One of the great things about blogging is its interactivity.
Mention someone's name and they're bound to show up.
Regarding his comment, the Posse can only point out a few salient details.
Lambert makes this statement:
So first you say that you take "no position" on Lott, and then you dismiss all the criticism of him as just "character assassination" and then attack my character?
That's a pretty bold statement. What makes it bold is the fact that any reader can read what we wrote, and then compare it with what Lambert says we wrote.
The actual post reads:
Again, much of the debate boils down to thinly-disguised character assassination couched in arcane debates about data sets, dummy variables and such.
In fact, much of the debate is about personal attacks on Lott, including routine accusations that he's funded by gun nuts and therefore untrustworthy. Smearing someone as being an industry shill has nothing to do with factual refutation of said work. And this has gone on since the beginning.
I also like the way you praise Cramer's "dogged" pursuit of Bellesiles, whiling smearing me for my "unhealthy" "obsession" with Lott. Double standard?
Not in the least. Clayton Cramer was pursuing parallel research on his own and Bellesiles was like manna from heaven in terms of running afoul of him.
However, if Cramer has explicitly stated that he set up his web site and blog for no other purpose than to destroy Michael Bellesiles, we will concede this point.
And you don't need a strong background in maths to notice Lott's "glaring omissions, misquotations and outright fabrications", either. You just have to look at the evidence. But you won't.
The Posse would think that an academic such as Tim Lambert would appreciate a layman freely admitting he is in over his head. Our math skills are poor (clearly the product of a public school education).
Therefore, we freely admit that arguments about coding errors, failure to use proper dummy variables and such are simply beyond us. Lott's numbers may be as fake as an Oil for Food audit, but we lack the expertise to say so.
Bellesiles, on the other hand, made omissions and fabrications any literate person could see. It takes no great skill to see if his quotations were accurate. One can simply compare two texts and see what is left out.
Bellesiles also discussed aspects of firearms that anyone with any knowledge of them knew simply wasn't true. His account of blackpowder weapons was hilarious.
If John Lott were to make similiar idiotic statements, we'd gladly pile on with hoots of derision.
Therefore, we freely admit we can neither criticise nor defend Lott's numbers.
That is why we have not cited them in arguments against gun control since they came into dispute.
We prefer to fight on ground we know and understand, and though it may be humbling to admit, crunching numbers is the worst possible terrain for us.
If Lambert can show a situation where Lott practised the same slight-of-hand we have seen from the gun control lobby (such as selecting data only from crime-ridden counties or counting only dead bodies as evidence that guns "save lives") we'll happly join the chorus condemning him.
If Lott is a fraud, he's a hell of a lot smarter than Bellesiles.
Finally, none of this in any way refutes Lott's core statement that the NAS study shows gun control doesn't work.
And for the Posse, that's all we really care about.