“Recursive fury: conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation” (Lewandowsky et al, 2013) was pre-published at
on 05 Feb 2013. It was taken down following a complaint to the journal’s editor by Jeff Condon, who had been misquoted (for the second time) in the paper. In answer to a query from Paul Matthews – see his comments at
– the journal stated that the paper had been taken down “for typesetting”. It’s back up again, properly formatted, and with Jeff Condon’s quote corrected.
There’s a comment thread under the article. The first five comments are very supportive of Lewandowsky’s paper:
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (05 Feb 2013 at 11:15am) Great article! Provides a fascinating perspective on conspiracist ideation – no doubt this will infuriate the ‘irrational ones’ as in the original context! Intriguing to watch!
Michael Ashley (05 Feb 2013 at 11:16am) Lewandowsky et al have clearly hit a nerve that has infuriated the climate deniers. It is astonishing that the deniers have so little insight that they don’t realize that the best approach to refuting accusations of conspiracist ideation is NOT to imagine wilder and crazier conspiracies! Lewandowsky et al tell an extraordinary story, investigated with forensic attention to detail. One can’t help but wonder if a follow-up paper will be needed to analyze the reaction to this one, and so on. It would be amusing if it wasn’t so sad. When the histories are written of the climate denial lunacy that afflicts our time, this paper will be an excellent resource.
Michael Ashley (05 Feb 2013 at 11:25am) Interesting… the first two comments are positive ones and within a minute of each other… Coincidence? I sense a conspiracy! I’m sure that this will convince the climate deniers that Lewandowsky et al have instructed their friends to comment.
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (05 Feb 2013 at 11:49am) Must be! Just think … conspiring about conspiring about conspiring (the next paper should be entitled ‘conspiring cubed’). By the way, I was here first which means you must be the one seeking to conspire! But seriously, this is a very important contribution to understanding the irrationality of the denialist position.
Bob Beale (05 Feb 2013 at 12:29pm) I can’t wait to see the reaction to this one. Oh, hey, hang on: just read the comments above – I thought I was the only one the authors had instructed to get in early here and post a pre-emptive positive comment before the denialist trolls got here and cooked up another conspiracy. Then again, maybe the fact that they haven’t done so yet suggests that they are . . . no, it couldn’t be . .. . they wouldn’t!
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is Professor of Marine Science and the Director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.
Michael Ashley is Professor in the School of Physics at the University of New South Wales Sydney, Australia
Bob Beale is Public Affairs Manager in the Faculty of Science at the University of New South Wales Sydney, Australia
The comments that follow have been pre-empted by the comments above, which dismiss them before they are even made, as more conspiracy theorising.
Be clear what is going on here.
1) A professor of cognitive psychology pre-publishes a trashy paper based on a phony survey whose sole purpose is clearly to denigrate the opinions of a group of people who disagree with him, and sends it to a prominent environmental journalist, who gives it world-wide publicity.
2) A number of people publicly criticise the paper, which, eight months after its first “pre-publication” is still not published.
3) The professor and a number of colleagues write a second paper, prepublished on-line, which ridicules the individuals who have criticised the first paper, mentioning them by name. .
4) The authors of the second paper plot together with three of their colleagues (two professors and a university official) arranging for them to be the first to comment on the paper on the journal’s website. The comments ridicule anyone who might comment on the paper, pre-empting their criticisms by accusing them of conspiratorial thinking.
5) Several people comment, criticising the second paper and pointing out a number of inaccuracies. (One, which was the subject of representations to the publisher, was removed. The rest remain). But those who point out the errors in the second paper had already been ridiculed and dismissed as conspiracy theorists, by two professors and a university official before their criticisms appeared, thanks to a silly conspiracy dreamed up with the paper’s authors.
In comments elsewhere, A. Scott has pointed out that the list of supposed peer reviewers of this paper has been changed three times. Brandon Shollenberger has pointed out errors in the article (including a garbled quote from a comment of mine) in an article at WattsUpWithThat . Barry Woods, A.Scott, James Doogue and I have pointed out errors in the article in comments under the article itself. Six weeks later, these errors have not been corrected. Instead, we’re treated as mentally defective non-persons by a couple of giggling university professors.
As Professor Ashley says in his comment, “It would be amusing if it wasn’t so sad.”