Guest post by Tom Fuller from The Lukewarmer’s Way
The online journal Frontiers promises open access and peer review. They have recently published Stefan Lewandowsky’s paper ‘Recursive Fury: conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation’. So yes, access there is pretty open. Not so sure which peers reviewed this one, though.
In it, Lewandowsky describes the reactions of commenters to the publication of another paper, “NASA faked the moon landing|Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science”.
This paper was based on an internet survey so bad that it beggars belief. Invitations were posted on the websites of climate activists and Lewandowsky and John Cook of Skeptical Science discussed the survey and nudged activists to go over there and phony up the results. They did.
Lewandowsky is a charlatan. His latest paper, co-authored by John Cook, is a flight of fantasy that ignores the fact that most of the comments that he labels ‘recursive fury’ were polite mentions of the fact that he Cooked the books in his survey–a survey he claims is published, but is not.
I play a minor role in this. As someone who has worked in the field of online research pretty much from the day online research started, I have participated in literally thousands of online surveys. I commented on Lewandowsky’s weblog posts concerning his survey, pointing out some of the (many) issues with what he had done and asking for a look at the questionnaire.
Lewandowsky deleted all of my comments. And his latest paper, which has a Data Supplement showing the ‘recursive fury’, which apparently means cherry picking a few of the comments he didn’t like, doesn’t mention my deleted comments for some reason.
In addition to biasing the sample, Lewandowsky presented different versions of the survey to respondents coming from different websites. His ‘conspiracists’ from the skeptic world were outnumbered by ‘conspiracists’ from the climate activist community. He has not published the data, despite promising to do so and claiming that he has.
He has clearly read the criticisms of his paper–indeed, he includes some of them in his data supplement. So there is no real reason to excuse him for what he has perpetrated on the scientific community in his latest effort.
He’s not doing either his field or science in general any favors. In fact he’s helping destroy a tradition and methodology that has advanced human progress immeasurably.
He doesn’t care.
UPDATE: It seems Lewandowsky is seeing conspiracy everywhere, even at the Met Office. Jeff Condon has the details:
Lewandowsky – Strike Three!! What a riot!
The thing I don’t understand is, why didn’t they just make a post on sceptic blogs themselves, rather than approaching blog owners. They could have posted as a Discussion topic here at Bishop Hill without even asking the host, and I very much doubt that the Bish would have removed it. Climate Audit also has very light-touch moderation and I doubt whether Steve McIntyre would have removed such an unsolicited post. Same probably goes for many of the sceptic blogs, in my experience. So it does appear to that they didn’t try very hard to solicit views from the climate sceptic community.