Lew’s Talk costs Libels

[Update 2 April 2014: to those linking here from


McKewon’s article is full of inaccuracies, which will be addressed soon]

This is the letter which I’ve posted at




and emailed to


This is the letter I’ve been trying to post at


To the editors, Frontiers in Personality Science:

In table 3 of this paper, I am mentioned by name and identified as having been the first to have mentioned in public Recursive Conspiracist Hypothesis number 4 – namely that Sceptic blogs were only contacted after a delay. This hypothesis is quite true, as Professor Lewandowsky has admitted. Nonetheless, the fact of having been the first to make this accusation leads to me being accused of exhibiting the following symptoms of conspiracist ideation: nefarious intent, nihilistic skepticism,  “must be wrong”; “no accident”, and unreflexive counterfactual thinking.

From the definitions of these criteria given in the paper I extract the following:

Nefarious Intent: “… A corollary of the first criterion is the pervasive self-perception and self-presentation among conspiracy theorists as the victims of organized persecution. The theorist typically considers herself, at least tacitly, to be the brave antagonist of the nefarious intentions of the conspiracy; that is, the victim is also a potential hero.”

Nihilistic Skepticism: “The conspiracy theorist refuses to believe 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 meaning that only the conspiracy theorist is aware of.”

“Must be Wrong”“The underlying lack of trust and exaggerated suspicion 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.”

“No Accident”: “To the conspiracy theorist, nothing happens by accident … Thus, small random events are woven into a conspiracy narrative and reinterpreted as indisputable evidence for the theory.”

Unreflexive Counterfactual Thinking: “Contrary evidence is often interpreted as evidence for a conspiracy […] the stronger the evidence against a conspiracy, the more the conspirators must want people to believe their version of events.”

These definitions clearly identify me as being irrational and paranoid, and are therefore defamatory. I therefore request that you withdraw this paper.

I note further that, in the section on hypothesis (4) (“Skeptic” blogs contacted after delay) in which I am named, only one piece of evidence is produced, and that is a quote from Lucia Liljegren. If you don’t withdraw the paper, you might at least correct it and replace my name with that of Ms Liljegren.

However, that won’t absolve the authors of having defamed me. If we turn to hypothesis (3) “Presentation of intermediate data”, we see that the person accused of having been the first to pronounce it is Steve McIntyre. Despite the fact that this hypothesis also turned out to be true, it leads him to being accused of exhibiting the same irrational and paranoid tendencies as me, (except for “No Accident”).

The link provided


leads to a comment by Dr McIntyre (comment 8) on an article by Professor Lewandowsky. However, Dr McIntyre’s comment is not about the presentation of intermediate data, but about four entirely different subjects. The reference to the presentation of intermediate data is in two previous comments by me to the same article (comments 3 and 6). In Comment 5, a commenter notes that I had already made the same point in a comment at SkepticalScience, a blog run by second author John Cook, which for some reason was not included among the blogs analysed, despite being one of the “Principal web sites involved in blogosphere’s response to the publication of LOG12” (title of table 2).

One reason for not considering SkepticalScience, despite the fact that this blog is widely regarded as one of the leading blogs commenting on climate scepticism, can perhaps be found in the paper, where, under the heading of “Potential Limitations”, it is explained why the content analysis of blogs was entrusted to authors Cook and Marriott:

“Two of the present authors also contributed to LOG12, and the present analysis may therefore be biased by a potential conflict of interest. This possibility cannot be ruled out […].  [B]ecause data collection (via internet search) was conducted by two authors who were not involved in analysis or report of LOG12, the resulting “raw” data – available in the online supplementary material – cannot reflect a conflict of interest involving the LOG12 authors.”

It might have been wise to indicate that:

1) the two authors whose data collection “cannot reflect a conflict of interest” both run blogs which concentrate on countering the views of sceptics (SkepticalScience and WatchingtheDeniers)

2) John Cook of SkepticalScience is coauthor with first author Stephan Lewandowsky of ‘”The Debunking Handbook”;


3)SkepticalScience was the scene of some of the most lively debates about(LOG12) and of at least one of the first occurrences of a conspiracist hypothesis.

I therefore suggest that, in the interest of accuracy, the authors replace the name of Dr McIntyre with mine, (since I do believe that my comment at Skeptical Science was the first to raise this hypothesis, the truth of which has been confirmed by Professor Lewandowsky) and my name with that of Lucia Liljegren.

I haven’t looked at the attributions of earliest mention to the other hypotheses mentioned in table 3. However, I noticed that a quote attributed to me is false, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there are other errors.

Finally,  I would like to point out that by the time Cook and Marriott began their content analysis (August 28), the paper (LOG12) had already been the subject of numerous comments on blogs for at least five weeks, beginning with


19 July 2012 (400+ comments)


29 July 2012 (1300+ comments)


30 July 2012 (70 comments)



30 July 2012


(August 2 2012)

The claim to have identified the earliest occurrences of the conspiracist ideation starting on 28 August is therefore moot.

I therefore respectfully suggest that the wisest course might be to withdraw this paper.

About Geoff Chambers

Retired illustrator (children's magazines, religious education textbooks, an Encyclopaedia of Christianity, gay contact and female fitness magazines, pornographic strip cartoons etc.) Retired lecturer in English and History of Art in a French University; ardent blogger on climate hysteria, banned five times from the Guardian and twice from the Conversation. Now blogging at Cliscep.com
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14 Responses to Lew’s Talk costs Libels

  1. j ferguson says:

    Geoff, is that Lucia Liljegren?

  2. manicbeancounter says:

    The comment

    2) John Cook of Skeptical Science is coauthor with first author Stephan Lewandowsky of “Debunking Skepticism”;

    needs to be amended to

    2) John Cook of Skeptical Science is coauthor with first author Stephan Lewandowsky of “The Debunking Handbook”;


    The first paragraph sets a wider context in which both LOG12 and “Recursive Fury” papers could be viewed.

    It’s self-evident that democratic societies should base their decisions on accurate information. On many issues, however, misinformation can become entrenched in parts of the community, particularly when vested interests are involved. Reducing the influence of misinformation is a difficult and complex challenge.

  3. Thanks jferguson and manic. Fixed.

  4. Dodgy Geezer says:

    Good luck with that.

    The fact that you are complaining about this clearly shows what an awful denier you are, and, by implication, how true the AGW hypothesis is.

    Your attitudes are clearly imperiling millions of people in the UK who are even now suffering the extreme heating which will bring our civilisation to its knees if we do not tax all forms of power generation to the hilt. Snow will become a distant folk memory as we bake under a suffocating heatwave. And you are denying all this….


  5. Pingback: Second Lewandowsky conspiracy theory paper delinked from journal | Watts Up With That?

  6. Harold says:

    FWIW, you got the titles backward. It’s Dr. Liljegren and Mr. McIntyre.

  7. hunter says:

    The childish bully game of Lew & pals is priceless. Since his work and academic standing is defended still by many academics, the logical question is “how much garbage dressed up as academic work is really out there? Since the number of academic papers being withdrawn seems to be increasing in frequency, I believe that we will find out eventually that the most surprising thing about Lew & pals is not how they got this far, but rather how typical they are in the industry of academia.

  8. Hugh K says:

    Gleicked – A result brought about by the use of deceit, trickery, or breach of confidence, perpetrated typically by individual(s) engaged in alarmism for personal profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage. Use in a sentence – ‘Frontiers in Personality Science has been gleicked.’

  9. Pingback: Science Journal Set To Retract Paper Linking Climate Change Scepticism To Conspiracy Theorists After Sceptics Shout Libel | DeSmogBlog | Enjeux énergies

  10. Pingback: Lewandowsky: My Part in his Downfall | Geoffchambers's Blog

  11. Pingback: Reviewer: Journal Wilts Under Climate of Intimidation

  12. Pingback: Foxgoose, McIntyre & Me v. Nuccitelli (and the Cook that spoils the broth) | Geoffchambers's Blog

  13. Pingback: Letter to Oxford University Press | Climate Scepticism

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