A lot of popcorn is being consumed these days watching the wailing of the Lewandowsky lemming team as they furiously throw themselves over cyber-cliffs in support of a retracted paper that was doomed from the start by it’s own ethics violations: diagnosing people in absentia as having mental disorders, then using a science journal as a bully pulpit to name and shame those people.
I had the good fortune of having dinner with Steve McIntyre last night, who was in California doing some consulting on mining interests. While most of the conversation was about that topic, invariably the topic turned to the Lewandowsky “Recursive Fury” fiasco. The other people at the table, not knowing any of the history, were incredulous that Steve and I (and others) were the subjects of this paper without our giving consent to be studied as psychological subjects. That conversation coalesced some thoughts for me.
The journal Frontiers in Psyschology obviously thought Lewandowsky et al had gotten consent, otherwise they would not have published it in the first place. Once alerted to that fact, by Steve, myself, and others, they had no choice but to do the right thing: let ethics rules guide the decision to either repair or retract. Obviously, they couldn’t repair the damage, so retraction was the only viable option.
Now, there’s a great disturbance in the farce, as Lewandowsky’s slimetroopers deploy their ultimate weapon, hate, against the editor of the editor of the Frontiers in Psyschology journal who dared to fire back about the hype being generated over the retraction.
One of the slimetroopers, an errant and hateful independent scholar/anthropologist/archaeologist in Minnesota, who shall remain nameless here because he deserves no attention, decided that he was going to take this paragraph, a comment on the recent statement Rights of Human Subjects in Scientific Papers made by Frontiers editor Henry Markram, and “fisk” it for politically correct AGW behavior:
Markram writes at 10:14PM 4/14/14 (bold mine):
My own personal opinion: The authors of the retracted paper and their followers are doing the climate change crisis a tragic disservice by attacking people personally and saying that it is ethically ok to identify them in a scientific study. They made a monumental mistake, refused to fix it and that rightfully disqualified the study. The planet is headed for a cliff and the scientific evidence for climate change is way past a debate, in my opinion. Why even debate this with contrarians? If scientists think there is a debate, then why not debate this scientifically? Why help the ostriches of society (always are) keep their heads in the sand? Why not focus even more on the science of climate change? Why not develop potential scenarios so that society can get prepared? Is that not what scientists do? Does anyone really believe that a public lynching will help advance anything? Who comes off as the biggest nutter? Activism that abuses science as a weapon is just not helpful at a time of crisis.
Yes indeed, who does come off as the biggest nutter?
So what does the slimetrooper in Minnesota do? He takes up that challenge and calls Markham a climate change denialist! See below:
Wow, just wow. The lack of self awareness here is stunning.
It used to be that we thought people who are out to “save the planet” at all costs, leaving destruction in their wake were driven by “noble cause corruption“, i.e. the end justifies the means. This phrase was coined to describe the behavior seen in some police departments, where they’d do anything to get the bad guys, including setting people up to commit crimes, making false statements, and planting evidence to get a conviction.
Equally bad, Lewandowsky’s naming people in a science paper as having a psychological affliction without their consent was just another means to an end. Better to get the “deniers” out of the way while the slimetroopers march toward their claimed noble cause of saving the world.
Sadly, watching what has transpired over the Lewandowsky Recursive Fury paper, now it seems that there’s no “noble cause” left in this particular form of “noble cause corruption”, just corruption.
I’ll bet somebody could write a psychology paper about this.