Thursday, October 12, 2006

Independent Criticisms

President Bush, intellectual heavyweight and master statistician, has said that the latest survey on the death toll caused by the Iraq war is not credible.

Unlike Bush, I'm not a master statistician myself so I can't honestly assess the accuracy of the results and conclusions of this survey but when digesting the many criticisms aimed at this report by those with a clear political interest in rubbishing it, here's something to bear in mind:
[T]he US researchers have the backing of four separate independent experts who reviewed the new paper for the Lancet. All urged publication. One spoke of the "powerful strength" of the research methods, which involved house-to-house surveys by teams of doctors across Iraq.
It's called peer review and it's something the scientific community does to try to distinguish credible research based on facts from unreliable research tainted by bias and opinion.

So here's what I'd like to see journalists tackling this story do. When giving airtime to obviously politically interested parties who question this report, I'd like them to ask these partisans whether their criticisms have the backing of four independent experts. That wouldn't be so difficult.

Tags: , ,

No comments: