Saturday, January 12, 2008

I just can't believe George Soros would fund a biased scientific study

A STUDY that claimed 650,000 people were killed as a result of the invasion of Iraq was partly funded by the antiwar billionaire George Soros.

Soros, 77, provided almost half the £50,000 cost of the research, which appeared in The Lancet, the medical journal. Its claim was 10 times higher than consensus estimates of the number of war dead.

The study, published in 2006, was hailed by antiwar campaigners as evidence of the scale of the disaster caused by the invasion, but Downing Street and President George Bush challenged its methodology.

New research published by The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that 151,000 people - less than a quarter of The Lancet estimate - have died since the invasion in 2003.


Interestingly enough the recent WHO study that found the Lancet study was off by at least a factor of three used the same methodology as the Lancet study. They just greatly increased the sample size to get accurate numbers.

Both teams used the same method -- a random sample of houses throughout the country. For the new study, however, surveyors visited 23 times as many places and interviewed five times as many households. Surveyors also got more outside supervision in the recent study; that wasn't possible in the spring of 2006 when the Johns Hopkins survey was conducted.


OK, I know what your thinking, "If the methodology was the same and the studies (there was one in 2004 and one in 2006) in the Lancet were hampered by conditions how can you say they were biased?"

One reason - The conditions for conducting these studies were so bad (or at least that is what the author's stated) that confidence in the results should have been zero. They shouldn't have been printed until they could be confirmed. They definitely shouldn't have been printed one week before the 2004 election and 3 weeks before the 2006 election.

h/t Instapundit

Of course I don't put anything past Soros. I can't prove it but I know deep down inside that the current instability in oil prices is being driven by him and his associates.

Update: In the interest of fairness here is the author's of the Lancet studies response to the criticism.

It is inaccurate to suggest that funding sources played some role in our research in Iraq. In 2004, and 2006, very modest levels of funding were sought after the projects were initiated. The fact that some of MIT’s financial support in 2006 came from the Open Society Institute had no effect on these reports; the researchers knew nothing of funding origins. MIT played no role in the study design, implementation, analysis or writing of the Lancet report.


They also disagree with a number of other points of criticism that have apparently been leveled against them.

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