Lew’s Lies (2): Trick or Tweet?

Simon Turnill of Australian Climate Madness obtained Lewandowsky’s emails concerning the paper LOG12 via an FOI request. Many  thanks to Steve McIntyre who forwarded them to me. Below is a summary of Lewandowsky’s requests addressed to “pro-science” blogs, beginning with an exchange with Skeptical Science. The name of the recipient has been redacted, but it can only be John Cook. No-one else at SkS was in contact with Lewandowsky.


From Stephan Lewandowsky

Friday 27th August 2010 8.23PM

Hi      , I am ready to launch my internet-based survey … I think I mentioned this to you before; the instrument is now ready to rock-nd-roll.

The link is shown below: [link to kwiksurveys.com]

As you are my first “customer” I am not exactly sure how best to launch this, but ideally it would be some sort of flashing button that says “Contribute to Research – Record your attitudes about science by clicking here” or some such. Not sure the flashing button will work, but maybe you’ve got some idea? If you do write a post about it, maybe best not to mention my name but  just anonymously refer to “researchers at the UWA” or some such?

Let me know what you think … I am happy to draft something if you need me to. 

Cheers Steve

PS: I will circulate this among the Planet30 folks once I’ve got a good way sorted with you in


From @SkepticalScience.com

Saturday August 28, 2010 11:20AM

Hey Steve, 

Well, I filled out the survey. Problem is after you click Finish, it just goes to the kwiksurveys.com homepage so there’s no message saying you’ve filled it out correctly. I think this is a bit of a faux pas as far as web functionality goes – people like to now whether their results were received.

Some of those conspiracy theories, I have no clue about – Oliver Stone is the only source of info I have for the JFK assassination :-)

How about I start off with a tweet, something like:

Help UWA research attitudes about science – fill out this online survey



From Stephan Lewandowsky

Saturday 28th August 2010 2:17PM

Hi       , a tweet for starters sounds good. I’ll see what I can do about the end of survey message; this is obviously constrained by the software.

Cheers Steve


From @SkepticalScience.com

Saturday August 28, 2010 12:45PM

Let me know if you’d like me to tweet now or would you like to tweak the system first



From Stephan Lewandowsky

Saturday 28th August 2010 3:57PM

Hi, umm, tweet now. Not sure I can tweak much.



From @SkepticalScience.com

Saturday August 28, 2010 2:19PM


I’m hoping to post my own (much simpler) survey online shortly – when I blog post about that, I’ll probably include mention yours at the same time if you like (I’ll show you the blog post when I’m ready to go).



From Stephan Lewandowsky

Saturday 28th August 2010 3:40PM

hi     , thanks, sounds good.



There follow requests to anumber of other blogs:

Aug 29 to: hot-topic.co.nz/

reply: “Thanks Steve, post now live here:


Aug 28 to: planet30@googlegroups.com

reply: “I put a notice upon my blog:


Aug 28 to: planet30@googlegroups.com

reply: “I’ve posted a link to your survey on my blog:


Aug 28 to: planet30@googlegroups.com

reply: “I put it on the UU-UNO Climate Portal


Aug 29 to: planet30@googlegroups.com

reply: Steve,

I added a new blog post (Opinion Survey Regarding Climate Change << Global Warming: Man or Myth? http://bit.ly/dsiYMD) with the survey link as well as posting a link to that post on my GWMM Web site, Facebook GWFOD group,and Twitter.

Aug 29 to: planet30@googlegroups.com

reply: the first link went up here:

scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2010/08/ counting_your_attitudes.php

And that’s all from the “science” blogs. Then there is a gap of a week, and on 9 September a different form letter is sent out to Steve McIntyre and other “skeptic” blogs, signed Charles Hanich

*       *       *

As I mentioned on the previous post, there’s no mention of Lewandowsky’s survey anywhere at SkepticalScience, or on the Wayback Machine, or in the internal SkepticalScience emails.

Cook mentions his own idea for a survey, 3 October:

“Being a data junkie (if it’s wrong, I don’t wanna be right), I’ve often thought about collecting meta data to track whether SkS has an impact on readers opinions. Eg – do a survey on positions on global warming then repeat it periodically to see if positions shift. I was on the verge of programming such a survey a few weeks ago and got some excellent advice from Dougs wife on how to approach it. But then I got involved with Steve Lewandowsky and some of his cognitive colleagues who is very interested in the phenomena of science blogging and they’re planning to do some research into the subject that I’m going to help them with. In November, I’m heading over to Perth so hopefully we’ll sit down and design some cool experiments.”

Note that Cook’s replies to Lewandowsky are extremely off-hand in August, but the references in the internal mails become enthusiastic from October onwards. Lewandowsky is mentioned on 54 separate threads in the internal mails between August 10 2010 and March 7 2012. In every case, I think, except for the launch of the Cook/Lewandowsky “Debunking” Handbook, there is just one – enthusiastic – mention by Cook, followed by an embarrassed silence from the other participants.

In September 2012, following the prepublication of LOG12, (and the prepublication prepublicity foreplay by Adam Corner at Guardian Environment and talkingclimate.org) I started a discussion of the paper at SkepticalScience, in which I asked for information about the invitation to participate in Lewandowsky’s survey supposedly posted at SkS. I was told by the moderator that Cook was too busy to reply, then received an email from Cook in which he said (September 3):

“you can email me via this email address if you have any direct questions, although there’s not much more that I can add other than what I’ve mentioned in the comment threads.”

I wrote back asking him:

“- The date the survey was posted

- The date the post was deleted

- Were there comments to the post? If so, how many, and are they still available, or were they deleted along with the original post?”

Cook replied (September 6):

“sorry for the delay in replying …  had to fire up the old machine that I was using back in 2010 to find any email correspondence back then. All I can find is an email from Steve on 28 August 2010 asking for me to link to his survey.”

I replied:

“Thanks for the reply. So did you in fact link to his survey? It looks to me that you just forgot and didn’t post the link. So Stephan just assumed you had posted, and  put in his paper the reference to eight blogs he’d contacted, including yours and the dormant NZ one. A silly mistake easily corrected. All he has to do is correct the “eight blogs” in his paper to six. Can you confirm that his survey was not in fact linked from Skeptical Science?”

He replied:

“I did provide a link to the survey.”

By Twitter, we now know.

LOG12 says in the Method section:

“Links were posted on 8 blogs (with a pro-science science stance [sic] but with a diverse audience)…”  and Skeptical Science is mentioned specifically.

and the same figure was repeated in the latest LEWCO13 paper. I’ve been pointing out that this was untrue since at least early September 2012, and Cook has been covering for Lewandowsky since at least September 6.

I thnk I’ll wait for Frontiers in Personality and Individual Differences to put LEWCO13 back up again after correcting the error concerning Jeff Id before I ask them to take it back down again.

Update: Joanne points out that Barry Woods first noted Cook’s tweet, and she credited him in her article at


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11 Responses to Lew’s Lies (2): Trick or Tweet?

  1. Barry Woods says:

    As you were a critic of the original ‘moon’ paper..

    and Lewandowsky is attacking critics of that paper in other papers, citing the journal Psychological Science (saying in press)

    Perhaps a polite letter to the editor of Psychological Science is in order: asking when it will be published, so that you can make a formal response to the peer reviewed journal

  2. Barry
    I’ve added a note about your key finding of the tweet back in August 2012 at the end, after Joanne notified me. Many thanks. I didn’t mention that I was started on this long chase by your research on the original blogs used which you revealed in two comments at Adam Corner’s talkingclimate article. Again, many thanks. You’re the real instigator of all this.
    A letter can be written any time. I’d like the input of anyone from the academic world about 1) the established criteria for withdrawing papers and 2) the way editors’ minds work. I believe Jeff Condon got a lawyer on the job because there was the question of defamation. Nothing like that here, simply a “mistaken” claim of 8 blogs sampled instead of 6 or 7. (I haven’t looked at the NZ blog since getting Simon Turnill’s FOI material). It would be minor, except that Cook, who knew the truth, gave me misleading and evasive answers back in Aug 2012 and went on to coauthor LEWCO13 where the claim is repeated.
    The questionnaire design, administration, sampling method, and analysis have been torn to shreds by so many people in so many places that it might seem unnecessary to go on. However, all our criticisms are just opinions until it is demonstrate that he has uttered falsehoods.
    Two new enormities turn up in the emails. He says to blog owners “toss a coin to decide which version you use” ok if you’ve got dozens of coin tossers, but when you’ve only got six…. and what tossers!
    Then his discussion with Cook about how to present the research (flashing buttons) .. It’s unbelievable!! The way the questionnaire is presented to the respondent is an integral part of the survey structure. Isn’t that obvious?
    I’m going off on another tack now. LEWCO13 contains no survey material, but simply “content analysis” or “narrative analysis” based on a highly selective view of criticisms of LOG12. As far as I can see, the criteria for selection are the abstruse and question-begging terms he’s borrowed from The Literature, which is referenced at great length. I’m going to explore that literature a bit insofar as it’s available. I don’t know how much of it is paywalled. Help from anyone with access to Google Scholar would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Barry Woods says:

    I wonder why he picked on you, ie we were both as vocal? at Talking Climate, Bishop Hill and Shaping Tomorrows world.

  4. DGH says:

    For the record, and as Barry noted over at CA, I actually found the Cook tweets. Not a big deal except I had to wade through a thousand or more tweets to find them.

  5. Climate Daily says:

    Reblogged this on Climate Daily.

  6. Pingback: The Moon Hoax has Landed | Geoffchambers's Blog

  7. Pingback: Lewandowsky Doubles Down « Climate Audit

  8. Pingback: McIntyre’s dissection of the Cook-Lewandowsky “Lying/deceiving/incompetence” complex | Watts Up With That?

  9. Pingback: Lew & Cook: economical with the truth « Australian Climate Madness

  10. Jimmy Haigh. says:

    From @SkepticalScience.com
    Saturday August 28, 2010 2:19PM


    Surely, in this context, the past tense of the verb: “to tweet” should be “twat”?

  11. Pingback: Lew paper … flushed | pindanpost

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