Recursive Fury goes recurrent

By Stephan Lewandowsky
Professor, School of Experimental Psychology and Cabot Institute, University of Bristol
Posted on 21 March 2014

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

Publication of the first paper (now known as LOG12) engendered a sustained and ongoing attack on the research and my work in general. Most of these attacks have been pursued by defamation on the internet, but they have also involved activities beneath the surface hidden from public view. I have already written about this Subterranean War on Science.

The strategies employed in those attacks follow a common playbook, regardless of which scientific proposition is being denied and regardless of who the targeted scientists are: There is cyber-bullying and public abuse by “trolling” (which recent research has linked to sadism); there is harassment by vexatious freedom-of-information (FOI) requests; there are the complaints to academic institutions; legal threats; and perhaps most troubling, there is the intimidation of journal editors and publishers who are acting on manuscripts that are considered inconvenient.

Together with colleagues Cook, Oberauer, and Marriott, I also published another paper last year, entitled Recursive Fury, in the online Journal Frontiers. This article reported a narrative analysis of the blogosphere’s response to publication of LOG12. The blogosphere’s response bore a striking resemblance to the very topic of LOG12: our finding that rejection of climate science is associated with conspiratorial thinking triggered elements of conspiratorial discourse among those who sought to deny that denial of climate science involves a measure of conspiratorial thinking:

Recursive Fury attracted some media attention (e.g., in the New York Times) as well as critique. It should come as little surprise that this critique did not involve a scholarly response, such as submission of a rejoinder for peer review, but that it entailed a barrage of complaints to the University of Western Australia (UWA), where I was based at the time, and the journal Frontiers.

While not retracting the paper, Frontiers removed the article from its website in March 2013. The journal then commenced an arduous process of investigation which has now come to a conclusion.

Frontiers will post (or has posted) the following statement on its website today:

“In the light of a small number of complaints received following publication of the original research article cited above, Frontiers carried out a detailed investigation of the academic, ethical and legal aspects of the work. This investigation did not identify any issues with the academic and ethical aspects of the study. It did, however, determine that the legal context is insufficiently clear and therefore Frontiers wishes to retract the published article. The authors understand this decision, while they stand by their article and regret the limitations on academic freedom which can be caused by legal factors.”

In other words, the article is fine but Frontiers does not want to take the legal risk that its restoration on the website might entail.

This is not the first time that legal fears have led to the withdrawal of a paper.

The authors were involved in drafting the retraction statement and sanction its content: We understand the journal’s position even though we do not agree with it.

Until January 1st of this year, the U.K.—where I now reside and whose laws are therefore applicable—was the country made in heaven for people who wanted to use “defamation” as a tool to suppress inconvenient speech, to the point that President Obama recently signed a law to make U.K. libel judgments unenforceable in the U.S. That law (PUBLIC-LAW 111-223) explicitly cites the “ability of scholars and journalists to publish their work” as motivating reason for making foreign libel judgments unenforceable in the United States.

Richard Dawkins rightly noted some time ago that scientists in the U.K. were operating in "an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty" under the libel laws. The law has now been reformed and, since January 1st, it contains some protections for scientists, a point to which I may return in future posts.

As far as we can tell, Recursive Fury attracted more attention than any other paper in psychology ever published by Frontiers. It attracted 9,124 full text views, and the count of abstract views was 29,324 when we last checked (at which time the article that we identifies as runner-up had 12,086 abstract views and 1,091 full text views).

Given its popularity, and given that approximately 29,300 viewers did not complain about our work, it would be a shame to deprive the public of access to this article. Because the work was conducted in Australia, I consulted with the University of Western Australia’s chief lawyer, Kim Heitman, who replied as follows:

“I’m entirely comfortable with you publishing the paper on the UWA web site. You and the University can easily be sued for any sorts of hurt feelings or confected outrage, and I’d be quite comfortable processing such a phony legal action as an insurance matter.”

— Kimberley Heitman, B.Juris, LLB, MACS, CT, General Counsel, University of Western Australia

So here, then, is Recursive Fury.

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164 Comments


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Comments 51 to 100 out of 155:

  1. "It's to provide a public database of climate information. "

    I suppose it is very 'outreachy' of Heartland to award a small fortune to a sociopathic, TV has-been poseur and fellow crank promoter who has no qualifications or experience whatsoever to accomplish such a task, which any number of 'free' websites could accomplish for less than a generous $50 user work time and the freely available app from Caerbannog.

    Value for money indeed.
  2. geoff

    If Gleick forged the documents, how is it that the exact dollar amount paid to Watts ($44K) is correct?

    ESP? Luck?
  3. And while on that very subject, how is it that the New Zealand Crank Science Coalition had egg on their faces after strenuously denying any outside funding -let alone foreign funding - for their activities?
  4. Geoff Chambers at 07:14 AM on 22 March, 2014:

    Now that your Recursive Fury article is no longer a peer-reviewed article...


    I'm sorry, but where did Frontiers say that the paper was retracted on the basis of no longer being a "peer-reviewed article", as opposed to, say, being a risk of litigation by people who went on the public record as saying what they said, and having those sayings analysed?

    Frankly, I think that the publisher should have responded by invited the complainers to submit a rebuttal paper.

    Still, the option now exists for Lewandowsky et al to expand on the paper and resubmit it elsewhere, and with further conclusions that are demonstrably evidenced by the data relied on. Given that the paper wasn't withdrawn on any academic basis there's no reason not to sumbit an expansion for peer-review, and if the data is documented in a way that simply reflects what is already public knowledge and/or self-evident truth, without implicating particular people for their characteristics even though such might be demonstrable, then the complaints of those like Barry Woods and Foxgoose (can someone with a pseudonym be libeled?) become so much hot air.

    There's also the small matter of the fact of material now existing for another paper on the tactics employed by people who presume to deny peer-reviewed science in which they themselves have no bona fides, and who engage in activities to reduce the investigation of this denial...
  5. Bernard J -

    Now that your Recursive Fury article is no longer a journal published peer-reviewed article...

    Is that better? But then again there's not much point in peer-reviewing away then not getting it published is there? I do agree with you that it should be submitted to other journals for peer-review until it finally gets published somewhere. Anywhere.

    It would be a shame if anyone ended up with a persecution complex out of all this, although that in itself might lead to future cutting edge research in the Psychology of Climate Science.

    The grand unified and string theorists must be feeling a bit left out.
  6. ManicBeancounter at 20:37 PM on 23 March, 2014
    Stephan Lewandowsky,
    As a professor, you should be my intellectual superior. As a scientist you should be able to provide novel explanations about your subject area that go beyond what the non-specialist would find out for themselves, but at the same time accommodate the basic understanding that the non-specialist.
    Your “Hoax” paper ignored the obvious conclusion of the data. The vast majority of respondents did not believe in the cranky conspiracy theories, regardless of their views on “climate science”. Any “conspiracist ideation” revolves around differences in the small proportions that do. That means that the vast majority of “skeptics” who do not understand will feel insulted. Morally you should have clearly stated that any conclusions only apply to a small minority. The first part of the paper’s title inferred the opposite.
    “NASA Faked the Moon Landing—Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax”
    Out of 1145 respondents, just 2 strongly rejected “climate science” and strongly supported that faxed moon landing theory. The question was not asked of those two people if they followed that path of reasoning. Unsurprisingly, when you smear people with ideas that they find insulting they express outrage. There is nothing “confected” about this.
    There are three things that make this beyond the pale of academic freedom
    First, you do not advance knowledge, but to repress the obvious empirical statement (the vast majority do not believe in cranky conspiracy theories) with the opposite.
    Second is that the smears is to deny a group of people who you disagree with a voice.
    Third, is that you use false allegations of intellectual inferiority to evaluate climate “science”, to prevent a voice in matters of public policy. Yet the voices that you seek to repress often have far greater understanding and knowledge of economics and policy implementation than you and your fellow-travelling academics.
    Academic freedom must be protected so that ideas and knowledge that challenge society’s established beliefs can be nurtured. But that must be accompanied by a deliberate policy of pluralism, for there are none so defensive of their protecting their beliefs or ideas as those who spent their lives developing them. Professor Lewandowsky, your work in the last three years should become a textbook example of the attempts and consequences to suppress that freedom.
  7. Professor Lewandowsky

    The allegation that your original LOG 12 paper was based on fabrication of methodology and data sources has now surfaced in comments on Dana Nuccitelli's article about you in the Guardian:-

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/mar/21/contrarians-bully-climate-change-journal-retraction#comment-33439421

    The allegation is one of persistent and ongoing academic fraud which calls into question the entire basis of both the withdrawn paper and the original.

    If you want the subject matter on which this post, both papers, and indeed your current academic career, is based to be taken seriously - you need to stop avoiding these questions an address the issue.
  8. Loved reading both articles, and loved reading the comments here. This is pure gold.
  9. Yes - and the really golden moment will be when Stephan finally reveals the proof that his LOG 12 survey was posted at Skeptical Science, as the paper claims.

    Then he'll be carried through the streets in triumph by his acolytes - and he'll be able to sue his critics into the ground for libel.

    D you think we'll have much longer to wait?
  10. I've seen you state that the paper makes that claim several times now. I haven't seen you specify the exact location of that claim yet. Could you point me in the right direction?

    Where I come from, if one says "x says y in z", an exact reference is provided immediately to make it easy for the reader to check the statement.
    I won't begin to speculate how someone should respond to a claim without checking if the actual claim is valid.
  11. Eric

    Your faux naiveity is a bit transparent.

    In my first comment here, I supplied links to articles which covered all the aspects of these allegations in detail

    I imagine anyone with a genuine interest in getting to the truth of the matter would have read the paper involved, together with the subsequent correspondence between the author, his collaborators and their critics.

    If you're too lazy or ideologically blinkered to read all the relevant documentation - I'm not sure there's much more I can do to help.
  12. You said there's a statement (what exactly?) somewhere (where exactly?) in a paper (which paper?) which, if false, would amount to scientific misconduct.
    I'd want to read that statement in context before giving your claim any more thought.

    The links you provided amount to 9900+ words. Excuse me for 'being lazy', but I'm not going to read all that if I can't establish that the premise for your complaint is even true.
  13. I scanned a couple of pages, clicked an interesting link (not one you provided), and found this sentence "Lewandowsky identified the eight blogs (in an email to Barry Woods)".

    In that same post is a very clear statement by the person who posted the survey that the survey was indeed posted.

    And I'm done looking into this. I'm so glad I didn't read the entire 9900 word soup you linked to.
  14. Eric - "Excuse me for 'being lazy', but I'm not going to read all that...". Then don't bother Eric, if you want to be indolent, no one cares.

    The questions Foxgoose and many others (including Professors) have asked and have never been answered by the team of Psychological Climate Scientists that penned this epic have been around for ages. You've come in late obviously.

    Relax in your cocoon.
  15. Thanks for cutting off my conditional statement right before the condition, GrantB. That doesn't distort what I said at all. [Note: if your sarcasm meter is broken, that was sarcasm.]

    I won't read 9900+ words if I can't establish that what the 9900+ words are about has actually happened. Foxgoose wouldn't tell me where in the paper that statement was made. I have since figured out why: the statement wasn't made in the paper. It was made in an email, as an answer to question which was asked. A follow-up question was also answered. That's kind of interesting since you claim that questions aren't being answered.

    Both answers seem entirely reasonable to me; apparently they aren't to you. Now I might read the 9900+ words to find out why they aren't to you, but I won't. If a simple request for a proper reference is answered with questioning motives, personal attacks and doubling down - instead of providing the requested reference, that says enough about the level of discourse. No need to read 9900+ words worth of crap like that.
  16. Eric

    Don't ever be tempted to take a job with the FBI.

    Congratulations on discovering that both Cook and Lewandowsky assured enquirers that the survey was indeed posted at Skeptical Science.

    As you progress in your research you will discover, however, that it wasn't - and that's the interesting bit.

    Extensive Wayback searches have identified all contemporaneous SkS posts - and SkS insider and contributor Tom Curtis (no friend of the sceptic community) felt compelled to issue this statement:-

    I have been following up on the issue of whether or not the LOG12 survey was posted at SkS, or only tweeted; and whether or not Cook or Lewandowsky knew that it had only been tweeted. To that end I have made a new search of SkS. When the issue was first raised, I extended your search method by looking not at the home page, but at the “recent articles” in the side bar for a period from Aug 28th to Sept 23rd, 2010. By using the sidebars of particular articles I was able to get continuous overlap and positively confirm that no blog post of the period had been deleted unless it was deleted withing a week of posting, and prior to Sept 23rd. I had written this up in a blog post but did not post it as it was intended as a footnote for a larger blog post that I have yet to complete.

    Because of the renewed interest in the issue, I have (as noted) done a new search. In this instance I took a recent (early March) copy of the SkS archive page on the wayback machine. For each article listed on the archive from Aug 28th to Sept 30th, 2010, I found the earliest copy on the Wayback Machine of that article. I then checked that:
    1) The preceding post listed in the “recent posts” sidebar was the preceding post in the March 2013 listing in the archive page;
    2) That the survey was not mentioned either as a header or footnote;
    3) That the date of the earliest copy on the Wayback Machine was close to the date of publication; and
    4) That a link to the survey was not placed in the sidebars.
    From (1) and (2) I can conclusively say that no post has been deleted from that period, and no post from that period mentions the survey.
    With regard to (3), no page I checked was archived more than three days after publication; although I only checked about one in three pages for dating. I am confident, therefore, that if the survey was posted then removed, it must have been posted then deleted in four days or less, which is so improbable as to not be worth considering.
    I did not thin
    k to check (4) until about a third of the way through, so it is possible that the link was posted in a sidebar on the 28th or shortly after, and taken down within a fortnight. I suspect such a procedure would stick in the mind, and such a short period of posting would be unlikely. Hence, absent contrary evidence this can also be discounted.

    The only remaining possibility is that the survey was posted as a comment, then deleted. At SkS, deleted comments are only kept in an archive for a short period. If it was posted by this method, it may still be recoverable from the wayback machine, but given the improbability of the method, absent evidence making it more likely it is.

    On the 29th Sept, 2012, I notified John Cook of my original survey, saying:
    “I’ve been looking into nooks and crannies with regard to the Lewandowsky survey. One of the things I have found is a continuous record of SkS posts from the 17th of Aug to 23rd Sept contemporary with those dates. Comparison with the SkS archive makes it almost certain that notice of the Lewandowsky survey was not given on SkS during that period. At the same time, notice was given by you on Twitter on August 27th. It may also have been given by you on face book.

    I’m letting you know so that you can notify Lewandowsky if you think he may have a need to correct any reference to SkS in his paper, and to ask if you had anything further to add, or whether you would accept that account (notification on twitter but not on SkS) as essentially accurate.”

    At about that time, I also notified Lewandowsky in a brief mention of the fact that the SkS notice was by tweet only, but not the means of determining that. The email to Lewandowsky was copied to Cook and Oberauer.

    In reply to a recent email, Cook still assures me that the survey was posted on SkS. He also mentions a half remembered email on the FOI release that mentions that posting, but that he cannot find at present.

    For my part, I believe he is not trying to deceive. I have had considerable interaction with him as part of the SkS team, and he is, to the best of my knowledge, honest. He is, however, in this case, wrong.

    I note that I owe you an apology regarding my response to your posting. Those responses were made in the very early morning (around 3 AM) and, owing to tiredness, I misread Cook’s “forensic evidence statement”. On rereading it after waking, I noted my error and that Cook definitely claims to have forensic evidence of having posted on SkS, which in fact he cannot have had, and certainly not for a posting on Aug 28th.

    I intend to correct that record publicly, both with a comment at Climate Audit and with a blog post at my blog. In lieu of the comment at Climate Audit, feel free to post all of this email to this point on Climate Audit.


    So the upshot is - the survey was never posted at SkS. Both Cook and Lewandowsky have been made aware of that, by people on their own side as well as sceptics, but Lewandowsky has refused to acknowledge the error and continued to lie about it.

    Keep on with the research Eric - I feel we're making some progress with you now.
  17. geoffchambers at 04:35 AM on 24 March, 2014
    Thanks GrantB for providing a much better formulation of my point.

    Lewandowsky has repeatedly fended off substantive criticisms of his papers with the assertion that the only way to reply to a peer-reviewed paper in the scientific literature is via another peer-reviewed paper. Now that “Recursive Fury” is a mere blog post, that argument no longer holds, and the criticisms voiced in other blog posts should be considered on their merits.

    Much of the criticism involves pointing out simple errors: errors in transcribing quotes; quotes attributed to the wrong person; quotes linked to an argument when they are relevant to a quite different argument. These are not scientific errors in any normal sense, but simply mistakes made by Lewandowsky's two co-authors Cook and Marriott, neither of whom are scientists. It is absurd to demand that pointing out and correcting such basic errors can only be done in the context of another scientific paper. They should be corrected, that's all. Lewandowsky's reputation as a serious researcher depends on his doing so.
  18. It is clear to me that a link to the survey was tweeted by Skeptic Science and maybe or maybe not posted as a blogpost or comment. Whooptiedoo. The effect is the same: followers/readers of Skeptic Science were made aware of the survey and could fill it out. It certainly has no effect on the science. It seems to me you're clamping at straws to discredit the survey results.

    As for acknowledging errors and lying, I'm waiting for what you have to say about the fact that you said "his LOG 12 survey was posted at Skeptical Science, as the paper claims" whereas in fact that was not claimed in the paper.
  19. ManicBeancounter at 06:39 AM on 24 March, 2014
    Geoff,

    Your comment 68 shows a basic function of peer review. Correcting the obvious errors. If there is no such quality control then the demarcation between academic and non-academic literature simply collapses. Further, if the academia cannot easily distinguish the excellent from the dross, then there must be a quality control before their recommendations are passed into public policy. Much the same way are new pharmaceuticals must go through rigorous regulatory testing before being proscribed to the public.
  20. ManicBeancounter at 06:59 AM on 24 March, 2014
    My comments as 57 and 70 should be viewed in the context of the opening comment in the "The Debunking Handbook", written by John Cook and Stephen Lewandowsky and accessible on the right column.

    "It’s self-evident that democratic societies should base their decisions on accurate information. On many issues, however, misinformation can become entrenched in parts of the community, particularly when vested interests are involved. Reducing the influence of misinformation is a difficult and complex challenge."

    By any independent measure the "Hoax" and "Recursive Fury" papers are full of misinformation. The authors aim at establishing a monopoly on truth, but by their very words, and subsequent behaviour, show that they are the last people you would entrust with that monopoly. There is no better example for the need of democratic societies to promote pluralism through competition in their universities to prevent the establishment of dogma. This is particularly true in Australia and the UK, where Government's would like their universities to be World-leading.
  21. Eric

    After a promising start, I fear you're regressing now.

    You're clutching at the flimsiest of straws and spouting patent nonsense.

    The paper's methodology was based on posting a survey at eight selected blogs - of which SkS was by far the most visited and prominent.

    The general Tweet by Cook had no parallel specificity of recipients and therefore simply didn't begin to comply with the stated methodology.

    In any case, the Tweet is a complete red herring. Cook and Lewandowsky both repeatedly insisted, in writing, that a link had been posted at the SkS site - even after Curtis pointed out to them that it hadn't. In other words - they lied.

    Remember that Lewandowsky pretends that what he is doing here is proper science.

    Consider a simple analogy. A medical researcher tests a new drug on cohorts of patients at eight different hospitals. While he's writing up his results - a medic at one of the hospitals contacts him to say there's been a screw up and the drug was never administered to one cohort. Does an honest scientist a) review his data and results to correct the error or b) just bluff it out, lie about it, and pretend the patients got the drug?

    Why is it only in "science" related to climate change that the most basic principles of the scientific method are routinely and casually ignored?

    Could the reason possibly be that that the "science" is always secondary to the required activist message?
  22. The 'who us?' faction are playing a blinding job of trying to obscure the wood with yet more trees.

    The thing is that I've just googled 'climategate' with 'About 1,550,000 results'. Having checked the first ten pages, 99.9% of them promote/endorse the conspiracy theory that AGW is a hoax, now exposed.

    That may not sit well with the pontificating armchair 'scientists' and deniers (who, it seems to me, mostly contribute to the smoke producers of the 'there's no smoke without ...' variety. Although there certainly can be, as they'd know if they were scientists).

    Still, it's nice to see them strenuously making the effort to deny the obvious, however futile that may be.
  23. geoffchambers at 09:44 AM on 24 March, 2014
    Manicbeancounter's comment 57 above gets to the heart of the problem of Lewandowsky's research, and his disregard for all the normal ethical standards of research in the social sciences.
    Instead of exchanging insults with vulgar people, perhaps it would be better if I simply listed some of the dozens of errors in “Recursive Fury”. But that would be tedious, and I've already done it in several blog posts, so I'll simply give one example.
    In the Cook/Marriot “discourse analysis”, on p19 of the paper, the only piece of evidence for the third sceptical conspiracy theory (“presentation of intermediate data”) is a quote from a comment by Steve McIntyre on an article by Lewandowsky on this very blog. But McIntyre's comment has nothing to do with the so-called “presentation of intermediate data” conspiracy theory (which wasn't a conspiracy theory at all, but a true statement about the highly unprofessional activity of Professor Lewandowsky in presenting provisional results of his survey at the very moment that his assistant was sending out emails soliciting more data) but deals with four completely different criticisms of the paper.
    However, just before McIntyre's comment are two comments by me which do refer to the presentation of intermediate data. And between the two is a comment by someone else pointing out that I have already made the same comment on Cook's own blog, Skeptical Science. The result of this misattribution is that McIntyre gets identified in table 3 of the paper as the instigator of a conspiracy theory (which isn't one, but simply a true criticism) and is labelled as suffering from six symptoms of “conspiracist ideation”, while the real instigator was me. But my first reference to this criticism doesn't even appear in Cook's supposedly exhaustive analysis of the blogosphere, despite the fact of it having appeared on his own blog, on a thread instigated by him and Lewandowsky.
    There are dozens of errors like this throughout the paper. I sent a representative, but by no means exhaustive list of them to Frontiers in my letter of complaint. The Frontiers statement makes it clear that they were ignored.
    Rather than go on at length about this whole tedious charade, let's sum up the reality behind this supposed case of scientific freedom being menaced by libel threats. A psychology professor hires a former cartoonist (Cook) to do a hatchet job on a number of awkward critics, including a former illustrator (me). The former cartoonist screws up, and the professor's paper is withdrawn. End of story.
  24. Rather than go on at length about this whole tedious charade, let's sum up the reality behind this supposed case of scientific freedom being menaced by libel threats. A psychology professor hires a former cartoonist (Cook) to do a hatchet job on a number of awkward critics, including a former illustrator (me). The former cartoonist screws up, and the professor's paper is withdrawn. End of story.


    Quite the conspiracy you're ideating there, Geoff baby.

    And awkward critics? Awkward how?
    Some cream-puff attacks on climate science?
    I can't seem to recall any of that series of earth-shattering papers. Perhaps you imagined them when you were drooling.
  25. chek

    Ever thought of making a comment here?

    You know, ideas, opinions & stuff - all joined together in sentences.

    Try it some time - people may even read it.
  26. It's plain enough Foxey, and also just as plain it's not playing your game of legitimising your faux, pig-ignorant 'concerns'. Awkward critics! You wish!
  27. Foxgoose (72), in your analogy it would be more like it turns out that one hospital delivered the data via CD instead of USB stick. Different medium, same data, no effect on the science.

    Not acknowledging your own error is a bit hypocritical by the way.
  28. Darrell Harb at 16:13 PM on 24 March, 2014
    The "skeptical" community has really shown its true colors in this shameful episode.

    Hey, geniuses: Prof Lewandowsky didn't HAVE to research skepticism. He could have tackled alcoholism, problem gambling, or a range of other conditions. I'm betting he wishes he had. Sure, climate skepticism is far more prevalent than any other condition, but at least when you work to understand dementia or chronic fatigue the people living with it manage to do something climate conspiracists have singularly lacked the decency to do:

    THANK you.

    Well, they won't say it, but let me repeat, Steve:

    THANK you. (I'm not in science denial myself, but I've "lost" someone to it and would dearly love to get them back one day. Your work is the first step, and it will be honored appropriately when the time comes.)
  29. Darrell Harb at 16:21 PM on 24 March, 2014
    By the way "skeptics," keep up the ad hominems on Steve's work, data, methodology, conclusions, private videos, whatever. Knock yourselves out. See what happens. The next Lewandowsky, the next young researcher altruistic and idealistic enough to bother with you people, might just say: who needs that thankless toil? I'd rather study one of the celebrity mental illnesses.

    And before you know it, you're off psychology's radar for good.

    This is an awful thing to say, but I almost think it'd serve you right.
  30. Allow me to offer my heartfelt condolences at your loss Darrell. I can hardly imagine how terrible it must be.
  31. Darrell Harb at 20:49 PM on 24 March, 2014
    Has anyone met a "skeptic" who knows what skepticism MEANS?

    Skepticism means "I don't know enough to determine the truth, so all I can do is find the nearest person who DOES, i.e. a non-skeptic, and believe them."

    We've been explaining the same urgent message for 20 years as ecological deadline after deadline elapsed, and the climate wars will end the moment "skeptics" have the skepticism to BELIEVE us.
  32. Eric

    Foxgoose (72), in your analogy it would be more like it turns out that one hospital delivered the data via CD instead of USB stick. Different medium, same data, no effect on the science.

    No Eric - a moment's thought will show your analogy is rubbish.

    If the link to the survey was only Tweeted, it never reached the largest target group defined in the paper's methodology - so all the data is hopelessly compromised.

    A true analogy would be if the lost experimental drug was sent to the wrong hospital - and some junior medic, even dumber than John Cook, gave it to patients who were never in the target group.

    This thread is really illuminating the level of understanding of basic research practice and ethics among the "climate concerned" community.

    Basically - you don't give a sh!t about methods, data, accuracy or truth - as long as the result confirms your prejudices.

    It kind of underlines all those surveys that showed sceptics have higher levels of scientific education and understanding I suppose.
  33. This was not a randomized controlled trial. This was a survey with a self-selected sample. In a self-selected sample, the difference between 8 blog posts and 7 blog posts, a tweet and perhaps an 8th blog post (they recall they did, you say you can't find it anymore) is irrelevant. It does not in any way "hopelessly compromise" the data.

    Your need to resort to personal attacks and appeal to authority ("My scientific education is better than yours" [paraphrased]) is telling. You know exactly nothing about my level of understanding of basic research practice and my education. All you know is I disagree with you. If you had a strong case, you'd be able to stick to proper arguments.

    Also, as concerned as you are about the ethics of others, you still haven't addressed your own error earlier in this thread.
  34. Brandon Shollenberger at 02:48 AM on 25 March, 2014
    The supplementary information document for the paper specifically referenced (unpublished and unverifiable) content analysis performed on comments posted at Skeptical Science. This analysis was used to argue a sizable proportion of the people who saw the link to the survey would be skeptics. It was on this basis the authors claimed it wasn't a problem that only pro-AGW sites ran the survey.

    Given the link was never posted at Skeptical Science, that basis is false. The authors have no basis for claiming a meaningful number of skeptics were exposed to the survey, and as such, they have no basis for claiming it was okay that the survey was only posted at pro-AGW blogs.

    If the issue of the link being posted at Skeptical Science is irrelevant, as some people here seem to be suggesting, why did the authors of the paper specifically focus on the demographics of people who read Skeptical Science? If the issue was important enough to them when they wrote the paper, it ought to be important enough for us to care about.
  35. Eric

    FG hasn't got a coherent, well-supported counter argument to the scientific consensus, so he is reduced to this ridiculous nit-pickery. Risible time-wasting like this a sign of how absolutely little the fake sceptics really have.

    Imagine frittering away your life in bilious, niggling and pointless blog comments if you had a decent body of scientific evidence backing you up and you wanted to take on the dominant paradigm?

    No. Quite.
  36. BS

    The problem with "sceptics" is that they seem to forget that anyone who has ever interacted with them online knows perfectly well from experience that a high percentage are conspiracy theorists.
  37. Something else that raises a smile is the way "sceptics" have used legal bullying and threats to shut down academic freedom while constantly howling that *they* are the victims of suppression.

    It is beyond parody.
  38. Brandon Shollenberger at 03:02 AM on 25 March, 2014
    I just saw BBD's earlier comment:

    If Gleick forged the documents, how is it that the exact dollar amount paid to Watts ($44K) is correct?

    ESP? Luck?


    This is an incredibly silly remark. The argument people have made is Gleick tricked a person into giving him certain documents. He then forged one document and released all of them.

    That argument holds Gleick had the real documents before he forged his own. It wouldn't take ESP or luck to get a value from one of them correct. He could just read the document that lists it.
  39. Or none of the documents are faked. They are extremely detailed after all. I think HI lied and I am astonished that apparently intelligent people can't see that.

    It must be a political thing.
  40. Didn't HI claim that *all* the documents were forged? IIRC it did. I must go and check.
  41. Eric

    ….perhaps an 8th blog post (they recall they did, you say you can't find it anymore)

    Is your memory playing tricks Eric - or are you just wildly making stuff up now?

    I (we) said nothing.

    Again, Cook's long-time colleague & collaborator Tom Curtis said:-

    In reply to a recent email, Cook still assures me that the survey was posted on SkS. He also mentions a half remembered email on the FOI release that mentions that posting, but that he cannot find at present.

    For my part, I believe he is not trying to deceive. I have had considerable interaction with him as part of the SkS team, and he is, to the best of my knowledge, honest. He is, however, in this case, wrong.


    Why do you think Curtis would say this if it wasn't true?

    Brandon Shollenberger above makes another important point that I hadn't yet touched on.

    In the supplementary information, Lewandowsky specifically referenced SkS to qualify the data in the paper.

    If none of the responses came from SkS - the methodology of the paper is invalid.

    As someone once said … "This paper is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! THIS IS AN EX-PAPER!!"
  42. It's funny the way BS tries to change the subject immediately when the fact that so many "sceptics" are evidently conspiracy theorists is mentioned.

    Or perhaps it was the unfortunate irony that "sceptics" who are always playing the victim with bogus claims of suppression have in fact just bullied a journal into restricting academic freedom using legal threats?

    Or maybe a bit of both?
  43. Isn't it interesting that, when persistent and careful analysis cuts through the ducking, weaving and smoke blowing and the real truth begins to emerge - along come the clowns like BBD.

    Like chimps jumping & gibbering in their cage and hurling faeces into the crowd.

    Anything to distract the passing observer from the clear truth on display - that Lewndowsky's LOG 12 paper is an even bigger embarrassment that its ill-starred successor and deserves the same fate.
  44. Eric:

    The methodology stated the LOG12 NASA Moon paper) survey was held at Skeptical Science, the paper depended on it, for claims of the audience and prevalence of sceptics, across the WHOLE surveyed blogs (a flaw in itself)

    Wayback machine shows it was not held at Skeptical Science
    Tom Curtis a Skeptical Science contributor/moderator and author says it was not held as well, and he wrote to the author months prior to final publication to advice them of this.

    Tom wrote this at his blog
    http://bybrisbanewaters.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/skeptical-science-and-lewandowsky-survey.html

    Tom Curtis also wrote to Steve Mcintyre (with integrity)
    http://climateaudit.org/2013/04/03/tom-curtis-writes/

    extract from Nasa faked the Moon landing paper
    Supplementary Materials:

    Prevalence of \skeptics" among blog visitors

    All of the blogs that carried the link to the survey broadly endorsed the scientic consensus on climate change (see Table S1). As evidenced by the comment streams, however, their readership was broad and encompassed a wide range of view on climate change.

    To illustrate, a content analysis of 1067 comments from unique visitors to www.skepticalscience.com, conducted by the proprietor of the blog, revealed that around 20% (N = 222) held clearly \skeptical" views, with the remainder (N = 845) endorsing the scienti c consensus. At the time the research was conducted (September 2010), www.skepticalscience.com received 390,000 monthly visits.

    Extrapolating from the content analysis of the comments, this translates into up to 78,000 visits from \skeptics" at the time when the survey was open (although it cannot be ascertained how many of the visitors actually saw the link.)"
  45. FG

    Isn't it interesting that, when persistent and careful analysis cuts through the ducking, weaving and smoke blowing and the real truth begins to emerge - along come the clowns like BBD.


    "Sceptics" have nothing except hot air, FG. That's why you are reduced to irrelevancies like this.

    No scientific argument. Nothing. And you know this as well as I do, which is why you are reduced to posturing and ineffectual nibbling at the fringes.
  46. Foxgoose (92):
    Your sidestepping is getting boring. You said nothing, you said someone else said something. Fine. Now care to address the point? As a reminder, the point is that 7 blog posts plus a tweet plus perhaps an 8th blog post do not lead to completely different results than 8 blog posts. It is clear SkS at least tweeted about the survey so it is highly unlikely that "none of the responses came from SkS" as you take as your reason to discredit all of the research.

    As for what's "[i]n the supplementary information": for the love God, please, provide proper references. Things have titles and page numbers for a reason! How is it that you (and this applies to Barry Woods' most recent reply too) can link to dozens of blog posts but are somehow unable to say "here [link] at page X the authors say Y"?
    And I insist on the proper references because it would not be the first time you (Foxgoose) say something is in the paper while it is not (see comments 62 and 64 above). I will not go on a wild goose chase (oh the puns) again.
  47. I repeat: anyone who has ever spent any time interacting online with "sceptics" does not need scholarly analyses to convince them that conspiracist ideation is common amongst this group. They will have seen enough evidence of that at first hand.
  48. Some more light has been shed on the UWA ethics investigation which curiously cleared Lewandowsky of misconduct in respect of the LOG 12 paper we are discussing here.

    It turns out that it wasn't all that curious that the ethics investigation cleared him - because he was allowed to write the investigation's conclusions himself!

    http://climateaudit.org/2014/03/24/lewandowsky-ghost-wrote-conclusions-of-uwa-ethics-investigation-into-hoax/

    Cue - mass outbreak of howling, screeching and turd hurling by the usual climachondriac activism brigade.

    More thoughtful folk may begin to wonder what has happened to ethical standards in Australian academe.
  49. Cue - mass outbreak of howling etc etc marvelling at McinTyre's psychic ability to reconstruct other peoples' private communications to meet his own ends.

    I suppose even paranoid cranks like Stevie need a hobby that engages them.
  50. chek

    Do the initials FOI resonate at all in whatever organ you attempt to do your thinking with?

    The dialogue quoted by McIntyre is all public information obtained by legal requests.

    I wonder if Steve will bother to track you down and sue you for this blatant libel.

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