Last week here I wrote a post about a “scientific” study of Florida’s Stand-Your-Ground (SYG) law. That paper was published in the Elsevier journal “Social Science & Medicine.”
The paper: “Race, law, and health: Examination of ‘Stand Your Ground’ (SYG) and defendant convictions in Florida” (Social Science & Medicine, Volume 142, October 2015, pages 194-201; pay-walled )
In that paper the authors applied a Public Health Critical Theory Methodology to the question of whether Florida’s SYG law has a quantifiable racial bias. The key finding of the paper is that a“defendant is two times … more likely to be convicted in a case that involves White victims compared to those involving non-White victims” in the context of Florida’s SYG law.
This finding was the result of statistical analysis conducted on a set of 204 purported SYG cases drawn from a total collection of 237 purported SYG cases collected by the Tampa Bay Times, a regional Florida newspaper.
Sadly, when I examined each of the overall dataset of 237 cases individually (you’re welcome) I found that fully 181 of them simply could not be SYG cases as a matter of legal definition. (I won’t repeat here the detailed reasons why they could not be SYG cases; if you’re interested just go read my previous post.)
That left only 56 possible SYG cases in the whole dataset of 237. Even if all 56 of these were included in the authors’ working data set of 204, that means the other 148 (over 70%) of the purported 204 SYG cases from which they drew their key finding were not, as a simple matter of legal definition, SYG cases at all.
Yes, you read that correctly. These charlatans attempted to push a paper purporting that “Stand Your Ground” laws are racist using a junk data set that is over 70% not related to actual SYG cases.
The “study” hinged not upon incidents that a bunch of reporters thought sounded like SYG, based upon the extensive legal training they got getting “Cs” in journalism school.
Branca was nice enough to give both the journal and the authors a chance to retract this idiocy before publicly calling them out, but neither “Social Science & Medicine” nor the authors have the integrity to admit gross fault. Instead, they’re doubling-down on their stupidity, hoping few will notice or care about their dishonesty.
Clearly, pushing the narrative is much more important than confining themselves to fact.
No wonder the “soft sciences” are held in such disdain by real scientists and laypeople alike.