Lew’s Gong: like … wow.

I’ve noted in comments on previous articles how Lewandowsky continues to hold his own in the media, from the New Yorker to the Daily Beast. Now there’s this from

http://bristol.ac.uk/news/2013/9330.html

“Two Bristol academics are among the 27 new Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award holders.

“Professors Stephan Lewandowsky, Chair in Cognitive Psychology in the School of Experimental Psychology, and Fred Manby, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry in the Centre for Computational Chemistry, have both been successful in securing this prestigious award from the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science.

“Jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the scheme aims to provide universities with additional support to enable them to attract science talent from overseas and retain respected UK scientists of outstanding achievement and potential.

“Professor Lewandowsky receives the award for his project entitled ‘The (mis)information revolution: information seeking and knowledge transmission’, which addresses how people navigate the blizzard of information with which we are faced on a daily basis, not all of which is accurate or truthful. The project emphasises how people update their memories and under what conditions they are able to discount information that turns out to be false. The project also examines how people interact with, and influence, each other to understand how information spreads through a society.”

*                  *                    *

And now for the good news. Possibly the first sensible look at the Moon Hoax paper from a mainstream source, written by a global warming believer, at:

http://slatestarcodex.com/2013/04/12/noisy-poll-results-and-reptilian-muslim-climatologists-from-mars/

In the course of a sensible and funny analysis of the perils of online polls, the author Scott Alexander says:

“I really wish polls like these would include a control question, something utterly implausible … like “Do you believe Barack Obama is a hippopotamus?” Whatever percent of people answer yes to the hippo question get subtracted out from the other questions…

“Alas, not all weird poll answers can be explained that easily. On the same poll, 13% of Americans claimed to believe Barack Obama was the Anti-Christ … (a friend on Facebook pointed out that 5% of Obama voters claimed to believe that Obama was the Anti-Christ […]. On the other hand, I do enjoy picturing someone standing in a voting booth, thinking to themselves ‘Well, on the one hand, Obama is the Anti-Christ. On the other, do I really want four years of Romney?’)

[…]

“The paper’s thesis was that climate change skeptics are motivated by conspiracy ideation – a belief that there are large groups of sinister people out to deceive them. This seems sort of reasonable on the face of it – being a climate change skeptic requires going against the belief of the entire scientific establishment. My guess is that there probably is a significant link here waiting to be discovered.

“Unfortunately, it’s…possible Stephan Lewandowsky wasn’t the best person to investigate this? Aside from being a professor of cognitive science, he also runs Shaping Tomorrow’s World, a group … which seems to be largely about promoting global warming activism. While I think it’s admirable that he is involved in that, it raises conflict of interest questions. And the way his paper is written – starting with the over-the-top title – doesn’t do him any favors…”

The author goes on to describe our discussions as the worst flame war I have ever seen on the Internet”, which I find strangely comforting.

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8 Responses to Lew’s Gong: like … wow.

  1. redc says:

    “The author” clearly hasn’t been around for long if they think that this is the worst flame war on the internet ever.

  2. Foxgoose says:

    It’s interesting that Lew doesn’t list his more ….errr…..creative works on his Bristol website.

    http://www.bristol.ac.uk/expsych/people/stephan-lewandowsky/overview.html

    I wonder if they really know anything about his megastar status in the Climate Mud Wrestling Olympics.

    I know that Bristle’s second-league UWE outfit have dabbled in “climate denial psychology” – but Bristol Uni has always been a bit more serious.

    Will he be able to continue his crusade against the evil forces of denialism – without all his little SkS Tree House groupies to cheer him on?

    Could be interesting.

  3. dearieme says:

    That’s all very well, but Lewandowsky’s four goals against Real Madrid were really pretty fine.

  4. que sais je says:

    Lew and others, as you referred to the “Boston marathon bombings” the other day, please consider also “drills” (respectively “full scale exercises” [actors, ambulances, law enforcement agencies, firefighters, judges, other officials…] = commonly there_are_no_real_victims/nobody_dies besides the trust of the populaces, who is not “in” into “their plans” (More control/taxes…, Patriot Act, NDAA, Video-/Online-Monitoring…)) and, just for example, 9/11, 7/7/London, “Norwegian Massacre”/Breivik, Aurora ‘Batman’ (Skull & Bones?), Sandy Hook Elementary School, Boston Marathon 2013…

    I’m with Ferdinando Imposimato who mentions in respect to the ‘international terrorism’ of the past the “Bilderberg Group” [link to my comment [[#666?]]], too.

    Confer also HR 4310, the 2013 National Defence Authorization Act. Section 1078 or CISPA.

    Some time ago I recited over at “Bishop’s place” some flaws and grave errors from two or three of Lew’s and Swami’s papers that caught my attention (I think my most detailed comment on Lew et al’s “disinformation campaign” was removed in such a way that nobody can see that there ever was a comment. Since then I even read there seldom.).

    til later

  5. For those who haven’t been following the Lewandowsky story obsessively, Jo Nova has an excellent article which spells out the significance of this.
    http://joannenova.com.au/2013/04/royal-society-calls-lewandowsky-outstanding-gives-him-money-loses-more-scientific-credibility/
    No doubt the Royal Society medal was awarded before the Moon Hoax paper first became publicly available nine months ago. I’d be surprised if Lewandowsky undertakes any active research into the psychology of people he doesn’t like while he’s at Bristol, but it’ll be interesting to see.
    Que sais je
    I’m sorry you had a comment removed at Bishop Hill; but I can understand why it happened. If we start allowing speculation on the truth of conspiracy theories here, two things will happen; the conspiracy theories will become the subject of the blog, and the likes of Lewandowsky will announce triumphantly that they’ve been vindicated.
    I’ve tried to make two points about this from time to time, in comments here and at Skeptical Science: that a correlation between belief in conspiracies and climate scepticism is not surprising, as the author of the Slate article quoted above points out; and that I may have doubts or questions about the official explanation of e.g. the Kennedy assassination which I might express in a number of ways in response to an online survey which offers me no more than the choice between agreeing/disagreeing with some badly worded statement. All I get at SkepticalScience when I tried to make these points is my comments being mangled and a response “Aha! So you are a conspiracist theorist!”
    It’s a waste of time.
    Foxgoose
    There’s an interesting little groupustule around Professor Paul Hoggett of the University of Western England called the Climate Psychology Alliance. Hoggett’s line is very much the Christian mote-and-beam doctrine – “Don’t blame the Deniers, becaus we’re all deniers deep down inside.” I imagine Lewandowsky would find them too wimpish for his taste – he’s more the Barabbas “up and at ‘em” school.

  6. que sais je says:

    Wow! WTH?!

    “‘Aha! So you are a conspiracist theorist!’ It’s a waste of time [see Geoff above].”

    Geoff, why do you say you understand why the Bish removed my comment? Apparently, you do think/believe I was ‘speculating’ (why do you use that derogatory word, Geoff?) “on the truth of conspiracy theories”, don’t you (I wrote there (and linked to another comment) that I still think one mustn’t call ‘it’ a conspiracy!)?

    Do you agree with Lewandowsky et al. respectively are you like Cass Sunstein of the opinion “that instead of rebutting single conspiracy theories, efforts should be made to rebut many at the same time” (see Lewandowsky et al., 2012, p.16)?

    [Sunstein also wrote for example (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories…]

  7. Pingback: Stephan Lewandowsky ‘flees’ Australia in wake of investigations | Watts Up With That?

  8. JunkPsychology says:

    Not being privy to the selection process, I don’t know exactly when Stephan Lewandowsky was selected for the Royal Society Wolfson Merit Research Award.

    But I very much doubt that Lewandowsky, Oberauer, and Gignac (2013) would in any way be considered a negative by the selection panel. Dreadful as this prospect may be, it could have been viewed as a positive.

    His work as a cognitive psychologist doesn’t appear to be strong enough to bring him such an award by itself. Lewandowsky’s research on working memory never made him a superstar of memory research. His contributions to other areas of cog psych are noticeably fewer and thinner.

    So I see no reason why, having moved to Bristol, Lewandowsky will do anything to scale down the CAGW propaganda.

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