Toodle, Lew

Guest post by Thomas Fuller

The medicalization of dissent is a delicate topic to bring up in conversations about climate change. If you use it about somebody you’re almost instantly associating them with really evil people who used the tactic to further Stalinism, Naziism, Maoism, etc.

But the tactic, which really is nothing more than a fancy term for calling your opponents crazy, exists. It is reprehensible. So when I accuse climate alarmists such as Chris Mooney, Kevin Prall, John Mashey and now Stephan Lewandowsky of using the tactic of medicalizing dissent, I am not trying to say they are Stalinists, Nazis or Maoists. That would be like calling people deniers… a thuggish tactic if ever I’ve seen one.

Medicalizing dissent was perhaps first used by Dr. Samuel Cartwright in 1861, when he invented the term drapetomania to describe a new disease, suffered only by slaves. The disease was a desire for freedom. It had to be a disease, you see, because Cartwright had to justify slavery. As you can see, it’s hard to talk about medicalizing dissent without being offensive. 

The latest attempt is Stephan Lewandowsky’s paper, ‘NASA faked the moon landing, Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science’, scheduled to be published in Psychological Science in the near future. The paper describes the findings of an internet survey and finds a correlation between belief in a ‘laissez faire’ conception of free market economies and rejection of climate science.

The paper is badly flawed, primarily because the internet survey is junk science. I am a market researcher who has extensive experience with online surveys. I’ve done them for government, non-governmental organizations, companies and volunteer groups. I’ve done a lot of them. Over 1,000, most of them in the UK when we were cranking them out like sausages to the tune of 25 a week for two years.

Stephan Lewandowski has not described the details of the fielding of his survey, which is probably wise on his part. The few details that emerge by chance in his paper are enough to invalidate his conclusions.

If you’ve been following the story you’ve probably seen most of this but it’s worth recapping:

1. Lewandowsky’s survey was advertised and linked to on 8 climate alarmist weblogs. So although his survey is supposed to be of skeptics, he put links on weblogs where skeptics rarely go and, if by chance they do visit, they’re hardly likely to stay.

2. Lewandowsky used four different versions of the survey with questions in differing order. Sometimes you want to randomize questions (although usually you randomize responses) so that people who always pick the first answer won’t prejudice the results. But Lewandowsky doesn’t describe which site got which version and hasn’t released the different versions. The next point shows why that’s important.

3. Several questions in the survey are not covered in the analysis. This isn’t really unusual. Researchers analyze and report on what’s interesting to them. But in an Excel spreadsheet Lewandowsky released, the data from excluded questions is removed. That’s very unusual. It’s okay not to analyze some of the data–it’s not okay to prevent someone else from doing so.

4. Lewandowsky allowed multiple responses from the same IP address. This means that someone could spam the survey, entering time and again to influence the results. Would they? One of the sites that linked to Lewandowsky’s survey has as part of their secret tribe of activists a person who wrote, “...people like us have to build the greatest guerilla force in human history. Now. Because time is up…Someone needs to convene a council of war of the major environmental movements, blogs, institutes etc. In a smoke filled room (OK, an incense filled room) we need a conspiracy to save humanity” and another who wrote of skeptics, “Sometimes you just want to let loose and scream about how you want to take those motherfucking arseholes, those closed-minded bigotted genocidal pieces of regurgitated dog shit and do unspeakable violence to their bodies and souls for what they are doing to the safety of what and who we all hold dear.” So, yes, they would probably do so in support of their cause.

5. Lewandowsky discussed the objectives of the survey while the survey was open for responses, so those who wanted to prejudice the results knew they could do so. This alone amounts to research misconduct and is cause for throwing out the results of the survey as well as the paper based on it.

Lewandowsky’s inability to address any of these issues, despite writing a paper describing it and hyping it on a weblog with 8 blog posts in the past week, is evidence that he cannot address them. He simply decided before his research began that climate skeptics are conspiracy theorists and gamed a survey to produce the results he wanted.

Is that exaggeration? No. He has written on the same subject before without any data and came to the same conclusion. In this case, he just manufactured data to support the same conclusion.

As for torturing the data, he did and it confessed. Steve McIntyre is working on a discussion of how, and I’m going to let him do the heavy lifting. I will just note that the numbers of skeptics believing in multiple conspiracies does not seem to be sufficient to produce statistically significant results and that in more than one case, both the number and percentage of warmists who believed in a conspiracy theory was greater than that of skeptics.

I’m not a climate skeptic–I’m a lukewarmer. But I have a message for readers who are skeptics. Lewandowsky, like Mooney, Prall, Mashey, etc., is not writing to you. He’s writing about you. His desired audience is those who have been fighting not to get involved in the climate debate–the vast majority of people in the developed world, in other words. He wants to convince them that you are lunatics.

Much like a slave who wants his freedom is obviously sick.

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78 thoughts on “Toodle, Lew

  1. “The medicalization of dissent is a delicate topic to bring up in conversations about climate change. If you use it about somebody you’re almost instantly associating them with really evil people who used the tactic to further Stalinism, Naziism, Maoism, etc.

    But the tactic, which really is nothing more than a fancy term for calling your opponents crazy, exists. It is reprehensible. So when I accuse climate alarmists such as Chris Mooney, Kevin Prall, John Mashey and now Stephan Lewandowsky of using the tactic of medicalizing dissent, I am not trying to say they are Stalinists, Nazis or Maoists. That would be like calling people deniers… a thuggish tactic if ever I’ve seen one. ”

    Its a sad day for all science when people who called themselves scientists refuse to call a spade a spade because it may hurt someones feelings… or be to “accurate”. I wonder if your “courtesy” was extended to Dr. Samuel Cartwright by his peers… I know it was extended by a great many in the western world for stalin and mao…

    Why is it that only after facts have gone beyond any doubt into the realm of beyond irrational doubt can we then call a spade a spade? Did we learn nothing from the events of WW2/post WW2? We have huge documentation on how and why the events happened and yet when we clearly without a doubt match these events to current events… can we only judge long after the fact…

    I guess thats what separates great leaders and people in general from everyone else… A willingness to speak the truth no matter the feelings that get hurt or the fact it maybe “inconvenient” at the time to speak it.

  2. I think the medicalisation can be fair and appropriate in certain discussions. Here is why: Say, even without being a medical doctor, most of us won’t hesitate to diagnose a flu where we see the known symptoms or a broken leg where we find one. So how about “crazyness”? First, a bit of honesty is due – everybody here has called someone else crazy before. And why not, if the person is crazy enough? Shizophrenia is not realising reality for what it is – with that at hand, I can diagnose craziness just as safely as a flu. Say, in birthers, truthers, moon landing nutjobs (sic! ), creationists, etc -And if someone goes astray enough on a climate topic, of course the layman can deliver a diagnosis just as safely.

  3. Isit likely that the UWA Ethics Committee will look into this malfeance and incompetence or does someone have to raise a formal complaint? I attended the UWA in the ’70’s and it was a good university – then.
    When can we expect to see the results of the genuine, repeated survey?

  4. Tom. Good stuff. However, you might want to check your math as to how many surveys you have been involved in. 25 each week in the UK for two years, by my math, is 2600, rather more than the total of 1000 you claim.

  5. Very well summarized and said, Mr. Fuller. I was particularly struck by the irony of:

    3. Several questions in the survey are not covered in the analysis. This isn’t really unusual. Researchers analyze and report on what’s interesting to them. But in an Excel spreadsheet Lewandowsky released, the data from excluded questions is removed. That’s very unusual. It’s okay not to analyze some of the data–it’s not okay to prevent someone else from doing so. [emphasis added -hro]

    This seems to be the “cognitive science” equivalent to that which we have seen all too often in “climate science”, IMHO.

  6. A good clue to what evil lurks in the hearts of Warmists* can be found it the behaviors of Lewandowsky, Gleick, and the perpetrators of the 10-10 video.

    * not to be confused with lukewarmers, who have not abandoned Science and who may have a tenable position [though I don’t fully agree,]

  7. Lukewarmer? Luke Sky-warmer (force the data, luke!)? Luke-o-cite?

    I’m skeptical, but think the lack of skepticism on the part of the mainstream “skeptical” blogs is evil. Immoral. Hypocritical.

    I am easily convinced if the data points to it and isn’t massaged, fudged, or processed through some obscure, or worse, hidden model.

    I’m still a skeptic that CFCs (whose mfg patents were expiring), which are heavier than air, could cause anything to the ozone layer in the stratosphere.

    I worry about the benefits of some vaccines in the 21st century – given to NEWBORNS comparing the risk of side-effects v.s. the disease. Some are worth it, some aren’t or might not be.

    Or STDs, contraception, and the public health implications of the Hookup Culture. Incurable virus infections, bacteria resistant to almost all antibiotics, or the side-effects of contraception (including the environmental damage of excess estrogen in the water causing male fish to switch sexes) but we can’t even talk about that.

    Or fuel economy. Can Congress repeal the laws of physics? Chemistry? whatever?

    I know and love science. Too bad there is this fake pseudo-junk science that many who should promote true science fall into.

    If you dissent, the priesthood of Gaia will label you as a heretic and burn you at the stake.

    But as they said, they consider the stakes to be high.

  8. Matt says:
    September 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm
    ” First, a bit of honesty is due – everybody here has called someone else crazy before. And why not, if the person is crazy enough? Shizophrenia is not realising reality for what it is – with that at hand, I can diagnose craziness just as safely as a flu.Say, in birthers, truthers, moon landing nutjobs (sic! ), creationists, etc -And if someone goes astray enough on a climate topic, of course the layman can deliver a diagnosis just as safely.”

    I think some of this argument is best argued as what the crazy person intends to do/what the person is labeling the crazy person intends to do to said crazy person.

    Being labelled “crazy” to me is almost meaningless. So what if you don’t believe in the moon landings… you’ve got “good” company in the NYT. On the other hand if your planning on rounding everyone up in “reeducation camps” to “correct the brainwashing”, well then we got problems.

    On the flip side if you want to come out with a study that says those people are “crazy” that’s fine as well. On the other hand if you come out with that study with the intent to justify rounding them all up and placing them in “reeducation camps” to force them to believe… then we got problems.

    This study is pretty clearly into the “we need some reeducation camps” as have many of the studies coming out recently. These studies are being produced as justification and in many of them they have indirect and sometime direct calls for “reeducation”.

    Its starting to get to the point where its getting dangerous….

  9. “I’m not a climate skeptic–I’m a lukewarmer.”

    Most here describe themselves as CAGW skeptics, “denying” the C makes you a skeptic. To them there is no difference, you are as crazy as the rest of us loons.

    Nice post, makes me miss your examiner(?) blog.

  10. ‘temp’ has it right. Saying what you’d like to do to the opposition is pretty much irrelevant. Talking trash is just blowing off steam.

    The important point is which side has the POWER to institutionalize their opposition. And at the moment the Carbon Cult has that power, though it’s blessedly fading. Lewandowsky belongs to a profession that has the power (as expert witnesses) to guide courts toward actual commitments of his enemies, so his actions and intentions are important.

  11. temp says:
    September 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm
    The medicalization of dissent is a delicate topic to bring up in conversations about climate change. If you use it about somebody you’re almost instantly associating them with really evil people
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Because I am a bit of a geology buff, I have alway been a skeptic. I became a radical skeptic when HADCRUT “disappeared” their 5 year moving average as it started to roll over.

    When I saw the “medicalization of dissent ” I realized that they had lost.

  12. Looks like Lewandowsky would never get a job in the real world of market research, then. Poor bugger should hold on to his tenure like grim death or he’ll starve.

  13. RobertInAz says:
    September 15, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    “When I saw the “medicalization of dissent ” I realized that they had lost.”

    I wouldn’t say they have lost yet… were moving into the end game really. Funny things about socialism and how its final stages work. Winning or losing, a last fanatical push is made. The push is almost exactly the same and it is what we are seeing now. The difference comes if they win or lose…
    Losing is when all the propaganda is payed and spread people laugh at it call them stupid and never give them power.

    Winning… is well bad really really bad. I tend to agree in that I think they are losing on the global warming front. However the question is just because the current battle is losing doesn’t mean its not the last battle of a war already decided. Much of the goals of the global warming crowd have been put in place. Sure its not everything they wanted but they have near enough 80-90% of it.

    With the EPA now on board “we’re going to control everything that involves CO2″ its really just a matter of time and waiting for the right moment for them to complete the goals. Unless something major happens and we got a large push back against a lot of laws and ideas currently in place, they will win in the long run. They may have to wait another 20 years but they will win.

  14. “It is what Zola calls “triomphe de la médiocrité.” Snobs, nobodies, take the place of workers, thinkers, artists; and it isn’t even noticed. The public, yes, one part of it is dissatisfied, but material grandeur also finds applause; however, do not forget that this is merely a straw fire, and that those who applaud generally do so only because it has become the fashion. But on the day after the banquet, there will be a void – a silence and indifference after all that noise.” – Vincent van Gogh (letter to Theo van Gogh, 1882)

  15. It seems to me that, historically, and in inversion to historical experience, the individuals involved in such matters are incapable of embarrassment, but their associations and institutions CAN be embarrassed. If one feels the survey in question was improperly done, rather than refer to the (name of author) survey, I suggest referring to the “Recent fraudulent paper of a NAME OF INSTITUTION researcher”.

    The donors, board and other members of such institutions make be more responsive to such discussion than the perpetrator.

  16. Good analysis, but I’d point out that a significant number of active Warmers exhibit high anxiety levels bordering on paranoia. We see many examples here, such as the post by Anthony within an hour or so of this one likening the AGW debate to the Vietnam War. Combined with the rent and grant seeking opportunists, such as Lewandowsky, and the not particularly bright, but determined to espouse fashionable causes, such as Ms Rose, and you probably have a majority of AGW believers.

  17. With respect, wouldn’t it be better to concentrate on the “junk science” flaws in the Lewandowski paper rather than to extrapolate these into the proposition that he seeks to “medicalise dissent” (to convince real and potential warmists that sceptics are just right-wing nutcases – as if they needed any further convincing).

    Isn’t this just another variant of the name-calling that seems all too prevalent in the climate debate? Why not just get on with the practical science work?

  18. One does wonder how Psychology Science allowed this to be accepted.

    Given the lack of any experimental design the conclusions in the study take ones breath away – from the abstracts:

    “Paralleling previous work, we find that endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science ….. Endorsement of the free market also predicted the rejection of other established scientific findings…. We additionally show that endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories .. predicts rejection of climate science as well as the rejection of other scientific findings, above and beyond endorsement of laissez-faire free markets. This provides
    empirical confi rmation of previous suggestions that conspiracist ideation contributes to the rejection of science.”

    A correlation from a rag-tag unscientific sample ends up becoming the basis for claiming predictions (for heaven’s sake), and empirical confirmation grand generalisations.

    This all becomes the basis for developing “counter measures” to “conspiracist ideation” which is (surprise, surprise) the subject of Lewandowsky, Ecker, Farrell, and Brown (in press). Have they no shame?

    For my part I’d say Lewandowsky et al should get a collaborator with some methodological understanding if they want to get into prediction and empiricism.

    In the meantime they could get some help for their cognitive distortions (a medical condition no doubt) that are causing them to fall victim to over-generalisation fallacies.

  19. Thanks for this interesting and cogent article. I am a skeptic. I am a scientist and that means I must be skeptical of any and all, and be that way all the time. If that makes me a climate anything then so be it. Call me what you will that that name means nothing what means something is a truly skeptical eye and the honest conclusions drawn from the examination.

  20. Slightly off topic,
    I find the mention of evolution/creation to be a bit amusing. In my lifetime I have not observed any real belief in evolution. The prevalent belief is that man has a duty to preserve and protect all species in a static state. Evolution prevention is the founding mandate of the WWF. This has been adopted by every enviro-group and government. Even Coke-a-cola has taken responsibility for the polar bears.
    So who are the nutters? Does anyone believe Darwin’s theory?

  21. TimC says:

    September 15, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    ……..”Why not just get on with the practical science work?”
    ================
    Still searching for it, in the survey.

  22. Tom Fuller: I prefer the word “pathologization” of dissent to “medicalization.” Pathology, in the nature of disease. Soviet CP functionaries specialized in this. “If you fail to see the supreme logic of Marxist-Leninism, why then you must be crazy and we will make sure you are treated for it.”

    Lewandowsky’s study was obviously rigged. To call it “scientific” is laughably inaccurate. It should be noted that both Lewandowsky’s bachelor’s degree and his master’s degree were in the arts and not in science. He has a B.A. and an M.A., although his C.V. curiously does not say what the fields of study were. In other words, he’s not a scientist, he’s a propaganda artist. There’s more pernicious, biased creativity in his work than honest science.

  23. Billy says:
    September 15, 2012 at 8:38 pm
    “I find the mention of evolution/creation to be a bit amusing.”

    Socialism which is what these people believe is can not tolerant evolution. Capitalism the very mortal enemy of socialism is basically economic evolution. If someone really believed in evolution they would highly likely to be strong capitalist as well.

    Now that being said socialists believe in “proper” evolution… they in fact created a very large field of research to cover this “proper” evolution. They called it eugenics(or state controlled evolution) and far to many people still believe in it.

  24. Mondo.
    This is ‘I’….
    and this is ‘we’.
    Can you tell the difference? Good.
    Now go back and read that sentence again…the one where Mr Fuller said
    ‘I have done a lot of them, over one thousand of them, back in the UK when we were doing 25 a week for 2 years.’
    See?
    If you’re going to nitpick…nitpick.

  25. TimC says:
    September 15, 2012 at 8:05 pm
    With respect, wouldn’t it be better to concentrate on the “junk science” flaws in the Lewandowski paper rather than to extrapolate these into the proposition that he seeks to “medicalise dissent” (to convince real and potential warmists that sceptics are just right-wing nutcases – as if they needed any further convincing).
    Isn’t this just another variant of the name-calling that seems all too prevalent in the climate debate? Why not just get on with the practical science work?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Name calling without evidence is one thing. Presenting the evidence and naming the condition that the evidence supports is another. Thomas Fuler has presented the evidence that justifies many of the egregious terms used to describe Lewandoswky and his work.

    As for your request to get on with the practical science, that is precisely what the skeptic and lukewarmist communities have been asking for this past decade or more. When confronted with evidence, the warmists dismiss it and resort to name calling with no evidence, or in this case, fabricated evidence at best, to justify the name calling.

    What do these things tell you about the warmist position?

  26. I would tell you Anthony, this will be my last attempt at asking about investing (and helping make it better) in this site prior to creating a similar site. You have my info from “REP”

    God rest his soul.
    .
    Ready, willing, and able, on this end……

    Gnight, from the East Coast t>

  27. So, Scientists are supposed to be skeptical about everything in order to advance scientific understanding and advance human knowledge in small, but replicable steps using data obtained from experiments or from measured observations.

    Except, it seems, for the ClimateChange modeling skeptics.

    In this case the “Nation” of Climate “Scientists Warmers”, who have no experiential results nor data. Its similar to the believers of the flat earth or that the sun revolved round the sun. This is not new. Wasn’t the idea that the earth revolved the sun conspiritorial, or that the earth was round, also conspiritorial. Were not those contrary ideas held to be against faith-based beliefs?

    This Warmer’s regime is faith based and its respondents are acting out according to dogma. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for Hansen & his related disciples to declare this premise as a religion, kind of like Scientology and manage all believers, kinda like Scientology? Looks like they are trying, they just haven’t admitted that that is what they are trying to do.

    I wish I had a suggestion how to hoist them on their on petard. Perhaps someone else has an idea on this subject.

    Perhaps we should start referring to this Lew… person as a personification of Ron Hubbard himself. It might take awhile for the believers in Australia to get it. But it might be fun. Seems to fit. Lets hope he doesn’t enjoy Kool-Aide and mandatory Kool-Aide parties.

  28. He wants to convince them that you are lunatics.

    I would gladly be called a lunatic. The term (originally Lunarticks) came from the Lunar Society of Birmingham, which met once a month on the Monday closest to the full moon, so that the roads would be better lit for the members that had to travel in darkness. They met beginning around 1775. Fourteen individuals have been fairly clearly identified as participating during the years of its greatest activity. Eleven of the fourteen later became Fellows of the Royal Society.

    The fourteen(from here):

    Matthey Boulton (built Watts’ steam engines)
    Erasmus Darwin (granfather of)
    Thomas Day (abolitionist, a Rousseau follower, author of Sandford and Merton)
    Richard Lovell Edgeworth (Irish inventor and “idealistic follower of Rousseau”)
    Samuel Galton, Jr. (Quaker manufacturer)
    Robert Augustus Johnson
    James Keir (classmate of E. Darwin, chemist, glass maker, soap manufacturer)
    Joseph Priestley (chemist, isolated oxygen)
    William Small (Scottish physician and mathematician)
    Josiah Wedgwood (Unitarian, described as just a potter here and the other grandfather of Charles Darwin)
    John Whitehurst (clockmaker, hydraulics expert and geologist)
    William Withering (also a physician)

    This reference says that the following were also members:

    James Watt (steam engine)
    William Herschel (organist and astronomer that discovered Uranus)
    John Smeaton (designer of the Eddystone lighthouse)

    I have read but couldn’t find a reference that Ben Franklin was a corresponding member.

    To be called a lunatic is quite an honor.

    They are described as non-conformists, but (i)t would be wrong, however, to think of them all as radicals and dissenters.

    A toast to the Lunar Society of Birmingham, which did so much to better the lot of all mankind and a raspberry to those who would wish to undo by force the great advances pioneered by this august, yet informal, group.

  29. Medicalizing dissent was perhaps first used by Dr. Samuel Cartwright in 1861

    Hardly. Its as old as the healing profession, when some totalitarian realized he could use such propaganda to influence people.

    Jesus Christ was said to be crazy by not only the religious hierarchy of his time, but “beside himself” by some of his own family.

    The US Government, state, and local propaganda machines are astonishingly well funded examples of the age old practice of squashing opposition by “medicalization of dissent”. The irony, if you will, or tragedy, is that the dissenters are the ones footing the bill.

  30. Lewandowsky is clearly guilty of breaking two of the 11 commandments:

    No. 9: You shall not bear false witness.

    No.11. You shall not be caught out.

    The newest one, number 11, is clearly what he is most worried about. Those in the alarmist camp rarely worry about number 9.

  31. Of course the problem then pops up that Stephan Lewandowsky can’t really medicalize anyone for the simple reason that he’s a psychologist. He has no medical training. Psychologists can’t make diagnoses because they’re not trained for it. They’re not medical professionals. They are a fourth wheel for therapy, nothing else, and more often than not they’re actually a fifth wheel, at least that’s from my personal experience with them. The same personal experience with them leads to a very deep distrust for the entire profession.

    Yeah, I don’t trust them. I’ve seen them how they are: manipulative, dishonest, twisting what you just said and all based on whatever Freud and Jung wrote decades ago, again proving that they’re actually lacking any understanding and training for both science and medicine. A friend of mine was in therapy for many years. The therapy ended with his suicide. Heck, I’ve been in therapy for six years, because then I was dumb enough to believe in the system. When I realized that they were really just twisting my words into what they believed to be right and that the only thing they were really good at was turning molehills into mountains, I stood up and walked out.

    But this is pretty common today. Look at all the “phobias”. Islamophobia. Homophobia. Xenophobia. None of them are actual phobias by definition of what an actual phobia is. They are political attempts to instill the thought that people with different opinions are insane.

    I’m sick and tired of this. There are too many people trying to be scientific without having any clue about scientific work. Heck, psychology and my own academic discipline Japanese Studies are listed under “social sciences” these days, which is pretty damn ridiculous. I’m not a scientist. I’m a scholar. Different thing really. At times we employ basic scientific methods but most of the time they turn into statistics anyway, and statistics aren’t science either. If I make a poll with 1,000 people and 600 of them answer they believe aliens have visited us then this proves nothing except that these 600 people believe aliens have visited us. That’s it. There’s no science behind any of that. It’s just a poll. It’s just a numerical discrepancy which I would have stumbled over. Discovery of a numerical discrepancy is not science. Accounting for that discrepancy in a reproducible manner is science.

  32. Edohiguma says:
    September 15, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Well said! I have noticed these “social scientists” they’ve been getting a free ride lately, why are there so many now? while our engineers get toss to the dirt.

  33. This whole think is so surreal that I’ve begun wondering who will throw who overboard first?

    Will the warmists denounce Lewindowsky as a rogue researcher who is quite mad and doesn’t represent the real scientists?

    Or will Lewandowsky announce that he is really a skeptic and pulled off this whole charade to prove how gullible warmists are and how easily they could be co-opted into joining a conspiracy?

    Will John Cook announce that he was in on the plot with Lewindowsky? Or claim to be a victim of it?

    Will Al Gore make a film about it called “An Inconvenient Affair”?

    Will there be cameo appearances by Bill and Monica?

  34. “I’m not a climate skeptic–I’m a lukewarmer. But I have a message for readers who are skeptics. Lewandowsky, like Mooney, Prall, Mashey, etc., is not writing to you. He’s writing about you. His desired audience is those who have been fighting not to get involved in the climate debate–the vast majority of people in the developed world, in other words. He wants to convince them that you are lunatics. “

    Obviously; I said the same thing. As usual, the warmist paper mill feeds the MSM. Lewandowsky doesn’t give anything for reactions from the skeptics.

    The backlash is that it works to discredit science, the involved institutes and scientists, the MSM, the governments behind it. We’re still being forced to pay for Lewandowsky and his fellow crooks through our taxes but we don’t like it as much as we used to…

  35. Excellent article.It’s so difficult to deal with the issue of medicalising those you disagree without getting excessive. Tom manages this difficult feat, and demonstrates the methodological flaws which precede the flaws in the statistical analysis of the data. It wouldn’t matter if Lewandowsky had found what he says he found. The lousy methodology makes his survey null and void.
    A point no-one’s made yet, I think, is that the first two pages of the paper are devoted to proving that the science is fixed, and that there’s a conspiracy to deny it, quoting all our old friends (Oreskes, Anderegg, Doran & Zimmermann etc). This move allows Lewandowsky to characterise his source blogs (Deltoid, Tamino etc) as “pro-science”. So when he later names McIntyre as a prominent “skeptic” he’s effectively calling him and all skeptics “anti-science”. I wonder if libel is grounds for demanding a paper’s withdrawal?

    and I love nikfromNYC’s quote from van Gogh. (7.43pm) I didn’t realise he’d been following the global warming debate.

  36. As I said in an article last year about SkS tendencies to snip and imply opponents have mental problems:

    It’s a scarily brief step from

    “The professor is in denial” to “The professor is delusional” to “The professor would be better off keeping quiet” to “The professor has been removed to a mental institution for the good of himself and society”.

    First they came for the professor…

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/cooking-the-books-snip-snip-go-the-censors-scissors/

  37. Sage Publications publishes Psychological Science. the Australian editor for Sage is:

    Sage Editors, Australia: Nick Haslam
    Affiliations:
    University of Melbourne, Australia

    http://www.uk.sagepub.com/editorDetails.nav?contribId=506311

    University of Melbourne: Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences
    Psychological Sciences has been very successful in the 2011 national competitive grant funding schemes, with almost $4 million dollars in research funds from the ARC and NHMRC…
    (includes) Dr Dan Little ($$765,000): From fluid intelligence to crystallised expertise: an integrative Bayesian approach (along with Professor Stephan Lewandowsky)…
    Psychological Sciences has been very successful in the 2011 national competitive grant funding schemes, with almost $4 million dollars in research funds from the ARC and NHMRC…
    ARC Discovery Grants ($2,394,446 in total):
    (includes) Professor Nick Haslam ($339,446): Humans as animals and objects: the psychology of dehumanisation

    http://www.psych.unimelb.edu.au/

    University of Melbourne
    Daniel R. Little
    Other Affiliations:
    The University of Western Australia, Psychology
    Advisors:
    Stephan Lewandowsky
    Robert Nosofsky
    Richard Shiffrin

    http://unimelb.academia.edu/DanielRLittle

    wish someone could contact Haslam to ask if Psychological Science will ACTUALLY publish the silly paper. surely Sage Pubs would not approve if they had all the information that is now available.

  38. Thanks to Thomas Fuller for an interesting and thought-provoking post. Of the comments already showing when I started typing, I’d say that ‘temp’ was about right – if understated – when he said “Its starting to get to the point where its getting dangerous….” and polistra likewise in pointing out that “The important point is which side has the POWER to institutionalize their opposition”. A disclaimer before I go on (and on …): this comment represents my own opinion only, and is no reflection on WUWT other than on its openmindedness.

    There’s a populsr theme at present on many sites tarred with the “conspiracy” brush, namely that those in power (not only Eisenhower’s ‘military-industrial complex’, but including international banking, the media, politics and academia – essentially, any body with the power to influence the crowd either directly or indirectly) are psychopaths. Although this might seem to be ‘just another’ case of pathologising those with whom you disagree, it is far from a new idea: I recall quite clearly hearing an item on BBC News around thirty years ago, reporting an academic paper which had found precisely that categorisation to apply to (IIRC) successful business people and politicians. I’d bet someone at the BBC got a good slap for letting that one get out.

    The idea has, however, remained in the back of my mind for half a lifetime now, and the more I see, the more I agree. I won’t go into detail about the characterisation of psychopathy here – as said, there are many sites discussing it, go look. It boils down to Baron Acton’s famous dictum, “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

    As such, as polistra notes, it can be very dangerous speaking out against them, or trying to reveal things they do not want known. Ask David Kelly. Oh, you can’t. He “committed suicide” after being identified as the man behind “inconvenient” revelations about the bogosity of Blair’s claim about “Saddam’s WMD”. And you can’t consult the records to find out more about his death either because, uniquely, his unusual death has not been investigated in a public inquest – as UK law requires in such circumstances. Funny, that. But what do I know? I must be a “conspiracy theorist” even to notice it, after the Powers That Be have declared it a suicide.

    As I commented in another thread the other day, “conspiracy theorists” (such a useful phrase, now it’s been redefined in popular usage to mean “gibbering loonies who aren’t worth listening to”) fall into two main groups: those that replace science with science fiction, and those alleging venal corruption on the part of politicians and their owners.

    The first lot, while they can be highly entertaining (I used to read a lot of SF in my youth, too) can generally be discounted, although it is the most overblown of these which are invariably quoted to validate the “loonie” label, like Lewandowsky’s “moon landing” example. Those about politicians are better assessed by checking out the article “33 Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out To Be True” (it’s all over the net, very easy to find) and thinking. All political, and sure enough every one was branded a “conspiracy theory” in its day … until the facts came out and they were shown to be true. Only this week, in the UK, we’ve been hearing the sick truth behind the Hillsborough disaster a quarter of a century ago, when 96 football fans lost their lives and the police rewrote the “evidence” to hide official ineptitude and throw the blame onto the dead. Again, the “conspiracy theorists” were right.

    Although I hated history lessons at school, I’ve been reading a lot more about it as I’ve got older, and when you look at the detail it makes your blood run cold. I’m not talking about little paperbacks with titles like “History of the Twentieth Century”, which only skate over the surface, but heavyweight stuff like Eustace Mullins and Carroll Quigley. Read Quigley’s “The Anglo-American Establishment”. The same names, the same groups, crop up generation after generation, as does the evil that they perpetrate. It is, in the truest sense of the word, shocking. Then go back and look again through those political “conspiracy theories”. Things aren’t “starting to get to the point where its getting dangerous”. They are dangerous.

    It is telling that, even now, Lewandowsky casts the “New World Order” as a conspiracy theory, despite numerous international politicians using the phrase over many years now in speeches puffing words like “technocracy” to describe their goal of a tiny number of (already) powerful people running this “new world” to their own absolute advantage. The “Carbon Cult” is merely one of the more recent lies in this fight for power: ration the plebs’ access to everything and keep them poor, weak and in their place. As many have noted here, every time something like this fake poll comes out, it gets saturation coverage in the bought-and-paid-for media worldwide. OMG, these deniers are a bunch of crazies! Look, a “doctor” says so! Unclean! Unclean!

    Thankfully, more people are beginning to wake up and realise a little more about just how true Acton’s comment was and is. Sadly for the wellbeing of humanity, it isn’t “we the people” who control the military, but the very groups Quigley et al list, and those they’ve bought over the decades. When whatever they’re planning hits the fan, it’s not going to be a good time to be “unclean”. The stakes are high, and the guilty, who don’t fight clean, are fighting very hard to make sure it’s not them tied to those stakes when the fire is lit. Look at the state of the world these people run and shudder.

    What a start to a Sunday, it makes me feel unclean just thinking about it. I’m off for a bath.

  39. Phil,

    “I would gladly be called a lunatic. The term (originally Lunarticks) came from the Lunar Society of Birmingham…”

    I don’t think this is where the term comes from.

  40. temp says:
    September 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    With the EPA now on board “we’re going to control everything that involves CO2″ its really just a matter of time and waiting for the right moment for them to complete the goals.

    And that’s why the whole CO2 – demonization meme must be definitively and publicly defeated, with maximum exposure and publicity and drama. It is poison injected into the heart of productive industrialized society.

  41. I’m missing something here. ‘Toodleoo’ is UK slang for ‘bye for now’ or ‘see you later’, i.e. not a permanent parting. So, is the title ‘Toodle, Lew’ a pun or what?

  42. temp says:
    September 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm
    “””With the EPA now on board “we’re going to control everything that involves CO2″ its really just a matter of time and waiting for the right moment for them to complete the goals. Unless something major happens and we got a large push back against a lot of laws and ideas currently in place, they will win in the long run. They may have to wait another 20 years but they will win.”””

    Because of the many claims of controls specifically aimed at CO2 control I went looking on the EPA site. Lot of stuff there. For example:
    http://www.epa.gov/air/toxicair/takingtoxics/ (34 page pdf in link)
    but blowed if I can find a single mention of the words ‘carbon dioxide’. I was hoping to see a specific rule or regulation that in any way claimed carbon dioxide is toxic.
    This is off topic but I really want to know where the EPA claims carbon dioxide is a pollutant.

  43. Thomas Fuller missed a 6th major flaw in Lewdowsky’s paper – cherry picking data.

    6. Contemporaneously he posted the survey at three outlets that are not blogs. Two of the outlets were psychology related websites and the third targeted staff at the University of Western Australia. These three outlets met the terms of the plan approved by the UWA’s ethics committee. They were “web based” and presumably “pro-science.” Why was this data not included in the study? Why did Dr. Lewandowsky fail to discuss this fact in his paper?

  44. Richard111 says (September 16, 2012 at 3:16 am)
    “…a pun or what?”
    ——–
    C’mon Richard. Anthony has gone the whole nine yards to come up with a superb pun based on a UK saying. As a Brit I lol’d. Lets not strike out in the humour department. :-)

  45. Pleased to note above that my faith in WUWT’s openmindedness is well-founded; less pleased to note that I left out the “/” before the “i” switch after “crazies”. O ye mods, with your godlike powers, could you go back and put it in for me? (Fine-print font, old monitor, old eyes, first thing in the morning.) Thanks.

    As a friend once observed, it all depends where you put the emphassis.

  46. Many skeptics do have something in common with conspiracy theorists. They have the luxury of time. They are older, financially comfortable, white males, nearing retirement or retired. They can’t be punished for having an unpopular opinion. They are also more knowledgeable about their field of interest than are most of the population.

    There will be a subset of people who are climate skeptics and who are also conspiracy theorists. OK. Trying to use that as a proof of anything is as bogus as pointing out that 100% of heroin users started out with milk.

    Lewandowsky’s ‘work’ would be bogus even if he had done it properly.

  47. Edohiguma says:
    September 15, 2012 at 10:47 pm
    “Of course the problem ……….”

    Well said.
    Thanks.

  48. Thank you, Thomas Fuller, for introducing to me drapetomania. I’ll return the favor by citing a quotation. “You do not become a “dissident” just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society. (Václav Havel, The Power of the Powerless, October 1978)

  49. His publication is nothing more than a vindictive hit piece disguised as research. I noted that the emails by his assistant included a statement along the lines that the survey was being disseminated with the approval of the University’s Ethics panel or committee. If that is true, it probably says nearly as much about them as it does about Lewandowsky. In the US, medical research typically has to be approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) whenever live subjects are involved. Of course, this isn’t a medical trial, but I wonder if there was an approval process in place for his “research”, and to what extent there was oversight, if any. This is reflecting very poorly on the University, the publication, and the peer reviewers.

  50. sonic says:
    September 15, 2012 at 9:12 pm
    “I believe that replication is part of science. Has anyone replicated Lewandowsky’s findings?”

    sonic, I fear it cannot be replicate, it can be only lewplicate to achieve same results.

  51. Richard111 says:
    September 16, 2012 at 3:16 am
    I’m missing something here. ‘Toodleoo’ is UK slang for ‘bye for now’

    I know we are “two countries separated by a common language” but, we have that ‘slang’ expression too … and yes (now trying mightily to avoid allusions to any given poster’s density) that was intended as ‘punny'; I would say we expect to see more ‘Lew’ (note: yet another pun, derived from ‘gardez l’eau’ which was a warning to passers by when people used to throw their sewage into the street in medieval times ) as well, if not from Lewandowsky directly then at least from others subject-connected …

    .

  52. One of the sites that linked to Lewandowsky’s survey has as part of their secret tribe of activists a person who wrote,

    What site was this, SkepticalScience?

  53. Edohiguma [September 15, 2012 at 10:47 pm] says:

    “But this is pretty common today. Look at all the “phobias”. Islamophobia. Homophobia. Xenophobia. None of them are actual phobias by definition of what an actual phobia is. They are political attempts to instill the thought that people with different opinions are insane.”

    Bingo! And it all falls into the category of Political Correctness. Intelligent and rational people must understand the danger in this.

    Or do I need to break Godwin’s and other politically correct laws to point out the historical slaughter found at the conclusion of such group think.

    jeez [September 16, 2012 at 12:49 am] says:

    “Try SpS for Socket puppet Science.”

    Nice!. Presuming you meant: Sock Puppet Science.

  54. A product recall on teddy bears with sharks teeth is an everyday practical thing. That they were sold so long, even handed out in schools, well, fads do come and go.

  55. I am a skeptic because the evidence made me so. I am not a skeptic because I was born this way. Change the evidence and I will lose my skepticism. Please change the evidence to reflect reality. Until then, call me whatever you like… just don’t call me late for dinner. GK

  56. I see in SkS that John Cook is pitching AGW to ‘Christians’. As in:

    “The Centre for the Study of Science, Religion and Society at Emmanuel College are running a series of presentations on Science, Religion and Society. I was honoured to be invited to talk about a Christian view on climate change, which I presented on 03 August 2012″

    If John Cook wants to be Christian in his life-style, his website doesn’t exemplify it – except that there seems to be a lot of ‘smiting’ going on..

  57. surely Sage Pubs would not approve if they had all the information that is now available.

    I’m not certain that Sage Publications will care whether one of their journals is about to publish an article consisting of poor-quality research, badly analyzed, misleadingly reported, framed and titled in a grossly biased fashion, on a politically charged topic. They should, but it doesn’t follow that they will.

    They may, however, care about the bad publicity that one of their high-visibility journals will be drawing by publishing such an article.

  58. In the United States, social science research also has to be approved by an IRB.

    However, IRBs are not supposed to rule on the scientific merit of the proposed studies, only their compliance with guidelines about risk to participants, privacy, and informed consent.

    Issues about plagiarism and scientific dishonesty are handled by different institutional committees, often part-time or ad hoc, that don’t have all the Federal mandates behind them that IRBs have.

  59. “…survey and finds a correlation between belief in a ‘laissez faire’ conception of free market economies and rejection of climate science.”

    Although Lew’s surveying did not reveal this or,indeed, anything else, a good survey might have. ‘Laissez faire’ might be too strong a label, but certainly freedom-loving people who believe in market-based solutions are likely to reject the institutionalized climate dogma (doggerel?) that is being rammed down people’s throats.

  60. “His desired audience is those who have been fighting not to get involved in the climate debate”

    Disagree nearly 100%. His audience is himself and his own ilk ( and to churn upon the funding). Snarky attitudes are not meant to convert, but to cheerlead the prejudices and devises of one’s in-group. It is also a psychological self-defense mechanism, keeping the questions and doubts out. There are two ways to make them go especially nuts. Talk about who is funding them and their side, and talk about “positive feedbacks.

  61. Thanks for the great article. Medicalization, indeed. I thought that was a relevant tactic in a debate, like, “What have you been smoking? or, “The guy is into his cups, and it is not even twelve noon”. So many opportunities will go unanswered.

    My latest project is to write a script to analyze documents for the usage of certain words and phrases. The list will include the words our alarmist friends use to accuse us of things that don’t matter, and that are common to the alarmist vocabulary. Similarly, I will use it to analyze the abstracts of academic papers to score the paper for uncertainty. Many studies aren’t worth reading because the authors are so uncertain of their results, or they have no results.

    Just thinking… Gotta find a way around this No Medicalization tactic.

  62. Edohiguma says:
    September 15, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    . . . I’m sick and tired of this. There are too many people trying to be scientific without having any clue about scientific work. Heck, psychology and my own academic discipline Japanese Studies are listed under “social sciences” these days, which is pretty damn ridiculous. I’m not a scientist. I’m a scholar. Different thing really.

    Exactly. Indeed, the use of ‘science’ to describe a discipline, as ‘[Blank] Science’, ought to be enough to render it suspect. Bona fide sciences like Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, etc. don’t need it. Once upon a time there was Climatology. Now we have ‘Climate Science’. What does that tell us?

    /Mr Lynn

  63. It’s been fascinating watching the international internet community unravel this farrago. And, Steve McIntyre is not finished yet. Some of the things that Lewandowsky didn’t tell us about his first year undergraduate FAIL exercise when puff pieces about it appeared in the press include:

    – the sites to which the survey was sent, and when;
    – the number of responses from each site;
    – that there were four different versions of the questionnaire;
    – that there was no mechanism for eliminating duplicate responses;
    – that there was data which was not analysed (for publication, anyway);
    – what that data was, so that others could analyse it;
    – that the survey was also circulated within UWA;
    – what the results from UWA were;
    – that the survey was circulated to at least some sites under the name of his unknown research assistant, although other sites seemed to know that he was involved;
    – that the headline was exactly the opposite of what the survey showed;
    – that there was no control group to benchmark against his dodgy methodology;
    – that the survey was still open when he began publicly announcing the results; and
    – that there was no quality control for clearly nonsensical or blatantly inconsistent responses.

    He then posted a series of contemptuous articles which didn’t even attempt to address the substantive issues raised by not only ordinary readers with a modicum of common sense, but professionals who have done more surveys than he has had hot dinners, and people who understand how the internet works.

    Now I read over at Steve McIntyre’s that Thomas Fuller (author of the head post) has had all his comments purged from Lewandowsky’s blog, in a kind of totalitarian rewriting of history. No doubt his friendly moderator John Cook (of SkS) was available to lend a hand.

    It’s enough to make being a conspiracy theorist almost a reasonable position.

  64. Would an Australian taxpayer reading this article like to remind Professor Lewandowsky, and the moderators at ShapingTomorrowsworld blog, that it is a PUBLICALLY funded blog..

    and games that can be played on a private blog, are potential reason for complaint to the University of Western Australia. It would come best from an Australian

  65. “The paper describes the findings of an internet survey and finds a correlation between belief in a ‘laissez faire’ conception of free market economies and rejection of ‘climate science’. ”

    The conclusion is right on the button. Obviously ‘climate science’ is a politically driven leftist agenda having nothing to do with real science. – We don’t have a right- left polarization over Newton’s theory of gravity or Einstein’s theory of relativity.

  66. Richard, here’s the rub; the EPA has NO authority to regulate CO2 unless it IS a “pollutant”. They issued faulty reports to prove their case, which ultimately boiled down to “the IPCC said so”. Unfortunately the US supreme court backed them up when more sensible people appealed.

  67. The Supreme Court made no determination about the merit of the EPA’s rules – I wish people would stop repeating this furphy. The Court was asked to rule on whether the EPA had the power, under the laws passed by the legislature, to decide what was and wasn’t a pollutant – and the answer was, yes they do.

    It is the law approved by Congress and the Senate that is at fault – unless you support the notion that the Supreme Court should be a third chamber of legislative decisionmaking. While some would argue that they have already impinged on that area, encouraging them further is hardly the best way forward.

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