Recursive Fury: Facts and misrepresentations

By John Cook
Posted on 22 March 2013
Filed under Cognition
and Stephan Lewandowsky
Professor, School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol

Our paper Recursive fury: conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation has been published. The paper analyzed the public discourse in response to an earlier article by Lewandowsky, Oberauer, and Gignac (LOG12 for short from here on), which has led to some discussion on this blog earlier.

Refreshingly, the journal Frontiers makes all papers available for free with no paywall. Another unique feature of this journal is that readers can post comments directly beneath the abstract. Unfortunately this has led to the posting of a number of misrepresentations of the paper.

In this post, I’ll be addressing some of these misconceptions (but being careful to practise what I preach, will adopt the principles of the Debunking Handbook when I debunk the misconceptions). So here are some key facts about the Recursive Fury paper:

Conspiracy theorists are those who display the characteristics of conspiracy ideation

Yep, just stating the obvious, right? Recursive Fury establishes, from the peer-reviewed literature, the traits of conspiracist ideation, which is the technical term for a cognitive style commonly known as “conspiratorial thinking”. Our paper featured 6 criteria for conspiratorial thinking:

  1. Nefarious Intent: Assuming that the presumed conspirators have nefarious intentions. For example, if person X assumes that blogger Y colluded with the New York Times to publish a paper damaging to X, then X presumes nefarious intent on the part of Y.
  2. Persecuted Victim: Self-identifying as the victim of an organised persecution.
  3. Nihilistic Skepticism: Refusing to believe anything that doesn’t fit into the conspiracy theory. Note that “conspiracy theory” here is a fairly broad term and need not involve a global conspiracy (e.g., that NASA faked the moon landing) but can refer to small-scale events and hypotheses.
  4. Nothing occurs by Accident: Weaving any small random event into the conspiracy narrative.
  5. Something Must be Wrong: Switching liberally between different, even contradictory conspiracy theories that have in common only the presumption that there is something wrong in the official account by the alleged conspirators. Thus, people may simultaneously believe that Princess Diana faked her own death and that she was assassinated by MI5.
  6. Self-Sealing reasoning: Interpreting any evidence against the conspiracy as evidence for the conspiracy. For example, when climate scientists are exonerated of any wrong-doing 9 times over by different investigations, this is reinterpreted to imply that the climate-change conspiracy involves not just the world’s climate scientists but also the investigating bodies and associated governments.

We then went on to identify responses to LOG12 that exhibited these criteria. Our analysis was entirely based on whether or not public statements conformed to the criteria just listed—we made no comment on the merit of any criticism (except in cases where speculations were plain wrong).

A common misrepresentation of Recursive Fury is articulated by one commenter who says “conspiratorial ideation is defined in such a way that any criticism of LOG12, whether true or false, comes under that heading.” Actually, our criteria for conspiracist ideation come from a number of peer-reviewed examinations of conspiratorial thinking and have nothing to do with the substance of any criticism of LOG12. Our objective in Recursive Fury was to demonstrate that some of those criteria arguably applied to the public discourse surrounding LOG12. It does not follow that any criticism of LOG12 involves conspiratorial thinking. Of course not. But if some (not all) critics of a paper on the role of conspiratorial thinking in science denial engage in, well, conspiratorial thinking in response, that’s of scholarly interest.

The criteria for conspiracist ideation are applicable without regard to a statement’s truth or falsity. Recursive Fury is not about defending LOG12. On the contrary, this latest paper puts on the scholarly record many criticisms of LOG12 that had previously been limited to blogs, and it did so without evaluating or rebutting the substance of those criticisms. Some defence!

A few critics have complained that we didn’t include their methodological critiques of LOG12. Such critiques do not fit the conspiracist criteria, which is why they weren’t included. Those critics are welcome to submit rejoinders or comments on LOG12 to the journal in question.

A range of different conspiracy theories are posted in Recursive Fury

Recursive Fury reports and analyzes a number of conspiracy theories regarding LOG12. These range from “global climate activist operation” to “ringleader for conspiratorial activities by the green climate bloggers,” to Stephan Lewandowsky receiving millions of dollars to run The Conversation.

Some folk are able to overlook these many documented instances and insist that “There is no ‘conspiracy’ Mr. Lewandowsky - no matter how many times you try to manufacture one.” Recursive Fury documents a whole spectrum of conspiracy theories. As you get further into the paper, the conspiracy theories become broader and more extreme until you get to my personal favourite – maths professor Kevin Judd being the grand poobah of the “global climate activist operation” at the University of Western Australia. Somehow, those who insist "there are no conspiracies" manage to skip over entire sections of the paper.

It appears that “conspiracy denial” may be another phenomenon associated with climate denial. One blogger cannot see that his claim that climate scientists “colluded with government officials to avoid the law” is conspiratorial. Similarly, another blogger thinks accusing the University of Western Australia of being “a base for this global climate activism operation” is not a conspiratorial hypothesis because he didn’t use the word “conspiracy”.

The Supplementary Material is “raw data”

As well as the Recursive Fury paper, we also published Supplementary Material containing excerpts from blog posts and some comments relevant to the various observed recursive theories. In the paper, we characterise this as “raw data” - all the comments that we encountered that are relevant to the different theories. In contrast, the “processed data” are the excerpted quotes featured in the final paper, where we match the various recursive theories to the conspiracist criteria outlined above.

One misrepresentation of Recursive Fury is that we accuse Professor Richard Betts of the Met Office of being a conspiracy theorist because one of his quotes appears in our raw data. This inclusion of a relevant comment in the raw data of a Supplementary Material document was reported in hyperventilating fashion by one blogger as a spectacular carcrash. However, there is no mention of Professor Betts in our final paper and we are certainly not claiming that he is a conspiracy theorist. To claim otherwise is to ignore what we say about the online supplement in the paper itself. The presence of the comment in the supplementary material just attests to the thoroughness of our daily Google search. 

Nevertheless, I can see how this misunderstanding arose. The Supplementary Material features the heading "Excerpt Espousing Conspiracy Theory" referring to the excerpted quotes that we pasted into the spreadsheet. In hindsight, the heading should have been  "Excerpt relevant to a recursive theory", because the criterion for inclusion was simply whether or not they referred to one of the hypotheses. The analysis of conspiracist ideation occurred after that, and involved the criteria mentioned at the outset.

In this context, it is important to point out that one reason we made the raw data available is for other scholars to be able to cast an alternative interpretative light on the public discourse relating to LOG12. As we note explicitly in the abstract, it is possible that alternative scholarly interpretations can be put forward, and the peer-reviewed literature is the appropriate forum for such analysis.

LOG12 is in press

The original “Moon Landing” paper (referred to as LOG12) is still in press and due to be published soon. The fact that there was a long delay between acceptance and publication is one of the quirks of the peer-review publication process. Sometimes a paper can move from acceptance to publication with surprising speed (as was the case with Recursive Fury). Sometimes it can take months.

However, this random timing has been over-interpreted by many parties, consistent with the “Nothing occurs by Accident” criteria. For example, one commenter argues that “LOG12 was fundemenatlly [sic] flawed from the start, and throughout. It offered no valuable insight or understanding as a result. It is clear to any rational outside observer it had one purpose - to be used to promote the authors advocacy of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming - and to demean and denigrate those who do not believe as he does. The fact this paper has never been published, as Lewandowsky's repeatedly claims, confirms this finding.” It will be interesting to see whether this commenter resists the “Something Must Be Wrong” urge when LOG12 is published or continue to assert that the research is “a fraud”.

Conclusion

Hindsight is always 20:20 but perhaps we should have anticipated the response to LOG12. The results of LOG12 implied that conspiratorial thinking is linked to climate denial, and hence might emerge in turn to defend climate denial against cognitive analysis – and that’s what happened, as we document in Recursive Fury.

Note: this post was cross-posted on Skeptical Science.

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79 Comments


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Comments 1 to 50 out of 79:

  1. Thanks once again John and Dr Lewandowsky.

    I especially love the last paragraph before the conclusion, regarding some of the discussion that has taken place on this blog and elsewhere (disclosure - I have been involved in some of them).

    Can I make a prediction? You have suggested that: "It will be interesting to see whether this commenter resists the "Something Must Be Wrong" urge......:

    I predict that he won't - and will post his usual long diatribes and he will be completely immune to any evidence or rationality that he may be incorrect. Anyone want to bet against me?
  2. Thanks guys!

    The fact that you're continuing digging this collapsing hole will provide the sceptic community with more satisfaction than you can possibly imagine.

    I think you've missed the point that "recursive fury" seems to trigger massive seratonin release in it's victims - keeping us in a continual state of hilarity.

    Now, on a more important note. I made a serious complaint here, and direct to both your universities, about fraudulent falsification in your paper of a quotation I made here.

    You twisted a remark I made suggesting Prof Lewandowsky had not contacted sceptic blog proprietors - to suggest that I believed no "human subjects" had taken your survey.

    This appears to be one of many calamitous errors in your work based on your clumsy attempt at an apology to Richard Betts above.

    My complaint was obvious taken seriously by somebody, since the offending sentence and link have disappeared from the pdf version of the "final published paper" on the Frontiers website.

    Sadly, the incompetence that has characterised all your work has prevailed and the offensive material still remains in "full text" online version of the paper on the website.

    This raises several issues:-

    1. The fact that the fraudulent and offensive statement has been removed from the pdf (and presumably print) version shows that you have acknowledged wrongdoing.

    2. The fact that it still appears in the final, published online text means that you have compounded the offence by continuing to publish material you know is wrong and offensive.

    3. The fact that there are now at least two current and different versions of the "final published paper" in circulation seems to make it worthless as a contribution to the peer reviewed academic literature.

    I will of course continue to pursue my complaint, and potential legal action, with your universities - until such time as a get a public retraction and apology in writing and on this blog.

    Meanwhile, I strongly suggest you withdraw this worthless paper, which is really just a mish-mash of its authors' hysterical prejudices wrapped up in an unconvincing tissue of pseudo-acdemic jargon.


    Foxgoose
  3. geoffchambers at 10:32 AM on 23 March, 2013
    This is the letter I’ve been trying to post at

    http://www.frontiersin.org/Personality_Science_and_Individual_Differences/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00073/abstract

    To the editors, Frontiers in Personality Science:

    In table 3 of this paper, I am mentioned by name and identified as having been the first to have mentioned in public Recursive Conspiracist Hypothesis number 4 - namely that Sceptic blogs were only contacted after a delay. This hypothesis is quite true, as Professor Lewandowsky has admitted. Nonetheless, the fact of having been the first to make this accusation leads to me being accused of exhibiting the following symptoms of conspiracist ideation: nefarious intent, nihilistic skepticism, “must be wrong”; “no accident”, and unreflexive counterfactual thinking.

    From the definitions of these criteria given in the paper I extract the following:

    Nefarious Intent: “… A corollary of the first criterion is the pervasive self-perception and self-presentation among conspiracy theorists as the victims of organized persecution. The theorist typically considers herself, at least tacitly, to be the brave antagonist of the nefarious intentions of the conspiracy; that is, the victim is also a potential hero.”

    Nihilistic Skepticism: “The conspiracy theorist refuses to believe anything that does not fit into the conspiracy theory. Thus, nothing is at it seems, and all evidence points to hidden agendas or some other meaning that only the conspiracy theorist is aware of.”

    “Must be Wrong”: “The underlying lack of trust and exaggerated suspicion contribute to a cognitive pattern whereby specific hypotheses may be abandoned when they become unsustainable, but those corrections do not impinge on the overall abstraction that `something must be wrong’ and the `official’ account must be based on deception.”

    “No Accident”: “To the conspiracy theorist, nothing happens by accident … Thus, small random events are woven into a conspiracy narrative and reinterpreted as indisputable evidence for the theory.”

    Unreflexive Counterfactual Thinking: “Contrary evidence is often interpreted as evidence for a conspiracy [...] the stronger the evidence against a conspiracy, the more the conspirators must want people to believe their version of events.”

    These definitions clearly identify me as being irrational and paranoid, and are therefore defamatory. I therefore request that you withdraw this paper.

    I note further that, in the section on hypothesis (4) (“Skeptic” blogs contacted after delay) in which I am named, only one piece of evidence is produced, and that is a quote from Lucia Lindgren. If you don’t withdraw the paper, you might at least correct it and replace my name with that of Ms Lindgren.

    However, that won’t absolve the authors of having defamed me. If we turn to hypothesis (3) “Presentation of intermediate data”, we see that the person accused of having been the first to pronounce it is Steve McIntyre. Despite the fact that this hypothesis also turned out to be true, it leads him to being accused of exhibiting the same irrational and paranoid tendencies as me, (except for “No Accident”).

    The link provided

    http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/ccc2.html#22

    leads to a comment by Dr McIntyre (comment 8) on an article by Professor Lewandowsky. However, Dr McIntyre’s comment is not about the presentation of intermediate data, but about four entirely different subjects. The reference to the presentation of intermediate data is in two previous comments by me to the same article (comments 3 and 6). In Comment 5, a commenter notes that I had already made the same point in a comment at SkepticalScience, a blog run by second author John Cook, which for some reason was not included among the blogs analysed, despite being one of the “Principal web sites involved in blogosphere’s response to the publication of LOG12” (title of table 2).

    One reason for not considering SkepticalScience, despite the fact that this blog is widely regarded as one of the leading blogs commenting on climate scepticism, can perhaps be found in the paper, where, under the heading of “Potential Limitations”, it is explained why the content analysis of blogs was entrusted to authors Cook and Marriott:

    “Two of the present authors also contributed to LOG12, and the present analysis may therefore be biased by a potential conflict of interest. This possibility cannot be ruled out [...]. [B]ecause data collection (via internet search) was conducted by two authors who were not involved in analysis or report of LOG12, the resulting “raw” data – available in the online supplementary material – cannot reflect a conflict of interest involving the LOG12 authors.”

    It might have been wise to indicate that:

    1) the two authors whose data collection “cannot reflect a conflict of interest” both run blogs which concentrate on countering the views of sceptics (SkepticalScience and WatchingtheDeniers)

    2) John Cook of Skeptical Science is coauthor with first author Stephan Lewandowsky of “Debunking Skepticism”; and

    3)SkepticalScience was the scene of some of the most lively debates about(LOG12) and of at least one of the first occurrences of a conspiracist hypothesis.

    I therefore suggest that, in the interest of accuracy, the authors replace the name of Dr McIntyre with mine, (since I do believe that my comment at Skeptical Science was the first to raise this hypothesis, the truth of which has been confirmed by Professor Lewandowsky) and my name with that of Lucia Lindgren.

    I haven’t looked at the attributions of earliest mention to the other hypotheses mentioned in table 3. However, I noticed that a quote attributed to me is false, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there are other errors.

    Finally, I would like to point out that by the time Cook and Marriott began their content analysis (August 28), the paper (LOG12) had already been the subject of numerous comments on blogs for at least five weeks, beginning with

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wray-herbert/climate-change-denial-_b_1686437.html

    19 July 2012 (400+ comments)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/jul/27/climate-sceptics-conspiracy-theorists

    29 July 2012 (1300+ comments)

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/discussion/post/1904675

    30 July 2012 (70 comments)

    http://manicbeancounter.com/2012/07/30/lewandowsky-et-al-2012-motivated-rejection-of-science-part-1/

    http://manicbeancounter.com/2012/07/30/lewandowsky-et-al-2012-motivated-rejection-of-science-part-2/

    30 July 2012

    http://talkingclimate.org/are-climate-sceptics-more-likely-to-be-conspiracy-theorists/.

    (August 2 2012)

    The claim to have identified the earliest occurrences of the conspiracist ideation starting on 28 August is therefore moot.

    I therefore respectfully suggest that the wisest course might be to withdraw this paper.
  4. geoffchambers at 18:42 PM on 23 March, 2013
    corrections to my comment 3 above:
    For “Lucia Lindgren” read “Lucia Liljegren”
    For:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/jul/27/climate-sceptics-conspiracy-theorists
    19 July 2012 (400+ comments)
    read:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wray-herbert/climate-change-denial-_b_1686437.html
    19 July 2012 (400+ comments)
  5. Wow! I did a quick search on Geoff chambers after reading his protestations above. He has a blog. On it he notes that the first few comments at the journal include:

    "Michael Ashley (05 Feb 2013 at 11:25am) Interesting… the first two comments are positive ones and within a minute of each other… Coincidence? I sense a conspiracy! I’m sure that this will convince the climate deniers that Lewandowsky et al have instructed their friends to comment."

    From this he concludes:

    "Be clear what's going on here...

    The authors of the second paper plot together with three of their colleagues (two professors and a university official) arranging for them to be the first to comment on the paper on the journal’s website. The comments ridicule anyone who might comment on the paper, pre-empting their criticisms by accusing them of conspiratorial thinking."

    Mind boggling!

    What I don't understand is why there is such a concentration of this kind of thinking on the contrarian side. Is contrarianism attractive to the conspiratorial mind?
  6. geoffchambers at 04:08 AM on 24 March, 2013
    layzej at 01:15 AM on 24 March, 2013

    “What I don't understand is why there is such a concentration of this kind of thinking on the contrarian side. Is contrarianism attractive to the conspiratorial mind?”

    Of course it is, almost by definition. People who doubt the consensus view on one subject are likely to doubt the consensus view on another.

    The problem is that LOG12 was so sloppily designed and carried out that it fails to establish this very unsurprising finding. Questions about the Oklahoma bombing and the death of Lady Di, with no possibility of ticking “don’t know”; no quality control; an age range of 10 to 95; no demographics; no results in percentage terms in the paper - it’s unbelievably bad research.

    Criticise the research and the paper and you’re a conspiracy theorist. Well, of course we are. If three people getting together in private to do something wrong is a conspiracy, then LOG12 was one, and Recursive Fury was another.
  7. Hi geoffchambers,

    So you agree their findings - that there is a link between contrarianism and conspirational thinking - just not their methods?
  8. John Cook/Stephan Lewandowsky

    I am reduced to posting here once more because commenters at Cook's Skeptical Science site are dissecting comments of mine without me being able to correct untruthful statements.

    John Cook should contemplate the ethics of his site, where he locks out dissenting commentators while giving free reign to his regulars to continue to attack them - is this the conduct of an academic researcher or an activist?

    Tom Curtis recently said there:-

    10:57 AM on 24 March, 2013

    Further to Geoff Chambers @40:

    1)  I note that you do not find Foxgoose's suggestion that Lewandowsky and co-authors had determined the survey results before the conducted the survey absurd.  Also noted that you don't think that that would invovle any sort of conspiracy (despite the fact that at least three would be involved.

    2)  I am aware that Shollenberger found three misquotations, which as I understand it are being corrected prior to publication.  I am unaware of his finding quotes in the paper that are not in the "raw data" and doubt that is relevant.


    Two blatant untruths there:-

    1) I never alleged that Lewandowsky had "determined the survey results before he conducted the survey". I did observe that he presented the preliminary results on September 23rd - the very same day he sent invitations, inviting sceptic groups to participate. Since the subjects he was seeking were more likely to be found on their own sceptic blogs rather than hostile consensus blogs - this anomaly pointed to a biased methodology and a meaningless result.

    2) Tom should try reading the links in the stuff he ploughs through before making his verbose pronouncements. If he did, he would know that the fraudulent quotation attributed to me WAS left in the online final published version of the paper (although removed from the pdf). Malice or incompetence? - hard to say where both are to be found in such rich abundance.

    Perhaps you could do the fair thing and repost this at SkS to correct the record - although I won't hold my breath.

    I am also puzzled by Tom's conversion from being the public scourge of your original paper when it was first announced (I almost forgot and said "published") to being one it its more vocal defenders. I recall in September 2012 when Tom said at SkS:-

    Given the low number of “skep­tical” respond­ents overall; these two scammed responses sig­ni­fic­antly affect the res­ults regarding con­spiracy theory ideation. Indeed, given the dubious inter­pret­a­tion of weakly agreed responses (see pre­vious post), this paper has no data worth inter­preting with regard to con­spiracy theory ideation. It is my strong opinion that the paper should be have its pub­lic­a­tion delayed while under­going a sub­stan­tial rewrite. The rewrite should indicate expli­citly why the responses regarding con­spiracy theory ideation are in fact worth­less, and con­cen­trate solely on the result regarding free market beliefs (which has a strong enough a response to be sal­vage­able). If this is not pos­sible, it should simply be withdrawn.


    Six months is obviously a long time in climate politics - I hope his re-education wasn't too traumatic.
  9. I think I should become a professional psychic.

    It took virtally no time at all for my prediction at post #1 to be fulfilled. I think it was because the authors and I are involed in a conspiracy to subvert the peer review process.
  10. A coauthor of this paper
    Marriot write as the blogger - Watching the Deniers -

    Whilst researching this paper, MArriot was also writing article about LOG12 in defence of Lewandowsky et al (LOG12) and articles against the critics of LOG 12. in quite disparaging terms (as is his right)

    I am known to him, prior and durring the research period

    I commented here, politely on his first article: (pointing out only antis-sceptic blogs surveyed)
    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/conspircism-and-climate-scepticism-empirical-research-confrims-what-we-all-know-and-some-predictions/#comments
    August 31, 2012 at 12-33 pm

    more articles by Marriot – Watching the Deniers, about Lewandowsky LOG12 (attacking everybody)

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/climate-deniers-object-to-being-called-conspiracy-theorists-propose-conspiracy-to-explain-why-labelled-such/

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/climate-deniers-fail-to-check-in-boxes-hilarity-and-fake-scandal-ensures-in-box-gate-anyone/

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/denial-101-the-academic-study-of-climate-scepticism-as-diagnostic-and-risk-management-tool-first-draft/

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/dear-marc-morano-we-say-climate-change-you-say-nasa-moon-walkers-nasa-moon-walkers-nasa-hoax/

    The one below about Lewandosky LOG12 and Watts response,note the graphic my named WUWT article, stamped “Verified bullshit”

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/watts-explains-why-lewandowsky-paper-on-conspiracy-theories-is-wrong-its-a-conspiracy-between-john-cook-and-the-prof/

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/inboxgate-names-of-sceptic-bloggers-contacted-revealed-for-nasa-paper-sceptics-still-not-happy/

    In the article below, (in Comments) Marriot says he tracking the comments of high profile sceptics

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/a-cabal-of-bankers-and-sister-souljah-lewandowsky-versus-the-extreme-sceptic-fringe/

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/stormy-teacups-misrepresenting-recursive-fury/

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/versiongate-inboxgate-and-now-niwagate-or-when-denial-echo-chambers-implode/

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/inbox-gate-ok-now-its-getting-just-plain-silly/

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/inbox-gate-continues-desmogblog-notes-sceptic-blogs-responded-to-lewandowsky-request/

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/climate-deniers-fail-to-check-in-boxes-hilarity-and-fake-scandal-ensures-in-box-gate-anyone/

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/lewandowsky-et-al-versus-the-were-not-conspiracy-theorists-but-brigade-part-1/


    Marriot does not seem to like Jo Nova, Anthony Watts,Marc Morano, Lord Moncton or Andrew Bolt.


    In the article below, I have (or try to) a polite exchange, saying perhaps his blog name is atagonistic, and discuss how I’d changed my my blog name, so as to make it easier to engage. (he’s not buying it)

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/psa-community-and-discussion-guidelines-published-under-about-wtd/#comment-14661

    I’ve made a number of comments on his blog, anyone can see that I have been civil and polite and attempted to engage, he states he has been tracking people, and is clearly not a neutral party to this debate.

    Just for fun.. (non Lewandowsky) another article of his, with his now favourite graphic,my article at WUWT stamped – Verified Bullshit

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/anthony-watts-cherry-picks-quote-about-record-greenland-melt-surprised-hardly/

    The orginal article with my WUWT post (which I only came across this weekend) stamped verified bullshit, and accusations of ‘misinformation’, cherry picking: tagged BULLSHIT, DENIER, DISINFORMATION

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/here-we-go-again-watts-up-with-that-pushing-the-no-consensus-myth/

    “This post is authored by well-known climate “sceptic” Barry Woods: – Watching the Deniers (Marriot)

    I might ask both the universities involved the ethics committee, is this really an appropriate researcher for this paper

    I might ask the journal the same, and ask the authors, please remove my name and my quote from this paper and maybe a statement that my name appearing in the suplemntary data does not mean I conspiracy theorist. (as they have perfomed this action with Professor Richard Betts)

    Professor Richard Betts response to his name being included, was was refreshing.
  11. Hi Foxgoose,

    Regarding your comment: "I hope his re-education wasn't too traumatic"

    It is somewhat surprising that you would speculate on re-education programmes in response to a paper linking contrarianism with conspiratorial thinking. There are certainly more plausible reasons that Tom Curtis may both defend and criticize the paper - including the possibility that his views are nuanced.
  12. layzej


    Nuance "a small degree of difference or shade in meaning"

    I don't think calling for a paper to be withdrawn one day and supporting it six months later is nuance layze - not even under hockeystick rules.

    I note you didn't take issue with the main points of my comment - which is encouraging.
  13. Hi Foxgoose,

    Ok. He underwent re-education. I'm not inclined to argue - although it would be interesting to hear who may have engineered the re-education and why they failed to muzzle him in the first place.

    Regarding your other points about what you did or did not say and whether Tom should reread posts. I'm not sure why I should take issue with either one.
  14. I have made my concerns known to the authors via, twitter, Frontiers, and the authors articles on Skeptical Science and this article on Professor Lewandowsky's blog.. and presumably they have been read... just not yet addressed or acknowledged.

    I believe I have given the author every opportunity to respond and time to address my minimal concerns listed earlier.

    The authors were very quick to respond to Richard Betts queries. They have made no response or acknowledgement to me, I believe I am due the same courtesy
  15. Barry Woods @13

    "....Marriot does not seem to like Jo Nova, Anthony Watts,Marc Morano, Lord Moncton or Andrew Bolt...."

    No scientist likes them - they are demonstrated liars who misrepresent the science for ideological reasons.

    @17
    "....I have made my concerns known to the authors via, twitter, Frontiers, and the authors articles on Skeptical Science and this article on Professor Lewandowsky's blog......They have made no response or acknowledgement to me, I believe I am due the same courtesy..."

    No Barry, you are not "due" any courtesy at all. When you fill up blog threads with the sort of long rambling posts that you make, and demand a response, you sort of negate the respect that would be forthcoming to a normal person. How about - if you have issues with the paper - you do what a scientists does; write to the journal in question.
  16. 18#

    I have asked the authors a question and expressed my concerns, to give them an opportunity to respond. Which they have not acknowledged or responded too.

    I have also contacted the journal.
  17. mandas at 09:38 AM on 26 March, 2013
    Barry Woods @13

    "....Marriot does not seem to like Jo Nova, Anthony Watts,Marc Morano, Lord Moncton or Andrew Bolt...."

    No scientist likes them .....


    Message from planet earth to mandas - Marriott isn't a scientist - he's a paper pusher at a Melbourne law firm.

    The "Climate Realities Research" institution he quotes in his credentials for the paper doesn't exist - he made it up.

    Read the personal information on his "Watching the Deniers' blog - it's all there.

    Assuming you can Google and read on your planet.
  18. Darrell Harb at 19:00 PM on 26 March, 2013
    mandas:
    I think it was because the authors and I are involed in a conspiracy to subvert the peer review process.
    Even if you have to redefine what the peer-reviewed literature is?
  19. Darrell Harb at 19:09 PM on 26 March, 2013
    layzej:
    So you agree their findings - that there is a link between contrarianism and conspirational thinking - just not their methods?
    Conspirational?! ROFL
  20. Darrell Harb at 19:46 PM on 26 March, 2013
    Some "conspiration :-) theories" are true.

    For example, we all too often mistake the nature of UNFCCC negotiations. We think of them as being concerned with some sort of environmental treaty. That is far from the case. The negotiations that led to the Copenhagen agreement were in effect diplomacy at the most profound global level. They dealt with every aspect of our life and they influence every aspect of our economy, our society, our relationship with the developing world, our relationship with the environment as well.

    Someone needs to say this clearly: they're redistributing the world's wealth de facto via climate politics. You have to free yourself from the illusion that international climate politics is environmental politics. It has almost nothing to do with environmental policy (problems like deforestation and the ozone hole) any more.
  21. Darrell Harb at 19:47 PM on 26 March, 2013
    It's inevitable that the owners of coal and oil aren't thrilled about this.

    Their strategy has always been to attack the messenger, discredit the science and scientists, and fool the public. We've seen this for decades. Its the same playbook that for example the tobacco industry, the chemical industry, and the pharmaceutical industry have all used to try to discredit science demonstrating potential adverse effects from the use of their product. The fossil fuel industry has taken it to a whole other level however.

    We literally have the most powerful industry that ever existed on earth using much of their resources to smear the science and confuse the public about the adverse effects to our world of fossil fuel burning. History will look back most unkindly on industry-funded individuals and groups  who sought to intentionally mislead the public about the reality and threat of human-caused climate change.

    But I do think that there has been such a concerted, well-funded smear campaign against climate science and climate scientists by industry front groups and the far right, that even some reasonable people may be rather confused now about the facts. That of course is the intent of the industry-funded disinformation campaign. It’s not hard to imagine basements full of individuals financed by Koch-funded front groups whose job it is to post climate change disinformation and smears to newsgroups, blog comments, and news article threads. In fact, we know this sort of thing is going up (google "HB Gary"). Sometimes it difficult to distinguish real commenters from the ringers/hired hands.

    It is clear that there is a campaign in terms of either organised or disorganised email threats to discourage alarmist climate scientists from presenting the best available climate science on television or radio.
  22. Darrell Harb at 20:54 PM on 26 March, 2013
    So, you see: just because you're conspirationally ideating, doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

    :-)
  23. Hi moderators
    anonymous user mandas seems to be running foul of your comments and moderation policy.
    Moderator Response: [JC] Mandas' comment that contained an ad hominem remark has been moderated. I have also moderated a number of comments featuring accusation of deception or inflammatory remarks.
  24. Does the following count as a Conspiracist Ideation, or simple delusional thinking?

    It is clear that there is a campaign in terms of either organised or disorganised email threats to discourage alarmist climate scientists from presenting the best available climate science on television or radio.
  25. And I second Foxgoose. Any response to the allegations made by CA, Geoff or WUWT? And that Frontiers has taken the paper down once again?
  26. How about this... is this Conspiracist Ideation, would you think?

    "...is part of a destructive public-relations campaign being waged by fossil fuel companies, front groups, and individuals aligned with them in an effort to discredit the science ..."
  27. Darrell Harb at 20:33 PM on 29 March, 2013
    "It is clear that there is a campaign in terms of either organised or disorganised email threats to discourage alarmist climate scientists from presenting the best available climate science on television or radio."
    Oops—forgot to cite my source: Professor David Karoly, a serious climate scientist at the University of Melbourne. He was speaking to the staunchly consensualist ABC. From the same article:
    Australia's peak body for science has also condemned the campaign of death threats.

    The Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies' CEO, Anna-Maria Arabia, says the extreme behaviour represents a worrying trend and political leaders must put a stop to the misinformation campaign.
    Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/05/3235810.htm?site=canberra
  28. Messrs Lewandowsky & Cook

    Encore……

    I understand this blog is a publicly financed, UWA endorsed forum and both of you have used it extensively to promote and explain your work and attack your critics.

    You are now being openly accused, throughout the blogosphere, of telling lies to people who have enquired about the methodology of your original LOG12 paper and of fraudulent data in the paper itself.

    In a nutshell - you have implied that the vast majority of responses to your questionnaire came from John Cook's climate activist blog, Skeptical Science - and you have used statistics from visitors there to estimate the number of sceptics who may have seen it.

    Meanwhile, multiple lines of evidence from internet archives, FOIA requests and direct email correspondence seem to prove conclusively that the relevant questionnaire was never posted on the SkS website.

    Jo Nova gives a neat summary of your predicament here -


    http://joannenova.com.au/2013/03/lewandowsky-cook-claim-78000-skeptics-could-see-conspiracy-survey-at-cooks-site-where-he-didnt-even-put-up-a-link/


    It seems to me you both now have a simple choice, either -

    1. Produce some evidence that a link to the questionnaire was posted at SkS.

    2. Withdraw the paper, apologise for the lies and consider a career change - I'm sure your many followers here will be able to supply some appropriate suggestions.

    Your fans are waiting - don't let them down
  29. That would be Michael Mann.
  30. Darrell Harb at 15:02 PM on 30 March, 2013
    mct,

    d'oh! I should have guessed.

    This is a fun game! Your turn... A two-parter:

    CONSPIRACY THEORY 1. We all too often mistake the nature of UNFCCC negotiations. We think of them as being concerned with some sort of environmental treaty. That is far from the case. The negotiations that led to the Copenhagen agreement were in effect diplomacy at the most profound global level. They dealt with every aspect of our life and they influence every aspect of our economy, our society, our relationship with the developing world, our relationship with the environment as well.

    Whose Ideation Is That™?

    CONSPIRACY THEORY 2. Someone needs to say this clearly: they're redistributing the world's wealth de facto via climate politics. You have to free yourself from the illusion that international climate politics is environmental politics. It has almost nothing to do with environmental policy (problems like deforestation and the ozone hole) any more.

    Whose Ideation Is That™?
  31. Darrell,

    This is fun, I agree!

    No idea on the first one (and google would be cheating) but the second one is some European economist chappie I think... Dellers quoted him at some point perhaps?

    As I've only got (at best) half a point out of two, I offer up a gimme...

    Whose Ideation Is Thattm

    "Anthony Watts has responded on his blog but if I put a link to it he will discover that I’ve written about him and instruct his winged monkeys to fill my comment section with hate"
  32. Darrell Harb at 19:11 PM on 30 March, 2013
    mct,

    The quotee for CONSPIRACY THEORY 1 ("They dealt with every aspect of our life and they influence every aspect of our economy, our society, our relationship with the developing world..." etc.) is Australia's Chief Climate Commissioner Professor Tim Flannery.

    The quotee for CONSPIRACY THEORY 2 ("Man muß sich von der Illusion freimachen, daß die Klimapolitik Umweltpolitik ist..." to quote the original German) was Ottmar Edenhofer, who's not only an alarmist economist chappie but an IPCC heavy-hitter.

    I had to cheat by googling your question... the answer is Osama's less-well-adjusted cousin, right? :-)

    Here's one you may recognise:

    CONSPIRACY THEORY 3. As far as your blog is concerned, bear in mind that it is yours and that you can shut down any comment and run any moderation policy that you want. That still doesn’t make it easier to receive those hateful utterances in the first place, but at least it gives you some sense of control to shut them down. Bear in mind that a proportion of those comments is orchestrated and for all we know there are only a handful of people with multiple electronic “personas” each, who are paid to create disproportionate noise.

    Whose Ideation Is That™? Any guesses? :-p
  33. Darrell

    .....for all we know there are only a handful of people with multiple electronic “personas” each, who are paid to create disproportionate noise


    Gosh - whoever wrote that must have been in the final throes of terminal "conspiracy ideation".

    They obviously need immediate help - perhaps we could put them in touch with a specialist in the field.

    Tell us who wrote it and we'll all do our best to help.
  34. Foxgoose et al - this is getting ridiculous. The number of climate infidels posting here is making the peer reviewed proportion of 20.00% look rather flakey. However, I'm afraid I'm going to add to the conspiracy ideation metric.

    There are serious issues of academic misconduct that need to be addressed here. Not to mention invasion of privacy and defamation. Jonova has an excellent summary of the (rather sordid) play to date. And stumps are a long way from being drawn.
  35. Darrell Harb at 20:58 PM on 30 March, 2013

    Foxgoose,

    They obviously need immediate help - perhaps we could put them in touch with a specialist in the field.

    Tell us who wrote it and we'll all do our best to help.



    I fear the lewnatic in question is beyond help.



    Surely you don't......... you can't... mean the disturbed individual who wrote -

    .....for all we know there are only a handful of people with multiple electronic “personas” each, who are paid to create disproportionate noise


    ...was himself a distinguished professor in the field of climate psychology - that would surely overload all our irony meters beyond hope of repair.
  36. Darrell Harb at 23:14 PM on 30 March, 2013
    Foxgoose,
    Surely you don't......... you can't... mean the disturbed individual who wrote -

    .....for all we know there are only a handful of people with multiple electronic “personas” each, who are paid to create disproportionate noise

    ...was himself a distinguished professor in the field of climate psychology
    I'm afraid so. In the climate movement, it seems the inmates are running the asylum!
    that would surely overload all our irony meters beyond hope of repair.
    They say Antarctic explorers and International Space Station caretakers get their vermiform appendices removed before embarkation, as prophylaxis. Likewise, it may be advisable to leave your sense of irony behind when venturing into the remote vastness of the climate blogosphere, lest it become inflamed and cause agony of the right iliac fossa.
  37. I think that might be "recursive prophylaxis".

    Oh, and Darrell gets a big tick...
  38. Darrell Harb at 19:16 PM on 31 March, 2013
    Yawn.

    Where are you, True Believers?

    Hello?

    Hey Foxgoose, mct etc.—ever notice how our catastrophist cousins have a mortal aversion to open debate? The ref has to be in their corner (à la the sheltered workshop that is SkepicalScience) or they won't even show their faces, will they? The dawn of glasnost at STW must have sent them scurrying :-).

    Cowards and Untermenschen, one and all.
  39. John Cook

    You moderated a comment above thus:-

    Barry Woods at 22:16 PM on 27 March, 2013
    Hi moderators
    anonymous user mandas seems to be running foul of your comments and moderation policy.


    Moderator Response: [JC] Mandas' comment that contained an ad hominem remark has been moderated. I have also moderated a number of comments featuring accusation of deception or inflammatory remarks.


    But, a few months ago an anonymous moderator moderated a post of mine thus:-


    Foxgoose at 22:29 PM on 11 September, 2012
    J Bowers at 21:57 PM on 11 September, 2012

    By popping up as a commenter at a site he is actually operating and moderating without revealing the fact maybe?

    I did say "new dimension to the concept".

    Just imagine the furore if Climate Audit, WUWT and Bishop Hill all turned out to be registered to the same guy.

    Prof Lew & Gleick would have to be given intravenous sedation.

    Moderator Response: John Cook does not moderate at this site. Cease with that particular conspiracy theory; it is now OT.


    So, John, if you don't moderate this site, who is the "JC" moderating today?

    Or have we caught you out in yet another of the "little white lies" that seem so necessary to oil the wheels of "climate science"?
  40. Darrell Harb at 04:14 AM on 1 April, 2013
    So, John, if you don't moderate this site, who is the "JC" moderating today?
    "J.C."? It's an Easter Sunday miracle!
  41. This thread now makes little sense, because a good quarter of the comments have been disappeared. Why on Earth - given said comments have been public for days now - would you bother to do that?

    And the idiocy that it's the "other" JC moderating, not John Cook. Again, why insult people's intelligence like that?

    Untermenschen doesn't begin to describe it, really it doesn't.
  42. Darrell Harb at 07:04 AM on 1 April, 2013
    mct:

    "This thread now makes little sense, because a good quarter of the comments have been disappeared."

    You sound surprised. JC and his disciples are notorious climate deletionists—you seriously didn't know this?

    "Why on Earth - given said comments have been public for days now - would you bother to do that?"

    It's just in their nature, mct.

    Don't look for any kind of instrumental or psychological rhyme or reason to it, just take screenshots. The SS kidz are the Phil Jones of blog curation—the Big Tobacco of evidence preservation—nothing more.
  43. I would have done so had it been important to me, but really it isn't.

    I just despair of the immaturity of the whole thing, I really do. Every now and then I have to let the frustration at seeing grown men act like complete idiots out.
  44. Darrell Harb at 13:15 PM on 1 April, 2013
    I feel you, mct!

    :-)
  45. Darrell Harb at 20:39 PM on 1 April, 2013
    Untermenschen doesn't begin to describe it, really it doesn't.
    Sorry mct, I'm trying my best ;-) ... how about Morlocks?
  46. Love your work.
  47. Barry Woods at 18:20 PM on 2 April, 2013
    question to the moderators - do you find mandas (an anonymous coward) statement, that I'm not a normal person acceptable. I have complained once, and coming back to look after Easter with my kids, I find it still present, despite my complaints.


    "When you fill up blog threads with the sort of long rambling posts that you make, and demand a response, you sort of negate the respect that would be forthcoming to a normal person."

    I am named identifiable person, well known in the climate debate, and this is unacceptable, by your own comments policy..

    my wife family and friends consider me 'normal' for this to be allowed here, of all places is unacceptable, (a publically funded website.)

    please moderate.
  48. Moderators

    Many people on this and other websites use pseudonyms for a range of reasons. To be called an 'anonymous coward' for doing so is unacceptable and is contrary to the moderation policy which prohibits ad hominem attacks.

    I respectively request that Barry Woods post #47 be moderated.
  49. Darrell Harb at 10:03 AM on 3 April, 2013
    I agree, mandas. You're not an 'anonymous coward.'

    You're

    1. pseudonymous and not particularly creative about it ("mandas")

    2. a coward who insults people as an excuse not to grapple with their ideas ("No Barry, you are not "due" any courtesy at all. When you fill up blog threads with the sort of long rambling posts that you make, and demand a response, you sort of negate the respect that would be forthcoming to a normal person.")

    The implication of these data is that you are a pseudonymous coward. Note to moderators: this is not an argumentum ad hominem (bad person -> bad argument) but an inference from the evidence (dishonorable comments -> dishonorable person).

    I quite like you though, mandas—you brought the Harb family great mirth by constructing and promptly falling into your own pompous trap in your gambit to delegitimise Barry: "How about - if you have issues with the paper - you do what a scientists does; write to the journal in question."

    ROFL
  50. Why thank you Darrell,

    It is my goal in life to bring joy and happiness into the lives of those who are less fortunate than myself.

    But I fear you are mistaken with some of your assertions. You suggest that it was a gambit of mine to 'delegtimise' Barry. On the contrary, he requires no assistance from me at all.

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