Update on Lew’s Itch

Hilary Ostrov at BH pointed out a comment by André van Delft at WUWT linking to a second article at Psychological Science commenting on the Lewandowsky article.


It contains many of the inexactitudes that we’ve got used to, plus some interesting material on two cases of harrassment of scientists that are not dealt with in Lewandowsky’s article (one wonders why). Then the author Scott Sleek says, among other things:

“The journal, and Lewandowsky’s university, stood behind the study. The critics were invited to submit a commentary for publication in Psychological Science, but never acted on that invitation.”

The second assertion is false. The only correspondence I have from Psychological Science is this acknowledgement from Editor in Chief Eric Eich last April:

“Dear Mr. Chambers

Your email to the Sage central office has been relayed to me, and in turn I have sent it to Dr. Lewandowsky and asked that he respond to your criticisms. I’ll write to you again once I receive his response, but please note that may be quite a while: my understanding is that Dr. Lewandowsky is in transit from Australia to England, and he will need time to settle into his new surroundings. 

Eric Eich”

Now Lewandowsky has found the time to write two scientific papers and numerous articles on the story. Did he respond to Professor Eich’s request? In which case where is Professor Eich’s response to me and other complainants? Or has he still not found time to reply? In which case, why is the journal standing behind him?

3 November Update on “Update”:

Here’s my reply to Professor Eich’s letter of 2 April:

Dear Professor Eich,

Professor Lewandowsky has clearly settled into his new surroundings, since he has found time to give numerous interviews and write numerous press articles, plus two new papers on the subject of climate sceptics, including this one at Psychological Science


I note also that in a second article


Psychological Science’s news editor states:

“The journal, and Lewandowsky’s university, stood behind the study. The critics were invited to submit a commentary for publication in Psychological Science” , but never acted on that invitation.”

I certainly received no such invitation. Did other critics? Is the invitation still open? Does the statement: “The journal … stood behind the study” mean that your inquiry has been completed?

 Has Lewandowsky replied to you about my criticisms? In particular, has he explained why his paper (LOG13) claimed to have obtained respondents to his survey from a post at the blog SkepticalScience, when this is clearly false, as is demonstrated by the email correspondence between Lewandowsky and Cook, the blogowner of SkepticalScience, obtained through a FOI request?

This is not a trivial affair. Without the participation of SkepticalScience in the survey, the supplemental material written by Cook claiming to have found a substantial proportion of sceptics among readers of SkepticalScience is shown to be fraudulent, and the involvement of Cook in the follow up paper “Recursive Fury” and his award of an associate professorship becomes inexplicable.

SkepticalScience is larger (in terms of traffic) than the blogs which did participate in the survey by magnitudes. Without its participation, it is inconceivable that the other blogs could have provided the claimed 1300+ responses. Only about thirty readers bothered to comment on the survey at the seven blogs where it was posted, some of them commenting that they wouldn’t, or couldn’t, participate in the survey. It is inconceivable that less than 3% of survey participants would comment about it. Commenting on a blog is easy and fun. Filling in a questionnaire is rather boring. (Blogging, and commenting on blogs, is largely a matter of self-aggrandissement, as I am sure you realise).  

It seems likely that a large proportion of the responses to the survey were simply made up, though by whom and why are questions that can only be examined if Lewandowsky releases all the supplemental information, including the vital information as to which blogs provided which responses. 

Excuse the length of this letter. A simple forwarding of Lewandowsky’s reply to you will suffice as a reply.


Geoff Chambers.

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21 Responses to Update on Lew’s Itch

  1. Foxgoose says:

    Comments are finally starting to appear under the Hokey & Lew atrocity.

    None from you or Barry or the usual suspects – but, gratifyingly, almost all hostile.

    I fear for their mental health now – thank God Lew is fully qualified to minister to them both.

  2. My comment is now up. I call Lewandowsky a liar, and his publisher lets it pass. Given that the publisher’s news editor has printed the same nonsense as Lew in a separate article, I’m not sure how to interpret this.
    And my two comments are up at
    At least, I can see them. Can anyone else?

  3. Foxgoose says:

    Can’t see any comments by you on either article right now Geoff.

    Have they been removed?

  4. No. They’re on my screen, but not on yours. It’s what they call: “continuing the conversation” or: “talk to your screen – dummy”. It’s the kind of cheap marketing trick prestigious peer reviewed journals indulge in, apparently.

  5. It’s what they call: “continuing controlling the conversation”

    There, fixed it for ya 🙂

    I don’t doubt this may sound like “conspiracy ideation” to the tender ears of some, but considering the abundant evidence of Lew’s Recursive Loops (LRLs), I would not be at all surprised if – some months from now – the Big Lewandowsky were to bestow on the annals of what was once a respectable field of study** a new, improved “recursive fury redux” (RFR) in which we shall find carefully selected fragments of “recursive fury – the original” (RFTO) which is currently in limbo.

    ** At least in my day, which was in the pre-post-modernist era – a time when women were women, men were men and scholars were actually … wait for it … scholars, not whinging self-aggrandizing schlock artists such as Mann and Lewandowsky.

  6. ooops … pls make that: … (RFTO) which is currently in limbo, along with a new crop of “evidence” drawn (and/or quartered) from comments that may (or may not!) have appeared in response to “the paper” and/or Sleek’s “revisionism”.

  7. Hilary
    I’m sure you’re right. Remember how Recursive got the results they wanted by choosing the blogs they wanted between the dates they wanted – and they still screwed up, attributing the wrong garbled quotes to the wrong deniers. Meanwhile, see my update above.

  8. TinyCO2 says:

    I didn’t expect any comments to appear until Monday but those comments that have turned up are an incomplete sequence. It may be that the longer posts or those harder to counter are on hold. Or maybe Lew’s keeping the best bits for his next paper. Doesn’t the guy have any legitimate work to do? It’s not like deconstructing posts from us lot would tell him much about how to counter CO2 inaction in the wider community unless he actually took what we write on board. Like that’s going to happen!

    So far, all he’s proved is that people acting like jerks induce annoyance in others and the comfort of numbers and the anonimity of the net allows people to express that exasperation. In terms of discovery he’s looking into the habits of bears in arboreal locations.

  9. Foxgoose says:

    Since the comments that have been allowed are mainly very critical of the article – it would appear that only comments from Loopy’s known enemies have been quarantined (or held for further use as Hilary suggests).

    That implies a rather unhealthy collusion between Loopy and APS who published the piece – reinforced by the felicitously named editor Steve Sleek’s supporting piece.

    Is science ever going to be able to crawl out of the pit of corruption these people have dragged it into?

  10. Anonymous says:

    November 3, 2013 at 6:19 am

    ‘No. They’re on my screen, but not on yours. It’s what they call: “continuing the conversation” or: “talk to your screen – dummy”. It’s the kind of cheap marketing trick prestigious peer reviewed journals indulge in, apparently.’

    This is the latest technique in the rapidly expanding academic field of ‘Ostricology’ – the science of avoiding debate.

  11. Geoff, your comment now really is up. In fact two comments at the ‘truth-tellers’ editorial, and one at the ‘subterranean war’, where you bluntly call him a liar.

  12. For the record I went along to the Professor’s talk in Bristol today. I’m not sure it was very interesting but I’ve got an MP3 of it anyway. I couldn’t follow the reasoning behind his assertions that more uncertainty (regarding future climate scenarios) means more of an obligation to act, there seemed to be one model-based reason after another so that in the end I wasn’t even quite sure what the word uncertainty meant anymore, but little asides here and there were… telling. Can email it if you really have self-harming tendencies.

  13. Ian Woolley
    “Can email it if you really have self-harming tendencies”.
    I do, I do.
    Please send the MP3. I may even transcribe it if I find the courage. (The last Lewandowsky interview I transcribed, his accent wandered from Bostonian to Oklahoman to Strine – I want to see if he’s added West Country (Bristo’) to his repertoire)
    I’ve just been back to Ben’s original article at
    The article and the comments really are extraordinarily good (and I don’t just mean my comments). It’s an object lesson in what happens when institutions (the universities) abrogate for themselves an authority they don’t merit. You get numbskulls like Lewandowsky claiming authority for their inanities – because they’ve got tenure.
    Ben’s article (and our comments) are a thousand times more perceptive than anything you’ll find at the Times HES or the London Review of Books, let alone the Conversation or Shapingtomorrowsworld. But who knows?
    How do we let people know that the Royal Society is dishing out medals to charlatans?

  14. Agree with all that. Ben Pile’s latest analysis (dying institutions with a loosening grip on political explanations of the world turning to alarmism in a desperate bid to retain some authority) is, again, brilliant. All the best brains are outpacing institutionalised knowledge production, if that’s a concept, on the internet.

    Here’s the lecture: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/22815239/LewandowskyTalk/lew.mp3

  15. Those like Geoff who suffer from Obsessive Lewandowsky Disorder may be interest in Shub’s latest blogpost

  16. Many thanks Ian and Paul
    And just to note that Judith Curry’s latest
    gives high praise to Ben’s latest
    and lays into Lewandowsky and Mann with gusto.
    Obsessive Lewandowsky Disorder is incurable, I’m afraid, as is obvious from the acronym.

  17. Mooloo says:

    Is science ever going to be able to crawl out of the pit of corruption these people have dragged it into?

    What Lewandowsky does is not, and never will be “science”. He certainly has science envy, and tries to use the tools that scientists use, but there’s no science behind it at all.

    Psychology is valid sphere of inquiry, but like much of the humanities, is infested with charlatans.

  18. Mooloo
    Just put up a comment of yours at “Monbiot’s Zombie Blog” that got stuck in moderation. Sorry about that.

  19. Mooloo says:

    Thanks Geoff,

    I knew it had got stuck, but it wasn’t worth worrying about.

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