New Blog: cliscep.com

Most of my blogging activity is being transferred to a new blog – a co-operative effort which we hope will expand to fill the space left by our previous individual blogs. I explain why at
http://cliscep.com/about/
According to the gas laws, if I remember correctly, the smaller the volume, the greater the pressure we should be able to exert. This blog will remain active for logging things too boring for the general public, like dissection of Lew papers.
My original idea was to dilute my activity in a joint venture in order to liberate time to spend on more worthwhile activities. But the buzz from coôperating with abunch of likeable people means it might not work out like that. Watch that space (not this one).

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Ubu President

President Hollande has just given a 25 minute speech to launch December’s COP21 Paris Climate Conference. It was such a monument of scientific, economic and geopolitical stupidity that I thought I’d preserve it for posterity here. Here are some extracts, which I’ll update and translate when I can.

A few points to note. He apparently believes that:
– the point of the conference is to reduce global temperatures by 2°C.
– smart meters, subsidies for home insulation, electric cars and public transport will make people richer
– the majority of refugees are fleeing climate change
.. and he’s calling on the Minister of Education to hold Climate Weeks in schools, with debates simulating COP21 and the election of “eco-delegates”…
__________________________________________________________

Aujourd’hui nous avons montré que notre pays était capable de s’engager pleinement pour la conférence sur le climat, la COP21. C’est sûrement la conférence la plus importante que   notre pays a reçue, au regard de son enjeu, mais également du nombre des délégués, des invités – ceux qui viendront parce qu’ils sont invités, et d’autres qui viendront même s’ils ne le sont pas. Des dizaines de milliers de personnes, peut-être encore d’avantage. Et je pense aussi à tous ceux qui seront reliés à un moment à la conférence par les nouvelles technologies, par l’internet et qui seront aussi vigilants.

Car il ne s’agit pas simplement de faire une reception, de faire preuve d’hospitalité. Nous pouvons avoir d’autres occasions de la montrer, cette hospitalité. Il s’agit d’être capable de réussir, de réussir ce qui est le rendez-vous surement le plus essentiel que le monde s’est donné a lui-même. Nous n’avons pas la prétention de penser que nous avions, parce que c’est la France, la capacité de réussir où d’autres ont échoué. Mais au même temps

il se trouve que c’est en France que cette réunion se fait. Et comme Laurent Fabius l’a dit, c’zst tard, c’est peut-être trop tard. Donc nous avons et l’urgence, et la durée. L’urgence parce que c’est maintenant qu’il faut agir, et la durée parce que ce que nous déciderons là à la fin de l’année 2015, c’est pour les 20, les 30 prochaines années que le monde va pouvoir décider d’engager.

Alors, quel est l’enjeu précis? C’est à la fois de réussir un accord – un accord universel, un accord durable, un accord contraignant – ça c’est le fondement juridique de ce qui va être décidé. Et puis il y a un autre enjeu qui est d’ailleurs lié au premier – c’est le financement. S’il n’y pas les annonces qui sont attendues – mais pas simplement les annonces, les preuves qu’il y a bien cent milliard de dollars à partir de 2020 et chaque année – alors il n’y aura pas de conclusion de la COP21, de la conférence de Paris.

Où en est-on aujourd’hui? Il y a des progrès. Ils sont minces, trop minces encore, et donc il y a une incertitude. Je ne dit pas ce mot simplement pour donner un coté mysterieux à ce qui va se produire et à créer une forme de suspense quant aux résultats. Non. Il y a à la fois des progrès et des inquiétudes. Le progrès est que la prise de conscience, elle a considérablement avancé.

Le cinquième rapport du GIEC qui a apparu il y a un an a sérieusement retreci le champ et le camp des climato-sceptiques et réduit leurs arguments à néant. On en trouvera bien toujours un qui nous dira que ce n’est pas vrai, mais il sera bientôt tout seul. Les scientifiques ont su depuis vingt ans rassembler tous leurs travaux – et je veux ici les saluer – pour montrer à l’humanité que le rechauffement climatique est, non pas un phenomène naturel, mais est lié à la combustion des energies fossiles et au comportement humain. Ça a été bien dit. Ce n’est pas la planète qui se dérègle, c’est le vivant qui est lui-même responsible de cette déterioration, et c’est lui, le vivant, qui est en cause.

[…]

Il est possible de réussir. Et puis nous devons être néanmoins lucides…. Mais nous ne pouvons pas néanmoins conclure qu’en aggregeant toutes ces contributions que nous serons bien dans l’objectif de réduire de deux degrées le rechauffement de la planète d’ici à la fin du siècle.

“Nous ne pouvons, nous ne pourrions pas, dire si nous étions interrogés que nous ne savions pas. Alors, je dirais, pour reprendre une formule qui a été hélas trop utilisée, le 21ième siècle sera solidaire ou il ne sera pas. C’est-à-dire, est-ce que nous pouvons marquer suffisamment d’actes pour que la solidarité puisse être réelle? ou alors il y a une risque pour l’humanité, et y compris durant ce siècle.”

… le nationalisme climatique est vide de sens. Nous sommes dans un mondialisation climatique. Alors…

Et puis il y a les forces spirituelles, les grands mouvements de pensée, les grandes confessions qui se sont engagées. Nous avons rassemblé – c’etait à la grande conférence économique et environnementale – ce qu’on appelait le sommet de conscience – comme si une conscience pouvait être à son sommet – mais c’était l’idée de là encore réunir, assembler les mouvements spirituels différents, mais en même temps portés par le même engagement, par la même conception de la vie, et c’était très important qu’il puissé avoir les textes qui pouvaient être publiés, celui du Pape était forcément un éveil de consciences particulièrement utile et entendu et qui va bien au-delà de l’influence simplement du Vatican et de l’hiiérarchie catholique.

“Nous devons combattre l’insouciance, l’insouciance est de ne pas connaître, et c’est la raison pourquoi il est très important que le ministère de l’education nationale puisse faire évoluer son programme des activités scolaire dans cet esprit et puisse aussi dans l’occasion de la conférence de Paris, simuler des négotiations dans les classes, dans les établissements, faire une semaine de climat, créer des eco-délégués dans les établissements scolaires, ceux qui vont porter cette belle idée, ceux qui vont diffuser ce qu’ils connaissent de l’enjeu..”

14’36”
Et puis il y a une autre risque qu’on connait bien, c’est l’insouciance. Il y a toujours dans l’esprit humain l’idée que nous sommes tellement puissants, nous, les hommes, les femmes, que nous pourrons toujours avoir la réponse au moment venu aux risques qui sont devant nous, aux ménaces qui nous gagnent, qu’il y aura bien une solution, un savant – il y en a beaucoup dans la salle – qui nous trouvera la réponse pour éviter de faire nous même l’effort. Non, il n’y a pas la réponse, il n’a pas de miracle. Il n’y a que ce que la science, la recherche, pourront faire pour atteindre l’objectif. Et à cet égard la conférence sur le climat, c’est une conférence de progrès scientifique, de culture de l’innovation, et de grande confiance justement dans la recherche et dans la science pour mettre les technologies au service de l’ambition qui est la notre.
Et puis il y a aussi – j’ai évoqué ce que peuvent penser un certain nombre de pays vulnérables, de pays pauvres, qui se demandent

16’15”
Et à l’échelle de notre propre pays il nous faut mettre en place des méchanismes pour que les plus modestes ne vivent pas la lutte contre le rechauffement climatique comme un risque pour leur pouvoir d’achat. Mais ça a été démontré. C’est avec les dispositifs que nous avons mis en place, des crédits d’impôts, des subventions, des certificats d’energie, tout ce que nous pouvons mettre en place pour que ce soit un gain de pouvoir d’achat – en plus d’être un gain de croissance – un gain de pouvoir d’achat lorsque les batiments sont isolés, lorsque il y a des compteurs intelligents, lorsque’on peut utiliser d’autres modes de transport que son propre véhicule personnel, lorsque les transports collectifs eux-mêmes peuvent être modernisés, lorsqu’il ya une prime pour les véhicules électriques – voilà ce que nous pouvons aussi apporter à travers la conférence sur le climat.

…et il ne faudra pas que l’urgence humanitaire à laquelle nous efforçons de répondre puisse éffacer d’autres urgences. Toutes les urgences sont finalement cohérentes entr’elles, hélas. C’est parce qu’il ya aussi des guerres qu’il y a des mouvements de population. C’est parce qu’il ya du terrorisme qu’il y a ces familles qui fuit. C’est parce qu’il y a des dicatateurs qui utilisent des armes chimiques que des populations cherchent un abri et une protection. Mais le plus grand nombre de déplacés, de refugiés, sont provoqués par le rechauffement climatique.

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Lewandowsky on Sex and the Single Scholar

 

Joanne Nova was the first climate blogger to pick up on Lew’s peculiarities with this article

http://joannenova.com.au/2010/03/picasso-brain-syndrome/
which she followed up with this
http://joannenova.com.au/2010/05/name-calling-fairy-dust-conspiracy-theorist/

Joanne’s articles are responses to Lewandowsky’s articles at
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-03-11/33178
and
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-05-03/33900

Back in March and May 2010 Lewandowsky was already announcing the conclusions that he would draw from the survey that he was to conduct several months later, and Joanne in her articles brilliantly demolishes the paper which Lewandowsky was to publish three years later about the criticisms that Joanne and others were to make to the paper summarising the conclusions of the paper announcing the results of the survey that Lewandowsky hadn’t yet conducted.

From Joanne’s second article:

“Lewandowsky uses his Magic Fairy Debating Dust to preemptively stop discussions of climate science evidence. If anyone complains against any mainstream position on anything, he can define whatever it is as a ‘conspiracy theory’. Then his omnipotent powers as a cognitive scientist kick in. I quote: ‘The nature of conspiracy theories and their ultimate fate is reasonably well understood by cognitive scientists’ […] Lewandowsky uses  the name-calling to “poison the well” against people who don’t even believe in a conspiracy, but happen to also be skeptical…The “conspiracy theorist” smoke bomb is multi-purpose. Because it judges people, and not the physics, the ad hominem slur can be applied ad lib.”

I was struck by something Lew says in his first article:

“Anyone can experience this scientific consensus hands-on in a few seconds: Google “climate change” and you get nearly 60 million hits. Now go to the menu labelled “more” at the top, pull it down and choose the “scholar” option. 58 million hits disappear. The remaining scientific information will get you in touch with the reality on this planet…”

So far this is just the standard Lew argument from authority, but he follows it up with:

“…in the same way that applying the ‘scholar’ filter after googling ‘sex’ eliminates 500 million porn sites and leaves you with civilised discourse about sexuality.”

..which to my unscientific mind completely destroys his argument. Is he really saying that if you want to know about sex, a peer-reviewed article is the place to look? Or that a civilised discourse about sex is preferable to 500 million versions of the naked truth? And what does that tell us about the climate? That “civilised discourse” is better than raw data, preferable to facing up to the harsh reality of typhoons and floods and droughts, not to mention Mediaeval Warm Periods and the Roman Optimum?

We all know that “..spends a lot of time on the internet” is a transparent euphemism and a handy put-down. Is Lew trying to defend himself from some unspoken accusation?

Did he realise that his linking of climate sceptics with people who believe that Prince Philip is running the international drug trade is a fantasy too extreme even for one of the 500 million websites which cater to fans of extreme fantasy? Is that why a few months later he attempted to turn his fantasy into reality by contacting the readers of blogs run by his friends who share his fantasies, inviting them to participate in a survey?

Lew comes back to the subject in his second article:

“The conspiracy theory known as climate “scepticism” will soon collapse because it must be extended to include even the macrolepidoptera… Yes, the European moths and butterflies must be part of the conspiracy, because they mate repeatedly every season now, rather than once only as during the preceding 150 years. There will always be people who believe that Al Gore issues mating orders to butterflies via secret rays sent from Pyongyang.”

I typed “randy butterflies” into Google and turned up a measly 422 hits. Google Scholar produced none. So much for scholarship.

[Note to myself: Lewandowsky’s articles were published in March and May 2010. Both were updated 29th September 2010, a month after he’d launched his survey, and just a few days after he’d announced preliminary results at Monash University. That’s something for a suspicious-minded conspiracy theorist to look into.]

Posted in Stephan Lewandowsky | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Lew’s Conspiracist Classification Criteria

I intend to put up all my research on Lewandowsky’s new paper here as I complete it. I don’t expect many people to find it interesting. It is intended as a research tool for anyone who is preparing an analysis, a letter of complaint, or a scientific paper on the subject.

The full text of the “Conspiracist Classification Criteria” section of “Recurrent Fury” is reproduced as an appendix. I refer to Recurrent Fury” as RC2 and the original paper “Recursive Fury” as RC1.

I’ve already analysed the Conspiracist Classification Criteria of RC1 in the letter of complaint to Frontiers which I reproduced at https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/lews-talk-costs-libels/

and in more detail at https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/lews-thinking/

The Conspiracist Classification Criteria section in RC2 is essentially the same as in RC1. I note below the only significant changes – four of them. Bold type indicates a significant change, or text present in one version but not in the other.

1)

RC1: “First, the presumed intentions behind any conspiracy are invariably nefarious”

becomes:

RC2: “The first criterion is that the presumed motivations behind any assumed conspiracy are invariably nefarious or at least questionable

[comment: the toning down of the criterion renders it incoherent. So is it invariably nefarious or not? Obviously not, if it’s sometimes only questionable]

2)

RC1: “When presenting the results, we refer to this criterion by the acronym NI, for nefarious intention”

becomes:

RC2: “When presenting the results, we refer to this criterion as Questionable Motives, or QM for short

[comment: Description watered down pointlessly. Conspiratorial intentions are necessarily nefarious. It’s in the definition]

3)

RC1: “Thus, nothing is at it seems, and all evidence points to hidden agendas or some other meaning that only the conspiracy theorist is aware of. Accordingly, low trust (Goertzel, 1994) and paranoid ideation (Darwin et al., 2011) feature prominently among personality and attitudinal variables known to be associated with conspiracist ideation. The short label for this criterion is NS (for nihilistic skepticism).

becomes:

RC2: “Thus, nothing is at it seems, and all evidence points to hidden agendas or some other underlying causal mechanism. We label this criterion Overriding Suspicion or OS.

[comment: I pointed out somewhere that Geoertzel’s study found that conspiratorial beliefs were most prevalent among the young, blacks, and Hispanics, not in Lew’s target group of old white men. He had to go. I pointed out too that the word “paranoid” attached to a concept attached to named individuals was defamatory, so out it goes too. The word “nihilistic” was borrowed from a throwaway remark by Keeley in his philosophical musings on the meaning of conspiracy and just tagged on to “skepticism”. It’s science aping the worst sort of theology. Anything goes as long as there’s a source in scripture. Jesus wept. (John 11:35)]

4)

RC1: “’… the specifics of a conspiracy theory do not matter as much as the fact that it is a conspiracy theory at all’ (Wood et al., 2012, p. 771). Thus, the specific claims and assumptions being invoked by conspiracist ideation may well be fluctuating, but they are all revolving around the fixed belief that the official version is wrong. In consequence, it may not even matter if hypotheses are mutually contradictory, and the simultaneous belief in mutually exclusive theories – e.g., that Princess Diana was murdered but also faked her own death – has been identified as an aspect of conspiracist ideation (Wood et al., 2012). We label this criterion MbW, for “must be wrong.”

becomes:

RC2: “the specifics of a conspiracy theory do not matter as much as the fact that it is a conspiracy theory at all” (Wood et al., 2012, p. 5). We label this criterion Must be Wrong (MbW).

[comment: Steve McIntyre found, after intimidating and bullying Wood’s university with an FOI request, that the Princess Diana anecdote was baed on a sample of zero.]

So two or three of the changes correspond to criticisms made by McIntyre and me, and no doubt by others. Will our help be acknowledged in the supplemental material I wonder? Or did Lewandowsky come round to our point of view off his own bat?

Appendix: “Conspiracist Classification Criteria” section from “Recurrent Fury”

To process the corpus and to test for the presence of conspiracist discursive elements, we derived six criteria from the existing literature (see Table 3). Our criteria were exclusively psychological and hence did not hinge on the validity of the various hypotheses. This approach follows philosophical precedents that have examined the epistemology of conspiratorial theorizing irrespective of its truth value (e.g., Keeley, 1999; Sunstein & Vermeule, 2009). The approach also avoids the need to discuss or rebut the substance of any of the hypotheses.

The first criterion is that the presumed motivations behind any assumed conspiracy are invariably nefarious or at least questionable (Keeley, 1999): Conspiracist discourse never involves groups of people whose intent is to do good, as for example when planning a surprise birthday party. Instead, conspiracist discourse relies on the presumed deceptive intentions of the people or institutions responsible for the “official” account that is being questioned (Wood, Douglas, & Sutton, 2012). This criterion applies, for instance, when climate science and research on the harmful effects of DDT are interpreted as a globalist and environmentalist agenda designed to impoverish the West and push civilisation back into the stone age (Delingpole, 2011). When presenting the results, we refer to this criterion as Questionable Motives, or QM for short (see Table 3).

A corollary of the first criterion is that the person engaging in conspiracist discourse perceives and presents her- or himself as the victim of organized persecution. At least tacitly, people who hold conspiratorial views also perceive themselves as brave antagonists of the nefarious intentions of the conspiracy; that is, they are victims but also potential heros. The theme of the victimization and potential heroism features prominently in science denial, for example when isolated scientists who oppose the scientific consensus that HIV causes AIDS are presented as persecuted heros and are likened to Galileo (Kalichman, 2009; Wagner-Egger et al., 2011). We refer to this criterion as Persecution-Victimization or PV for short.

Third, conspiracist ideation is characterized by “(…) an almost nihilistic degree of skepticism” (Keeley, 1999, p. 125) towards the “official” account. This extreme degree of suspicion prevents belief in anything that does not fit into the conspiracy theory. Thus, nothing is at it seems, and all evidence points to hidden agendas or some other underlying causal mechanism. We label this criterion Overriding Suspicion or OS.

Fourth, the overriding suspicion is often associated with the belief that nothing happens by accident (e.g., Barkun, 2003). Thus, small random events are woven into a conspiracy narrative and reinterpreted as evidence for the theory. For example, the conspiracy theory that blames the events of 9/11 on the Bush administration relies on evidence (e.g., intact windows at the Pentagon; Swami, Chamorro-Premuzic, & Furnham, 2010) that is equally consistent with randomness. We label this criterion Nothing is an Accident, or NoA for short.

Fifth, the underlying suspicion and lack of trust contribute to a cognitive pattern whereby specific hypotheses may be abandoned when they become unsustainable, but those corrections do not impinge on the overall abstraction that “something must be wrong” and the “official” account must be based on deception (Wood et al., 2012). In the case of LOG12, the “official” account is the paper’s conclusions that conspiracist ideation contributes to the rejection of science; and it is this conclusion that must be wrong according to this criterion. At that higher level of abstraction, it does not matter if any particular hypothesis is right or wrong or incoherent with earlier ones because “ (…) the specifics of a conspiracy theory do not matter as much as the fact that it is a conspiracy theory at all” (Wood et al., 2012, p. 5). We label this criterion Must be Wrong (MbW). Finally, contrary evidence is often interpreted as evidence for a conspiracy. This idea relies on the notion that, the stronger the evidence against a conspiracy, the more the conspirators must want people to believe their version of events (Bale, 2007; Keeley, 1999; Sunstein & Vermeule, 2009). This self-sealing reasoning may widen the circle of presumed conspirators because any contrary evidence merely identifies a growing number of people or institutions that are part of the conspiracy.

Concerning the rejection of climate science, a case in point is the response to events surrounding the illegal hacking of personal emails of climate scientists, mainly at the University of East Anglia, in 2009. Selected content of those emails was used to support the theory that climate scientists conspired to conceal evidence against climate change or manipulated the data (see, e.g., Montford, 2010; Sussman, 2010). After the scientists in question were exonerated by nine investigations in two countries, including various parliamentary and government committees in the U.S. and U.K., those exonerations were re-branded as a whitewash (see, e.g., U.S. Representative Rohrabacher’s speech in Congress on 8 December 2011), thereby broadening the presumed involvement of people and institutions in the alleged conspiracy. We refer to this criterion as Self-Sealing, or SS for short.

Posted in Stephan Lewandowsky | 2 Comments

Googling Lew: Repulsive Ferret Revisited

Lewandowsky’s claim to have anonymised the material in “Recurrent Fury” so as to render blogs and blog commenters unidentifiable is entirely false, as I discovered in five minutes on Google.
I’ve already quoted this paragraph from the article Lewandowsky wrote to announce the publication of “Recurrent Fury”:
http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/rf2015.html
“All content is anonymized and all quotations have been extensively paraphrased to prevent identification of authors. Similarly, the corpus of text underlying the analysis is no longer publically [sic] available. These step [sic] was undertaken to guard against intimidation of the journal…”
This paragraph is odd for a number of reasons. This must be the first time in the history of social research that the author has:
1) Admitted to deliberately altering his data
2) Deliberately hidden the source by suppressing names of websites and people quoted.
3) Boasted that the data isn’t available.

The other oddity is the reason given for doing so:
4) Frontiers gave as their reason for retracting the paper that: “the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics.” Yet Lewandowsky gives a completely different reason for anonymising the data: i.e., “…to guard against intimidation of the journal…” and this despite the fact that the journal which retracted the original “Recursive Fury” paper stated that: “Frontiers did not ‘cave in to threats’; in fact, Frontiers received no threats.”

So the evidence for Lewandowsky’s thesis (whatever that is) now consists of a few extremely truncated extracts from quotations which have been “extensively paraphrased” from anonymous commenters at unidentified blogs.

(Someday someone is going to have to gently interrogate the Journal of Social and Political Psychology on the advisability of publishing research whose data has been doctored in order to protect the journal itself from intimidation. It might be justifiable in an article quoting people who’d infiltrated Islamic State or something. But in the psychology of climate scepticism…?)

In the meantime; I did a simple test to see if Lewandowsky had succeeded in his self-appointed task of protecting the weak and defenceless (science and its journals) against the mighty forces of the anonymised bullies, threateners and intimidators.

I had a look at the first five references to the data, (which Lewandowsky identifies by numbers in square brackets preceded by the letters DC) to see how anonymised it was.

First Reference. The first direct quote from the data (p150) is contained here:
“the concern was expressed that the LOG12 survey was (a) designed to link ‘skeptics’ with ‘conspiracy nutters’…” [DC3]

I typed into Google “conspiracy nutters” plus “September 2012”. The first hit was to an irrelevant article from 2007; the second to the PDF of the supplemental material to the “Recursive Fury” article, (which is as far as we know identical to the supplemental material to Recurrent Fury, but with sources of quotes named); and the third to the article at joannenova.com which is the source of the quote.

So at the first try I’d obtained all the data I need to demonstrate that “Recurrent Fury” is just “Recursive Fury” with some added interviews with undergrads. I’ve got all I need to harass, bully and intimidate JSPP into retracting Recurrent Fury. But in the interest of science I carried on.

The Second, Third and Fourth References to the data all quote the same data point, or quote, namely [DC79].

The Second Reference to the data quoted just three words “almost certainly” and “skeptics”. [DC79] so I left it alone.

The Third Reference quotes just two words “impression” and skeptics”. Lewandowsky’s analysis of this reference ends with: “…this was taken to imply that up to three quarters of those replies were ‘fake’ [DC79].”
Putting “responses were fake” + “September 2012” into Google turned up
1) https://climateandstuff.wordpress.com/2012/09/
which is a site which quotes and ridicules climate sceptics. Watts, McIntyre and JoanneNova are all mentioned, and McIntyre is quoted as saying: “around 20% identified themselves as “skeptic”, but some of these responses were fraudulent. The actual number of respondents appears to be much less than that. My guess is that over half of the “skeptic” responses were fake.”
2) “Recurrent Fury”
3) http://www.climateaudit.info/correspondence/lewandowsky/complaint%20uwa%20-%20material%20falsehood%20final.pdf
which is Steve McIntyre’s letter of complaint to UWA, reproduced from his website.‎
4) http://www.climateaudit.info/correspondence/lewandowsky/complaint%20defamation%20to%20frontiers.pdf
which is Steve McIntyre’s letter of complaint to Frontiers in Psychology, also reproduced from his website.‎

Discussion of the Fifth Reference [DC78] said:
“On 23 September it was reported that a further 48 participants had been identified who registered zealous support for free market ideology.”
Putting “a further 48 participants identified support for free market ideology” + “September 2012” into Google produced: first hit “Recurrent Fury”, second hit “Recursive Fury”, and third and fourth hits two other articles by Lewandowsky. He really has cornered the market in a certain kind of research.

So Lewandowsky’s claim to have anonymised the material in such a way as to “..guard against intimidation of the journal” is a monstrous failure, which doesn’t matter of course, since the supposed intimidation, or bullying, or harassment, of journals is nothing but a paranoid fantasy of Lewandowsky’s.

Likewise, the need to anonymise the material was another of Lew’s lies, since those of us defamed in “Recursive Fury” have been shouting from the rooftops about it. We’re not threatening journals or trying to suppress science. We’re trying to stop this vindictive charlatan from soiling the name of science and dragging those who have associated themselves with him (Bristol University, the University of Western Australia, the Royal Society, the Wellcome Foundation) down into the gutter with him.

Of course, it’s possible that Bristol University, the University of Western Australia, the Royal Society, and the Wellcome Foundation are quite happy where they are with Lewandowsky. But that’s another story.

Posted in Stephan Lewandowsky | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Mister <1%: Lew Screws Up Again

I’m browsing through the new Lewandowsky paper, and after just three pages have found some interesting anomalies. He says in his blog article at http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/rf2015.html

“… the corpus of text underlying the analysis is no longer publically [sic] available. These step was [I’m going to be sic again] undertaken to guard against intimidation of the journal…”

But in the “Recurrent” paper (p147) he says: “Credentialed scholars can obtain further information about the corpus by contacting the first author.”

At his blog he says: “Recurrent Fury reports an anonymized and greatly extended set of studies that builds on Recursive Fury. Specifically, Study 1 is an improved version of the study reported in Recursive Fury”.

“Greatly extended” might be a reference to the daft conspiracist identity parades known as Study Two and Study Three, but “improved version” suggests that some new analysis has been done. Yet in the article (p147) he says: “Items [i.e. of mentions of recursive theories] in the corpus of 172 recorded instances are referred to… below.”

Now the Supplemental Material to “Recursive” contained precisely 172 quotes, which is odd, given that the new study is an “improved” and “greatly extended” version of the old one.

There’s a change at Table 3. The list of first mentions of each theory has gone, together with the names of those accused ((almost always falsely) of being the first to put forward the theory.

If you’re not a credentialed scholar and a gentleman, you can still discover the names of the bullies and intimidators suffering from feelings of persecution by comparing Table 3 in “Recurrent” with Table 3 in “Recursive”, which is still available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3600613/

Or alternatively, read Lewandowsky’s blog article, which links to the Redfearn article which names me and Steve McIntyre as complainants and mentions “blogs managed by Anthony Watts and Australian Joanne Nova”, thus neatly getting back in the public sphere precisely the four names that were removed from the text of “Recursive” in its reworked “anonymised” version. Jackpot. Only the mysterious ROM has had his anonymity preserved in the new paper.

And there’s a new column, of “total number of mentions in the corpus” for each theory. This number varies from two to 37, with only two conspiracy theories scoring more than five mentions. And the grand total of mentions of conspiracy theories “in the corpus” now stands at 62.

The incomplete list of blogs which I put up at https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/lewandowsky-timeline/ has a total of 4,613 comments in the relevant time period. The relevant blog articles by authors Lewandowsky, Cook and Marriott in the same period have a total of 2,666 comments. That’s 7,279 comments in all, of which rather less than one percent were conspiratorial. By an amazing coincidence, that’s precisely the proportion of the sample of the LOG12 survey who believed the Moon Hoax conspiracy which gave Lew the catchy title to the epic paper which set off this whole ghastly saga.

Update 18th July 2015

The UWA website which linked to the “Recursive Fury” paper since its retraction in March last year

http://www.psychology.uwa.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/2523540/LskyetalRecursiveFury4UWA.pdf

now links to the new paper and says this:

In July 2015, an article was published that reported the material from the original “Recursive Fury” together with two further studies that extended and confirmed the original findings…”

So the data for “Recurrent” is the same as the data for “Recursive”, only anonymised and altered to render it unrecognisable to a search engine.

Posted in Stephan Lewandowsky | Tagged , | 3 Comments

New Triple-Thickness Lew Paper

Lewandowsky has a new paper out with co-authors Cook and Marriott, called “Recurrent Fury: Conspiratorial Discourse in the Blogosphere Triggered by Research on the Role of Conspiracist Ideation in Climate Denial”. You can read it at

http://jspp.psychopen.eu/article/view/443
Lew has a blog article about it at
http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/rf2015.html
and some FAQs on the same blog at
http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/Recurrent-Fury-Frequently-Asked-Questions.html
It’s simply “Recursive Fury” with the names left out, and the quotes (which were already frequently mangled, truncated, censored and misattributed) now reworded to make identification difficult using a search engine. To this Lew has added two “behavioral studies involving naive participants”. In other words, he showed some poor unsuspecting students some quotes which Cook and Marriott had identified as being conspiratorial (because they had the word “conspiracy” in them, or something) and some other quotes which Cook and Marriott didn’t think were conspiratorial, and, would you believe it, the students agreed with them!

Lew has falsely claimed in the past that the sole objection to “Recursive Fury” was that the subjects were identifiable. By hiding the names of the commenters and the blogs they were commenting on, and rewording the quotes to make them untraceable, he can triumphantly announce that his “new” paper demonstrates that some people once said something somewhere on the internet which some other people thought sounded conspiratorial. Or he would be able to, except that whereas the data for parts two and three of the study have been, or will be, made available, the data for part one, which is simply the data for “Recursive Fury”, won’t. So all we have is the false, defamatory Recursive Fury paper with the evidence for its falsity and the names of the people defamed left out.

But at least it no longer names his subjects, so it can be published without danger of threats, harassment, or bullying. Except that he then rather spoils the effect in his blog article by giving a detailed account of the story of the retraction of Recursive Fury, and linking to an article by Graham Redfearn at
http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/03/20/science-journal-retracts-paper-showing-how-climate-change-sceptics-were-conspiracy-theorists-after-sceptics-shout
which mentions Steve McIntyre as one of the writers of a letter of complaint to UWA; links to my blog article in which I reproduce my letter of complaint to Frontiers; and also manages to mention Anthony Watts and JoNova as well. So, lew and behold, the names of the four people defamed in table 3 of “Recursive Fury” and so carefully expunged by Lewandowsky from “Recurrent Fury” are back in circulation, named and shamed all over again.

Lew also links to the site at the University of Western Australia that used to harbour “Recursive Fury” after it was retracted for ethical reasons, but which now links to the new Lew paper, with added blind-tested strength.
So if you’re not one of the lucky 65,000 to have seen “Recursive” at Frontiers in Psychology, or one of the 13,000 to have downloaded it from the site of the University of Western Australia, at least you can have a good guess from Lew’s accompanying blog post at the names of the people identified in it as paranoid mental defectives.
Hey ho. Now I’ll have to dust off my complaint letter to Frontiers, add a couple of paragraphs, and send it to Journal of Social and Political Psychology. It’s no fun living with a persecution complex.

Posted in Stephan Lewandowsky | 1 Comment