Wednesday, July 16, 2008


This article (pdf) by Mark van der Laan and Leon de Winter takes a hard anti-Lancet line.

Given all of this, one needs to wonder if this large estimated number of violent deaths is not only due to statistical uncertainty (100.000-1000.000), but possibly also due to one or more of the potential biases mentioned above (and biases not mentioned at all because of a lack of space). Could it be that The Lancet’s survey is juggling with statistics and defies common sense?

We conclude that it is virtually impossible to judge the value of the original data collected in the 47 clusters. We also conclude that the estimates based upon these data are extremely unreliable and cannot stand a decent scientific evaluation. It may be that the number of violent deaths is much higher than previously reported, but this specific report, just like the October 2004 report, cannot support the estimates that have been flying around the world on October 29, 2006. It is not science. It is propaganda.

It surprising to see an academic of van der Laan's stature use such strong language about a peer-reviewed article.


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