More shameless conspiracy theory from the 'Skeptical Science' smear quest team

You’ve all heard of a religious “grail quest“, I submit what we have here is an ongoing religious “smear quest”.

Left to Right: Kevin Judd (Professor, School of Mathematics and Statistics), Matt Hipsey (Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Environment), John Cook (blogger, Skeptical Science), Stephan Lewandowsky (Professor, School of Psychology)

Left to Right: Kevin Judd (Professor, School of Mathematics and Statistics), Matt Hipsey (Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Environment), John Cook (blogger, Skeptical Science), Stephan Lewandowsky (Professor, School of Psychology) Photo from SkepticalScience.com

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

Stephan Lewandowsky1*, John Cook1, 2, Klaus Oberauer1, 3 and Michael Hubble4
  • 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.

http://www.frontiersin.org/Personality_Science_and_Individual_Differences/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00073/abstract

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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:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/category/stephan-lewandowsky/

This entry is of particular interest:

McIntyre takes down Lewandowsky’s fabricated statistical claims

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.

http://joannenova.com.au/2012/09/lewandowsky-gets-1-7m-of-taxpayer-funds-to-demonize-people-who-disagree-with-him/#comment-1127143

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.

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ed mister jones

Aspires to Directorship of Department of Truth?
And why am I reminded of The Lord of the Flies?

Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

OMG, that first video is an eye opener. Books! We write books! Oh, the horrors! /sarcoff;>
His speach sounds like something designed to induce emotions of “shock, shock I say”, yet mostly just reminds me of “The Spanish Inquisitors”… Someone needs to remind him that the “peer review” process was suborned by his pals…

Nigel S

Running away, eh? You yellow bastards! Come back here and take what’s coming to ya! I’ll bite your legs off!”

Recursive fury?
Look in the mirror, guys.

cui bono

Creep-y. He could seriously damage the reputation of psychology as a serious science.
If it had one.

Chris B

E.M.Smith says:
February 5, 2013 at 7:56 am
OMG, that first video is an eye opener. Books! We write books! Oh, the horrors! /sarcoff;>
His speach sounds like something designed to induce emotions of “shock, shock I say”, yet mostly just reminds me of “The Spanish Inquisitors”… Someone needs to remind him that the “peer review” process was suborned by his pals…
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
You do a disservice to the integrity of “The Spanish Inquisitors”……. Seriously.

Keitho

What a strange fellow. I think he would have been quite at home sitting on Robespierre’s right hand deciding who should be driven off to Mme Guillotine.

Anthony,
The best reference to B.S. like this is total ignorance.
These are sick and sorry people who deserve only pity.

Lewandowsky cites his ‘moon’ paper in the new paper..
But it isn’t even published yet, how long does ‘In Press’ last for?

I had an idea of what counterfactual thinking was but I had a look it up anyways. In my search, the most interesting article is one that states such thinking may actually be a good thing! http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209100800.htm
Of course, that study as done by those also in Lewandowsky’s profession so who really knows.

Peter Miller

I know this is both irrelevant and totally unfair, but because he is the purveyor of so much BS, I cannot help but comment that in the videos above, Lewandowsky looks exactly like what I would expect a [snip . . you may well be right but this is a high profile blog and that could just chew up time and energy . . mod] to look like.
How can anyone make a career out of peddling the supposed exposure of what are clearly fantasy conspiracy theories? Yet Lewandowsky gets paid handsomely for doing just this.
Perhaps more important, why are we even bothering about this? Cook and Lewandowsky are first order cranks and renowned experts in manipulating facts. No one cares what they say or think and they are an embarrassment to the alarmist cause. We should let them gently fade away to be forgotten in well deserved obscurity.

mct

Never a worse time to be an Aussie.
Sorry?

Those two videos are, to say the least, bizarre.
Using his ‘logic’ anything published on the internet, in a book or in a newspaper is not true. So all I have to do to bring down the CAGW meme is a book by, say, Michael Mann that supports it!
Also he is doing an excellent line in aguing from the particular to the general. I wonder in what science literacy class he learned that.
Jim.

TomRude

“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.”
Groucho Marx said it much better: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.” At least Groucho was funny…

Chris B

They’re fighting a propaganda war, and they know it. Truth was the first casualty.

The “conspiracy theory” meme that these conspirators spout is especially ironic, even in their irony-rich communications domain.
Remember, these conspirators are the cutting edge of the “deny deniers the right to express their views by calling them names and minimizing them with ad hominem accusations of Big Oil-Big Coal funding” grand strategy of “climate communication.”
These conspirators are actually part of a conspiracy to demean, threaten, minimize, ruin, intimidate, and ultimately destroy their perceived opponents in a scientific debate.
There are several historical precedents for such neurotic attempts to minimize whole classes of opponents. None of them ended well.

Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings.

Chris B

mpcraig says:
February 5, 2013 at 8:14 am
I had an idea of what counterfactual thinking was but I had a look it up anyways. In my search, the most interesting article is one that states such thinking may actually be a good thing! http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209100800.htm
=========================================
Doesn’t Michael Mann and the Fossil Fuel Funding (FFF) conspiracy fit the description?

Based on the first video (I only had the stomach to listen to the pompous ass for a few seconds) Lewandowsky must somehow believe peer review adds to the credibility of climate science. Climategates 1 & 2 destroyed that thought.
Peer review might somehow be required for persons who do not know how to read time-series graphs. I suspect Lewandowsky is one of those persons. Because if he could read graphs, he would have found that the hypothesis of manmade global warming was fatally flawed.

Since the article cites me by name as the originator of one of the conspiracy theories, and since the authors clearly think we’re all liars and fools, i’m wondering if I have grounds for a libel action.
Still, I’ve already had my revenge in advance as it were at:
http://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/apocalypse-close-chapter-two/

Eliza

These academics are a disgrace to the Australian Education..It is people like this that are ruining Australia’s higher education reputation as less and less foreign students aspire to go an Australian University

Hugh K

Climate Alarmists – It doesn’t help to be crazy….but it doesn’t hurt.

LowRoad

If governments, corporations and grant receivers didn’t lie so much to cover their arses and/or protect their ripoffs, “Conspiracist ideation” wouldn’t be as rampant. Recent discoveries come to mind:
http://www.santafenewmexican.com/Local%20News/Divers-find-ammunition-in-sunken-Lusitania
or
http://www.burzynskimovie.com/

Where the FDA essentially states that no support will be forthcoming to “individuals” having cancer cures, only corporations with deep pockets need apply and anyone stepping out of line will be harassed to the full extent of the FDA’s interpretation of the law.
So when people become suspicious that cancer cures are being withheld to protect Pharma and hospital income, HIV “disease” has been created to provide a conduit for wasted research money and useless Pharma fixes, and even that the moon landing was faked or that 911 was a black flag op; it’s because governments are fully capable of attempting/doing these things that lends to the “conspiracist ideation”. Most governments (and global corporations and the people they hire) have so little integrity that it is easy to believe almost any negative thing ascribed to them.

Admittedly, my comment is wholly subjective, but… how utterly awkward. My mind’s eye (absent of any self-portrayed videos) pictured the good Winthrop Professor as “flighty” – characterized by irresponsible or silly behavior. However and upon viewing these (and other) videos, my impression of Lewandowsky is “awkward” – lacking social graces or manners (a/k/a gauche).
As Dr. Lewandosky presented his argument for the very real existence of climate deniers, the following scene from the movie “Silence of the Lambs” immediately manifested (edited for younger readers):
Hannibal Lecter: First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek?
Clarice Starling: He kills women…
Hannibal Lecter: No. That is incidental. What is the first and principal thing he does? What needs does he serve by killing?
Clarice Starling: Anger, um, social acceptance, and, huh, sexual frustrations, sir…
Hannibal Lecter: No! He covets. That is his nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet? Make an effort to answer now.
Clarice Starling: No. We just…
Hannibal Lecter: No. We begin by coveting what we see every day… And don’t your eyes seek out the things you want?
Clearly, Dr. Lewandosky covets his ability to discern the “truth” about climate change where others whom he labels as deniers either cannot or will not. He is a man driven by misplaced passions, which have been cloaked in moral certainty.

Luther Wu

Pssst…
I know you’ve heard the rumor that AIDS was really concocted in some government lab, but that part about Al Gore having something to do with it surely can’t be true, nor that part about revenge and being jilted by a Swahili- speaking female impersonator, or…

lurker, passing through laughing

Con artists rely on using intimidation tactics to silence their critics.
Lewandowsky demonstrates this admirably.
It will be interesting to see what Lewandowsky and gang make of Revkin backing away from the cliamte apocalypse cliff….is Revkin now going to be branded a conspircy kook?

Mindert Eiting

cui bono says, etc. Lewandowsky does social psychology. Some parts of psychology (you probably never have heard of) are considered serious science. Social psychology has a hard time as recently two Dutch social psychologists proved to be involved with data manipulation and fraud. Lewandowsky does not make the situation any better.

Illidanek

I think its a good sign that they are going for the ad-hominem approach. It means they are feeling that they are losing.

Anthony, are you sure such crackpots deserve so much attention?

pat

Crackpots.

DirkH

Peter Miller says:
February 5, 2013 at 8:14 am
“Perhaps more important, why are we even bothering about this? Cook and Lewandowsky are first order cranks and renowned experts in manipulating facts. No one cares what they say or think and they are an embarrassment to the alarmist cause. We should let them gently fade away to be forgotten in well deserved obscurity.”
If Lewandowsky were not a crank paid by the government for this you would have a point.

Richard

for fun everyone after George Monbiot said that co2 is worse than atomic waste from power stations. Of course I posted the link below at the end of his article, they ban my comments now so it will not appear.
http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm
massive co2 producing machines for greenhouses,

Richard

just had a flick through of the article above, very interesting-
why we need more co2-
“Since photosynthesis normally occurs only during daylight hours, CO2 addition is not required at night. However, supplementation is recommended during cloudy, dull days to compensate for the lower rate of photosynthesis”

DCA

A little OT but was Nuccitelli et al. (2012) ever published?

Yes, mpcraig seems to be right. The psycho crackpot doesn’t seem to know what is counter-factual thinking.

Mark Bofill

Am I understanding this correctly? The argument appears to go like this:
Dr. Lew: I got data from a bunch of blogs and I see that climate skeptics are conspiracy theorists.
Skeptics: Wow. How’d you come up with that? Can I see the data and methodology and try to reproduce the results? Hmm. Your data source is bad.
Dr. Lew: You’re questioning my results? See! Conspiracy theorists!
Maybe I’m oversimplifying? I tend to lose focus when I have to waste time trying to decode words like ‘ideation’ and ‘counterfactual thinking’, so it’s possible I’ve missed something…

JEM

As I noted over on the Bishop, the key thing to remember here is that Lewandowsky is a ‘social scientist’, and for the most part ‘social science’ isn’t science.

” … such as the link between lung cancer and smoking … ”
My educated guess is that this is yet another swipe at skeptic climate scientists. AGW promoters love to toss out variations of the notion that Fred Singer rejects a cancer/cigarettes link, as suggested here http://www.desmogblog.com/no-apology-is-owed-dr-s-fred-singer-and-none-will-be-forthcoming , but in this example, the hilarious problem is that our friends at Desmogblog apparently never read their own “smoking gun” evidence. Although the TobaccoDocs material in that blog – the “research paper” link – are now behind a sign-up wall, but I have the link here http://tobaccodocuments.org/lor/92756807-6876.html , which clearly shows Dr Singer’s draft paper saying in plain English on pg 6, “The health risk from smoking is not the focus of this paper… When its review discovered that existing U.S. studies of lung cancer and ETS did not support its position, the EPA arbitrarily reduced the traditional standard of proof; or “confidence interval ” Only by this manipulation could the EPA claim that its analysis was statistically significant”

Mike Bromley the Canucklehead back in Kurdistan but actually in Switzerland

Ideation. That’s a rich new term for “WTF”, I do believe.

Fred ftom Canuckistan . . .

Hmmmm . . . as sanity starts to return to climate science, as data triumphs over computer models, as thought leaders in the field start to climb down from their years of Fear Mongering, these fools are just plumbing new depths of desperation driven by the concept that their time in the limelight is up, their reputations are toast and their careers are over.
Look up “Chuckleheads” in the dictionary and you’ll find that picture.

SasjaL

To be a good psychologist, personal experience are required …

Doug

Attack the messenger, not the message. I notice he didn’t try to review any Lindsen papers.

Frank K.

mct says:
February 5, 2013 at 8:15 am
Never a worse time to be an Aussie.
Sorry?

Actually, never a worse time to be an Aussie tax payer.

Austin

I imagine that “conspiracist Ideation” can be applied to their “skeptic” project as well.
I suppose next they will go after the bacteria theory of ulcers and the “salt is ok” theory and those who push plate tectonics, too. After all, all you need is a poll.
Richard said:
“Since photosynthesis normally occurs only during daylight hours, CO2 addition is not required at night. However, supplementation is recommended during cloudy, dull days to compensate for the lower rate of photosynthesis”
Not true. Only C3 uses C02 only during the day. C4 plants use it at night as well.

Andrew Pattullo

As a physician whose early career and research focused almost exclusively on HIV/AIDS I can state with confidence the following: the fact that my reading of the science or lack thereof clearly calls in to question the oft repeated warnings of dangerous global warming driven by anthropogenic CO2 emissions does not in any way impact my firm belief, again based on scientific evidence that HIV is the cause of AIDS, nor does it blind me to the enormous beneficial impact that understanding has had to those suffering from AIDS through more effective therapies and prevention. Perhaps it is more than coincidental that someone so clearly and personally acquainted with psychological dysfunction is also publishing in the area. Unfortunatley a profound lack of insight makes the writings and ramblings more appropriate for a Lewis Carroll novel than a scientific discussion.

DennisK

Kent Brockman: Mr. Simpson, how do you respond to the charges that petty vandalism such as graffiti is down eighty percent, while heavy sack beatings are up a shocking nine hundred percent?
Homer Simpson: Aw, you can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. Forty percent of all people know that.

They evidently took classes from Diederik stapel:
“from the bottom to the top there was a general neglect of fundamental scientific standards and methodological requirements”
http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2012/11/final-report-stapel-affair-point.html

John W. Garrett

Mr. Watts (or anyone else),
I am curious to know why you refer to John Cook as a “cartoonist.” I went to SS’s website to look at his c.v. but that was no help (unsurprisingly) .
His c.v. does have some weasel-like language, to wit: “He studied physics at the University of Queensland, Australia. After graduating, he majored in solar physics in his post-grad honours year.”
In this world of résumé-padding, that could mean almost anything— (e.g., he studied physics [for a week before switching his major to art history] ).
Similarly, “he majored in solar physics in his post-grad honours year” does not exactly inspire confidence in his background.
What is the reason for labeling him a “cartoonist?” I’m genuinely curious and would like to use the same label if I can be persuaded of its accuracy.

Crackpots? — The “official” psychological term for that is “psycho-ceramic”.