Michael Fumento

The MIchael Fumento/Bowie Poag analogy that David noted seems so apt. You just can’t make up stuff this good.

Fumento has had a change of heart. After piling onto the Lancet researchers for pumping up the Iraqi death toll by using data from deadly Falluja, now he’s accusing those pro-terrorist medical researchers of not including the Falluja data.

If you’ll recall when last we met, our hero was taking down those evil bounders from the British medical journal Lancet (“Al-Jazeera on the Thames,” as he so daringly put it) for their study on deaths in Iraq. It seems that, by including data gathered in Falluja, the evil Lancetteers had biased their study, like “determining how much of a nation’s population wears dentures by surveying only nursing homes.”

When any number of people helpfully pointed out to Lambert that he was wrong, and that the Lancetteers had excluded the Falluja data as an outlier – they apparently didn’t want the equivalent of a nursing home full of denture wearers throwing off their data – Fumento dug in his heels. “Find in the paper where they provide an equivalent to the 100,000 figure but exclude Falluja deaths,” (emphasis added) our Superhero of the New Science-Based Right thundered.

Several people showed him. Again. So Fumento changed tack, now accusing the Lancetthajadeen of not including numbers based on the Falluja data.

As Lambert points out, we now have this nicely summed up in a single comment thread over on Eye Doc’s blog.

Fumento I: “The authors claimed to have come up with one set of numbers including Falluja, another without. But strangely, they never present the ‘without numbers.'”

Fumento II: “The study did not present numbers that included Falluja, either in the abstract or text. Yet they accuse ME of not reading it.”

Here’s the full pertinent paragraph from the Lancet study (emphasis added):

Evidence suggests that the mortality rate was higher across Iraq after the war than before, even excluding Falluja. We estimate that there were 98 000 extra deaths (95% CI 8000 194 000) during the post-war period in the 97% of Iraq represented by all the clusters except Falluja. In our Falluja sample, we recorded 53 deaths when only 1?4 were expected under the national pre-war rate. This indicates a point estimate of about 200 000 excess deaths in the 3% of Iraq represented by this cluster. However, the uncertainty in this value is substantial and implies additional deaths above those measured in the rest of the country.

In other words, they did the with-Falluja calculation – “200,000 excess deaths” – but responsibly threw it out as an outlier, because they didn’t want the equivalent of a nursing home biasing their data on how many people wear dentures.