My complaint letter regarding the Lewandowsky affair

UPDATE: 4/5/14 I’ve posted some additional correspondence to make what transpired clearer, see below – Anthony

Given the recent retraction of Lewandowsky’s #2 paper “Recursive Fury” and the clear line in the sand drawn by the Journal to Lewandowsky and his supporters over their false claims of “legal threats”, I thought it would be a good time to share the letter I wrote covering both of Lewandowsky’s papers that attempt to frame climate skeptics as “crazy people” by using the Journals Psychological Science and Frontiers in Psychology as bully pulpits.

Clearly, the Lewandowsky “Recursive Fury” paper was really little more than an exposition for the purpose of sliming people who disagreed with their premise about climate science.

Most of this letter (with some redactions) has already been released via FOI requests made from UWA, so there’s really no reason to not publish it in full since even with those redactions, it is clear to anyone familiar with WUWT that I authored it.

I offer my effort below, in entirety, with the exception that two email addresses were redacted as a courtesy, along with my email address and phone number which appeared at the bottom of the letter. I would hope that the Vice Chancellor of UWA, Professor Paul Johnson, will see and heed what I’ve written, because with the latest revelations about Lewandowsky’s paper, his position of denying data sharing for replication is becoming even more untenable.

================================================================

Robyn Owens
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).
University of Western Australia
dvcr@xxxx.xxx.xx

Eric Eich,
Editor, Psychological Science;
Association for Psychological Science
1133 15th Street, NW
Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005

ee@xxxx.xxx

(BY FAX to Washington DC office) April 4th, 2013 4:15PM Pacific Standard Time

To the Editors and administrators of Psychological Science,

This letter is my complaint about your publication of

NASA Faked the Moon Landing—Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science DOI: 10.1177/0956797612457686 published online 26 March 2013 Psychological Science Stephan Lewandowsky, Klaus Oberauer and Gilles E. Gignac

Hereafter, referred to as “LOG”.

I make this complaint because I believe that this research was not only done improperly, but with malice aforethought.

I point out these passages from the paper:

The Internet, by contrast, provides the opportunity for individuals who reject a scientific consensus to feed “each other’s feelings of persecution by a corrupt elite” (McKee & Diethelm, 2010, pp. 1310–1311). Accordingly, climate-“skeptic” blogs have become a major staging post for denial, although blogs are also used by supporters of climate science to disseminate scientific evidence.

Popular climate blogs can register upward of 700,000 monthly visitors, a self-selected audience that is by definition highly engaged in the increasingly polarized climate debate.

Climate-blog denizens therefore present a highly relevant population for the study of variables underlying endorsement or rejection of the scientific consensus on climate.

I operate the most popular climate related blog in the world, WattsUpWithThat.com (WUWT) which typically logs approximately a million unique visitors per month, with typical months having 4 million page views. WUWT also recently approved its one millionth comment. By the definitions given in the LOG paper, WUWT would be a “popular climate blog”.

WUWT is widely read by both sides of the debate and has been the subject of national television interviews, international print and web media stories, as well as the impetus for some congressional investigations into irregularities in climate science. While the audience is primarily of the climate skeptic nature, suffice it to say that WUWT is read by those who both embrace it and those who hate it due to its wide reach.

The reason for my compliant is that Dr. Lewandowsky, his co-authors, and his assistant excluded WUWT from the LOG paper data sampling process, and by doing so, created a situation that created a result that confirmed their expectations. This is not a case of hurt feelings or concerns of being left out, quite the contrary, my concern one of data gathering accuracy as it relates to the LOG paper. It seems that they created a confirmation bias by the procedure chosen.

While the LOG team members contacted five pro-AGW and skeptical blogs via an indirect contact method using Dr. Lewandowsky’s assistant, Charles Hanich, with the intent of asking participation in their survey for the purpose of data gathering, the most visited and most widely read climate blog, WUWT, was excluded from the sampling. Neither I nor any of my blog volunteer moderators received any invitation from any of the people associated with the LOG paper.

If the LOG author’s intent was to get a true sample of the climate skeptic community, it would stand to reason that they would want to get a large of a data sample as possible, and a data sample that is truly representative of climate skeptic community they wished to sample.

Disturbingly though, WUWT was not one of the blogs asked to gather a sample by posting a survey, and further, it appears that by the LOG paper lead author’s own admission, very few if any climate skeptic opinions were actually sampled. Comparisons of invitations in online and private discussions reveal that Dr. Lewandowsky personally notified climate activist blogs of his association with the survey in the communications, but concealed his participation from the climate skeptic blogs contacted by having his assistant, Hanich, make the contact.

And, it appears that only two of the climate skeptic blogs contacted even noticed the request from Hanich, let alone ran the requested survey, yet the LOG authors insist they have a valid sample of climate skeptic responses. From my own investigations and the investigations of other interested parties, it appears that only a handful of climate skeptics actually took the survey, and that the bulk of the data samples were comprised of responses of climate action advocacy blogs contacted personally by Dr. Lewandowsky.

Dr. Lewandowsky engaged in active concealment of his involvement with requests to skeptic blogs via Hanich, in violation of UWA academic policy listed in section 2.6.1 of the UWA Code of Conduct for Responsible Research and sections 2.3.1, 2.3.2 and 2.3.4 of the National Statement See: http://www.research.uwa.edu.au/staff/research-policy/guidelines

1. In August 2010, Dr. Lewandowsky actively concealed his association with the survey subsequently reported in LOG “The Moon landing paper” published in Psychological Science from myself and several other bloggers involved. There were options available to him, including disclosure of Dr. Lewandowsky’s association with the survey, in breach of sections 2.3.1(a) and 2.3.1(b).

2. Lewandowsky made false representations to the UWA Ethics Committee in his original application related to his use of active concealment.

3. Following the completion of the survey in 2010, Dr. Lewandowsky did not disclose his association with the survey to me or others he claims to have surveyed, even though requested to do so, which are in breach of sections 2.3.1(e) and 2.3.2(b).

Based on this behavior, I suggest that the LOG sampling was biased by design, with specific intent to create a predetermined outcome, because had the LOG authors contacted WUWT and had we run their survey, or if the other skeptic blogs had noticed and run the request from the unknown Mr. Hanich, I suggest the data sample gathered would very likely not support the premise of their paper.

To test this theory, WUWT replicated and posted the Lewandowsky survey questions for public participation, which you can see here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/08/replication-of-lewandowsky-survey/

1534 samples were gathered, and the data when collated suggests a climate skeptic opinion sample that is in stark contrast to that of the LOG paper. For example, in question 13 which asked:

clip_image001

The following results were obtained from the WUWT sampling:

CYMoon 12 2 14 40 1466

1466 respondents said that statement was “absolutely false” while 12 indicated it was “absolutely true”

Mean: 4.920 Standard Deviation: 0.440

Since this question is central to the conclusion of the LOG paper, how can the LOG authors reconcile their conclusion when this large sample on a climate skeptic blog is contradictory? The LOG paper is currently being circulated as proof of climate skeptics being irrational, believing in conspiracy theories never even discussed on WUWT and other climate skeptic blogs, and believing that the moon landing was faked.

As a result of the LOG paper published in Psychological Science, and the reaction paper (Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation published in Frontiers in Pschology and now withdrawn pending an investigation), I am personally being named in online discussions with such labeling as NI (nefarious intent), PV (persecution-victim complex), NS (nihilistic skepticism), NoA (nothing by accident), MbW (must be wrong) and UCT (unreflexive counterfactual thinking)  now on a regular basis. Essentially, the PS publication has given license to libel me and others with claims that our responses make up the claim, when in fact WUWT and other climate skeptic blogs had no input into the data gathering at all.

It was always my understanding that the field of psychology had ethics that prevented the disclosure of diagnoses to named individuals publicly. Did Dr. Lewandowsky obtain some sort of license to assign psychological diagnoses of individuals in absentia, never having gathered data from them or even engaged them in a professional consultation? If this is so, I would like to see documentation where UWA has endorsed such procedures.

I direct your attention to these sections of the Code of Ethics for the American Psychological Association, seen here: http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx

Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmaleficence
Psychologists strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm. In their professional actions, psychologists seek to safeguard the welfare and rights of those with whom they interact professionally and other affected persons and the welfare of animal subjects of research. When conflicts occur among psychologists’ obligations or concerns, they attempt to resolve these conflicts in a responsible fashion that avoids or minimizes harm. Because psychologists’ scientific and professional judgments and actions may affect the lives of others, they are alert to and guard against personal, financial, social, organizational or political factors that might lead to misuse of their influence. Psychologists strive to be aware of the possible effect of their own physical and mental health on their ability to help those with whom they work.

Principle C: Integrity

Psychologists seek to promote accuracy, honesty and truthfulness in the science, teaching and practice of psychology. In these activities psychologists do not steal, cheat or engage in fraud, subterfuge or intentional misrepresentation of fact. Psychologists strive to keep their promises and to avoid unwise or unclear commitments. In situations in which deception may be ethically justifiable to maximize benefits and minimize harm, psychologists have a serious obligation to consider the need for, the possible consequences of, and their responsibility to correct any resulting mistrust or other harmful effects that arise from the use of such techniques.

I suggest that by the process of active concealment (subterfuge), exclusion of samples that may not support the premise of the LOG paper, and by assigning diagnoses publicly, has willfully breached this code of ethics. Further, in his published online discussions, Dr. Lewandowsky has engaged in what I can only describe as “taunting”. This one, taunting Mr. Steve McIntyre, is just one of many examples in Dr. Lewandowsky’s online forum:

http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/lewandowskyVersionGate.html

I laud the stirring dedication to investigative Googling. Alas, this highly relevant detective work is far from perfect.

If I am not mistaken, I can indeed confirm that there were 4—not 3—versions of the survey (unless that was the number of my birth certificates, I am never quite sure, so many numbers to keep track of… Mr. McIntyre’s dog misplaced an email under a pastrami sandwich a mere 8.9253077595543363 days ago, and I have grown at least one tail and several new horns over the last few days, all of which are frightfully independent and hard to keep track of).

Versiongate!

Finally this new friend from Conspirania is getting some legs.

About time, too, I was getting lonely.

Astute readers will have noted that if the Survey ID’s from above are vertically concatenated and then viewed backwards at 33 rpm, they read “Mitt Romney was born in North Korea.”

To understand the relevance of Mr Romney’s place of birth requires a secret code word. This code word, provided below, ought to be committed to memory before burning this post.

So here it is, the secret code. Read it backwards:  gnicnalabretnuoc.

Translations are available in any textbook for Methodology 101.

From my perspective, this is not the behavior of a professional psychologist. Many more examples of this sort of taunting and harassing dialog in response to questions about the LOG paper can be found on Dr. Lewandowsky’s online forum. I direct you to this section of the APA code of ethics:

3.03 Other Harassment
Psychologists do not knowingly engage in behavior that is harassing or demeaning to persons with whom they interact in their work based on factors such as those persons’ age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language or socioeconomic status.

I would also like to point out this section on Informed Consent:

3.10 Informed Consent

(a) When psychologists conduct research or provide assessment, therapy, counseling or consulting services in person or via electronic transmission or other forms of communication, they obtain the informed consent of the individual or individuals using language that is reasonably understandable to that person or persons except when conducting such activities without consent is mandated by law or governmental regulation or as otherwise provided in this Ethics Code. (See also Standards 8.02, Informed Consent to Research; 9.03, Informed Consent in Assessments; and 10.01, Informed Consent to Therapy.)

By Dr. Lewandowsky’s active concealment of his involvement in the survey, followed by published psychological diagnoses of the climate skeptics he supposedly studied via that survey, I believe that he has failed to obtain “Informed Consent” in his communications.

Regarding the premise of the LOG paper, the idea that I would deny the moon landing took place is ludicrous, especially since I count Dr. Harrison Schmidt, the only scientist (geologist) to walk on the moon amongst my professional friends. I have spoken at conferences with Dr. Schmidt sharing space on the dais with him.

While I’m reasonably certain the LOG authors would be quick to count these suggestions above and below as proof of my belief in “conspiracy theory”, I suggest to you the following has occurred:

1. The data sampling was conducted erratically, with the method of contact almost guaranteeing participation of the friends and acquaintances of Dr. Lewandowsky, while likely excluding climate skeptic blogs.

2. Most data was gathered at climate activist blogs, representing a biased sample consisting mostly of non-skeptics.

3. The LOG questions themselves were so poorly worded, they tended to preclude the few climate skeptics who did encounter the survey from finishing it, further biasing the sample.

4. The resultant data, while known to the LOG authors as being a highly biased sample due to the flawed gathering methodology, was used to gauge the opinions of the minority of climate skeptic participants as being central to the paper.

5. The results are used by the LOG authors as a license to libel myself and others, to paint us with absurd and ludicrous opinions we do not hold.

6. The publication of the LOG paper in Psychological Science has given it a credibility by association, and essentially PS becomes a party to the libel that is now occurring.

7. Legitimate complaints of impropriety and flawed methodology in the LOG paper data gathering process are being held up by the LOG paper authors and others as “proof” of climate skeptics embracing the conclusions of their paper.

8. Multiple willful ethics violations have occurred in Dr. Lewandowsky’s work.

Based on what was published, it seems to me that the Psychological Science journal was unaware of the background and circumstances involved in the data gathering, and it seems clear that these issues were not flagged for scrutiny during the peer review process. Whether this occurred due to non-disclosure by the LOG authors or by flaws in the review process, or both, is unknown to me at this time.

Therefore, given the issue I have described and detailed, I respectfully suggest these accusations and allegations as a result of the LOG paper are untrue, are unsupported by the data gathered, are defamatory and malicious to myself and others, and with the publication in Psychological Science are being used as a justification for the correctness of such claims by Dr. Lewandowsky and others.

As a 25 year veteran of the television and radio media, I am sensitive to the issues associated with libel and slander as it pertains to news stories. Given that the LOG paper has become news in itself, It is my opinion that Psychological Science has enabled such actions by a peer review process that completely missed (or ignored) the gross abuses of ethics and data gathering methodology resulting in a clearly biased data set from which erroneous conclusions were drawn. Those erroneous conclusions are being used to harm the careers and reputations of people that Dr. Lewandowsky has disagreements with. Essentially he is using his position at UWA and the publication in Psychological Science as a tool to denigrate people that he studied. I cannot imagine a more egregious and obscene breach of ethics by a psychologist.

Therefore, I formally request that you investigate my claims, and temporarily retract the LOG paper during the investigation, while considering if permanent retraction is warranted.

Due to the complex timeline of this issue, I reserve the right to amend this complaint as additional issues are discovered and documented. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Anthony Watts

Chico, CA, USA

cc: CCH Esq.


 

UPDATE: 4/5/14

Some readers were a bit confused about the date, this all transpired one year ago. Others wondered if I had submitted the same letter to Frontiers in Psychology, and I did, but first I asked them not to share it with Lewandowsky but to investigate independently. They asked me to reconsider my position. So to be clear, I submitted the letter to UWA and Psychological Science as well as Frontiers in Psychology, though I had to wait a couple of days on Frontiers in Psychology regarding their desire to share it with Lewandowsky.  Some correspondence on that follows.

FiP_response

It should be noted that I give Frontiers in Psychology high marks for doing what they said they would do. I took them at their word, and this is what I wrote back:

FiP_response2

Also, it should be noted that UWA never responded to my complaint, not even with an acknowledgement of receipt as requested, but we now know that they did in fact receive it, and it was published as part of the FOIA documents on DeSmog Blog recently.

Eric Eich, editor at Psychological Science responded with a brief note, see below.

EE_psych_response

There has been no further communications from the journal since then.

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98 thoughts on “My complaint letter regarding the Lewandowsky affair

  1. Please keep up the good work Anthony. Just a short note of appreciation for all your ongoing efforts.

  2. Curious George says:
    April 4, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Prof. Lewandowsky hust published two new revolutionary papers, as PhysOrg reports:

    http://phys.org/news/2014-04-scientists-unmask-climate-uncertainty-monster.html

    I paraphrase the second paragraph of the PhysOrg news item,

    “The less we know the more urgent an immediate action becomes.”

    =========================================================
    The scary thing is that maybe they do know but “The end justifies the means”.

  3. I will reiterate my suggestion that warmists be surveyed as to their opinions about the Fukushima and Three Mile Island nuclear accidents (how many deaths [zero] , casualties [2 minor finger
    injuries] ). You might come up with other questions to examine warmists biases, false beliefs, etc.
    Unfortunately the Fukushima report was just released by the UN, so they might have heard
    about Fukushima. How about JFK, RFK assassination conspiracies? Those might be fertile
    areas to exmine in the warmists’ brains.

  4. “There are a number of qualities associated with psychology
    that position psychologists to provide meaningful contributions
    to addressing climate change and its impacts. These qualities
    can be found in other fields as well, particularly other social
    sciences. Yet, they point to the types of contributions that
    psychology can make; the necessity for those in the social
    sciences, including psychology, to contribute for progress on
    addressing climate change; and the reasons why some have
    argued that psychologists have a responsibility to contribute to
    efforts to address climate change.”

    From the APS Climate Change Task Force report. The social sciences are to prevail over the physical sciences in this troubling vision.

  5. Shocking what goes as “science” nowadays.
    It will take decades to clean this up.
    When will real scientists finally stand up?

  6. {bold emphasis mine – JW}

    Sincerely,

    Anthony Watts

    Chico, CA, USA

    cc: CCH Esq.

    – – – – – – – –

    Anthony,

    Good move with that CC!

    John

    REPLY: It is important to know it was only for the purpose of having somebody in the legal profession witness the letter, in case some claim was ever made that “Mr. Watts never sent us a letter”, or the letter appeared in some edited form elsewhere. There was no employment, no consultation, no interaction of any kind. – Anthony

  7. A most excellent letter.

    Lewandowski is such a despicable character that he sullies the reputation of every organization he becomes involved with.

    The ball is now in Prof. Johnson’s court. Whether and how he reacts will tell the 100 million+ WUWT readership plenty about UWA and its professional ethics.

  8. That is an excellent letter Anthony but it is sad and depressing that you ever had to spend your time writing it in the first place.

  9. Congratulations Anthony :-) It’s clear from the content and tone our your letter that it was a key, if not THE key, factor in ‘Hoax’ being retracted.

    Curious George, you’d think he may lie low for a while, or ask that somebody else replicate his work and publish it as their own. An alternative slant, not on the study but the subject of the study, would be that “The less we know, the more risky and potentially counter-productive an immediate action becomes”.

    Of course, it’s all background music for the UN’s year of all years next year, with the Post-2015 Development Goals to be set in stone and COP21 in Paris to supposedly agree global binding CO2 emissions control measures/taxes. Or is this conspiracy ideation cubed?

    A Super El Nino in the next year, if it is to pass, couldn’t be worse timed so far as the drumbeat goes, which could be so loud as to deafen the general public to the voices of reason,

  10. Regardless of the APA’s (American Psychological Association) position on climate change (and I can’t say that I thoroughly waded through all the position paper referenced above), an ethics complaint to the APA may still be in order. It is my impression (as a psychiatrist, not a psychologist) they take their ethics seriously.

  11. In addition to a biased sample, I thought McIntyre had a strong argument that respondents were spoofing the survey- answering how they thought skeptics/deniers would answer.

    But maybe that’s just second order issue. The ethics issues in the “fury” paper are most egregious.

  12. A. Watts wrote in his ‘LOG’ letter addressed to both the Deputy VC of UWA and the editor of ‘Psychological Science’,

    “I direct your attention to these sections of the Code of Ethics for the American Psychological Association, seen here: http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx

    – – – – – – – – –

    That is a very comprehensive and circumspect letter.

    The strategy in the letter of quoting the APA makes a very compelling point.

    It places a burden upon the journal and the university to show the public how they failed in their ethical due diligence wrt the LOG paper. It also places a burden on them to show how they failed to uphold basic academic integrity concerning the LOG paper.

    Science is watching . . .

    John

  13. That’s one great letter, Anthony. Any objective person after reading that letter would know that serious ethical violations were committed by Lewandowsky and that he is flaunting his success at tricking the subjects of his study.

    He ought to be fired for misconduct. Advocacy is not science.

  14. Regarding the moon landing being staged in a Hollywood film studio:
    “The following results were obtained from the WUWT sampling:
    CYMoon 12 2 14 40 1466″
    This is right at the crux of the matter.
    I sure would like to see the data from the LOG survey to compare.
    It will never see the light of day, as the whole thing was obviously made up or they would show the data.
    This is some of the actual data I was curious to look at from the replicated survey on WUWT – Thanks Anthony.

  15. It’s going to take a lot of Lew paper to clean up his mess; he’s in deep doo-doo: up to his eyeballs.

  16. Dave says:
    April 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    My guess is Lewandowsky is bucking for the Nobel Prize.
    ______________________
    I’m guessing he’ll get it.

  17. So here it is, the secret code. Read it backwards: gnicnalabretnuoc.

    ????
    Words fail me. (Shaking my head.)

  18. Your letter shows a lot of restraint. My opinion of psychologists precludes me from being objective when evaluating their motives, ethics, or competency.

  19. It beggars belief how this paper ever got through peer review. I also have to wonder if UWA is really aware of the childish behaviour of this person.

  20. I know an academic who once worked for UWA, and he left disgusted with the university’s ethics.
    He felt they (academics) were more interested in themselves than their students. Well done Anthony, and I am about to write to my federal MP. Be back soon.

  21. That letter of yours was a great read. I only have one suggestion though. I should’ve been sent on a lawyers letterhead for more impact. Even though you may have had no further action in mind yourself, it would at least maybe keep them up a few nights wondering what action would come next.

  22. Always classy. The calm integrity, fairness, tolerance and honorableness of Anthony Watts in my opinion is what attracted the large vital community of intelligent, moral high-ground readership and contributors that make this site the best and most influential in the world. There are rats in the granary to be sure, but even many of them, I’m convinced, have been flummoxed by the unexpected toleration and engagement they have enjoyed here. The only rules are those begrudgingly applied at the minimum fringe of civility and respect. Some pretty saucy stuff gets accepted. I’ve seen many a comment include a statement that the author expected to be culled out of the discussion but wasn’t – all too rare an atmosphere in blogs dealing with heated opinion and debate. Good on ya Anthony.

  23. When conducting such a survey on a given site, what would stop these con artists from flooding the responses with their own coordinated team of survey takers? They could easily marshal a giant list of useful idiots to swamp the results.

  24. Recursive Fury always makes me think if the Cheech and Chong sketch ‘Fist of Fury’.

    Though any resemblance between the characters and a famous psychologist is probably just their ethical dedication to their work

  25. Long time supporter Anthony. Respect you and the work you do. However, I think in this case you might have benefited from the services of a good editor.

    REPLY: Most certainly an editor would likely make it better, but I had neither funds to hire one nor the time to wait when I penned this a year ago. What would you have changed? – Anthony

  26. Ipso Phakto says:
    When conducting such a survey on a given site, what would stop these con artists from flooding the responses with their own coordinated team of survey takers? They could easily marshal a giant list of useful idiots to swamp the results.

    ===

    Oh, there you go with that conspirationalist idealisationalism again.

    Such an idea can quickly be dismissed by examination of the data which is ……. being hidden by UWA on express directions of VC Paul Johnson. OH dear.

    Now far be it from to suggest that they have something to hide (or that the moon landings were a fake) or anything like that but …. nah, I’m sure they will want to demonstrate that their faculty is ethical, transparent and above board.

  27. Excellent letter, Anthony. Thanks for your heroic efforts in behalf of science and ethics.

  28. Robin says:
    Have you seen this APS position paper from 2009? http://www.apa.org/science/about/publications/climate-change-booklet.pdf

    The quote (below) from page 22 tells me all I need to know about the APA’s position on climate change. Here they tell us that our personal experience cannot be trusted when it comes to climate change so we must “leave this task to climate scientists,” and we have to rely on scientific models, expert judgment, and/or on reports in the mass media. If putting the fox in charge of the hen house is really the APA’s position, then they need to have their heads examined.

    “Because climate change is so hard to detect from personal experience, it makes sense to leave this task to climate scientists. This makes climate change a phenomenon where people have to rely on scientific models and expert judgment and/or on reports in the mass media, and where their own
    personal experience does not provide a trustworthy way to confirm the reports.”
    – Psychology and Global Climate Change, p 22

  29. For the record, I am convinced (no need to believe) that man walked on the moon, as I have had the privilege of meeting and speaking to two of the Apollo moon astronauts. I believe that James Earl Ray killed MLK as the lone gunman. I believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman that killed JFK. I do believe that 9/11 was an act of terrorism and those poor souls on those planes are in fact dead and not in some CIA/NSA detention centre.

    I do not believe in the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, the Bermuda Triangle or that CO2 had an inordinate impact on Earth’s climate.

    So, how did I do?

  30. My advice from a UWA PhD graduate in Clinical Psychology (now in practice) that Lewandowsky is NOT a clinical psychologist and thus is not certified to practice in such capacity. He would therefore not be professionally competent nor permitted to assign any attribution of some psychological disorder or description of anyone even if he personally interviewed them let alone on the basis of what he actually appears to have done. This guy lives in the double condom cocoon of a lack of qualification and expertise not just in climate science and the underlying basic maths and science disciplines ( physics, chemsity, applied maths etc) but also in clinical psychology.

    Perhaps Josh might whip up a depiction of La Lewny encased in a pair of condoms with ridges and ticklers of course for maximum stimulation and the labels Physical Science and Clinical Psychology, encapsulating him from his ankles to his enlarged (engorged?) head. Thereby we may all be rendered safe from his public wanking.

  31. Sorry, that’s “chemistry” not “chemsity” folks. Where the spell checker when you need it?

  32. Excellent letter Anthony- well researched, reasonable, civil. Thank you. Let’s also thank the editors of “Frontiers in Psychology” blog for their reasoned and ethical position. What if reasonable and civil catch on? Will it ever happen in climate science discussions?

    • A great letter Anthony, I sent an email to my Federal MP to direct to Dr Jennings, and mentioned how I was labelled a holocaust denier, etc., at the Sydney Institute by two people employed as adjunct lecturer and senior lecturer at UNE. I disagreed with their data and could prove it.
      I hope you have a response soon.

  33. Keith says:
    April 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Congratulations Anthony :-) It’s clear from the content and tone our your letter that it was a key, if not THE key, factor in ‘Hoax’ being retracted.

    LOG12 (or “Hoax”) has NOT been retracted. Only “Recursive Fury” has been retracted.

    So far.

  34. Nice letter Anthony, I would be very interested in the response from the university. Can’t wait.

    Speaking of lying, there’s a new study out which implies lying to further the climate movement is warranted. Powerlineblog.com just posted an article titled “Lying about Climate Change: It’s a good thing”. The scientists are Fuhai Hong and Xiaojian Zhao, the publication is the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Here’s the Link:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/04/lying-about-global-warming-its-a-good-thing.php

    “It appears that news media and some pro-environmental organizations have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the damage caused by climate change. This article provides a rationale for this tendency by using a modified International Environmental Agreement (IEA) model with asymmetric information. We find that the information manipulation has an instrumental value, as it ex post induces more countries to participate in an IEA, which will eventually enhance global welfare. From the ex ante perspective, however, the impact that manipulating information has on the level of participation in an IEA and on welfare is ambiguous.”

    My Paraphrase:
    Mom, sorry, but what I told you may have left the two of us with asymmetric information concerning the missing cookies. Ex-post, aren’t you glad that manipulating data resulted in my avoidance of a spanking. Further, ex-ante similar situations, and as a result of your falling for my story I think it justifies my continued manipulation of data which I provide you in other similar circumstances.
    Your son-Tommy.

    REPLY: Note the date, I wrote this letter one year ago today. The University never responded, but they did included it in FOI releases, so I know they received it. – Anthony

  35. An excellent letter. How you managed to maintain such an objective tone when answering such an intensely personal attack is wondrous to behold. A classic example of,”Don’t get Mad, get Even”.

  36. @ Bill Strouss

    “Mom, sorry, but what I told you may have left the two of us with asymmetric information concerning the missing cookies. Ex-post, aren’t you glad that manipulating data resulted in my avoidance of a spanking. Further, ex-ante similar situations, and as a result of your falling for my story I think it justifies my continued manipulation of data which I provide you in other similar circumstances.”

    Priceless!

    Absolutely Priceless……..

  37. Dave says:
    April 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    My guess is Lewandowsky is bucking for the Nobel Prize.

    Well, he’s got the Nobel Lie part down pat.

  38. Thanks for your efforts. As a personal note I would like to add that I had never heard of the journal Psychological Science. Already the title is a red flag as it suggests that it exceptionally deals with psychology as a science. Several disciplines of psychology are of high quality, should even be considered scientific, but you never hear of them in this context. Presently, we have serious problems with social psychology (see my comment elsewhere). The publication of Lew’s paper, although one example, suggests to me that Psychological Science is a charlatan journal. If that were true, don’t expect a reaction to your letter nor a retraction. The paper shows the most horrible lack of quality I have ever seen and your replication attempt appears to me a bit useless, because this kind of survey is beyond repair.

  39. Very good letter, Anthony. I especially commend the way you can write such clear and cool-headed prose when you must have been spitting tacks at the time. And as usual, the thought crossed my mind, when you quoted Lewandowsky’s purple prose, that his “stream of consciousness” might be of interest to a real psychologist – if I found myself turning out weirdness like that in public it’d be time for a v-e-r-y long break indeed.

    (Shakes head) I must be getting old. BS business like this had no place in the world I grew up in.

  40. The vast amount AGW ‘true believers ‘ who are also 9/11 truthers , opposed to GM and Nuclear on ‘principle ‘ and never mind the science and are convinced that the ‘governments are out to get them ‘ and that ‘cooperation’s rule the world’ All of who are ‘proud ‘ to say this on public blogs , suggest that even Lews’ basic premise , that its sceptics who are conspiracy nuts, is completely wrong .
    Is there actual anything in his work which is any good ?

  41. Hello Royal Society . . .
    Hello Bristol University . . .
    Are you paying attention?
    —————
    Although I had followed various discussions here and elsewhere, until now I had not fully appreciated that Lew had sunk so Low. Admirably restrained AW letter in the circumstances.

  42. Anthony: I’m astonished that a whole year after writing this you have not received a reply. Not even the courtesy of an acknowledgement?

  43. It just occurred to me how ridiculous the whole premise of LOG really is. Just because someone may believe the moon landing was a hoax doesn’t mean their belief that AGW doesn’t exist is wrong. What’s more, a person’s disbelief in any fact like the moon landing doesn’t make the “fact” of AGW correct.

    If you’re wrong about one thing it doesn’t mean you’re wrong about everything.

    There has to be a name for this logical fallacy.

  44. Curious George says:
    April 4, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Prof. Lewandowsky hust published two new revolutionary papers, as PhysOrg reports:

    http://phys.org/news/2014-04-scientists-unmask-climate-uncertainty-monster.html

    I paraphrase the second paragraph of the PhysOrg news item,

    “The less we know the more urgent an immediate action becomes.”


    And the Guardian comes to the rescue featuring the psychologist‘s paper urging ‘action’ on climate. The headline is an absolute, illogical hoot.

    Guardian – 4 April 2014
    The climate change uncertainty monster – more uncertainty means more urgency to tackle global warming
    A new two-part study shows that higher uncertainty means larger climate risks and more need to cut carbon emissions

    A new two-part study published in Climatic Change by a team of scientists led by Stephan Lewandowsky examines mathematically what happens to the risks posed by climate change when the scientific uncertainty increases.

    Soooooo more certainty (97% consensus) means there is less urgency to tackle global warming???? LOL. What garbage and utter spin from the Guardian. This paper is highly suspect bearing in mind the past antics of Mr. Lewandowsky. He is a disgrace to his chosen field of parapsychology and anomalous psychology.

    The real conspiracy theorists are Warmists. They keep going on about a well funded denialist machine, Koch brothers, creationism, tobacco etc. yet time and again sceptic blogs are reduced to asking for donations, putting up adsense advertising and selling books – Tim Ball, Tisdale, Steyn, WUWT Jo Nova etc. The big six oil companies would only need to contribute $50 million a year each (chicken change) for sceptics to be lowly funded.

    Warmists please read about why sceptics cannot be well fundedNotes From Skull Island

    Here is a sample.

    1. There’d be a slick umbrella site like HuffPo under which all dissident bloggers could shelter, cutting their costs, increasing ad revenue, and simplifying and standardizing the process of surfing the deviationist blogosphere, especially for visiting journalists. The effect would be to considerably “amplify” the dissenters’ voices.

    2. Failing that, there’d be enough $ for individual sites to ensure that, for instance, Climate Audit would have been able to handle to traffic-surge in the wake of Climategate, instead of being overwhelmed. (How’s that unpreparedness agree with “well organized”?)

    3. Commenters would be compensated for accessing paywalled articles. Instead, virtually every thread on WUWT that critiques a warmist paper laments its paywalled status and critiques only what is outside the paywall……

    Sceptics CANNOT be well funded. It’s a conspiracy theory dreamed up by the likes of Michael Mann and Lewandowsky. Get over it!

  45. “I cannot imagine a more egregious and obscene breach of ethics by a psychologist.”

    That sums it pretty up in one sentence and is the logical conclusion, very well argued and clarified.

    What quality has an academic institution that supports such behaviour in its ranks?

  46. Jimbo says:
    April 5, 2014 at 4:58 am
    It might be a good idea to put the date the letter was written? My apologies if I have missed it.

    Yes, you missed it:
    (BY FAX to Washington DC office) April 4th, 2013 4:15PM Pacific Standard Time

  47. The 2011 “Dragons of Inaction” article linked to in the sticky post complains that “emotion, including fear, plays an important role in denial” and that so-called “balanced coverage’ encourages denial.

    One of the examples given of unacceptable media coverage is cited as the reaction of the “host of a popular talk show on a leading US television network” upon the release of the 2009 APA Task Force Report on the Interface between Psychology and Global Climate Change we have been discussing. What was cited as completely unacceptable? Why the host “held up a copy of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and said, ‘The shrinks are trying to brainwash us again.'”

    Mustn’t be allowed to call a spade a spade in public in other words.

  48. Mindert Eiting says: April 5, 2014 at 3:51 am

    Erich Eich was appointed to the Editorial Board of Psychological Science in 2007. In 2012 he was Editor in Chief but in 2014 his name has disappeared from the list of editors, Robert. V. Kail being the Editor in Chief. [...]

    Well, it seems that the APS website is suffering from a need to clean-up its act! As I recall, when Hoax was still in its circa July 2012 “recently published … forthcoming” paper state (according to Lewandowsky at the time), Kail was not the EIC of Psychological Science, but, perhaps equally misled by the same link you had found, Anthony had asked Kail to investigate Hoax (and received no response).

    However, perhaps this lack of response from Kail was a consequence of the fact that Eric Eich became EIC sometime in 2011, and is still the EIC. Maybe Kail failed to fwd the E-mail?! As I had noted at CA last week, Eich, who resides on my patch and is based at UBC,

    [begin]
    was interviewed for a November 2013 piece in the APS’ Observer on the occasion of the second anniversary of his ascension to the position of Editor in Chief of the APS’ “flagship” Psychological Science. An excerpt [paragraph break inserted for ease of reading and emphasis added -hro] :

    [...] Last year I developed a new course designed to teach advanced UBC psych majors to think and write like reviewers for PS. Working in small groups or individually, students read and critically reviewed a wide variety of in-press papers (manuscripts that have recently entered the production pipeline) and compared and contrasted their assessments with the actual reviews and decision letters written by referees and editors.

    It was a fun course to teach, and it gave the students a unique opportunity to hone their critical-reasoning abilities, strengthen their speaking and writing skills, and learn about leading-edge research in psychology. I look forward to teaching it again next year.

    Considering the obvious limits to Eich’s own “critical-reasoning abilities” – as evidenced by the eventual publication of Lewandowsky’s et al‘s Moon Hoax paper – I do find it somewhat, well, alarming that he should be teaching such a course.
    [end]

    I believe that it’s also worth noting that the (non peer-reviewed) APS Observer was also the vehicle of choice for the début of the newly-formed dynamic duo of Lewandowsky and Mann, in which – last November – they had planted the seeds of the “intimidation and bullying of publishers” meme that “blossomed” circa Mar 20/21 this year, when the Frontiers “retraction” first came to light. Pls. see:

    Frontears of mediocrity: Lewandowsky & Mann on the march

  49. Anthony
    An excellent well professional crafted request for redress of egregious misconduct and obvious libel. Thank you for seeking to restore scientific integrity. This episode exposes severe noble cause corruption by Lewandowsky et al.

  50. “Leading edge research in psychology” ties into the unappreciated actual definition of adaptation in Chapter 20 of the new IPCC report. It is also the sense used by APS in this quote from page 53 of their Task Force report:
    “What is distinctive about psychologists’
    use of the term
    adaptation,
    particularly when it’s used to refer to
    adaptation processes, is that it includes a focus on intrapsychic
    conditions (e.g., appraisals of situations, affective responses,
    and motivations) and social processes (e.g., sense making,
    social comparison, social construction, and social amplification
    of risk) that influence how individuals and communities respond
    to challenging circumstances and includes a variety of types of
    psychological responses as adaptive responses (e.g., cognitive
    reappraisals, disengagement, and emotion management). ”

    All of this matters a great deal because it is this cutting edge psychology work and this transformation of individuals psychically, from the inside-out, that is the constant theme of K-12 and higher ed reforms being put into place now all over the world. In the US it is called the Common Core, Australia it is Core Skills, and Canada it is usually just called 21st Century Learning. It always tracks back though to shifting from the transmission of knowledge to targeting values, attitudes, and beliefs and especially altering each student’s Worldview.

    It’s no accident that the Tyndall Centre in the UK has shifted to pushing this Integraied Worldview focus that deemphasizes what it pejoratively calls a positive view of the natural sciences.

  51. And Lewandowsky being chums of Cook and Nuccitelli (especially cook) means that it’s highly probable that some of the same “methodology” rubbed off on the 97% consensus paper. The study is along the same lines after all… “opinions”.

    No matter what Cook and Nuccitelli claim they will be tarred with the same brush however “light” the tarring is.

  52. When a group gets to ‘the end justifies the means’ statements & publications and thinks that lying or even silencing/jailing opponents (or worse) is OK, you know they have become fanatics without good reasons for their cause. Skeptics are winning on science, if they can survive the hailstorm of certain warmist’s hate for being shown wrong. [I am NOT saying all warmists are haters; with many it is true scientific disagreement on interpreting evidence and models. It is the clique with blinders on and/or afraid to lose the grant money gravy train we need to fear. ]

  53. The LOG paper is absolutely Brilliant. (read to the end before you decide to flame this) It was a masterful work conceived by a slightly twisted genius mind. The posting on Pro- AGW Blog sites and almost virtual exclusion from skeptic Blog sites creates a situation where the Data can be skewed. Without Data access and a lack of ability to scientifically verify and replicate the findings, the conclusions almost have to be accepted.

    The problem is, If it WAS designed to be statistically manipulated and the targeted audience was specifically designed to create the data that was needed to form the papers conclusion then there is a conspiracy afoot. But how can you complain about this potential Conspiracy without being labeled as a Conspiracy ideationist?

    A real piece of work

  54. As I recall from a very basic statistics course I took, calculating a mean and standard deviation from a rank scale (1 – 5) is not kosher.

    REPLY: OK then, what would YOU do with it? – Anthony

  55. Katherine says:
    April 5, 2014 at 5:09 am
    ………………
    Yes, you missed it:
    (BY FAX to Washington DC office) April 4th, 2013 4:15PM Pacific Standard Time

    Thanks. I should stop skimming. :)

  56. “REPLY: OK then, what would YOU do with it? – Anthony”

    Allude to the 98% consensus…
    :-)

  57. Bryan A,

    I disagree with your definition of brilliance. Lewandowsky is a despicable ass. But he has his enablers. That is the problem that Anthony’s letter addresses.

    About your ‘conspiracy’ comment: The term “conspiracy theorist” and similar terms were popularized during the Sen. Joe McCarthy era. McCarthy had waved a paper during a speech, on which he claimed were written the names of hundreds of Communist spies working in the State Department.

    It turned out that the paper was only McCarthy’s laundry list, and when that fact came out he was discredited. At the time there were hundreds of Communist sympathizers in the newspaper business, and McCarthy handed his head to them on a silver platter.

    But when the Berlin Wall came down and thousands of documents were released by the old Soviet Union, McCarthy’s accusation was confirmed — and then some. The entire U.S. government was infested with Soviet agents. [And anyone who believes that they just applied for unemployment when the Wall came down is exceedingly naive.]

    So the term “conspiracy theorist” is used to discredit anyone who can see that there is an anti-American, anti-West agenda at work. As Adam Smith wrote in The Wealth of Nations in 1776, there is hardly an instance when a butcher or baker get together, where they don’t conspire to fleece the public.

    People are conspiracy-prone, and Lewandowsky is part of a conspiracy. No one has to prove it, all it takes is watching what is happening, and understanding human nature.

  58. Let us hope that any readers currently at Bristol University will bring this to the attention of those who matter. Whatever we think of Lewandowsky, Bristol is a fine university and I cannot believe they would accept such shoddy behaviour from one of their own.

  59. Anthony, that is excellent. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone higher up in Australia’s academic circles made this a more public issue. It is amazing what some academics think they can get away with, when they are on the politically correct team. Talk about psychology. If academic continues to implicitly support Lewandowsky, and the U of Western Australia, implicitly, by doing nothing, it will make academia look pretty bad. And I wonder if the journals will feel that they have been so professionally abused that they might launch their own investigations.

  60. Time to make another contribution to WUWT! What an excellent letter, Anthony, I hope it has the desired effect. Sadly, I am not holding my breath over this; yet slowly but surely your patient persistence is making a real difference.

    I bet you had not the remotest clue about the legal, political, and academic entanglements that lay in your future when you began WUWT. Salutations!

  61. catweazle666 says:
    April 5, 2014 at 9:44 am

    “Psychological Science” is an oxymoron.

    Little more need be said.

    Someone said that any field of study with science in its name (e.g., climate science), isn’t one.
    ============

    In light of this recent hoo-haw, it’s a pity Lew didn’t win the Climate Conniver of the Year Award.

  62. REPLY: Most certainly an editor would likely make it better, but I had neither funds to hire one nor the time to wait when I penned this a year ago. What would you have changed? – Anthony

    Mostly some typos and words out of position are what I noticed, probably due to the speech recognition software you’re using. Nothing major, though.

  63. I also complained about UWA not sharing data and the nature of this from an academic point of view. I pointed out with the government trying to push through the carbon tax, it would seem there are some at UWA who do not like skeptical science.

  64. ‘science community’ seemingly tending the ‘piltdown’ way – to the negative outcomes.

    Best regards – Hans

  65. I know this is confusing to non-psychologists, but please keep in mind that there are two separate organizations, the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS). The APA is much older.

    APS originally stood for American Psychological Society. The name was later changed to give the organization an international flavor and to assist in the marketing of “psychological science” (an expression used mainly by the APS). But the non-peer-reviewed magazine is still called the APS Observer, in an obvious poke at the APA Monitor.

    APS was started in the 1980s to provide an alternative to the APA because of long-simmering disputes between the practicing clinical psychologists, whose interests APA was widely seen as representing, and the academic researchers. Many, though not all, of the academic researchers peeled away from the APA after the APS was founded.

    As the clinicians’ organization, APA is responsible for the code of ethics for clinical practice that has been cited in this discussion. APS does not consider clinical practice part of its turf.

    APA (not APS) is also responsible for the booklet on psychologists and climate change that was linked to above.

    Now since both organizations lobby the US government to subsidize their members’ research and to adopt the public policies favored by their most vocal constituents, the APS leadership probably holds roughly the same views on “climate change” as the APA’s. But the booklet is from the APA.

    One of the problems that any editor, whatever his or her personal view of Lewandowsky’s manner of conducting research, will have at Psychological Science (the flagship APS publication) is that Stephan Lewandowsky enjoys the sponsorship of the political arm of the APS, which publishes a journaled called Psychological Science in the Public Interest and has presented Lewandowsky as a keynote speaker at least one its events. He is also now sponsored by the overall leadership of the APS, as signaled by his publication (with Michael Mann as a coauthor) in the APS Observer.

  66. Curious since all the questions in the survey were strictly slanted. For example, I found many of the questions in the survey were Leftist Progressive interpretations of what conservative/libertarians think….and they were far off base. Can we pull together a different ‘study”?

    tit for tat (just for fun and to ID points not in the ‘survey’)
    How about some of the following:
    -The Koch Brothers fund all the conservative groups and tea party.
    -The Koch Brothers own the entire election process
    – The Election campaign process is unfair and run by the rich
    – There is a large political group that wishes to take away birth control, tampax and abortion rights
    – Red meat food products cause global warming and deaths from cancer
    – What percentage of medical students would agree that red meat causes cancer?
    – Jewish own the banks, the conservatives own the media and Wall Street is owned and directed by rich conservatives
    – The southern US is full of racist conservative rednecks that never went to school.
    – The KK K was started by conservative republicans.

    Touchy, right? But this is what I see everyday….from the conspiratorial left.

  67. Lewandowsky:
    “Astute readers will have noted that if the Survey ID’s from above are vertically concatenated and then viewed backwards at 33 rpm, they read “Mitt Romney was born in North Korea.””

    I finally get it. Lew thinks of himself as “The Big Lewandowsky”. Now, if only his friend Cook could go along and publically speak at AGU meetings in a German uniform we just might enter the new Cool of Climate Communication. As for Al Gore, he can look at M4GW to freshen up his act.

  68. empiresentry says:
    April 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm
    “Curious since all the questions in the survey were strictly slanted. For example, I found many of the questions in the survey were Leftist Progressive interpretations of what conservative/libertarians think….and they were far off base. Can we pull together a different ‘study”?

    tit for tat (just for fun and to ID points not in the ‘survey’)
    How about some of the following:
    -The Koch Brothers fund all the conservative groups and tea party.
    -The Koch Brothers own the entire election process”

    Wait, you intended to write distorted versions – what conservatives think how Leftists think. But you wrote exactly what Harry Reid says. Try again.

  69. Hmmm. . . . are there any newspapers in the local area who might find Anthony’s letter interesting? How about any student newspapers? Are there any off campus “conservative student newspapers” like there are at some American colleges who might find all this distressing lack of ethics by the University faculty somewhat interesting?

  70. “When conducting such a survey on a given site, what would stop these con artists from flooding the responses with their own coordinated team of survey takers? They could easily marshal a giant list of useful idiots to swamp the results.”

    The design of the survey and its questions builds in the ability to identify both “valid” responses from the targeted group, and manipulated responses as seen with the “Hoax/LOG12″ paper. Lewandowsky’s survey was no exception.

    This was particularly important with Lewandowsky’s survey as he needed the ability to identify true “skeptic” responses from surveys largely (almost entirely) obtained from strong anti-skeptic sites.

  71. Given the new political climate in Australia, perhaps one of our locals down there could submit this to their local pols to get an answer.

  72. Jean, I already have, to the Hon.Barnaby Joyce, minister for agriculture. I’ve asked him to ask
    Dr Jennings, minister for science to comment. Dr Jennings is a scientist, and a skeptic. I am in the New England electorate one of the largest in NSW.

  73. Jean, I have just had a call from Barnaby’s electoral office, there is no Dr Jennings in parliament or as a Minister of Science. So any other Aussie thinking of sending letters to their MP, should remember this. My letter will be sent to Ian McFarlane, whose portfolio is science among other things, and Christopher Pine minister for education.

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