Lew’d Cooked and Cornered

The Lewandowsky affair has taken off again with an article at

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/09/stephan-lewandowsky-and-john-cook-making-things-up/

by Brandon Shollenberger which establishes that the Lewandowsky et al 2013 article “Recursive Fury” misquotes Foxgoose, Nathan Kurz and me.

In comments Foxgoose, Barry Woods, and Joanna Nova express the intention to take this further, (I particularly recommend Foxgoose’s comment at March 11, 2013 at 2:45 am) and Steve McIntyre announces a forthcoming article.

This will certainly be an event. There’s a certain amount of discussion going on behind the scenes, but no agreement about how best to proceed. (Oh for some big oil money to organise us into a disciplined bunch of astroturfers!) The  link to the “Recursive Fury” article has been removed from the journal’s website at

http://www.frontiersin.org/personality_science_and_individual_differences/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00073/abstract

following Jeff Condon’s complaint, but not before the article had been downloaded 4,500 times, and it can still be downloaded by googling the title.

I’m working slowly through the references, trying to ascertain exactly what Jo Nova, Anthony Watts Steve McIntyre, ROM, and I are being accused of in figure 3 of the article. The specific accusations are addressed to us as first perpetrators of a number of conspiratorial ideas, but they presumably apply to anyone else who expressed the same ideas, and also to Delingpole and Montford, who are cited as examples in the text.. The six criteria for “conspiratorial ideation” are outlined in pages 10 and 11 of the paper. Despite a lot of pseudo-scientific guff, it seems to come down to paranoia, and I’m wondering whether that would count as libel.

Among the moves being considered, (or actively pursued – how would I know? I’m not a cat herder) are

– complaints to the journals concerned (Psychological Scence and Frontiers in Personality Science and Individual Differences)

– complaints to the University of Western Australia

– legal moves

Another thing I’m working on (and, independently, Barry Woods is too) is a timeline of who said and did what when. I’ve already made some errors of attribution, and for that I apologise.

I’m not sure what I can do to be useful, except explore the references in the article and work on a timeline. I’m particularly interested in establishing the input of those who escaped the notice of Lewandowsky et al, eg manicbeancounter, Katabasis, A Scott, and DGH. (I’m sure there are many more)

I’l put up a skeleton timeline soon. All contributions welcome. And all suggestions of how to proceed, or particular avenues to explore. Also legal advice on whether accusations of psychological defects are libellous.

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12 Responses to Lew’d Cooked and Cornered

  1. foxgoose says:

    Thanks for taking a lead in this Geoff – it’ll be very useful to have a central data resource on these corrupt pseudo-academics and their manifest psychological issues.

  2. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    It should be interesting to see what develops. If I can do anything, let me know.

    For what it’s worth, there’s not much prospect for a libel case for most people quoted in the paper. Because most people were not directly named in the paper, the impact on them is largely mitigated. The fact the paper has been quickly taken down mitigates it even further. All of that is on top of the fact the authors mostly used implication and suggestion (you’re not paranoid; you just look like you might be). Jeff Id’s case is the only one I can see having any prospect of being won.

    Of course, I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t know Australia libel law, so take that with a grain of salt. One thing worth looking into would be just who could be held liable. If it could be shown a journal or university had culpability due to negligence, that would definitely impact what decisions should be taken.

  3. omnologos says:

    Geoff – please contact me via email. I have an idea🙂

  4. foxgoose says:

    It’s interesting that, for whatever reason, Lewandowsky has left the two most recent posts by A Scott and myself up on his blog.

    http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/news.php?p=2&t=75&&n=188

    Previously, anything accusing him or his cronies of wrongdoing has been struck out promptly.

    Since Cook also has access as blog operator, I find this strange.

    I can feel my conspiracy ideation coming on again😉

  5. Foxgoose
    Trust your conspiracy ideation meter. It never lies.
    I wrote to John Cook last night pointing out that Steve McIntyre’s forthcoming post which he mentioned in comments at WUWT would certainly be making waves, and asking him if he’d be interested in any kind of dialogue of the kind I did with Adam Corner. He wrote back:
    “Steve McIntyre emailed me about his forthcoming post a number of weeks ago. He plans to publish another conspiracy theory involving myself and Stephan Lewandowsky. I’m looking forward to reading it and the responses of his readers who are very accommodating in taking his paranoid theories and dial them up another notch (as documented in our paper). Recursive Fury may demonstrate that perpetual motion is indeed possible.
    You have my assent to publish the above paragraph.”

    [Emphasis mine]

  6. omnologos says:

    When there are two people fabricating quotes and publishing them in their own nanems, it’s not an accusation of conspiracy, but of fraud.

    Conspirators by definition don’t do it in the open.

    OTOH Cook’s behaviour is consistent with him being dangerously on the edge of insanity, as every new piece of evidence against his belief is considered by him as evidence for it.

    The Keeley paper they are so fond of quoting described the Fabricating Duo perfectly.

  7. Maurizio
    Slightly embarassing, but what is your email?

  8. omnologos says:

    maurizio a-t morabito d-o-t name

  9. A. Scott says:

    Someone coined the term for what Lewandowsky is doing ‘Punitive Psychology’ … I have started using that as it accurately describes what Lewandowsky and crew are doing … using the guise of scholarly work – of science – to attack those they disagree with.

  10. foxgoose says:

    Cookie has clearly supped deep of the green Kool-aid I fear.
    Jonestown looms.

  11. manicbeancounter says:

    Hi Geoff,

    You say that I escaped the notice of Lewandowsky. On the contrary, I believe that he took a lot of notice of what I said, but tried to circumvent the issues raised. There are two issues for this belief, arising from my “Part 3” of 1st September.
    1) Lewandowsky demanded an apology from me on the issue of contacting skeptic blogs for the questionnaire.

    For example, one blogger considered it “highly suspect” whether I had contacted any “skeptic” sites.

    I was right in my suspicions. Lewandowsky had not personally contacted the skeptic sites. It had been a research assistant.
    2) On 17th Sept Lewandowsky and Oberauer posted “Drilling into Noise” where they made the following comment.

    Numerical skills alone are often insufficient to understand a data set—indeed, number-crunching ability that’s unaccompanied by informed judgment can often do more harm than good.
    This fact frequently becomes apparent in the climate arena, where the ability to use pivot tables in Excel or to do a simple linear regressions is often over-interpreted as deep statistical competence.

    Who else used pivot tables to the degree I did? My response was that pivot tables are not all there is to statistical analysis, but there are three areas where pivot tables are helpful. First is in exploring the data. Second in sense-checking the results of sophisticated modelling. Third is in communicating to the wider public. Given that I learnt some significant things from my pivot tables this is important. For instance
    – the two superscammers
    – the smaller minority of “sceptic” responses
    – the small minority of all responses who believed in the conspiracy theories

  12. Climate Daily says:

    Reblogged this on Climate Daily.

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