A poll to test the Lewandowsky methodology

Brandon Schollenberger writes:

As you’re aware, Stephan Lewandowsky has written several papers claiming to have found certain traits amongst global warming skeptics.  I believe his methodology is fundamentally flawed.  I believe a flaw present in his methodology is also present in the work of many others.

To test my belief, I’m seeking participants for a short survey (13 questions).  The questions are designed specifically to test a key aspect of Lewandowsky’s methodology.  The results won’t be published in any scientific journal, but I’ll do a writeup on them once the survey is closed and share it online.

The Poll follows.

Please feel free to participate and/or share the survey with anyone you’d like:


Note: the poll is just one page, and after submitting you’ll get a “make your own survey” ad page.

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Liberal Skeptic
January 10, 2014 8:16 am

i’m curious how many other people misread the bigfoot question 😉

M Courtney
January 10, 2014 8:16 am

Did this at the Bishop’s.
Obviously, I won’t do it again.
But how could you know if I did?

January 10, 2014 8:18 am


January 10, 2014 8:19 am

BTW I think “yes” is a valid response to the Bigfoot question… for anyone who watched any film about it 🙂

January 10, 2014 8:20 am

M Courtney, unless you actively attempt to game the survey, odds are you won’t be able to take the survey multiple times. The survey uses cookies to prevent it. It’s easy enough to cheat by deleting the cookie, but you’d have to go out of your way to. Otherwise, the only duplicates will come from people using multiple browsers/devices (or maybe re-visiting between Private mode sessions).

Ken Hall
January 10, 2014 8:21 am

However, I suspect that once alarmist get wind of this, that they will descend upon it in their multitudes and fill it in deliberately to make it look like climate realists (who believe that the earth has warmed slightly over the last century, though it is no longer warming currently) look like the total fruitcakes and lunatics that the alarmists believe them to be.
Expect lots of returns that state that they do not believe in global warming, but strongly approve of alien abduction, paedophilia and all the other negative answers available in that poll.

January 10, 2014 8:23 am

Nylo, it’s funny you say that. I had an exchange on Twitter with someone who made the same point. That’s not how I think most people would interpret the question, but that’s part of the fun of analyzing survey results. Unless you have empirical evidence, you really can’t know which interpretation people used.
Of course, believing you’ve seen Bigfoot on tape still requires you believe he’s real!

January 10, 2014 8:24 am

I was only presented with 3 questions, after which I clicked “Next Page” and got the ad for making your own survey.

January 10, 2014 8:27 am

What if I had no mother? I call a petri dish mom. 😉

January 10, 2014 8:30 am

Ken Hall, I’ve considered that possibility. Each survey response is given with a timestamp (but no IP address). That means response patterns change over time, it’ll be detectable.
It’ll certainly be interesting to watch for!

January 10, 2014 8:32 am

I don’t know how to answer the bigfoot question. I have big feet. So, I’ve never seen one, they only seem to come in pairs. Hey! I see everything twice! There’s some sort of catch to this…

Lance Wallace
January 10, 2014 8:33 am

Same as JJ–only 3 questions. I’m using chrome.
First question says “Global warming is a real” Any chance you could correct that? If so, maybe you could also provide a time scale (i.e., since 1800), since we’ve cooled compared to the first few thousand years of the Holocene.

January 10, 2014 8:35 am

The first question states “Global warming is [b]A[/b] real.” Was is supposed to just be “…is real.”? Or is there some other philosophical higher meaning there?
Global warming is A real farce.
Global warming is A real pain in the a**.
Global warming is A real money making machine.

January 10, 2014 8:36 am

Obviously I don’t know how to BOLD properly…

January 10, 2014 8:38 am

And I don’t proofread…is= it

January 10, 2014 8:39 am

JJ, the three questions you refer to are the only questions in the survey. Each question has multiple parts, and there is a total of 13 parts. I instinctively see each individual query as a question of its own, but it’s become apparent other people view it differently. For what it’s worth, KwikSurveys interprets it as only three questions too.
As for the exit page, that’s an unfortunate aspect of KwikSurvey I didn’t know about until after I made the survey. It doesn’t let you customize your exit page unless you’re a paying customer. That didn’t seem like enough of a reason to purchase an account with them. This survey was for fun and to test a simple point, and I’m not funded by a university or anything. I think it’s sufficient for casual conversations on blogs.
Obviously I’d do things differently if this was intended to be published in a scientific journal.

January 10, 2014 8:40 am

As Ken Hall said above. That is a warmist trait. What have personal traits to do with science anyway?

January 10, 2014 8:41 am

I believethat you are, by debating Lewandosky’s results, you are implicity accepting Lewandosky’s belief that such things have any relevance for scientific endeavors. Lewandosky’s whole approch is nothing more than an ad hominem attack, clothed in pseudo-psychological mumbo jumbo, at
that. Don’t follow him down that road. It’s a journey to nowhere.

Cdt Michel e.r. from Belgium
January 10, 2014 8:43 am

A participé.
Une Bonne et Heureuse Année à toutes et à tous.

January 10, 2014 8:43 am

I took the bigfoot question as having personally seen it.
so I said no.

January 10, 2014 8:44 am

Lance Wallace, changing any wording of the survey would require dumping all the data collected so far. I could save it to my hard drive first, but even if I did, I’m not comfortable changing a question midway through.
That said, you and Eric should know typos like that are known to catch people off guard. The surprise of it makes them pay more attention. I’ll leave it to you to guess whether the attention getting mistake in the first question was intentional or not 😛

North of 43 and south of 44
January 10, 2014 8:45 am

That should screw up the survey.

January 10, 2014 8:57 am

You forgot to mention:
1. The Trilateral Commision
2. The Iluminati
3. JFK Killed by the CIA
4. 9/11 was staged by the CIA.
5. The Moon Landings were faked
6. And the biggest whopper of all, Ohbombus is a Kenyan, Moslem, Incompetant or Robot controlled by Soros!

January 10, 2014 9:00 am

The racism one I put neutral because mostly it’s a farce used by leftists to end arguments; Conversely, where it actually exists the people who are deemed racist are usually under attack by some other faction, so whether it is bad or not is wholly dependent on who, why, where, what, and how.
I was tempted to say yes for bigfoot – as I’ve seen them many times on tv etc.
Also its hard not to answer facetiously just for the fun of it! (Though I tried not to) Sorry – that’s just the way my mind works!

January 10, 2014 9:00 am

Max Hugoson:

January 10, 2014 9:06 am

I loved the alien question as I got to only disagree vice strongly disagreeing. I didn’t see any need go to further and in fact, if I was abducted by aliens, it seems possible that they could have done it without my knowledge, so why hang myself out on the absolutist wing….
BTW, honest to god truth, I do know someone who claimed to have been abducted by aliens since the age of 5. This person was on several (7) talk shows (yes i counted them), maybe 15 years ago. They probably had a condition where, when sleeping, the conscious mind is not shut down, making the dreams “real.”

Gunga Din
January 10, 2014 9:12 am

My Mom died some years ago. The question was in the present tense. That’s the problem with surveys. To often how a question and/or answer is phrased doesn’t allow an accurate answer. I could have answered that I “strongly disagree” but I answered as if it read “(is/was)”.

Ted Clayton
January 10, 2014 9:13 am

It seemed odd, that there is only 3 questions, but multiple parts or versions of each.
If I had known about the ‘novel’ structure, I would not have done it. It seemed ‘cute’ or ‘clever’. I expected “13 questions”, but got … I’m not sure what.

January 10, 2014 9:14 am

Oh boy….
Sorry folks, but I think I may have really skewed the poll because I believe my wonderful mother is actually an alien Big Foot that came to Earth to escape CAGW ( “A”=Alien) on her home planet, only to find Earth’s CAGW even worse than on her planet Xenor…

January 10, 2014 9:19 am

“As you’re aware, Stephan Lewandowsky has written several papers claiming to have found certain traits amongst global warming skeptics. I believe his methodology is fundamentally flawed. ”
His methodology of smearing climate sceptics as moonlanding hoax believers, or his methodology of using the SkS treehouse club to fake surveys of scientific abstracts?

Steve from Rockwood
January 10, 2014 9:22 am

What about those of us who were abducted by Big Foot but can’t face reality?

January 10, 2014 9:24 am

arthur4563 says:
January 10, 2014 at 8:41 am
“Lewandosky’s whole approch is nothing more than an ad hominem attack, clothed in pseudo-psychological mumbo jumbo, at that.”
Well, he’s a sociologist.
” Don’t follow him down that road. It’s a journey to nowhere.”
It’s a journey to a wonderful sociologist technocracy with free stuff for all (until stuff runs out).

January 10, 2014 9:24 am

“As you’re aware, Stephan Lewandowsky has written several papers claiming to have found certain traits amongst global warming skeptics…”
What difference would it make if he were right?
Don’t feed the troll.

January 10, 2014 9:27 am

The survey seems to be trying to measure how gullible and bigotted is a skeptic/denier of AGW.

Tom O
January 10, 2014 9:32 am

Do you have a time/date when you will publish the results of the survey? It really would be interesting to see how many people never made a mistake.

Gunga Din
January 10, 2014 9:34 am

January 10, 2014 at 9:14 am
Oh boy….
Sorry folks, but I think I may have really skewed the poll because I believe my wonderful mother is actually an alien Big Foot that came to Earth to escape CAGW ( “A”=Alien) on her home planet, only to find Earth’s CAGW even worse than on her planet Xenor…

So does that make you an illegal alien? 😎

January 10, 2014 9:35 am

Gunga Din, I’m in complete agreement with you. Survey questions are almost inevitably badly designed.
Ted Clayton, you may be the first person I’ve ever seen express dismay at a survey being short. I shudder to imagine if I had made survey four times as long (to be roughly “13 questions”). Who wants to have to give 40+ answers?
DirkH, I have no idea what you mean when you refer to Lewandowsky supposedly “using the SkS treehouse club to fake surveys of scientific abstracts.” I’m one of the biggest critics of Cook et al, but I don’t know of any methodology Lewandowsky used related to them. (And they didn’t fake surveys of anything. They just misinterpreted and misrepresented their results to ridiculous levels.)

January 10, 2014 9:36 am

I got hit with adware on that page, a download called “VideoPlayerV3” got installed in my extensions and crashed chrome. On restart I had crap ads all over the place, not sure if the download was from that page or not as I had other open tabs… but it was while I was doing the survey.

Rob aka Flatlander
January 10, 2014 9:43 am

I think that I answered the poll honestly and will result in the example you are looking for (possibly). The alien abduction one stumped me as I’m not sure whether or not I was so I had to remain neutral.

David L. Hagen
January 10, 2014 9:47 am

I second Lance’s query on the question: “Global warming is a real”.
There are numerous definitions of “global warming”.
Whether “Global warming” is “real” depends strongly on the time period.
~None for ~ 15-17 years.
Warming since the Little Ice Age
Cooling since the Medieval Warm period, or Roman Warm period or Holocene Optimum.
Warming since the last glaciation.
Cooling since the previous interglacial period. etc.
It similarly depends on the statistical criteria required.
e.g. +/- 1 sigma;
+/- 2 sigma; and
whether Type B uncertainty is included and how large it is estimated to be. (e.g. see A Beginner’s Guide to Uncertainty of Measurement Stephanie Bell; sect 6.1, 7.1.2)
Some “climate alarmists” redefine “catastrophic majority anthropogenic global warming” as “global warming” and in turn as “climate change”. Thus “is global warming real” becomes an equivocation for “catastrophic majority anthropogenic global warming” and anyone disagreeing or even questioning the statement is a “denier”!
The UNFCC in its wisdom even redefined “climate change”

“2. “Climate change” means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.”

So according to the UNFCC, any use of “climate change” cannot include any natural component!
To be scientifically testable, I would want each of the above issues to be clarified! Still I took the survey.
Welcome to 1984/a dogs breakfast/spagetti junction/politically correct question!
I look forward to your results.
PS If Lewandowsky can get a “peer reviewed” paper with results based on ZERO evidence, you should be able to on this real data. See Steve McIntyre on More False Claims from Lewandowsky!

January 10, 2014 9:52 am

This is how it should be asked in my opinion:
Is Global Warming real? Yes, so is Global cooling
Is it a problem? When we go back into glaciation yes.
AGW is real? Of course. We create .6 deg C direct heat.
Is it a problem? no
CAGW is real? It is based on Positive feed back which is clearly fake science.
In other words I believe I messed up your test.
It would seem I believe in Global warming (cooling) and it will be a problem.

Stephen Richards
January 10, 2014 9:52 am

Is Sholl’r an AGW supporter. If so leave it. They have damaged a propensity for distortion and misrepresentation. If he isn’t then fine.

January 10, 2014 9:56 am

got through first page, next page was add for survey building. Where are the results posted?

January 10, 2014 9:57 am

bshollenberger says:
January 10, 2014 at 8:23 am
Of course, believing you’ve seen Bigfoot on tape still requires you believe he’s real!

“He”? Who mentioned any “he”? There exists a film whose name is “Bigfoot”, it is a real film and I have seen it. The film. But then, it doesn’t need to be a film. I may have a cousin with a dog that he likes to call “Bigfoot” and should I have seen that dog, I could claim having seen Bigfoot…

January 10, 2014 9:58 am

Gaming surveys is an obvious concern. Over at Pharyngula they used to look for online surveys where PZ Meyers could utilize his large audiance to skew them in a left wing direction.
I would like to suggest a crowdsourcing project. It seems to me that with all the available open source crypto technology, a system of tokens could be devised to allow commenters at blogs to have their votes tallied anonimously without cheating. If such a system could be created, it would probably become manditory for the social sciences. Think of the delicious irony of Lew and company being required to use software created by climate skeptics. I don’t know how hard this would be. Perhaps Mosh or Willis could whip it up in an afternoon. If there’s any patent rights, I want my cut!

Jay Dunnell
January 10, 2014 10:01 am

I thoroughly enjoyed this survey! Good thing I hadn’t started lunch yet. My keyboard was spared from the spewing of liquids and solids as I laughed heartedly. I love my mom, but I don’t believe in anything!

Alan McIntire
January 10, 2014 10:01 am

philjourdan says:
“January 10, 2014 at 8:27 am
What if I had no mother? I call a petri dish mom. ”
Or your mother is deceased- The question reads “is”, not “was”

Ted Clayton
January 10, 2014 10:01 am

bshollenberger said @ January 10, 2014 at 9:35 am;

Ted Clayton, you may be the first person I’ve ever seen express dismay at a survey being short. I shudder to imagine if I had made survey four times as long (to be roughly “13 questions”). Who wants to have to give 40+ answers?

Are you confusing a “poll” with a “survey”? A poll is usually only a few items long. To get good resolution on a survey, usually takes a more fine-grained (longer) set of questions.
It wasn’t the number of questions, or sub-questions that has me scratching my head. It’s the odd structure of the thing that sticks out.

Mike Tremblay
January 10, 2014 10:03 am

Oddly enough, I just finished reading Lewandowsky, et al’s “Subterranean War on Science” from the Observer before I read this. My interpretation of their paper was that it was a classic case of the direct example of the ‘Pot calling the kettle black’. That paper was a direct attack on skeptics in general using the same tactics that they were accusing the skeptics of using. The articles they cited to support their attacks were all based on the same faulty methodology – ie. WHO’s claim that 150,000 lives are being lost to AGW annually does not tally the number of lives saved because of increased production due to higher CO2 levels and increased growing season lengths or increased standards of living due to having a cheaper energy source nor does it tally the number of lives lost because of things like increased grain prices in poorer nations because of green policies to reduce AGW.
Lewandowsky is not above using his position and title to design psychological and sociological studies which purport to show how deranged skeptics are. At the same time those studies reveal that he and his cohorts have developed their own ‘conspiracy theories’ about ‘deniers’ and shows definite signs of paranoia. Most alarmists seem to follow the same tack – it would be interesting to see a counter-study done by an accredited psychologist on the mentality of alarmists like Lewandowsky.

Rob aka Flatlander
January 10, 2014 10:05 am

Oh the irony: He calls himself a debunker and has a self promoting section on WIKI.
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, to “debunk” is defined as:
To expose the falseness or hollowness of (a myth, idea, or belief).
To reduce the inflated reputation of (someone), esp. by ridicule: “comedy takes delight in debunking heroes”.
then the guy adds this at the end of the Merriam-Webster definition to make himself appear to be involved with the definition:
If debunkers are not careful, their communications may backfire – increasing an audience’s long-term belief in myths. Backfire effects can occur if a message spends too much time on the negative case, if it is too complex, or if the message is threatening.[2]
What a self-important fellow this guy is.
the wiki page

January 10, 2014 10:07 am

David L. Hagen, I intentionally refrained from being explicit with what that question asks. Surveys about views on global warming often use similarly vague language. I wanted to emulate that.
As for comparing this to Lewandowsky’s paper (actually papers), I discussed the major flaw you reference when his first paper was published. I think I was actually the first person to do so. In an amusing twist, I had commented several times on the page you linked to. It turned out Steve McIntyre and I had both, independently, contacted Michael Wood about the same general problem with his paper.
Anyway, my data is no more “real” than Stephan Lewandowsky’s. It is every bit as bad as his. That’s the point. The difference is I embrace the absurdity while he pretends it doesn’t exist. You can only publish results if you do the latter.
Stephen Richards, I’m not sure anyone has ever decided whether or not I’m a skeptic, and that includes me!

Mindert Eiting
January 10, 2014 10:09 am

DirkH, I thought Lew is a social psychologist just like his former collegue, Diederik Stapel (presently a taxi driver).

January 10, 2014 10:16 am

Mike Tremblay says:
‘Lewandowski is guilty of the ‘Pot calling the kettle black’.’ That is spot on, and we have discussed that fact many times here.
In psychology it’s called “projection”. It means the person who is projecting is guilty of the very fault that he attempts to assign to others. In Lewandowski’s case, everything he labels scientific skeptics/realists with is his own personal fault.
That happens a lot with people who gravitate toward Psychology. Lewandowski will never get into a real debate with a credible scientific skeptic, because he would be ripped to shreds in short order. Taking pot shots from the safety of his ivory tower is all Lewandowski is doing.
Lewandowski will never go toe-to-toe with an adversary. He doesn’t have the stones.

January 10, 2014 10:21 am

Aliens erase you memory when they’re done molesting you. So if you said “yes,” your are wrong–and if you said “no,” all that means is that you may have had your memory erased.
I used to work with a Bigfoot at an airport. At least that’s what everybody called him. Never did meet his family but they might have been Bigfeet too.

January 10, 2014 10:23 am

Tom O asks an important question:

Do you have a time/date when you will publish the results of the survey? It really would be interesting to see how many people never made a mistake.

I originally intended to let my schedule be determined by the response rate. I expected I’d have to wait at least several days, if not weeks, to have enough data. I hadn’t anticipated the survey getting hosted at several big name blogs, and as such, I hadn’t anticipated how quickly I’d get enough data to publish results.
I could publish results now if I wanted to. I don’t. I want to give this survey a bit of time to run. I’d also like to have more time to write it up. You should expect the results to be published no sooner than Monday and no later than next Friday.

Laws of Nature
January 10, 2014 10:28 am

Hmm.. I was disapointed… heavily disapointed…
I happen to believe it is too early to tell which the reasons for the global warming might be in which weighting.. seems to me that one BS test was replaced with another BS test!
Such tests only tell you something about the person(s) making such test.. no science here

January 10, 2014 10:31 am

Nylo, I didn’t consider that. Good point!
Ted Clayton, aren’t polls basically just subsets of surveys? Regardless, I do get what you mean about the structure seeming odd. I had considered typing out each question in its entirety because of that. It seemed silly though. Why be that redundant?
By the way, part of the reason this survey may seem weird is it is supposed to be weird. My questions were appropriately grained for the matter of interest. Remember, I’m not looking for detailed information about people’s views on particular subjects.

Rob aka Flatlander
January 10, 2014 10:34 am

OK S. says: 10:21 am
“used to work with a Bigfoot at an airport”
Did he say “GoonieGooGoo”?

Bertram Felden
January 10, 2014 10:38 am

The survey won’t load for me.

Andy from Hungary
January 10, 2014 10:41 am

Questions answered. Great survey!

January 10, 2014 10:43 am

For those who are scratching their heads!
Hey, this should set a PRECENDENT. Let’s give Diederik CREDIT he returned his Phd…
This should happen more often, when fraud is discovered.
Taxi driver? May be too high a position now.

Paul Murphy
January 10, 2014 10:44 am

Umm? Say what?
It is not possible to believe that gloobal warming is not real and yet have an opinion to express for part two: “humans are responsible for most global warming .” Your goal here is obvious, but this kind of thing forces me to ask whether you believe yourself responsible for shooting the hole in your foot.

January 10, 2014 10:48 am

What I will find much more interesting, is the various studies of the cognition of the strong Cagw advocates we will have in coming years. Somehow it is now anti science to question, or include all the data. Ive “debated” this with many. I have yet to do this with someone who didnt simply end the discussion when the data wasnt going their way, or simply resort to calling me names and similar things. Ive also known many who dismiss cagw for political reasons, and this is equally troubling, but there is no doubt some very interesting cognitive roadblocks in the minds of many believers.

January 10, 2014 10:56 am

Paul Murphy, I’m not sure what your concern is. If you disagree with the notion global warming is real, wouldn’t you disagree with the notion humans are causing most global warming? We can’t cause something which isn’t happening.

January 10, 2014 11:00 am

You left out the Drug War is run by the CIA.

Martin C
January 10, 2014 11:01 am

Here is a great video clip, about how questions asked in an opinion poll can ‘shape’ the result. It is from a show called “Yes, Prime Minister”

Mike Maguire
January 10, 2014 11:02 am

philjourdan says:
“What if I had no mother? I call a petri dish mom. ;-)”
Then you must also agree with being abducted by aliens (:

Reply to  Mike Maguire
January 10, 2014 11:47 am

Maguire – Did you peak at my answers? 😉

January 10, 2014 11:02 am

How can you guys answer no to the aliens question? Here in Canada we have it on record by a liberal former defense minister, Paul Hellyer, former defence minister of Canada, has claimed that aliens are not ready to share their technological expertise with earth people since they are disgusted with pollution and wars. He has also insisted that aliens do exist on earth. See! Told you so – which is why I now suspect liberals of being aliens hell bent on taking over the planet. And why the green agenda is in effect! We’re not going to get alien tech until the global warming folks win y’all!

January 10, 2014 11:38 am

Dang, I just wanted to mention…forgetting to ask about “getting signals from aliens” (Not from across the border…a border, just interstellar.) And then albertalad mentions the D.M. of Canada.
Someone always has the scoop! Good going Albertalad.

January 10, 2014 11:55 am

Maybe that’ sthe point.
1) Post a survey in a place where a certain response is expected.
2) Describe it as a test of a divisive issue.
3) Wait for vandals to invade and supply a different expected response.
3) Compare initial results (from the expected audience) with later results (from immitators).
Pulse the request on different one-sided sites and watchh for signal and echo.
Its A-hole radar.

Jim Lewis
January 10, 2014 11:56 am

I found the question asking if global warming is bad to be a terrible question. *How MUCH* warming is at issue? It was not said. 2 deg C, perhaps good, 5 deg C probably bad.

January 10, 2014 12:00 pm

Personally, I have seen lots of big foots. Mostly those of climate “scientists” inserted into their mouths. I assume that you meant the other sort.

Ted Clayton
January 10, 2014 12:01 pm

bshollenberger asked @ January 10, 2014 at 10:31 am;

Ted Clayton, aren’t polls basically just subsets of surveys?

Poll is Old English for “head”. The ‘head-count’ became the ballot, or vote.
Survey is Old French, combining “over” with “to see”. Investigate, or reconnoiter.
In a poll, we ‘pick’ from prepared choices. In a survey, we aim to ‘find out’ [we don’t know]. In the former, the choices are fixed; in the later, we don’t know beforehand what the possible ‘choices/answers’ might be.
Unfortunately, in modern (commercial, professional, institutional) “polling”, pollsters often indulge in what is really surveying. Many ‘national polls’ eg now include a lot of questions that serve to survey the populace. Originally, “polling” was just about tracking how upcoming elections etc might turn out … now, sophisticated surveying is done under the rubric of the poll.
However, science & scientists assuredly do still know the difference. We have eg the prominent “literature survey” study & paper … for which real grant funding is available. Peer reviewed survey papers & reports aim to extract new information by using a structured review (“survey”) of independently published sources in the existing literature.
Because the survey is formalized in science, the poll/survey difference will count, in anything aiming to be or address “science”.
[I haven’t followed the work of Stephan Lewandowsky (because I accepted the cues that it is bogus), which might-could be a problem.]

January 10, 2014 12:22 pm

I used a dice. (Ignored the 6) on one of the times I did the survey.

January 10, 2014 12:27 pm

First question – global warming is a real.
A real what? or should it be “global warming is real?”

January 10, 2014 12:31 pm

Ted Clayton, I’m afraid I don’t see the distinctions you draw in the literature I’ve read. My usage may be “wrong,” but if so, it appears to be common enough to be justified.

January 10, 2014 12:42 pm

Vote early and vote often, as they used to say in Chicago in the time of the late great Mayor Daley. The dead voted in Chicago in the day.

Ted Clayton
January 10, 2014 12:54 pm

A bit off-topic, but in surveying the ‘Lewandowsky question’ … I see that he has a week-old post that may indicate a new upcoming activity-area:
Antarctic Confusions
Not a lot there, but it sounds like he is considering how he might help with the basic premise of Prof. Turney (that Anthropogenic Global Warming is indeed behind increasing sea ice around Antarctica).
btw, I recall literature from before the advent of AGW, lamenting the difficulty/impossibility of linking the movements of glaciers & icesheets with climate or weather (or anything else). There has been a ‘prize’ awaiting the ability to predict such ice-behavior, dating back to the early 20th and even late 19th C … and I believe that prize remains uncollected.

January 10, 2014 1:17 pm

The question about Bigfoot being a racist who didn’t like his mother confuses me.

January 10, 2014 1:26 pm

Global warming is real. If it wasn’t we would be in the last ice age.
A Sergeant in B Battery 4th Battalion 333rd Field Artillery was known as “Bigfoot”, so Yes, I’ve seen Bigfoot and he was real big.

Tim Clark
January 10, 2014 1:47 pm

I’ve seen an alien, and he was bigfoot, and my mother.

Reg Nelson
January 10, 2014 1:50 pm

Question Number 14:
The Blackfeet Reservation is located in Montana. Assuming there is more than one Bigfoot alive and that there was a reservation for them, it would be called The Bigfeet Reservation.
O Strongly Disagree
O Disagree
O Neutral
O Agree
O Strongly Agree

January 10, 2014 1:54 pm

How many shades of ‘agree’ and ‘disagree’ are there? Once you agree or disagree, does it matter a whit whether or not you agree/disagree more?

January 10, 2014 2:11 pm

I wasn’t quite sure how to answer the psychic powers question. I put neutral but that is not entirely honest. You see I do have this really weird ability to melt ice remotely and I spent a couple of decades doing just that to perfect my powers . I gave it up quite a few years ago as it seemed a bit pointless really. I mean I can’t see anway you could make a living out of that….

January 10, 2014 2:16 pm

H.R., people generally feel more comfortable giving answers if they have the option to show some hesitance in their agreement/disagreement. Results will tend to be better for it. Also, a finer scale allows for more information, making correlations easier to find.
Your thought would be probably be true when having a one-on-one conversation where you can interact and clarify. Creating a survey is far murkier than that, and this is one way of trying to extract a clearer picture.

Dodgy Geezer
January 10, 2014 2:19 pm

My training was in philosophy, so I have a major problem with all kinds of surveys. For instance, I disagree strongly that I have a wonderful mother. She was marvelous, and I loved her very much, but she died some years ago. So I DO NOT ‘have a wonderful mother’. I HAD a wonderful mother…

more soylent green!
January 10, 2014 2:24 pm

Any correlation between belief in AGW and belief that 9-11 was an inside job? Any correlation between AGW and belief in income redistribution? Any correlation between belief in AGW and support for statism? A negative correlation between belief in AGW and support for personal liberty? A correlation between belief in AGW and belief in doing or saying anything to support the cause, even if contradicted by the facts?
I s’pose I’ll just have to create my own survey.

January 10, 2014 2:27 pm

I posted this on Twitter, and since ~70% of the respondents arrived via this post, I wanted to share it here. Thanks everybody!

more soylent green!
January 10, 2014 2:30 pm

The question should be reworded to “Is climate change real?”

January 10, 2014 3:08 pm

Did the survey. But for the life of me I see no merit in it. The same as all survey questions too vague unspecific or too pointed without room for expression. Am curious as to the intent though.

Alan Robertson
January 10, 2014 3:19 pm

Wait a minute WAIT A MINUTE- what about if someone’s (won’t say who) only seen space aliens on the psychic planes, but has been abducted by Bigfoot (bigfeet)?

Bill Illis
January 10, 2014 3:24 pm

You can’t even pass a test in Sociology 110 at my local university unless you are a full-fledged communist, let alone get a PhD there.

January 10, 2014 3:31 pm

kev-in-uk, there is no merit in the survey. It is complete and utter rubbish. Despite that, the survey will “prove” all sorts of things. For example, it may “prove” skeptics are racists. It may “prove” global warming advocates believe they have been abducted by aliens.
People will reject conclusions which are obviously unhinged. However, if they reject the methodology when it produces results they find silly, they’ll have to reject it when it produces results they like (or be seen as hypocrites). That means they’ll have to reject it when Lewandowsky and others use it.
The point of this survey isn’t to try to analyze what people actually believe. The point is to create a situation where nobody can accept the results. The hope is if everybody agrees the results are bogus, everyone will agree the methodology is bogus.

January 10, 2014 4:03 pm

You missed out some other very obvious questions:
1) do you think that Lewandowsky is a self serving know nothing who uses pseudoscience to further a cause that he knows nothing about?
2) do you think he is an embarresment to his profession and his university (or at least should be)?

Julian Hancock
January 10, 2014 4:12 pm

I also believe that:
The Americans landed on the Moon.
Mohamed Atta and his cronies were responsible for 9/11.
The Earth is round.
The Earth is not the centre of the Universe.
Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK etc.
Am I weird?

January 10, 2014 4:23 pm

Brandon, thanks for some fun.

January 10, 2014 4:29 pm

bshollenberger says January 10, 2014 at 3:31 pm
kev-in-uk, there is no merit in the survey. It is complete and utter rubbish.

So … my budgie, lorikeet, ‘tiel or Green Cheek’s answer may suffice?

January 10, 2014 4:42 pm

OK, so back to first principles. For a scientific opinion research survey to be valid, two factors are critical – selection of a true random sample and the construction of questions that elicit the true nature of the information sought. Neither is simple. Self-selection is the devil.
Any survey sent to a selected group people, who then choose to respond or not, is the opposite of scientific research. Sort of like sending out a survey to alien abductees asking about the number of the alien’s fingers (or whatever) with which they conducted their rectal exams. If you were only the lucky recipient of a one finger(or whatever) exam, not feeling special, you might not respond to the survey.
The (non) scientific researcher would conclude that almost everyone had been abducted and that the majority of rectal exams were milti-appendage. Based on that, the government would undertake a nationwide program to sew up everyone’s assholes for their own protection.

Alan Robertson
January 10, 2014 4:49 pm

Julian Hancock says:
January 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm
I also believe that:
The Americans landed on the Moon.
Mohamed Atta and his cronies were responsible for 9/11.
The Earth is round.
The Earth is not the centre of the Universe.
Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK etc.
Am I weird?
What difference, at this point, does it make?

Gunga Din
January 10, 2014 4:54 pm

Alan Robertson says:
January 10, 2014 at 3:19 pm
Wait a minute WAIT A MINUTE- what about if someone’s (won’t say who) only seen space aliens on the psychic planes, but has been abducted by Bigfoot (bigfeet)?

Then you’d be just a plain ol’ spaced out bigfoot.

January 10, 2014 4:59 pm

Markopanama, I don’t agree. There is nothing wrong with using self-selected samples. The key is recognizing they are self-selected. Some surveys have actually sought to examine who responded and who didn’t to look for trends. A useful consistency check is to compare the demographics of who responds to the demographics of the overall population.
That said, there’s basically no way to do that when dealing with a publicly posted survey on the internet. Such a survey can still be useful though. You can say you’ve found patterns while recognizing there may be unknown influences due to selection issues. It’s a great way to find ideas to research further.
People often fail to treat issues with self-selected samples appropriately, but that doesn’t mean they’re scientifically useless. Many things in science are informative but not conclusive. That’s what self-selected samples tend to be.

James (Aus.)
January 10, 2014 5:09 pm

I once saw Bigfoot.
It was jammed in Lewandowsky’s mouth.

January 10, 2014 5:10 pm

“Big Foot” the worlds original monster truck.
[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2akYw9VucA ]

Ted Clayton
January 10, 2014 5:17 pm

Markopanama noted @ January 10, 2014 at 4:42 pm;

OK, so back to first principles. For a scientific opinion research survey to be valid, two factors are critical – selection of a true random sample and the construction of questions that elicit the true nature of the information sought. Neither is simple.

And to craft an intentionally loaded survey to scientifically explicate the fallacious loading of a previous survey, is a good deal less simple yet.
I hope that Brandon Schollenberger posts the results and (the trick part) his analysis at the earliest practical point! 😉

Mark Nutley
January 10, 2014 5:18 pm

Some of those questions were wrong, [snip]

January 10, 2014 5:35 pm

Mark Nutley, I intentionally picked examples of things I couldn’t imagine anyone approving of in order to make it obvious my results weren’t legitimate. I don’t want people to hear me say this methodology “proves X” and actually believe it. I want people to hear this methodology proves “X group supports genocide” and think, “That methodology must be stupid.”
Ted Clayton, I’ve taken a look at the preliminary data and I’m confident I have results people will be interested in. Right now I’m debating on how long to let the survey run. I think I may close it out after its run for 24 hours. That’d leave me with plenty of data (likely over 5,000 responses), and it’d let me work on the writeup.
Alternatively, I may just work on a draft of a writeup for now and leave the survey open. Once I’m finished with that draft, I can close the survey and examine the new data to see if it matches what I’ve written. That’d be more work, but it might be worth it.
Another thing I have to decide is how I want to write it up. I don’t intend to publish this in a scientific journal, but it might be worth writing it up like I were. I could easily get a few thousand words out of this. Alternatively, I could just turn it into a simple blog post. Or I could make it a series of blog posts. There’s lots of options.
I was planning on figuring out my game plan while I waiting for the data collection, but the data came in far more quickly than I anticipated. That’s thrown off the schedule.

Ted Clayton
January 10, 2014 5:35 pm

Wikipedia entry for Self-selection bias

Self-selection bias is a major problem in research in sociology, psychology, economics and many other social sciences.[1] In such fields, a poll suffering from such bias is termed a self-selecting opinion poll or “SLOP”.[2]

There are still useful investigations that can be done with data from self-selected cohorts (and with malformed survey questions), but there are added requirements, to keep it valid, and more limitations.

January 10, 2014 5:44 pm

Alan Robertson says:
January 10, 2014 at 3:19 pm “Wait a minute WAIT A MINUTE- what about if someone’s (won’t say who) only seen space aliens on the psychic planes, but has been abducted by Bigfoot (bigfeet)?”
Everybody knows that aliens don’t abduct people anymore but advance consciousness through ESP contact with humans. Especially the ones on planet Nabiru, which NASA is hiding from you. They might put a chip in your brain but if not, the psychic contact will help you to believe in free energy and contrails.
Free energy is obtained by putting your feet on the coffee table and collecting scalar waves with your toes. You then transmit the free energy to users by broadcasting with your big mouth on the internet. But you have to get rid of nasty coal and oil first, or no free energy for you.

Ted Clayton
January 10, 2014 5:55 pm

bshollenberger says @ January 10, 2014 at 5:35 pm;

Ted Clayton, I’ve taken a look at the preliminary data and I’m confident I have results people will be interested in.

I agree that these data are sure to be very interesting, and can be ‘mined’ for valuable insight from a range of perspectives & purposes.
Formalisms are not everything, and they often are not even “first” things.
The Open Source Movement chants: “Release [Publish] now; release [publish] often”! If you were of a mind & preference to go with incremental drafts, and let the survey run, I too would see that as promising.

Jeff Alberts
January 10, 2014 6:53 pm

“A Beginner’s Guide to Uncertainty of Measurement Stephanie Bell”
Why would we be measuring Stephanie Bell? Is she particularly measurable?

January 10, 2014 6:58 pm

About “Have a wonderful Mother…”, my Mother has been a deceased Mother for decades which leaves me with the distasteful feeling that stating I ‘have’ a wonderful Mother because she is passed on?
I marked that question disagree.

January 10, 2014 7:11 pm

Jeff Alberts says:
January 10, 2014 at 6:53 pm “A Beginner’s Guide to Uncertainty of Measurement Stephanie Bell” Why would we be measuring Stephanie Bell? Is she particularly measurable?
It’s the old “go-for-a-cruise-to-measure-global-warming-and-get-stuck-in-ice” trick.

January 10, 2014 7:33 pm

“Global warming is a real.”
Say I’m a typical journalist. If you want me to believe in fairies, that will set you back one maravedi. To believe in Santa Claus, two maravedis. Global warming is a real.
re·al (ray-äl), n. pl. re·als or re·al·es (-äls): A silver coin formerly used in Spain and Latin America.
But make me an offer.

Alan Robertson
January 10, 2014 7:49 pm

jorgekafkazar says:
January 10, 2014 at 7:33 pm
ja ja ja ja

January 10, 2014 7:54 pm

I don’t believe in Bigfoot, I live in Australia! But I have seen programs on it, but there again we make money from that don’t we. In Australia they had a mythical Aboriginal creature called a Bunyip. About Big Foot, there is no palaeoanthropological reports of any primate living in North America, only the warmer south America, or Australia. So don’t tell me one hairy primate survived the ice age! Same as the Loch Ness Monster. Dragons etc. The Yeti. Other than the last it makes good tourism and historical references.

January 10, 2014 8:27 pm

You have .. a wonderful mother.
While Newsweek claims to know where she is and even sent her a “Welcome Back” mailing, she continues to .. well .. same status as Generalísimo Francisco Franco, without Hell.

John West
January 10, 2014 9:18 pm

@ bshollenberger
1) Why not publish the results in a scientific journal?
2) Are you getting many responses answered from the global warming believers “perspective”? (Since Lew’s methodology was to “ask” global warming believers what global warming skeptics think, to use the Lew method to prove just how evil global warming believers really are (wink) a bunch of us need to answer as if we’re global warming believers.) (PS: it’s well known global warming believers hate their mothers, I expect this survey to confirm that long standing scientific consensus.)

Lady Life Grows
January 10, 2014 10:00 pm

My wnderful mother is deceased and I am alive. since she formed my mind and heart, I HAVE a wonderful mother.
I also have a wonderful website to read with the funniest commenters on Earth. I love you people!

January 10, 2014 10:31 pm

John West, because the results are obviously nonsensical. There’s no way it’d pass peer-review. Even if the reviewers couldn’t see what was wrong with the methodology, they’d reject the paper because of its conclusions alone.
That said, it might be possible to turn this into a non-facetious paper. I could explain exactly what I did, why it was wrong and how it lead to nonsensical results. I could then demonstrate how the process could be extrapolated to work with different groups and different results to allow an individual to “prove” practically anything he or she wanted about any group. That might be publishable. It’d be a lot of work though. I’m not sure it’d be worth the trouble when a similar thing could be just published online.
On a silly note, I took an hour break to look into the possibility of writing a facetious paper about this survey’s results. I got 500 words written, about a dozen references lined up and a superficially plausible argument designed. I don’t think I could get a mock paper through peer review, but I’m pretty confident I could write one on par with at least some of what gets promoted by global warming advocates.
As for your 2, you’re suffering from a common misunderstanding. Lewandowsky did not ask global warming proponents what skeptics believe. He asked them what they believe. He then used bizarre mathematics (i.e. voodoo) to interpret that data as proving skeptics believe certain things.

January 10, 2014 11:16 pm

What Lysenko spawned.

M E Wood
January 10, 2014 11:23 pm

At this moment there is a flashing advertisement which tells me I could win an IPad etc etc I
I don’t believe that either. Unless the internet is causing this global warming thing! The thought just struck me. Think of all those banks of servers ( such as Google) placed in large secure warehouses in cooler parts of the world so that they won’t over heat…….

January 11, 2014 12:51 am

I’m curious what the “mother” question has to do with Dr Looniedullsky. And yes, as people have said I think it misses the important questions – JFK, Apollo landings, 9/11, whether the Kenyan is actually a practicing Muslim etc.

January 11, 2014 12:56 am

“In Australia they had a mythical Aboriginal creature called a Bunyip.”
I’m not so certain that bunyips are mythical – there’s a view that they are in fact the larger cousin of the modern drop bear but didn’t head south as quick as the drop bear before the land bridge from Indonesia closed. But the North West is so lightly explored that it’s possible that a few made it before dying out during the Ice Ace.

January 11, 2014 1:29 am

Can’t wait for the results and the following paper. Great fun.

John West
January 11, 2014 1:46 am

@ bshollenberger
I agree that Lewandowsky did not ask global warming proponents what skeptics believe, but rather what he did was “ask” global warming proponents what skeptics believe. In other words he posted the survey on GW proponents’ blogs implicitly inviting fake responses.
”In any event, virtually all of the respondents appear to have come from the eight stridently anti-skeptic blocs, with most presumably referred by Deltoid, Tamino and Skeptical Science. …..
Lucia sized up Lewandowsky’s methodology (in her usual to-the-point style) as follows:

These sorts of surveys almost scream out and say “Please, please! Enter fake data!!” Of those who fake, the most likely thing is that a “skydragon” will enter a ridiculous survey pretending to be an alarmist and vice versa. But you can never be sure

….. numerous responses had been faked – that warmists had pretended to be skeptics, and, in some cases, responded in grotesque caricature ….
…. practically invited fake responses satirizing skeptics ….
….Lewandowsky’s argument is completely insufficient to dismiss the possibility that 4-5% of the responses were warmists having some fun pretending to be skeptics”

(Not that this particular methodology faux pas made the most difference to the results, but it seems likely to have made some impact.)

January 11, 2014 1:57 am

Hey guys. I just wanted to let you know I’ve closed the survey.
The response rate far exceeded anything I imagined, with the survey receiving approximately 5,800 responses in 24 hours. That’s more data than I could possibly need, and I’m closing the survey so I can begin writing about the results. I hope to have material to post come Monday, but don’t hold me to that. As entertaining as this project is, there are other fun things I might want to do on my weekend.
Thanks to everyone who participated. You guys rock!

Man Bearpig
January 11, 2014 2:21 am

Being half man and half bear and half pig, I have two mothers, I got so confused with the question because my Bear mother is not very nice, as she eats people given the chance. My Pig mother is very nice and warm and she made a great breakfast.

January 11, 2014 2:52 am

For those who did not see this within the last 24 hours and find the survey closed, can the questions be posted so we can see what people are on about?

January 11, 2014 3:14 am

Great fun! I’m sure you’ll find we all very, very, very strongly agree that Bigfoot’s alien mother was barely a slightly wonderful old lady, although she often had difficulty hiding her racist viewpoint whenever she attended global warming protests ;o)
Looking forward to your post(s).

North of 43 and south of 44
January 11, 2014 5:40 am

bshollenberger says:
January 11, 2014 at 1:57 am
Hey guys. I just wanted to let you know I’ve closed the survey.
Not fair I hadn’t gotten my bot armay reprogramed 😉

January 11, 2014 5:57 am

But what will happen if this poll “proves” global warming with a 98% certainty. Will we all freeze?

Gail Combs
January 11, 2014 6:31 am

bshollenberger says: @ January 10, 2014 at 10:07 am
…Stephen Richards, I’m not sure anyone has ever decided whether or not I’m a skeptic, and that includes me!
I sure as heck hope you are a skeptic because the opposite is a faithful and blind follower. Modern society has no place for blind followers but unfortunately they are legion.

January 11, 2014 6:53 am

“bshollenberger says:
January 10, 2014 at 10:31 pm
John West, because the results are obviously nonsensical. There’s no way it’d pass peer-review.”

You mean it wouldn’t pass proper peer-review, but it will probably pass peer-review in a CAGW journal.

January 11, 2014 7:21 am

Did I pass?

January 11, 2014 9:04 am

when do you expect to post results?

Gail Combs
January 11, 2014 9:19 am

dmacleo says: @ January 11, 2014 at 9:04 am
when do you expect to post results?
He said Monday at the earliest and Friday at the latest.

January 11, 2014 10:31 am

I have another update. Given the short window the survey ran for, a number of people may not have got a chance to participate. As such, I’ve opened a second survey identical to the first. Anyone is welcome to take it.
I’m going to write about the results from the first survey for now, but I may include results from the copy in the future. Even if I don’t, at least you’ll be able to try the survey for yourself!

Ted Clayton
January 11, 2014 11:38 am

bshollenberger says @ January 11, 2014 at 10:31 am ;

I have another update. Given the short window the survey ran for, a number of people may not have got a chance to participate. As such, I’ve opened a second survey identical to the first. Anyone is welcome to take it.

Ah – good move (lest the Internet destabilize 😉 … and a separate, time-displaced dataset.
Pardon me, but are you already a peer-reviewed published author? It’s clear that you are very active on the Web, but I could not find any “papers”. [I am myself, not. I’m an amateur.]
I think it would be a great thing, and a “useful” venture, to aim for formal, ‘real’ publication.
But I would say to make that a separate project, and to pick the topic and design the investigation & paper, purposely to serve as a good foundation for ongoing future publication.
You already have a solid presence in several communities, and adding formal publishing to this ‘CV’ could be a big asset, especially if it’s approached with the intent to plant a load-bearing stepping-stone.

January 11, 2014 12:00 pm

bushbunny says:
I don’t believe in Bigfoot, I live in Australia!

What are you talking about? Tens of thousands of Australians say they have seen Bigfoot! And its not just claims from those who report seeing Bigfoot while traveling to the US or to the handful of other countries where Bigfoot sightings are more traditional. In 2013, numerous sightings were reported right in Australia!
It started in March near Brisbane. More recent encounters were reported in Whyalla (Oct 19), Moonyoonooka (Oct 26), Kwinana Beach (Nov 9), Davenport (Nov 16), Albany (Nov 23), and Mullingar (Nov 29). Australian media followed these sightings from town to town. From speaking to local Bigfoot fanatics who claim to have developed an understanding of the monster’s movement patterns, they report that the creature has likely left Australia, and is headed for New Zealand. They don’t really explain how it is supposed to make it over the ocean to NZ, or for that matter how it made it to Oz all the way from the US in the first place. Bigfoot isn’t really known for its swimming ability, so that is kind of a glaring ommission. Maybe it stowed away on a cargo ship.
Now, some of those folks might be delusional or trying to make a hoax, but that is no reason to discount all of them. Several photos (and a couple of shaky cell phone videos) of what is allegedly Bigfoot have recently been featured in Australian media. It is true that certain identification of the monster from those photos is difficult. As is typical of Bigfoot photos taken in the US, the Aussie pics are typically blurry and show the beast running and covered in mud, or barely visible through clouds of dust. That doesn’t mean you should dismiss them out of hand. The scientific case for Australian Bigfoot sightings involves much stronger corroborating evidence, as presented on this website:
Yank Bigfoot has Come to Oz, says Aussie Monster Expert Clive Featherby
Full disclosure: Featherby and his colleague (American researcher Bob Chandler) do admit to receiving some modest funding from Lucas Oil company, and there are other good reasons to believe that their sympathies pretty obviously lie with Big Oil. But that doesn’t mean they’re lying. Try to keep an open mind about such things.

January 11, 2014 1:18 pm

I took the second survey. I assume you’re aware the first question is not a complete sentence and does not parse to a logically answerable question as the missing word(s) could completely change ones answer.
I look forward to seeing your results.

Alan Robertson
January 11, 2014 2:19 pm

Now, let me ask you this… let’s say some guy had been captured by a bunch of Bigfoots and held prisoner in a dirt pit to have sex with Bigfoot women until finally climbing up a limb broken off during a thunderstorm and crawling away on hands and knees because the Bigfoot women licked all the skin off the bottoms of his feet (and rubbed all the hair off the side of his head, but that’s another story) to keep him from getting away… does he say he was captured by “The Bigfoot”, like he had been captured by “The Sioux”, or was he Captured by “Bigfeet”, or “Bigfoots” or… ?

January 11, 2014 7:16 pm

Bigfoot is JFKs lovechild.

January 11, 2014 8:00 pm

JJ & Anor, the bigfoot spotted in Australia is Clive Palmer (LOL) the recently elected MP who is always putting his foot in it, by accusing people of incredible crimes. Like Rupert Murdoch’s Asian second wife was a Chinese Spy? And he has just opened an incredibly expensive dinosaur park. As I said, there are no primates in North America or Australia. In fact there were no humans until about 10,000 years ago North of the great lakes. I just think and know that is why our Indigenous Aborigines came from elsewhere. But there is knowledge archaic hominids and hominins were present in SE Asia.
Recall until European occupation and the arrival of the dingo, there were no mammals in Australia only marsupials and monotremes. Ah well, as far as the bunyip is concerned it could have been a crocodile or large lizard, they lived in Australia, still do. But Aboriginal myths or dreamtime, is often based on their interpretation of evolution and the natural environment they lived in.

January 11, 2014 8:04 pm

Andrew the drop bear? The Sundra straits have been cut off from Australia and NG for Millenium.
That’s why no mammals evolved from marsupials and monotremes until the dingo and Europeans arrived. Aborigines came in around 50,000 years ago when sea levels dropped dramatically.
Anyway have to go and attend my bonsai. Enjoy your debate.

January 12, 2014 4:50 am

Skeptics do think differently, or more to the point, alarmists think differently.
Skeptics are simply people who are able to see problems at a higher resolution, as well as standing back to look at the problem in the round.
Alarmists are of a personality type that cannot juggle many ideas at once. Sceptics keep all possible aspects of a problem in play. This means assigning relative importance to different ideas, shunting some to the back-burner while other obviously important aspects stay on the stove. Sceptics are constantly juggling these ideas shunting them back and forth, never forgetting that the cumulative effect if the back-burner ideas could have quite an influence. Alarmists are incapable of doing this. They have one big pot on one burner in one kitchen, the IPCC.
As a result of this difference in mindset, sceptics exchange recipes, breathing new life into back-burner ideas that may prove to be more important than had first been realised. Alarmists expend their intellectual energies on serving up one standardised, unpalatable dish while guarding the kitchen door from anyone with new ideas.
This might sound tongue-in-cheek but it’s true: in general, alarmists can’t juggle ideas sufficiently well to fit them together because they can’t see problems in the requisite detail to see the links. Seeing the detail and the links requires hours of solitary contemplation followed by patient discussion with like-minded people who don’t dismiss your ideas at the outset because they know you haven’t yet burrowed down into the problem to the granular, detailed level. They know their potential objections will be resolved at a deeper level. Alarmists, as we know, are impatient, bombastic and self-promoting. These qualities are the diametrical opposite of quiet contemplation and thorough sharing of ideas through thoughtful, civilized discussion.
In short, alarmists are impatient linear thinkers; sceptics are patient, thoughtful, lateral thinkers.

Ted Clayton
January 12, 2014 8:06 am

Scute says @ January 12, 2014 at 4:50 am;

Skeptics do think differently, or more to the point, alarmists think differently.

In short, alarmists are impatient linear thinkers; sceptics are patient, thoughtful, lateral thinkers.

Scute offers some good observations & interpretations. Some of what we notice about these two contrasting groups, though, can also be accounted for as reflections of their dramatically differing cultural & social (etc) status, within a larger common conflict & context.
Like with the Mujahedin in Afghanistan, patience is often the ‘apparent’ virtue of the underdog. The people of this region were paragons of patience, long before they picked up their current expertise in Russian & Cyrillic.
“Boy, you wanna see some finely-honed patience, check out those Afgans”. More-generally, if you want to see patience maximally developed & expressed, just grind & crush any given people beneath the heel for a few generations or centuries. Of course, investing in the prospects of your grandchildren then becomes fraught.
The patience of skeptics is easily explained by the simple reality that without it, they quickly ‘prove’ all the charges with which they are commonly tarred. Even skeptics will distance themselves from associates who fly off the handle too readily. “We can’t afford that kind of behavior”.
Likewise, lateral thinking tends to recommend itself, when the opponent holds overwhelming powers. Aka, asymmetrical warfare.
Environmentalism arose in the later part of the 19 C, and the late 20th C development of a classical-bogeyman climate-threat is a maneuver within/by that larger movement.
Environmentalism itself links directly to/emerged from the social phenomenon/movement of Romanticism, which had been dramatically ignited by the hoax writings of the formerly small-time but subsequent literary hero-Scot James Macpherson, exploiting the ‘ethereal’, previously-oral legends of Ossian, and taking the publishing-market by storm in the late 1770s. (Romanticism in Scotland.)
President Jefferson issued several eyebrow-raising instructions to Lewis & Clark, pursuant to his deep involvement with Ossian Romanticism. Napolean Bonaparte was caught up in the frenzy, carrying Macpherson in his saddlebags during the pivotal campaigns of European history.
Romanticism was a towering social bonfire of the first magnitude; crudely, a ‘mania’ or outright ‘break from reality’. It is massaged today, to ‘romanticize’ the underpinnings of Literary, Intellectual, Academic and Liberal institutions … which in the actual historic facts & contexts are a good deal less ‘romantic’ than their stakeholders would have it.
To know the enemy, know Romanticism … staying aware that they wrote the history books, and Wikipedia. Be patient, and think laterally. 🙂

January 12, 2014 12:40 pm

@ Ted Clayton Jan 12th 2014 at 8:06
Good comment. You’ve proved my point: you used your accumulated historical knowledge to shed light on how Romanticism has infected the environmental movement. By doing so, you have proved that by keeping many seemingly disparate ideas in play before meshing them into a coherent whole, you can achieve greater insight.
I would say that humanist academics, who have their ideas rooted in Romanticism are linear thinkers, generally speaking. Unfortunately, they are good communicators of their often bad ideas, so you end up with BBC science reporters with no knowledge of science but qualifications in English and media studies, peddling claptrap. Or archeologists with not a shred of engineering knowledge pontificating on how they built the pyramids, batting away sound theories because they’ve already examined how the society was structured. All touchy-feely; no maths or physics required.
A stark example of linear thinking in climate change is Nuccitelli demanding a mechanism for the recently proposed theory that the instrumental record may demonstrate a superimposition of the AMO over the slow, linear recovery from the Little Ice Age. It’s a conjecture waiting for a proof. Nothing wrong with that, mathematicians exalt conjectures to the status of theorems all the time, even those yet to be proved. But Nuccitelli wants to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you bin the conjecture how are you going to be alert to the first signs of evidence for the LIA recovery mechanism whether it be GCR’s, solar tides, albedo changes etc.?
The other glaring example of linear thinking in climate change was chapter 7 in the AR5 draft. The authors allowed a mention of the Bond et al paper on a long-term correlation between GCR’s and temperature and then repudiated it for want of an atmospheric mechanism to explain it. It was a correlation, in other words, for them, another worthless conjecture. They couldn’t keep it on the back-burner even though it is a potential game-changer. This is akin to saying to Newton “sorry, we know you’ve described how gravity works but not what it actually is so we can’t use your equations or do any astronomy/ ballistics/ clock-making until Einstein arrives, or rather, Higgs, or rather the Hadron Collider.” Quite insane logic.
I didn’t give any examples of linear thinking alarmists in my last comment because it was supposed to be pure observation. However the two examples above are the big two for me. Doubtless, there are others.

January 12, 2014 12:48 pm

Of course, believing you’ve seen Bigfoot on tape still requires you believe he’s real!

I’ve seen Bugs Bunny on tape, & I don’t believe he’s real.

January 12, 2014 10:22 pm

Mark, the first question is a complete sentence. The word “a” in it is extraneous. I’ve discussed it a few times. Basically, it was either an intentional error to get people to pay more attention, or it was a typo. I refuse to say which.
Ted Clayton, I’m not a published author. I never even intended to become very active in global warming discussions. I just noticed problems nobody else was talking about and couldn’t ignore them.
As for a “formal” or “real” publication, I’m not sure what I could publish. The results of the survey are obviously nonsense. That was the point. The only thing I could imagine publishing is a paper showing why they’re nonsense. That might be worth trying to do.
Speaking of which, the weekend is over. I can stop pretending to have a life now and go back to writing.

Ted Clayton
January 13, 2014 6:13 am

Scute says @ January 12, 2014 at 12:40 pm;
Your linear thinking examples do a nice job of illustrating how some folks are (partially) (mis)engaging with problems. An analytic or deductive examination, contrasting with a synthetic or inductive approach.
Do you do more writing in this vein? Or can you recommend others who do?

Terry Comeau
January 13, 2014 11:01 am

Scute… there are two major divisions in the alarmist population. Those who are too stupid to know that it’s a scam and repeat everything by rote. And those who know it’s a scam and go along with the narrative as put out by a few deeply flawed “scientists” or eco-warriors. Neither group knows diddly squat about much of anything so creativity and intellect are badly missing from both groups.

January 13, 2014 2:31 pm

@ Ted Clayton on 13th January 2013 at 6:14 A.M.
I can think of two authors who deal explicitly with this issue of lateral thinking and four deceased scientists who touched on it continually in order to be inventive.
1) Seth Godin. He has a blog and posts most days. It’s mostly to do with business but is applicable to most areas of life. One in ten posts,I would say, has a little Eureka gem of an observation. He’s written many books too.
2) Edward de Bono: I have two of his books but haven’t read them yet so I can’t comment but people are always saying he laments the way groupthink has taken over.
1) Charles Babbage: e.g. “On The Economy of Machinery and Manufactures”. Linked below. Sounds dry but being written in 1835 you realise he is using the lost art of observation. He is the consummate juggler of ideas and observations. At one point he says that he would observe many different machines, inventions and business practices, guessing speed, productivity, output, profit etc before asking the owner. As a result he could walk into any factory and immediately estimate the output and turnover just by observing the shop floor for a few minutes. I took his lead and always guess before Googling or asking an expert. It seems to pay off. My guesses are better than they used to be.
2) Buckminster Fuller: “Synergetics 1 and 2”. He is really heavy going at times but you get into the flow after a while and get glimpses of his genius. He always has a new and different perspective. I use these volumes as reference tomes just to check if I’m missing the point with something because if there’s a different perspective he will have it. I’ve only read about 2% of both books though because his language is pedantic but then again I’m sure he would say that I was missing the point if I thought that. I can hardly believe these two books are free on the net. Years ago I spent a fortune on two second-hand copies because they were out of print. The first sentence says it all:
3) Most stuff by Richard Feynman. Lectures on YouTube and the film about the Challenger disaster with William Hurt as Feynman is good.
4) Robert Hooke. An underrated scientist. His biography is worth a read:
Oh and Leonardo da Vinci of course, goes without saying so that’s five.
My pieces are thin on the ground, just two articles at Tallbloke’s Talkshop. What about you- any articles or books?
Actually, thinking about it, one of these two articles linked below is a perfect example of groupthink vs slow contemplation and discussion with patient individuals (me and one other commenter for 600+ comments). It involves the strange behaviour at NASA as regards a link between the Chelyabink asteroid and 2012DA14. Subsequent evidence suggested there was no link but they embarked on a campaign of misinformation to cover their backsides within hours of the Russian hit and long before any real evidence for their stance came in. NASA is still on the defensive a year later and other astronomers such as Phil Plait have repeated their false statements instead of going to source material. This really is groupthink. Recent comments from the astronomy community now echo much of what was painstakingly worked out in the 600 comments, using hard maths, models and patient observation. Though a link is still denied and is far from certain, we have debunked all but one of NASA’s objections- the velocity disparity.

January 13, 2014 6:23 pm

Scute I heard on the internet, that NASA was going to tow some asteroids to orbit around the moon to study. I hope they know their physics, LOL.

Ted Clayton
January 13, 2014 8:17 pm

Scute @ January 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm
Thanks for the refs & commentary! I’ve seen both Godin & Bono mentioned and will check out what they’re doing.
I recently reviewed the Ada Lovelace story, and could see that there is now so much more on Babbage that is accessible. I’ve got Synergetics 1 & 2 etc (college-town thrift store, decades ago), and the Buckminster Fuller bug. Mostly I’ve been after his design approaches, but as you say there is a lot more going on…
I’ve seen & read ‘peripherally’ so much about Feynman, but never got into a proper orbit. I should correct that. Robert Hooke is a hero-figure, since I was an early microscope-tyro … and then several other things where he popped up too. da Vinci may be old history, but for me history is not very inert.
I have a growing collection of out-of-copyright Google Books, and will now be making several new directories. Thanks! 🙂
I have not published, have only ‘some’ college, but I did hard sciences in public school (and Post), and then Navy nuclear power. Always continued to enjoy being a student as much as I did learning Cell Theory or Crookes Tube for the first time.
I had a website up for some years; started with hand-coding and followed the tech as it advanced. I work outside though, in low-key construction … and found myself taking on more duties as opportunity & advisability indicated. Hi-tech websites need more hands-on attention than the proverbial high-maintenance relation …
… So I moved my coding & writing & page-building to a localhost environment, where it can be parked for weeks & months, then picked up again where I left off, as time allows. I’ve said several times I was almost ready to go back online, so I avoid saying that now. 😉
I tried & studied several CMS, after they became the way to go. Then I pretty-much settled on WordPress early on, and am handy with it.
Although I was aware of the different mental states of the sensible AGW-skeptics and the better global warming scientists & enthusiasts, I look forward to exploring how people in the opposing climate-camps make use of the linear versus lateral thinking modes. Very interesting indeed!

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