#HowDareYouLiz: An Engineer’s Take On Warren’s Sketchy Stats

Numbers don’t lie, people do

Someone once said that there are three types of lies, “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.” 

Now, many years later, it seems that Elizabeth Warren and Dr. Carlos D. Bustamante, PhD may have innovated a new category. But even though they were both pioneered by university professors, don’t confuse Warren’s new branch with Sir Isaac Newton’s development of calculus. You see, unlike Newton’s calculus, which changed the world, Warren’s calc-u-Liz ever only seem useful to one person: Warren herself.

And unlike calculus, which has withstood the test of time to remain integral across nearly all fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, calc-u-Liz will always be debunked upon serious inspection.

Indeed, in a little over 24 hours, Warren’s attempt to replicate the success of Newton’s principia mathematica philosophiae naturalis with her calc-u-Liz has been found wanting - including by the Cherokee Nation. And calc-u-Liz has already led to more corrections and retractions by those who initially relied on it than the theory that the world was flat. But don’t ask Warren about that theory either, since she refuses to celebrate Columbus Day.

Perhaps ironically though, the festering fungal rag known as the Boston Globe appears to have been hit especially hard by its early and ardent adoption of calc-u-Liz in place of verifiable math and due diligence. The paper had to issue a correction after its initial report that Warren’s DNA test showed genetic markers indicating membership in the Cherokee Nation - having to issue multiple corrections for overstating Warren's heritage is as rare as it is embarrassing in the publishing world.

But the festering fungal rag was hardly the only media outlet fooled by some snazzy-looking Harvard- and Stanford-backed calc-u-Liz. Even the BBC, it seems, failed to check Warren and Bustamante’s math.

If they had though, maybe they would have noticed that even Warren’s unverified analysis based on an at-best unverified DNA sample indicates a mere 0.09% Native American DNA while, according to this 2014 article in the normally Warren-friendly New York Times, the average European-American is walking around with twice as much - 0.18%. So, according to calc-u-Liz, rather than having been all but wiped out, there are hundreds of millions of Native Americans walking around the U.S. right now, most of whom are twice as Native American as she is.

However, according to federal law, many tribes were forced to institute their own set of "blood quantum laws". At minimum, one must derive at least 6.25% of their ancestry from a specific recognized tribe in order to claim Native American heritage.

And another oddity: calc-u-Liz appears to be the only branch of math or science where margins of error seem only to be drawn in favor of dubious claims.

By the pure math, Warren’s supposed 0.09% Native American DNA would be consistent with a single Native American ancestor 10 generations back. But publications relying on calc-u-Liz have repeatedly printed that her Native American ancestor could be as recent as 6 generations back.

Yet, that would be a 1600% margin of error and a fully Native American ancestor 6 generations ago would be expected to leave a one 64th trace (or 1.56%) in Warren’s DNA today.

Perhaps these publications were misapplying their calc-u-Liz though and meant to say that Warren could have multiple ancestors of partial Native American descent starting 6 generations in the past. However, that would be an important and newsworthy distinction because it could be easier to find supporting evidence for multiple partially Native American ancestors who lived more recently

But don't look to calc-u-Liz for accuracy. 

Marty Gottesfeld is a political prisoner  and a senior systems engineer as well as the biological grandson and adopted son of an American rocket scientist. In 2017, Rolling Stone featured Marty as “The hacker who cared too much” for his courageous defense of a young girl named Justina Pelletier. He has single-handedly knocked all of Harvard offline and he’s really good at math. To donate to free him, go to www.freemartyg.com