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Free Minds & Free Markets

The Left's Smears on Research That Doesn't Support Their Conclusions

From gun control to climate change

This week my TV show is on gun control. I interviewed activist Leah Barrett, who wants stricter gun laws.

I pointed out that after most states loosened gun laws to let people carry guns, 29 peer-reviewed studies examined the effect. Eighteen found less crime, 10 found no difference and only one found an increase.

"Which studies?" Barrett snapped. "John Lott's? His research has been totally discredited."

"Discredited" is a word the anti-gun activists use a lot. It's as if they speak from the same playbook.

"Lott is a widely discredited ideologue," said a spokeswoman for Everytown—a Bloomberg-funded gun control group.

"Completely discredited" is how the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy described Lott's research.

The left-wing site Salon says Lott "was discredited in the early 2000s."

Media Matters for America called Lott "discredited" at least 40 times.

So how is Lott "discredited"? Barrett says, "He claims his data was lost on his hard drive. Well, go re-create it! He hasn't been able to!" But that's false. Lott's "More Guns, Less Crime" study has been replicated often, including by the National Research Council and even by some critics.

After a hard-drive crash, Lott did lose data that supported a lesser point: 98 percent of the time, people only need to point a gun at a criminal for him to back down. But Lott did replicate that survey (he got 95 percent, close results for statistical purposes). That data is posted on his group's website and available to anyone who wants it.

Barrett continued her smear: Lott "actually impersonated a student ... to say what a great professor he is."

That's actually true. On the Internet, Lott once posed as a student to praise his own course. Dumb, yes. Deceitful, too. But it doesn't "discredit" all his research.

I may be biased here. One of Lott's kids works for me. But when I look at the facts, I conclude that Lott is right. His critics, instead of arguing facts, smear.

Sometimes it reaches comical levels. Jonah Peretti, founder of BuzzFeed, impersonated Lott on a website he set up called "Ask John Lott." When people emailed the site, Peretti wrote back pretending to be Lott and saying that he didn't support certain gun controls.

After legal action, Peretti took down the site and apologized. But BuzzFeed recently ran an article claiming that Lott pressured a stalking victim into talking to the media about why she wanted a gun. BuzzFeed ignored screen shots Lott sent them of text exchanges showing that the woman said she wanted to talk to the media.

Lott isn't the only smear victim. Many academics who don't toe the leftist line get attacked.

Climatologist Judith Curry was popular in academic circles when she assumed that global warming was a big problem. But then she looked deeper into the research and expressed some doubts.

Suddenly Curry was a "climate misinformer" who made "assertions unsupported by evidence" with "an irresponsible level of sloppiness." Climate Progress founder Joe Romm wrote that Curry "abandons science." Congressmen demanded that her university investigate her funding.

Photo Credit: a2gemma/flickr

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  • Brian||

    The left will bang their drums anytime anyone ever is shot and it makes the news, because that's all they can do.

    They know the facts: violent crime has been trending downward while gun control laws have made no progress, and even got looser in many ways. That drives them crazy.

    Also, the Heller/McDonald rulings drive them crazy.

    So, they're left making stupid assertions about gun violence that include suicide, because, really, when a gunman takes his own life, it's just as much of a tragedy as each of his victims.

    Or they'll do some bizarre study, comparing neighboring states with varying levels of gun control, notice some dip in the state with the most gun laws, and claim to "scientifically" discover that they know with almost absolute certainty that the gun control worked. And, when you look beyond the abstract and examine the methodology, it's usually shoddy and full of questionable assumptions and modeling, almost to the point of question begging.

    Apparently, that's "science."

    It's bizarre, but they're so crazy and enraged that they'll try to refute easily verifiable statistics about gun violence and gun control laws. It's sad, in a way.

  • Chip Chipperson||

    Don't forget that they also blame gun violence in heavily-controlled cities like Chicago and New York on other states hundreds of miles away where guns are more easily available, because criminals illegally import guns in order to commit their crimes.

    They say this as though it's an argument in support of national gun control, not recognizing the irony that no matter what laws are passed, criminals are going to find a way to obtain weapons.

  • Cptn caveman||

    What I don't get is how they square this with BLM activists assertions that police are evil murderers. By wanting to ban guns, you are de facto taking the position that you trust the police to protect you.
    How can you simultaneously trust police to protect you during a "situation," but then believe they will gun you down on the street in cold blood?
    Why would someone who allegedly hates me put his life on the line to protect me?

  • DarrenM||

    It's almost like they have an ulterior agenda rather than the reduction of shooting deaths and these studies are an inconvenience.

  • Rockabilly||

    The left's end game is the confiscation of all weapons and wealth.

  • MC Guru||

    the end game for 99% of the people in the Left is to die in the same death camps that they helped set up while hoping to be part of the 1%

  • bit15||

    ^^this

  • Harun||

    ...and the camps will be run by the same high school jocks they hate: "b-b-but you're the one who's supposed to be in the camp!"

  • Fredrick Douglas||

    They will be shocked to find that 1% mentioned in the fine print were the Kapos not the Banksters - whoops!

  • MarioLanza||

    Another thing the left does is conflate numbers with "gun deaths" where the majority of these are suicides. These people are the same who support the right to die and would wholeheartedly push for people's right to a quick and painless death, yet they want to take away the number one method for this.

    If you don't shoot yourself and you aren't involved in drug deals going bad, you won't get killed by a gun.

  • ||

    "If you don't shoot yourself and you aren't involved in drug deals going bad, you won't get killed by a gun."

    ... or attract the diabolic attention off some random nutjob peace officer with domestic trouble.

  • EscherEnigma||

    The recently passed California physician-assissted suicide law requires that two doctors must agree teh patient has no more than six months to live, and the patient must be a mentally competent adult.

    More traditional suicides, on the other hand, are often a passing fancy of an unstable individual regardless of their actual health.

    So no, I see no conflict between American-style gun control† and physician-assisted suicide laws.
    ________
    †Quite unlike the gun-control laws we see in pretty much every other first-world country.

  • Harun||

    Japan has strict gun control.

    So they must have zero suicides, right?

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    ...surveys estimate that guns are used for self-defense somewhere between 100,000 and 2 million times a year.

    This one statistic is powerful by itself. That's a lot of crime prevention.

  • Jay Dubya||

    Its also an incredibly large range of numbers that itself suggests not-so-reliable methodology. (Im not a fan of gun control but I am a fan of statistics)

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    Good point.

    I had assumed, probably incorrectly, that the variation was year to year instead of study to study. Nonetheless, even the lowest point of the range is a large number compared what the dearth of news coverage leaves one thinking. Stossel's point, of course, is that gun ownership prevents crime. If that's not true, then the left is right that the proliferation of guns is only negative in its impact. Which still does not support confiscating guns, but it may support gun control.

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    There's a couple of deeper issues there.
    1. Gun ownership is not only an inalienable right, it is specifically enumerated in the BoR.
    2. Individual choice, it is fact, undeniable fact, that a gun can be used in self-defense. Is it not reasonable that the individual may choose to possess a tool of self-defense at least equal in effectiveness to a potential aggressor. If there is a problem with this nation today its that it has wandered from "individual rights" to "greater good."

  • gaoxiaen||

    There is a Constitutional way to ban guns. It's called an Amendment. Gun grabbers should try that or STFU.

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    Even with a successful amendment, self-defense is an inalienable right. As such it transcends the Constitution.

  • Johnimo||

    Amen! I suppose if they pass an Amendment making it illegal to own a book, all the lefties would turn in their books, right? I'll give up my copy of "Atlas Shrugged" when they pry my cold, dead fingers from around its crumpled, coffee stained cover.

    Who's John Galt?

  • MokFarin||

    Even if you aggressively dismiss those numbers based on methodology and assume that half of the lowest number - 100,000 - was the actual number of times it was used to prevent crime, that's still more prevention than deaths, which in 2013 was 33,169 deaths by gun, including suicides (only 11,208 were homicides in that number).

    Meanwhile, 32,719 people were killed by motor vehicles in 2013. A similar ownership rate (~300 million cars, and ~280 million guns) and a similar number of deaths. Perhaps the 0.000118% incident rate (0.00004% homicide rate) should be socially acceptable, just like the 0.00011% incident rate of vehicle deaths is socially acceptable.

  • Win Bear||

    It's actually not such a large range compared to the number of fun accidents. That is, the difference is at least two decimal orders of magnitude. And the range, such as it is, is likely largely the result of different definitions, not actually a statistical problem.

  • toadboy65||

    Because it really is hard to quantify. It is much easier to measure how many crimes are committed than how many are prevented.
    This is an anecdote, and probably does not appear on any database. An elderly neighbor was the subject of a home invasion burglary. They broke in downstairs, and she heard them and waited at the top of the stairs with a .45. When they looked up and saw her, they ran. No words were exchanged, no shots were fired.
    That sort of thing probably happens a lot. The best use of a gun for self defense is always the one where no shots are fired.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Listen to you, Stossel.

    It wasn't congressmen who went after Curry, it was congressmAn. And when Grijalva was roundly criticized from his own constituents as well as American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society, he admitted it was overreach and withdrew his request for emails. He deserved that criticism.

    So let's fast forward to today, and current events. Lamar Smith is asking for emails from scientists working at NOAA, because he doesn't like their conclusions on climate science. Science organizations are criticizing him like they did Grijalva. What say you? Is this a righteous overreach?

    How about when Cuccinelli demanded Michael Mann's emails? Where were you on that? And Joe Barton's similar stunt? Even climategate, and the use of stolen emails that led to 6 investigations, all proving no malfeasance. Boy, I bet you weighed in on all those attempts to stifle science that the right didn't like.

    Nah, crickets from you. So much for righteous indignation from Stossel.

  • MokFarin||

    Except that the inveistigations didn't "prove no malfeasance." They simply didn't chose to take action on the information they found and then kept the information they found "confidential." Note that there were large conflicts of interest in those investigations - they were conducted by the institutions that received money from the grants, not an independent party.

    Yeah, see, I totally shouldn't get any punishment for the murder of that woman based upon my own investigation that you aren't allowed to review the details of. Nothing to see here. Move along. -- Oh, wait. That's a ridiculous way to conduct investigations.

    And it is Congress's duty to oversee what the government pays for. Lamar Smith's requests to government agencies is part of his job as a Congressman. If supposedly neutral government bodies are involved in politics, it needs to stop - especially if it might be affecting what is considered scientific output.

    So, how about a government agency that modifies its' entire data set which suddenly reflects a political talking point (despite that talking point not being reflected by multiple data sets around the world for 30 years) just in time for a major international conference centering around that political talking point?

    Nah, crickets from you. So much for righteous indignation from Jackand Ace.

  • Jackand Ace||

    What I do note is that the investigations were done by all those bodies as requested by skeptics like Stossel. Parliament, Penn State, and even the special investigation by National Science Foundation as requested by skeptic Inhofe. And no malfeasance was found, and some recommendations made Were imented at East Anglia.

    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_w.....l8A1GY8LCQ

    What's the problem? First you don't like the science, now you don't like the results of the investigations skeptics demanded? So what is it, mok? A conspiracy?

    You know what you are? The cherry picking ideologue you complained about below. Thanks for proving it.

  • MokFarin||

    I see you haven't actually read any of those documents. You just accept the summaries on that page as gospel truth. How about reviewing the details of the investigation for Dr Mann? Well, the investigation reviewed 47 emails "deemed relevant" out of 377 that mentioned him in some way. Which? Well, that's confidential. As are the meetings of the review committee or list of other evidence. Note also, that the very document linked to about those findings from the UCS says "the overriding sentiment of this committee, which is composed of University administrators,." Hum. University administrators who know and potentially respect a long-term scientist at their institution that just so happens to bring in a lot of grant money are impartial to the process?

    I'm pretty sure I said something about conflicts of interest and confidentiality used as a shield.

    And I actually follow the science on the matter, using the scientific method. Do you even have an account at any of the publishers to pull the full detail from in the first place? And if you actually do, how many papers you agree with the abstract or conclusion about that you gone on to criticize the methodology on?

    Yeah, that's what I thought.

    Of course, in your mind, that means I am "cherry picking" because I don't follow the political view you want me to all the while you find phrases on an activist organization's website that agree with you and never look at the underlying reports.

    Thanks for proving it.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Enjoy your day!

  • Cytotoxic||

    You got reckt

  • Jackand Ace||

    By the way, the malfeasance would have been manipulation of data, which skeptics like you thought was the case. Which of the 6 investigations found manipulation of data, hmmmm? Waiting.

  • MokFarin||

    Actually, the world already knows the data is manipulated, as it is directly stated by every data set used, and why most of them provide both "raw" and "Adjusted."

    An "adjustment" is a "manipulation." The skeptical position is that the adjustments have an embedded trend - which is does and you can prove to yourself if you know how to use Excel, much less real graphing software - and are thus not fit for purpose.

    But nice straw man. Too bad you couldn't get that lit.

  • Jackand Ace||

    If you think data adjustments, which are done to increase accuracy (even Spencer has recently "adjusted" his data set) amounts to manipulation of data, it defines your paranoia. Spencer has not manipulated his data, but maybe you think he has. Now don't be an ideogue on this, mok!

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Funny how that 'accuracy' always means adjusting temp trends up. Funny how homogenization is a fantastic way to export UHI to the much cooler (and larger) surrounding rural areas.

    But what's most disturbing of all is the fact that all of the 20th century warming is nasocally contained in the adjustments. Pro tip: when your entire signal is within your calibration, be afraid, be very afraid.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Basically contained.

  • MokFarin||

    You are mistaken. Scientific "data adjustment" is "data manipulation". It's the same thing in research because you are not just tossing random numbers into a data set, you are inserting (e.g. "filling in") missing or adjusting existing data based upon a statistical model.

    Properly informed statistical manipulation is not inherently "bad". It only becomes bad when the statistical construction is: poorly (improperly) applied, biased based on the underlying data, designed with faulty assumptions, or designed with a foregone conclusion in mind (researcher bias either unconscious or deliberate).

    Don't be an ideologue and pretend that there is a difference between adjustment and manipulation in research.

    Even in plain, everyday language, you want to manipulate data and not adjust it:
    manipulate - handle or control (a tool, mechanism, etc.), typically in a skillful manner;
    adjustment - a small alteration or movement made to achieve a desired fit, appearance, or result.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Good. So let's go with that definition of manipulation, rather than one that says it is done unlawfully (you can check that, it's right underneath yours), and stay with what we can agree on... The problem is if it's done improperly.

    You have any proof that NOAAs, or any other surface data from Japan Meteorological Agency, NASA, wherever (or from satellites for that matter) were done improperly?

    Lets had onto what fellow skeptic Curry had to say about temperature adjustments

    "Having worked with many of the scientists in question, I can say with certainty that there is no grand conspiracy to artificially warm the earth; rather, scientists are doing their best to interpret large datasets with numerous biases such as station moves, instrument changes, time of observation changes, urban heat island biases, and other so-called inhomogenities that have occurred over the last 150 years."

    Ecen though she remains unconvinced of the recent NOAA adjustment of ocean data, I doubt she would support Smith's demand for emails from NOAA scientists. But maybe you do. Sounds like Stossel could care less.

  • MokFarin||

    See, "proof" implies "unlawful" changes. These are biased adjustments, not "unlawful" adjustments.

    I have already given you the proof. I will restate it, since you missed it:
    The skeptical position is that the adjustments have an embedded trend - which it does and you can prove to yourself if you know how to use Excel, much less real graphing software - and are thus not fit for purpose. (Corrected typo)

    I can accept that this may not be a quick process if you haven't done it before. So, go to your favorite temperature record that has raw data and adjusted data available. Download both data sets. In your software of choice, then subtract the raw data from the adjusted data. Create a visual graph of the data resulting from the subtraction. Fit a linear trend to this data set.

    Compare the trendline to the adjusted data set. In most cases, you will find roughly half to two-thirds of the adjusted temperature trendline is explained by the statistical manipulations themselves (depending upon which data set you are using).

    Thus, the statistical methods applied to the data set are not fit for the purpose of determining the magnitude of temperature change over the last century. The statistical methods have introduced significant and potentially overbearing temperature trends by themselves.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Your suggesting it, you show the embedded trend. I'm not doing your work for you.

    And, as stated be Berkeley Earth, hold those recent adjustments. And guess what? Temperatures are still going up.

  • MokFarin||

    As for Dr Curry's endorsement of reviewing the NOAA emails, that is immaterial to me as it is a personal view of the situation. Her opinion is as valuable as my own.

    However, in my own personal view, all publicly funded organizations (both NOAA and research efforts funded by the NSF at universities) should have all of their records open by default. But, since they are not, should Congress decide to investigate any of these organizations to ensure that their research is sound - assuming all investigations are public, including any evidence gathered for their determination - then that is entirely within Congress' purview.

    An appeal to authority over her opinion of a "grand conspiracy" is not relevant to this discussion, since I have said nothing about a conspiracy. You, however, bring it up constantly. You seem to think that the only explanation is that a conspiracy exists.

    Unfortunately, you are, again, mistaken. Dogmatic adherence to a preferred idea is common to scientific endeavors. We have not yet managed to extricate the human factor in scientific research. I refer to you tectonic plates, eugenics, dietary guidelines, diabetes research (and so on ad nauseum), where the dogma has ruled over science for a generation before new hypotheses were taken up and accepted based on the evidence.

  • Hank Phillips||

    It will be a sad day for libertarians and the NRA when antiabortion prohibitionists suddenly discover they can no longer use marijuana convictions to brand hippies and tan people as felons and thereby remove their second amendment rights. Recall the definition of a bigot: "Bigot: One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain."

  • toadboy65||

    I am one of those people who has taken weather measurements and submitted them to NOAA, at least every six hours while I am at sea, for the last 25 years. The thing that bothers me is why there is a need to adjust the temperature measurements that we send in. The weather instruments are owned by NWS or NOAA, and calibrated at least annually. They are mounted in places on the ship so that they are protected from sunlight or anything else that would adversely affect the measurements, and there are always backup instruments, which are compared every day to the primary ones. That is air temperature measurement, and we are at least as consistent with water temperature. And taking those measurements is something that we are pretty well trained in doing correctly. Every American ship, and most others, have been submitting those measurements every 3 or 6 hours, for at least a century. From every navigable part of the ocean. That information used to be transmitted by morse code, now email, and all the raw data and Barograph traces were mailed to NOAA when we were in port.
    So why do they need to adjust the data that comes from a carefully calibrated thermometer, which is protected from external influences? That number represents the actual air temperature at that location, at that time. If you adjust it, then it is not the correct temperature for that time and place. I would love to hear the reasoning behind the changes.

  • Harun||

    Why are so many peer-reviewed social science experiments not reproducible?

    Do you think those scientists are consciously cheating or just subconciously torturing data because they are desperate for their work to be published?

  • Jackand Ace||

    Link to where she says previous adjustments were not done improperly

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/07.....ture-data/

  • Jackand Ace||

    Oh, and by the way, when Curry said she was unconvinced by NOAAs recent adjustments, she cited Berkeley Earth as one group she was more convinced on data. I would suggest both she and you read what BE had to say

    "In recent weeks we’ve seen a political controversy over NOAA’s adjustments to temperature records, with accusations from some in congress that records are being changed to eliminate a recent slowdown in warming and to lend support to Obama administration climate policies. This makes it sound like the NOAA record is something of an outlier, while other surface temperature records show more of a slowdown in warming. This is not true; all of the major surface temperature records largely agree on temperatures in recent years. This includes independent groups like Berkeley Earth that receive no government funding. A record warm 2014 and 2015 (to date) has largely eliminated any slowdown in temperatures, whether data is adjusted or not."

  • MokFarin||

    Their characterization of the objections to NOAA's new adjustments are incorrect, and they further mislead by citing other surface temperature records.

    There were two distinct arguments being made that they mashed together. First, the complaints are on the significant adjustment of the NOAA data using new and untested statistical models that radically altered the data set.

    Second, the comparisons that have driven the requests for more scrutiny of the terrestrial measurements are the RSS and UAH satellite data sets that show significantly less warming since the 1980s than the terrestrial data sets. The trendlines of these data sets are more similar to the unadjusted temperature data since the 1980s. By saying "all of the major surface temperature records largely agree on temperatures in recent years" they are avoiding the actual criticism that has been levied at surface temperature records.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Yikes. I should have stuck with wishing you an enjoyable day. The conspiracies that you think all surface temperature measuring agencies are part of is a bridge to far.

    But good to see you admit temperatures have gone up.

    We agree

  • MokFarin||

    Ah, I see that, once again, it must be "conspiracy" and not "poor communication skills." You must see conspirators around every corner of your world. I feel for you. I really do.

    As for "admitting the temperatures have gone up" I agree that temperatures have gone up since the late 1970s. And that we are within a standard deviation of temperatures that existed in the 1940s. And that we aren't as warm as earth, even constrained to during man's species-time, have been in the past.

    I reject the unverifiable hypothesis - and all the political hubbbub that's aggregated on top - that CO2 is a primary driver of the climate. Man contributes 4% of the total CO2 emissions on earth each year. Half of that contribution is devoured by the CO2 sinks each year, which are increasing (Because more vegetation grows when the CO2 is increased.)

    On top of that, all of the climate model predictions - every single one of them - have not come to pass. The only way to verify a model is with real-world data. And even the adjusted data that doubles - or more - the raw data's trend (even this latest NOAA adjustment to their data set) doesn't come anywhere near the predictions by the IPCC policy and science compilations.

    So, tell me, why would this be taken seriously as science when it violates every method for advancing science in the first place? Because we want to believe?

    Sorry. Religion is down the hall and to your left.

  • Jackand Ace||

  • Cytotoxic||

    Again, you got reckt.

    "But good to see you admit temperatures have gone up"

    According to one, novel, controversial database. And even then the increase is nowhere near forecast.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The malfeasance was also or should have been terrible database maintenance and upkeep.

  • Chip the Chipper||

    So basically you have nothing to contribute and admit defeat on this issue? Go fuck yourself.

  • Loki||

    Nah, JackAss never admits defeat. He'll just ignore this thread and be back on the next climate change thread spewing more of his horseshit.

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    Good ol' Jack's pretty typical of the garden-variety Progressive. He can't disagree, he can't discuss or debate, he can only yell and fight. And even then he's reduced to tu quoques, straw men and poo-flinging. The fact that whenever his beliefs (or those of his peers) are challenged he reacts with venom and hostility is illustrative of the extent to which Progressivism and it's associated ideologies (e.g. catastrophic climate change that can only be averted by the direct action of the federal government) are quasi-religious beliefs, not philosophies, more cults than logical conclusions.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Well, thanks for the "good ol' anyway.

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    See? It's so much nicer to disagree without being disagreeable, as the saying goes.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Indeed! Enjoy your day!

  • Sevo||

    Jackand Ace|12.2.15 @ 10:12AM|#
    "Indeed! Enjoy your day!"

    Passive-agressive, anyone?
    Hey, shitbag! Get screwed with a running chainsaw!

  • Sevo||

    "See? It's so much nicer to disagree without being disagreeable, as the saying goes."

    Sorry, supporters of murderous thugs make me disagreeable.

  • Cytotoxic||

    " garden-variety Progressive. He can't disagree, he can't discuss or debate, he can only yell and fight. And even then he's reduced to tu quoques, straw men and poo-flinging."

    See also, 'non-interventionist'.

  • Sevo||

    "How about when Cuccinelli demanded Michael Mann's emails? Where were you on that? And Joe Barton's similar stunt? Even climategate, and the use of stolen emails that led to 6 investigations, all proving no malfeasance. Boy, I bet you weighed in on all those attempts to stifle science that the right didn't like."

    How about LOOK OVER THERE!
    Hey, shitbag; misdirection is the best you got today? No outright lies? Yer falling down on the job.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Really? You wanna go there? De Freitas, Legates, Tol. UVA caving to greenpeace releasing all of Michael's documents. Phil Jones refusing to release his raw data to M&M because they might find something wrong with it. CRU losing historical data stored on floppies. Jones blatantly violating FOIA and then being rewarded for it by rinning out the statute of limitations clook. Lewandowsky et al forced to retract a paper for ethical research violations. IPCC lead aithors vowing to find a way to keep skeptical papers out of WG chapters. IPCC incorporating up to 30% gray literature ( himalayas ice free by 2035 ring a bell?)

    And the list goes on.

  • Libertarius||

    Malfeasance is the sideshow, on the main stage are "scientists" (subsidized with government loot) who make claims regarding AGW that are impossible, the impossibility of which is illuminated by a basic knowledge of thermodynamics and common sense.

    They tell us the planet isn't a desert yet because all this mystery heat is *somehow* hiding on the bottom of the ocean? Heat rises, it doesn't just do its own thing on the bottom of the ocean. When this mystery heat cannot be detected by any scientific instrumentation, they tell us that this heat is *somehow* undetectable (which is also an utter load of bs). AGW is a joke and the leftoids are stupid sheep.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The correlation between rising global temps and government climate research funding is certainly interesting.

  • SimonJester||

    I would like to see this. I believe you, 100%, and I would like to see the correlation.

  • Hank Phillips||

    A scientist is one thing. But an ex-scientist who has prostituted a science degree for the sake or fanning superstition or feeding totalitarianism is a whore.

  • Win Bear||

    I have no problem with Congress demanding investigation of scientific funding or what people did with it, in particular when important policy decisions are involved. If Curry received public funding, she should be subject to such investiations. Likewise, anybody at NOAA should be subject to Congressional oversight and scrutiny. These people are paid for by tax payers, and they should be accountable to tax payers.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The same tax payers who "elected" those clowns in secret (hence unverifiable) ballot elections, and think that is honest. These people get exactly what they deserve, good and hard.

  • MokFarin||

    Ideologues (left and right) always cherry pick their information. Always.

    That's why they try to criticize the a person instead of actually trying to pick apart methodologies of competing scientific papers. They just want you to accept their ideology and don't actually care about the science (and often don't understand the actual science) or what it might actually say about their stated goals.

    Their goals matter, and they have a delightful vehicle to deliver it to you. Because science is the "Ultimate Authority" even if they have to change what science is for their needs.

  • Win Bear||

    Their goals matter, and they have a delightful vehicle to deliver it to you. Because science is the "Ultimate Authority" even if they have to change what science is for their needs.

    Science isn't an "authority" at all; it's just a word for what people using the scientific method do. Many accepted scientific conclusions at any given time are false.

    The solution to determining scientific truth is the same solution we adopt for economic truth: a free market. Everybody makes their own choices as to which scientific results they believe to be true and which ones they believe to be false. That's how scientists themselves treat each others' work, and it's how society should treat science as well.

  • MokFarin||

    I apologize as I wasn't clear enough. My point follows your own, that science isn't an "ultimate authority" but that is how political actors are using it to bolster their arguments.

    As for scientific truth, the problem is that science gets better by precision, which means you can have multiple "truths" when in reality you only have a series of contextual facts.

    An example of a contextual fact would be: If you build a home, the earth is flat. Build a transcontinental railroad and the earth is a sphere. Throw a satellite into orbit, and it is an ovoid. Throw a satellite into solar orbit, and it's a sphere, again. Throw a satellite into galactic orbit, and earth doesn't exist at all. This is where Engineering excels and picks the context that is most suitable for whatever strange galactic satellite thing you are planning.

    As for scientists, they aren't supposed to "choose to believe," they are supposed to actively seek out flaws in hypotheses (their own, included) and try to better them by plugging holes or redeveloping the context in which it fails. That is the scientific method.

    The break down is that politics or personal gain use something that is ostensibly true and then drags science along with them, never ever believing that they might have based their "truth" on the wrong context, a hypothesis that was initially supported, but that support has ebbed as more information is found, or, potentially, a downright fraud.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Left and right includes only looter ideologues. How many sane people expect honesty from looters?

  • MokFarin||

    At least the 40% of the people that identify as one party or the other?

  • cookies||

    Mr. Stossel - Thanks for the article! Could you provide pointers to the articles/studies you're alluding to? It would make great reference material in discussions we're all involved in.

  • keyboard||

    It's counterintuitive and it's also not a causal link. At least not with a high degree of certainty. Lott's research for sure isn't totally discredited but there do seem to be credible critiques that he hasn't without a doubt shown that more guns lead to less crime.

    The statistics however do bear out that more guns and less gun control do NOT lead to more crime. Likewise more restrictions on firearms don't seem to affect crime either.

    The difference is slight between the two claims but the latter is much more easily demonstrated to the left without "controversial" research and it should be sufficient to shut down more guns more crime type of arguments. Not that reason has ever stopped them from making such claims.

  • Win Bear||

    A "causal link" need to be proven by people who want to outlaw or restrict guns. People opposing such laws don't need to show a causal link at all. They just helpfully point out that the correlations we observe contradict the causal link that is implicitly assumed by people wanting to pass gun control laws.

  • keyboard||

    It certainly doesn't need to be proven by defenders of gun rights but neither should we make unsubstantiated claims.

  • Win Bear||

    There is a crystal clear causal link between gun ownership and self defense: gun ownership is a necessary prerequisite for self defense.

    Gun rights opponents who want a statistical link are asking the wrong question (although the evidence for such a link actually happens to be pretty good anyway).

  • Hank Phillips||

    Steven Pinker observes that people imagine air travel to be more dangerous when bombarded with news of a RECENT gory accident. These gun-free areas are gory shooter magnets because the murderers can count on their disarmed victims not resisting, and to the tax-fed governments that create them they are a constant source of gory shootings. Exploiters pretend to imagine these forced oscillations can eventually repeal the second amendment, and lobbyists pro and con have a windfall they can count on, with hobgoblins galore on "both" sides.

  • ElizabethW||

    I can't express how happy this article makes me. During my junior year of College at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, my professor told me my entire essay on gun control was wrong because "John Lott was discredited years ago". He gave me a D- on the paper. I ended up switching English classes entirely because he did not give me a grade higher than a C- on any politically-based projects moving forward. As a student with a strong writing history, I knew it wasn't because of my lack of writing skills, but instead, political discrimination.

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    No, no, no. It wasn't discrimination as that term is not to be used with someone of your political views. That was due to your "wrongness" that must be tolerated.

  • Illocust||

    I was really luck in my freshman year of college. I had a true blue communist but he enjoyed debating with me so much I never got below an A-. Unlike you, I'd never taken an English class before hitting college (homeschooled, English books pissed me off with their 'Writing is Fun!' bullshit and I refused to do the work), so I was getting by on my speech writing and logic skills.

  • gaoxiaen||

    I had an open-minded socialist for both poli sci and business law (he was a lawyer who grew to hate law practice after serving as a public defender) and often disagreed with him, debating from a libertarian position, and still got A's. He said he enjoyed having me in class as a sort of foil because otherwise it was a class full of dumbasses that never talked in class. Well, he didn't actually use the word "dumbasses". The leftist students were shocked because they thought that they would do well if they just agreed with him instead of understanding the issues. I loved it when he got some Christian group handing out Bibles ejected from campus for some kind of obscure rule violation.

  • pronomian||

    Won't have to worry when daesh takes over. We'll all be back in the 800's crapping in the sand, wiping our asses with our hands, or maybe we can have the slaves wipe them for us. Won't have to worry about climate change, abortions, pornography, free speech, christianity, girls going to school, or even school protests, political correctness. The hot button issues by both the left and right will be taken care of, but, the left may not like a theocracy, can't have everything I guess.

  • ||

    Yeah, because we're going to get taken over by halfwit sheephumpers. Totally.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    They'll travel over in their air force of flying Toyotas.

  • gaoxiaen||

    The technical term is "sheepshagger".

  • Hank Phillips||

    Global rotisserie Cassandras worship "discredited" as the primo adjective to describe the Petition Project. I monitored the project closely because my boss (not I) was friends with the organizer. Pretty soon I found my Astronomy professor circulating the petition among the science and engineering staff and grad students at UT. I am willing to bet folding money the petition is scrupulously honest, for the list of signers is transparently verifiable. But the snarks who censor the Wikipedia will hear none of it, and that organization is now a magnet for coercive looter ideologues--at least in English. Ask a global warming totalitarian why 32,000 scientists would sign a petition asking the Senate not to ratify the Kyoto protocol. It's like asking how much extra solar power, in Watts, is trapped by water vapor, methane and CO2.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Given: the US has 112.6 guns per 100 residents, putting us first in the world. The next closest first world country is Switzerland at 45.7 and then Sweden at 31.6. France has 31.2 and the United Kingdom has 6.6.

    Given: the US has 3.8 murders per 100,000 residents per year, putting us in the middle of the pack (I wasn't able to quickly distill down to just first world countries, so I don't know our position relative to the sub-group). Switzerland has 0.6, Sweden has 0.7, France has 1.0, the United Kingdom has 1.0.

    Given: the US has 41.29 "crimes" per 1000 residents. Switzerland has 42.23, Sweden has 138.35, United Kingdom 109.96 and France 61.03.

    Conclusion the first: based on a few minutes of internet searches, the "more guns leads to less crime" might be defensible.

    Conclusion the second: based on a few minutes of internet searches, "more guns leads to less *murder*" is much less defensible and requires arguing that Americans are violent psychos regardless of our guns.

    Conclusion the third: I'd rather lose my wallet then lose my life.

  • MokFarin||

    The problem is less that "America is a pack of violent psychos" and more that America mixes far more readily than most other countries. The countries that have the least violent crime are those that are almost exclusively a single ethnic and/or cultural background and also tend to stratify into a very few economic bands. As the country gets more diverse (And not just in ethnicity, but also in things like economic class and so forth), it gets more "violent." It's really just friction across the social fabric that creates issues and people then "solve" those issues with force.

    And, on top of that effect, if you look at the places within the US that really drive our violent crime statistics, you'll see places like south central LA or Chicago where the violent crime is at the behest of gangs rivaling each other. General crime doesn't fit this so well, but our violent crime rates are because the authorities have all-but abandoned gangland areas.

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    An important question to answer is: how many of those 3.8 murders is committed with an illegal gun versus a legal one.

    One effect that gun control unquestionably accomplishes is to separate legal from illegal firearms. More gun control will not decrease the number of illegal guns and most likely will increase it. Therefore, tighter gun control will not decrease murders committed with illegal guns.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Your statement only rings true if you limit yourself to the kinds of gun control we've seen in America. Once we start taking a more international look at things it becomes obvious that real meaningful (and effective) gun control certainly isn't possible.

    So it's not that there's no way, it's that there's no will.

  • EscherEnigma||

    d'oh. "certainly *is* possible". Friggin' typos.

  • MattFC||

    Possible ... how exactly? Which countries have effective and meaningful gun control? If by "gun control" you mean "gun seizure and abolishment" as in Australia, then alright. But lets not act like a) its not a massive government invasion into individual freedoms, b) its not completely unconstitutional barring an amendment striking the 2nd amendment, c) it wouldnt result in national civil unrest, likely ending with armed resistance. The lack of "will" youre speaking of is actually a lack of desire to trigger a 2nd civil war. But if a few hundred thousand dead stops all these shootings (maybe) than im sure all the bloodshed is worth it.

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    Let's try not to pretend that Australia succeeded in grabbing all of the guns. There are still a lot, a lot of guns in Australia.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Feel free to hand over your wallet any time that you feel that it is appropriate.

  • MattFC||

    Its only counterintuitive if you view guns as sentient beings ready to cause a ruckus as the left seems to do. If you recognize that more people willing to commit crime for whatever reason ... leads to more crime, then you'll come to the obvious conclusion that more or less access to guns is only marginally relevant, and even then as a DETERRENT. Not a catalyst. Guns are just things. Hunks of metal. People make decisions. Not sure whats confusing about this.

  • crufus||

    The research that we really need if to find out if more cops leads to less crime, no change, or more crime.

  • StackAble||

    John;

    Thanks for your work! Can you or any of your readers of this archive kindly provide me with the names and sources of some or all of the 29 other peer reviewed studies concerning gun violence as related to gun ownership. I would love to have these, for arguing with progressives and for my general education. Thanks!

    Yours;
    StackAble

  • lawnerd||

    The notion that some scientific theory is beyond debate because 97% of scientists say it is true should make any true scientist blush. Science is not a democracy and some of the greatest truths were thought to be the ravings of heretics at the time. Silencing debate impedes science is merely proves the political motives behind the censure.

  • Harun||

    Well, by their own standards, we can now say Buzzfeed is discredited.

  • Jason Vick||

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