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

By Stephan Lewandowsky
Professor, School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol
Posted on 4 September 2012

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.

This is laudable, if entirely unsurprising, and I bear no grudge against that person for having had such trouble finding a message from two years ago among mountains of other correspondence—anyone who has ever had to respond to frivolous FOI requests can share that pain.

Should any others want to continue searching their correspondence, it might be helpful to know that my assistant has just re-read old correspondence from some time ago (e.g., from Thu, 23 Sep 2010 08:38:33 -0400) with considerable amusement in light of the frivolous accusations flying about the internet that we may not have contacted those blogs with a request to post a link.

One of the many tourist attractions in southern Western Australia is the town of Mt Barker, famous for being the gateway to the Porongorups. The Porongurups offer multiple recreational opportunities, among them some multi-pitch granite slab climbs (250 m, Rock Gibraltar) that I highly recommend because they make the climate wars look boring. Mt. Barker also features nice wines, and perhaps most famous of all, it is the home of the world's best free-range eggs.

There are lots of eggs left in my fridge.

Bookmark and Share

62 Comments


1  2  Next

Comments 1 to 50 out of 59:

  1. I can tell you are very sympathetic, Stephan, despite being constantly maligned.

    The really weird part about all of this, as I commented elsewhere, is that so many 'skeptics' say that climate science is a leftist conspiracy. Yet when your survey shows that right wing ideology is a predictor of rejection of climate science, they protest louder than ever. How about a survey on 'contrarianism' (is that a word?).

    Eggs are bound to show up on more faces, from the sound of things :)
  2. Professor it is stated in the press that you recieved replies rejecting your request from 5 sceptic blogs.

    Steve Mcintyre has said that he now found an email from your research assistant, after initially looking for one from yourself. but he states that he did not reply, just ignored it in a mountain of email he recieves (ie from someone unknown to him)

    Perhaps you could clarify, what has been reported as recieving rejections. ie no reply - is not the same as a rejection email.

    And again, why not say which bloggers you sent an email to, to stop everybody wasting their time searching old emails.
    It is of course possible that some rejected (ie sent a no thanks) to a unknown research assistant, but don't recall that, vs they would probably recall such an email from yourself.

    Additionally, much of the fuss is perhaps generated from the media, particulalry the Telegraph headline, which made a sweeping very negative generalisation, almost as silly as all muslims are terrorists. Perhaps you can understand the response because of this headline, which was tweeted and retweeted apprivingly around the world's activists/media and some high profile scientists.

    Telegraph: Climate change deniers 'are either extreme free marketeers or conspiracy theorists’

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/9503044/Climate-change-deniers-are-either-extreme-free-marketeers-or-conspiracy-theorists.html

    as an example, I'm sure you would not categorise (Nor would most climate scientists) Steve Mcintyre for exmple like this. So perhaps a lot of criticism has come your way, because of a lazy media or activist journalists, and perhaps because of a slightly hyped up press release, which gave the impression that every sceptic is like this..

    from your own data, it would seen there are a similar number of conspiracy theorists amongst the more extreme climate concerned readers of those pro-science blogs.

    In fact a read of the comments at the Guardian, when Dr Adam Corner wrote, pre-press release about the same paper, you will see a large number of left politically leaning climate consensus readers, speculating about 9/11, as a conspiracy (CIA plot or whatever, to give Bush an excuse), thus at extremes we find conpiracy theorists, not a surprise to anyone..

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

    this also recieved a lot of criticism, additionally at Dr Adam Corner's own blog where it was reproduced
    http://talkingclimate.org/are-climate-sceptics-more-likely-to-be-conspiracy-theorists/


    BUT on the basis of 10 responses to moon landing hoax conspiracies, of a survey of a 1000, of readers of non-sceptic blogs, we have that title of the paper, and a headline that has been tweeted around the world (ie by Michale Mann, George Monbiot, other journalists like Alice Gray- Telegraph) or Sunny Hundal of the politically influential, and ironically titled 'Liberal Conspiracy' blog.

    in effect, this paper was seen to equate all sceptics as conspiracy theorists. As I'm sure you would agree is not the case, in the same way as not all of the climate concerned (consensus) are any of the daft things a FEW people say about them.

    perhaps you could clarify whether the paper justifies the sweeping generalisation ofthe Telegraph headline, or not.
  3. Professor Lewandowsky
    Does your thrd paragraph mean that you posted requests to the five sceptic blogs on 23rd September 2010?
  4. Watch the Gish Gallop. FWIW, as Eli wrote at the other post, a great argument for the Apple OS search function.
  5. geoffchambers @ 3. This is your post at Skeptical Science at 19:01 PM on 4 September, 2012

    "McIntyre says he received the request from Lewandowsky’s assistant 6th September, (a week after the survey had been posted at Tamino, Deltoid etc) and a follow up request two weeks later. That brings us to 20th September. 23rd of September Lewandowsky gave a presentation at Monash University in which he anounced the results of the survey, with the current sample size of 1100 (i.e. after the elimination of false data and duplicated IPs). So three days after asking for cooperation in fieldwork, he’d processed the results and written his conclusions and announced them."

    So you already knew that McIntyre received the email on the 6th September.

    What us - conspiracy theorists - never!

    I thought this was over once McIntyre had admitted that he had overlooked the email invitation. I forgot - conspiracy theories 101 - they do not have to make sense.

    This is hilarious. I am getting the popcorn.
  6. No Gish gallop, no conspiracy, just a simple question. Would Professor Lewandowsky kindly tell us when he sent his requests to sceptic sites to publicise his survey? In the case of face to face interviews or telephone surveys, it is normal practice to state the dates of fieldwork. Professor Lewandowsky posted his requests to at least six of his eight pro-science sites in late August, since they posted his request 28-30 August. McIntyre received his request 6th September, with a follow-up reminder 2 weeks later. Lewandowsky sent something to someone the 23rd September - but what?
    Bit by bit we’re piecing together the facts that should have been in the methodology section of his paper.
  7. geoffchambers and all the other socialist left wing 'skeptics' are hopping mad. Because they don't visit proper climate science blogs, they missed out on a survey and so they seem to be saying results must be inaccurately skewed in favour of right wing deniers.

    Wonder why they are taking out on the researchers who did send out an invitation. Why aren't they complaining to the 'skeptic' bloggers for not posting a survey link?
  8. In your post, you state:

    "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."

    I presume that you are referring to me.

    In a post at Lucia's blog, Lucia had said that she did not recollect receiving such an email from you, but did not preclude the possibility that one was in the tide of emails. Hence her permission to you to release her name if she was one of the addressees.

    My situation was identical to hers. I did not recollect receiving such an email from you (and hadn't received such an email from "you"). However, I could not preclude receiving one in the tide of emails. Hence I added my name to the list of people who gave permission to you to release such a request. See my comment http://rankexploits.com/musings/2012/tweet-your-permission-for-lewandowsky-to-out-you/#comment-102397 at Lucia's blog.

    Since Tim Lambert's invitation to the survey at his blog referred to a survey being carried out by "Stephan Lewandowsky", I had presumed that your name would appear in or be connected to the invitation and I had therefore searched my 2010 emails for correspondence referring to "Lewandowsky" and did not locate any.

    It did not occur to me that the invitation would not be from you, but would not include any reference to you as a participant. When you provided the additional information that it had been sent by a research associate, I carried out a search for "uwa.edu.au" and located an email from a Charles Harnich - an email which made no mention of "Lewandowsky".

    Thus, if your post refers to me, it would be accurate to say that I did not recollect receiving the email, but it is not accurate to say that I "denied" receiving the invitation email, since, like Lucia, I did not preclude the possibility of overlooking something in the tide of email.

    A question: in Lambert's invitation post, he stated that you were the author of the survey, a point not disclosed in the covering letter to me from a Charles Harnich. Did Deltoid and similar blogs receive a different covering letter than the one sent to me - one which associated the survey with "Lewandowsky". If so, was this different form of approach included in the approved survey plan? Would you please disclose the different covering letter.

    A second question: the participation invitations to Deltoid and similar blogs were posted between August 28-30, while your invitation to me was not sent until some time afterwards. Was this part of the approved methodology? If so, what was the purpose of the delay?

    A third question: the reported responses from readers of Deltoid and similar blogs clearly included "scam" responses - a point conceded by Tom Curtis of Skeptical Science. Did your approved methodology include any precautions to identify and exclude "scam" responses? If so, what were they.

    As a comment to your mention of me in your article: I have not testified to the "UK Parliament" or any of its subcommittees. In 2006, I testified to a subcommittee of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee. However, it would be inaccurate to say that I testified there as a "blogger". I had published articles in academic literature that were critical of the statistical methodology of Mann et al 1998-99 and was invited in that capacity.

    Steve McIntyre
  9. It does seem rather extraordinary that Professor Lewandowsky was able to put up a slide giving some of the results of his survey (including number of responses) on September 23rd 2010 - when he didn't send out final emails inviting his primary sources (sceptic blogs) to participate until September 20th.

    It almost seems as if he had decided on the number and nature of responses before the final data could possibly have been received.

    Is there a word for this novel form of data acquisition?

    Is it unique to the discipline of "climate science".

    I suppose asking for an explanation would be "gish-galloping".

    (Which seems to be defined in "climate science" as asking the practitioner any questions he would rather not answer)
  10. Foxgoose, that would only seem 'amazing' to someone who has never conducted an on-line survey. He probably could have prepared that slide within the hour - and it's not as if it was the final paper. (Using the internet and computers is a bit faster than going with the old-style hand-coded paper-based survey.)
  11. Foxgoose, scientists are always giving conference presentations with "preliminary results". Sometimes I've included results we got just hours before the presentation. Everyone involved understands that the results haven't been peer-reviewed, yet, but we like to see what the community is up to.

    Do yourself a favor and stop re-confirming Prof. Lewandowsky's results by proposing more conspiracy theories.
  12. Political Junkie at 04:40 AM on 5 September, 2012
    Some friendly advice:

    Don't keep poking at Steve McIntyre with a stick. The fact that he has taken no interest in your work is a good thing for your career.

    Do you really wish to have him take an interest and "audit" you? Talk to Mike about how that turns out!
  13. BarryBickmore at 04:27 AM on 5 September, 2012
    Foxgoose, scientists are always giving conference presentations with "preliminary results". Sometimes I've included results we got just hours before the presentation....


    I think you may have missed the point

    If the invitation to the blogs, where the majority of responses were expected, only went out on Sept 20th - how could the number of responses have been (accurately) estimated by Sept 23rd.

    Putting it another way. Since proprietors of sceptic blogs like Steve Mcintyre didn't notice or respond to the final email request to post a link on Sept 20th - in the few days following that Lewandowsky et al could have had no possible idea of how many reponses might result. In the event, no link was posted so the number of responses from sceptic blogs was zilch - but sceptics are mainly to be found on sceptic blogs and if the link had been posted the responses would have dwarfed the 1,100 received from climate activist blogs.

    Curiously - Lewandowsky et al were able to employ their psychic powers to divine that the sceptic blogs wouldn't post their link and they'd be left with just the 1,100 comedy postings from their buddies' blogs.

    Odd, don't you think?
  14. Foxgoose,

    It's possible that I missed your point, but I find it more plausible to suppose that you didn't actually read Lewandowsky's article.

    The article was COMPARING responses of climate contrarians WITH those of climate realists, who happen to participate on climate change blogs. Pick almost any climate change blog, and you will find a mix of points of view. So no matter which blogs posted the links, one would expect a mix of respondents with different points of view, so it doesn't really matter whether McIntyre, or whoever, posted the link, so long as the sample sizes are large enough to produce statistically significant results. I imagine he would have gotten more contrarian responses if McI and co had posted the link, and maybe that would have changed the results somewhat, but whose fault is that?

    At the time Prof. Lewandowsky threw out that slide in the talk, he had received SOME responses, but he obviously tried to get some more later, so as to boost his sample sizes. What is so difficult to understand about that?

    The facts on the table are that 1) Lewandowsky talked about his preliminary results (one whole slide's worth!!!), but then 2) later contacted more blogs, including McIntyre's to see if he could get more responses. Furthermore, 3) McIntyre, at least, didn't accept the invitation. Nobody disputes these facts. And yet, you are able to come up with some moronic conspiracy theory even from this!

    Now, if McIntyre and co. HAD posted the link, but Lewandowsky excluded those results, then you might have some cause to say this is "curious" or "odd". But how the hell is it "curious" or "odd" that Lewandowsky never ended up updating his results with responses he was never able to get?
  15. Stephan,

    To your knowledge have any scientists studied the propensity for people with beards like yours to be interested in 1) the topic of climate alarmism 2) making stuff up?

    Is there a correlation?

    Hope you enjoy the eggs in your fridge(or was that a threat?)

    Luv

    Billy x
  16. BarryBickmore at 05:33 AM on 5 September, 2012

    A torrent of information there - one could almost call it a "gish galllop".

    Doesn't get anywhere near answering the simple question though.

    Lewandowsky said he approached sceptic and activist blogs - but had to make do with the activists because the sceptics wouldn't co-operate.

    He didn't say he collected his 1100 responses from his activist buddies' blogs and then approached sceptic blogs as an afterthought to try and boost the numbers - which is what you are attempting to imply.

    Of course if you were right and he'd formed his conclusions from the limited sample of 1100 activist blog responses, without bothering to wait for the results of his invitation to sceptic blogs, he'd be guilty of dishonest science anyway.

    I do agree with you though that all this theorising is rather unsatisfactory - it would be far better if Prof Lewandowsky had set out his methodology and the timing of it clearly and straightforwardly in the first place.

    Oh - and I tend to think that when people start throwing out word's like "moronic", accompanied by exclamation marks, they've pretty well realised they're losing the argument.

    Not very attractive from someone of strong religious convictions either.
  17. Another couple of questions:

    1) the link attached to the email to me HKMKNI_9a13984 was not the same as the link as at the Deltoid survey HKMKNF_991e2415

    2) the number of questions noted up in comments at Deltoid was 40, while only 31 were reported in the article. In addition, the project description at UWA mentions questions concerning "life satisfaction" but these are not listed in the APpendix. What happened to them?
  18. hengistmcstone at 06:54 AM on 5 September, 2012
    The lesson in this is Mr McIntyre et al should be paying more attention to emails addressed to themselves and less attention to reading other peoples
  19. Foxgoose at 03:17 AM on 5 September, 2012
    “.. he didn't send out final emails inviting his primary sources (sceptic blogs) to participate until September 20th”.

    He could argue that he sent out the first email to Climate Audit on September 6th, and that the 20th September mail was only a polite reminder.
    The important point is that the first post to a “sceptic” blog (though Steve McIntyre refuses the epithet) of which we have knowledge was sent on the 6th September, fully a week after the survey had been posted and discussed at length on “pro-science” blogs.
    It has been suggested, (though not, I think, by Lewandowsky) that sceptics were recruited from warmist blogs because sceptical blogs had refused to post an announcement of the survey.
    Lewandowsky could clear this point up in thirty seconds by stating on which dates he sent out his request to sceptic blogs to publicise his survey. It’s 7AM in Australia now, so he can be forgiven if his answer is delayed by an hour or two.
  20. It is interesting to note that unfounded accusations of a Gish Gallop are in themselves a form of Gish Gallop...the accusers are in fact simply trying to stuff up their (lack of) arguments with a grand-sounding accusation that has little to do with the task at hand: namely, understand exactly what has been sent to McIntyre, when and why.

    The number of inaccuracies that have so far come from Prof Lewandowsky demonstrate either some form of bad conscience, or a cavalier attitude to truth that surely cannot be used to prop up his reputation.

    I recommend to stop circling the wagons and flood instead the internet with all the details so far mysterious. If any of the skeptical blogs that will be named will complain about lack of privacy, I promise I will personally travel to see the blog owner and express my feelings in the strongest way possible.
  21. Stephan Lewandowsky you might want to revise a number in your paper; on this line:

    Links were posted on 8 blogs (with a pro-science science stance but with a diverse audience); a further 5 “skeptic" (or “skeptic"-leaning) blogs were approached but none posted the link.


    I think the number of skeptic sites who never posted the HKMKNI_9a13984 numbered survey (that Steve McIntyre turned up in his inbox) can come down from 5 to 4 since it appears it was offered on this JunkScience page back in Sept 2010.

    Dare I ask if Mr Hanich misplaced an email response from them?

    BTW "A Few Things Ill Considered" seem to have offered yet another numbered survey - HKMKNG_ee191483 back in late August 2010. Is this a different one to the others?
  22. As someone who has also conducted surveys, I am astonished that announcing even preliminary results while the survey is still open (as it apparently was, according to the chronology supplied by Steve McIntyre) is considered even vaguely acceptable.

    This was not a case where all the data had been gathered but was still being analysed, which is itself a risky approach. To make things worse, opinion surveys are completely compromised for future participants if results are released progressively while the survey is underway, for reasons that Prof. Lewandowsky, as a social researcher, is well aware of.

    Perhaps he will blame his research assistant for this failing grade methodology.
  23. Oh, this really is priceless. The response to this academic paper has truly become in itself a case study in conspiracy ideation in action - you can actually see it unfolding comment by comment, blog by blog . . . Ladies and gentlemen of the denialist world, please just lift your heads above the fray for a moment and reflect on what is happening here. Play the man, question his motives and integrity, sic an army of angry ants onto him, bicker about who said what to whom and when, point to passing squirrels - anything but have an intelligent discussion about whether our ideologies blinker our perceptions or make us see the world in ways that confirm our own views. You don't think this paper cuts the mustard? Fine - do your own research and publish it. Let others respond with more research. That's the right way. Even Anthony Watts, bless him, gave that a try.
    Still, it is very entertaining watching you tie yourselves in knots of ever-increasing self-righteousness.
    Waiter, more popcorn!
  24. Bluebottle - unreal isn't it. I hope Stephan or someone else in his field has a student who could write a paper on this. There are multiple layers of contrarianism to unravel, and so many (contradictory) things being 'denied'.

    As a bonus, it's even got the accounting exec doing an audit in the hopes of putting the zillion and one-th 'final final final nail in the coffin' of climate science. (There's life in the old boy yet!)
  25. Foxgoose @17,

    Perhaps it isn't attractive to call your conspiracy theory "moronic," but I can at least plead that I deleted worse things out of the original before I posted it. People who go around accusing others of dishonesty without a shred of evidence disgust me.

    I can also plead the Defense of Truth. That is, your conspiracy theory truly is moronic. As I mentioned, it is extremely common for scientists to give a talk in which they talk about preliminary results, even though they plan on getting more results that might make them change their interpretations. I did one of those talks a couple months ago. So your pronouncement about how talking about preliminary results would be "dishonest science" has nothing to do with how real scientists actually do science.

    Given that real scientists talk about preliminary results all the time, your pronouncement that Prof. Lewandowsky must have used his "psychic powers" to divine that he wouldn't get any more results is also moronic. HE never said he wouldn't get any more results, so the whole issue is just a conversation you are having with a little voice in your head.

    Finally, you seem to blame Lewandowsky for not including results that he couldn't get, because the contrarian bloggers wouldn't post a link to his survey. This also is moronic.

    Your conspiracy theory that the Professor didn't really contact any contrarian blogs is turning out to be false. Can you please let go of your new conspiracy theory?
  26. So rather than take the denialist and lukewarmers protests at face value, Eli went and looked at the statistics about where his links came from. Climate Audit was fourth, Steve Goddard seventh, and Willard Tony was ninth. Probably a similar pattern occurs in the other direction. A posting on RC or Deltoid would have been seen by the Girmas of the world.
  27. Eli Rabett at 12:58 PM on 5 September, 2012

    So rather than take the denialist and lukewarmers protests at face value, Eli went and looked at the statistics about where his links came from. Climate Audit was fourth, Steve Goddard seventh, and Willard Tony was ninth. Probably a similar pattern occurs in the other direction. A posting on RC or Deltoid would have been seen by the Girmas of the world.



    Could you put some relative numbers on the quantity of your first second and third incoming links? I assume these are from non-skeptic sites and so compared to the 4th link I suspect you may have missed there may be a Pareto distribution showing, which means a real big drop off after the first 3 links have been accounted for.

    That "Would have been seen" doesn't really strike me as a very scientific way of putting it ;)

    Do you not think there should be a consideration of the proportions used? I mean I think we all agree there were a too small number of sample of moon-landing disbelievers that were shown to justify the wonderful title of the paper that led to the awkward fact that everyone is citing Tom Curtis’s (of Skeptical science no less!) criticism.
  28. thomaswfuller #21
    Some of your questions can be answered from information already available.
    Yes, he threw out questionnaires with duplicate IP numbers. He says (p8):
    duplicate responses from any IP number were eliminated (N = 71). An additional 161 responses were eliminated because the respondent's age was implausible (< 10 or > 95) or values for the consensus items were outside the 0 -100 range, or because responses were incomplete. This left 1145 complete records for analysis.
    That’s 17% of respondents who were either cheating or messing around.
    From this, and from a discussion on one of the blogs about how easy it was to game the system, he knew that people were thinking about gaming the system.
    No quality steps were taken to insure that those representing themselves as skeptics in fact were. The methodology gives no details of demographic data collected; in an interview on a UWA site he mentions collecting age sex and also country of origin. In the paper itself, he says (p13):
    Another objection might raise the possibility that our respondents willfully accentuated their replies in order to subvert our presumed intentions. As in most behavioral research, this possibility cannot be ruled out. However, unless a substantial subset of the more than 1,000 respondents conspired to coordinate their responses, any individual accentuation or provocation would only have injected more noise into our data.
    This is demonstrably false. Blogger manibeancounter discovered two “outliers” - respondents giving almost identical responses, with “strongly agree” to all or almost all conspiracy theories and “strongly disagree” to all the climate questions. These two responses were not “noise”. They provided the signal that was the sole evidence for his claim in the title of the article of a link between moon landing denial and limate scepticism. Once these two responses are eliminated; nothing remains of his claim that sceptics are more likely to believe conspiray theories.
  29. That's right geoffchambers @30 and tlitb1 @29. Let me summarise:
    the title is false,
    the abstract is false,
    the data are false,
    the responses are false,
    the analysis is false,
    the conclusions are false,
    the news reports were false,
    the headlines on the news reports were false,
    Lewandwosky is false,
    so . . .
    wait for it,
    wait for it,
    wait,
    it must be a conspiracy because . . . global warming is false! Right?
  30. geoffchambers wrote: "...his claim that sceptics are more likely to believe conspiracy theories"

    Where did you read that claim? I couldn't find that stated anywhere. (I assume by 'sceptics' you are referring to people who reject climate science, going by the context of your comment.)

    The 'claims' I read are as follows (from the abstract):

    1. endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science

    2. Endorsement of the free market also predicted the rejection of other established scienti c fi ndings, such as the facts that HIV causes AIDS and that smoking causes lung cancer.

    3. endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories (e.g., that the CIA killed Martin-Luther King or that NASA faked the moon landing) predicts rejection of climate science as well as the rejection of other scientifi c fi ndings, above and beyond endorsement of laissez-faire free markets.

    4. Acceptance of science, by contrast, was strongly associated with the perception of a consensus among scientists.


    Nowhere is there a claim that 'skeptics' (fake or otherwise) are more likely to believe conspiracy theories.

    The study linked holding conspiracy theories to rejection of scientific findings including and beyond climate science, and to a lesser extent there was an association with political leanings. It suggested holding conspiracy theories predicts rejection of science, not the other way around.

    http://psychologyforasafeclimate.org/resources/Motivated%20rejection%20of%20science-2.pdf
  31. thomaswfuller #21
    The background information you need to follow this story is unfortunately scattered over the net. (3 articles at BishopHill, 2 at RankExploits, 4+ at manicbeancounter etc). The best starting point is probably the Guardian article announcing this research back in July by Adam Corner. This provoked 1300+ comments from readers, but since most active sceptics have been banned from the Guardian the comments are probably of little interest. The article was reposted on Adam Corner’s site which specialises in social research into climate scepticism, at:
    http://talkingclimate.org/are-climate-sceptics-more-likely-to-be-conspiracy-theorists/
    The first comment to the article by Barry Woods gives links to the articles at six of the eight “pro-science” blogs where the survey was promoted between 28 - 30 August 2010. Of the two other blogs, one in New Zealand is practically inactive. The other, SkepticalScience, is probably the most active blog on the net in countering climate scepticism. Their invitation to participate in the survey has apparently been deleted, and can’t be found on the Wayback Machine. I’ve been trying in vain to find out more about it. After a fruitless dialogue at
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/AGU-Fall-Meeting-sessions-social-media-misinformation-uncertainty.html#comments
    (much of my side of which has been deleted) I got a very cordial email from the blog’s owner, John Cook, offering to answer my questions. I asked when the survey was announced, when the announcement was deleted, whether there were any comments, and if the comments were still available. Two days later I’m still awaiting a response.
    A last bit of information, from A Scott commenting at RankExploits: the commercial service which carried out the survey, Kwiksurveys, was hacked in June this year and has apparently lost lot of data. They were carrying out another similar survey into climate scepticism at the time for colleagues of Lewandowsky at UWA.
  32. Sou #32
    Thank you for the correction. The last sentence of my comment #30 should read:
    Once these two responses are eliminated; nothing remains of his claim that endorsement of conspiracy theories predicts rejection of climate science.
  33. BarryBickmore at 12:20 PM on 5 September, 2012
    Foxgoose @17,

    Finally, you seem to blame Lewandowsky for not including results that he couldn't get, because the contrarian bloggers wouldn't post a link to his survey. This also is moronic.


    Perhaps if you toned down the pompous rhetoric and worked on you reading skills you might get the point eventually.

    The point is not that Lewandowsky "couldn't get" the results, but that he didn't even wait to see if he could get them or not - presumably because he had the results he needed to produce the headline conclusions he was aiming for all along.

    From what I've seen of your thought processes I'm not surprised that you practice the same kind of science yourself - but I wouldn't advertise the fact if I were you.

    I don't think you're a moron, by the way - just an anxious, needy cult follower.
  34. It appears the survey DID appear at Junk Science (so much for 5 sceptical blogs rejecting it)

    Possibly the 24th September (based on news archive at Junk Science.)

    Which drew this comment from Junk Science (who also said they did not endorse it)

    Junk Science:
    "I went through the above and felt it has numerous problems - questions are framed in absolute terms but lack useful definition (climate change is used frequently but is not defined, do they mean CAGW, natural variability with some anthropogenic component or what?). Climate scientists is used as a generic term without distinguishing between modelers (PlayStation® Climatology) or physical scientists (very few geologists are impressed by claims of CAGW, for example).

    Basically it seems to be fishing for conspiracy theorists in an effort to associate them with CAGW skepticism. I suspect Hanich & HREC are likely to get a lot of complaints about this framing"

    http://junksciencearchive.com/sep10.html

    It would be interesting to see numbers from refering URLs, but we have already asked for that data, not yet forthcoming.


    and it was introduced to Junk Science as from the research assistant, at UWA, no mention of Lewandowsky, unlike the 'pro-science' blogs, who knew it was Lewandowsky (except for Mandia, who introduced it neutrally
  35. geoffchambers:
    "Their invitation to participate in the survey has apparently been deleted"
    Foxgoose:
    "he didn't even wait to see if he could get them or not - presumably because he had the results he needed to produce the headline conclusions he was aiming for all along"
    Barry Woods:
    "it was introduced to Junk Science as from the research assistant, at UWA, no mention of Lewandowsky, unlike the 'pro-science' blogs, who knew it was Lewandowsky"

    Do you see, all you useless academics out here? This is the sort of detailed and objective rational fact-based analysis that is need to establish the Lewandowsky Conspiracy!
    In fact, I don't even believe Lewandowsky is who he says he is. I'm with Lord Monckton on this one: I demand that the so-called "Professor" produces the original short and long forms of his birth certificate: I've got Sheriff Joe and his cold case team standing by to analyse it.
  36. 9.stevemcintyre said:

    "As a comment to your mention of me in your article: I have not testified to the "UK Parliament" or any of its subcommittees."

    Have I got that right? Then who submitted this written testimony to the UK parliament:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc3202.htm
  37. Presumably the reason that Skeptical Science deleted the survey article,was because the comments were so critical of the survey.. and John Cook & co were sparing the authors a few blushes?

    like the comments at Tamino's and Deltoid (and some had 'fun' with the survey, supporting Tom Curtis' thoughts..

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/29/survey-on-attitudes-towards-cl/

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/survey-says/

    A selection of below from many recognisable, 'pro-science' commentators:

    Tamino's: Rattus Norvegicus | August 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    "You missed the long series of questions about various conspiracy theories. Those were fun!"


    Tamino's: pointer | August 30, 2010 at 11:42 am |
    "Yeah, those conspiracy theory questions were pretty funny, but does anyone think that hardcore deniers are going to be fooled by such a transparent attempt to paint them as paranoids?

    Also, here are two words that, when put together, ought to make anyone critical of this research: “online” and “survey"


    Tamino's: Sekerob | August 29, 2010 at 11:17 am |
    "These surveys are designed for an outcome, which as was apparent from the reply in first post, and thus in this case for either entertainment or wind-up, or a learning point on who ordered the survey for correct slotting. They’re so transparent."

    Tamino's: Robert | August 28, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
    I guess they’re trying to use those survey questions to identify the nuts haha… All those conspiracy ones were a bit ridiculous (with the exception of iraq not being for WMDs, which is pretty obvious) although I do have to say the JFK lone gunman one is the only one i’m a little unsure about."


    Deltoid: Marion Delgado: August 30, 2010, 6:42 am
    I definitely thought the survey was poor and tendentious, fwiw.

    Deltoid:
    August 30, 2010, 5:17 am
    "It is a seriously weird questionnaire. I stopped doing it when I realized that the UWA logo directed one to the kwiksurveys site rather than UWA. Is it some sort of attempt to spish? Quite apart from the inept conspiracy questions that don’t allow “no idea” as an answer, and the two-part questions where you might have different response to the two parts.
    BTW – they say the experimenter is Charles Hanich, not Stephan Lewandowsky as you put Tim…."

    ------------

    I would recommend that readers at this blog, read the comments and criticisms made at the time at the pro-science blogs....

    All 'pro-science' surveys found are linked in the first comment here:
    http://talkingclimate.org/are-climate-sceptics-more-likely-to-be-conspiracy-theorists/

    By the way, what happened to the results & data, obtained from the survey that actually was posted at Junk Sceince (lots of actual sceptics' read that blog) did they not meet the pre-conceptions?
  38. Lewandowsky stated:

    "One 'skeptic' blogger (Steven McIntyre of \Climateaudit") has testi ed before the U.K. Parliament".

    Like dozens of other people, I sent a written submission to the UK Science and Technology Committee. That does not constitute "testifying before" the Committee. As I observed, I have testified before a subcommittee of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee.
  39. That's right Barry - ignore everything to the contrary, keep alerting us to squirrels, keep casting aspersions and all the while keep digging tenaciously until you get to the bottom of the hole you're looking into, and there you'll find just what you were looking for - the Lewandowsky Conspiracy. The problem is, Barry, that you think everyone else should see what you see, and that is the whole point of what should otherwise be an engaging debate about perception being reality. Shame you're not devoting your time and energy to that.
  40. What assertions?

    It was claimed 5 sceptical blog rejected it..

    One at least - Junk Science published it.. (where are the results)

    and we also find that the survey sent to Steve Mcintyre and JunkScience were on andthe same, yet different (first 5 questions) to those sent to the other blogs..

    these do appear to be facts, that it would be wise for the authors of the paper to address and/or clarify
  41. Steve McIntyre:

    'Like dozens of other people, I sent a written submission to the UK Science and Technology Committee. That does not constitute "testifying before" the Committee.'

    More's the pity. The moment the Scitech committee's inquiry was announced I emailed to say that Steve and Ross McKitrick should be called to testify in person. The more straightforward and open the debate the better. Grubbing around in the entrails of a survey whose 'results' have been trumpeted in The Guarduan and Telegraph newspapers but whose methodology is still far from open is almost the polar opposite.
  42. Foxgoose @35,

    You said, "The point is not that Lewandowsky 'couldn't get' the results, but that he didn't even wait to see if he could get them or not - presumably because he had the results he needed to produce the headline conclusions he was aiming for all along."

    ... which is ridiculous, since scientists talk about preliminary results all the time.

    Let's boil all this down.

    1. None of what you have said makes any sense if scientists commonly talk about preliminary results.

    2. Scientists DO commonly talk about preliminary results.

    3. Therefore, none of what you have said makes any sense.

    Please plainly state your objections to any of the above statements.
  43. Steve McIntyre did not give oral evidence to the committee because they did not invite him to. Draw your own conclusions.
  44. Since so many of the so-called 'skeptics' seem to have expertise in survey design and analysis, and are finding fault with this survey - how about you do a survey of 'blog denizens' yourself, testing the same two constructs. That is, rejection of climate science with:
    - free market ideology and
    - a range of conspiracy theories.

    You'll be doing a separate survey with your own questions, using whatever blogs you please to seek respondents.

    I for one would be interested to see how much difference there would be in results.

    Come on - it can't be that hard. Do it as an online questionnaire. You can provide the results before seeking publication in a journal (if you want to go that far).

    You could easily do it in a couple of weeks. A week to design and pilot the thing. Get blogs to post a link and give respondents a week to respond. On many blogs the request would be drowned out by other articles before a week was up, so a week for responses should be more than enough.

    Then a couple of days to prepare the results and post them online with your methodology.

    For conspiracy theorist respondents you wouldn't have to go to infowars or similar, there are at least a couple of blogs that discuss climate run by and/or attracting conspiracy theorists. (You'd know which ones.)
  45. Just for interest, you could test left wing ideologies, conspiracy theories and rejection of climate science as well. The results would be particularly interesting to the science rejectionists who believe that climate science is a left wing hoax.

    For completeness, you could test some factors that might be associated with acceptance of climate science. This survey looked at perceived consensus of scientists as well as 'a construct targeting people's sensitivity to environmental problems'.
  46. Sou #46, #47
    What makes you think we’re interested in finding out what our fellow sceptics believe? You’d be amazed at some of the crazy things I believe, but what’s that got to do with the likely temperature in 2060?
  47. BarryBickmore at 23:28 PM on 5 September, 2012
    Foxgoose @35,

    You said, "The point is not that Lewandowsky 'couldn't get' the results, but that he didn't even wait to see if he could get them or not - presumably because he had the results he needed to produce the headline conclusions he was aiming for all along."

    ... which is ridiculous, since scientists talk about preliminary results all the time.

    Let's boil all this down.

    1. None of what you have said makes any sense if scientists commonly talk about preliminary results.

    2. Scientists DO commonly talk about preliminary results.

    3. Therefore, none of what you have said makes any sense.

    Please plainly state your objections to any of the above statements.


    Are you seriously representing yourself as a scientist?

    Can you really not see that your three "questions" are just a self-serving circularity?

    The issue is not whether scientists sometimes discuss preliminary results - but rather what they say about them.

    In Lewandowsky's August 23rd Monash presentation he gave the number of responses as 1100 and stated the same conclusions as he drew in the eventual paper (although we now know the data didn't support those conclusions anyway).

    The data makes it clear that the 1100 number was after winnowing out incomplete or suspect responses.

    We now know from Steve McIntyre today that the second request to him to run the survey was received on the very same day as Lewandowsky's presentation -August 23rd.

    So on the day he presented his "preliminary" results and conclusions (which happen to exactly match his final ones) - he could have had no idea whether McIntyre would post the questionnaire and bring in a much higher number of responses from genuine climate sceptics - possibly completely overturning his conclusions.

    To anyone who isn't blinded by dogma & faith in "the cause" - it's quite obvious that Stephan got the responses from the activist blogs that he needed to prove his foregone conclusion - so he didn't bother waiting for any more data.

    This is simply political activism masquerading as science - and I would have thought a genuine scientist would want nothing to do with it.
  48. 40. stevemcintyre said:

    "Like dozens of other people, I sent a written submission to the UK Science and Technology Committee. That does not constitute "testifying before" the Committee."

    Yeah but you didn't say that. You said (at 9):

    "I have not testified to the "UK Parliament" or any of its subcommittees."

    But even so, why does it not constitute "testifying before"? What is the difference other than physical presence? You submitted your testimony to the UK Parliament. You had your moment. Your "evidence" was put on the public record.
  49. I've noticed a typo in my post 49.

    The two instances of "August" should of course be "September" - consistent with the narrative and my earlier posts.

    (I had a particularly good lunch today)
  50. Dozens of people submitted written submissions to the UK committee. That doesn't constitute "testifying" to the committee and would not warrant mention in an article. Nor do I believe that it is what Lewandowsky meant when he singled me out by saying that I had "testified". Anyone can submit a written submission, but being invited to testify to a committee implies additional recognition and I believe that that was what Lewandowsky had in mind. If he merely meant that I had made a written submission, I stand corrected, but I don't think that that was what he meant.

1  2  Next

Comments Policy

Post a Comment

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or register a new account.