Confirming the obvious

By Stephan Lewandowsky
Professor, School of Experimental Psychology and Cabot Institute, University of Bristol
Posted on 6 September 2012
Filed under Cognition

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.

You know, it's like this: when a link isn't posted on a blog, then that blog could not have contributed data, however long one waits. But don't let me stop anyone staring at that shiny object, it's been approximately 666 + 45 days since Mr McIntyre ignored my email, and the cube root of 666+45  is, after all, 8.925307759554336.

On that pesky issue of reality: Mr. McIntyre was contacted twice, as he himself acknowledge, and the date of first contact would have actually given him ample time to direct his readers to my survey, for timely inclusion in my Monash talk.

This leaves us with at least two further theories. Both are still in their infancy and it may be advisable to let them grow a little more.

I will therefore tread lightly and speak softly to provide them both with the nurturing environment they deserve.

One theory involves the breathtaking discovery that there were different versions of my survey posted at different blogs.

Versiongate!

It's a trick!

This theory is quite meritorious but has received way too little attention to date. I will therefore explore its laudable aspect in due course in one of my next posts, once it has gained more prominence and once more nonsense has reverberated around the denialist echo chambers. There is no point in pricking a balloon before it has been fully inflated with pompous self-importance.

The final theory involves the participants from Area 51, who apparently were on vacation from the grassy knoll: Warmists framing the survey, pretending to act like skeptics to make deniers look like nutters! Or something like that.

The data are invalid!

I call this the Daedalus theory and I sincerely hope it gets wings because it has such promise.

Let's not interfere with it before it really takes off. Let's wait till it gets a little closer to the sun.


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62 Comments


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Comments 1 to 50 out of 56:

  1. This theory is quite meritorious but has received way too little attention to date. I will therefore explore its laudable aspect in due course in one of my next posts, once it has gained more prominence and once more nonsense has reverberated around the denialist echo chambers. There is no point in pricking a balloon before it has been fully inflated with pompous self-importance.


    Stephan, when you say you wont say because you want to see if people will speculate - then I'm sure people will continue to speculate about what you did! I am looking forward to see what you will have proven about this when you reveal the truth! ;)

    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.



    I would agree that you mentioning contacting 5 sKeptic blogs who didn't post your survey does not strike me as implying any deception on your part but I personally did wonder why you mentioned it at all.

    And you seemed to agree when you said this in a previous post of yours:

    To clarify, this means that participants were recruited from those blogs that posted the link—not those that did not. One might therefore presume that attention would focus on those blogs that provided entry points to the survey, not those that did not, because it is entirely unclear how the latter might contribute to the results of the survey.


    Can you explain why you mentioned an unlisted cohort of Skeptic blogs, that you couldn't succeed in getting to participate? Since the study is about "skeptic" ideation you must see that this mention of an omission would strike people as a point of interest?
  2. Sorry you find our epistemology impoverished Steph. Yours is obviously in rude health:
    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.
    Yes, but not by you, but by your colleague Hanich. He was searching Lewandowsky instead of Hanich - faulty epistemology, obviously.
  3. hengistmcstone at 06:15 AM on 7 September, 2012
    This is great fun and Im tempted to point out that 666+45 =711 a clear reference to a supermarket.
    But climate science doesn't stand or fall on anything Prof Lewandowsky is saying here. Ive got to say I'm uncomfortable with this paper because whilst I fully support the consensus I am skeptical of some history in my lifetime. Conspiracy theorists get a bad press, and imho in the case of Apollo that's deserved.
    I would prefer the term Revisionist Historian (but maybe Im being paranoid there).
    Anyhow I would certainly argue that expounding a conspiracy theory is an indicator of an enquiring mind, so climate denialists (or skeptics) should perhaps pursue that line of argument from here on.
  4. You say:
    We now also know that two of the people who were contacted even replied to my assistant's query.
    Oops. Oops.
    But the link you provide to desmogblog says no such thing. My epistemology is letting me down again. Can you tell us who were the people contacted who replied? Because Desmogblog doesn’t.
  5. You say:
    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!
    Why not cut back on the exclamation marks and answer 3 simple questions: when did you contact the five skeptic blogs? Did they get the same questionnaire as the “pro-science “ blogs? Were you intending to integrate the responses from sceptics contacted on sceptic blogs with the answers obtained from sceptics on “pro-science “ blogs?
  6. The main concern remains that out of a survey, of 1100 people only 3 sceptics strongly accepted, the conspiracies, and of these 2 were highly suspect. If this was just a paper in a journal, NOBODY would care.

    Butagain we see science by press relase, and pre-press relaease (Corner Guardian)

    Do you really think it justified the heading of the paper, and the Telegraph newspaper headline. This is what drew attention to the paper, and this is what annoyed people.


    NASA faked the moon landing|
    Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science"

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

    Tom Curtis:

    "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."

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/AGU-Fall-Meeting-sessions-social-media-misinformation-uncertainty.html#84398

    With respect to 5 skeptic blogs were contacted..

    5 all rejected was the claim..

    We find, Steve Mcintyre did not reply to any emails rejecting it. When he went to search for an email from Lewandowsky from over 2 years ago, he found nothing.

    If he had searched for the names of the co-authors he would have found nothing.

    He then stated, that he can't find any request, but not ruled out that he may have missed it, and stated so and that he waived any privacy concerns and said please advise him if he was one of those contacted and how.

    he then discovered he was contacted by Hanrich, he then found it.. at no point did he reject it.


    We then have your responses, and I do believe the general public might ask, why is this Professor playing such silly childish games.

    We also find the Junk Science blog, DID post a link to the survey..

    Thus the statement that all sceptic blogs rejected it was incorrect.(assuming this was one of the 5)

    May I ask where are the results/data for anybody that ansered the questions via Junk Science.

    How many responedents, was it the same survey with the same questions, why was this not reported, assuming that this was one of the 5 original 'sceptic blogs' requested. The invitation from Hanrich appear to be the same as Mcintyres..

    Ultimatley, the concerne is the headline generated by the press release for the paper, and the telegraph Headline.

    the other concern is the silly games that are being played, by a Professor who should know better..

    to quote Tom Curtis again:

    "IMO, Lewandowsky's choice of a title is, and should be, far more damaging to his reputation as a scientist than the other flaws (IMO) in his paper."

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?p=2&t=113&&n=1540

    I think any reasonable person that is not totally tribal in this debate might agree, and to be fair to Tom, I agree with pretty much all of his comment (no66). No conspiracies, but I'm sure many people see someone projecting onto sceptics accusations of conspiracies, just because questions are asked.

    The title of the paper smacks of activism not professionalism, and just for fun, I'll quote Tom and Tom's wife (though I'm sure that will be laughed at from various ivory towers)

    Tom put this in BOLD:
    "More importantly, in my opinion, the title of the paper is not justified by the results, and is needlessly sensationalizing and offensive."

    Tom's wife ;-)
    "My wife further said that she would automatically reject a paper with Lewandowsky's title as being politically motivated. In the social sciences, politically motivated papers are a major problem, and generate an excess of background noise and confusion. Part of my wife's response to that is simply to ignore as worthless clearly politically motivated papers"

    I do not know whether Tom's wife offers her opinion as a professional in this sort of filed, or as a layperson.. either way, if that is how a relatively neutral observer to these sort of games, sees this paper, and the peer reviewers and journal does not... well

    that is a problem for the academics, in the long run...
  7. You say:
    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.
    In fact no days elapsed. You gave your presentation at Monash on the same day that your assistant Hanich sent the reminder to McIntyre. In your presentation you announced confidently the psychological profile of sceptics based on the responses of approximately 150 sceptics contacted via 6 virulently anti-sceptic blogs, while awaiting results from 5 sceptic blogs with a sceptical readership a hundred or a thousand times greater than that of Tamino etc.
    Alerted by a third party that he might have been contacted by a certain Lewandowsky, McIntyre searched his emails for Lewandowsky and announced that he hadn’t been contacted by Lewandowsky. A grave epistomological error on his part, since he’d been contated by Lewandowsky’s assistant Hanich.
  8. Professor Lewandowsky I'm also having a bit of trouble following your narrative here.

    You claim that two sceptic blogs (other than McIntyre's) replied to your invitations and include a link to Joe Romm's site as proof.

    Careful reading of Romm's piece reveals only a quote by you claiming the same thing.

    I may be a bit out of touch with modern scientific methods, but proving a fact by showing that you have said the same thing previously sounds a bit - well - post modernish.

    I'm also having a bit of trouble getting my head around the argument about the number of days that elapsed between your final email to McIntyre and your Monash presentation.

    You say "it doesn't matter whether 3, 30, or 666 days elapsed" - but McIntyre has now confirmed that he received the email on Sept 23rd, the exact same day as your presentation - so in fact no days elapsed at all and you presented your results on the day you invited him to collect data. Is this another post-modern innovation?

    I have to say I find your rather wild, prolix rhetoric about biding your time until you destroy you enemies with the superior power of your intellect a bit unsettling - especially coming from a psychologist.

    Is there no one you could talk to about it?

    Why don't you just try and break the habit of a lifetime and lay out the plain details and timing of your methodology so that we can all see what you did.
  9. You say:
    On that pesky issue of reality: Mr. McIntyre was contacted twice, as he himself acknowledge [sic], and the date of first contact would have actually given him ample time to direct his readers to my survey, for timely inclusion in my Monash talk.
    Except that he was offered a questionnaire radically different from that publicised on the eight (or six) “pro-science” blogs. Were you intending to include the possible responses from McIntyre’s readers, to a different questionnaire, in your Monash talk? (This question is not rhetorical, but 100% epistemological)
  10. @geoffchambers the Desmogblog piece mentions two other bloggers. Here's the text:

    'One stated “Thanks. I will take a look” and another asked “Can you tell me a bit more about the study and the research design?”'

    Given that Prof. Lewandowsky has already stated that he can't reveal the names of those bloggers until the Ethics Committee has decided whether it's a breach of their privacy to do so, what else do you want?
  11. You say:
    The final theory involves the participants from Area 51, who apparently were on vacation from the grassy knoll: Warmists framing the survey, pretending to act like skeptics to make deniers look like nutters! Or something like that.
    The clearest exponent of the theory that warmists were trying to frame the survey by pretending to act like skeptics to make deniers look like nutters is certainly SkepticalScience author Tom Curtis. See his comments at
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/AGU-Fall-Meeting-sessions-social-media-misinformation-uncertainty.html#comments
  12. Shindig

    The complete quote was:-

    Lewandowsky revealed that two of the five skeptic blogs approached even replied to the email they were sent.

    One stated “Thanks. I will take a look” and another asked “Can you tell me a bit more about the study and the research design?”


    I don't think, even an eminent academic like Prof L can prove a fact by quoting himself - although I've got to admit the technique is not unknown in "climate science".
  13. Prof Lewandowsky seems to come from the Peter Glieck old school style of climate communications. I'm not sure if he realises how he is coming across.

    I prefer the younger generation of scientists approach to communicating to the public.

    ie like Dr Tamsin Edwards email to Dr Peter Glieck, just before he apologised for misrepresnting me on the internet(I hear he wasn't very happy with Tamsins' reply

    In Tamsin’s closing email to Peter Gleick ( that I am party to) I think she inadvertantly identifies exactly the feeling of many sceptics, being dismissed as a group to be ignored.(or called deniers)


    “I would personally be infuriated if I was dismissed on account of the behaviour of a group of people I talk with. Every single person I talk with has a different viewpoint, and I learn a lot about how better to communicate climate science by listening to them. If we dismiss swathes of people by association then our attempts at communication become futile: we end up only ‘preaching to the converted from an ‘ivory tower’, as it were”.

    Of course, if communication of climate science is not your aim, then it is your choice if you prefer to communicate with nobody! – Tamsin Edwards"

    http://unsettledclimate.org/2012/02/02/clarifications-and-how-better-to-communicate-science/
  14. Speaking of Gleick - I seem to remember Prof Lewandowsky wrote a spirited defence of his theft, fraud & forgery.

    Revealing to the public the active, vicious, and well-funded campaign of denial that seeks to delay action against climate change likely constitutes a classic public good.

    http://theconversation.edu.au/the-morality-of-unmasking-heartland-5494

    I have a strong feeling he was crusading with the same "anti-denier" zeal when he designed his study.
  15. Just wait a second there, Professor Lewandowsky! You talk about the comments on your blog by "skeptics," but how do you know they aren't just "alarmists" masquerading as "skeptics" to make them look bad? In fact, it's obvious that's the real truth, and you know it, too!

    You New World Order elitists want to dismiss us as "conspiracy theorists" to shut us up, but the FACT is that I was abducted by aliens. And if it didn't really happen, why was there a freshly minted Kenyan birth certificate sitting right underneath my crack pipe when I got back? Obviously, you people don't want me to run for President of the USA.

    .
    Moderator Response: Part of this comment has been snipped due to violation of 'No ad hominem attacks' part of our Comments Policy.
  16. @foxgoose

    Am interested:

    - do you think he should breach his University's ethics code and go ahead and publish the [private] email discussions before they decide whether it's ethical for him to do so?

    - do you believe that all email discussions like this are public anyway?
  17. Prof Lewandowsky,

    I find your research very interesting. I was wondering, have you done any research on professors with extreme bias that conduct surveys with predetermined conclusions who then play cat and mouse games with those that are only seeking an honest answer to many unanswered questions? Thx in advance.
    Moderator Response: Part of this comment has been snipped due to violation of 'No profanity or inflammatory tone or ad hominem attacks' part of our Comments Policy.
  18. BarryBickmore at 08:03 AM on 7 September, 2012
    Just wait a second there, Professor Lewandowsky! You talk about the comments on your blog by "skeptics," but how do you know they aren't just "alarmists" masquerading as "skeptics" to make them look bad? In fact, it's obvious that's the real truth, and you know it, too!


    I know you people are into recycling - but that wasn't even funny when Stephan tried it the first time.

    Moderator Response: Part of this comment has been snipped due to violation of the 'No accusations of deception' part of our Comments Policy.
  19. Whatever one thinks about Prof Lewandowsky's paper, there seems little doubt that the reactions to it have been more revealing than the polling in the paper itself.

    Mind you, after reading Barry Bickmore's comment, it suddenly struck me that perhaps Stephan Lewandowsky's intention all along was really to test Poe's Law.

    And now I come to think of it Steve McIntyre's post "Banned in Sudbury" was obviously just a clever hack by a warmist, designed to make Climate Audit denizens appear credulous and paranoid.

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/06/07/banned-at-sudbury-airport/

    Once you start to see them, conspiracies are everywhere.
  20. Oh, I totally agree with you, Foxgoose @19. Lewandowsky and his elitist cronies are just yucking it up over there, making fun of people like you and me positing conspiracy theories about social scientists trying to paint us as conspiracy theorists. The McI can spot the tiniest inconsistencies--like a tiny number of hockey-stick-shaped results in a giant pile of non-hockey-stick-shaped ones.
    Moderator Response: Part of this comment has been snipped due to violation of 'No profanity or inflammatory tone. No all caps' part of our Comments Policy.
  21. BarryBickmore at 08:57 AM on 7 September, 2012

    I thought your religion discouraged mind altering substances.
  22. Political Junkie at 10:26 AM on 7 September, 2012
    Earlier, I suggested that you might not want to keep poking at Steve McIntyre with a stick.

    Upon further reflection, let me retract that advice.

    Carry on just as you are doing. This will be entertaining!
  23. Foxgoose @22,

    Tut, tut. I merely said that my fake Kenyan birth certificate was under my crack pipe. That in no way implies that I smoke crack when I'm dreaming up conspiracy theories.
  24. PJ @23,

    Yeah! As soon as McIntyre McAudits this, he'll find that Prof. Lewandowsky made some mistakes with his statistics. And then, curiously, he'll never get around to showing that these mistakes made any difference to the conclusions.
  25. David O, you talking about Ross McKitrick? Oh hell, who could resist.
  26. I completely concur with Dr. Lewandowsky's assessment in his post. It is pretty alarming that some people here continue to be so adamant that something nefarious is afoot, even in light of facts and objective and rational reasoning.

    It is a difficult problem. Research has shown that trying to change people's fringe beliefs by presenting them with facts and evidence can actually, counterintuitively, enforce their fringe beliefs.

    The same holds true with the theory of human-caused climate change and climate science. Take Mr. Anthony Watts and Mr. Stephen McIntyre, for example. No evidence (no matter how compelling or unequivocal, even nine inquiries clearing scientists of wrong doing) will ever change Mr. Watts' mind or that of Mr. McIntyre. Both these people will very likely continue to believe, probably to their graves, that one or more conspiracies are afoot by climate scientists and governments.

    Do Dr. Lewandowsky and his authors have some advice on how one can effectively communicate and connect with people having significant/chronic Dunning-Kruger? How do you politely and respectfully convince them that they do not know better than the experts?
  27. Political Junkie, your post at 23 sounds very much like a veiled threat to me. You also seem to be operating under the assumption that Dr. Lewandowsky has something to hide. Mr. McIntyre's sad agenda is well known now. But he has had his day (of sorts) and now the rest of us in the real world wish to live in the present and think seriously about addressing this very serious problem that we and future generations face.

    Mr. McIntyre and others like him can elect to continue picking fights and smearing and slandering and harassing scientists as he has done in the past, but the rest of us are moving on and are going to be constructive and proactive.

    It is time to start ignoring mendacious opportunists who have an agenda/vendetta against climate science and scientists.
  28. No, sorry Eli. Dr McKitrick did not determine UHI by inventing phantom Chinese weather stations or conducting an internet survey of fossil fuel company web sites.
  29. I’m interested to know how sceptics asking SL questions about his paper and then speculating on the answers when none are forthcoming, as people are wont to do, in any way amounts to conspiracy theorising. As I understand it, one man does not a conspiracy make. I have seen no sceptics accusing anyone else other than SL of any wrongdoing or of any cover-up with regard to this paper. For a conspiracy to be a conspiracy, it has to involve more than one person. I know SL had co-authors, but as he refers to the paper in terms of I/me/my rather than we/us/our, I think we can assume their input was small and that it is indeed his paper and it is to him that sceptics should direct their questions.

    So, not a conspiracy. Just one man with, by his own previous words and writings, preconceptions on how sceptics think, using a badly designed, badly disseminated and badly conducted survey to try to prove those preconceptions correct. Even then it seems, judging by the title of his paper, he misinterpreted the results of said survey thereby compounding the error.

    All SL has to do to cut short all the speculation and controversy is answer the questions he is being asked in a full and open manner. He doesn’t want to say which sceptic blogs he contacted until he is cleared to do so by the ethics committee. Fine, I for one can wait a few days for the decision on that. No problem. Meanwhile, of course, he could clear up all the other questions in no time at all if he wanted to. But it seems he doesn’t want to. He wants to play games instead. How very professional of him.

    But then again, what do I know? After all, I’m just a part of that well organised, well funded, denialist misinformation campaign that seeks to delay action on climate change aren’t I? ;)
  30. Hi Stephen, enjoyed the paper and have enjoyed the response. The comments on John's recent article are a good laugh too.

    Do you think that this issue of cognitive dissonance will lead to a marginalising of these denial groups? Because we do have examples of myths that continue to be held up as truths in this modern age, I'd hate to think this will continue to have any traction and influence.

    Cheers, Tim.
  31. I eargerly await the return of the Master Quibbler to quibble over Stephans heinous use of the facts to illustrate 'climate skeptics' propensity to impute nefarious motives the instant they fail to understand something.

    Steven Mosher also gets an award for this for his early comments over at rankexploits.

    Congrats to all.
  32. Tim Scanlon

    Denial groups?? Denial groups?? We’ve been split into groups now? Oh crikey! They could have told me! So who’s going to tell us what to do now? Will Exxon still pay us? And I’m going to be marginalised? Is that the same as buttered up? Will it hurt? Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Captain Mainwaring…. Captain Mainwaring sir …..
  33. Gold! Gold! Gold!

    Well done Stephan - the fact they just keep on coming back for more humiliation means you have really got them where it hurts.

    Brad, you/they reject science. You engage in credulous, blog-driven groupthink. Your speculations are unbalanced as to the facts. Your analyses are irrationally skewed towards labelling *others* as unreliable when those are your faults.

    And here Stephan has managed to get you lot to out yourselves in the most spectacularly revealing way imaginable. Brilliant. *He* is brilliant, that it, not you deniers, you're not at all brilliant.
    Moderator Response: Part of this comment has been deleted due to a contravention of the No accusations of deception' part of our Comments Policy.
  34. I’m sorry Craig, but you’re completely wrong there. I am in fact brilliant. I told someone else on another blog just the other day that I am brilliant. According to Prof Lewandowsky above the line here, that is proof enough that I am indeed brilliant. you don't want to be arguing with the prof now do you? ;)
  35. @Brad Keyes at 34

    You don't understand the difference between conducting science itself - which uses the scientific method - and scientific scepticism - which uses peer review to examine what has been done using the scientific method?

    Or are you just desperately seeking another avenue of attack, no matter how foolish it is?
  36. re: 36
    Is that the same Laurie Childs who ~two weeks ago challenged my statement that Montford either could not do competent scholarship or he falsified, or both? Sadly, after I backed it up, she failed to reappear. Maybe we can resume?

    See the original "dog astrology" discussion, He Who Quotes Dog AStrology Jounral
  37. Oops, slip of fingers. TO finish:

    Montford didn't start the reliance on David Deming's comments, for which he never gave any proof, written in a journal that covers UFOs, ESP, reincarnation, weight loss in suffocating sheep, dog astrology, telepathy with emails, alien abduction research, etc. Deming was on the Council for the organization that publishes this.

    Earlier McIntyre+McKitrick used Deming's quote in 2005, in Australia, and also in Washington, DC, in the talk that was the blueprint for the Wegman Report. I'm not sure they started it either, might have been Fred Singer, who mentioned it earlier in 2005.

    The talk has plenty of incompetence and/or falsification, too, even ignoring reliance on a dog astrology journal. For two simple examples:

    p.10 IPCC 1995 (FALSE CITATION + FLAT-EARTH INCOMPETENCE)
    This shows a sketch by H.H.Lamb from the 1970s, for N. Europe, stuck into the 1990 IPCC, gone by 1992, and with an early reconstruction by 1995 in that IPCC. See SSWR p.15 for the history. This view was gone no later than 1992.

    The whole story wouldn't have worked so well if Lamb's graph had been abandoned years before. The evidence says there was a modest MWP, just not the huge one Lamb sketched.)

    FLAT_EARTH: In 2005, claiming the slightest validity to this graph (except for history) was like having found an old flat earth map and sticking with it forever:

    'The Flat Earth Society recruited members by attacking the United States government and all of its agencies, particularly NASA. Much of the society’s literature in its early days focused on interpreting the Bible literally to mean that the Earth is flat, although they did attempt to offer scientific explanations and evidence.'

    They have also been prone to conspiracy theories:

    ' He spent years examining the studies of flat and round Earth theories and proposed evidence of a conspiracy against flat-Earth: "The idea of a spinning globe is only a conspiracy of error that Moses, Columbus, and FDR all fought…"'

    p.12 D. Deming, Science 1995 (FALSE CITATION, INCOMPETENCE)
    '"With the publication ... A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said "We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period."'

    Deming has never offered any proof, and Lindzen later told an untruth about it. It doesn't even make any sense: any of the competent reconstructions shows a modest MWP, so why would they want to get rid of it? And, it is in a dog astrology journal.

    FALSE CITATION: It was neither in Science nor in 1995, it was in JSE in 2005. Most curiously, on 04/05/05, Mckitrick had given a closely-related paper in Australia, where (p.4), he correctly cited the (not-yet-published) article as being from JSE. Somehow, JSE turned into Science when presented in Washington a month later.

    One might think two "auditors" and accountant might be more careful.

    SO, when you think {McIntyre, McKitrick, Montford), think:
    - relies on dog astrology journal
    - relies on graph equivalent to flat-earth
    - claims climate cabal conspiracy theories

    which brings us back around to the topic here. Maybe the Earth is round after all.
  38. Fresh in @ comment 4, RepliedGate: the replies from skeptics don't exist.

    “Thanks" for your latest thoughts Geoff, "I will take a look".

    "Can you tell me a bit more about the" search for the replies? Perhaps about the "study and the research design?".
  39. Professor Lewandowsky, in 2007 you praised ordinary citizens who were sceptical about the official line concerning WMDs in Iraq. You referred to scepticism as "a sharp and incisive tool to differentiate between truth and falsehood". You wrote "if there is anything positive to be rescued from the Iraq fiasco, it is the reaffirmation of the intelligence of common citizens who disbelieved their leaders' statements and showed more common sense than their governments" and you emphasised the need to "focus on the information".

    With 20/20 rear-view vision, we know now that the sceptics (of which I was one) were right about WMDs. However, in 2003, the misgivings and scepticism of common citizens would have probably been dismissed by the governments of the time with the same disdain that you are dishing out to CAGW sceptics today. We all know now that most WMD-sceptics were not raving, tin-foil hatters. We were not experts in military, political or diplomatic matters, either. We were ordinary people applying our common sense and focussing on the information. It turned out that we were right.

    With the climate debate and the promises of catastrophic man-made climate change, we have no such hindsight - yet. I think we're still in a similar place to where we were in 2003 re the WMD question. At that time, who could have known for sure whether or not Saddam had a huge arsenal of missiles aimed at the West? And who were we - common citizens, armed only with our common sense and our sceptical attitude - to question the authority of governments and the governments' expert advisers?

    So, in 2012, who are we CAGW sceptics - again, many of us just common citizens, armed only with our common sense and our sceptical attitude - to question the authority of governments and the governments' expert advisers?

    You publicly deride us as cranks. Has it crossed your mind, in the light of your "sceptic's guide to politics" that you may be premature in that assessment?
  40. In regard to WMD in Iraq, it was the experts who were informing the public that they could find no trace of WMD. Common sense had little to do with it.

    In regard to anthropogenic global warming the experts are providing evidence and explaining what is happening and why. Again - you don't need to rely on common sense.

    If someone were to read the science, look at what is happening in the world, and profess that climate scientists are engaging in a giant fraud or some sort of group think, then it would be fair to deride them as a bit of a nutcase.

    This study showed some attributes that predict rejection of science. It doesn't follow that every single person who rejects climate science is an extreme right winger or subscribes to other diverse conspiracy theories. It's just that if there were a room full of extreme right wingers, the odds are that there were a disproportionate number of science rejectionists in that room.

    On common sense:
    Common sense is the most widely shared commodity in the world, for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it. René Descartes

    Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. Albert Einstein
  41. (The experts searching Iraq for WMD and telling the world there was no sign of them, were UN inspectors. Kind of ironic seeing that the UN features in so many crank conspiracy theories, including crank conspiracy theories relating to climate science.)
  42. > the cascading eruption of allegations and theories

    I hope you've been tracking the copying and pasting of the claims as they spread. An animation would be fun to watch.
  43. @ Sou, it was more the "dodgy dossier" episode I had in mind, here in the UK, when the Blair government and its expert advisers took us to war on grounds that turned out to be less than solid.

    The claim that Saddam was ready to launch chemical and biological weapons at the West within 45 minutes (leading to lurid stories in the press of British troops and tourists in Cyprus being threatened with annihilation by germ warfare) seemed, to many of us at the time, implausible and contrived.

    The Iraq Survey Group reinforced the earlier work of Hans Blix's UN weapons inspectors, together providing - eventually - the empirical evidence that was needed to show that we had been right to be sceptical.
  44. I don't have a problem believing that the climate has warmed since the industrial revolution, and that much of the warming can reasonably be attributed to human activity.

    However, I'm highly skeptical of the use of climate science to justify an entire spectrum of what appears to be a liberal social agenda. I do not find left-wing pseudo-intellectualism any more inspiring than the right-wing anti-intellectualism.

    I might add that "free market ideology" is well-established science. I know economics is not fashionable these days, but read any economics textbook. Economic goods are not optimally produced without the right incentives. The right incentives do not exist outside of a free market. Free markets do not exist without governments that protect property rights and enforce contracts. In the context of free markets, climate change is considered a "negative externality" of much industrial activity as it is practiced today. It is actually a violation of others' property rights when a firm is allowed to profit by polluting while others are left to bear the harm of that pollution.

    Markets that are "rigged," monopolized, or impaired by colluding participants who erect "barriers of entry" are not free either. Do not confuse crony capitalism with free markets.

    Science and history are not kind to efforts to replace free markets with centrally planned collectivism. I hope that is not your goal in writing this paper.
  45. Very nice comment! I also think that your research (and that of others in this rough area) is critical for the survival of human civilization. Either we figure out stupidity (used as technical term here, not profanity!) pretty soon, or this is it.
  46. justin #48 wrote: "Science and history are not kind to efforts to replace free markets with centrally planned collectivism. I hope that is not your goal in writing this paper."

    Wow - conspiracy theories keep on coming, still.
  47. Physics is more than unkind to people who think its laws can be nullified via strong political beliefs.
  48. @ Sou #50:

    Enough with the "conspiracy theory" accusations.

    If your goal is to stop global warming, which scientists have determined would take radical changes to the economy in order to accomplish, and you start out by panning the concept of a free market, upon which all modern economies are based, then it certainly does sound like you're trying to centrally plan a new and better economy for the good of us all.

    But your good intentions will pave the way to destruction if don't understand how free markets work, or if you are not willing to work with them to correctly identify and address their deficiencies.

    Normally when scientists discover a troubling natural phenomenon, they strive to understand the underlying processes that drive that phenomenon, but in the case of global warming, climate scientists stop and throw up their hands as soon as they discover humans are causing it, because the study of the human economy is a whole different science, which is foreign to them. But a good fundamental understanding of the economy is critical, particularly for climate scientists who wish to be taken seriously when they make policy recommendations.

    But none of this matters, because fundamental economic science just got tarred with the same brush as theories that the moon landing was a hoax and Princess Di was killed by shape-shifting reptilians.
  49. @ Brad Keyes at 45

    You seem to imagine that there's only one source of scepticism to be considered: that of the scientist doing the work.

    Acceptance of a work of science by the world of science at large is surely the relevent topic here. And that scepticism is engaged and expressed by peer review.

    Unless, of course, you think that scientists possess a hive mind.
  50. justin: you're an anonymous poster on the Internet.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but not all opinions carry equal weight.

    I normally follow:
    IUOUI: Ignore Unsupported Opinions of Unidentifiable Individuals, but I'll break that rule once here.

    Can you offer more that would let a rational person assess the weight to be ascribed to your opinions? It would help to get some references to what you consider "fundamental economic science." for instance. In my experience, not all economists agree on the fundamentals in the way that physicists do, and things like Total Factor Productivity sometimes leave a bit to be desired.

    Perhaps you might also describe your experience in the competitive free market, as some people who talk about it a lot turn out to have relatively little actual experience.

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