What you need to know about “stats junkie/guru” Jamie Bernstein

got integrity

I have many tools at my disposal in combating the mistruths, half truths and outright lies of homebirth advocacy. I have my years of medical education, my years of medical training, and my years of obstetric practice. I have the ability to read and understand the entire obstetric literature, and I have the ability to be forthright and forceful. But the most important tool in my armamentarium by far is my credibility.

Regardless of what homebirth advocates tell each other about me, their private behavior indicates that they feel they can trust what I write. You would be amazed with whom I correspond privately, and amused to learn that some of my most vehement public foes have, in times of medical need, contacted me to discuss their medical problems.

Of course, I make mistakes like everyone else. Sometimes I misunderstand what I have read; sometimes I make silly math errors; often I have typos strewn throughout a piece. But I am lucky to have what must be the best trained, best educated comment tribe of any blog on the Web and within moments I am publicly and privately informed of any mistakes and I hasten to correct them. My husband often laughs at me because he’ll find me awake at 2 AM scouring the literature or redoing my math for fear that I have misspoken, and he knows why I am stricken if I feel I have made a mistake: my credibility is the most important attribute I have.

Therefore, while I cheerfully ignore many internet conversations where people are taking my name in vain, I can’t ignore an attack on my credibility, and that’s just what I interpreted the hatchet job that Jamie Bernstein did on my analysis of the MANA stats to be. I went back and forth all day yesterday with Bernstein and with Elyse Anders, editor at Grounded Parents, demanding that they publicly correct their factual and math errors. Not only have they failed to do so, but their “rationale” is mind boggling.

Their response to the first factual mistake I noted perfectly illustrates their journalistic integrity or lack thereof.

Bernstein wrote in her piece:

I clicked the link Dr. Tuteur gave where she got the Citizens for Midwifery quote but didn’t see anything with that quote …

I don’t know about you, but to me that implies that I fabricated the quote, a damning implication.

I pointed out in the comments section:

How could you not find it? I gave an exact quote in my piece and linked to the place where the original can be downloaded? It is on page 3 of the 5 page CfM press release, the beginning of the second full paragraph. Please check to confirm.

I was gobsmacked by the Bernstein’s response:

Thanks for letting me know where that quote came from. I felt it was a waste of my time to click on every single link on the page you linked to …

As it happens, I linked to the page where the CfM press release could be downloaded. You can’t link directly to something that must be downloaded. But even if I could have linked directly to the exact page with the exact quote and didn’t do so, Bernstein was out of line implying that I had fabricated a quote that she never bothered to look for. At the very least, she could have noted that she couldn’t be bothered to look and people could check for themselves. But I guess when the piece is meant to be a hatchet job, little details like that are better left unmentioned.

Lest you think that Bernstein and Anders might be uncomfortable with their lack of journalistic integrity, this Twitter conversation indicates that it’s all hunky-dory with them.

Grounded Parents 2

So let’s see if I get this straight. As the editor of the piece Anders felt that Bernstein should have accused me of fabricating a quote that she never checked for, but Bernstein, righteous warrior for journalistic truth, knew that she hadn’t checked and therefore didn’t write it? And Bernstein thinks no fixes are needed? Really?

You can read my entire 8 point indictment of Bernstein’s piece and Bernstein’s astounding reply in the comments section of her post. Of course, if you are like Bernstein herself, you probably can’t be bothered to click on a link (So much time! So much effort!), so you can just take my word for it, just like she thinks you should take hers.

Not surprisingly, MANA is directing people to Bernstein’s piece:

MANA tweet

I don’t blame them. Beggars can’t be choosers and so far the only other independent person who has backed their creative “interpretation” of their own horrific death rates is a reporter from The Daily Beast.

But even though Bernstein refuses to correct her attack on my credibility, I’m not entirely defenseless. I have my blog, which has had nearly 60,000 visitors in the past week alone. So the next time someone Googles “stats junkie/guru” Jamie Bernstein, they can learn about her sloppy math, her sloppy journalism and her utter lack of journalistic interity. That’s what you need to know about “stats junkie/guru” Jaime Bernstein.

101 Responses to “What you need to know about “stats junkie/guru” Jamie Bernstein”

  1. Mary
    March 5, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    Looks like the Grounded Parents website is now heavily moderating comments on Jamie Bernstein’s second article “One More Homebirth Risk Analysis”. I posted a critical comment (with clean language and no personal attacks) over 5 hours ago. It is still “in moderation”. I’m not holding my breath for it to ever show up. Sad what has become of that site.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      March 6, 2014 at 12:14 am #

      My comment wasn’t posted, either. It is pathetic that a “skeptical” website won’t post comments that are critical. It is a betrayal of what they are supposed to stand for.

  2. realitycheque
    March 5, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    I just can’t get over the completely unskeptical nature of her comment about how Dr. Amy and anti-HBers are super meeen and that because she doesn’t like the anti-HB attitude she is now considering being pro-HB.

    Can you imagine if a skeptic writing for a popular, so-called “evidence based” blog said the same thing about faith healing or homeopathy? “Well, I was initially on the side of traditional medicine for the treatment of childhood cancer, but those darn sciencey people are so rude that I’m starting to think that battling little Timmy’s leukaemia with prayer mightn’t be such a bad idea!”

    Absolutely ridiculous.

  3. Edgar
    March 4, 2014 at 11:54 pm #

    ‘ But the most important tool in my armamentarium by far is my credibility.’ I get that. But repeatedly, over the last few years, I have asked you EXACTLY how you got your CDC WONDER numbers, and you would not tell me. Anyone who doesn’t share methodology is immediately suspect in my mind. So, I am asking you again, which criteria for each varible in the CDC Wonder database did you use. Repeatably….I should get the same number as you, right? It’s a simple cut and paste, the criteria are listed below the output.

    PS the MANA stats are crap.

  4. Amy Tuteur, MD
    March 4, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    Jamie Bernstein still can’t admit that she’s wrong and that she has no idea what she is talking about.


    • theNormalDistribution
      March 5, 2014 at 12:56 am #

      This is so damn stupid, I only made it halfway before my blood started boiling.

  5. bart
    March 3, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    Does Jamie Bernstein actually have any qualifications or credentials (degrees) in statistics? What is she basing her “stats guru” title on? Because her article is simply embarrassing. Just because you may be interested or a “junkie” doesn’t mean you are an expert.

    • Houston Mom
      March 3, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

      You can find her on Linkedin. She does market analytics for Walgreens and has a degree in public administration, if I remember correctly. I looked her up last week.

      • bart
        March 3, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

        wow. So, she doesn’t even have basic qualifications for a statistician. Then she has the audacity to take on an expert like Dr. Tuteur whose credentials, expertise, and experience are superb. Worse, make public accusations about her integrity while messing up basic arithmetic. This is not just sloppiness. Rather it reflects Jamie’s lack of appreciation, experience, and understanding of the scientific process and peer review. As a scientist myself, I will check my work ten times, send it for peer review, and get opinions from many other expert colleagues BEFORE I ever dare to publicly accuse another scientist of wrong doing. It is scary that any self-proclaimed “guru” with zero qualifications, can just post rubbish on the internet, and accuse respected scientists without peer review. Wow. Just wow.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          March 3, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

          What’s really amazing is that she dismisses Dr. Orosz who is a professor of math and statistics.

        • realitycheque
          March 5, 2014 at 12:26 am #

          The words ‘Dunning-Kruger Effect’ spring to mind.

        • theNormalDistribution
          March 5, 2014 at 12:58 am #

          But, but, but, the cohorts are different! So we can’t know ANYTHING!

    • realitycheque
      March 5, 2014 at 12:25 am #

      Lay Statistician?

  6. Kimberly
    March 1, 2014 at 10:05 am #

    You can indeed link directly to a download. Instead of clicking through, right click on the download link and select “copy link address”. Then link to that.

  7. LibrarianSarah
    February 28, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    This might be a good time to take Skepchick off your blogroll. If they don’t respect you enough to make the corrections and protect your credibility you shouldn’t direct traffic their way. It’s kind of sad because I know you worked with them in the past but if they insist on doubling down on dickishness then you really have no choice but to make a clean break.

    • fiftyfifty1
      March 3, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

      Amy’s blogroll is the only reason I knew about them and checked them out. I’ve been over there a number of times over the last couple of years and have been consistantly disappointed. I don’t think Dr. Tuteur should take them off her blogroll because they did her wrong, but rather because their work is low quality across the board.

      • LibrarianSarah
        March 4, 2014 at 10:45 am #

        I guess what bothers me is that there is little to no “Skep” in their website. It seems to be more focused on the political or philosophical views of the writer than it does with skepticism. You might as well call it “Polichicks” or something.

        And it is possible to merge political/philisophical views with skepticism. For instance, you could write about how all these “cures” for autism don’t work and how it is offensive to the autism community to even try.

  8. Theodora
    February 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    Dr Amy have you ever done a post about a dead baby is handled in the hospital vs by lay midwives? For example, amount of time spent on how the presiding physician or midwife feels compared to what exactly went wrong? Can it be prevented in the future? What can we do better?

    • Karen in SC
      February 28, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

      Do you mean how the parents are treated after a tragedy? If so, I can say that I’ve read many stories written by loss parents and they all mention how compassionate and caring the hospital staff was to them in their time of grief. On the other side of the coin, lay midwives often abandon loss parents, never contacting them again.

      • Theodora
        February 28, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

        Sorry, to clarify I meant how an investigation would proceed. No one seems to investigate homebirth deaths but every hospital death is looked into. Everyone at a hospital wants to learn what happened so as to prevent it but homebirth midwives seem to prefer to remain in the dark

        • CanDoc
          March 1, 2014 at 11:03 am #

          I think you’re on to something. It would make for an educational post to follow the trail of M and M rounds, departmental reviews, action plans, etc, etc that go along with adverse outcomes (and hopefully also near misses.) I believe that there have been similar or tangential posts to this in the past. The process is exhaustive, and, for those involved, necessary but excrutiating.

    • Jtmo
      February 28, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

      Dr Tuteur can probably comment from her experience as well, but in my hospital, even a “near miss” will generate a root cause analysis. All parties will be required to meet to discuss what may have gone wrong, to look at what might be a personal error vs a system error vs the nature of the disease and perhaps unpreventable. Education will be provided if appropriate policies exist, but seem to have not been followed, policies are changed if there’s a system improvement that might help. Some disease processes are just devastating, and even then we’ll drill on how to recognize better, respond faster. Debriefing, and if needed, grief support is provided to the medical team as well (of course, families too, but I’m just talking about medical staff here)
      In the hospital setting, I can’t say that I’ve ever heard the “oh well this was inevitable, it would have happened no matter what” stuff. When something bad happens, we all expect to go over every detail and work on even the tiniest improvement that might improve the slightest bit the care we give.

    • Sue
      March 1, 2014 at 2:16 am #

      Hospital clinical governance structures would dictate that any unexpected death should be investigated – generally by a team approach through Root Cause Analysis, and generally also discussion in Morbidity and Mortality meetings.

      If specific clinicians were thought to have acted outside what a reasonable professional would do, they would receive counselling, supervision or sanctions, depending on their seniority and the nature of the action. Genuine human errors would be analysed for future preventability.

  9. anh
    February 28, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    OT: I frequent MOBSW and this one comment keeps talking about how a baby died because its skull was fractured during the placement of an IFM. Is that even remotely possible? I know skull fractures happen, but how could they be caused by an IFM? am I missing something?

    • PrimaryCareDoc
      February 28, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

      I did a quick lit search and I can’t find any reports of skull fracture from fetal scalp electrodes. They can rarely cause infection or a CSF leak.

      • anh
        February 28, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

        I just seems so preposterous! A baby’s head can be squeezed through a pelvis but a tiny electrode can fracture it? are there any congenital abnormalities that would cause super super brittle bones??

        • February 28, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

          Doesn’t it go into the soft spot anyway?

          • anh
            February 28, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

            yeah! and it’s a TINY TINY electrode. It could not fracture anything. I left a comment asking the commenter to elaborate, but she’s very vituperative and I imagine she’ll either ignore me or call me a name

          • Susan
            February 28, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

            Actually we try to avoid that, or a suture line. But no I can’t imagine how it could fracture a bone.

    • me
      February 28, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

      I replied to you over there (there I’m Toni, but there’s already a regular that goes by Toni here, so here I’m “me”). I believe she was talking about he baby in Texas that died when her skull was crushed in an attempted forceps delivery. The doctor was trying to avoid a c-section, even tho the mother had requested one earlier (she was past her EDD, a small woman, and the baby was measuring large; by the time the forceps were attempted, she had labored over 18 hours, had a fever, and the baby was still pretty high; a c-section really should have been done, forceps never should have been attempted). Obviously the person who brought it up doesn’t seem to know the difference between forceps and internal monitors.

      What is truly ironic is the person bringing it up at MOBSW is also railing against that hospital’s 48% c-section rate. She seemed to miss the fact that had this woman’s request for a section been honored that baby would be 3 months old today…

      • Stacy21629
        March 1, 2014 at 2:42 am #

        Hey there! Eyecatcher here. 🙂
        I’ve been Stacy over there too…depends on my mood.

        • anh
          March 3, 2014 at 6:02 am #

          I appreciate you both fighting the good fight. I used to love that site, but then I had a baby and reality set it. I soon recognized it was often an echo chamber where mothers congratulated each other for putting their babies at risk (Bilirubin levels of 21 aren’t dangerous! stupid fearmongering doctor! you go mamma!)

  10. violinwidow
    February 28, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    All this prevaricating just causes more needless pain and death. It’s not funny anymore.

  11. anh
    February 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    this is seriously getting ridiculous!!! it’s like the sycophants on TFB’s page. It’s this giant echo chamber of chicanery and self-congratulations.
    so, she’s a statistics junkie. great. I’m a medical junkie. I like medical issues. I like to read about diseases and operations. I like asking my doctor friends about their experiences. But my degree is freaking french literature. you don’t see me publishing articles about courses of medical treatment

  12. Lena
    February 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    God grief what IS it with women (and I’m just going to say it…it’s mostly white middle class women who identify as feminist who do this. The CANNOT handle not being queen bee anymore) online going on and ON about being “silenced” or bullied? It’s all over my internet life–book blogs/review sites, social justice, skeptics, birth…WTF is going on? Newsflash, Jamie: people strongly disagreeing with you is not an attempt to silence you. If you can’t handle criticism of your work, you need another job/hobby.

    • Danielle
      February 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

      I’m genuinely puzzled about what to make of how timid people are of criticism. When someone criticizes you, it is actually a good thing. You get a chance to think about what they have said and reply to it. Iron sharpens iron. A dialog is created that has the potential to go somewhere, even if the two sides do not wind up agreeing. This is exactly how academic research works, or should; and how public debate should work too.

      Having someone respond to you merely invites a reply; it is the opposite of being silenced.

      • Lena
        February 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

        Apparently the new rule is that when someone criticizes you you’re supposed to double down and refuse to admit to any wrong-doing. To do otherwise means letting the “other side” win.

      • February 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

        I’ve really only ever had women try to silence me. Men want to argue, and win, but women want me to STFU and not rock the boat. Anecdote is anecdotal.

        • theNormalDistribution
          March 1, 2014 at 1:58 am #

          How exactly does one go about trying to silence you? I’m genuinely curious. My mother-in-law says “that’s not nice!” to me a lot, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count. What do they even say?

      • Josephine
        February 28, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

        My thoughts were similar in that perhaps the people who are touchy about criticism don’t have an academic background. In my academic background (history), debate, criticism, and hashing everything out down to the last detail are generally expected and welcomed, at least in my experience. Conversations over two lines in a letter or journal can turn into lively, productive arguments. I’m 100% certain that history is not unique in that regard; I just can’t speak about other disciplines firsthand.

        Also backing up your point with facts and copious amounts of background knowledge/context is a given. I find the extremely defensive attitudes (to the point of absurdity) to be really baffling. Apparently our k-12 education system is not doing a great job at teaching people to critically think, sigh.

        • Josephine
          February 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

          Of course there are plenty of NCB zealots who have loads of education, so that’s not a complete theory. Maybe they’re really good at compartmentalizing.

    • Irène Delse
      February 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

      To be fair, on that thread, her three more ardent supporters are guys. One is even an anthropologist who claims he’s read a lot on medical anthropology (classical studies about patriarchal culture in medicine, I’d guess) but doesn’t seem aware of similar works on the Natural Childbirth movement and it’s retrograde ideology.

      • Lena
        February 28, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

        I’m talking more about the “silence” claim. I just don’t see men doing that. They’ll argue and mansplain no matter how wrong they are, but rarely do I see them refuse to engage by using the “they’re being mean to me!” excuse.

        • theNormalDistribution
          February 28, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

          They do in some circles. It’s community rather than gender based.

          • Lena
            February 28, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

            I’m sure that’s the case. It’s just that in every community I’m part of it falls in line with gender, so now every time I see it it’s all confirmation bias.

          • theNormalDistribution
            February 28, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

            Yeah, it’s an easy trap to fall into. I try to avoid describing things like that from a gender perspective. There’s just no way I could know from my own personal experience, and that’s how we build a societal perspective that men are one way and women are another that’s just not warranted.

            That said, I am bothered a lot more by women doing it than men because it reinforces unfounded but widely accepted gender stereotypes. You don’t have to be an asshole, but COME ON LADIES, you are not delicate flowers!

        • February 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

          Oh, they use that excuse, they just word it a different way because having feelings (other than anger) is emasculating to some men. They just claim the other person is too irrational and cite something that is clearly about their personal feelings. I got tired of arguing feminism with dudes a long time ago because of that, its boring and repetitive.

      • carovee
        February 28, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

        Irene, I almost fell off my chair when Will (a very ardent defender) said his information came from reading medical anthropology. A Melissa Cheny sock puppet? Or do lots of people read medical anthropology but blithely ignore modern medical texts.

        • Irène Delse
          February 28, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

          Oh, right, I didn’t think about Cheyney! Will is no sockpuppet though, his presence is well established in the Skepchick network. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a fan of hers 🙁

    • mollyb
      February 28, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

      I read a lot of political blogs that are constantly critiquing each other’s blog posts/papers/articles. Never once I do I hear the critiqued party calling the other a ‘bully’ or insisting that sincere critique of a publicly published document is ‘silencing’ or ‘hating’. If you can’t handle your ideas being critiqued, don’t publish them for public consumption.

    • February 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

      It comes from saying “hey gee maybe equal pay for equal work should have happened by now” or “its not cool how rape victims can’t get justice” only to have a swarm of mens rights activists or other slime come out of the woodwork to try and shout you down. Silencing of female voices is a real thing that happens.

      • theNormalDistribution
        February 28, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

        Um. Trying to shout you down (whatever that means on the internet) is not the same as silencing. That’s the whole point.

        • AlisonCummins
          February 28, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

          It often is. Because the shouting down often takes the form of threats of violence.

          A commenter on this blog threatened anyone who might disagree with certain points and I no longer engage on any thread that commenter participates in. (Not because I am literally afraid but because this isn’t my house and if that’s the way people do around here I just won’t play.) So it works.

          Many women on the internet have discussed what it’s like to open up their email client and find detailed, violent rape threats every day. Sometimes with their addresses. Sometimes their addresses are published on the net. Men on the internet who are exposed to this are often stunned, because no matter what they say they do not get this type of aggressive response.

          • theNormalDistribution
            February 28, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

            I think you’re mistaken if you think threats of violence are the norm or that men are never subject to them.

            But that has nothing to do with what we were talking about here. We’re talking about people being accused of trying to silence opinion when all they are doing is expressing their disagreement. And you can’t justify that accusation by saying “oh yeah, well people make violent threats elsewhere”. One has nothing to do with the other.

          • AlisonCummins
            February 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

            I didn’t say they were the norm, I said they exist, they are effective, and they take place right here on this blog.

          • Guesteleh
            February 28, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

            Who is making violent threats on this blog? Did I miss something? There was a poster who was banned for calling people c**ts so I’m having trouble believing Amy would allow people to make physical threats and not sanction them.

          • AlisonCummins
            February 28, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

            ‘Chastise me for expressing these “political views” at your own peril.’

          • wookie130
            February 28, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

            While that was definitely not cool of that person to make that statement, I didn’t interpret it as a physical threat. Unless that poster has some supernatural capability of reaching through another person’s computer screen, and harming them, I don’t see how that was a physical threat at all. It was more or less just lame.

            And I would still agree that the issue that is at hand here, is how expressing an opposing opinion or a statement of disagreement is a form of suppression or silencing. It’s not. It’s used to be called “discussion.”

          • AlisonCummins
            February 28, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

            I don’t know whether that was a physical threat or some other kind; I assume it was an empty one. Still, it was a threat. “Ignore these facts at your peril” means that ignoring the warning puts you in danger. Like the dead baby card or a black-ice weather warning for drivers. It’s not a threat, it’s a fact.

            But phrasing it as “chastise me at your own peril” makes it very clear that the danger is not from disregarding objective facts, the danger is retribution for talking to this person in an unwanted way.

            When challenged, the commenter never denied it was a threat, never apologized, never retracted the threat and never even tried to pretend I was being oversensitive. So while you might not think it was a threat, the commenter did.
            It also had exactly the effect the commenter desired: I no longer engage on threads they participate in.
            *** *** ***
            I’m not commenting on Jamie. I haven’t read her post or the comment thread. However, what Lena posted above sounds about right: http://www.skepticalob.com/2014/02/what-you-need-to-know-about-stats-junkieguru-jamie-bernstein.html#comment-1264937522

            I’m responding to the general assertion, for the internets in general, that “Trying to shout you down is not the same as silencing.” It can be though, and often is when women challenge men. It’s a real thing that can be co-opted. The correct response is not to say that nobody can be silenced (because they can) but to say (as Lena did) that critique is not silencing.

          • theNormalDistribution
            March 1, 2014 at 1:48 am #

            Well then if that was the point of your post, I completely misunderstood you. I thought you were trying to say something relevant to my comment.

      • Lena
        February 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

        Yes it happens, but when people like Jamie in circumstances like these make claim to being silenced, they don’t actually feel that they are, they are blatantly manipulating the situation so that they look like they’re taking the highroad by not responding to criticisms. No reasonably intelligent person can read all the comments and tweets and believe that anyone was trying to silence her.

      • auntbea
        March 1, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

        When MRA’s come out of the woodwork, they come bearing slurs and threats of violence. When *we* came out of the woodwork, we brought…math. There is — and has to be — a distinction between challenging and silencing. Being an academic, for example, means have your work and ideas (and, occasionally your intelligence and/or integrity) criticized on a routine basis: it’s called peer review. It is reasonable for someone to say they don’t want to be constantly scrutinized in this way and to choose another profession. But if we were therefore to classify criticism as “silencing” and refuse to accept it, knowledge generation would grind to a halt.

  13. February 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    but they have anti-home birth articles too so its okay!!!11

  14. me
    February 28, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    Why does Berstein’s excuse sound like what I hear from my 4 year old when she can’t find one of her toys?

    4 year old: “Mom! I can’t find my doll! Where’s my doll??!!”

    Me: “Did you look in your room?”

    4 year old: “Yes! It’s not in theeeere!! Find my doll!!”

    Me: (walks into 4 year old’s room) “Here it is. If you’d bothered to look you’d have found it.”

    4 year old: “I DID look.” (ugh) OR “It’s to hard.” (nonsense)

    Her excuse? She’s four.

    • AlisonCummins
      February 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

      I find ctrl-F comes in very handy. Doesn’t work so well for dolls though.

      • Young CC Prof
        February 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

        It is extremely unfair that crtl-F doesn’t work for keys, socks, pacifiers, credit cards or other “offscreen” items.

        • February 28, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

          Particularly when your memory of such things has been impacted by being a parent of very young people who insist on waking up multiple times in a night.

        • theNormalDistribution
          March 1, 2014 at 1:59 am #

          If we’re entertaining fantasies here, I’d much rather have a ctrl-z.

      • Danielle
        February 28, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

        Control+F is why I can navigate hundreds of pages of research notes, even though I cannot locate my keys.

        It’s a beautiful thing.

        In all seriousness, though, if you are going to say someone fabricated data from a report in an “published” piece, you really should read the report a few times, and make awfully certain the quote is not there.

      • LibrarianSarah
        February 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

        You have no idea how often I found mysel wishing there was a ctrl-F for life. Just this morning I thought that when I lost my stamps. I still haven’t found those fucking things.

      • realitycheque
        February 28, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

        Lost count of the number of times I’ve been reading books and gone to use Ctrl+F. Frustrates me every time!

    • auntbea
      February 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

      My mother always said, “If it were a snake, it woulda bit ya!” Which my child self found so nonsensical and irritating (Why would I be looking for a snake?) that I learned to stop asking for help finding stuff.

      • mollyb
        February 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

        My mom always says ‘if it was a dog, it woulda bit you!”. I hated that as a kid but now say it to my husband all the time.

    • Amazed
      February 28, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

      Well, to be fair, I regularly overlook this and that and lose my things just like your 4 year old, despite being 8 times her age (see? Ain’t I brilliant? Look at my maths skills!). That’s how I avoid finding myself in Bernstein’s shoes: I check and recheck, rinse and repeat. Otherwise, I’ll never find my doll and I know I don’t have the excuse of being four.

  15. no longer drinking the koolaid
    February 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    Dr. Amy you might want to correct the link to grounded parent. It currently goes to a traffic count site for the web site.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      February 28, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

      I fixed it. Of course if I had wanted to emulate Bernstein I would have told you that I couldn’t be bothered to fix it.

  16. Kazia
    February 28, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    I used to be totally into the woo. I fell into the NCB trap. I thought hospitals were evil and vaccines were worse. I even (briefly) considered becoming a CPM. When I first found your blog, I thought you were meen and unfair.

    Slowly, I came around. I think it started with the study that showed homebirth had an 8-9x increased risk of low APGAR/death. I started to come around. I realized the huge lack of accountability homebirth “midwives” have, and how they often lack training and education.

    I’m just glad I figured it out before I had kids. It’s a (long) way off still, but now my biggest fear about hospital birth is that the epidural won’t work (I have scoliosis). I don’t tolerate pain well, and now I know I don’t have to.

    So thank you, Dr. Amy, for being “meen” and brutally honest.

  17. NoUseForANym
    February 28, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    Your link doesn’t go to the correct place

  18. Elizabeth A
    February 28, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    Oh wow. The reason for the requested correction isn’t that the current language makes Bernstein look irresponsible. It’s that the current language makes Bernstein look libelous.

  19. Stacey
    February 28, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    One of the things that I like most about your blog is that you implore all your readers to check out the sources, crunch the numbers, decide for themselves. And you supply all the sources as links right in your blog so that we can do just that. You treat us like we actually have brains and can think for ourselves. Thanks.

  20. auntbea
    February 28, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    Right. The dudes accusing your “followers” of going after Ms. Bernstein fail to realize that we are disproportionately doctors, scientists, academics and a mishmash of other people who care about the integrity of data. Any cursory look on a post in which you talk about statistics will show comments challenging, complaining, correcting and explaining the analysis. Your work is peer-reviewed. By us. Attack Dr. Amy’s credibility and you attack the credibility of a whole group of people WHO ARGUE ABOUT DATA FOR A LIVING.

  21. Mel
    February 28, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    “Thanks for letting me know where that quote came from. I felt it was a waste of my time to click on every single link on the page you linked to …

    *Slow claps*

    That’s an excuse worthy of a lazy freshman in high school.

    • Anj Fabian
      February 28, 2014 at 11:55 am #

      A more honest excuse would be “I did this on my smart phone while downing brews and watching The View”.

      • Comrade X
        February 28, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

        You mean I was supposed to *read* all that stuff? Oh maaan, that’s so unfair….

        • auntbea
          February 28, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

          One of my undergraduates considering grad school asked me if graduate students are expected to read all of the assigned articles. I suggested he try a different path.

      • Trixie
        February 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

        Actually, that’s a very plausible explanation. An hour of listening to Jenny McCarthy talk will make just about anyone dumber.

    • Danielle
      February 28, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

      This feels a lot like a conversation a friend of mine, a college professor, had with a student. The student complained that the test was unfair, because “it is like the questions were written in a foreign language.” Some time later, the student was shocked to discover that that the course had a textbook that may possibly, just possibly, have made the questions more intelligible.

      • auntbea
        February 28, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

        I hear sometimes professors give lectures in which they verbally explain things too. How was he supposed to know?!?!

        • Danielle
          February 28, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

          And, dude, they even let you take notes so that you can go over them later!

          • Box of Salt
            March 1, 2014 at 11:53 am #

            And they often even provide students with a printout of the lecture slides to make adding notes even easier.

    • Amazed
      February 28, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

      Quite right. It didn’t wash at the university. Ask me how I know.

      Well, I’ll tell you anyway. I was about to hand a very important paper I had worked very hard on. Worked my butt off, actually. All I had left to do was cite my sources. Guess what? I went to dancing instead. And then I was too tired and too hangover to bother. Anyway, I knew the paper was good, so who would worry about the sources?

      You were right. The professor did. He praised my work for being the most original, well-thought, well-supported and so on out of everyone’s. Still, down my grade went because I hadn’t cited the sources that he knew as well as I did.

      Rules are rules. The only reason I didn’t look as stupid as Jamie was that no one bothered to ask me why I lacked the sources. It didn’t matter.

      • LibrarianSarah
        February 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

        You’re lucky your grade just went down. At my institution, you would get an F on the paper if it was your first time, and F in the class if it was your second and kicked the F out if it was your third. Failure to cite is no joke.

        • Amazed
          February 28, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

          That’s exactly what I mean. There are requirements we’re all supposed to meet. All of us but Jamie, I guess.

          Anyway, I don’t know how anyone can write that they couldn’t be bothered to click on the links without dying right there out of shame.

    • stenvenywrites
      February 28, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

      My high school students have given me basically the same excuse … because of course, it’s not a waste of MY time to provide them with all the source materials. Most of them, at least, have the good sense to lie and say the link didn’t work when they clicked on it. “Must have been a momentary glitch with the server or something” translates to “I was too lazy to be bothered.”

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