Lewandowsky’s Peer Reviewer Makes Things Up

Guest essay by Brandon Schollenberger

As most people reading this blog know, a paper by Stephan Lewandowsky, Recursive Fury, was recently retracted. This is a big deal as scientific papers are rarely retracted, and merely being wrong doesn’t cause it to happen. One would instinctively assume that means there was something very problematic with the paper.

That’s not how people are portraying it. Quite a few people have spun this retraction of a paper criticizing skeptics as demonstrating skeptics are in the wrong. One of them is Elaine McKewon, one of the peer-reviewers for Recursive Fury. Unfortunately, she does this by making things up.

McKewon recently published an article you can find here and here. The article contains numerous errors, to the point it grossly misrepresents Recursive Fury. This can be seen in its very first sentence:  

In February 2013, the journal Frontiers in Psychology published a peer-reviewed paper which found that people who reject climate science are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories.

Recursive Fury did nothing of the sort. It didn’t claim to examine relative amounts of conspiratorial ideation in any groups. It didn’t attempt to compare or quantify levels of such ideation. There is no way to read Recursive Fury as doing what Elaine McKewon claims it did. She has simply made this up.

What does it say when a peer-reviewer of a paper makes an obviously untrue claim about what the paper shows? I don’t know. What I do know is it should make everyone question McKewon’s judgment when she says:

Recursive Fury was theoretically strong, methodologically sound, and its analysis and conclusions – which re-examined and reaffirmed the link between conspiracist ideation and the rejection of science – were based on clear evidence.

But that’s not the only basic point McKewon got wrong. She also misrepresents an indisputable fact. Her portrayal of the events leading up to Recursive Fury being retracted is:

Shortly after publication, Frontiers received complaints from climate deniers who claimed they had been libelled in the paper and threatened to sue the journal unless the paper was retracted.

After taking the paper down from its website, Frontiers began its investigation and arranged a conference call so that the journal’s manager, legal counsel, editors and reviewers could discuss how to proceed.

Before the call ended, three academics, including me, argued that scientific journals must not be held to ransom every time someone threatens litigation. In response to our concerns, we were assured by the journal’s representatives that the legal matter would be considered settled once the two sentences had been amended as agreed.

Yet the paper remained in limbo while the journal’s investigation into the academic and ethical aspects of the study dragged on for more than a year.

The important part is where McKewon says “the paper remained in limbo.” Her portrayal holds “the paper remained in limbo” because of threats of legal action regarding two sentences which could be amended to address the complaints. That is a figment of her imagination. Here is what Brian Little, editor for the journal says happened:

The article was removed on February 6th because of a complaint about a factual error. We did due diligence, contacted the authors, had it corrected and it was put up again.

Notice the last part. Little clearly states the paper was put back online after it was amended. McKewon’s portrayal pretends this never happened. This means she can only claim “the paper remained in limbo” because of those supposed “threats of legal action” by ignoring the fact those complaints had actually been resolved.

To see what actually happened, we can simply ask the journal itself. It explains:

I think there’s a misunderstanding: the manuscript was accepted for publication by Frontiers on Feb 2, and the provisional (i.e. non proof-read) PDF was made available immediately, as we do in most cases. Because there was subsequently identified a need for authors, reviewers, editor and associates to review and Chief editors to agree on the modification of one specific line in the text, the provisional PDF was hidden on Feb 6 while this modification was agreed. The paper was then published in the agreed form on March 18, and as you know was subsequently unlinked while we deal with all the complaints and allegations.

In other words, the paper was first taken offline to address the complaints McKewon refers to. Once they were addressed, it was reposted. It was then taken offline a second time in response to other complaints. Those later complaints are what led to the paper remaining in limbo for nearly a year.

Given that, when McKewon asks:

Just how clear would the legal context need to be for Frontiers to stand up to intimidation and defend academic freedom? First, the two sentences discussed in the conference call had been amended as agreed, which satisfied the journal’s lawyer even under the former libel laws.

She shows she has no idea what she’s talking about. She’s created a story which ignores basic facts nobody disputes, facts which even the simplest of research would have uncovered. All she had to do was look at the Retraction Watch article about the paper’s retraction and follow the first link it offers for background. Or she could have asked the journal.

Only, if she had done that, she’d have found the journal says her entire argument is bogus. She claims the paper was retracted because “the journal’s management and editors were clearly intimidated by climate deniers who threatened to sue.” The journal disagrees. It says:

Our decision on the retraction of this article was taken on the basis of a number of factors. This decision had nothing to do with caving in to pressure and was driven by our own analysis of various factors and advice received.

The journal directly contradicts Elain McKewon’s argument. Had she questioned the journal for her story, she’d have known that. Had she investigated or researched the story, she’d have known the paper wasn’t placed in limbo because of the complaints she referred to. And had she reread Recursive Fury, she’d have known it did not find “people who reject climate science are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories.”

But she apparently didn’t do any of that. Even though she describes herself as a “journalism PhD candidate,” she didn’t do any of the basic journalism that goes into doing a story.

And she is one of the people who approved Stephan Lewandowsky’s work for publication.

Go figure?

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Oklahoma Slim

Just wondering how a PhD “candidate” becomes a peer reviewer. I was under the assumption the most recognized journals went to established scientists for “peer” review.

Gary in Erko

It’s odd when even a peer reviewer who usually remains anonymous feels a need to repair their reputation. So far on The Conversation 28 of the 183 comments (15.3%) have been removed. This is called a Conversation by some.

Another interesting point is Elain McKewon is a third year journalism PhD student:

Elaine McKewon is a third-year journalism PhD student at the University of Technology, Sydney examining coverage of climate science in Australian newspapers during 1996-2010. The primary aim of her study is to explain how the scientific consensus on climate change was reconstructed as a ‘scientific debate’ in the Australian news media.

She has published five papers and one book. That seems like a weak resume for a reviewer to me, but I’m not an academic so I don’t know. What I find more interesting is her area of focus appears to be the Lewandowsky/Cook meme of consensus + conspiracy. That makes it hardly surprising she’d approve of Lewandowsky’s paper.

Jon

Why am I not surprised that someone selected to review a Lewandowsky paper shows a strong alarmist bias and a poor grasp of facts?

Willis Eschenbach

The comments on that site are a hoot … I note that despite the article being published today, they’ve already closed comments. This from a website called “The Conversation”? What kind of “conversation” is that?
I also note (as did Gary) that more than 10% of the comments were removed … censor your conversation much?
w.

Jaypan

“… people who reject climate science …”
should better be read as
“people who do not simply swallow what’s nowadays presented as climate science”

alice

Is it not April Fools day?

Willis Eschenbach

It gets better …

Elaine McKewon is a third-year journalism PhD student at the University of Technology, Sydney examining coverage of climate science in Australian newspapers during 1996-2010. The primary aim of her study is to explain how the scientific consensus on climate change was reconstructed as a ‘scientific debate’ in the Australian news media.

Pre-judge the situation much?
w.

Willis Eschenbach

I still don’t understand what a “third-year journalism PhD student” is doing reviewing a paper … makes me wonder who her advisors might be.
w.

Willis Eschenbach

The website where Elaine published her screed has an email address to “report abuse”, so I sent them this …

Dear Friends:
You published a post today. In it, the author made a number of accusations that, despite repeated requests, she either could not or would not back up with facts.
After censoring about 15% of the comments, you closed comments. On the same day. Not only that, but bizarrely, some comments were censored but the response to the censored comments was left in …
I’m not sure how this qualifies as a “conversation”, when one in eight of the comments is censored, people are censored but their opponents are still allowed to reply, and then the “conversation” is shut down entirely.
I’ve sent this to “report abuse” in the hopes you could explain this abuse of your readers’ trust …
w.

We’ll see what happens …
w.

Willis Eschenbach

It gets clearer when you see her previous work. She covers only two topics—prostitution, and how “deniers” are crazy and misguided:

BOOKS
74
The Scarlet Mile: A Social History of Prostitution in Kalgoorlie, 1894-2004
PAPERS
221
TALKING POINTS AMMO: The use of neoliberal think tank fantasy themes to delegitimise scientific knowledge of climate change in Australian newspapers
279
DUELLING REALITIES: Conspiracy theories vs climate science in regional newspaper coverage of Ian Plimer’s book, Heaven and Earth
180
Resurrecting the war-by-media on climate science: Ian Plimer’s Heaven+ Earth
243
The historical geography of prostitution in Perth, Western Australia
43
Hedonists, ladies and larrikins: crime, prostitution and the 1987 America’s Cup

Dang …
w.

John F. Hultquist

The primary aim of her study is to explain how the scientific consensus on climate change . . .
Their never has been a “scientific” consensus on climate change. There was a public relations campaign that tried to force this idea on folks. If she wants to study something she should examine the failure of PR to convince people to suspend common sense and basic physics.
Willis asks who her advisors might be. They have to be as wonky as she is.

kim

She could really make a mark if she wrote about climate scientists prostituted to alarm.
=====================

Patrick

Following on from the Ship of Fools fiasco, are we any way surprised by this? I’m not! What makes me sick is that my taxes are paying these people to “produce” this rubbish!
Welcome to Australia.

Brad

Willis,
You missed the best part of that post:
“DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
Elaine McKewon receives an Australian Postgraduate Award from the Australian government’s Department of Education. This scholarship enables research that is in the public interest and free of vested interests.”
What a hoot!!!!

Willis Eschenbach

Her description of her upcoming PhD …

Preaching the Controversy: The Influence of the Industrial-Thinktank-Media Complex on the Australian News Media’s Coverage of Climate Change, 1996-2010 (PhD – working title)
In my PhD research, I am examining Australian newspaper coverage of climate science during 1996-2010 with the aim of explaining how the scientific consensus on climate change was reconstructed as a ‘scientific debate’ in the news media.
Theory
I am developing an interdisciplinary model of the social production of scientific ignorance – the process whereby a coalition of agents from different social fields constructs a false scientific controversy at the public level in order to undermine authoritative scientific knowledge. This theoretical framework integrates concepts from the history and philosophy of science, journalism studies, sociology, political science and communication theory.
Empirical Studies
First, I identified the drivers of newspaper coverage of climate change in Australia and the news sources who accessed the news media to discredit authoritative scientific knowledge about climate change. I found that these news sources have historical, material connections to American think tanks, Australian conservative political parties and economic interests in the fossil fuel, mining and energy industries – all of which oppose policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
I then mapped out the discursive strategies used by these news sources and the ideological basis of the narratives propagated through discourse coalitions that permeate the Field of Power which encompasses the political, economic, academic, media and think tanks social fields.
Finally, I designed synchronic case studies to examine the representation of scientific knowledge about climate change in newspapers across Australia. My case studies confirmed that ideological and partisan orientation are the main factors that determine a newspaper’s or journalist’s attitude towards the science of climate change.
In my future research, I plan to build on my PhD study to further investigate how economic interests use think tanks, the news media, social media and social movements to engage in the social production of scientific ignorance in order to manipulate policy debates in the areas of environment, energy and public health.

The part that was pure gold that she is developing:

… an interdisciplinary model of the social production of scientific ignorance – the process whereby a coalition of agents from different social fields constructs a false scientific controversy at the public level in order to undermine authoritative scientific knowledge. This theoretical framework integrates concepts from the history and philosophy of science, journalism studies, sociology, political science and communication theory.

My goodness, she’s integrating philosphy of science, journalism, poli-sci, and communication theory into Elaine’s Theory Of Everything … can’t wait to see how that comes out …
In addition, it’s no surprise that she believes in Lewandowsky’s conspiratorial theories … she manufactures them herself. She actually thinks that she has “identified the drivers of newspaper coverage of climate change in Australia and the news sources who accessed the news media to discredit authoritative scientific knowledge about climate change …”
The media, in Australia as elsewhere, has by and large been lap-dogs for the alarmists … and she actually believes that the skeptics are controlling the Aussie media? Really?
And they accuse us of believing in conspiracies? It is to laugh …
w.

NikFromNYC

Her background as a grad student in journalism: “The primary aim of her study is to explain how the scientific consensus on climate change was reconstructed as a ‘scientific debate’ in the Australian news media.”
https://theconversation.com/profiles/elaine-mckewon-6799/profile_bio
Her other academic subject of study is prostitutes.

I personally believe the general view is that it doesn’t matter whether a paper is scientifically accurate, as long as it makes “deniers” look bad.

davidmhoffer

Yeah, she wrote a whole article bashing Fairfax for letting a skeptic “slip through the cracks” and get an article published. She then spends the rest of the article bashing the author, the journals the author published in, and trying to tie everything to some grand conspiracy funded by Exxon. Roy Spencer was right. They’ve stolen April Fools day from us.
http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/1/13/policy-politics/fairfax-misleads-self-titled-climate-expert

Willis Eschenbach

One of Elaine’s tweets …

I note that she doesn’t retweet often … but when she does, she’s willing to retweet Dana Nuccitelli …
And she is nothing if not inconsistent in her tweets:

Australia’s hottest year was no freak event: humans caused it

and

US cold wave implies nothing about global warming

Stay classy, Elaine!
w.

Dave N

Sadly, her “journalism” is par for the course: fact checking has become a thing of the past.

Louis

I doubt there are many advisors or professors at universities these days who would attempt to correct a woman or minority researching in a politically correct field like climate change. They would be afraid of being charged with sexism or racism themselves. For a similar reason, no one at Fort Hood was willing to censure or report the suspicious behavior of Nidal Hasan, despite having “Soldier of Allah” on his business card. Political correctness trumps everything else these days. So expect a lot more mediocre graduates to come out of universities believing they are the smartest people the world has ever seen.

Damian

How about a story on conspiracy theory climate denying prostitutes? That could be interesting. lol.

davidmhoffer

….and her doctoral adviser is Dr Catriona Bonfiglioli who earned her own PhD by:
Catriona was awarded her PhD by the University of Sydney in 2005 for her doctoral research investigating genetic technologies in the Australian news media.
http://www.uts.edu.au/staff/catriona.bonfiglioli
So, it appears one can get a PhD by studying newspaper articles on a specific subject. Wow. I probably qualify for dozens of PhD’s by now and just never knew it.

Louis

So Elaine McKewon believes that there is an ongoing process “whereby a coalition of agents from different social fields constructs a false scientific controversy at the public level in order to undermine authoritative scientific knowledge.” All these agents from different social fields are secretly getting together to undermine the scientific consensus. Talk about conspiracy ideation!

F. Ross

Just my opinion but she sounds a lot like a modern day Joseph Goebbels in the making; just needs a few more years and a bit more power.

dp

This is like Nate Silver having Dana Nuccitelli (remind me – is he Superman or the Nazi?) check Pielke Jr’s work. You can’t make this stuff up. http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/fivethirtyeight-to-commission-response-to-disputed-climate-article/
Meanwhile, Kerry Emanuel has grabbed the ring and is beating Jr over the head with it: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/mit-climate-scientist-responds-on-disaster-costs-and-climate-change/

Long John

I glimpsed the type of set this so called scholar moves about with. You know what I mean. Lattes and chardonnay by the gallon. Backs bruised from slapping each other on the back. One time doing it tough on the streets, I saw a man down on his luck whose eyes made my heart so heavy, approach a table of chardonnay sipping academics around the corner from UTS in Sydney and ask for a dollar. What still haunts me is their reaction. Or should I say their lack of reaction. They sipped and chomped as if the man was invisible and inaudible. And that friends is how climate doom sayers would wish that those who believe in asking questions should be. Invisible and not worthy of their attention. Ok gotta get back to reading how Abe Lincoln was working for J. Edgar Hoover who was really a time hopper from the planet Covert. Interesting read.

thingadonta

So I guess is peer review depends on the bias and quality and value judgements of the peer? Who’d have thought?

KenB

I think I could help Elaine McKewon with her research, she could watch a recent screening of the History Channel “Love hate and Propaganda” closely, watch Goebbels whip up the crowd to a frenzy at a time when they were suffering their worst losses and see how his propaganda effected the crowd, reality and common sense was pushed aside as they cheered! Now consider the recent resounding defeat of the Labour party and the Greens in Australian elections especially Tasmania where both defeated leaders made 20 minute speeches that had all the hallmarks of Victory except they had to concede they were defeated. If Elaine then views the speeches made by the Labor Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten addressing a crowd in Western Australian just before the re-run of the W.A. Senate vote (the last election was declared invalid due to a lost or misplaced parcel of counted votes) the same Goebbels propaganda effect is clearly there as he works the crowd whipping them into common agreement. Techniques the same, scares and fears introduced and the theme, we didn’t really lose, this time we will win. Forget the economic mess we left you, forget our muddling disarray, we are really, really the winners.
Now that is a subject crying out for examination! Similar with the Greens leader who is thumping the same drum, forget our culpability we deserve? your vote of confidence in us!! Scares and propaganda. Delivering a similar theme, that is driving those who believe in Catastrophic warming.
There is NO attempt at “conversation” just their view, their right to rule, others must be silenced and you need political power to achieve that ultimate level of censorship and control. The power to exclude!

NikFromNYC

Her rather conventional media studies advisor writes health related articles for The Conversation and doesn’t seem to otherwise be a climate related academic.
( http://theconversation.com/profiles/catriona-bonfiglioli-890/activities?filter=articles )

Terry

Geez I wish I knew that one could get a PhD simply by reading the newspaper when I did mine. I could have spent more time sitting in at home drinking beer and reading the paper rather than trying to come to grips with quantum mechanics and high temperature reaction theory. Bugger, looks like I wasted my time then eh.

JJ

What does it say when a peer-reviewer of a paper makes an obviously untrue claim about what the paper shows?

It says that she didn’t understand it, and perhaps that she never actually read it.
Next question: Since when is a journalist a “peer” within the field of psychology? An astrologist, maybe. A phrenologist, certainly. How does a journalist rate? Was her undergrad in palmistry?

Brandon Schollenberger said,
“There is no way to read Recursive Fury as doing what Elaine McKewon claims it did. She has simply made this up.”

Her path to her PhD takes her down the rabbit hole into a interest conflict wonderland.
John

Bernie Hutchins

Brandon Schollenberger said in the article here:”…One of them is Elaine McKewon, one of the peer-reviewers for Recursive Fury…”
What she actually said is “…The paper, which I helped to peer-review,…”, and this MAY well be distinct from her being an official peer reviewer. It could mean anything, – a large or a small contribution.
It is not unusual for a professor who receives a paper for review to send copes around for his/her graduate students (WITH appropriate admonitions) to be aware of, and to comment on. This could even be useful and proper. However such “delegation” must be scrupulously chaperoned, and perhaps that did not happen here (on the part of student and/or adviser), as the remarks in McKewon’s article seem carelessly assembled and arrayed, and incautiously released.

Gary in Erko

Two of my comments were removed and the following notification sent to my email. There was no explanation of which specific rule of the forum I had breached.
—————————————————————————
Your comment on ‘The journal that gave in to climate deniers’ intimidation’ has been removed.
There are several reasons why this may have occurred:
1) Your comment may have breached our community standards. For example it may have been a personal attack, or you might not have used your real name.
2) Your comment may have been entirely blameless but part of a thread that was removed because another comment had to be removed.
3) It might have been removed for another editorial reason, for example to avoid repetition or keep the conversation on topic.
For practical reasons we reserve the right to remove any comment and all decisions must be final, but please don’t take it personally.
If you’re playing by the rules it’s unlikely to happen again, so feel free to continue to post new comments and engage in polite and respectful discussion.
For more information you can read our standards here:
http://theconversation.com/community_standards
—————————————————————————
Comments such as these are permitted as long as they are addressed to the correct side of the fence of political correctness. I suppose it’s because they add substantial information to the conversation.
“Like that manic spray is just so totes QED’ed.”
“whole lotta balone there helen, enough to fill all hot-dogs in a stadium.”
“Dumbfounded”
“Oh look over there. Greg North has found a squirrell.”

Cold in Wisconsin

Shouldn’t peer reviewers be disclosed in the interests of evaluating the level of scrutiny that a publication gets? Reviewers might be more careful if they know that bad research will reflect poorly on them as well as the author? It would also become pretty clear who is covering for each other. Peer Review would thus have to be something of a “certification” like when your accountant signs your tax return and attests to its accuracy. Likely far fewer studies would be published, but perhaps they would be of better quality.
My respect for a PhD just went into the tank. I didn’t think it could go much lower, but alas it has.

cnxtim

I am wondering in the broader picture, how prevalent and endemic all ‘fraudulent science’ actually is?
With the enormous sums of money being poured into all branches of science and research,, it appears to me there is an opportunity for a comprehensive journalistic expose of all activities that can be classified as suspect, or at lease ‘items of interest’.
Looking at the variety of extraordinary tactics applied against those who question or oppose;
emotive images, threats of criminal action against those who dare to ‘deny’ coupled with the revelations of the massive incomes of certain people in the vanguard of CAGW, it seems quite possible that the ‘get the denier’ programme of attempting to muzzle or denigrate is possibly the MO of many of these heavily funded qualified scientists.
So it begs the question, is science the newest criminal activity?
Just a thought….

Bernie Hutchins

Cold in Wisconsin said in part: April 1, 2014 at 10:59 pm “Shouldn’t peer reviewers be disclosed in the interests of evaluating the level of scrutiny that a publication gets?…..”
Yes – but that won’t happen. Keep in mind that “peer review” means next to nothing. Search “peer review is bogus” (or supply your own invective in the search term) and you will see the sorry state of the review process. Few if any reviewers would brag about their contributions.

Scarface

“And had she reread Recursive Fury, she’d have known it did not find “people who reject climate science are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories.”
How about ‘read’ to begin with?

Excellent takedown, Brandon.
And remind me to never, ever argue with Willis. His deconstruction rapier is far too formidable for a lightweight like either Elaine McKewon, or the truly despicable Lewandowsky.
But it’s fun seeing the corner they and their enablers have painted themselves into, using their own words and fake accomplishments…

asybot

@Willis, 952pm.
And they accuse us of believing in conspiracies? It is to laugh …
It would be if it was not so sad. (but thanks for the comments above!).

This comment (borrowed from Retraction Watch, has a nice summary:
http://retractionwatch.com/2013/03/28/why-publishers-should-explain-why-papers-disappear-the-complicated-lewandowsky-study-saga/#comment-52861
“This may be one of a tiny handful of cases in which a journal might be justified in erasing, rather than withdrawing, an article. The circumstances here are almost unique.
The lead author is a psychologist. He reports that he has recorded and analyzed the responses of a number of people to a particular event. On the basis of that analysis, he draws certain professional conclusions about the psychological and cognitive status of his subjects. He writes up his data, analysis, and conclusions and submits them for publication. Whether he did so well or badly, this is simply the paradigm of academic psychology. Forget climate politics. Forget “provocative” titles. Don’t even worry about whether this is good science or not. Measure it only against the professional obligations implied by the paradigm.
First, the senior author has an extraordinary conflict of interest. The behavior under study is precisely public criticism of the author’s professional competence. Psychology in particular has a deep concern with the distortions caused by even relatively trivial conflicts of interest.
Second, it is probably safe to assume that Prof. Lewandowsky did not write his Psych. Sci. paper simply to create the experimental conditions for the Frontiers paper. Still, negative reactions to the Psych. Sci. paper were entirely predictable. This was not a “natural” event. On the contrary, the experimental set-up (the contents and release of the then-unpublished Psych. Sci. paper) was completely under the author’s control. Thus Prof. Lewandowsky created, controlled, conducted, analyzed, and published a psychological experiment without any disclosures to, or consent from, the subjects.
Third, regardless of whether consent was required for the experiment, the authors published individually identifiable information about, and analysis of, the mental health and cognitive status of their subjects. This is not simply bloggish, lay opinion. This is, mind you, published as objectively determined, scientifically verified, analysis by professional psychologists for publication in a professional journal — concerning named individuals who were not willing subjects and did not consent to participation in a study, or to the release of personal mental status information.
Fourth, some of the information then turned out to be wrong.
Perhaps, despite appearances, this is all ethically acceptable in psychology. But, if not, Frontiers has a hard choice. They really shouldn’t proceed to publication. It’s an ethical minefield. But retraction or withdrawal, with detailed explanations, would look like an attempt to cast blame on the authors or others — and might make things worse. Having gotten this far into the process, duck and cover may be the best, and perhaps even the most ethical, choice among rotten alternatives.”

HGW xx/7

C’mon everyone, let’s go easy on Elaime. After all, she’s practically 97% of a doctorate.
Do these strategically shaved apes realize how desperate and narcissistic they appear with that ‘I <3 CS' mantra? I'm shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that they managed to find room on a napkin to crank out that insipid doodle.
The whole lot is revolting.

Another Ian

davidmhoffer says:
April 1, 2014 at 10:16 pm
Just think how many PhD’s Steve Goddard would qualify for by this standard!

John in Oz

My pride in being an Aussie is diminished daily by these w@nkers.

Streetcred

ROTFLMFAO … Elain McKewon has a disturbing fascination with prostitution in small country towns … I guess that figures.

pat

2 April: SMH: Peter Hannam: ‘Conspiracist’ climate change study withdrawn amid legal threats
Climate change academics say the decision by a publisher to retract their paper examining the links between conspiracy theorists and denial of global warming because of legal threats could have a “chilling effect” on research…
“Sadly, it has turned into a routine for outsiders with no scientific standing to approach, bully, or intimidate journals, editors, and academics,” said Professor Lewandowsky, now at the UK’s University of Bristol.
One person commenting on the Frontiers’ website asked for the ‘‘full details of the investigation,’’ saying the paper had been ‘‘derogatory and insulting’’ by naming people as conspiracy theorists who were ‘‘merely pointing out errors in the previous paper’’…
John Cook, a researcher at the University of Queensland and a co-author of the second paper, said the Frontiers’ decision to retract the work might have a “chilling effect” on research.
“It means that if a paper is published that the climate deniers don’t like the look of, they can bombard the journal with complaints or threats,” Mr Cook said.
“Knowing they have had success once might embolden them to try to retreat the strategy again.” (Mr Cook also helms the Skeptical Science website.)
Kim Heitman, a lawyer for the UWA, said the university had done its own risk analysis before publishing the paper online. “There’s no reason to take it down,” Mr Heitman said.
The university had also received complaints from some groups. “It’s quite relentless,” he said.
“There’s always a close interest in everything that Steve (Lewandowsky) does,” Mr Heitman said. “We are conscious that we are going to be targeted by people opposed to his works.”
The university, though, had also received plaudits from around the world for its decision to publish the paper.
“I couldn’t list them,” Mr Heitman said. “And I wouldn’t list them, having regard to the fact that anyone who issues a ‘thanks UWA’ will probably get their own enquiry.”
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/conspiracist-climate-change-study-withdrawn-amid-legal-threats-20140402-35xao.html

pat

1 April: Brookings Institute: Adele Morris: An EPA-Sanctioned State-Based Carbon Tax Could Reduce Emissions and Improve State Finances
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing a proposed rule due out in June that could allow states to use carbon excise taxes or fees to limit the one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that come from power plants…
A national price on carbon currently has little traction in Washington, but EPA’s power plant rule could open the door for a straightforward state-based tax…
Here are some potential benefits to such a system: … (LIST OF TWELVE)
(Adele Morris, Fellow, Economic Studies, Climate and Energy Economics Project
Policy Director, Climate and Energy Economics Project)
http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/up-front/posts/2014/04/01-epa-carbon-tax-can-help-environment-state-finances-morris
2 April: Guardian: Kelly Rigg/Wael Hmaidan: Seeking the political will to secure a carbon-free future
Global leaders must see the IPCC report for what it is: one last chance to stop catastrophic climate change
Don’t believe anyone who tells you that a 100% renewable energy-powered future is unrealistic…
(Kelly Rigg is the executive director of the Global Call to Climate Action, a network of more than 400 non-profit organisations. Follow @kellyrigg on Twitter.
Wael Hmaidan is director of Climate Action Network International. CAN is a network of more than 850 NGOs from 100 countries working together to fight the climate crisis. Follow @whmaidan on Twitter)
http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/apr/02/ipcc-report-climate-change-carbon

When journalists come to believe they qualified to give opinions about scientific
subject matter, I’d say they have disqualified themselves as journalists. Repeat after me : journalists are not scientists. Journalists are not scientists.