Lancet Estimates on Civilian Casualties Found To Be Reliable

The anti-science right has never been known to let facts and evidence get in the way of their ideological arguments. Just as they deny established science in fields such as evolution and climate change, they tried to discredit the Lancet study on civilian casualties in Iraq. The BBC has found that the Ministry of Defense’s chief science advisor found the data to be reliable:

The British government was advised against publicly criticising a report estimating that 655,000 Iraqis had died due to the war, the BBC has learnt.

Iraqi Health Ministry figures put the toll at less than 10% of the total in the survey, published in the Lancet.

But the Ministry of Defence’s chief scientific adviser said the survey’s methods were “close to best practice” and the study design was “robust”.

Another expert agreed the method was “tried and tested”.

They found a discrepancy between what was said by the scientists and the politicians–on both sides of the Atlantic:

Shortly after the publication of the survey in October last year Tony Blair’s official spokesperson said the Lancet’s figure was not anywhere near accurate.

He said the survey had used an extrapolation technique, from a relatively small sample from an area of Iraq that was not representative of the country as a whole.

President Bush said: “I don’t consider it a credible report.”

But a memo by the MoD’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Roy Anderson, on 13 October, states: “The study design is robust and employs methods that are regarded as close to “best practice” in this area, given the difficulties of data collection and verification in the present circumstances in Iraq.”

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