The Latest on Lott

THE LATEST ON LOTT….Here’s the latest chapter in the continuing follies of John Lott:

John Lott Jr. of Virginia, a former U. of C. visiting professor, alleges that [Steven] Levitt defamed him in the book [Freakonomics] by claiming that other scholars had tried and failed to confirm Lott’s conclusion that allowing people to carry concealed weapons reduces crime….According to Levitt’s book: “When other scholars have tried to replicate [Lott’s] results, they found that right-to-carry laws simply don’t bring down crime.”

…. Lott acknowledged in the suit that some scholars have disagreed with his conclusions. But he said those researchers used “different data or methods to analyze the relationship between gun-control laws and crime” and made no attempt to “replicate” Lott’s work.

Testy, isn’t he? Needless to say, to “replicate” a result doesn’t necessarily mean to use precisely the same data and methods as the original researcher, but as it happens other researchers have used Lott’s data and methods, and once they corrected his coding mistakes they found that his results didn’t hold up. In response, Lott simply switched to a new method so that the correctly coded data would continue to support his theory.

If it takes more than five minutes for a judge to toss this out, there’s no justice.