Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lott, Moody, and Whitley demolish an American Journal of Epidemiology paper about guns

Here is a link to a letter to the Editor of Epidemiologic Reviews.  The letter is written by John Lott, Carlisle Moody, and John Whitley.  They critique a paper published in Epidemiologic Reviews written by Santaella- Tenorio, Cerda Villaveces, et al.

The critique utterly demolishes the paper, and establishes, in my view either a remarkable incompetency by Santaella-Tenorio and Villaveces, et. al., or outright lack of ethics.  Unfortunately, it is common that anti gun authors are deficient in these regards.

The moral of the story is is not to accept the "facts" and claims of the anti-gun crowd without first checking with reputable researchers, e.g., John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center.

A snippet.
In their article, Santaella-Tenorio et al. (1) repeated that they provided a summary of results from studies in which researchers investigated at the impact of various gun control laws on crime rates. In legends of their Figures 2–4, they stated that they presented only a single estimate from each study because of space limitations. The Discussion section of their article reads as though the authors were providing a representative result. Instead, from papers that provide hundreds of results, they picked the most extreme result time after time and misreported others.

There are 5 problems with the way Santaella-Tenorio et al.created their figures: 1) They consistently picked results that were the most favorable single result for gun control in the papers they surveyed; 2) they picked results that the authors of those papers rejected; 3) they gave equal weight to refereed and nonrefereed papers; 4) they left out papers from their surveys that have results that do not support gun control; and 5) they inaccurately reported some results. The errors here also apply to all the tables in the article by Santaella-Tenorio et al.; however, because of space considerations, we will focus only on some of the errors in their figure about right-to-carry laws (Figure 2 in their original paper (1)). We also feel strongly that our findings in previous works (2–6) have been misreported.

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