, and never was. And this "falsification" was only that he failed to label that he had ommitted 2 years from the table. His explanation was that those were the years that the North and the South took over most gun production in the US during the course of the Civil war and that it unnecceserily skew the view of PERSONAL firearm possession.

All of those are so menial as to be laughable, for these they ruined a mans carreer. BULLSHIT. Thats what it is. The GOP and its Allies are taking over everywhere even in Academia and in the Publishing industry. And yes they do say its a different interpretation thats exactly what Questions 1 and 2 are about. There's no reason to take Lindgrens over Bellesiles. Its clear now that you'reo nly covering for someone that helped you out.

By ThinkTank (not verified) on 15 Feb 2004 #permalink