Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook – making things up

Fabricated quotes and gross distortions are used to paint skeptics as conspiracy nuts.  The question is, is it a conspiracy, or is it just incompetence?

Guest post by Brandon Shollenberger

Many people have shown interest and scorn for a recently released paper by Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook (and others), Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation.  People have taken issue with a number of aspects of the paper, but to my knowledge, nobody has noticed Lewandowsky and Cook fabricate things in their paper.  That’s right.  They make things up.

While there are many examples, I’d like to focus on some obvious distortions of quotes.  A number of quotes are distorted to make skeptics look bad.  This is seen as early as the second quote taken from a skeptic.  The paper says:

The notion of “scamming” took center-stage in the blogosphere’s response to LOG12, although not all comments went so far as to suggest “… there are no `Human Subjects’ ” (http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/ccc1.html#198).

It’s hard to imagine anyone being crazy enough to suggest nobody who took the survey was a human.  Naturally, nobody suggested that.  If one follows the link provided, they find a comment by the user Foxgoose which includes:

The current premise is that there are no “Human Subjects” and as more and more known sceptical blog proprietors add their voices, this will become increasingly apparent. Unless of course Stephan has approached the proprietors of five “sceptic blogs” which no-one in the sceptic community has ever heard of.

If that quote isn’t clear enough, the exchange it is in certainly is.  The “Human Subjects” being discussed were the skeptic blog owners supposedly contacted by Stephan Lewandowsky.  Lewandowsky claimed he couldn’t release the identities of those because of privacy concerns.  Foxgoose suggested there could be no privacy concerns because nobody had been contacted.

What does this have to do with whether or not humans took the survey?  Nothing.  Lewandowsky et al. took a comment about one subject, stripped it of context and placed it in an entirely different discussion.  They completely fabricated this insane claim then portrayed it as a belief some skeptics hold.  And that’s not the only time they distorted a quote in such a blatant way.  In another case, the paper says:

Another commenter applauded the alleged cunning strategy to goad bloggers into paranoid behavior:

“If it’s true they are selectively blocking, I have to begrudgingly respect the skill with which they are playing this audience: there is no way for anyone to complain without matching the stereotypical conspiracist of the study!” (http://climateaudit.org/2012/09/14/the-sks-link-to-the-lewandowsky-survey/#comment-352753).

The comment in question was made by the user Nathan Kurz.  Here is what his comment said:

While it’s possible that specific IP addresses are being blocked, claiming that they are reads a lot like a conspiracy theory. The irony is amazing. If it’s true they are selectively blocking, I have to begrudgingly respect the skill with which they are playing this audience: there is no way for anyone to complain without matching the stereotypical conspiracist of the study!

Showing that one can get through via an Anonymizer doesn’t strike me as strong evidence. I think the likeliest innocent explanation is a misconfigured router somewhere, so access from a completely different network doesn’t imply much. Much stronger would be to show that you can access from a neighbor’s computer using the same ISP. If the neighbor get through (and is using the same browser and OS), you have firmer evidence. If the neighbor also can’t access, one could either conclude they are blocking wider swaths of the internet, or search harder for innocent explanations.

Nathan Kurz clearly thinks the supposed strategy is unlikely.  He argues against the idea.  The paper doesn’t tell you that.  Instead, it portrays him as promoting the idea.  They quote a skeptic who was being reasonable and not believing there’s a conspiracy, but they hide his beliefs so he seems to believe in a conspiracy…

But that doesn’t compare to my favorite example.  In it, the authors simply fabricate a quote:

A further hypothesis supposed that the real purpose of LOG12 was to provoke conspiracist ideation from climate deniers: “Here’s a conspiracy theory for you: This is the subject of the study, not the survey. The reactions of the skeptic community to a controlled publication with obvious flaws, presented as caustically as possible and with red herrings presented for them to grasp at. There’s some evidence for this theory in internal mails at SkepticalScience, where John Cook can be heard talking enthusiastically about his discussions with Stephan about gaming blogs” (http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/news.php?p=2&t=118&&n=161#751).

If you follow the link, you’ll find a comment by the user geoffchambers which doesn’t include a word from him.  His comment consists solely of a quote from thomaswfuller and “(-Snip-).”  That means the citation given doesn’t show what the authors quote.  And it gets better.  The quote included from Fuller says:

Here’s a conspiracy theory for you: This is the subject of the study, not the survey. The reactions of the skeptic community to a controlled publication with obvious flaws, presented as caustically as possible and with red herrings presented for them to grasp at..

That is part of the quote Lewandowsky et al published.  However, we can see the original comment from Fuller here.  It says (emphasis added):

Here’s a conspiracy theory for you. This is the subject of the study, not the survey. The reactions of the skeptic community to a controlled publication with obvious flaws, presented as caustically as possible and with red herrings presented for them to grasp at.

To date, my conspiracy theory makes more sense than what we’ve seen of the primary research that informed Professor Lewandowsky’s paper.

I really hope that I’m wrong, as I will be extremely unhappy if research is used as bait.  But it makes a weird kind of sense…

This shows Fuller’s comment is the source of part of the quote Lewandowsky et al published, but it could not have been the source of the entire quote.  Presumably, what happened is geoffchambers quoted Fuller and responded by saying:

There’s some evidence for this theory in internal mails at SkepticalScience, where John Cook can be heard talking enthusiastically about his discussions with Stephan about gaming blogs.

Then when Lewandowsky et al copied the text of geoffchambers’ comment, they inadvertently combined the quote from Fuller with the body of geoffchambers’ comment.  In other words, they combined parts of comments from two different people into a single quote.  As though that wasn’t bad enough, neither comment can be viewed by readers of the paper as the comments were both edited/deleted by moderators of the site associated with two primary authors of this paper!

This doesn’t scratch the surface of the problems with this paper.  It also doesn’t address the fact John Cook apparently has no idea what a conspiracy theory is.  Still, if the authors of this paper are so lazy, incompetent or whatever else to completely distort and fabricate quotes, how can anyone take them seriously?

And for the record, I don’t think any of this was intentional.  I don’t think there is a conspiracy.  That would require them knowing what they’re doing!

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90 thoughts on “Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook – making things up

  1. re: “Fabricated quotes and gross distortions”

    The examples given in the post certainly seem damning. This could be clear-cut research misconduct, even assuming it may be unintentional. Butchering the record of online comments in order to create a convenient but fanciful straw man target would be research misconduct or worse (worse if it was intentional but still bad if accidental and careless).

    You’re not allowed to (or not supposed to) do this with scientific data, historical documents, quotations from critics, etc. These online comments are the data and documents of the “Recursive Fury” paper. IF the misrepresentations are as serious as appears on a first look, this matter should be pursued.

    I urge anyone with some time right now to pore over this material. I can’t right away, other commitments, sigh….

  2. You know that they will use this post as further confirmation of their thesis lol. Dog chasing tail here. I’m not saying you are wrong just that when you argue with idiots you can never win as they have more experience and eventually pull you down to their level.

  3. Skiphil says:
    March 9, 2013 at 9:14 am
    “You’re not allowed to (or not supposed to) do this with scientific data, historical documents, quotations from critics, etc.”

    I don’t think any standards apply to sociology.

  4. Wow.
    Fabricate comments to suit their own thesis and make a research paper out of it.
    How deep this sort of “science” has sunk, not even astrology goes so deep.
    And who pays for this brilliant science? Well you guess

  5. I was lying on the floor reading this blog entry with a purring cat lying on top of me when Heifer called to ask for a donation. I agreed because I believe they do good work without getting politically correct about the environment. Then I had this thought: Heifer needs to give out purring cats to lie on top of people in the third world. The purring would be exactly like Tom Curtis’s defense of Lewandowsky and the cat would the same if not more value than the climate reparations being contemplated for the third world.

    Then I realized that my cat probably intentionally made me think those thoughts.

    If you look up Heifer be sure to spell it with one ‘f’ because I think the two ‘f’ site is a scam site.

  6. DirkH says:
    March 9, 2013 at 9:53 am
    “I don’t think any standards apply to sociology.”

    In sociology they infact are bound by the scientific method… thus making them science. However sociology is rarely taught in college nowadays. You have now would be best called socialistology, the process where they spend the whole time running in circle thought to justitfy sociaist thought and making of fanasty excuses to explain away all of socialisms failures.

  7. No surprise here, the scary world of Mann made climatology is entirely fabricated.
    Whats a few more lies?, no one else in the propaganda team has been punished, its a genuine study of sociology that the use of Lew paper is creating here.
    A study in how many and how blatant ones lies can be, before reaction sets in.
    There is generations of PhD studies here. Just needs funding.

  8. Speaking of making things up…

    I’ve been banned from a website here in Canada for pointing out that a news organization has completely taken quotes out of context to glorify the environmental movement’s fight against climate change. The article is from the Guardian, “Canada’s environmental activists seen as ‘threat to national security'” by Stephen Leahy http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/14/canada-environmental-activism-threat The entire article is based on a Queens University PhD Candidate (admittedly knowledgable) and a Globe and Mail article about al Qaeda. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/domestic-terrorism-becoming-a-greater-concern-for-canadian-spy-agency/article8478299/ Every quote in the Guardian article outside of the student’s is about al Qaeda… not environmentalists. To show how this is further propagated, Canada’s largest circulated newspaper ‘The Toronto Star’ recently had a follow up article in which the Guardian title was further distorted and said to be “headlined “Canada’s spy chiefs target anti-frackers,” by Stephen Leahy” http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/03/05/hey_csis_farmers_are_not_terrorists.html

    I’ll be honest, I expect people to think I’m lying and as such I make sure I can back up my claims. I just find it hard to believe that people, especially ‘professionals’ don’t have that same level of basic shame.

  9. Bottom line , for these people in the name of ‘the cause ‘ all things are good , they are after all ‘saving the planet ‘ so what is a little : “Fabricated quotes and gross distortions” compared to this .

  10. I believe the moon landing was real, that Oswald shot JFK, that terrorists flew planes into the WTC and that Princess Diana was killed by a drunk chauffeur while being chased by paparazzi.

    I believe that Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming has been highly exaggerated by most climate scientists.

    I also believe Lewandowsky is a third rate psychologist whose paper, ‘NASA faked the moon landing Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax:An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science’, will never see the light of day (well, except on his own website of course).

    I’m not sure if thinking that someone is a tool makes me a conspiracy theorist but I’m sure Lewandowky would try to make that link.

  11. It doesn’t surprise me that one can find fabrications in that paper. Their blatant biases, laziness and cosy assumption they will get no critical analysis from anyone they outside their circle make it inevitable. Hence they are not too clever at being self-aware. And when they try to be they miss too much.

    For instance they seem to know they were testing the bounds of risibility here by the clear fact that authors of a paper are involved in writing a further paper that supposedly examines in an academic neutral way the people who criticised their original paper.

    So they claim they control for this.

    They use the word “orthogonal” in a pseudo-scientific way that sounds like they have done something technical to ensure their bias is eliminated – maybe component analysis or some sort? – but there is nothing offered beyond that word. So it essentially boils down to “Trust us we that we have eliminated bias in an our meta-analysis of our critics, and here is the word orthogonal thrown in to help you believe us” ;)

  12. I did, briefly, read the Lewandowsky/Cook follow-up paper but have to confess to abandoning it as a load of childish, ad-hom rubbish – without bothering to open the links to the quote sources.

    I therefore didn’t realise until now that I had a bit-part in the denier horror show.

    The really deceptive and appalling aspect of this piece of egregious academic fraud is the deliberate suppression and misrepresentation of the context of my comment.

    With Anthony and the mod’s permission – I would like to post some additional extracts from Lewandowsky’s blog which make the deliberate misreprentation even clearer.

    My comment appeared as a response to a post by Lewandowsky on his modestly titled “Shaping Tomorrow’s World” blog. Lewandowsy had claimed in his original paper that he had to base his results on responses from warmist blogs because the five sceptic blogs he had approached had refused to co-operate.

    It was becoming apparent however that Lewandowsky had never made direct contact with the sceptic blog proprietors concerned – and he was challenged to confirm that he had by naming names.

    He then put up the post concerned, claiming that he was unable to give the names of those he had approached because of ethical considerations;-

    Unlike some of the people who have been emailing me, my work is subject to ethical guidelines and is subject to approval by my University’s ethics committee—as is the work of any other behavioral scientist in Australia and elsewhere. It is therefore not solely my decision whether or not to reveal the identity of people who were approached on the presumption of privacy.

    Because this issue is likely subject to different opinions, I have therefore approached the Australian Psychological Society and my University’s Human Research Ethics Committee to provide guidance on this decision.

    There is an obvious asymmetry of potential harm here: If I release the names but it turns out to have been unethical, this cannot be undone. If I decline to release the names, as I have done to date, and it turns out that this was unnecessary, then no harm is done if release of the names is delayed by a few days.

    I am therefore awaiting guidance on this issue.

    This improbable defence stimulated a degree of scepticism seldom before achieved – even among the sceptical community.

    The ever reliable catastrophist cheerleader Eli Rabett then leapt to Lewandowsky’s defence in the comments with:-

    Eli Rabett at 07:23 AM on 4 September, 2012
    FWIW, the pressure on the usual skeptics to sign up to the tweet going about is likely to make the Human Subjects folk not allow Prof. L. to name them on the grounds that they were subject to group social pressure

    I responded to this by pointing out that most of us believed that there were no “Human Subjects” involved because we believed Lewandowsky was lying about having directly, personally approached the sceptic blog proprietors.

    Foxgoose at 07:55 AM on 4 September, 2012
    There are several logical leaps in Eli’s desperate attempt to blow smoke.

    The current premise is that there are no “Human Subjects” and as more and more known sceptical blog proprietors add their voices, this will become increasingly apparent.

    Unless of course Stephan has approached the proprietors of five “sceptic blogs” which no-one in the sceptic community has ever heard of.

    The central point is, therefore that the “Human Subjects” were the hypothetical sceptic blog proprietors, introduced by Eli Rabett, whose privacy Lewandowsy’s ethics committee may have wanted to protect.

    The phrase had nothing to do with the subjects of the “research paper” – and Lewandowsky and Cook knew it.

    This is therefore a case of blatant academic fraud and I will be contacting UWA’s ethics committee under my own name to seek withdrawal and apology.

    I don’t suppose I can sue them for defamation of my anonymous username – but I am seeing my lawyers on Tuesday to discuss whether a cause for action can be found.

  13. foxgoose says:
    March 9, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    “I don’t suppose I can sue them for defamation of my anonymous username ”

    Don’t be so sure about that.

    Clebs have tried to sue anonymous posters and had some starter success in the US. While I believe that all those cases were correctly overturned as free speech… Australia doesn’t have anywhere near the protection that US citizens are granted.

    The fact that the quotes were published in an official science paper also opens up the door to go after the college, rag that published/pal reviewed the paper and probably a host of other people.

    More so if you were required to register at the site in question. By registering and using e-mail to that site you are far less then “anonymous”. The site could easily leak your info which can be tracked back to your real life person, someone can break in said site, host of other things that could happen that result in your real life person being connected to username. Not to also include the fact you have a word.press account which surely makes it even easier to run down your info.

    I don’t think its much of a question if you can win… its a question of how much it will cost you to win. If you can get a freebee like Dr Ball is getting now you could probably do a good bit of damage to lot of people involved in this bogus propaganda paper.

  14. These people bring to mind William James’ description of the comportment of certain French generals during one of the Dreyfus trials. So completely steeped in their own sense of superiority that they had lost touch with common sense as well as common decency.

  15. Brandon Shollenberger says: “And for the record, I don’t think any of this was intentional.”

    Really? You must not interact very often with the denizens of SkepticalScience. Fabrications, misquotes, misdirection, any lousy debate tactic you can think of, are all standard operating procedure. My experience with most bloggers there: you waste more time correcting the misquotes and falsehoods they’ve written than you spend trying to explain.

    To counter many of the typical lies about my work, I wrote a post titled “Untruths, Falsehoods, Fabrications, Misrepresentations”:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/untruths-falsehoods-fabrications-misrepresentations/

    Not long afterwards, I was seeing a lot of traffic from Steve Goddard’s blog and I discovered more blatant lies. I replied to them and Steve turned my comment into a post:

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/comment-from-bob-tisdale/

  16. I think Cook and Lewandowsky would have made a great comedy duo in the days of music hall or silent film. They combine that subtle blend of qualities that made acts like Laurel and Hardy and Abbott and Costello much loved household names.
    It’s almost eerie, I mean they have it all. For starters they actually look funny, one is big slow and has crazy eyes and the other is small with a cunning piggy face; rare gifts in the world of entertainment they are what we in showbiz call ‘naturals’ the pair of them.
    But it doesn’t end there…they’re both dense…but one thinks he’s really, really, really clever. Nearly all of their comic escapades involve their efforts to pursue some completely wrong headed goal and of course they’re careless, clumsy and disaster prone…in true Basil Fawlty style, much of the comedy arises from their attempts to cover up and hide the escalating trail of mistakes they have made… and like all great comedic creations, when they’re in a hole they just dig faster!
    I’m thinking…Cookie and Lew…or maybe Lewee and Cookee, or perhaps the more formal Lewandowsky and Cook?
    In years to come (and sooner than you think) we will look back on the Golden Age of climate comedy when stars like Lewandowsky and Cook who infuriated us, made us laugh and sometimes even reduced us to tears with their daft antics – have left the firmament.
    We may never see their like again.

  17. @foxgoose… go further, as the good lord Monckton did with UTas write to the vice chancellor with a clear accusation of academic fraud and demand a full investigation under the relevant code. Since you have wisely taken steps to protect your reputation, its unlikely you can claim libel. I dont think there is a conspiracy to libel offence available.

    Lewandowski should be brought into conformance with academic standards, which includes not pedalling misthuths

  18. Brandon, don’t be naive. You have to do with the world of marketing and advertisement. Conspiracy ideation?

  19. Scientists are those who follow the scientific method. Neither Lewandowsky, nor Cook, nor Mann, nor a whole host of other climastrologists qualify for title of scientist.

  20. If anyone is interested in lodging a complaint about Stephan Lewandowsky to the University of Western Austalia, I believe this page is relevant.

    http://www.hr.uwa.edu.au/policies/policies/conduct/code/responsibility

    It is the code of conduct for the university , and it clearly states under the fraud and corruption heading the following.
    Quote
    “Fraudulent and corrupt conduct generally involves behaviour that is deliberately dishonest or deceitful and involves the abuse of trust which leads to a person gaining a benefit from these types of actions. The Guidelines for Dealing with Fraud and Corruption at UWA may assist in identifying activities considered to be fraudulent or corrupt conduct within the University. Examples include unauthorised use of University property, undeclared conflicts of interest, falsifying or manipulating research data, misrepresenting a person’s involvement in research/projects, or making false claims of expenses or leave entitlements.”

    It would seem very clear that Stephan Lewandowsky has broken these rules if he has been misquoting authors and contributors to blog sites.
    I would imagine a complaint filed with the university , with a followup press release to the news media of the complaint, may get some action.

  21. There are plenty of serious issues with the latest Lewandowsky “Recursive” paper. Serious and legitimate questions about peer review are at the top of the list.

    I have repeatedly asked questions of the authors at both the Frontiers journal page for the “Recursive” paper, and at Lewandowsky’s Shaping Tomorrows World blog page regarding this paper.

    Most recently I posted the following direct request at Lewandowsky’s blog:

    As the authors have not responded to any of the questions submitted regarding the “Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation” and the underlying LOG12 papers …

    I formally submit the following direct questions for Mr. Lewandowsky (and/or any of the authors of either paper).

    1. You have repeatedly claimed, since approx. July 2012, that the “LOG12/Moon Landing is a Hoax” paper has been peer reviewed, accepted for publication by Psychological Science, and has been published. You repeat that claim in the current “Recursive” paper and again in your comments above. You have also cited the LOG12 paper as a reference in multiple subsequent papers, including the current “Recursive” paper. Yet to the best of my knowledge the paper has never been published, online or in print, nor has Psychological Science ever acknowledged acceptance of the paper for publishing.

    Please provide:

    (a.) … evidence that shows the LOG12 paper has been published, and/or;

    (b.) … information which shows, or provides acknowledgement, that the LOG12 paper actually has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Psychological Science.

    2. You have also repeatedly claimed, including in [your Shaping Tomorrows World] blog, and again several times in the “Recursive” paper, that the online supplementary material for LOG12 contains the raw data, information and detailed methods necessary to review and validate the LOG12 findings.

    Please provide:

    (a.) … evidence this supplementary material has been peer reviewed, accepted for publication, and published, and/or;

    (b.) … information on where this supplementary material may be accessed online as you have repeatedly claimed, and/or;

    (c.) … how/where the supplementary material may be obtained from the authors?

    3. Legitimate questions have been raised regarding the current “Recursive” paper as well. Here too you have claimed the paper was properly peer reviewed, accepted for publication, and has been published. In this current case, we at least know the paper has been published online by the Frontiers journal. However, there are a number questionable activities associated with the publishing of this paper as well.

    Please provide a response:

    (a.) It is well established that peer review must be completed prior to acceptance, and certainly prior to publication. Yet here the list of peer reviewers has undergone 3 significant changes in the weeks after publication – there have been 4 different iterations of listed peer reviewers in the course of a few weeks post publication.

    The current listed peer reviewers include the Associate Editor of the paper, which seems highly suspect and of questionable ethics and professionalism – when we know other qualified reviewers were available.

    The sole remaining independent reviewer is a graduate student injournalism, not Psychological Science, with a pretty clearly identifiable, highly sympathetic bias towards the authors positions, and a business relationship with the authors institution. Whether true or not, this creates a clear perception of “pal” not “peer” review of this work.
    Question: How and why have the listed peer reviewers changed multiple times after publication, and why were apparently qualified reviewers removed, after being listed, and replaced by the Associate Editor in charge of the paper?

    (b.) Upon publication a PDF was provided of the full paper. This PDF was included on the Frontiers page for the paper, and is referenced by Mr. Lewandowsky in the blog post above. In the days after publication, this PDF was removed from the Frontiers page. And several days later the link in the authors blog post above – which clearly states it is to the PDF of the paper – has been changed to point only to the abstract.

    Question: Why was the PDF removed and when will it be replaced?

    (c.) The authors of “Recursive” several times in the paper reference the supplementary material, and that it contains the additional detail information to support the claims and findings of the paper. Yet, as with the prior LOG12 paper, no supplementary has, by all appearances, been made available.

    Question: How/where can the supplementary material be obtained from the authors?

    4. In the Recursive paper the term “LOG12″ appears 120 times. The LOG12 paper is cited by the authors as a reference. And in fact the LOG12 paper is the entire basis for the Recursive paper. Yet the LOG12 paper as we know has notappeared in print or online, has not been published in any form to date, and no independent public acknowledgement has been made that the work has been reviewed and accepted by a scholarly journal for publication.

    Question: Please explain the professional, ethical and scholarly reasoning behind citing prior work as a reference in subsequent papers when this work; (a.) has drawn significant criticism (including from supporters of the authors), (b.) has not been published, and where (c.) the authors actions in withholding supplementary material – including raw data, methods and information which they note is critical to the papers findings – have resulted in the inability of outside reviewers to validate this work.

    5. In the “Recursive” paper the authors note as one of their “recursive hypothesis”the conspiracy theory “Control data suppressed (6)” … regarding the authors failed attempt to collect a “control” sample for the LOG12 papers findings from the campus population. The authors attributed this conspiracy theory to “the pervasive belief that something must be wrong (NI, MbW)”.

    In footnote “5” regarding the above comments, the authors note note they ”subsequently obtained a control sample via a professional survey firm in the U.S” and that “This representative sample of 1,000 respondents replicated the results involving conspiracist ideation reported by LOG12.”

    The authors own actions here – that the criticism prompted the authors to admit their campus survey had failed (a fact they did not disclose in the LOG12 paper) – and that they subsequently obtained a professional “control” survey, show that something most definitely was wrong, and thus the criticism was valid and well founded.

    Question: Please explain how you find well founded criticism – showing something indeed was wrong and the criticism was accurate – to be a “conspiracy theory” … an example of conspiracist ideation?

    Please explain how when the authors directly react to, and upon, the criticism, how this finding is not demonstrably proven false by the authors own response to the criticism?
    These are legitimate, reasoned, questions of the authors. They deserve a professional and honest response.

  22. I would like to see people like Lewandowsky held to account for their mischief, but litigation is not to be taken lightly; even if you are successful and the other side has to pay your costs, which is the usual position, their obligation to pay rarely covers all the legal costs; and you have to pay those costs, at least in part, in the first instance; and if you lose you may have to pay the other side’s costs as well as your own. Foxgoose should read this to start with:

    http://www.thenewsmanual.net/Resources/medialaw_in_australia_02.html

  23. Regarding the peer review – excepts of a couple posts also made at Lewandowsky’s blog, that fill in details:

    In the short period since this current paper was published online, the peer reviewer list has changed now at least 3 times:

    Original:
    Reviewed by: Michael J. Wood, University of Kent, United Kingdom
    Elaine McKewon, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

    Rev. 1:
    Reviewed by: Viren Swami, University of Westminster, United Kingdom
    Elaine McKewon, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

    Rev. 2:
    Reviewed by: Prathiba Natesan, University North Texas, USA
    Viren Swami, University of Westminster, United Kingdom
    Elaine McKewon, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

    Rev. 3:
    Reviewed by: Viren Swami, University of Westminster, United Kingdom
    Elaine McKewon, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

    I agree peer review is very important. I also agree once an article is made publicly available, readers should be able to rely on the fact peer review has been satisfactorily and professionally completed.

    And I most definitely agree with you that once a paper is made publicly available that the peer reviewers should not be changed or manipulated.

    Yet despite the “Recursive” paper being published by a professional journal – with the authors and journal clearly indicating it was “rigorously” peer reviewed before publication – in a short period after publication the listed peer reviewers have changed from the original now 3 different times. At present there is one reviewer listed, plus the Editor has also stepped into the role of a peer reviewer.

    A simple perusal of that one remaining reviewer’s CV shows her to be highly sympathetic to the authors and their point of view and positions. Her published papers include:

    McKewon, Elaine (2012) ‘Talking Points Ammo: The use of neoliberal think tank fantasy themes to delegitimise scientific knowledge of climate change in Australian newspapers’, Journalism Studies 13(2), 277-297

    McKewon, Elaine (2012) ‘Duelling Realities: Conspiracy theories vs climate science in regional newspaper coverage of Ian Plimer’s book, Heaven and Earth’, Rural Society 21(2), 99–115

    McKewon, E. (2009) ‘Resurrecting the war-by-media on climate science: Ian Plimer’s Heaven and Earth’,Proceedings of the National Conference of the Journalism Education Association of Australia, Perth WA.

    Some will certainly say these make her a perfect reviewer. Others might find them a perfect example of “pal review.”

    More advocate than scientist – considering the subject matter and position of her work, along with her journalism training and advocacy – and might recall at minimum the LOG12 authors appearance of manipulating the media through early release of the LOG12 paper and similar use of inflammatory and sensationalized commentary to gain media and public attention.

    Regrettably, having an agenda, being an activist/advocate of, and taking a particular side in, the issue you “research” in itself does not necessarily disqualify today.

    However, her CV also points out another issue – a direct business relationship with UWA, who publish two of her books. Which is a direct listed conflict of the journal.

    I would note there is also no provision for the Editor to also be a peer reviewer, and while as I noted Dr. Swami would be considered well qualified as a reviewer, an Editor overseeing and reviewing their own work would seem to entirely defeat the purpose of independent peer review.

    No conspiracy’s here. Everything I wrote above is based on plain and simple facts – including direct commentary from the authors.

  24. People at Skeptical Science (and John Cook) claimed a comment and post by Anthony Watts showed conspiratorial ideation because he suggested Al Gore had paid Skeptical Scicence to build a website. I think that’s silly as Skeptical Science’s involvement wasn’t hidden, and building a website is a normal activity, not some conspiratorial action. Regardless, the user Albatross said users should “ask [Anthony] publicly if he honestly thinks that there is no conspiring going on between SkS and Gore?”

    So, Anthony, do you think there is conspiring going on between Skeptical Science and Al Gore?

  25. What we appear to have is a Cook working to a recipe complied by a psychiatrist with a schizophrenic tendency.

    Hallucination and indigestion being the designed take home experience.

  26. I don’t get why people would think this sort of thing is intentional. Why would Cook and Lewandowsky intentionally fabricate quotes in such an obvious way? Fabricating quotes only serves a purpose if people believe those quotes. If people reading this paper followed the links in it, they’d see the fabrications. It takes no special skills or in-depth research.

    Who would intentionally write a paper and include links that make it incredibly easy to see the paper includes distortions and fabrications? Nobody. The only reason they’d do it is if they were unaware of what they’re doing. That’s incompetence, bias and things like that.

  27. foxgoose, I wouldn’t be so sure this was intentional. People with large biases are very good at misreading things. They’re also very good at forgetting inconvenient facts. Bias and incompetence can cause a great deal of apparently dishonest behavior.

    In this case, I suspect someone saw your comment out of context and didn’t bother to look at the discussion around it. They jumped to a conclusion, liked what they thought they saw, and they decided to include it in the paper. Laziness, bias and incompetence explains things just fine.

    It’s still a case of academic misconduct, but it most likely wasn’t intentional.

  28. From a legal perspective intention is to be inferred from the reasonable man standard or, in the case of specialists, what the reasonable standard of knowledge a specialist in question would be expected to know.

    Lewandowsky is a behavioural expert and expert in the scientific method; it is reasonable, therefore, to assume he did what he did deliberately.

  29. In light of the extremely unusual “music chairs” going on with the listed peer reviewers, a look at who these reviewers are would seem a logical exercise. Of course the authors would call that reasoned review yet another conspiracy theory – but lets go ahead anyway.

    On the the “Recursive” paper’s title page of the original PDF is this prominently highlighted comment from the authors:

    “This Provisional PDF corresponds to the article as it appeared upon acceptance, after rigorous peer-review.”

    The authors clearly state the paper had undergone “rigorous peer review” prior to acceptance. Yet as we know, the listed peer reviewers have undergone 4 different iterations after publication – multiple different variations of listed peer reviewers.

    This is highly unusual – and in my personal opinion high unprofessional. It goes directly against the entire premise of rigorous peer review. And it becomes worse when one of the remaining peer reviewers has every appearance of outright “pal review” … and the 2nd remaining reviewer listed when the music stopped, is the responsible editor of the paper.

    So lets look at additional facts regarding the various peer reviewers listed and the Recursive and LOG12 papers themselves.

    1. Each of the original two listed peer reviewers of the Recursive also received cites to their own work in the references for this paper. Not necessarily an issue in itself, however, when taken as part of the whole – it at least seems worth scrutiny.

    2. It is highly unusual that a paper will see any changes to the listed peer reviewers after publication … a single change is rare, let alone 3 different changes with 4 different reviewers listed, in a short period. There is little logical or legitimate reason to have a change of listed peer reviewers after publication. Both because peer reviewers can not change once review is complete, and because the journals own rules provide that reviewers are not identified until the paper is complete, signed off on by Editor, and accepted by the journal for publication.

    The only acceptable reason a listed reviewer might change after publication is to correct a simple error – that somehow the wrong individual was listed. We know that was not the case here, for several reasons. Both initial reviewers are listed as a reference in the paper, so we know both are involved. And we know it was not a simple mistake, as the listed reviewers have changed three different times.

    3. After Michael Wood was removed (who seemed fairly well qualified) as a reviewer, and Mr. Viren Swami was added in his place, for a short period a 3rd peer reviewer – Ms. Prathiba Natesan, University North Texas was added to the reviewer list. As a teacher of psychological statistics Dr. Natesan appears to have been well qualified – especially to review the underlying LOG12 work for accuracy. A brief review shows no appearance of bias or strong advocacy.

    Unfortunately Ms. Nateson was soon removed as well, leaving the one original reviewer – the highly sympathetic journalism student Ms. McKewon – and the Editor, Dr. Swami. While Dr. Swami would likely be well qualified as a peer reviewer, it seems highly problematic and unethical for an Editor to also be a peer reviewer on a paper they are responsible for Editorial control over.

    The myriad of changes, post publication, of the listed peer reviewers is no simple mistake. This was clearly no mere typographical error. You don’t get the listed peer reviewers for a paper wrong three different times after publication.

    Add the fact the PDF of the paper has been pulled from the journal and the authors websites.

    Now take the inconsistencies and problems apparent with this current paper, and add the context of the issues with the LOG12 paper:

    - The early release to mainstream media of a flawed paper with a highly sensationalized inflammatory title – a title attacked and vilified by even strong supporters of the authors

    – A title that reflected a minor finding of the research, a finding barely supported by the data, and which all but disappeared when the suspect responses were removed

    – The strong and relevant issues with the authors data collection practices and the resultant very small sample of alleged “skeptic” responses

    – Despite repeated claims from the authors that the answers could be found in the Supplemental information – no SI has ever been provided and they continue to ignore all such requests

    – Despite the authors continued claims – including cites in their subsequent papers – now 9 months after the authors initial claim, the LOG12 paper has still not, been published, and to my knowledge there has been no independent public confirmation or announcement that it has been accepted for publication

    So we have one paper – LOG12 – which has serious questions about its data collection, data quality, statistical analysis and conclusions … and which has to date primarily been used for advocacy/attack thru its release to the media by the authors. A paper that has never been published, nor even acknowledged to be accepted for publication, despite repeated and continued claims by the authors it was “In Press.”

    And now we have a new paper, which cites as a reference, and is directly based on, the unpublished and unverified LOG12 paper, with its serious and unaddressed questions as to quality and accuracy … and this new paper has similar issues, including outright false claims about other authors work. A paper where legitimate concerns have been raised as well – about peer review, falsely citing several references/sources, incorrectly stating conclusions etc..

    These are fair and legitimate questions and criticisms – based on fact. Perhaps there are simple answers, however, as is now seemingly becoming a pattern with these authors and this line of work, there are no answers forthcoming.

    There is no conspiracy theory, nor is one needed. They are valid, legitimate questions. The authors have refused to address them here, just as they refused to address questions about the LOG12 paper …

    This is in my opinion not the mark of professional scholarly work and/or ethical and open authors. Their own actions lend support to the claims this is not scholarly work, but rather an extension of the authors practice of “Punitive Psychology” thru their extreme advocacy and activism in support of their “Cause”.

    Last – It is not a ‘conspiracy’ to ask authors to respond to legitimate criticism and questions. It is not ‘conspiracy’ to expect authors to provide the necessary support and documentation to validate and verify their work. Nor is it ‘conspiracy’ to attempt to validate and verify their work and its review…

  30. I wonder if this rubbish being put out by Lewandowsky and Cook have anything to do with a major contributor to SkS ( Dana Nuccitelli ) going off with John Abraham to set up a new blog site , sponsored by the Guardian. That is , Nuccitelli doesn’t buy the Lewandowsky line either.

  31. Brandon Shollenberger says:
    March 9, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    I don’t get why people would think this sort of thing is intentional. Why would Cook and Lewandowsky intentionally fabricate quotes in such an obvious way? Fabricating quotes only serves a purpose if people believe those quotes. If people reading this paper followed the links in it, they’d see the fabrications. It takes no special skills or in-depth research.

    Brandon, do you think Mann’s abuse of statistics in so many of his paleo papers was unintentional? I think it more likely that Mann (along with Lew and Cook), wouldn’t expect anyone but Skeptics to object. Much like we saw in the CRU emails, the only objections by compatriots were in private. The know that the objections by skeptics would be ignored by the MSM, and therefore the public at large.

    I don’t know if all of the LewCookian missteps were intentional, but you have to believe that some of them were.

  32. Brandon and A. Scott,

    Thanks to you both for many informative comments. While I have not devoted the same degree of scrutiny to these matters that each of you have, I do agree with Brandon that there probably is not conscious or intentional malfeasance in this and some related cases. There is a great deal of passion, bias, and ideological motivation involved. People like Lewandowsky and Cook are so certain they are right and so heartily despising their critics that they cannot proceed with sufficient deliberation and care, it seems. I do think a lot of the failings of alarmist types has more to do with confirmation bias, ideology, and save-the-world hysteria than any conscious malfeasance. Noble cause corruption, indeed.

  33. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable about cognitive psychology than Stephan Lewandowsky has proved to be should write up an article or case study on this sordid affair, analyzing cognitive biases and failings in relation to such general concepts as:

    Group think
    Confirmation bias
    Cognitive distortion
    Noble cause corruption

    Plus related more specific and technical terms in the psychology literature.

  34. Incompetence or malign intent (conspiracy)?
    I have no problem using the word ‘conspiracy’ when we are referring to a couple of fanatical activists who have already displayed their dishonesty on many occasions.
    It is not in the same league as the whacky ‘9/11′ or ‘Faked Lunar Landing’ conspiracies which they would like to try and tie us to, it is just a case of two sad losers getting to the end of their use-by dates and flailing around desperately for something with which to attack science and reason. They are in the same league as two punks who plan to break into a parked car but if they plan it then it is a conspiracy and I see no reason to shy away from the word.

  35. Jeff Alberts:

    Brandon, do you think Mann’s abuse of statistics in so many of his paleo papers was unintentional?

    Definitely. I don’t think he has the knowledge or skill for the work he tried to do. He has never done anything to indicate otherwise, and he’s done much to indicate it. I challenge anyone to find anything he has ever written that inspires confidence in his abilities.

  36. A closer read will show Lewandowsky actually set up the current “Recursive” paper in a way that allows them to ignore the factual basis and/or truthfulness of any claim. Its not a conspiracy theory if its true – except in Lewndowskys world of activism and advocacy based ‘Punitive Psychology.’

  37. Chris B says:
    March 9, 2013 at 9:05 pm
    This song reminds me of what Dr. Lew’s work is to science.

    _______________________________________

    The illuminati made me do it……….

  38. RossP
    I’m sure your guess about Nuccitelli not buying the Lewandowsky line is correct.
    In the leaked internal SkepticalScience correspondence (the TreeHouse Files) Cook enthuses about Lewandowsky and their projects on no less than 54 threads. Only once (on the subject of their joint Debunker’s handbook) does anyone reply.
    The rest of the gang just don’t seem too enthusiastic about Lew, or Cook’s admiration for Lew’s habit of “poking the ants’ nest.”
    Cook has a young family, and no obvious income from SkS. Thanks to his association with Lewandowsky, he’s got some kind of University post. Their joint paper, which defames me and Foxgoose and others, has been withdrawn from the journal’s website because of a complaint from Jeff Id and will surely never be published. It’s quite sad really.

    I’ve got copies of my original posts, before they were mangled, if Brandon or anyone is interested.

  39. They know they’re being sloppy though, so they know these things are likely to happen. If you drive your car around wearing a blindfold we won’t accept that you didn’t intend to crash the car.

  40. Sorry Brandon, I should have thanked you for all the work you’ve done on this. I should have done it myself. I did some posts on this paper starting with

    http://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/lewandowsky-the-liar/

    and

    http://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/lews-lies-2-trick-or-tweet/

    but I was more interested in Cook’s false claim to have advertised the LOG12 “Moon Landing” survey at Skeptical Science. Since this claim is repeated in the 2013 paper; this alone would be a reason to withdraw it , if it ever comes back to life.
    If Brandon or A Scott want to get in touch, just comment at one of the above posts.

  41. geoffchambers, I would definitely be interested. At the very least, it would let me (dis)confirm my guess as to how they came up with that fabricated quote. That’d be great. My e-mail address is just my name, separated by a period, at gmail.

    By the way, your comment about their forum reminds me I’ve still never looked at it. Is there a working link for the files?

  42. Geoff, I believe it was Cook’s other pal Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (“Barrier Reef doomed”) who’d had a lot to do with that appointment…

    Was waiting outside the GCI boardroom, the door opened, Ove came out and said, trying to lighten the mood, “come in for your execution”. Uh, thanks, Ove! So I started my PPT explaining what I hoped to do in the role. Was surprisingly relaxed (but still quite psyched about it all). I quoted a CSIRO scientist who at a communication workshop said “to get the climate message across, we need to make climate science cool… Like what skeptical science is doing”. This got a good reaction. Then to show an example of what I’d like to do, I handed out my iPad with The Elements app (with carbon as the selected element). You should’ve seen their eyes light up. Ove asked the name of the app and scribbled down the name in his notes. Then at one point, I also handed out my iPod with the SkS app (joking about all my props). I mentioned that Malcolm Turnbull had the SkS app (thanks James) which also lit up their eyes.
    So the talk went well. Then they asked questions. One question was how I’d handle interdisciplinary matters with experts from different fields disagreeing about issues, how I’d resolve differences. I tried to think of examples in the SkS community where there were disputes but I couldn’t think of anything substantial. You lot just get on together too well!

    They asked what would I consider successful in my job after 3 years. I said if Australia still had a price on carbon in 3 years, I’d consider that a success (that would require a major turning of public opinion about carbon pricing in this country, which will probably be my main purpose for the next year or two).

    Ove also asked what my career plans were, where I hoped to be in 10 years. I had expected this kind of question but to be honest, I have no career plans – probably a huge faux pas in a job interview but I have no ambition other than making a difference. So maybe that was a bad answer (a bit sappy really, something you’d say in a Disney movie).

    Anyway, they said they’d be deciding the position at the end of the day and I went home, pretty satisfied that I got through it without walking into any furniture or drooling down my chin.

    At the end of the day, I got a phone call from GCI. They said they had 3 interviews. The other two applicants “were quite strong”. Then they offered me the job.

    In fairness to JC when you glance over the job description he does seem to have it nailed. Why that position needs to exist is another debate to be had…

  43. There are many proverbs that could be applied to their antics but I think this one fits best.
    Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for him.
    Proverbs 26:12
    A fool comes in for a great deal of stick from the writer of proverbs so to have less hope is a bad place to be.
    James Bull

  44. Charles Gerard Nelson says:
    March 9, 2013 at 2:46 pm
    I think Cook and Lewandowsky would have made a great comedy duo in the days of music hall or silent film. They combine that subtle blend of qualities that made acts like Laurel and Hardy and Abbott and Costello much loved household names… much of the comedy arises from their attempts to cover up and hide the escalating trail of mistakes they have made… and like all great comedic creations, when they’re in a hole they just dig faster!
    …In years to come (and sooner than you think) we will look back on the Golden Age of climate comedy when stars like Lewandowsky and Cook who infuriated us, made us laugh and sometimes even reduced us to tears with their daft antics – have left the firmament.
    We may never see their like again.

    I wrote this skit after the moon landing paper:

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/lewd-lew-and-aggie-w-a-failed-romance/

  45. Hmmm …….. quite a lot to absorb over the day’s first espresso.

    I’d like to thank Brandon & A Scott for the huge amount of work they’ve put in to deconstructing this paper. I must say though that I find the idea that the fraud was unintentional a bit hard to swallow.

    To believe it, you’d have to accept that Lew & Cookie put less work and due diligence into their academic papers than we knuckle dragging denialists put into the average blog post.

    Either way, whether through intentional fraud or cavalier incompetence, I would have thought Brandons’ revelations are enough to end both their academic careers quite soon – and to seriously damage the careers of those who have promoted their fraudulent garbage.

    I have now written to the human research ethics manager at UWA, copied to their chairman and vice-chancellor, asking them to withdraw the paper or accept legal consequences.

    If they don’t reply tomorrow, I may paste that email here for the record.

  46. eric1skeptic says:
    March 9, 2013 at 10:45 am

    That cat of yours has amazing powers. I just discovered/donated to Heifer.

  47. I have been meaning to write to the editor of Psychological Science to ask, the status of the ‘moon’ paper (I’ll compose somthing later)

    as it is surely untenable for the journals reputation, now that Lew, is attacking critics of the ‘moon’ paper and citing it in other papers, when the critics have no formal response to the paper in the journal open to them, because it is still in press.

    Perhaps if the autho rof this article were to do the same, with a summary of the concerns here, we may get some idea of the status, as it is in the journals reputational interests aswell.

    This paper had wide press coverage and debate (yet nobody can formally respond to th epeer reviewed journal yet) untenable for science

  48. Brandon Shollenberger
    I’ll try and find all my posts at SkS and Lewandowsky’s UWA site and send them on.
    No I don’t know of a working link for the files. They’re 60Mo and I don’t know how to do complicated stuff like zipping. Barry Woods has them. I’ll ask him to forward them to you.

  49. Cohenite:

    Lewandowsky is a behavioural expert and expert in the scientific method; it is reasonable, therefore, to assume he did what he did deliberately.

    In Lewandowsky’s defence, it’s doubtful that he understands the scientific method, let alone is an expert in it.

    This doubt was first raised, for me, when I read Lewandowsky’s mistaken, bizarre and self-contradictory claim that

    Science is inherently sceptical, and peer-review is the instrument by which scientific scepticism is pursued.

    The simplest reductio ad absurdum For Dummies of this claim is the demonstrable fact that you can do science without the peer-review system—which is exactly what scientists did for 200 or so years, until the post-WW2 glut in research made it necessary for journal editors to farm out the pre-publication filtering process to domain experts—but you cannot do science without skepticism, and never could, and never will.

    In fact, Lewandowsky’s claim is so ridiculous that I asked him point-blank, in a comment at shapingtomorrowsworld,

    1. whether he understood what the scientific method is,

    2. and if not, how he could claim to know what science is,

    3. and if not, why he presumed to sit in judgment of “deniers” for “rejecting” science,

    4. and what the heck he meant by “rejecting science.”

    I’d link you to my question, but it was deleted by a moderator.

  50. Foxgoose, Queensland has an Act of Parliament called “Public Sector Ethics Act 1994″ This Act comes under the criminal code and applies to Queensland University which is specifically named. John Cook can be cited for breaching this act as well as all his higher supervisors. Unfortunately, there is no similar Act in Western Australia. The University of WA would have its own code of conduct to protect its name but it seems the hierarchy there are AGW supporters. and give Lewandowsky free rein to make derogatory comments about people who have better understanding than he does.

  51. geoff:

    No I don’t know of a working link for the files. They’re 60Mo and I don’t know how to do complicated stuff like zipping.

    If you’re on a Mac, highlight all the files, right-click on the highlight and choose “Compress 17 Items” from the contextual menu that pops up.

    It will then place a file called Archive.zip (without destroying the original files) in the same folder.

  52. In a way the sad part of this is that no matter how fair or accurate the criticism , for Lewandowsky this criticism will itself be seen has a ‘sign’ of a conspiracy at work out to silence a great ‘truth seeker’ has the follow up paper shows.
    In short, has with 9/11 truthers , there is nothing you can say to make him believe his not right .

  53. I wonder if humans will ever get out of the ‘I’m right and your mad’ methodology of passing ones time on earth.

  54. Chris B says:
    March 9, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    2:56 says it all.
    —————————————————————
    Odd video. His camera presence reminds my of a character out of Second City TV. Dan Ackryod or Eugene Levy comes to mind.

  55. Re intentional distortions of data versus unintentional:
    I’m not sure how much it matters whether these academic failings are from gross incompetence or intention. Lewadowski and the rest clearly demonstrate themselves unfit to hold their positions. Period.
    Last month the company I work for (oil and gas exploration) let go several employees that were not performing. No one asked them if they were underperforming intentionally! They were simply unfit and let go.

    The minimum standards of performance at universities is clearly appalling.

  56. What does amaze me in this latest in a series of academic abuses, is the following: Are university professors in such high demand, so desperately needed, that universities need to suffer with such incompetence? Are sociology professors so desperately needed that we must even put up with the bad ones that fabricate research?

    How sad it is to see university slowly transform from centers of higher learning to scamming half their students out of tuition with useless degrees taught by professional failures. I suspect the transformation of University as expanding business is partly to blame for creating the Lewandowskys. But perhaps I’m revealing my bitterness earned from the 10 years I spent in University!

  57. Brandon, you are a ‘babe in the woods’ when you seek to explain that this was a whoopsie.

    If it was a newbie, you just might (although I wouldn’t) proffer this excuse.

    These people have been around for years and ought to understand the basics of citation. It was drummed into me long before I got my undergraduate degree. These guys are professors!

    Not only that, when I spent time in the working world as a policy adviser to politicians, I and my colleagues busted our collective freckle to make sure that every word we put into our briefs was triple-checked from the source. (I am not claiming that all advisers adhered to this standard).

    The point is, you are too innocent. You need to read some Miss Marple. She has a lot to say about young people who are very casual about manners and mores while completely missing the murderer in the room.

    Neither my undergraduate supervisors nor my supervisors in providing briefs to Premiers and Prime Ministers would have put up with what you describe for a second.

    This kind of stuff doesn’t happen in isolation. People at that level who jumble up, misattribute and make up quotes are not just making a ‘whoopsie’. And if they did, the usual thing would be to acknowledge that and move on. Nobody in academia loses points for that.

    You need to understand that it is not about conspiracy theories on either side, but about malfeasance in this particular case. As Miss Marple said, “most unsatisfactory behaviour.”

  58. daviditron, and Johanna

    You both make excellent points. I suppose my background thought in urging an assumption of unintentional behavior is that we ought to focus upon the flagrant and unacceptable incompetence which can be so readily documented, rather than debate about motives and intentions which can be difficult to prove (unless there is an actual statement of intended malfeasance available).

    I do try to assume the best in people until that proves unwarranted, but in any case what we can prove is that the “Recursive Fury” paper is another train wreck.

    This time the egregious abuse of proper sourcing and documentation should really sink these clowns….. Oh wait, they are on the side of politically correct academics so who knows what can happen.

  59. I think Lewandowsky and Cook are alien fifth columnists sent here, along with Mann and friends, to trick the human race into dismantling their most efficient power generating tools and switching to wind and solar energy. Their battle fleet will then unfurl a giant sunshade which will blot out the sun. The resultant massive storms will then wreck all the wind turbines. With Earth unable to generate power, the aliens will then be able to creep up on us in the dark and take over.

    There you are Dr Lew = my sceptic gift to you.

    Do I really have to say /sarc?

  60. Foxgoose, please go for these charlatans with all you have; thanks to poster above who’ve given you extra ammo.

    It’s time decent people stood up to those perverting the scientific process while using their trusted academic status to push a certain political viewpoint. It’s time to expose this farce in its own home wherever we can.

  61. The “Recursive fury” paper fails to consider an alternative hypothesis. If psychology expert L came along and said that you should not be listened to about subject A, (which you believe strongly about,) because:-
    (a) Nearly all the “experts” disagree with you.
    (b) Some fellow believers allegedly have political beliefs that the person L does not like.
    (c) A higher proportion of your fellow believers than L’s group allegedly hold other beliefs that most people view as being “wierd”.
    Then you would be somewhat upset – a normal, human, reaction. If you later found out that the claims about the experts were not true, the questions were biased and the statistical conclusions were contradicted by basic statistical analysis, you would be justifiably furious.
    Like with people who attribute every extreme weather event to global warming, Lewandowsky bases his case for ignoring sceptical opinions on a distorted opinion of corrupted evidence. When it gets a very predictable response, he interprets this with a distorted opinion of corrupted evidence. The only recursive bit is in the methods Lewandowsky employs.

  62. As an update, thanks to geoffchambers sending me his original comment, I can confirm how the fabricated quote came into being. It is exactly as I suggested in this post.

    For those who think I’m being too naive/innocent, tell me this: Who would fabricate a quote like that on purpose when it is so easy to expose? The fabricated quote doesn’t even help their case much so why take the risk?

  63. Over at Skeptical Science, Tom Curtis responded to this post by saying this post is a non-substantive response. All I have to say to that is… wow. It’s already been established the authors grossly misrepresented the views of Jeff Id in their paper, and now it’s been established they misquoted multiple people.

    How much deception has to be shown before it matters?

  64. I recently stumbled upon a file from an FOI request I wasn’t aware of before. It shows Stephan Lewandowsky intentionally left his name off messages sent to “skeptic-leaning” blogs to invite them to participate in his survey so they wouldn’t be aware of his association. Given this, consider how many times he said things like:

    First out of the gate was the claim that I did not contact 5 “skeptic” or “skeptic-leaning” blogs to link to the survey….
    It will be noted that all 4 have publically stated during the last few days/weeks that they were not contacted.

    He intentionally hid his involvement when the e-mails were sent out then mocked people who said they weren’t contacted by him. How can they be faulted for not knowing something he intentionally hid from them? They can’t, of course. Unless you’re like John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky. Then you’ll publish papers that say things like:

    Within short order, 25 \skeptical” bloggers had come publicly forward (http://www.webcitation.org/6APs1GdzO) to state that they had not been approached by the researchers. Of those 25 public declarations, 5 were by individuals who were invited to post links to the study by LOG12 in 2010.

    If we follow the link he provides, we don’t find 25 people saying they were not “approached by the researchers.” What we find is is a blogger who says the names are “names of skeptics who confirm they were not asked to host this survey.” That blogger doesn’t include links to the actual words by the 25 people so there is no way to confirm what Lewandowsky et al claim in their published paper.

    Did the five people contacted actually deny being contacted? Perhaps. Or perhaps they said they didn’t think they were contacted. Or perhaps they denied being contacted by Stephan Lewandowksy. Either of those alternatives would be completely reasonable and likely caused by Lewandowsky’s intentional effort to hide information from the bloggers. Those reasonable alternatives are excluded from this paper based entirely upon Jo Anne Nova’s possibly inaccurate description of what people said. Is it a misquotation? That’s hard to say for sure. I think it is, but without tracking down the actual words used, it’s impossible to be sure.

    One thing I can be sure of is Lewandowsky et al used hearsay rather than actual quotes. It may be accurate hearsay, but it is still just hearsay. That is not acceptable evidence for a scientific paper.

  65. Moderator at SkS cracks his whip at Brandon Shollenberger with the following,

    Moderator Response: [JH] Given the repetitive and meandering nature of your posts, you are now skating on the thin ice of sloganeering. You are hereby advised to change course, or get off of the ice.

    As if ‘sloganeering’ isn’t a vague enough offence already, Brandon is accused of indirect sloganeering based on alleged repetition and meandering. (isn’t a single instance of a ‘slogan’ in his post)

    I hope you can live with yourself Brandon, you repetitious meanderer you.

  66. Brandon Shollenberger says:
    March 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    “For those who think I’m being too naive/innocent, tell me this: Who would fabricate a quote like that on purpose when it is so easy to expose? The fabricated quote doesn’t even help their case much so why take the risk?”

    Few things with this. 1. What risk? Throughout history people lie, get caught and still people believe them. We can look at classic cases such as news reporters… take the NYTs walter dunley and his cover up of mass genocide. It took over 40 years before people stopped believing his lies. Worse was the facts were well known at the time. Many reports spoke the truth and were ignored.

    Look at another case such as old bagdad bob… even though many news groups were showing LIVE footage of him lying…. millions of people in the middle east believed everything he said and were shocked to find out he was lying. If you have all your buddies backing you and know even if you get caught you’ll still have a job and be able to lie again… what risk?

    You assume that their is indeed risk… yet I see no risk him him doing this. When we look in both history and in the history of global warming cultistism we can see many supposed scientists being caught red handed lying even breaking the law… climategate was picture perfect in these respects. What happened to those scientists who blocked FOA? Who lied repeated, who likely destroyed research data… among other things.

    Were they fired? Jailed? Even shamed a little bit? No….

    So I ask you please explain the risk that these people face by lying? By cheating, by faking data, by doing anything… because I have yet to see this risk you speak up.

    As to why… have you ever spent much time reading sociology research? Or for that matter really any research paper…

    Most are a mess of claims that are not backed up by the research they use. Others are merely huge long winded rehashes of past questionable papers to make the new paper look stronger because it got all these other papers that supposedly support it. Many many papers nowadays are produced to create press release and to create what can be called “evidence by mass citation”. In simplest forms they take some completely BS research thats clearly fake and worthless. Produce a paper… then produce a bunch of papers based on that paper, each becomes more and more “sure” its right because it has more and more citations “supporting it”. Even though the evidence hasn’t changed it becomes more and more accepted…end run is basically they create huge numbers of hypotheis and claim by the mere fact that this paper created all these hypothesis thus the first paper must be correct.

    These tactics and many versions of them have been very effective both by cultists and others throughout history.

  67. Lewandowski is a disgrace to both science and the field of psychology. John Cook is his stooge, toady, and lapdog.

    Go ahead and analyze that for a conspiracy theory.

  68. Brandon, you have my respect and admiration for trying to clean out the Augean Stables of the Cook/Lewandowsky world but that tedious SkS thread with Curtis, Honeycutt, and Willard is unreal. Even Hercules with river waters could not clean up that bunch….

  69. Brandon,
    Jo Nova contacted various people about whether they’d been contacted by Lewandowsky. I’ve obtained copies of the emails from Pielke, Morano and Spencer to Jo Nova. Other than Spencer, no one made categeorical statements that they’d not been contacted. For example, I said that I had no record of being contacted by Lewandowsky (which was true). I was aware that I might have received an email and deleted it and therefore expressed my answer carefully. So did Pielke and Morano.

    Contrary to Lewandowsky’s claim, none of us made “public” statements that we had not been contacted. We responded privately to an enquiry to Jo Nova. her blog post reported our information in more categorical terms than I or the others had expressed. I wasn’t following her blog and didn’t notice this at the time. Lewandowsky made no attempt to verify what we had told her with us.

  70. As noted above, Geoff Chambers corresponded with John Cook about whether he had posted the Lew survey at SKS. Cook’s answer to Chambers at the time was a baldfaced lie (established by FOI materials that I plan to post up.)

  71. DaveA, I recently read a comment from the Skeptical Science forum leak by the user, John Hartz. I assume it’s the same person who warned me there and was probably the one who deleted my comment asking them to moderate Tom Curtis for his flagrant violations of SKS rules. In this comment, he said:

    I still believe that Tayor set a “honey trap” for Peter Gleick because Gleick had the audacity to publicly call Taylor out on one of Taylor’s op-eds posted on Forbes.

    It makes his moderation decisions a bit more… something.

    Skiphil, I’m amazed at how Tom Curtis constantly focuses on points of semantics and constantly gets them wrong. For example, he devoted quite a few words to saying if something was “fabricated,” it had to have been done so intentionally. In his latest comment, he says:

    First, if the misquotes were inadvertent (as Shollenberger purports to believe), they were not deception.

    Even a quick Google search is enough to show this wrong. Unintentional deception is something talked about by plenty of people. There is nothing unusual or contradictory about my wording, and yet, he devotes an entire point/paragraph to it. You might remember this sort of behavior from a post you commented on. For a person who spends so much time talking about what words means, he seems to have no idea what words mean.

    By the way, he’s doing Cook and Lewandowsky proud now:

    “The fabricated[sic] quote doesn’t even help their case much so why take the risk?”

    If the quotes do not help their case, then removing them does not weaken their case. Ergo, criticizing these quotes does not contribute to showing that the evidence presented overall is faulty; or that the conclusions drawn do not follow from the evidence.

    I said a single quote doesn’t help Lewandowsky et al’s case much. Curtis portrayed this as me saying the quotes do not help their case. He’s flagrantly misrepresenting my remarks discussing… the flagrant misrepresentations of people’s remarks. I criticized the paper for distorting quotes. He disputes my case by… distorting quotes.

    It’s recursive!

  72. By the way, I’ve decided to probably stop posting on that Skeptical Science thread due to their ridiculous moderation practices. There is no way to deny Tom Curtis has repeatedly accused me of dishonesty, but the moderators have refused to do anything about it. And when I tried to draw attention to the issue, they deleted my comment.

    I’ve posted a comment asking them to enforce their rules. If they don’t, I’m done posting on that page. I’ve done enough to draw attention to the tactic they’re using. It’s practically the same as I highlighted before:

    They allowed Tom Curtis to dispute my remarks with comments that flagrantly violate the site’s rules, but nobody actually associated with SkS challenged me. Two interpretations come to mind.

    1) The people behind SkS are laundering their defense through Tom Curtis. If challenged as to why they didn’t address my criticism, they can point to his “rebuttal.” The explanation for their hypocritical moderation decisions is they “need” Tom Curtis to post his nonsense for plausible deniability.

    2) The people behind SkS are aware of my criticisms, do not support what Tom Curtis has said, and they simply are remaining silent. They are intentionally allowing inaccuracies in several of their posts, knowing it will mislead their readers. The explanation for their hypocritical moderation decisions is simple and extreme bias.

    Other interpretations may exist, but I don’t think any will be more favorable than those two, and I certainly don’t think any could show intellectual honesty. This doesn’t prove SkS is wrong about everything, or even much of what, they post, but it does severely damage their credibility.

  73. Welp, that pretty much settles it. SKS is outright dishonest. The comment I referred to above lasted all of about an hour. It was deleted before my comment about it here even cleared moderation.

    SKS allows users to break its rules in order to attack people saying things it dislikes, and it deletes comments that draw attention to such rule-breaking. Outright dishonesty.

    Dare I say, it is almost conspiratorial?

  74. Steve McIntyre:

    Jo Nova contacted various people about whether they’d been contacted by Lewandowsky. I’ve obtained copies of the emails from Pielke, Morano and Spencer to Jo Nova. Other than Spencer, no one made categeorical statements that they’d not been contacted.

    Thanks for confirming my suspicions. I didn’t have the information to show what you say, but I suspected it. For what it’s worth, I’m not sure I’d say Spencer’s statement was categorial. He said, “[I]t doesn’t look like I was contacted.” It can “look like” something didn’t happen even though it did. By hiding his involvement, Lewandowsky created room for that sort of confusion.

    her blog post reported our information in more categorical terms than I or the others had expressed.

    This possibility was obvious, and it was one I considered immediately upon reading her post. It is difficult to imagine how Lewandowsky et al could publish hearsay like this without realizing the risk.

    As noted above, Geoff Chambers corresponded with John Cook about whether he had posted the Lew survey at SKS. Cook’s answer to Chambers at the time was a baldfaced lie (established by FOI materials that I plan to post up.)

    Thanks for drawing my attention to that comment. I didn’t notice it when it first got posted, and I might have missed it all together if you hadn’t mentioned it. It’s crazy just what these people will do.

  75. With Anthony and the mods’ permission, I would like to post this comment which I have just put up at Lewandowsky’s “Shaping Tomorrow’s World” blog.

    http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/news.php?p=2&t=74&&n=188#comments

    I would also like again to thank Brandon and others who have helped with background on this matter:-

    Professor Lewandowsky

    I am commenting late on this thread because I have just become aware of several serious instances of falsification and academic fraud in this paper – one of which involves myself.

    It appears that words in a comment I made on this blog were linked in a way which completely changed their meaning and context – with the clear intention of fraudulently supporting the paper’s aims while exposing me to ridicule for an opinion I had never expressed.

    I replied to a comment by Eli Rabett who had used the words “Human Subject folk” as a reference to your university’s ethics panel. The discussion centred on whether you you could hide behind your ethics people to avoid naming the sceptical blog proprietors you claimed to have directly contacted. I expressed doubt that the Human Subiects even existed since I didn’t believe you had contacted the individuals ( a surmise which subsequently proved to be correct).

    You linked to my comment, in the paper, as an example of “conspiratorial” belief that no human subjects had taken part in the research, a completely different proposition and one which, if true, would confirm the psychological defects you were alleging in people who share my opinions.

    The fact is, it wasn’t true – and using my comment in that way was fraudulent. I have also taken preliminary legal advice and determined that it may also have been libellous – provided that I can show that there are a reasonable number of readers who are aware of my real identity – which is the case.

    I have now made contact with UWA Human Research Ethics Dept, as well as your Board Chairman and Vice Chancellor, and requested that they investigate this complaint.

    I am also approaching the University of Queensland with a similar complaint about your co-author John Cook. I understand that, because of certain provisions of the legal code in Queensland, there may also be criminal aspects to this type of behaviour there.

    The purpose of this post is to give you an opportunity to withdraw the offending material from the paper and make a public apology to me here.

    The full details of the academic frauds you have perpetrated on myself and others are covered in this linked blogpost at WUWT – where I will also post this comment in case it does not appear here.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/09/stephan-lewandowsky-and-john-cook-making-things-up/#comments

    If you wish to make contact with me to discuss the wording of an apology – you may contact me using the email address I have already supplied to your university’s authorities.

  76. This is an amusing example of just how bad Tom Curtis proves to be at textual analysis, even though he seems to fantasize that he is some master of the art. Curtis butchers a simple sentence by Brandon, turning singular into plural and “much” into “at all” so that Curtis can tear down a straw figure of his own creation. What Brandon did NOT say is that all the quotes (plural) did not help the Cook/Lew argument at all. He said ONE quote singular did not help the case “much” relative to the risk undergone (risk of being exposed and have their entire argument discredited). Yet, using one bogus quote which didn’t help their case “much” was part of the risk taken by the bumbling Cook/Lewandowsky team to create a fatuous article which they hoped would serve its propaganda uses. That is what such propagandists do.
    [emphasis added]

    [Brandon]:
    “The fabricated [sic] quote doesn’t even help their case much so why take the risk?”

    [Tom Curtis]:
    If the quotes do not help their case, then removing them does not weaken their case. Ergo, criticizing these quotes does not contribute to showing that the evidence presented overall is faulty; or that the conclusions drawn do not follow from the evidence.

  77. Skiphil, the worst part is how much any particular quote “matters” for a case depends on many factors. It is perfectly possible for one quote to almost not matter while another quote is vital. I could have said that misquote was completely irrelevant, and it wouldn’t necessarily indicate the other misquotes were unimportant.

    Anyway, for those who haven’t been keeping track, there are five distinct quotation/citation errors in this paper. There are the three I discussed in this post, a fourth where inaccurate hearsay from Jo Anne Nova was published as fact, and a fifth where Jeff Id’s views were grossly mischaracterized. In all five cases, Lewandowsky et al’s case was strengthen by the distortions. And those are just the quotation/citation errors (I’ve noticed) in the paper. I haven’t touched on the inaccurate characterization of issues, factual errors or failures of logic.

    It would be impossible to qualify the effect of errors in this paper without going through it and writing a running commentary. The result would be almost as long as the paper itself. I think it suffices to say if the authors cannot be trusted to portray quotations accurately, they cannot be trusted to portray anything accurately.

  78. foxgoose, good luck! Let me know if it reaches the point where the paper itself needs to be examined, not just how the authors handled your quote. There are many distortions in the paper that don’t (directly) involve quotations. I didn’t discuss them here because I was sticking with the most obvious problems, but if a thorough examination of the paper is necessary for your complaint, I could write up a much more detailed review.

    As you would expect, the authors distort far more than quotes.

  79. Thanks Brandon – if you want to make direct contact, I’ll copy you in on any further correspondence.

    My email is foxgoose at hotmail.co.uk

  80. Brandon

    I’ve had a look at the twittering over your comments at the SkS Tree House and noticed that Tom Curtis (once you’ve ploughed through all the pompous circumlocution) actually accepts your point that the quote involving me was a “misquote”.

    Quote:-

    What, however, of the alleged misquotes. In the first, a quote from Foxgoose is presented as alleging that no humans took the survey for Lewandowsky et al, 2012, whereas he actually alleged that no “skeptical” bloggers where(sic) contacted by Lewandowsky. This is actually a misquote. However, the meaning of Foxgoose is far from clear, even in context. Indeed, Shollenberger, having quoted Foxgoose in full, finds it necessary to refer to the original discussion for further context to show that it is a misquote. Even that further context, involving as it does a comment by Eli Rabbet, is far from clear. The most probable cause of the misquote is simple misunderstanding of Foxgoose’s intentions.

    I can’t post there to defend myself, because my conspiratorial ideation has left me with the weird impression that my SkS login suddenly stopped working – in the middle of a discussion about Al Gore’s Climate Droppings last week.

    Nevertheless, it’s cheering to know that good old Tom is on my side – and that he thinks two leading academics of the “Climate Psychology” cult made a teeny weensy slip up in their extensively peer reviewed, published academic paper – by misquoting me.

    It seems to me that tenured academics publishing untruths in peer reviewed papers is about as trivial as a 747 captain making a teensy weensy slip up setting his 10kft altitude dial – but what do I know?

  81. Brandon Shollenberger says:
    March 9, 2013 at 4:56 pm
    Regardless, the user Albatross said users should “ask [Anthony] publicly if he …”

    Brandon, I do not see why should anybody care for any stupid conspiracy theories and irrelevant questions from that site? Why should anybody be defending himself and trying to argue about question raised by that group? Sorry, we allow these guys to decide what to talk about?
    They should explain and post in detail all their fundings, and then explain their moderation rules and explain the reason for moderations based on the moderated comments.
    Why not ask them to provide the original comments before & the moderated comments after moderation?
    I guess that would be a gold mine for a psychology professor to make some papers.

    Brandon Shollenberger says:
    March 10, 2013 at 10:55 pm
    Welp, that pretty much settles it. SKS is outright dishonest. The comment I referred to above lasted all of about an hour. It was deleted before my comment about it here even cleared moderation.
    SKS allows users to break its rules in order to attack people saying things it dislikes, and it deletes comments that draw attention to such rule-breaking. Outright dishonesty.

    I find this is what we have to talk about that site.
    Only once they will come out clean, apologize for the misuse and restore comments to show reality, then people might start to listen to their questions. Not before.

  82. Lewandowsky’s Recursive paper cites a new paper,

    Lewandowsky, S., Gignac, G. E., and Oberauer, K. (2013). The role of con- spiracist ideation and worldviews in predicting rejection of science. [Manuscript submitted for publica- tion].

    http://www.frontiersin.org/Journal/DownloadFile.ashx?pdf=1&FileId=3516&articleId=40138&Version=1&ContentTypeId=21&FileName=fpsyg-04-00073.pdf

    That title sure reads like the moon landing paper has been revised. Perhaps the original will never be published?

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