Paging Dr. Stephan Lewandowsky – show your climate survey invitation RSVP's

Dr. Stephan Lewandowsky

UPDATE: After a cursory look at the percentages in the response to the Lewandowsky survey from the blogs he listed as participating, it seems the outcome doesn’t fit the title. See below.


From the “free the metadata” department, we have this gem. Dr. Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Western Australia’s Cognitive Science Department devised some sort of survey where he supposedly contacted skeptical climate blogs to ask we post a link to gather opinions for his survey. He says he contacted five and they all declined. Only one problem with that; none of the mainstream skeptical blogs appear to have any knowledge of being contacted. That includes WUWT and Climate Audit, among others.

I keep all my email, and I see no such contact or invitation. I’ve searched WUWT and found nothing in comments from him inviting to participate either. To be thorough, I also searched for any communications from his co-authors Klaus Oberauer and Gilles Gignac. I’ve found no invitation of any kind, but I did find that a commenter in the USA, PaulW left a note about it on WUWT here: But, he’s not affiliated with UWA or the authors, and it was purely a comment of curiosity. One of our moderators, D.B. Stealey took the survey (now deleted) after seeing the comment, and noted “Interesting questions.” but he didn’t note any invitation to post it on WUWT, nor did I.

Similar lack of confirmed invitations are being reported in other skeptical blogs, and the list is growing. But, for some reason, Dr. Lewandowsky  refuses to divulge which skeptical blogs he contacted.

Jo Nova and Lucia Liljegren are asking some very pointed questions. Given the sheer lunacy on display in the paper…

Lewandowsky, S., Oberauer, K., & Gignac, C. E. (in press). NASA faked the moon landing—therefore (climate) science is a hoax: An anatomy of the motivated rejection of science.. Psychological Science.

…I think Jo Nova nailed it with this line:

It’s as if Stephan did not want to know what real skeptics think?

Lucia asked Lewandowsky in a direct email about it and got this response:

Sorry, no, they likely replied to my requests under the presumption of privacy and I am therefore not releasing their names.

The blogs that did post the link (thereby publically identifying themselves, unlike those who declined) are:









“…they likely replied” That seems to me to be pretty weak data for a scientist. Either they replied requesting confidentiality or they didn’t, there’s no “likely” about it when gathering hard data.

Time to fess up, perfessor. Show the list and proof of contact and confirmation that they declined the invitation. You have my full and complete permission to release my name. Other skeptical bloggers have also granted permission on Lucia’s website, so there’s no reason to hold back now.

In comments at Lucia’s, Steve McIntyre notes:

The University of Western Australia has fairly standard academic misconduct policies.…..guidelines…..rch-policy

If Lewandowky’s claim about 5 skeptic blogs was fabricated, it appears to me that it would be misconduct under university policies. The person responsible for investigating complaints appears to be the Pro VIce Chancellor (Research) ,Robyn Owens,

She is in a position to get an answer, given Lewandowsky’s refusal to disclose the information.

In other news, the Lewandowsky survey data was put online at Bishop Hill. See it here.

Make of that data what you wish, but it seems to me that if you only ask questions of one side, as shown is the blog list above, you’ll get one-sided answers. That’s hardly science.

UPDATE: After looking at the survey data provided on the Bishop Hill blog here, it is beginning to look like the answers were skewed by participants at those blogs for what they think he wanted to hear, rather than a true sample.

For example: If you look at column R in the Excel spreadsheet, labeled CYMoon, which according to the paper in question:

Lewandowsky, S., Oberauer, K., & Gignac, C. E. (in press). : An anatomy of the motivated rejection of science.. Psychological Science.

It says:

CYMoon   The Apollo moon landings never happened and were

staged in a Hollywood studio.  .742

That is the result of this question structure:

Unless otherwise noted, all items used a 4-point scale ranging from \Strongly Disagree’ (1) to \Strongly Agree” (4). Table section headings correspond to latent variable names in

Figure 2.

OK do a simple scan of the 1’s and 2’s  in column R, which correspond to ‘Strongly Disagree’ and ‘Disagree’ and you get them as the majority, with a smattering of 3’s and 4’s. So I decided to use Excel’s function for counting occurances. =COUNTIF(R2:R1146,”1″, and =COUNTIF(R2:R1146,”2″  =COUNTIF(R2:R1146,”3″  =COUNTIF(R2:R1146,”4″

The (corrected, I had the 1 and 4 counts backwards originally, thanks Lucia) distribution of responses to the Moon Landing question are:

1067 Strongly Disagree

68 Disagree

4 Agree

6 Strongly agree

Total responses are 1145 (Rows R2 to R1146, top row R1 is title, so subtract 1 from 1146).  Therefore 1067+68 = 1135  1135/1145 = 0.9912

Only 0.9% of respondents actually believe that the moon landings “never happened and were staged in a Hollywood film studio”. So what does that say about the title of the paper:

NASA faked the moon landing—therefore (climate) science is a hoax

I see a retraction for this paper in the very near future.


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I’m having a look at the paper in question and I’m just shaking my head. This is utterly ridiculous on one hand, but also utterly outrageous on the other. He’s really putting people, who’re looney enough to ignore hard scientific facts & data (i.e. moon landing deniers) into the same box with people who point out the hard scientific facts & data and issues with what we’re being told are scientific facts (AGW/climate change “deniers”.)
If anything, this paper will prove my position (again): psychology is not a science.

Les Johnson

I would believe that someone like this would see a small steel pineapple on the street, pick it up, and say to themselves; I wonder happens when I pull this pin?


That he thought he could get away with publishing such a blatantly biased, partisan and unscientific paper and that Psychological Science see fit to publish it makes me want to leave academia and never return once I complete my PhD.


Luckily science is not determined by social theorists.

The son of a friend went to a respectably UK university for interview for acceptance to start a course. He was told his grades were not good enough for the chosen course but recommended he chose psychology because it was impossible to fail the psychology course.
So much for psychology.

This guy needs treatment on the couch himself I think … and UWA needs to take action. I spent a year there once, shame on them. Their standards have crashed.

I love the smell of uncovered scientific misconduct in the morning

anarchist hate machine

I agree to a point with Edohiguma. I believe the *methodology* used in psychology right now (that is, the same methodology used in the physical sciences) is inappropriate, given that it’s a social science, and there are unobservable phenomena to take into account, such as free will and subjective valuations – just as in economics, my area of study. Studying a social science using the physical science method, imo, you get things like keynesian economics or pseudopsychology.


“Page Not Found” for the Bishop Hill Link
REPLY: Fixed, thanks. Anthony


“The blogs that did post the link (thereby publically identifying themselves……”


My goodness! A “scientist” starting with a result he wants to prove and then fudging up the data? What a concept! I think this is SOP in the sciences these days.

Chris H

I am utterly amazed that propaganda masquerading as science such as this got through the peer review process and was published. From hypothesis, through methods, analysis and conclusions, the paper is riddled with errors and should have been rejected by the editorial team without bothering reviewers.
I do think it is unfair to tar the whole of psychology because papers such as this. There are many areas of psychology where the science is as rigorous as any of the better conducted physical sciences.

Brandon Shollenberger

The thing that keeps baffling me is the paper is titled, “NASA faked the moon landing – Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax” despite the fact only *ten* people said they believed the moon landing was faked. And of those ten people, most were “believers.”
How do you smear skeptics like that based on less than 1% of your data?

Aussie Luke Warm

Ugh! One of my countrymen. How embarrassment.


It IS possible to examine human behavior in a properly scientific way, but academic psychologists never do it. They always begin with false theories that ignore natural tendencies, and they always reverse leading and lagging variables.
Exactly like climate “scientists”.

Bloke down the pub

While the MSM are happy to publish stories about the results of this paper, you can rest assured that when it is proven to be a heap of rubish, they will suddenly go awol.


Is it too much to say `Lewandowsky, you are a LIAR!` ?
Mind you, I am being polite.

The paper is so flawed it isn’t even wrong. How did this pass peer review? That says a lot about the journal too.

Jo Nova and I have been corresponding about Lewdandorky.
I have organised a meeting with my university’s Interdisciplinary Ethics team to discuss this paper.

David L

Would it be a surprise that a climate zealot lied to advance his cause? True scientists offer real data. I’ve noticed that a lot of the warmers spins anecdotes and lies in lieu of real data. Why is that?
Sure people question the moon landing. But the response to those questions is real data. Even Mythbusters conducted experiments to refute the skeptics. They didn’t just offer anecdotes and lies.
Speaking of which I wonder if Mythbusters could do a whole season digging into the CAGW claims.

I remember seeing something about skeptics by a social scientist/psychologist(?) (this blog?). Can’t remember if I commented or just thought that psychoanalysis of “deniers” was just another attack on the non-believers by those of the true faith. I’m not sure what is gained by trying to understand the non-believers other than propaganda.

Has the editor of the esteemed journal nothing to answer?

David Ross

Dr. Lewandowsky’s paper is based on a false premise.

More than 90% of climate scientists agree that the global climate is changing largely due to human CO2 emissions (Anderegg, Prall, Harold, & Schneider, 2010; Doran & Zimmerman, 2009).

Here are the questions Doran & Zimmerman asked:

Doran & Zimmerman, 2009
1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing
mean global temperatures?

“Significant contributing factor” is not the same as “largely due to” or “having catastrophic consequences”.
Anderegg et al did not ask any direct questions of any scientists but selected and interpreted the literature according to their own criteria.

Anderegg, Prall, Harold, & Schneider, 2010
We compiled a database of 1,372 climate researchers based on authorship of scientific assessment reports and membership on multisignatory statements about ACC
Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i)97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.
We then imposed an a priori criterion that a researcher must have authored a minimum of 20 climate publications to be considered a climate researcher, thus reducing the database to 908 researchers.

It’s not a conspiracy. It’s human nature. Scientists and students who “support the tenets of ACC” are more likely to be interested in (or even evangelical about) ACC; they are more likely to become “self-identified climate scientists;” they are more likely to publish papers and “scientific assessment reports” about climate science and sign “multisignatory statements about ACC.” And that’s before an ocean of grant funding is thrown into the equation.
These “supporters’ ” beliefs are then bolstered when they read “research” from “social scientists” that assert that “90% of climate scientists agree” with them -a positive feedback mechanism of confirmation bias.
Let’s face it. Without the global warming issue “climate science” would not receive the massive funding that it does; would not be get the media attention that it does; and would probably not even exist as a subject outside of meteorology with its own purpose built institutions and departments.
And without “global warming” nobody would even have heard of Dr. Stephan Lewandowsky, outside of his sad little pseudo-scientific clique.


Tallbloke, do tell!
It will be interesting to discover how they justify this travesty, which would attract a resounding ‘F’ in any decent course on survey design.

Who reviewed this paper? The methodology is painfully embarrassing
Note the other paper in his list of publications,
Lewandowsky, S., Ecker, U. K. H., Seifert, C., Schwarz, N. & Cook, J. (in press). Misinformation and its correction: Continued influence and successful debiasing. Psychological Science in the Public Interest.
The following principle is described in this paper which he should have had in mind when doing his biased survey,
“Making things worse: Backfire effects
From a societal view, misinformation is particularly damaging if it concerns complex real-world issues such as climate change,”


Isn’t it Michael Mann et al that are always going on about big oil conspiracy against them?

Robert of Ottawa

Skeptical Science and Tamino. Ha! He didn’t in fact contact any sketics. Suggestion ANthony. If anyone can find a copy of his survey, we should put links to it on all the skeptical sites and invite people to answer it. We could then compare results 🙂


that scienceblogs – now owned by National Geographic – participated is, of course, not surprising. perhaps lewandowsky et al got the idea from scienceblogs’ denialism expert, Mark Hoofnagle!
May 2009: scienceblogs/denialism: Mark Hoofnagle: Denying AIDS – A book by Seth Kalichman
Seth Kalichman is a better man than I. Kalichman is a clinical psychologist, editor of the journal Aids and Behavior and director of the Southeast HIV/AIDS Research and Evaluation (SHARE) product…
He also has inspired me to conduct a kind of experiment. Simply put, denialism is an outgrowth of a certain personality type that is dysfunctional. These people with suspicious/paranoid beliefs, a tendency towards conspiracism, and lack of critical reasoning skills are all over the country and all over the world. They interpret events in a predictable manner. I ask the readers to consider world events from this perspective. Let’s see if, in the face of a crisis or other major event, we can predict what those with this conspiratorial mindset will come up with as an explanation. I’m curious to see if we can come up with their unique conspiracy theories before they do. Maybe the next time we see something big break in the news if we can successfully conduct this experiment here at denialism blog…
Wikipedia: Mark Hoofnagle
Mark Hoofnagle is an American medical doctor, physiologist and blogger. He was one of the originators of the concept of “denialism”, especially in relation to global warming. His interest in denialism concerns the use of denialist tactics to confuse public understanding of scientific knowledge. Hoofnagle runs the website as well as the denialism blog at ScienceBlogs…
Hoofnagle has a M.D. and Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Virginia, and is now a general surgery resident. Hoofnagle received the Ph.D. before entering medical school…

Leo Morgan

@ Anarchist Hate Machine
Please tell me in what University the Psychology Department uses the techniques of the physical sciences. Inquiring minds want to know.
I have yet to learn of one that does not continue the practices critiqued by Richard Feynman in his “Voodoo Sciences” lecture.
Certainly Lewandowsky’s paper would have been no less scientific if he were to smear himself with chicken blood and incant to Papa Legba.

Robert of Ottawa

Could this paper be a candidate for the Ignobel Prize?

Hot under the collar

Next editor of ‘Nature’ ?

John Greenfraud

Perhaps Lewandowsky should survey someone that has actually walked on the Moon and get their opinion.

William C Rostron

“Could this paper be a candidate for the Ignobel Prize?”
Not likely. Ignobel Prizes are awarded to actual defendable research, even (especially?) if off-beat.

Mike from Tassie

Lewandowsky, although originally from the USA, is ours now, our very own, world class CAGW, Don Quixote style Deniar hunting loon who we are most happy to share for everyone’s amusement. I think he out Gleick’s Gleick and makes Mann , McKibben and Hansen seem like three very wise men. We have a couple of other world class camp followers to fill out the local posse too, by the name of Manne and Hamilton who Jo Nova has been having some sport with recently, keeping her in good spirits and fine touch.
I strongly urge you all to read the paper in question, it is some of the finest science comedy writing going, makes Mann and the Team look like the amateurs they are. If they gave out Nobel Prizes for such stuff, an absolute sure thing.

Mike from Tassie

PS Timothy Leary was a psychologist too just to make it absolutely clear which cloud I think the Lewandowsky cuckoo hails from.

Louis Hooffstetter

The delicious irony is that qualifications for climate research:
No objectivity
No reproducibility
Bogus data / statistics
Ad hominen attacks
are disqualifications for real science.

“Ugh! One of my countrymen. How embarrassment.”
Australia’s per capita climate prat emission rate is becoming alarming.

Daniel H

Anthony, there was recently another survey (longer, and with a 1-5 scale) put out by Lewandowsky’s research assistant, Charles Hanich, on June 4, 2012. It seems that the link for this survey was only posted on two blogs: Watching the Deniers and Skeptical Science. Charles Hanich was also responsible for creating Lewandowsky’s 2010 survey, as mentioned in the comments here.
Unfortunately, the link to the June 2012 survey is also unavailable. However, a skeptic called the “Manic Bean Counter” captured all the survey questions and dissected them on his/her blog, here. The following is Manic Bean Counter’s breakdown of the types of questions asked in the survey:
1. Climate Change – 5 questions
2. Genetically Modified Foods – 5 questions
3. Vaccines – Benefits and harms – 5 questions
4. Position of the Conservative / Liberal perspective (US definitions) – 7 questions
5. Select neutral (check of the software, or check for spam?) – 1 questions
6. Free market system v social justice / environment / sustainability – 5 questions
7. Conspiracy theories (political) – 6 questions
8. Conspiracy theories (scientific) – 6 questions
9. Personal Spirituality & Religion – 8 questions
10. Evolution – views upon – 7 questions
11. Corporations – 13 questions
12. Personal emotional outlook – 6 questions

Nolo Contendere

Ah, even the journal title “Psychological Science” is laughable. I would note that it is not uncommon for “academic” journals to be started for more or less pecuniary if not actually nefarious purposes by editors who are essentially running a scam. The articles aren’t peer reviewed, there is generally a fee to be published, and such. “Psychologiocal Science’ may be one of these or not, but even if it is legitimate, it is still laughable. And a note to his department: psychology and cognitive science are not the same thing.

He’s got the beard, scholarly looking glasses and a serious look. Seems to me he must be an authority to be reckoned with.


They lie and they know that they lie, and we know it too.


“Lewandowsky, S., Ecker, U. K. H., Seifert, C., Schwarz, N. & Cook, J.

Is that the same Cook as the one behind SkS?


I got my PhD at an Australian University about 25 years ago. Since then the standard of both schools and university Education has become abysmal due to minority political corretcness (everybody passes etc). You can see this now through many of the very poorly educated scientists occupying positions in Australian Universities (ie GERGIS paper), Tim Flannery, etc…


This has now become standard modus operandi among these scammers. Hide the data, hide the ‘participants’ hide, hide, hide.

anarchist hate machine

@ Leo Morgan
Umm… every single one?
They use the same scientific method. Unless I’m mistaken and the psychology course I recently took at the University of Texas is a one-off. Are most universities teaching students to use mostly a-priori deduction in psychology now?
I’m not going to debate this view with you or anyone on this thread. This is a personal opinion that relying on empirical evidence in the social sciences is a mistake due to the unobservable nature of free will. The same view Ludwig von Mises shares about economics, I personally believe extends to psychology as well. I could be wrong.


On the Bishop Hill blog, “P Jones” posted “Oh bugger. Why does everything have to be in Excel ?”
Does one have to “live” AGW skepticism on the internet to understand it properly? Could it be a climate n00b came down in the last shower and really believed “Open Mind” and “SkS” were actually skeptic’s websites?

I thought “Cognitive Science” might have something to do with finding the truth. My mistake.


“NASA faked the moon landing — Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax:
An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science”

What a load of horse[snip]. Here are my few points.
The Moon landing was real.
The climate is real.
Science is real.
Climate change is real.
Co2 is a greenhouse gas.
The world has been warming since end of LIA.
Catastrophic Anthropogenic Runaway Global Warming is the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the human race.


JoNova point out:

Faked the Moon landing? Not only do skeptics agree that the moon landing was real, two skeptics actually went to the moon and took photos (that’ll be Harrison Schmidt and Buzz Aldrin).

It says it all really. And they call us the deniers.