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Friday, August 10, 2007
CNS Smears Researchers to Defend Lott

An Aug. 9 article by Fred Lucas highlights a claim in a new book by John R. Lott that -- contrary to claims forwarded in the best-selling book "Freakonomics" -- abortion has led to increased crime. But in recounting Lott's checkered research history, Lucas takes an unsupported swipe at all researchers:

In a written statement, [John] Donohue [co-author of the abortion-reduces-crime study in "Freakonomics"] did not comment on either study. He instead raised questions concerning Lott's research methods and said, "I am a social scientist, however, so Lott's behavior has in my mind, put him outside the bounds of scientific discourse."

Donohue was referring to Lott's 1998 book, "More Guns Less Crime," which was roundly criticized in some academic circles and on blogs for allegedly being founded on faulty research. Lott also admitted to going on to one of the blogs under a different name to defend his work, a practice that many academics engage in.

Huh? According to who? Lucas offers no evidence that "many academics" write under assumed names to defend their work. This appears to be a cheap shot against all researchers in order to make Lott look less dishonest and more "mainstream."

The above paragraphs are Lucas' only reference to the controversies surrounding Lott -- of which there are many. Lucas goes on to add: "Despite those controversies, Lott's commentaries continue to be reviewed and published in such places as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, as well as other establishment media." That's no testimony to the veracity of Lott's research, though, since he has been getting stuff wrong in those publications as well.

As we've documented, CNS has previously defended Lott. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 10, 2007 1:01 AM EDT

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