Googling Lew: Repulsive Ferret Revisited

Lewandowsky’s claim to have anonymised the material in “Recurrent Fury” so as to render blogs and blog commenters unidentifiable is entirely false, as I discovered in five minutes on Google.
I’ve already quoted this paragraph from the article Lewandowsky wrote to announce the publication of “Recurrent Fury”:
“All content is anonymized and all quotations have been extensively paraphrased to prevent identification of authors. Similarly, the corpus of text underlying the analysis is no longer publically [sic] available. These step [sic] was undertaken to guard against intimidation of the journal…”
This paragraph is odd for a number of reasons. This must be the first time in the history of social research that the author has:
1) Admitted to deliberately altering his data
2) Deliberately hidden the source by suppressing names of websites and people quoted.
3) Boasted that the data isn’t available.

The other oddity is the reason given for doing so:
4) Frontiers gave as their reason for retracting the paper that: “the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics.” Yet Lewandowsky gives a completely different reason for anonymising the data: i.e., “…to guard against intimidation of the journal…” and this despite the fact that the journal which retracted the original “Recursive Fury” paper stated that: “Frontiers did not ‘cave in to threats’; in fact, Frontiers received no threats.”

So the evidence for Lewandowsky’s thesis (whatever that is) now consists of a few extremely truncated extracts from quotations which have been “extensively paraphrased” from anonymous commenters at unidentified blogs.

(Someday someone is going to have to gently interrogate the Journal of Social and Political Psychology on the advisability of publishing research whose data has been doctored in order to protect the journal itself from intimidation. It might be justifiable in an article quoting people who’d infiltrated Islamic State or something. But in the psychology of climate scepticism…?)

In the meantime; I did a simple test to see if Lewandowsky had succeeded in his self-appointed task of protecting the weak and defenceless (science and its journals) against the mighty forces of the anonymised bullies, threateners and intimidators.

I had a look at the first five references to the data, (which Lewandowsky identifies by numbers in square brackets preceded by the letters DC) to see how anonymised it was.

First Reference. The first direct quote from the data (p150) is contained here:
“the concern was expressed that the LOG12 survey was (a) designed to link ‘skeptics’ with ‘conspiracy nutters’…” [DC3]

I typed into Google “conspiracy nutters” plus “September 2012”. The first hit was to an irrelevant article from 2007; the second to the PDF of the supplemental material to the “Recursive Fury” article, (which is as far as we know identical to the supplemental material to Recurrent Fury, but with sources of quotes named); and the third to the article at which is the source of the quote.

So at the first try I’d obtained all the data I need to demonstrate that “Recurrent Fury” is just “Recursive Fury” with some added interviews with undergrads. I’ve got all I need to harass, bully and intimidate JSPP into retracting Recurrent Fury. But in the interest of science I carried on.

The Second, Third and Fourth References to the data all quote the same data point, or quote, namely [DC79].

The Second Reference to the data quoted just three words “almost certainly” and “skeptics”. [DC79] so I left it alone.

The Third Reference quotes just two words “impression” and skeptics”. Lewandowsky’s analysis of this reference ends with: “…this was taken to imply that up to three quarters of those replies were ‘fake’ [DC79].”
Putting “responses were fake” + “September 2012” into Google turned up
which is a site which quotes and ridicules climate sceptics. Watts, McIntyre and JoanneNova are all mentioned, and McIntyre is quoted as saying: “around 20% identified themselves as “skeptic”, but some of these responses were fraudulent. The actual number of respondents appears to be much less than that. My guess is that over half of the “skeptic” responses were fake.”
2) “Recurrent Fury”
which is Steve McIntyre’s letter of complaint to UWA, reproduced from his website.‎
which is Steve McIntyre’s letter of complaint to Frontiers in Psychology, also reproduced from his website.‎

Discussion of the Fifth Reference [DC78] said:
“On 23 September it was reported that a further 48 participants had been identified who registered zealous support for free market ideology.”
Putting “a further 48 participants identified support for free market ideology” + “September 2012” into Google produced: first hit “Recurrent Fury”, second hit “Recursive Fury”, and third and fourth hits two other articles by Lewandowsky. He really has cornered the market in a certain kind of research.

So Lewandowsky’s claim to have anonymised the material in such a way as to “..guard against intimidation of the journal” is a monstrous failure, which doesn’t matter of course, since the supposed intimidation, or bullying, or harassment, of journals is nothing but a paranoid fantasy of Lewandowsky’s.

Likewise, the need to anonymise the material was another of Lew’s lies, since those of us defamed in “Recursive Fury” have been shouting from the rooftops about it. We’re not threatening journals or trying to suppress science. We’re trying to stop this vindictive charlatan from soiling the name of science and dragging those who have associated themselves with him (Bristol University, the University of Western Australia, the Royal Society, the Wellcome Foundation) down into the gutter with him.

Of course, it’s possible that Bristol University, the University of Western Australia, the Royal Society, and the Wellcome Foundation are quite happy where they are with Lewandowsky. But that’s another story.

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
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5 Responses to Googling Lew: Repulsive Ferret Revisited

  1. diogenese2 says:

    Musing on these papers I wondered if , after the collapse of the Global Warming Narrative, future researchers would speculate on why these blatant stitch ups, with transparently obvious methodological flaws could possibly be accepted as valid works of social science. Who better than to conduct this analysis than Lewendowsky himself. This led me to the possibility that his papers are themselves part of an experiment to probe the limits of credulity amongst the motivated cognoscente, in which case they are great works of art. Therein is the answer , it is satire. The supreme objective of the satirist is to be taken seriously. If he pulls it off he will join that great pantheon; Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard, Lew’s great inspiration – William Reich, Paul R Erlich and the granddaddy of them all Samuel Hahnemann, whose whole great idea flowed from the side effects of quinine.

  2. For the second reference, googling
    “almost certainly scam skeptics”
    leads to Steve McIntyre’s post
    Anatomy of the Lewandowsky Scam
    which can then be checked using their statement that ‘scam’ appears 21 times.

  3. Pingback: Oxford University Press on Climate Conspiracy Theories | Climate Scepticism

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

  5. Pingback: Oxford University Press Lies and Lies Again | Climate Scepticism

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