Bloggers' Hall of Amnesia

By Stephan Lewandowsky
Professor, School of Experimental Psychology and Cabot Institute, University of Bristol
Posted on 10 September 2012
Filed under Cognition

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

I initially did not release those names because I was concerned about the privacy issues involved, as I explained here. Because a release of names cannot be undone—whereas a delayed release harms no one—I decided to seek guidance from various institutions, foremost among them my own university, before deciding whether or not to release those names.

Shortly thereafter, the first of the 5 bloggers, Mr McIntyre, found his misplaced email.

This leaves us with 4 bloggers whose identity had to remain confidential until now.

I am pleased to report that I received advice from executives of the University of Western Australia earlier today, that no legal or privacy issues or matters of research ethics prevent publication of the names of those bloggers.

So here they are:

  • Dr Roger Pielke Jr (he replied to the initial contact)
  • Mr Marc Morano (of Climatedepot; he replied to the initial contact)
  • Dr Roy Spencer (no reply)
  • Mr Robert Ferguson (of the Science and Public Policy Institute, no reply)

It will be noted that all 4 have publically stated during the last few days/weeks that they were not contacted.

At this juncture one might consider a few intriguing questions:

1. When will an apology be forthcoming for the accusations launched against me? And how many individuals should now be issuing a public apology?

To explore the magnitude of this question we must take stock of public statements that have been made about my research. For example, one blogger considered it “highly suspect” whether I had contacted any "skeptic" sites.

Mr McIntyre expended time to locate and then publicize the name of the person within my university to whom complaints about my research should be addressed; time that we now know would have been better spent searching his inbox.

Another individual surmised that "the allegations will be widened to include a clear and deliberate intention to commit academic fraud." 

Finally, another individual opined that "the lack of evidence that he tried to contact skeptic blogs" warranted the inference that none had been contacted—we now know that the presumed lack of evidence was actually evidence for a measure of carelessness or shoddy record keeping among the individuals contacted.

In light of such massive, and massively false, allegations numerous apologies ought to be forthcoming.

However, the fact-free echo machines of the internet sit awkwardly with the notion of civility and conversation of which apologies are an integral part. I therefore doubt that any such apologies will be forthcoming.

Instead, I predict that attention will now focus on some of the other accusations and theories.

After all, what better way to avoid learning from one’s errors than by chasing down another rabbit hole.

2. Why would the people who were contacted publically fail to acknowledge this fact?

Several hypotheses could be entertained but I prefer to settle for the simplest explanation.

It's called “human error.” It simply means the 4 bloggers couldn’t find the email, didn’t know what to search for, or their inboxes were corrupted by a move into another building, to name but a few possibilities.

The only fly in the ointment in that hypothesis is that I provided search keys and exact dates and times of some correspondence.

3. Where do we go from here?

That’s easy. On to the next theory, of course.

 

 

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132 Comments


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Comments 1 to 50 out of 118:

  1. Let the Gong Show resume!

    Presumably contestants are aware this paper represents just one of many similar investigations? The briefest search effort yields some 500 publications concerning what might be termed cognitive refraction of climate change through various lenses; doubtless a more concerted effort would find more papers on the topic.

    Good luck batting 'em all away.
  2. As I've mentioned at Climate Audit, the substantive issue with your paper is the reliance on (-Snip-) data in the survey.

    This is a substantive issue that I raise without "profanity or inflammatory tone."

    An answer is overdue.
    Moderator Response: Please refrain from accusations of dishonesty (snipped) in this venue. This pertains to all parties.
  3. Stephan, how did you guard against experimenter bias? Was experimenter bias ever a consideration? Whilst it may be an oversight for the skeptics to have missed the communication from your assistant Charles Hanich and not posted the survey, it seems at least 3 of the "pro-science" blogs did know the ostensible purpose and/or your own involvement as these introductions indicate:

    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)”.

    I would expect the blog authors knew the origin by other means than you communicating it to them, however can I ask if you remember at the time seeing those introductions, if it gave you second thoughts about the likely possibility of contamination of the eventual survey results?
  4. Professor Lewandowsky

    You say above "First out of the gate was the claim that I did not contact 5 “skeptic” or “skeptic-leaning” blogs to link to the survey."

    The people you list have now confirmed that they received emails from your research assistant Charles Hanich which included no reference to your name or any inkling that the emails were anything to do with you.

    You may be excused for not anticipating, at the time you asked for the emails to be sent, that the recipients would not connect them with you - but you cannot now castigate the recipient by claiming they were untruthful.

    "You" did not contact the sceptic blogs as you claim.

    In any case, this elaborate pantomime about revealing the names of the five blogs seems to be a complete distraction.

    Why don't you answer the questions you have been repeatedly asked about the methodology of the survey?
  5. (-Snip-)
    Moderator Response: Future instances of accusations of dishonesty/impropriety (snipped above) will result in a revocation of posting privileges, as all comments are now audited.
  6. The substantive issue with this paper seems to be as much as anything else the provocative title, judging from silence concerning other work dealing with the topic of the climate science rejection phenomenon. But I'm not the first to notice that. :-)

    As a diagnostic of the depth of scrutiny applied to Prof. Lewandowsky's paper versus what appears to outrage fueled mostly by being connected with the "moon landing hoax," I'm amazed that nobody mentions let alone appears exercised by literature cited by Dr. Lewandowsky in the work being discussed here.

    If there's some hope that the tsunami of scrutiny applied to a weird social phenomenon is going to be turned back by a general beat-up on Lewandowsky, forget it. The horse is long out of the barn; read the references and weep.
  7. The "skeptic" community of bloggers joined together when you made the claim they had been contacted and did not reply, and each searched extensively for contact from you.

    You failed to note that it was an assistant that sent these emails making that search more difficult. And that by all appearances, at least some of these emails from your assistant contained no reference or association with you - again making their search essentially impossible.

    When it became apparent you did not send the email, they all searched more broadly, including on the uwa.edu.au domain and several did find emails from your assistant and so noted.

    In like of your withholding the names of the skeptic sites you say you contacted, the group continued to search and try to identify who might have been recipients of your 5 emails. This was a needle in a haystack approach, thanks to your silence on the issue.

    Over the last weekend the 3rd and 4th site found evidence of your assistants emails, and they were so noted earlier today at Steve McIntyre's Climate Audit.

    Followed shortly thereafter by your release here of the 5 sites you contacted.

    (-Snip-)

    If you felt input from skeptic sites users was important, and frankly - as your entire premise was regarding skeptics attitudes about science - I can not understand why you felt it not highly important to gain data (-snip-) skeptics, then you or your staff should have made a more concerted effort, to at least keep contacting until you made sure they had the information on the survey. If they then had turned you down you might have had a leg to stand on.

    From what it appears we know Junk Science acknowledged receipt of your email and (-snip-) post your link. So your claim no skeptic site participated is false.

    We also appear to know that Pielke Jr. has found emails that he did receive the original email, and did correspond, but subsequently decided not to participate.

    You only submitted to 5 skeptic sites vs 8 known pro-AGW sites, all of whom posted the survey link.

    We also know that pro-AGW sites were contacted it appears almost a month before you sent emails to the skeptic sites. In fact, we know you were already publicly discussing both the data/results, and the number of responses (N=1100) prior to or at same time you finally sent the emails to skeptic sites.

    No professional publicly discusses survey data and results while the survey is underway. Your public presentation shows you had received virtually all the responses you eventually used and had already analyzed it, and that the attempt to contact skeptic sites came at or after the same time - by all appearances an after thought.

    That you did not attempt to engage the skeptic community near the beginning of the survey, and that you or your staff made little or no effective effort to affirmatively insure that each of the skeptic sites (-snip-) receive your messages seems highly suspect.

    Last, to your claim of "counter balancing." Counter balancing, according to most readings, is more sophisticated - and important - than mere randomization. Counter balancing is as I understand it, to manage questions to balance and such order effect, where the answer to one question may effect subsequent answers.

    Randomization blindly mixes the questions, which may be some help, but does little, except by chance, regarding order effect.

    You say you used 4 different survey versions with different question order within pages. Presumably you might have addressed order effect thru counter-balancing, but we cannot know that as you have not included copies of each survey within the data - making any review impossible.

    Even given the benefit of the doubt, that you did a wonderful job of counter-balancing, you admit however, that you pretty much completely negated any value by your "quasi-random" distribution of the different versions.

    Thru the "crowd sourced" research of the blogging community, and no thanks to you or your paper, we appear to know that there was no true random distribution. The "pro-AGW" sites received 2 of the versions exclusively, and the "skeptic" sites were offered the other 2 versions.

    As you claim no skeptic sites responded, which we can largely confirm by your public statements at the time - where you identified N=1100 on appx same date you sent skeptic site emails, we can surmise then that essentially all responses were from 2 of the 4 versions.

    I personally think randomization and counter balance were unlikely to have significantly skewed results here - however that is a laymans common sense perspective. Your job as a professional is to use the industr standards and show that order effect was or was not an issue, and if so how you addressed it.

    (-Snip-)

    Regardless of what we might like, professional ethics and standards indicate a response is required.
    Moderator Response: Inflammatory language, tone and all-caps usage snipped. Please conform all comments to comply with the comments policy.
  8. This is for Tom Fuller - if there wasn't ample evidence even on these threads in the past few days:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120126152134.htm
  9. Suggest redo of 08:33 AM on 11 September, 2012 comment with a meticulous approach to internal consistency.
  10. Mr. Moderator (-Moderation complaints snipped-)
    Moderator Response: As an FYI, compliance with the Comments Policy of this site is non-negotiable; 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 the offing.
  11. All those who don't know how to run a survey - I wish they'd just take a course or two, or even read a few books on the topic, instead of clogging up this board with silly assertions and demanding answers to questions.
  12. I've been following the developments here with some interest. Very curious as to how Junk Science came to post the survey, if they were not invited to participate. They must have sourced it from somewhere else. Presumably, any survey results originating from them were discarded?
  13. An author of the paper Sou mentions (an author also cited in paper being discussed here):

    "The conviction that the "official story" is untrue can lead people to believe several alternative theories-despite contradictions among them."

    That sounds eerily familiar. "It's not happening/cooling/the sun," many features of the alternate, imaginary world that's been thrown together to explain away mainstream research and observations.

    As well, we see the emergence of several competing "theories" about the Moon Hoax paper, some of which don't really seem compatible. Shouldn't the proponents of these ideas fight it out among themselves and figure out what's going to fly, before (Snip) presenting various demands ranging from completely trivial to possibly legitimate?

    There's a slowly emerging consensus among deniers that simply pretending anything's possible isn't very useful; why not apply the same standard learned so painfully, now that the center of activity is moving from studying physics to studying outsider beliefs?
    Moderator Response: inflammatory snipped
  14. Perhaps this will be more acceptable - please feel free to snip as you feel necessary:

    Mr. McIntyre's question comes from his (-snip-) detailed review of the data (-snip-). A read of his review shows it is not an ad-hominem attack, but rather a factually supported observation based on detailed analysis of the survey data. His conclusions and findings are well documented in his review.

    This was also first pointed out by Tom Curtis at Skeptical science - certainly not a usual critic - whose review of the data finds the same issue that the data shows a (-snip-) the survey data.

    Steve McIntyre notes, as does Curtis, that the data in the paper includes these (-snip-) responses. And that when this (-snip-) data is properly excluded, there is no longer factual support for the paper's conclusions.

    Additionally, a number of sites have documented open discussion of this attempt to manipulate the survey results at several pro-AGW sites.

    One "skeptic" and one "pro-AGW" reviewer have come to same conclusions based on a detailed examination of the data. These appear to be legitimate, well documented, fair questions.

    As the paper's conclusions are being widely disseminated publicly, if in fact there are legitimate issues with the data, asking for these issues to be addressed by the authors seems reasonable and appropriate.
    Moderator Response:

    The words of Mr. Curtis: "I believe that Lewandowsky has no recourse but to rewrite, withdraw or correct if he agrees with my analysis"

    Until addressed in peer-review, this claim by Mr. McIntyre is not proven and remains assertion. Furthermore, guidance provided by "skeptic" sites on how to concertedly manipulate future surveys is utterly reprehensible.

  15. Foxgoose @5:

    1) The fact that Lewandowsky's name was not mentioned has no bearing at all on the decisions of those blogs to not post the survey. In fact, on the contrary, because of Professor Lewandowsky's reputation, it would have been less likely rather than more likely that they would have cooperated if his name had been mentioned (a sufficient reason to not mention his name).

    2) Given that the various bloggers were not just saying that they could not find a request, but also making insinuations of fraud and dishonesty by Prof Lewandowsky, a cursory search under his name only was not an adequate basis for the accusation. Had they searched under UWA, a natural secondary search term, they would have found the emails.

    IMO, the desperate attempts to beat the failure of various skeptical bloggers to know the contents of their own inbox into a case of fraud by Lewandowsky shows the poverty of their intellectual position.
  16. "Additionally, a number of sites have documented open discussion of this attempt to manipulate the survey results at several pro-AGW sites."

    That's pretty vague, so much so as to be impossible to discern what you're trying to convey. Where's the documentation?

    One other thing: by "manipulation" you mean the type Tom Curtis mentions, namely respondents gaming the survey, right? Better be more specific lest anybody think you mean something worse.
  17. A couple of things.

    It is clear emotions are running high.

    It is clear that the conclusions of the paper 'insult' many people.

    It is clear Dr. Lewandowsky also feels insulted.

    BUT the issue that one side is upset about is the research and its methods, while
    on Dr. Lewandowsky's side that people are accusing him of scamming and deceit.

    So:

    let the data, paper and reviewers have a go.
    let the personalities involved hopefully come to terms

    But me thinks:
    regardless of who feels what about whom (allusion to Monty Python intentional), it is clear that Dr. Lewandowsky has a tough 'road to hoe' defending the papers methods and data.

    Someone getting upset in this arena seems a forgone conclusion.

    Dr. Lewandowsky has and continues to use 'abusive' wording: denier, yelp etc... and does not expect a bit of emotion? Egging them on?

    I suspect defending your paper trumps waiting for an apology. Followed getting upset with a single request to explain the methodology used and what has been done to handle 'disingenuous respondent' data?

    Hovering over things like 'when will I receive an apology' tell many of us who are more than willing to argue the scientific and mathematical basis of Anthroprogenic Global Warming that you have a limited scope in understanding our dislike of computer models, IPCC grey literature citations, magazines and newspapers trumpetting (-snip-), social scientist alluding to us being 'wackos' etc...

    But lastly, Dr Lewandowsky seems to cherish his accusatory paper and position.

    FYI: Feynman has an excellent hurtful interview on your general subject area.
    Moderator Response: All-caps usage snipped.
  18. Mike Somerville at 09:50 AM on 11 September, 2012
    An online survey? Get serious. You might as well have painted a big target on your work.

    The day we stop handing skeptics ammunition can't come soon enough.
  19. Timothyso's remarks were interesting until they suddenly ran into the ditch of ritualized chanting, beginning approximately with "dislike of computer models." Falling back on Python, "...it's dull, it's so desperately dull and tedious..."

    "Rational discourse?" Irony.
  20. Sou:
    All those who don't know how to run a survey - I wish they'd just take a course or two, or even read a few books on the topic, instead of clogging up this board with silly assertions and demanding answers to questions.

    Thomas Fuller does it for a living.

    You think he might know something about it. >.<
  21. Tom Curtis @17

    “ because of Professor Lewandowsky's reputation, it would have been less likely rather than more likely that they would have cooperated if his name had been mentioned”

    In September of 2010? Outside of Australia, I doubt many sceptics had even heard of him then. In fact, contrary to your belief, if they were aware of him and his reputation, contacting them directly himself would have made a response much more likely. Even if, on seeing the quality of the survey, the answer was thanks but no thanks.

    By the way, if he really wanted sceptics to complete the survey in any number, why no contact with Anthony Watts?
  22. @Doug Bostrom: Doug as a Ph.d. in mathematics and having read many papers from the journals my issues are narrowly defined. If my dislike of climate models that are used to set policy bothers you that is ok, and the fact that you want to 'shut off' the discussion is your perogative. I joined the anti-save-the-world bandwagon because of certain errors I perceive. But apparently the use of 'tedious' indicates you see nothing wrong with computer models. Let me cite a few model failures:

    (-snip-)

    Now my argument with AGW and CAGW is narrow. (-Snip-)

    I may use sarcasm but a well thought out argument with back up never deserves such blatant disregard for the other people. It is the uneducated bloggers on both sides that hurt the real arguments.

    (-Snip-)

    I personally feel that it looks bad for Dr. Lewandowsky to defend his work with no regard to who insulted whom.
    Moderator Response: Off-topic and inflammatory tone snipped.
  23. Doug Bostrom:
    "Rational discourse?" Irony.


    You doubly so, I'd think. As timothyso says, emotions are running high.

    Lewandowsky is under a microscope. I've been there, it's not very pleasant.

    On the other hand, it was said above: "Until addressed in peer-review, this claim by Mr. McIntyre is not proven and remains assertion."

    Look---If a thing is true, it is true regardless of who said it or where it appears.

    Getting something through peer review is often just a step in getting it accepted by the scientific community. Many profound things are said without being written up, many dull and tiresome things published without being meaningful.

    Sometimes somebody says something profound at a conference, and it is game changing. People modify their research programs without the work going through peer review first. I would hope Lewandowsky has had the please of experiencing this, it can be quite a trip.

    But as to McIntyre's comments. THey stand on their own weight. If they are false, that means they can be demonstrated to be false without resorting to cantraps like "it hasn't been peer reviewed yet" . If people disagree with McIntyre's analysis, they can appeal to authority, Monte Carol analysis or whatever. To simply brush it off because it isn't peer reviewed yet?

    That said, I do not agree with the title of Steve McIntyre's post. As I have commented on a previous post, I do not think using the word "hoax" in the title of your post, even as a play on the title of somebody else's paper is productive here. With Steve, you have to get past the acerbic nature of some of his articles before you can find any meat. Sarcasm is not helpful in scientific discourse. Just because one person engages in it, doesn't mean we all should.
  24. Carrick: "Thomas Fuller does it for a living."

    I see a reference by Pielke Sr. to a survey done by a Tom Fuller, seemingly nothing on Google Scholar but probably because I'm doing a naive search. Do you happen to know what cognomen he publishes under? "T Fuller?"

    Also now my curiosity is piqued re the survey Pielke mentions. Is anybody familiar with that? Links seem to be dead.

    Hold on, is this the Fuller who coauthored the "CRUTape" Letters" thing yet also testified before US legislators offering advice on climate change policy but even so criticizes others for political axe-grinding re climate?

    Google: our hippocampus. Never mind.
  25. Doug, I said he does them for a living. Try googling "for a living". ;-)

    No idea what you're on about with the CruTapes. Same author yes, no clue what your point was. Maybe expand it past the word salad stage?
  26. Let me just ask just for calibration purposes (and I'm "no" across the board), are there -any- academics on this thread specializing in cognitive psychology, or even practicing social scientists in a vaguely related field?

    In other words, do any of us really have any justifiable confidence in whatever wisdom we're volunteering regarding survey methods or the rest of whatever it is we don't like about Lewandowsky's work, or are we just flinging darts with the outside chance one of 'em might find a bullseye?

    Ask yourself honestly. As far as I know, there's only one author on this page who's got the chops to talk about this and he's not down here in the peanut gallery.

    People who actually know what they're talking about, please step forward. If we're suitably humble and circumspect, the rest of us can certainly quibble about semantics of the title etc. but frankly anything we say concerning methods needs to be recognized for what it is, noisy babble.

    Elsewhere I suggested that people offering criticisms of Lewandowsky should avail themselves of a research methods syllabus for a PhD level social sciences program and follow the readings therein. Ideally-- given the subject under discussion here-- that program would be something to do w/social aspects of psychology.
  27. As is often the case, the actions of Mr. McIntyre are beyond contempt and are nothing more than an attempt to hide his ongoing vendetta against scientists under a thin veneer of statistics.

    McIntyre loves to make accusations of wrong doing, while somehow failing to actually publish some independent, original science. (-Snip-) Has McIntyre sent a letter apologizing to the university for wasting everyone's time? Has he apologized to Lewandowsky?

    But these ridiculous self-serving acts is what Mr. McIntyre has been doing for some time now to keep the imaginations of the fringe elements in overdrive. It is also for this reason that Mr. McIntyre has not yet published his very own and original reconstruction of paleo temperatures, because if he did it would be game over. So instead we have this ongoing scheme to keep the "skeptics' " imaginations well nourished. McIntyre, the man who cried wolf, yet the "skeptics" still keep running.

    The "skeptics" here are again openly exposing their bias. They are incredibly suspicious, (-snip-), about Dr. Lewandowsky's work, but for the antagonists and naysayers we get nonsense like "But as to McIntyre's comments. THey stand on their own weight". Uh, no.

    Dr. Lewandowsky must be wondering what to do with all this research material.... ;)
    Moderator Response: Inflammatory snipped.
  28. My question should be fairly simple - the "fake moon landing" conspiracy is tied for the fewest number of "agree/strongly agree" responses in the survey. Why did that particular conspiracy theory become the title of the article? Just curious, thanks.
  29. Thanks Thomas but I've got the picture now.
  30. Doug, isn't this just a form of appeal to authority, a type of logical fallacy? If people offer criticisms, if they are reasonable ones they should be addressable.

    This goes back to the "no question is a bad question". Good criticism sharpens a work, and one's understanding of it, not lessons it.

    Regarding being a cognitive psychologist, unless I'm missing something important here, this was a sociological survey, so based on your logic, Lewandowsky himself should be dismissed from the discussion.

    That's were these appeals to authorities go... pretty soon nobody's left to talk.

    I've written IRB proposals, had NIH funded research that involved human subjects, performed surveys (even designed a computer based one, ironically, however, it wasn't web-administered), dealt with many of the same core issues that Lewandowsky dealt with here, performed population assays. Why should I be disqualified for not having exactly the same degree that Lewandowsky has. More importantly what is it that he is doing that makes a Ph.D. in cognitive psych a prerequisite for understanding him?

    Seriously this isn't rocket science.
  31. tyger:
    But these ridiculous self-serving acts is what Mr. McIntyre has been doing for some time now to keep the imaginations of the fringe elements in overdrive. It is also for this reason that Mr. McIntyre has not yet published his very own and original reconstruction of paleo temperatures, because if he did it would be game over. So instead we have this ongoing scheme to keep the "skeptics' " imaginations well nourished. McIntyre, the man who cried wolf, yet the "skeptics" still keep running.


    You don't have to perform a temperature reconstruction in order to point out the flaws in other people's attempts at it.

    BTW, aren't you assuming motive here?
  32. Terry:
    My question should be fairly simple - the "fake moon landing" conspiracy is tied for the fewest number of "agree/strongly agree" responses in the survey. Why did that particular conspiracy theory become the title of the article? Just curious, thanks.

    If it hadn't nobody would have read the paper. ;-)

    Seriously, zippy titles attract attention. I'm not a cognitive psychologist and I know that.
  33. Tyger - I'd like to propose a wager that this paper either won't be published, or will be retracted within 2 months of its publication. Leaving aside all of the personalities on both sides of the issue, it's my opinion that it is flawed enough that it won't stand. Would you like to propose stakes?
  34. Just stating the reality Carrick-- it is all there for one to see. However, the "skeptics" just keep running; they never learn from their mistakes. That is one of the primary reasons McIntyre has managed keep up this gig.

    Oh, and I fixed some errors for you:

    "You don't have to perform a temperature reconstruction in order to point out the [inconsequential] flaws in other people's attempts at it research".

    Mr. McIntyre does not find inconsequential flaws to advance the science, he does it to caste doubt, to undermine scientists' credibility, to feed peoples biases. Must be a nice job harassing and ridiculing scientists for a hobby and (somehow) remaining beyond reproach.

    Will you join me in asking McIntyre to apologize to the university and Stephan?
  35. One important conclusion of the study is that skeptics do not respond to emails about surveys.

    (Does this make me a skeptic?)
  36. Tyger, sorry, the flaws McIntyre (and other people on his blog) found were substantive.

    * Mann's uncentered PCA was a major gaffe.
    * Failure to validate
    * The use of proxies "upside down"
    * Gergis et al. was withdrawn after it was exposed their actually methodology did not follow that described in the paper.
    * Substantive error in GISTEMP that eventually led to GISS "freeing the code".

    Tyger:
    Mr. McIntyre does not find inconsequential flaws to advance the science, he does it to caste doubt, to undermine scientists' credibility


    I will have to take exception with people like yourself assuming you can read other peoples' minds, which is effectively what you are doing here by the assumption of motive.

    Complaining about McIntyre's behavior while engaging in this type of egregious behavior on your own is like the pot calling the kettle black.
  37. zt, I would suggest an alternative hypothesis: People don't respond to survey requests from people they don't know.

    Of course RP, Jr did respond. He said "no". Is there a link to where he denies remembering?
  38. To follow up briefly on my comment with Tyger, I don't find anything substantively wrong with McIntyre's work. I just think he would do himself and the rest of the community a service by toning down the rhetoric. It devalues the positive contributions he does have to offer.
  39. Stephan, do you accept that of the > 1000 responses collected, that some will have been submitted by individuals who attempted to skew the results with dishonest answers?

    And if you do accept that, what phrasing would you consider to be acceptable to describe such submissions?

    Steve McIntyre used (-Snip-)* but as we can see you have deemed such phrasing to be in contravention of your comments policy.

    * Self-snip.
  40. Thomas, my point in referring to the relative lack of skills on exhibit here was specifically made to suggest that we're highly unlikely to discover anything useful to Dr. Lewandowsky "now" and particularly -here-, given our general inadequacy for the job.

    Carrick, you're right in identifying it's a fine line to walk between substituting demands for an official qualification versus insisting on an argument requiring domain-specific expertise. Not to pick on you but only because it's illustrative of the problem that "we can't know what we don't know," you say "...unless I'm missing something important here, this was a sociological survey, so based on your logic, Lewandowsky himself should be dismissed from the discussion." That statement in itself suggests that you're insufficiently versed in Lewandowsky's field to help him improve his work.

    Carrick goes on to ask "More importantly what is it that he is doing that makes a Ph.D. in cognitive psych a prerequisite for understanding him?" That's what we'd discover in the syllabus I mentioned. Short of knowing that we're guessing and likely won't even have enough possible guesses to choose from.

    In some ways this is -more- complicated than rocket science. The behavior of rockets is governed by physical principles we understand better in many ways than we do the impulses and actions of people, whether as individuals or as populations. The individual behaviors of members of a collection of rockets (those on a production basis, anyway) are more faithful to their aggregate statistical behavior than are the characteristics of any individual person as a sample against the statistics describing a population.

    I've found myself wondering if part of the problem here is an underlying contempt or at least patronizing dismissal for social science that's supposedly a characteristic of many people who practice or are amateur enthusiasts of "hard" science. I'm not a social scientist myself but I've had occasion to hear a fair number of complaints along those lines coming from social scientists engaged in interdisciplinary efforts with engineers and the like. It's something probably worth reflecting on.
  41. For starters Carrick, how McIntyre defines a "lukewarmer" is highly problematic.

    As for your other "failings" I am more than happy to address each and everyone and show how it was either inconsequential, or a non-issue or that McIntyre himself made an error. You are also completely misrepresenting the Gergis fiasco.

    The moderators will be within their rights to delete my response and I do not feel like spending time refuting your claims only to have them deleted-- unfortunately, it is a lot easier for your to make an unsubstantiated and misleading assertion than it is for others to refute it. That is a classic debating technique used by the creationists in the evolution wars.

    Maybe they will permit me to address one or two of your allegations?

    "I will have to take exception with people like yourself assuming you can read other peoples' minds, which is effectively what you are doing here by the assumption of motive."

    I am not reading people's minds Carrick, I am calling a spade a spade, very different from your stated belief/opinon. I am going what is on the pubic record, evidence that you seem blind to. Have you already forgotten:

    "I’m assuming that CA readers are aware that, once the Yamal series got on the street in 2000, it got used like crack cocaine by paleoclimatologists" [Mr. Stephen McIntyre]

    No,no that was not McIntyre not trying to undermine scientists' credibility at all is it. /sarc.

    What is more, independent reconstructions that do not even use Yamal series show a Hockey stick. Heck, there are multiple temperature hockey sticks derived using data and methods independent of those used by Mann et al. But don't let inconvenient facts trouble you...
  42. @Carrick - I note you left out reference to A Scott, who says he is not expert in doing surveys (as is apparent from his posts here and elsewhere).

    Tom Fuller may have done 1000 surveys however he has said he's not an expert in this particular field. In any case, he should know that you can't leave out responses just because you find them puzzling. The research paper describes responses omitted from the analysis and explains why (page 8). His paper also discusses the impact of what people here are referring to as 'gamed' responses (page 13).
  43. Doug at #45,

    "In some ways this is -more- complicated than rocket science. The behavior of rockets is governed by physical principles we understand better in many ways than we do the impulses and actions of people, whether as individuals or as populations. "

    I agree Doug, human psychology is very complex, and we are still learning a lot. It is ridiculous to suggest that this is something that is simple and that anyone can speak to with authority.

    It is becoming more clear by the day that the reason that some people remain unconvinced or indifferent about the reality and risks associated with human-caused global warming is that their "skepticism" or denial has more to do with psychological barriers than it does about science and facts.
  44. How about a friendly wager about the subject (the paper standing up for 2 months, if that long) Tyger?
  45. Thomas,

    How about you ask Steve McInytre (he knows better than everyone else does he not/sarc).

    Seriously though instead of playing games, why don't you elucidate your position on a hand-wavy concept that seems to have be manufactured out of convenience more than anything else (but that is a debate for another place and time).

    The reason I am so cynical of the "lukewarmer" concept is that it is, for starters, subjective. For example, the range for equilibrium climate sensitivity is widely accepted to be between 2 and 4.5 degrees for a doubling of CO2. Now, the best estimate is near +3 C. That is a value that I agree with based on the preponderance of research and evidence. So I could theoretically refer to myself as a "lukewarmer" ;)
  46. Doug:
    That statement in itself suggests that you're insufficiently versed in Lewandowsky's field to help him improve his work.

    I think you're balancing needles with that argument. You specifically mentioned "cognitive psychology". I don't doubt having a cognitive psych background helps with some respects of the process, but it's essentially a sociological study, and the fact that you know allow a "non-expert at the task" participate, you've in large measure contradicted your own thesis and agreed with mine---which is it is not necessary to be a specialist in a given field to participate in research in that field.

    So in essence your original argument is wrong and you've now as much as admitted it by trying to quite verbosely substitute in another argument in place of it.

    What is more, independent reconstructions that do not even use Yamal series show a Hockey stick. Heck, there are multiple temperature hockey sticks derived using data and methods independent of those used by Mann et al. But don't let inconvenient facts trouble you...

    I've studied it, probably a lot more than you have. You are making a lot of assumptions here, first that you can read my mind about what I think secondly that because Mann in MBH 98/9 did things wrong and his results bear no resemblance to the real historical record doesn't mean it can't be done right, third modern studies don't replicate MBH, they flat out are inconsistent with it. Take this figure for example MBH98 is in green. Once you are outside of the "training period" it's correlation with modern reconstructions drops to zero. Here is an ensemble average, MBH is now the red line. Again no resemblance.

    Mann's original hockey stick is part of the history of paleoclimatology, it contained some important new ideas that drove research forward, but it's wrong to cling to erroneous papers as if they are substantively correct when they are not.

    I'll leave the other, non-substantive, portion of your comment alone. I prefer arguing on facts no on supposition of motives.
  47. Sou:
    @Carrick - I note you left out reference to A Scott, who says he is not expert in doing surveys (as is apparent from his posts here and elsewhere).


    Why are you arguing that with me? He's using a survey based on Lewandowsky's original design. If you have problems with that, you need to take it up with him.

    Again, I don't see a problem with Tom asking questions. I also don't see any problem with the questions.

    I understand the math behind Lewandowsky's approach, I've used it myself. I also understand the problems with outliers in data and how they can distort findings. I think the title of the paper based on the data presented (and this is my opinion) is itself not valid, but I think the main finding of the paper is. Parse that, assuming you've actually read the paper.
  48. (Snip)

    For the record, I don't have a problem with replicating a survey, even an amended version, depending on how it's done. I would object if someone used my intellectual property without permission. Maybe A Scott obtained permission. If so, it's normal practice to say so (and he didn't).
    Moderator Response: Inflammatory snipped.
  49. (Snip)

    I would object if someone used my intellectual property without permission


    Once it's part of the public record it's no longer "my" intellectual property. You appear not to understand the peer review publication process. This is a baseless argument on your part.
    Moderator Response: Off-topic snipped.
  50. In fact, if anybody "owned" it, it would be the journal, and I suspect reuse of the survey would fall under "fair use" rights. Do you see Lewandowsky objecting to it? I would take a clue from that if you don't.

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