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Conned again

January 23rd, 2003

As I’ve noted before, I hate being conned. It is now clear that John Lott has been conning a lot of people, including me. Given the favorable assessment by James Lindgren of the witness who claimed to participate in Lott’s survey on defensive gun use, I felt it was necessary ‘in the absence of new developments’, to drop the case of fabrication against Lott. The new developments did not take long to emerge.

According to Julian Sanchez it turns out that the ‘witness’ is a pro-gun activist with a focus on the specific issue where Lott made his name (concealed carry laws). This isn’t absolutely conclusive – there are enough such activists that the inclusion of one in the survey is not surprising, and this is obviously the type of person who would find out about the controversy and approach Lott .

But then it turns out Lott has been using a false identity (‘Mary Rosh’) to post pieces defending himself on Usenet. This is the last straw for me. In particular, Lott reviewed his own book under the name Mary Rosh. Although trivial in relation to the alleged fabrication of a survey, this is, in my view, a clear-cut piece of academic dishonesty. His university (he’s now at Yale) should take immediate action to investigate this and other allegations of misconduct.

Update Lott isn’t at Yale either, but has moved on to the American Enterprise Institute. Judging by my dealings with them (read here or search the site for “Zinsmeister”) he should fit right in.

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