Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ann Coulter Is Just Making Shit Up Again

In today's vomit inducing screed Ann Coulter tries to make hay of the Virginia Tech students. This time she has "serious scholars" on her side though.
Only one policy has ever been shown to deter mass murder: concealed-carry laws. In a comprehensive study of all public, multiple-shooting incidents in America between 1977 and 1999, the inestimable economists John Lott and Bill Landes found that concealed-carry laws were the only laws that had any beneficial effect.

Here is the problem with using Lott's data as Washington Monthly and several others have pointed out. Ann Coulter is likely very well aware of this because of the attention it garnered.
Lott and two coauthors produced a statistical model ("Model 1") that showed significant crime decreases when states passed concealed carry gun laws.

Back in April, two critics discovered that there were errors in the data Lott used. When the correct data was plugged into Lott's model, his results went away.

After a long silence, Lott admitted the data errors and posted a table with new results. Oddly, though, his new results were similar to his old ones and continued to show significant drops in crime. So who's right, Lott or his critics?

Answer: his critics. It turns out that since he really had no choice but to use the corrected data, and the corrected data erased his results, he decided to invent a different model ("Model 2") for use in this new table — but without disclosing the fact that he had switched to a new model specifically constructed to keep his results intact. Note: In less refined circles this would be called "lying."

Most people who follow politics and hot button issues know about John Lott being discredited, about him embarassing himself by using sockpuppet accounts to praise his own work, and his reputation for dishonesty. The study was totally screwed up. Coulter has to know this. She just doesn't care. In fact, I think she deliberately used this bogus argument because Media Matters or like minded individuals will point out how terribly dishonest she is being, which gets her attention. That is what she craves. Intellectual honesty isn't something that interests her.