There are many kinds of psychologist. Many, possibly most, of the academic kind, who do surveys or investigate human behaviour in the laboratory, have little time for psychoanalysts, who were the subject of my previous post . Academic psychologists consider psychoanalysis to be at best, unscientific, and at worst, embarrassing charlatanism.
Stephan Lewandowsky is one of the academic kind. He is also a liar, a fool, a charlatan and a fraud.
His latest scientific paper has been widely discussed, at
I’ve had a comment snipped at the latter site, presumably because it was considered libellous. I said:
“I agree with John Cook. You really should read the paper. You’ll learn a lot, Particularly from what is missing from the paper. You see, John and Stephan really are conspirators. They conspired together to put fake “denialist” comments on blogs. John says so in the private emails which were made public last March. John expresses several times his admiration for Stephan and the pleasure he takes in “poking the ants nest”. This was revealed in comments on the very blogs which are used as evidence in this latest paper. And they conspired to use the list of visitors to Skeptical Science to test out some of Stephan’s hypotheses. This is presumably the reason that the survey which is the basis for LOG12 was never advertised at Skeptical Science, despite the repeated assertions of the authors of this paper to the contrary.”
John Cook replied:
“Geoff, it’s a shame that Simon snipped your conspiracy theories from your comment (fortunately I was emailed a copy having subscribed to this comment thread so your efforts were not wasted). Have you posted your theories on your own blog? Can you provide URLs?”
to which the editor added:
[If Geoff has provided a link, it will be via his name in the comment. Continue this elsewhere please – Ed]
I wrote the following comment, which is now in moderation:
“I understand your reasons for snipping my comments. Evidence for my snipped assertions are in my comments at
at (Jul 30, 2012 at 3:42 PM) and (Jul 30, 2012 at 5:09 PM)
and with a little more detail at
at (August 3, 2012 at 10:33 am)
John Cook has publicly accepted that the document from which the quotes attributed to him are taken is genuine.”
Here are the quotes from John Cook on which I base my accusation of conspiracy. They come from the private internal mails at SkepticalScience between blog authors. (dates are US style)
“2010–10-3 “…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.”
2010–10-1 “…I must be spending too much time conversing with Steve Lewandowsky (cognitive scientist)…”
2010–10-8 ” …a while ago, I added a bias field to the user database and a bit of code so as comments came in, I could specify whether the user was skeptics or warmest/proAGW/mainstream (still haven’t found a satisfactory term for our side). I only assign bias if its obvious from the comment. I haven’t done anything with that data yet, I’m not even sure why I’m doing it other than my obsessive compulsion to collect data. The other day, Steve Lewandowsky (cognitive scientist) asked if I had any numbers on the ratio of skeptics to warmists so I dove into the database and counted up around 100 assigned skeptics and around 400 assigned warmists.”
2010–10-6 ” I’ve been having some intriguing conversations with Steve Lewandowsky who’s throwing cognitive experiment ideas at me to see what’s technically possible. Having a significantly sized group of people classified as skeptic or proAGW makes all sorts of interesting experiments possible.”
2010-11-25 “First up, I met with Steve Lewandowsky and some other cognitive scientists who are interested in the phenomenon of science blogging and how it’s being used to educate and communicate science. In particular, they wanted to test the impact of blog comments on how people processed information. Did a blog post with all negative comments have a different impact on how people retain information compared to a blog post with all positive comments So we sat down and designed an experiment to run on SkS to see if this has a discernible effect on blogs…”
2011–6-2 “What’s interesting is Steve Lewandowsky has done some research showing there is a high correlation between conspiracy theorists and climate deniers. This is a theme that could be explored further.”
2011-7-30 “…thanks for bringing up that research by Eckar (coauthored by Steve Lewandowsky who I’m doing the current SkS science blog experiment with).”
2011-10-3 “…One of those psychology boffins, Steve Lewandowsky, has been working me pretty hard. We’re writing a review paper on misinformation and there’s that experiment on the skeptic + warmist blog posts with comments. Both Steve and I were concerned about the skeptic post potentially turning participants into skeptics so Steve suggested I write a debrief that debunks my own post to give to participants after they do the experiment. Then Steve had the inspired idea last week to make the debriefing itself an experiment in measuring the effect of debunking people who receive skeptic information. So all that is keeping me pretty busy at the moment!”
2012-02-08 “FYI, part of the research I’m doing at UQ now is simulating science denial, in an effort to understand it and hence find a way to minimise it. I’m doing it using Bayes nets… I couldn’t help speculating whether my science denial bayes nets might one day be potentially developed into a denier bot. Perhaps test drive it on the denialosphere as part of a denier Turing Test🙂
Or even more interesting (although I might struggle to get ethics approval), let loose our denier bot on warmist blogs, let it respond to the science based arguments with denial and see what happens. I must be hanging around Steve Lewandowsky too much, he loves poking ants nests with a stick because that idea is very appealing to me.
And I know what you’re thinking – I won’t let loose a denier bot on the SkS comment threads without warning you all first :-)”
2012-03-07 “Just thought of a possible new climate myth…
‘global warming is caused by continental drift’
It’s no dumber than some of the other myths floating around on the internet. Hmm, would be an interesting experiment if we worked this up into a technobabble, pseudo-credible explanation then tried to disseminate it through the denialosphere, tracking how quickly it spreads. Evil but interesting!
Man, I’ve been spending too much time with Steve Lewandowsky, I see everything now as a potential social experiment.”
Note that many of these were published without censorship at Adam Corner’s pro-warmist consensus site “talkingclimate”, but snipped at Australian Climate Madness.
I’ve just noticed something interesting. In the new paper, Lewandowsky and Cook defend themselves against the possible charge of bias (no!) by explaining that the choice of blog comments to analyse was not made by them (authors of the original paper) but by their fellow authors, (one of whom, Michael Hubble-Marriott, is the “Mike” who is responsible for the Watching the Deniers site. So that’s alright then). Relevant blogs were chosen by googling “Stephan Lewandowsky”. Note that John Cook in the quotes above calls him “Steve”, so they won’t turn up in any search.
[My main purpose in writing this quick post was to provide information to anyone linking from Australian Climate Madness. I’d just add quickly that in a comment at WUWT, and possibly elsewhere, I made a silly mistaken interpretation of the paper’s reference to me in table 3. I’ll correct this ASAP.]
– In a comment at WUWT I said that the paper accused me of “nefarious intent”. I’d got so carried away with the idea of being accused of being part of a conspiracy with Anthony Watts, Steve MacIntyre and Joanne Nova that I got it the wrong way round. I was being accused of accusing the authors of LOG12 of nefarious intent. I was also accused of “Nihilistic Skepticism”, “Must be Wrongism”, “No accidentism”, and “Unreflexive Counterfactual Thinking.”
– In a comment at the journal site frontiersin.org I said that manicbeancounter was the first to obtain the raw data to LOG12. In fact it was Katabasis. Manicbeancounter was the first, I think, to analyse the raw data.
Justifying my accusations against Lewandowsky will take some time and involve trawling through an awful lot of blog comments. Here are a couple of clarifications to be going on with, necessary for anyone who didn’t follow the story as it unfolded during September last year.
1) The initial paper, which is referred to in the second, metapaper as LOG12 is
“NASA faked the moon landing|Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science” which appeared as a “Prepublication” in September 2012, and still hasn’t been published. It’s available at
The second paper, “Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation” was made available a few days ago at
It was taken down today, probably because of the threat of libel action from Jeff Condon (“Jeff Id”). Following the authors’ technique, I propose combining the first syllables of the names of the two principle authors and calling it LEWCOrrhea2013 (“-rhea” = “flowing”, or “discharge) or LEWCO13 for short.
2) I’ve updated and expanded the original list of quotes from the SkepticalScience internal correspondence above to include some extracts which I didn’t quote on the original comment threads. In order to understand their significance, it’s necessary to bear in mind that the fieldwork for LOG12 was conducted in August and September 2010. LOG12 claims that SkepticalScience was one of the blogs which promoted the survey, and which furnished respondents. There is no record of the survey having been mentioned on the site or on the Google Wayback machine. After I was told by a moderator at SkepticalScience that Cook was too busy to reply to me, Cook instigated a private email exchange, in which he finally admitted that he couldn’t remember exactly what he’d done, but supposed that he’d effaced the post, which he claimed to have put up at the end of August, 2010.
Read the above extracts from private exchanges between SkepticalScience authors after the supposed posting of the invitation to participate in the survey, and ask yourselves how could Cook possibly be referring to Lewandowsky in these terms if he had indeed posted an invitation to participate?