You’ve all heard of a religious “grail quest“, I submit what we have here is an ongoing religious “smear quest”.
The cartoonist (John Cook, purveyor of the laughably named “Skeptical Science”) and the psychologist (Stephan Lewandowsky), the two rightmost people in the photo above, are working together again to smear anyone who has doubts about the severity of the global warming. If making up data for a fake correlation (they never polled any skeptics, only friends) to support the idea that climate skeptics deny the moon landing wasn’t enough, now they are going after HIV and AIDS conspiracy theory. Basically, they think because we reject their ability to perform actual statistical science (by polling a representative population of skeptics instead of friends who support their mindset) that we are now engaged in “counterfactual thinking”. I look at it as psychological projection on their part.
Making up data to support your claims is about as counterfactual as one could possibly imagine, but this seems to be just another case of “anything for the cause” I suppose. They must really hate climate skeptics to stoop this low, that’s about the only thing that makes sense, because this surely isn’t about science, but is clearly an emotional issue for them. Meanwhile, rational thinkers stand back and laugh at the show.
Here’s the latest Lewpaper:
Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation
- 1Psychology, University of Western Australia, Australia
- 2Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland, Australia
- 3Psychology, University of Zurich, Switzerland
- 4 Climate Realities Research, Australia
Conspiracist ideation has been repeatedly implicated in the rejection of scientific propositions, although empirical evidence to date has been sparse. A recent study involving visitors to climate blogs found that conspiracist ideation was associated with the rejection of climate science and the rejection of other scientific propositions such as the link between lung cancer and smoking, and between HIV and AIDS (Lewandowsky, Oberauer, & Gignac, in press; LOG12 from here on). This article analyzes the response of the climate blogosphere to the publication of LOG12. We identify and trace the hypotheses that emerged in response to LOG12 and that questioned the validity of the paper’s conclusions. Using established criteria to identify conspiracist ideation, we show that many of the hypotheses exhibited conspiratorial content and counterfactual thinking. For example, whereas hypotheses were initially narrowly focused on LOG12, some ultimately grew in scope to include actors beyond the authors of LOG12, such as university executives, a media organization, and the Australian government. The overall pattern of the blogosphere’s response to LOG12 illustrates the possible role of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of science, although alternative scholarly interpretations may be advanced in the future.
For those of you just joining this discussion, and wondering where the claim of “making up data” comes from, it would be instructive to read the WUWT topic section on Lewandowsky to see how truly bad his work really is:
This entry is of particular interest:
Lewandowsky and Cook are engaging in clearly transparent “Punitive psychology”. The technique was widely used in the Soviet Union to incarcerate dissidents in mental institutions. At the University of Western Australia the walls of the prison are not brick or stone, but walls of censorship, confining the dissident to a limbo where no-one will report what they say for fear of being judged mentally deficient themselves.
A good example of this is equating climate skeptics to pedophiles, something else Lewandowsky was involved in (via an ABC radio show, but he didn’t actually make the claim, the announcer did) but note that he’s made the claims about HIV and AIDS here, even before his latest paper was published. Predetermined conclusion anyone?
The man and his apprentice, John Cook, are shameless in their smear quest. But, they are apparently getting paid handsomely; Jo Nova finds that Lewandowsky has received $1.7 million AU in taxpayer dollars since 2007.
One wonders what sort of incident it will actually take before UWA starts to reject this sort of hateful smearing under the guise of “science”. Maybe when the grants dry up they will look at it differently?
But, let’s give Lewandowsky a chance to explain his reasonings in his own words:
This one is also interesting.
UPDATE: Climate Resistance has a pretty good summary of the issue
But self-evidently, it was the opacity of the first paper (LOG12) and its method that led to the bloggers’ speculation. Had Lewandowsky and his researchers been upfront about which blogs they had approached and when and by whom, there would have been no confusion. But on Lewandowsky’s view, speculation about his methodology counts as ‘conspiracy ideation’, which is to say that wondering out loud about whether or not Lewandowsky had done what he had claimed to have done betrays a similar mode of thought that convinces people that the CIA organised the assassination of JFK.
- The involvement of conspiracist ideation in science denial (psychologytoday.com)