Stephan Lewandowsky

Professor, School of Experimental Psychology and Cabot Institute, University of Bristol

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky is a cognitive scientist in the School of Psychology and a member of the Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol in the UK.

His research covers a number of issues, among them the role of scepticism in memory updating and the distinction between scepticism and denial; the way in which people process uncertainty surrounding climate change; and the normative implications of scientific uncerainty in the climate system.

He has published over 140 papers, chapters, and scholarly books on how people remember and think, plus several other papers in climate-science journals. His latest book on “computational modeling in cognition” draws together strands from philosophy of science, mathematics, and computer science to illustrate how cognitive scientists can best learn to understand how a complex system such as the mind operates.

He received a Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award from the Australian Research Council in 2011 and a Wolfson Research Merit Award from the Royal Society in 2013.

He is also an award-winning teacher of statistics.

More biographical detail including a list of all his scholarly publications can be found on his academic homepage at www.cogsciWA.com.

Stephan has regularly contributed to national debate and links to some of his pieces in the Australian and international media can be found here.

Blog Posts

Responding and Adapting to Climate Change: A Meeting at the University of Bristol

Posted on 12 August 2014 by Stephan Lewandowsky

“Uncertainty, uncertainty, uncertainty … so why should we bother to act?”

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Well-estimated global warming by climate models

Posted on 20 July 2014 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Has global warming “stopped”? Do models “over-predict” warming? There has been much recent talk in the media about those two questions. The answer to the first question is a fairly clear “no.” Global warming continues unabated.

Read more... 20 comments


The Frontiers Expert Panel

Posted on 16 April 2014 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Updated below: 17 April 2014

Read more... 78 comments


Clarifying a revisited retraction

Posted on 13 April 2014 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Frontiers has issued a further statement on the retraction of our paper “Recursive Fury” (available at uwa.edu.au/recursivefury). This statement is signed by their editor in chief. It cannot be reconciled with the contractually agreed retraction statement signed by the journal and the authors on 20th March.

Read more... 46 comments


The analysis of speech

Posted on 9 April 2014 by Stephan Lewandowsky

What constitutes legitimate analysis of speech?

Read more... 181 comments


Revisiting a Retraction

Posted on 7 April 2014 by Stephan Lewandowsky

The journal Frontiers retracted our “Recursive Fury” paper on 21 March. Frontiers withdrew Recursive Fury due to legal fears, not academic or ethical reasons. The paper—probably the most widely-read article ever published by Frontiers—can now be found at uwa.edu.au/recursivefury.

Read more... 138 comments


Recursive Fury: A Summary of Media Coverage

Posted on 4 April 2014 by Stephan Lewandowsky

The journal Frontiers retracted our “Recursive Fury” paper some time ago not for academic or ethical reasons but owing to legal fears. The paper can now be found at uwa.edu.au/recursivefury because the University of Western Australia has come to a different risk assessment and sees no reason not to host the paper.

Read more... 59 comments


More Bandwidth for 'Recursive Fury'

Posted on 25 March 2014 by Stephan Lewandowsky

One of my most widely read papers, "Recursive Fury", was recently retracted by the journal Frontiers even though they found no academic or ethical problems with the paper. The reasons underlying this decision are outlined here and here.

Read more... 3 comments


Recursive Fury goes recurrent

Posted on 21 March 2014 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Some 18 months ago I published a paper with colleagues Oberauer and Gignac that reported a survey of visitors to climate blogs which established a small, but significant, association between the endorsement of conspiracy theories and the rejection of several scientific propositions, including the fact that the earth is warming from greenhouse gases. The effects reported in that paper have since been replicated with a representative sample of Americans. No scholarly critique of either paper has been submitted for peer review to any journal to date.

Read more... 155 comments


Disinformation, water scarcity, and conflict: Opinions have ethical implications

Posted on 9 February 2014 by Stephan Lewandowsky

This article by Suzanne Goldenberg in The Guardian caught my attention because it points to another potential source of violent conflict from climate change, namely the depletion of water in some parts of the world. To quote from her article:

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Disinformation, migration, conflict: Opinions have ethical implications

Posted on 1 February 2014 by Stephan Lewandowsky

[8.2.14: Update below] This new type of post, identified by the icon at the right, is intended to draw attention to interesting articles in the scientific literature. I came across an article by Valerie Mueller and colleagues in Nature Climate Change that examined the effects of weather extremes on migration within Pakistan. This research attracted my attention because it meshes nicely with our recent work on climate change and the risk of conflict. Although our work focuses in particular on how misinformation contributes to exacerbating those risks, any evidence for the linkage between extreme weather events and potential conflict triggers is of interest to us.

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Antarctic Confusions

Posted on 2 January 2014 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Australia is home to The Australian, a flagship product of Rupert Murdoch's stable of media organs. Although The Australian is technically a broadsheet, it sadly has a track record of distortion and misrepresentation when it comes to climate reporting.

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Iraq, Climate, and the Media

Posted on 6 December 2013 by Stephan Lewandowsky

The "97%" blog at The Guardian was generous enough to run a piece by me on the similarities and dissimilarities between the media coverage in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the current reporting of climate change. There is no point in reiterating the piece here, but it may be worthwhile to point to the underlying scholarly article that appeared in American Psychologist as part of a special issue on peace and conflict resolution. Sadly, the journal article is behind a paywall, but I believe that I am entitled to email it to interested parties upon request.

Read more... 4 comments


Subterranean War: Some Reasonable Questions and Answers

Posted on 10 November 2013 by Stephan Lewandowsky & Michael Mann

Further authors: Gerard Hastings and Linda Bauld, University of Stirling

Read more... 40 comments


Association for Psychological Science on Inconvenient Truth Tellers

Posted on 1 November 2013 by Stephan Lewandowsky

The monthly newsletter of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) contains two articles that examine the way in which "inconvenient" scientists are being attacked, both within the discipline of psychology and beyond.

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War or Peace? Psychology's Contribution

Posted on 17 October 2013 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Human beings have been fighting each other in organized warfare since time immemorial. The 20th Century has often been characterized as one of the bloodiest ever. Does this mean that war is inevitable? Will human beings continue to slaughter each other on a large scale?

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FAQs for PLoS1 paper by Lewandowsky, Gignac, and Oberauer

Posted on 2 October 2013 by Stephan Lewandowsky & Klaus Oberauer

This post contains FAQs and answers to the paper by Lewandowsky, Gignac, and Oberauer that was published in PLOS ONE in 2013, entitled The Role of Conspiracist Ideation and Worldviews in Predicting Rejection of Science.

The abstract of the paper is reproduced below, and because PLOS ONE is an open access journal the paper itself can be accessed here:

Read more... 8 comments


Ethics Lost in Translation

Posted on 15 June 2013 by Stephan Lewandowsky

The tobacco-funded Heartland Institute already lost many of its sponsors—and millions in donations—a year ago when it suggested on a billboard that acceptance of the pervasive scientific consensus on climate change is somehow tantamount to being a serial killer or terrorist. The Institute is now again embroiled in a major scandal: This one does not involve billboards but a serious misrepresentation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Read more... 5 comments


The scientific consensus on climate change: Still pivotal and more pervasive than ever

Posted on 16 May 2013 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Science is debate. It’s a debate that takes place at conferences or in the peer-reviewed literature, and scientific debates contribute to the error-correction process that has served science and the public well for a century or more.

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Recursive Fury: Facts and misrepresentations

Posted on 22 March 2013 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

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.

Read more... 79 comments


The involvement of conspiracist ideation in science denial

Posted on 5 February 2013 by Stephan Lewandowsky

There is growing evidence that conspiratorial thinking, also known as conspiracist ideation, is often involved in the rejection of scientific propositions. Conspiracist ideations tend to invoke alternative explanations for the nature or source of the scientific evidence. For example, among people who reject the link between HIV and AIDS, common ideations involve the beliefs that AIDS was created by the U.S. Government.

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One world, two realities: BigAussieHeat

Posted on 11 January 2013 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Update 11/1/13: video of duststorm added. Australia is experiencing the mother of all heat waves. Records are tumbling everywhere: For the first time in recorded climatic history, the country experienced 7 consecutive days above 39C (90F 102F). Extremes are everywhere, and the Bureau of Meteorology issued a special climate statement.

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The top (Climate) Events of 2012

Posted on 29 December 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

A group of us, all interested in climate science, put together a list of the most notable, often, most worrying, climate-related stories of the year, along with a few links that will allow you to explore the stories in more detail.

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Emotive Short-Circuitry vs. Deliberative Reasoning: The Australian vs. the ABC

Posted on 27 December 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Updated 1/1/13

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Poster on Uncertainty at the American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco

Posted on 28 November 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

This post relates to a poster at the American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco in December 2012 that summarizes our work on uncertainty in climate science. (Thursday, 6 December, 1:40 PM - 6:00 PM, Poster Hall, Moscone South).

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Frankenstorm Sandy and Tobacco

Posted on 31 October 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

What does "frankenstorm" Sandy have to do with smoking? Well, quite a bit actually, in an indirect way. I talk about the underlying cognition of tobacco and climate change here, for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Read more... 8 comments


The pivotal role of perceived scientific consensus

Posted on 29 October 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

The embargo on my latest paper on the cognition of climate change, published in Nature Climate Change, has now been lifted. The paper and abstract are available using the doi: 10.1038/10.1038/NCLIMATE1720.

Read more... 2 comments


Another Downfall video in the making

Posted on 19 October 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is best known for its reliance on feather dusters to "achieve active self-regulation" by the radio industry. In a notable development today, ACMA traded in the feather duster for some chalk and a blackboard when announcing that one of the nation's most notorious Shock Jocks, a certain Alan Jones of station 2GB in Sydney, will be given basic training in journalism. This training will presumably introduce Mr.Jones to subtle distinctions such as the difference between a fact and a falsehood.

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The sky is not falling--but emissions are

Posted on 18 October 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Today's headline in The Age, one of Australia's major newspapers, is Power pollution plunges. The article notes that the introduction of a price on carbon (currently $23/tonne) may have contributed to a fairly sharp drop in emissions intensity (i.e., the amount of of CO2 emitted per unit power generated). The article is accompanied by the following graph:

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Inferential Statistics and Replications

Posted on 10 October 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky & Klaus Oberauer

When you drop a glass it'll crash to the floor. Wherever you are on this planet, and whatever glass it is you were disposing of, gravity will ensure its swift demise. The replicability of phenomena is one of the hallmarks of science: once we understand a natural "law" we expect it to yield the same outcome in any situation in which it is applicable. (This outcome may have error bars associated with it but that doesn't affect our basic conclusion).

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The Stickiness of Misinformation

Posted on 10 October 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Together with colleagues Ullrich Ecker, Colleen Seifert, Norbert Schwarz, and John Cook I recently published a review paper of the literature on misinformation—why does misinformation "stick" to people's memories? Why would anyone believe patent nonsense, such as the claim that President Obama was born outside the U.S.? And how can we help people discard such erroneous beliefs?

Read more... 4 comments


A simple recipe for the manufacturing of doubt

Posted on 19 September 2012 by Klaus Oberauer & Stephan Lewandowsky

Mr. McIntyre, a self-declared expert in statistics, recently posted an ostensibly unsuccessful attempt to replicate several exploratory factor analyses in our study on the motivated rejection of (climate) science. His wordy post creates the appearance of potential problems with our analysis.

Read more... 654 comments


Drilling into noise

Posted on 17 September 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky & Klaus Oberauer

The science of statistics is all about differentiating signal from noise. This exercise is far from trivial: Although there is enough computing power in today's laptops to churn out very sophisticated analyses, it is easily overlooked that data analysis is also a cognitive activity.

Read more... 474 comments


Climate denial a “warmist” hoax?

Posted on 13 September 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky & Klaus Oberauer

Understanding people means to have a Theory of Mind. A model of other people’s thinking.

Read more... 421 comments


Faking that NASA faked the moon landing

Posted on 12 September 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky & Klaus Oberauer

Data integrity is a central issue in all research, and internet-based data collection poses a unique set of challenges. Much attention has been devoted to that issue and procedures have been developed to safeguard against abuse. There have been numerous demonstrations that internet platforms offers a reliable and replicable means of data collection, and the practice is now widely accepted.

Read more... 110 comments


Bloggers' Hall of Amnesia

Posted on 10 September 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

The publication of my paper on conspiracist ideation was met with several nearly-instant accusations. First out of the gate was the claim that I did not contact 5 “skeptic” or “skeptic-leaning” blogs to link to the survey.

Read more... 132 comments


A Cabal of Bankers and Sister Souljah

Posted on 9 September 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

One of the many adverse consequences of knee-jerk science rejection is the voluminous noise generated in response to certain events, such as the recent publication of my paper on rejection of science and conspiracist ideation. Whenever baseless accusations are launched, whether against me or other scientists, this detracts attention from other potentially substantive issues.

Read more... 151 comments


An update on my birth certificates

Posted on 7 September 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

My inbox has become a kaleidoscopic staging post of human diversity. A few requests are noteworthy for tutorial reasons:

Read more... 214 comments


Confirming the obvious

Posted on 6 September 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

The public response to my forthcoming paper in Psychological Science, entitled "NASA faked the moon landing—Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science," has provided a perfect real-life illustration of the very cognitive processes at the center of my research.

In fact, the cascading eruption of allegations and theories about the paper and myself have illustrated the impoverished epistemology of climate denial better than any mountain of data could have done.

It is helpful to analyze some of the theories that have sprung up in response to my paper.

First out of the gate was the accusation that I might not have contacted the 5 "skeptic" bloggers, none of whom posted links to my survey. Astute readers might wonder why I would mention this in the Method section, if I hadn't contacted anyone.

In an exercise more reminiscent of juvenile hyperventilation than adult cognitive control, several individuals jumped to the conclusion that I must be guilty of academic misconduct because no skeptic blogger could recall having been contacted by me. And of course, those bloggers know more about my research, or that in any other scientific discipline, than myself or any of my scientific colleagues.

This theory, alas, is now in terminal decline. First, one individual recovered his search skills after launching wild accusations against me and found that he had been contacted not once but twice.

Oops.

We now also know that two of the people who were contacted even replied to my assistant's query.

Oops. Oops.

Let's move on quickly. There must be another gourd somewhere.

And thus, as sure as night follows day, the second theory was born, arising like Phoenix from the ashes of the first one. The second theory revolves around the dates of certain events: It turns out that I gave a talk at Monash University in Melbourne, during which I alluded to these data briefly, after having done a very rough preliminary analysis. This event occurred a few days after Mr. McIntyre had been contacted with a request to post a link.

Oh how nefarious! I reported data only 3 days after contacting a blogger to collect data!

Never mind that the first theory claimed I never contacted anyone. That's sooooo 2011. Let's move on to the next conspiracy.

Only 3 days and I reported data from 1100 subjects. The travesty of it!

I wish this theory well, and I suspect much more analysis of dates, involving multi-colored Gantt charts, will be performed once the identity of the other 4 bloggers will (hopefully—I am working on it) have become public in the near future.

Reality-based readers may now note that it doesn't matter whether 3, 30, or 666 days elapsed between Mr McIntyre ignoring an email and me giving a talk about data gathered from other blogs.

Read more... 62 comments


Misplaced email in the climate wars? Not again, please!

Posted on 4 September 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

It has come to my attention that one of the individuals who initially denied—yes, folks, that's the correct word, look it up in a dictionary—having received an invitation to post a link to my survey on the rejection of science on his blog, has now found that email.

Read more... 62 comments


NASA and the blogosphere

Posted on 3 September 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

I recently published a paper on the motivated rejection of science that is forthcoming in Psychological Science. The abstract of the paper is as follows:

Read more... 28 comments


AGU Fall Meeting sessions on social media, misinformation and uncertainty

Posted on 16 July 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky & John Cook

We have proposed several sessions for the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco on 3-7 December: on uncertainty, misinformation and social media. AGU members are invited to submit abstracts for the sessions - the deadline to submit an abstract is August 8. Details of the sessions are:

Read more... 1 comments


Climate Uncertainty and Emission Cuts

Posted on 2 June 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

It is very clear that uncertainty is no one’s friend. We have seen that greater uncertainty about the evolution of the climate should give us even greater cause for concern. We have seen that all other things being equal, greater uncertainty means that things could be worse than we thought. We have also seen that greater uncertainty means that the expected damages from climate change will necessarily be greater than anticipated, and that the allowance we must make for sea level rise will also be greater than anticipated. All of those results arise from simple mathematics, and we do not even have to resort to any economic modelling to understand how greater uncertainty translates into greater risk.

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Do you want some science with your entertainment?

Posted on 21 April 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

On Thursday next week the ABC (Australia, 26 April, 8:30pm AEST) will be airing the documentary I can change your mind about … climate, which has been attracting quite a bit of media attention already. Its main protagonists are two polar opposites: A conservative politician, former Senator Nick Minchin, and a young climate activist, the founder and chair of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition Anna Rose.

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Keeping Dry: Uncertain Sea Level Rise and the Risk of Floods

Posted on 3 April 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

We have already seen that uncertainty about the future evolution of the climate is not your friend because it means things could be worse than anticipated. And we have shown that as uncertainty grows, then it is almost inevitable that the expected damage from climate change will also increase.buil

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The Inescapable Implication of Uncertainty

Posted on 26 March 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

In a previous post, we saw that uncertainty is not your friend. In a nutshell, if there is uncertainty, things could be worse than anticipated as well as better.

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Uncertainty is not your Friend

Posted on 6 March 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

The Australian Future fund is tasked with delivering high risk-adjusted returns on public funds, such as the Australian Government’s budget surpluses, in order to cover the Government’s unfunded superannuation liability arising from entitlements to public servants and defence personnel.

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From the Debunking Handbook to “Widerlegen: aber richtig!”: Die deutsche Übersetzung

Posted on 26 February 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky & John Cook

Das “Debunking Handbook,” daß John Cook und Stephan Lewandowsky for einigen Monaten auf Englisch produziert haben, ist inzwischen mehr als 465.000 mal heruntergeladen worden. Unter Anderem ist das “Handbook” von Richard Dawkins und Al Gore auf deren Internetseiten empfohlen worden.

Das “Handbook” ist jetzt auf Deutsch übersetzt worden, und wir machen es nun hier zum herunterladen verfügbar. Der deutsche Titel ist “Widerlegen: aber richtig!

Wir bedanken uns sehr bei unseren ehrenamtlichen Übersetzern, Bärbel Winkler und Oliver Marchand, für ihre sehr detaillierte und ausführliche Arbeit.

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Disasters that Come and Go—But They Will be Back

Posted on 23 January 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Who hasn’t heard the phrase “in today’s dollars”? We all know that this refers to the price of goods being adjusted to reflect the passage of time.

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Debunking Handbook: update and feedback

Posted on 23 January 2012 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

When we published the Debunking Handbook, I have to admit, we completely underestimated the impact it would make. A few days after the launch, it suddenly went viral with over 150,000 downloads in a single day. This week, it just ticked over 400,000 downloads. We always planned that the Handbook would be useful not just for climate myths but for communicators having to deal with any type of misinformation. Nevertheless, it was surprising to see the Handbook featued on websites as diverse asRichard Dawkins and Silobreaker. A website devoted to debunking MLM myths saw it as "useful when debating with brainwashed members of MLM organizations". A Muslim forum speculated that it "Should be useful when engaging people who believe lies about Islam". Currently, several educators are looking to integrate it into their curriculum.

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Estivation Renovations

Posted on 17 January 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Whereas most species of bears hibernate, Australians indulge in estivation instead, preferring slightly cooler beaches to their offices, especially when university air conditioning is turned down or off.

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The Curious Invisibility of Progress

Posted on 16 December 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

The Australian sustainable business market will grow to $2.9bn in 2014 from $1.6bn in 2010, according to a new report from independent analyst firm Verdantix. Their report, issued on 19 April 2011, goes on to quote author Susan Clarke that “... carbon regulations, rising energy prices and natural resource scarcity also create new market opportunities. Innovative firms ... already benefit from the market for energy efficiency and carbon management."

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The Missed Oil Change and the Durban Bathtub

Posted on 11 December 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

The climate talks in Durban have drawn to a close at around 5AM local time after a marathon all-night session.

Read more... 3 comments


Data for Durban

Posted on 7 December 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

There is a climate conference on in Durban, South Africa. This event has been difficult to miss because it has been accompanied by the usual distractions: First, we had another release of stolen personal correspondence among climate scientists (the two-year old rejects from the “climategate” non-scandal), presumably in the hope that this would torpedo the climate negotiations. No one has shown much interest in this very transparent attempt to malign scientists.

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Australian Media and Reporting of the Carbon Price Debate

Posted on 1 December 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Professor Wendy Bacon and a team of researchers have published a report on the coverage of climate change in the Australian media.

The research is based on a comprehensive review of 3971 media articles which were published in ten Australian newspapers on the topic of climate change policy, during the period February 2011 and July 2011. 

Key Findings of the research are at the front of the report. They include:

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The unbearable simplicity of carbon reduction

Posted on 29 November 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

In Australia, the sky will fall in on 1 July 2012 next year.

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The Debunking Handbook: now freely available for download

Posted on 27 November 2011 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

The Debunking Handbook, a guide to debunking misinformation, is now freely available to download. Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, there's no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of myths. The Debunking Handbook boils the research down into a short, simple summary, intended as a guide for communicators in all areas (not just climate) who encounter misinformation.



The Handbook explores the surprising fact that debunking myths can sometimes reinforce the myth in peoples' minds. Communicators need to be aware of the various backfire effects and how to avoid them, such as:

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The Debunking Handbook Part 5: Filling the gap with an alternative explanation

Posted on 25 November 2011 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

The Debunking Handbook is an upcoming guide to debunking myths, by John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky. Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, unfortunately there is no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of misinformation. This Handbook boils down the research into a short, simple summary, intended as a guide for communicators in all areas (not just climate) who encounter misinformation. The Handbook will be available as a free, downloadable PDF at the end of this 6-part blog series.

This post has been cross-posted at Skeptical Science

Read more... 0 comments


The Debunking Handbook Part 4: The Worldview Backfire Effect

Posted on 23 November 2011 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

The Debunking Handbook is an upcoming guide to debunking myths, by John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky. Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, unfortunately there is no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of misinformation. This Handbook boils down the research into a short, simple summary, intended as a guide for communicators in all areas (not just climate) who encounter misinformation. The Handbook will be available as a free, downloadable PDF at the end of this 6-part blog series.

This post has been cross-posted at Skeptical Science

Read more... 1 comments


The Debunking Handbook Part 3: The Overkill Backfire Effect

Posted on 20 November 2011 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

The Debunking Handbook is an upcoming guide to debunking myths, by John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky. Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, unfortunately there is no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of misinformation. This Handbook boils down the research into a short, simple summary, intended as a guide for communicators in all areas (not just climate) who encounter misinformation. The Handbook will be available as a free, downloadable PDF at the end of this 6-part blog series.

This post has been cross-posted at Skeptical Science

Read more... 0 comments


The Debunking Handbook Part 2: The Familiarity Backfire Effect

Posted on 18 November 2011 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

The Debunking Handbook is an upcoming guide to debunking myths, by John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky. Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, unfortunately there is no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of misinformation. This Handbook boils down the research into a short, simple summary, intended as a guide for communicators in all areas (not just climate) who encounter misinformation. The Handbook will be available as a free, downloadable PDF at the end of this 6-part blog series.

This post has been cross-posted at Skeptical Science

Read more... 0 comments


The Debunking Handbook Part 1: The first myth about debunking

Posted on 16 November 2011 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

The Debunking Handbook is an upcoming guide to debunking myths, by John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky. Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, unfortunately there is no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of misinformation. This Handbook boils down the research into a short, simple summary, intended as a guide for communicators in all areas (not just climate) who encounter misinformation. The Handbook will be available as a free, downloadable PDF at the end of this 6-part blog series.

This has been cross-posted at Skeptical Science.

Read more... 0 comments


Submission to the Independent Media Inquiry

Posted on 9 November 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

This is the full text of a written submission to the independent inquiry into media and media regulation, which commenced public hearings in Melbourne on 7 November 2011.

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Series on Science at The Conversation

Posted on 4 November 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Series of articles on State of the Science

at The Conversation has kicked off

All pieces can be found through this page.

(The remainder of this post summarizes the series and was originally posted before the series started.)

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The Loud Fringe: Pluralistic Ignorance and Democracy

Posted on 18 October 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

It appears self-evident that democracy functions best if its citizens share a common reality. There is common agreement that society stands to benefit from diversity of opinions, but most people also appear to agree that a society would suffer when segments of the population operate within a fictional social world that is disconnected from reality.

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Carbon Free in the Desert

Posted on 22 September 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Australia’s CO2 emissions are among the highest in the world, when expressed on a per capita basis. When our historical responsibilities are taken into account, we are 14th—out of about 200 countries in the world. Nonetheless, political figures and the media like to point fingers at other countries whose per capita emissions are even higher than ours. For example, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) spew out nearly 30 tonnes of CO2 per capita, compared to our 19 tonnes (but don’t rejoice—the Swiss get by with about 5 tonnes, or nearly 75% less than us!).

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Yes, There is a Pattern

Posted on 27 August 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

It’s beginning to add up. After some period of uncertainty, the picture that emerges is beginning to fit into the neo-McCarthyite pattern of attack on scientists that has become all too common in the United States.

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Nuclear Power: Thanks, but No Thanks

Posted on 8 August 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

In two recent posts (here and here), colleague David Hodgkinson eloquently presented the case for nuclear power as one strategy to deal with climate change. Rather than revisiting all arguments in favour of nuclear power or against it, he focused on three core issues: (a) expense, (b) nuclear waste, and (c) militarization. In addition, Hodgkinson suggests that unless we put in place an infrastructure now, an ostensibly “cheap” nuclear power option will be precluded when the world gets serious about emission cuts within the next 10 years or so.

Read more... 1 comments


Earthworker Cooperative Update

Posted on 5 August 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky & Dave Kerin

Some time ago we introduced the Earthworker Cooperative, a cooperative dedicated to providing finance, assistance with marketing strategy, R&D and networking of the various, loose strands of the social sector of the Australian economy. Their goal is to create a powerful force for the collective good, on behalf of its member cooperatives, unions, shire councils, faith-based communities and individuals.

Read more... 1 comments


Something Does Not Add Up

Posted on 2 August 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Something does not add up.

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Another new type of post: Point and Counterpoint

Posted on 28 July 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Fresh on the heels of our "in the news" items, we introduce another type of post, called "Point and Counterpoint", identified by this icon:

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U.S. Congress Looking after the World (or Not?)

Posted on 28 July 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

The American Association for the Advancement of Science reports today:

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In the News This Week: A New Type of Post

Posted on 21 July 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

A reader recently emailed us and posed the following very good question: "The jump from academic and worthy discussion to our daily discourse is so vast a leap. How do we go about infusing our daily conversations with real information and thoughtful opinion."

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Australia's Emissions in Context: Our Present Responsibility

Posted on 5 June 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Australia's sum total of historical emissions places us near the top of the world's polluters. Despite our small population and the relatively small size of our economy, across history, we have emitted more CO2 from burning of fossil fuels than 94% of all other countries.

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Historical Responsibilities: Carbon Emissions in Context

Posted on 1 June 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

It has often been claimed that Australian annual CO2 emissions are such a tiny fraction of the world’s total, around 1.5%, that there is no need for us to take action. If we are only responsible for such a small proportion, why should we bother with a carbon tax or emissions trading scheme?

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Shaping Tomorrow's World After One Month

Posted on 30 May 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

About a month ago, we unveiled Shaping Tomorrows World, a website dedicated to exploring solutions to the multiple crises and challenges that are currently facing our societies.

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If It's Not Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n Roll, what is it? Creativity maybe?

Posted on 25 May 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Let’s face it. The 1960’s were a time of radical change. And what we need today, like it or not, is another substantial transformation of our societies—from our current fossil-fuel based economies to an alternative means of economic productivity that is based on other sources of energy.

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Environmentalism: The Case for Radical Incrementalism

Posted on 8 May 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Clive Hamilton makes a strong case in favour of a radical environmentalism. Citing the suffragettes and the U.S. civil rights movement as precedent, he proposes a similar radicalism as the way forward for the environmentalist movement, and in particular for stimulating long overdue action on climate change.

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The Importance of Conversational Frames

Posted on 28 April 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Societies rely on tacit “frames” to conduct and understand conversations. One popular frame in Western democracies is the notion of “balance”—the idea that all sides of an issue deserve to be heard and that solutions can be found by balancing their demands and needs. This idea entails the assumption that all sides have a roughly symmetrical entitlement to be heard.

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Acceptance of Science and Ideology

Posted on 28 April 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. Recent U.S. surveys reveal that only 1 in 3 Republicans accept this simple fact, notwithstanding the incontrovertible evidence provided by something as straightforward as a Hawaiian birth certificate. The remaining 2 out of 3 Republicans either believe that President Obama was born outside the United States (between 45% and 51%, depending on the particular poll) or they profess uncertainty about his place of birth.

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Shaping Tomorrow's World

Posted on 6 April 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Our planet is finite. We have 510,072,000 km2 of surface area to sustain all human economic and social activity.  We have 510,072,000 km2 to support all of life. Nothing will change this physical limit. Our economy is based on growth. A fundamental tenet of capitalism is a continually growing economy that produces more and more goods. Indeed, per capita world economic output (GDP) has increased nearly 20-fold since 1960. During the same period, the world's population has increased from 3 billion to nearly 7 billion.

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The Challenge of Understanding Accumulation

Posted on 15 March 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

As the physical understanding of climate change within the scientific community has become more and more robust, paradoxically the public debate has become progressively more disconnected from the scientific literature.

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