Amer and Scheuren
Several ASA statisticians have gone to Iraq since 2003—Jana Asher and Mary Gray, to mention two. An article by Asher about her experience appeared in the December 2006 issue of Amstat News; Gray’s work in Iraqi Kurdistan can be found in the April 2007 issue. So, the involvement of statisticians in Iraq is not unusual.
The recent controversy over the estimated Iraq war deaths that appeared in the October 11, 2006, issue of The Lancet has drawn considerable statistical attention to the situation in Iraq, as the results in the article did not appear credible. As mentioned by Gray, a follow-up to The Lancet piece occurred at a February session of the Washington Statistical Society (WSS), organized by Wendy Rotz, with talks by Asher and David Marker. The jury is still out on The Lancet results. Statisticians must assess the process used, not the outcome. But there is a lot wrong with the process, leading to the conjecture that the results are most probably wrong.
Indeed. Do these authors have standing for believing that the Lancet results are "probably wrong?" Judge for yourself.
Safaa Amer holds her PhD in statistics from Oregon State University. ... Fritz Scheuren is a vice president for statistics, who works with Amer at NORC at the University of Chicago. He put together the What Is a Survey? booklet some years ago. In his 2005 ASA presidential speech (March 2007, JASA), he advocated a pro bono role for statisticians.
I look forward to reading Daniel Davies thoughts on why Amer and Scheuren are just another two members of the ever-expanding list of anti-Lance cargo culters. Time to get those boots on!