UPDATE: It seems another poll/study flies in the face of what Lewandowsky claims about “Free Market Thinkers” Ouch, that’s gotta hurt. See below. NOTE: The section after the graphic has also been updated for clarity by contributor A. Scott. – Anthony
From the “if you keep saying it enough people will believe it”department and the patron saint of conspiracy ideation, Stephan Lewandowsky, comes yet another paper which tries to make people believe that a good portion of climate skeptics think the moon landing was faked, and that free market advocates are likely to be climate skeptics. It also looks like he recycled questions from previous Lewpaper efforts.
The paper data gathering effort supposedly polled 1,000 Americans.
A. Scott writes:
Lewandowsky’s “Recursive Fury” work referenced a new paper undergoing peer review at the time –that used a professional survey firm to survey a random panel of 1,000 people in the US.
That new paper; “The Role of Conspiracist Ideation and Worldviews in Predicting Rejection of Science,” has recently been published in PLOS ONE.
This new paper is comprised of 39 questions, including approximately 20 of the original questions from the Lewandwsky “NASA Faked the Moon Landing—Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax…” (LOG12) paper.
In addition to adding questions on GMO foods, vaccines etc., the new paper makes another significant change. The LOG12 paper used a 4 point Likert scale for its answers, while this new paper converts to a 5 point Likert scale. This change addresses one of the criticisms of the LOG12 paper, that the 4 point scale Lewandowsky chose purposely forced ‘either/or’ answers by failing to provide a ‘Neutral” answer option.
While PLOS ONE is a ‘pay to publish’ journal it does have positives, including that papers are not firewalled and are readily accessible to all, and they have an open data policy. It appears Lewandowsky has complied – the paper includes the aggregated response data in a table, and Lewandowsky appears to have made the raw data available at his site as well (link below).
PLOS ONE outlines a defined peer review process, which uses “Academic Editors” who “work together to orchestrate the peer-review process.”
The AE evaluates the paper and decides whether it meets the editorial criteria for publication:
“AEs can employ a variety of methods, alone or in combination to reach a decision:
- They can conduct the peer review themselves, based on their own knowledge and experience
- They can take further advice through discussion with other members of the editorial board
- They can solicit reports from further referees”
There are no peer reviewers listed on the paper – only an Editor, Tom Denson, from the University of New South Wales, Australia. Professor Denson kindly and quickly responded to my inquiry, noting the paper was sent to multiple reviewers who provided anonymous feedback to himself and the author, that the paper was revised in accordance with those comments, and was eventually accepted for publication pursuant to meeting the PLOS ONE criteria. He indicated it was PLOS policy that reviewers remain anonymous.
Although anonymous, at least the paper received outside review. Prof. Denson also appears to be qualified as Editor.
PLOS ONE notes that after publication:
“… all articles are opened up for interactive discussions and assessment in which the whole scientific community can be involved”
It will be interesting to see how that works, but it does open the door Lewandowsky and the other authors needing to professionally to engage with their critics.
Comments are currently open at the PLOS One page for this paper noted below.
In the “Moon Landing” paper, Lewandowsky set out to obtain responses regarding the beliefs of climate change “skeptic’s.” Unfortunately Lewandowsky’s methods and protections were seriously flawed, and as such his data collection effort was rightfully challenged.
Although they collected approximately N=1300 responses, these were almost entirely obtained thru promotion at sites openly critical of the skeptic positions and beliefs. Analysis of the data they obtained identified that only approximately N=150 of the total could be considered legitimate skeptic responses.
In this new paper, Lewandowsky uses a professional U.S. survey firm, and a random “panel” of 1,000 U.S. citizens. Ignoring the findings themselves for a moment – this new survey data should provide a professionally and independently obtained “base line” data set.
Lewandowsky’s email comment to Guardian on the new study:
”There are some other more subtle differences, and despite all that, the results are pretty much identical: Free-market worldviews are strongly associated with rejection of climate science and conspiratorial thinking is associated with the rejection of all scientific propositions tested, albeit to varying extent. This is a pervasive pattern now that has been shown multiple times in the literature by a number of different authors. I am now fairly convinced that wherever there is science denial, there is also a conspiracy theory waiting to be aired.
I cannot be sure of the causality, but there are multiple lines of evidence that suggest that the involvement of worldview, such as free-market principles, arises because people of that worldview feel threatened not by climate change or by lung cancer, but by the regulatory implications if those risks are being addressed by society. Addressing lung cancer means to control tobacco, and addressing climate change means to control fossil-fuel emissions. It’s the need to control those products and their industries that is threatening people with strong free-market leanings.”
Setting aside the analysis and findings, it would appear to me, supported by Lewandowsky’s comments noted above, that my past stated beliefs he would use this new paper – with its independent data collection source and methods – to try to rehabilitate the serious deficiencies and compromised work he has published to date in this series.
I would note the Lewandowsky “Recursive Fury” paper was removed by Frontiers in Psychology in April 2013 due to numerous complaints. Going on 7 months later, no action has occurred regarding Frontiers promised swift review of the issues.
I would also note Lewandowsky’s original LOG12 paper – “NASA Faked the Moon Landing—Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax…” was finally published online after a long delay. This paper was received by the journal Psychological Science May 22, 2012, accepted by them July 7, 2012, was released by Lewandowsky to the media in August 2012, but was not actually published online by the journal until March 26th, 2013.
Both the Moon Landing and Recursive Fury papers received significant exposure in the media, being used to smear those skeptical of the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming claims.
And the ever reliable Guardian, continues that process with this new paper.
The paper is open access, you can read it here:
The Role of Conspiracist Ideation and Worldviews in Predicting Rejection of Science
Stephan Lewandowsky, Gilles E. Gignac, Klaus Oberauer
DATA for the paper available fro Lewandowsky site here:
”FAQS” on the paper at Shaping Tomorrows Worlds:
Here is a Guardian Article on the Lewpaper3 – headline: “Climate sceptics more likely to be conspiracy theorists and free market advocates, study claims”
Politico – Study: Tea partiers know science
By Tal Kopan
10/17/13 2:04 PM EDT
A finding in a study on the relationship between science literacy and political ideology surprised the Yale professor behind it: Tea party members know more science than non-tea partiers.
Yale law professor Dan Kahan posted on his blog this week that he analyzed the responses of a set of more than 2,000 American adults recruited for another study and found that, on average, people who leaned liberal were more science literate than those who leaned conservative.
However, those who identified as part of the tea party movement were actually better versed in science than those who didn’t, Kahan found. The findings met the conventional threshold of statistical significance, the professor said.
Kahan wrote that not only did the findings surprise him, they embarrassed him.
“I’ve got to confess, though, I found this result surprising. As I pushed the button to run the analysis on my computer, I fully expected I’d be shown a modest negative correlation between identifying with the Tea Party and science comprehension,” Kahan wrote.
To view online: