Climate denial a “warmist” hoax?

By Stephan Lewandowsky
Professor, School of Experimental Psychology and Cabot Institute, University of Bristol
Posted on 13 September 2012
Filed under Cognition
and Klaus Oberauer

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

This may come as a surprise to some who mistakenly consider models to be something science should do without. Not only are models central to all scientific inquiry—ever heard of the heliocentric model of the solar system?—but without a model we could not understand other people, and not even ourselves.  

This Theory of Mind is a collection of beliefs of what other people believe or know, what they want, and how they most likely will act. If you have ever sat next to someone on a plane who’s telling you all about Barney’s last summer holiday, oblivious to the fact that you’ve never met or heard of Barney before, then you will understand the importance of a Theory of Mind and how its integrity is central to human interaction.

What does this have to do with our recent paper on the motivated rejection of science?

Everything.

We already established that if potentially “suspect” outlying observations are removed from our data, the correlations of greatest interest, between conspiracist ideation and rejection of science, retains its significance. So far, so good, but now we need to discuss the far-from-trivial issue of why anyone would consider those observations “suspect” (other than by their magnitude alone).

This brings us to the issue of “scamming”, the hypothesis that people completed our survey by “faking” their responses.

It turns out that any decision about “scamming” is a cognitive choice that rests on a model in one’s mind about other people’s behavior.

Let’s consider this hypothetical response profile:

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4  … 1 1 1 1 1,

where the 4’s stand for endorsement  of conspiracy theories and the 1’s for rejection of climate-related items.

One might be tempted to conclude that this respondent was a “warmist” who “scammed” our survey by faking endorsement of conspiracy theories, perhaps in order to make “deniers” look like “nutters” (I am using caricaturizing labels in quotation marks, such as “warmist”, for succinctness; the discussion is impossible without succinct labels.)

Crucially, we must recognize that the judgment just made was a cognitive judgment that relies on a model—a model of what a response pattern would look like if someone faked the data. This cognitive model rests on (a) the tacit premise that no one could possibly be serious when endorsing all conspiracy theories, and it would include (b) the further deduction that anyone who does this must be faking the response. A further deduction (c) could be added that this faking was done in order to cast aspersions on people who reject (climate) science.

So, a cognitive model with one premise and at least one auxiliary assumption indeed suggests that this response pattern represents a “scammer.”

The crucial point is this: Identification of presumed scammers is a model-based inference, and there is no escaping that fact (e.g., trap questions don’t help because they could equally be scammed).

Moreover, because identification of “scammers” rests on a model-based inference, it should come as no surprise that there are multiple other cognitive models of at least equal plausibility that would lead to different conclusions: For example, the above response pattern is equally compatible with the model that (a) no one in their right mind would endorse all conspiracy theories, and therefore (b) some “deniers” are really “nutters” (again, caricaturizing labels are used for succinctness.).

We therefore come to opposing conclusions about the putative “scamming” responses based on two opposing models of what respondents were thinking while they were completing the survey.

There is no easy way to adjudicate between the two models.

It is for that reason that we removed all those responses to which one or the other of those cognitive models might apply. Given that the removal of “scammers” (or true “nutters”, on the alternative model) makes no difference to the significance of our correlations, we fortunately do not have to expend much further energy on this issue within the narrow context of our survey.

However, it is worth taking a broader view at the notion of “scamming” and the implications of various different cognitive models by considering other manifestations of climate denial (or endorsement) on the internet. Blog comments, after all, are potentially as anonymous as survey responses and they are therefore subject to precisely the same model-based interpretation as the response patterns in our data.

So let’s apply the above models to a few comments and other material harvested from the internet.

We begin with this one, reproduced verbatim below:

“Here is some photographic analysis for Apollo 11 showing that the moonwalking was in fact staged. There is nothing to oppose this analysis and no getting around it. If it conflicts with your irrational beliefs see a psychiatrist. But don't be getting about running cover for the criminals that push these fraudulent and expensive undertakings on the public. These networks haven't gone away and they are busier then ever. The CO2-warming scam is scientific fraud. And its a far bigger, more ambitious, and more expensive scam then the moon hoax ever was. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6MvcIs4OcQ

Applying the same cognitive model that suggests that participants scammed our survey, this comment was clearly written by a “warmist” who “scammed” the comment to make “deniers” look like “nutters.”

Some instances of climate denial, by the same logic that some have applied to our survey responses, are a “warmist” hoax.

Moving from comments to blog posts, here we have a certain Oliver Manuel:

“In 1972 I became uneasy about the politicalization of science, but I could not grasp the problem until Climategate emails and documents were released in November of 2009. … I have tentatively traced this back to secret, fear-driven agreements by the winners of the Second World War in 1945 and later by Kissinger, Zhou En-Lai, Chairman Mao, Brezhnev and Nixon in 1971.”

The same individual also recently sent me an email, which opened with: “On The Eleventh Anniversary of the 9-11-2011 Tragedy — Events leading to Climategate in Nov 2009.

(Disclaimer: O. Manuel did not design our survey items.)

So is this individual a “nutter,” or is he a “warmist” posing as a “nutter” to make “deniers” look bad? On the cognitive model that some people have applied to our survey responses, the latter possibility should be favored.

Lest one think that Oliver Manuel is just a lone individual of questionable mental competence, it must be noted that climate “skeptic” Ian Plimer relies on Manuel’s bizarre theory, that the sun is largely composed of iron, in his principal work of fiction Heaven and Earth. This recent article opens up a door to a sordid and bizarre network of Manuel and associates whose responses to our survey are readily predicted.

Of course, they are all just “warmists” doing their stuff to make “deniers” look bad.

But why stop at blog posts?

Let’s examine some public utterances of well-known alleged climate deniers and see if they might be warmist scammers in disguise, doing their best to make deniers look like nutters.

A leading candidate for scammer-in-chief is Lord Christopher Monckton. Although he is commonly perceived to be the Vaudevillian poster boy of climate denial, some very serious questions about his true identity have been raised on Australian national TV.

Those questions hint at the possibility that Mr Monckton might be a scammer, an impression buttressed by his public concerns about President Obama’s place of birth.

Further evidence for Mr Monckton’s warmist mission to pose as scammer is provided by his public claim that NASA blew up its own satellite to prevent the climate hoax from being uncovered. This seems likely, given that NASA has had ample opportunity to hone its skills with the so-called “moon landing.”

We conclude that there is clear evidence that Mr Monckton is a warmist scammer trying to make climate denial look nuts.

And Mr Monckton is not alone; there appears to be a considerable number of such scammers out there, given that warmists-faking-nutty-denial-theories of exploding satellites can be found elsewhere.

Looks like they all scammed our survey.

We are convinced now.

Climate denial is a warmist hoax, perpetrated by the same scammers who faked our survey.

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421 Comments


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Comments 1 to 50 out of 319:

  1. These educational articles are also fun and entertaining.
  2. Of course, the droves of contrarians that will inevitably show up here will complain that people like Monckton aren't representative of the views of all those who oppose mainstream climate science in some way. Well, of course they aren't. But the fact is that Monckton has been invited to testify multiple times as a climate expert before committees of the U.S. Congress, is an invited speaker every single year at the Heartland conference, and contrarian climate scientists like Dick Lindzen routinely appear on panels with him, and will even vouch for his credibility. It appears to me that the climate change contrarian community, "big tent" though it may be, hasn't been trying too hard to shove Uncle Monckton back in the attic.

    The other side of this issue has a nutter problem, too, but it doesn't seem to be as pervasive. They exist, but these nutters aren't the ones who show up to testify to Congress, after all.
  3. Well, that certainly explains this clip! Nobody could wear that outfit for real...
  4. The 'journal' 21st Century Science and Technology is another nexus between conspiracy theory and GW denial.

    https://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/Global_Warming.html

    This impressive-sounding title is in fact an organ of Lyndon H. LaRouche, convicted mail fraudster who believes that British royal family is running an international drugs syndicate, that Henry Kissinger is a communist agent and the British government is controlled by Jewish bankers.

    WattsUpWithThat.com is self-described as 'the world's most-viewed site on Global Warming', and takes a distinctly contrarian stance. Contrary to the hypothesis, discussion of conspiracy theories (other than the global hoax perpetrated by climate scientists) seems rare at that venue. However this may be because the proprietor has wisely and pre-emptively banned them as a Site Policy:

    "Certain topics are not welcome here and comments concerning them will be deleted. This includes topics on religion, discussions of barycentrism, astrology, aliens, bigfoot, chemtrails, 911 Truthers, Obama’s Birth Certificate, HAARP, UFO’s, mysticism, and other topics not directly related to the thread."

    I am not aware of any other site that is so specific in its banned topics ....
  5. You see, here's where you lose me intellectually, practically and morally.

    Intellectually, you seem to be lumping together everyone who rejects climate science - those who are genuine conspiracy nuts along with otherwise rational and moral people who just have a ideological blind spot on this issue. (Yes, this is based on a subjective theory of mind constructed informally from of my interactions with climate skeptics.)

    Practically, you seem to be deliberately fanning the flames of the culture war: Anyone who doesn't accept the consensus is a conspiracy nut (c.f. Bush: anyone who isn't with us is with the terrorists). That's not what your paper says, but it seems to be the response that you are aiming for when you transition from exposition to ridicule in this post and others.

    In doing so you risk encouraging consensus community members to develop a dehumanised view of skeptics ('they can't help it because they are nutters' seen at Eli's and elsewhere), which I would speculate will serve to decrease our effectiveness in communicating with skeptics, and indeed anyone who doesn't obviously accept the consensus position. So there is a danger that you are also radicalising the less rationally-founded elements of the consensus community, reducing their credibility with the undecideds.

    If that is correct and a conscious decision (rather than a misguided bit of fun), then you have made a decision about the sociology: That it is more effective to further radicalise skeptics in order to decrease their credibility with the undecided, than to leave them unradicalised with the expectation that as impacts become more apparent more of them will drift quietly towards the consensus position. That's not impossible, but I'd like to see some compelling evidence, because it's an approach that I am very uncomfortable with on moral grounds. (And I don't think it worked for Bush either.)
  6. it is worth pointing out perhaps the Oliver OManuel is banned at a number of sceptic blogs as tediously going on about his iron sun theories, whatever the topic..

    so focussing on him, is really a bit pointless.

    you might as well point to comments, to a blog that is very convinced about climate change, yet is also a 9/11 conspiracy blog

    "Stop Driving, The 911 boycott" is a call to action to reduce auto use and the enormous impacts driving is having on global climate change.

    http://www.stopdriving.org/boycott.html
    they say 9-11 was an inside job
  7. (-snip-) Peter Gleick - (-snip-).

    Curiously, Professor Lewandowsky wrote an impassioned defence of Gleick's behaviour - even comparing him to Winston Churchill.

    Clearly Stephan can adjust his own "Theory of Mind" as necessary where his emotional & political beliefs are concerned.
    Moderator Response: Inflammatory snipped.
  8. We therefore come to opposing conclusions about the putative “scamming” responses based on two opposing models of what respondents were thinking while they were completing the survey.

    Mmmmm. Knowing what people where thinking is indeed a hard question to answer.

    Maybe we need more information on the initial conditions when analysing the model output?

    We have little evidence skeptics even had a chance to think at all since there were no overt entry points offered them.

    However we do know that some "pro-science" blogs did offer their readers more food for thought:

    A Few Things Ill Considered
    Your answers are desired as the reader of a “pro-science” blog, they are confidential and will be used for a research project.

    Deltoid
    Stephan Lewandowsky is conducting a survey on attitudes towards climate science and related issues and is interested in responses from readers of pro-science blogs.

    Hot-Topic (NZ)
    The Cognitive Science Lab at the University of Western Australia has put together an internet survey to test people’s attitudes to science. Prof Stephan Lewandowsky describes it thus: “the rationale behind the survey is to draw linkages between attitudes to climate science and other scientific propositions (eg HIV/AIDS) and to look at what skepticism might mean (in terms of endorsing a variety of propositions made in the media)”.

    BTW. Thanks for showing some selected examples showing denier/conspiracy ideation practiced by individuals. Encouraged by this I think I too can dig out some moon landing hoax comments posted on the Guardian by leftist types if you want? I saw a few (very few but enough) moon-landing denier statements from leftist Guardian readers recently too on the Neil Armstrong obituary pages.;)
  9. Stephan Lewandowsky at 23:33 PM on 13 September, 2012
    @7: My "impassioned defense" of Gleick was no such thing. I raised questions and analogies with precedents, nothing further. I encourage people to read the piece [http://theconversation.edu.au/the-morality-of-unmasking-heartland-5494]
  10. My cognitive model differs from that of some of the commenters here. For example, I find it absurd that anyone would have a moral objection to the authors of a cognitive science study responding to specific questions/accusations from so-called 'skeptics', using examples of what is often seen on blogs. More particularly so as the responses are also giving us some insight into the field of cognitive science.

    Nor did I read the article as suggesting that all 'skeptics', fake or otherwise, are 'nutters'. I read it as a response to the speculation about the outlier responses to the survey, presenting two different models that might explain the outliers. (It's pretty obvious that pro-science blogs, in addition to the main audience, also attract a small number of people with unusual views. On the other hand, some comments on blogs are Poes = you can't always tell who's faking it and who's for real.)

    I expect there will be more comments to this article, which will demonstrate the different cognitive models that shape the thinking of different people.
  11. Professor Lewandowsky
    I have already made this point for you a couple of times in comments to this series of articles, without the irony. There are undoubtedly weird people out there, and there is no obvious reason that they should be excluded from your survey. They may well make up (say) 1 or 2% of the population. Your survey is designed to find them, first by asking weird questions to which only they will give a positive answer, and secondly by excluding the “don’t know” option, thus excluding anyone who doesn’t have total knowledge of Rosewell, the Oklahoma bombing, etc, and isn’t prepared to lie. You have designed an anonymous, easily gamed survey in which normal sceptical human beings cannot participate without lying. And you have managed to demonstrate, based on 2, 3 or 5% of your sample, that people who believe that the government is lying to them about one thing will also tend to believe that they are lying about another thing.
    That’s all.
  12. 8 titlib -- "Encouraged by this I think I too can dig out some moon landing hoax comments posted on the Guardian by leftist types if you want?"

    The problem is your generalised caricaturish mental model of Guardian commenters BTL. Very many are overtly rightwing but, unfortunately for them, many of their preferred news outlets have put their articles behind paywalls which they seemingly prefer not to pay to get past. Many others also regularly visit the Guardian to have a go at "those lefties".
  13. Professor Lewandowsky
    Since you are here and reading comments, when will you be answering the very many simple questions about your survey, it’s design, the timing, and the source of respondents? When will you be releasing the demographics and data for the questions not analysed in the paper? Do you have, and will you release, material to allowthe source blogs to be matched with individual respondents, or, failing that, a simple list of the source blogs with numbers of respondents from each blog, includng respondents eliminated for inapprooriate answers or duplicate IPs?
  14. Brad Keyes,

    The "skeptics" don't reject climate science and never have.

    What they argue (rightly or wrongly) is that:

    - not everything passed off as climate science is actually scientific (e.g. MBH98)
    - nothing that is actually scientific has come up with evidence for alarm

    They certainly don't reject science sensu lato!


    The problem is found in the basis for which "skeptics" judge evidence to be "actually scientific". Your second point could very easily be a form of No True Scotsman fallacy.

    As an example from another field, Intelligent Design advocates do accept some aspects of conventional thinking on evolutionary biology but reject others, often on the basis that they consider such evidence to be "unscientific" (e.g here). Should we then conclude that intelligent design is not fundamentally a rejection of evolutionary biological science?
  15. @15. J Bowers at 00:11 AM on 14 September, 2012
    The problem is your generalised caricaturish mental model of Guardian commenters BTL. Very many are overtly rightwing but, unfortunately for them, many of their preferred news outlets have put their articles behind paywalls which they seemingly prefer not to pay to get past. Many others also regularly visit the Guardian to have a go at "those lefties".

    I wasn't offering anything so crude as merely my mental model but rather evidence such as offered in the piece above. E.g. Showing a quote from a CiF contributor that indicated "moon-landing hoax" ideation and and then showing another quote from same person which suggests "leftish" or even pro-AGW leanings. I am too busy to find them now but I was only offering since I remembered seeing them at the time when being curious enough to tracked some of the commenters history (I think because this paper was recently in the news). I think a few may have been deleted from CiF since so I may not be able to find them.

    I can try and look later if you want - and comment policy permits?
  16. Decades ago I read Frank Herbert's "Dune". Quite an interesting book, actually...

    At one point in the book Lady Jessica is speaking to a group of men at a table, and she makes an imputation. One of the assembled men rises and responds angrily, to which Jessica responds with something to the effect of:

    All I did was to hold up a jacket. It was you who stood and claimed that it was your size.


    Time and again I am reminded of that scene as I read the responses to Lewendowsky's paper. It's as if Herbert scripted the last few weeks' worth of fulmination himself...


    (And if anyone can give an off-the-cuff reference for the chapter in the book where the scene occurs, or indeed the actual quote itself, I'd be much obliged.)
  17. thomaswfuller @20, I didn't believe anybody would fall into this trap, but apparently someone did.

    Yes, more warmists believing in conspiracies than skeptics - because there are more warmists overall. When you look at proportions (which is what the correlations do), skeptics are more likely to believe in conspiracies, at least according to SL's data (even after various filtering for extreme responses).
  18. thomaswfuller said:

    "More people on your side of the fence believe in conspiracies than do skeptics."

    From this I can only surmise that you have never read any of the comments at bishophill, wattsupwiththat, climateaudit, climateetc, et. al. You have *got* to be joking.
  19. Brad Keyes' remarks about skeptics not rejecting science remind me of Clinton's "I did not have sex with that woman."

    Brad's making a semantic Hail Mary pass.

    To Paul S' response to Brad at 00:31 AM on 14 September, 2012, I'll add that rejection of one research finding frequently has ripple effects. Denying the validity of one result frequently means denying other work, sometimes leading to very absurd positions. This knock-on problem can reach the scale of carpet-bombing. An example of a little skirmish turning into total war is the stubborn insistence that a sensibly cool atmosphere cannot "warm" the planet, a skirmish that is -still- being vigorously fought in some circles and which inherently rejects a broad swath of "science."
  20. How many of the responses in the survey came from your own University?
  21. Dr. Lewandowsky,
    In performing studies of self-selected groups (in this case skeptics and adherents of AGW), there is always considerable value in comparing the in-groups to a control population. For example, you might want to be able to show that skeptics are more likely that the general public to believe outlandish conspiracy theories, and of course to rule out the possiblity that BOTH skeptics and adherents are nutters (i.e. both score much higher on belief in conspiracies than the general public). Did you also survey a control population, and if so, what were the results? Thanks in advance for considering my question.
  22. (-snip-)
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  23. geoffchambers at 00:19 AM on 14 September, 2012
    Professor Lewandowsky
    Since you are here and reading comments, when will you be answering the very many simple questions about your survey, it’s design, the timing, and the source of respondents? When will you be releasing the demographics and data for the questions not analysed in the paper? Do you have, and will you release, material to allowthe source blogs to be matched with individual respondents, or, failing that, a simple list of the source blogs with numbers of respondents from each blog, includng respondents eliminated for inapprooriate answers or duplicate IPs?

    ################

    There is demographic data on 9-11 truthers, so it would be interesting to compare the "truthers" in this survey to the demographic data collected by other studies. I do wonder how many people would be willing to adjust their beliefs in the face of that evidence. Also interesting would be the country of orgin for the conspiracy holders, which you can get from the IP.

    For me the most interesting data would be the data on the 71 subjects who had multiple entries from the same IP. Just for analytical purity I would, as a reviewer, ask the author to present his results with and without those 71 respondents.
    It seems arguable that multiple entries from the same IP can be a sign of "ballot stuffing" and one should look at how robust your results are WRT to proceedural decisions on these entries. Here again, I would expect that if throwing out those 71 changed the conclusions, that some people would not change their minds. Since refusing to change your mind is the hallmark of conspiritorial thinking, and since Dr. Lew is not a conspiritorial thinker, I will predict that Dr. Lew will look at this question. What happens if you adopt a different rule toward those 71? (Snip)
    Moderator Response: Provocative tone snipped.
  24. We begin with this one, reproduced verbatim below:

    “Here is some photographic analysis for Apollo 11 showing that the moonwalking was in fact staged. There is nothing to oppose this analysis and no getting around it. If it conflicts with your irrational beliefs see a psychiatrist. But don't be getting about running cover for the criminals that push these fraudulent and expensive undertakings on the public. These networks haven't gone away and they are busier then ever. The CO2-warming scam is scientific fraud. And its a far bigger, more ambitious, and more expensive scam then the moon hoax ever was.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6MvcIs4OcQ”

    Applying the same cognitive model that suggests that participants scammed our survey, this comment was clearly written by a “warmist” who “scammed” the comment to make “deniers” look like “nutters.”


    Actually, maybe you are on to something here. It seems curious to me that this guy seems to show up on que (after the kerfuffle over your paper has already erupted). This comment from Bird looks like it could be a Freudian slip (refering to "skeptics" instead of "warmists"). Does anyone know of earlier (pre-kerfuffle) examples of Similar rants from Bird?
  25. (-snip-)

    I'll respectfully ask the same as many others - that Mr. Lewandowsky respond, in a straightforward professional manner, to the many legitimate questions about this paper being raised.

    Perhaps starting with a clear and detailed response on the data and analysis supporting the papers "title" claim.
    Moderator Response: Inflammatory tone snipped.
  26. Brandon Shollenberger at 05:25 AM on 14 September, 2012
    I won't claim to know what responses were "scammed," but I don't think there is any argument many responses are bad. For example, if a person claims to disagree with:

    I believe that burning fossil fuels increases atmospheric temperature to some measurable degree.

    It is no stretch of the imagination to say something is wrong when they then agree with:

    I believe that the burning of fossil fuels on the
    scale observed over the last 50 years has increased
    atmospheric temperature to an appreciable degree.


    I think it's safe to say results like that aren't accurate reflections of views people hold.
  27. I see that I linked to the wrong comment in #31. One more time:

    "This comment from Bird looks like it could be a Freudian slip (refering to "skeptics" instead of "warmists"). Does anyone know of earlier (pre-kerfuffle) examples of Similar rants from Bird?"
  28. Steven Mosher, Thomas Fuller, Steve McIntyre, Tom Curtis and the like are all skilled in this field. Tom Curtis is anything but a skeptic. Their criticism is well founded and deserves discussion and reply.

    If Mr. Lewandowsky can answer that criticism the paper and its results should stand. If he cannot - or will not - then it should be withdrawn as Tom Curtis has recommended.

    A full set of all of the data collected should be provided, including responses to all questions presented and data on all responses including those deleted for various reasons, so separate analysis may be made of the authors conclusions and decisions.

    IP data should also be provided including location data. Full IP's can certainly be partially masked as necessary to protect privacy, however IP addresses from UWA should be clearly identified.

    Also, it has become known that a copy of the survey was distributed by the authors on campus of UWA. This raises a series of serious and legitimate questions - how was this information used - is it included in the study data - if so why was this not disclosed - and even if it was not used, why wasn't the fact it was pursued disclosed?

    These are legitimate professional requests, and deserve a timely and professional response.
  29. Brad, how about "On Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects", Gerlich & Tscheuschner. Do you accept their conclusions, or do you reject them?

    Regarding the parenthetical (Gleick), that's yet another darkly amusing case of people expounding without bothering to read the literature. Get up to speed on when lying may be imperative by obtaining a copy of Bok's "Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life."
  30. Steven Mosher, Thomas Fuller, Steve McIntyre, Tom Curtis and the like are all skilled in this field.

    Actually none of those people are "skilled in this field," if you're referring to Lewandowsky's area of expertise. That's a fact that seems to escape readers almost without fail. Fuller is said to have expertise in surveys but he's practicing outside of his domain in this case.

    So they're asking questions but not making professional requests. The professional response will mostly happen in the literature, as we already know. What's happening here is sideshow circus, trivia, though it's deflating to our sense of self-importance to know that.

    Have -any- authentic professionals in Lewandowsky's field showed up here in Backwater, Blogistan?
  31. The more you know about cognitive psychology, the better informed you're likely to be on collecting and interpreting data from human subjects. It's an "ipso facto" kind of thing.
  32. Perhaps you should look more closely at how cognitive psychologists practice, Thomas. I'm a fan of analogies in general but yours fails at the level you refer to. A better choice would be track racing at the level where the driver is the same fellow who rebuilds his engines, the "one pickup and a trailer" model.
  33. Well Doug, you're entitled to that opinion. Doesn't make it correct.

    All of these individuals are skilled in data collection and analysis, and that's the discussion here.

    Important, relevant and legitimate questions have been raised. And continue to be raised.

    For example, its also come to light that the authors, in addition to the UWA on campus request for respondents, also made a "Studies Recruiting Participants" request on the "Recruiting Psychology Research Participants" on an psychology site.

    By all appearances neither were disclosed by the authors in this paper. Wouldn't you agree this is relevant information that should have been disclosed - whether they used the data or not?

    Mr. Lewandowsky can certainly continue to write amusing stories about this. He can ignore responding to the legitimate questions and criticism as well. But neither help address the legitimate questions being asked about this paper.

    I agree with Thomas - its pretty foolish to be dismissive of folks with strong credentials, asking relevant, legitimate questions about a professional paper.
  34. Doug Bostrom:
    I'm a fan of analogies in general but yours fails at the level you refer to. A better choice would be track racing at the level where the driver is the same fellow who rebuilds his engines, the "one pickup and a trailer" model.


    (-snip-)

    By the way, I've been involved in motorsports at all levels, from building my own motors, to Indy 500 winning teams. (-snip-).
    Moderator Response: Inflammatory tone snipped.
  35. (-SNIP-)
    Moderator Response:

    Please note that posting comments here is a privilege, not a right. This privilege can and will be rescinded if the posting individual continues to treat adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

    Moderating comments is a tiresome chore, particularly when commentators repeatedly submit offensive or off-topic posts. Please understand that moderation policies are not open for discussion. If you find yourself incapable of abiding by these common set of rules that everyone else observes, then a change of venues is in store for you.

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  36. (snip)
    Moderator Response: Inflammatory tone snipped
  37. ...and a bit on-topic; Tom seems to be suggesting he is (snip) expert
    He could point us to some published material of his that would l (snip)et us assess his claims?
    Moderator Response: Inflammatory snipped
  38. An honest question ...

    Doug Bostrom: I'm a fan of analogies in general but yours fails at the level you refer to. A better choice would be track racing at the level where the driver is the same fellow who rebuilds his engines, the "one pickup and a trailer" model.


    How is the above, in response to this:

    ThomasFuller: A cognitive psychologist should not be expected to know or understand what is essentially a subordinate, specialist craft. At pit stops, drivers don't get out and work on the car. Specialists handle that. They're called the pit crew. But if the pit crew says something's wrong with the car, the driver listens.


    ... not considered an ad-hominem attack, no matter how veiled?

    Relating the highly competent people asking legitimate questions to 'back yard mechanic' status certainly doesn't seem to be either fair, or accurate.
  39. Again - feel free to delete - but it is an honest question trying to get guidance on
    Moderator Response:

    Compare again Tom's analogy to Doug's. The first implies a more refined degree of specialization; the latter, coarser. They are different. At no point is there denigration in the 2nd comment compared to the 1st.

    Looking for fouls where none are intended detracts from the dialogue, if the intent is indeed to ask legitimate questions. Also, please review the examples given in the Comments policy about what is, or isn't, ad hominem.

  40. Lots of self-proclaimed 'experts' have posted here demanding immediate responses to their particular questions. I've seen scant evidence of their expertise, more evidence of the dearth of same.
  41. re 9
  42. Dr. Lewandowsky, in one of your information posts could you clarify the reason for choosing a four point scale in your survey. The absence of a box for "do not know" would appear to require respondents to make a statement about conspiracies to which they may have no knowledge. My knowledge of JFK, MLK and New Coke are limited by my age and nationality and frankly I had never even heard of the Coke conspiracy. Were I to have answered your survey my opinion on those questions would have been less than useless since it would have been completely uninformed.
  43. As a longtime racer, that has been thru all of the ranks noted, one example implies a top tier professional effort - the other a nominally skilled "backyard mechanic" amateur level skill set.

    I agree yours is a valid alternative view, although still think its simply a veiled way of saying the same - one skilled and specialized, the other unskilled and more amateur. When one labels skilled folks as something less, it is rarely ever a positive :-)

    I still disagree with your finding in that I know most of those referenced are professionals with relevant expertise and experience. I don't think labeling them as something less is accurate or fair. However, I'll admit one can't prove intent thru a single internet post, and absent intent hard to call a foul. So I'll agree your position is valid in the instant case.

    Hopefully you can understand why I see the issue differently.

    Regardless - thanks for the response and direction.
  44. re: 55 Blair
    This was a *voluntary* survey.
  45. A Scott, the full extent of my qualifications other than a host of self taught knowledge in a very wide variety of fields is a BA in philosophy. I have taken two courses in psychology at university, and none on statistics. I can reason, but I am not an expert. Neither, in this field are anybody else that you quoted. Stop inflating credentials on the basis that it suites your argument.
  46. Would a moderator edit my post at 59 to read, "I have taken two courses in psychology at university"
  47. @ Tom Fuller - now you are demanding a timeline - is it for these items?
    http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/lewandowskySouljah.html

    And when you've been handed the rest of the responses that the authors have indicated they will deliver, what will be your next lot of demands?

    (Shifting goal posts, no acknowledgement or thanks for the effort - nothing new there.)
  48. Sou,

    Didn't you know? - Tom Fuller's every demand must be met.

    Prof L. surely has no greater priority
  49. Yes, people should supply information, especially when they promised it to a US Congressman 6 years ago and told untruths about why they couldn't provide it then.
    See Ed Wegman Promised Data to Rep. Henry Waxman Six Years Ago - Where Is It?.

    I assume those bugging Lewandowsky will recognize that it is far more important to get the data behind a report to the US Congress and will contact Wegman to ask him to deliver it.
  50. Numerous posts here are using demanding that Prof. L take the time to provide them what they want when they want it, drop everything and gimme, gimme, gimme. (-snip-). To paraphrase the Idiot Tracker about Mosher, Fuller and other, they are trying to force the good Prof. L
    to give them, gratis, the fruits of his labor.

    They are, of course, quite happy to use the coervsive power of the government to try and force Prof. L to give them what they want by abusing freedom of information laws, writing to administrators at his university and posting abusive messages, both here (good work administrator) and on their own blogs.
    Moderator Response: Inflammatory snipped.

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