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It is in the prosecution of some single object, and in striving to reach its accomplishment by the combined application of his moral and physical energies, that the true happiness of man, in his full vigour and development, consists. Possession, it is true, crowns exertion with repose; but it is only in the illusions of fancy that it has power to charm our eyes. If we consider the position of man in the universe,—if we remember the constant tendency of his energies towards some definite activity, and recognize the influence of surrounding nature, which is ever provoking him to exertion, we shall be ready to acknowledge that repose and possession do not indeed exist but in imagination. - Wilhelm von Humboldt, The Sphere and Duties of Government (The Limits of State Action) (1854 ed.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

What is his point?

I was thinking more about David Kane's paper on Roberts' Iraq mortality study published in the Lancet and wondering what is his point?

Well, here it is:
When including Falluja, it is impossible to have a precise estimate of post-invasion mortality. [p 3]

Yet excluding Falluja is not “conservative.” In fact, including this cluster — i.e., using all the available data — generates a result with such a wide confidence interval that the reported increase in Iraqi mortality becomes statistically insignificant. [p 5]

From the calculations above, it is impossible to be 95% confident that there was an increase in mortality. The lower bound of the confidence interval for the relative risk can not be 1.6, as reported in L1. It must be much lower. [last paragraph]
The goal it seems is to show that the study is wrong. And what is the motivation to show that it is wrong? Yummy soup indeed!

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