I have had an issue with the fact aversion of the right wing for some time now, including the lapses of my own member of Congress from the district in which I live, as well as that of another Minnesota member of Congress, Michele Bachmann's notorious lack of connection to either fact or reality.
I found the story on the website of John Lott, of More Guns, Less Crime fame. An excerpt of the story appeared right next to this bio:
Virginia, United StatesThe headline of the post read:
Amazed how lucky I am that I have had jobs where I could just think about whatever I wanted to think about. I have published over 90 articles in academic journals. I received my Ph.D. in economics from UCLA in 1984.
and over the labels 'GunControl, Terrorism'
Limes are classified as a weapon in the UK?What is next? Lime registration? From the UK Daily Mail:
all of which are under this giant banner, apparently intended to impress the gullible:
Posting that story, that brief comment, right next to the bio where he tells his web site readers about his academic accomplishments certainly seems to me to be an attempt to give the imprimatur of fact and accuracy to this. There is no criticism, no skepticism, no challenging thinking that this might not be true, plausible, or reasonable. That impression is further conveyed by the labels at the end of the excerpt.
I shouldn't be surprised. Looking at his book entry on Wikipedia.org, under controversy, the studies in support of Lott's work seem largely to derive or be funded by fairly far right sources, rather than independent academic sources. The list of sources which oppose or contradict Lott's work is considerably longer.
So, now it is clear that Mr. Lott doesn't do his fact checking on the content of his web site. On top of the challenges to his other work, perhaps that shouldn't surprise me. But it does go a long way to explaining where the story got its original circulation, because I don't really find it plausible that there are a lot of gun nuts who make a habit of reading a UK tabloid.
Shame on Mr. Lott for lending even his limited credibility with the gun loonz to such nonsense. Shame on Lott and the rest of the loons for single sourcing content and for doing so without any research into the credibility of their sources.
But it sure is fun to be on the debunking side of the story.
In case our readers are wondering, I've left comments on Lott's site and others noting the factual inaccuracy of the story as well as the poor credibility of the source, and a criticism for promoting it without fact checking it first.
Like our gun nuts so often do. How fortunate they have us to do those necessary critical thinking exercises for them.