Lewandowsky’s Competing Theories for Source of Bias in Scientific Research

You Ought to Have a Look:  bias_signBy Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger

Two papers were announced this week that sought to examine the sources of bias in the scientific literature. They could not be more starkly opposed.

First off is a doozy of a new paper by Stephan Lewandowsky, Naomi Oreskes and colleagues that complains that skeptical viewpoints are disproportionately influencing the science of climate change. Recall that Lewandowsky and Oreskes are quixotic climate change denialslayers—conspiracy theorists of somewhat illrepute.

According to a story in Science Daily (the Lewandowsky et al. paper was not available at the time of this writing) Lewandowsky and Oreskes argue that:

Climate change denial in public discourse may encourage climate scientists to over-emphasize scientific uncertainty and is also affecting how they themselves speak – and perhaps even think – about their own research.

Lewandowsky and Oreskes fret:

The idea that ‘global warming has stopped’ has been promoted in contrarian blogs and media articles for many years, and ultimately the idea of a ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ has become ensconced in the scientific literature, including in the latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The Science Daily article continues:

Recent warming has been slower than the long term trend, but this fluctuation differs little from past fluctuations in warming rate, including past periods of more rapid than average warming. Crucially, on previous occasions when decadal warming was particularly rapid, the scientific community did not give short-term climate variability the attention it has now received, when decadal warming was slower. During earlier rapid warming there was no additional research effort directed at explaining ‘catastrophic’ warming. By contrast, the recent modest decrease in the rate of warming has elicited numerous articles and special issues of leading journals.

This asymmetry in response to fluctuations in the decadal warming trend likely reflects what the study’s authors call the ‘seepage’ of contrarian claims into scientific work.

And according the Lewandowsky, this is a problem because:

“It seems reasonable to conclude that the pressure of climate contrarians has contributed, at least to some degree, to scientists re-examining their own theory, data and models, even though all of them permit – indeed, expect – changes in the rate of warming over any arbitrarily chosen period.”

So why might scientists be affected by contrarian public discourse? The study argues that three recognised psychological mechanisms are at work: ‘stereotype threat’, ‘pluralistic ignorance’ and the ‘third-person effect’.

‘Stereotype threat’ refers to the emotional and behaviour responses when a person is reminded of an adverse stereotype against a group to which they belong. Thus, when scientists are stereotyped as ‘alarmists’, a predicted response would be for them to try to avoid seeming alarmist by downplaying the degree of threat. Several studies have indeed shown that scientists tend to avoid highlighting risks, lest they be seen as ‘alarmist’.

‘Pluralistic ignorance’ describes the phenomenon which arises when a minority opinion is given disproportionate prominence in public debate, resulting in the majority of people incorrectly assuming their opinion is marginalised. Thus, a public discourse that asserts that the IPCC has exaggerated the threat of climate change may cause scientists who disagree to think their views are in the minority, and they may therefore feel inhibited from speaking out in public.

Research shows that people generally believe that persuasive communications exert a stronger effect on others than on themselves: this is known as the ‘third-person effect’. However, in actual fact, people tend to be more affected by persuasive messages than they think. This suggests the scientific community may be susceptible to arguments against climate change even when they know them to be false.

We humbly assert that Lewandowsky, Oreskes, and colleagues have this completely backwards.

When global warming was occurring faster than climate models expected during the 1990s, there was little effort by the mainstream climate science community to look into why, despite plenty of skeptic voices (such as our own) pointing to the influence of natural variability.  Instead, headlines proclaimed “Global warming worse than expected,” which fueled the human-caused climate change hysteria (favored by the 1990s White House) and helped build the push for calls to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.  But since the late 1990s, there has been no statistically significant warming trend in the highly-cited HadCRU4 temperature record, and both the RSS and UAH satellite records are now in their 21st consecutive year without a significant trend.  This behavior contrasted with, and called into question, the veracity of climate model projections. And it was these projections upon which rested the case for a dangerous human influence on the climate. Again, skeptic voices were raised in objection to the mainstream view of climate change and the need for government intervention. But this time, the skeptic voices were accompanied by data that clearly showed that rather than “worse than expected,” climate change was actually proceeding at a quite modest pace.

It was only then, with the threat of losing support for actions to mitigate climate change—actions that a top U.N. climate official, Christine Figueres, described as an effort “to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history” —that the mainstream climate community started to pay attention and began investigating the “hiatus” or “pause”—the words so despised by Lewandowsky and Oreskes.

Through these research efforts, we have learned a lot about the role of natural variability in the broader climate system and how such variability impacts of projections of human-caused climate change (such as through a better understanding of the equilibrium climate sensitivity—how much warming results from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration).

In other words, science has been moved forward, propelled by folks who didn’t take the mainstream climate science at face value, and instead questioned it—i.e., Lewandowsky’s and Oreskes’ “deniers.”

The outcome of all of this is, in fact, the opposite of what Lewandowsky and Oreskes assert has occurred.  Rather than “skeptic” ideas “seeping” into science and leading to a false narrative, skeptic ideas instead have spurred new research and therefore new knowledge. Such was not the case when skeptics were being shut out. The only thing different now vs. 20 years ago, is that this time around, the existence of a profoundly inconvenient truth (a “hiatus” in global warming) gave public credence to the skeptics which forced them to be taken seriously by the scientific consensus-keepers. Incontrovertible evidence that threatened to tear down the meme of climate alarmism clearly required some sort of response.

Science is biased not by the inclusion of skeptical voices, but rather the exclusion of them.

In fact, this week, we announced the framework for an investigation into the existence of such bias.

We teamed with Dr. David Wojick to produce a Cato Working Paper titled “Is the Government Buying Science or Support? A Framework Analysis of Federal Funding-induced Biases” we describe:

The purpose of this report is to provide a framework for doing research on the problem of bias in science, especially bias induced by Federal funding of research. In recent years the issue of bias in science has come under increasing scrutiny, including within the scientific community. Much of this scrutiny is focused on the potential for bias induced by the commercial funding of research. However, relatively little attention has been given to the potential role of Federal funding in fostering bias. The research question is clear: does biased funding skew research in a preferred direction, one that supports an agency mission, policy or paradigm?

An interested reader may want to review the fifteen bias-inducing scientific practices that we identify and compare them with the “three recognised psychological mechanisms” that Lewandowsky and Oreskes assert are at work to see which seem to make the most sense.

Essentially, our project seeks to determine if the dog is wagging the tail. Lewandowsky and Oreskes propose the tail is wagging the dog.

Hopefully, in the not too distant future, we’ll be able to report back what we find in our investigations. We’ll be surprised if we find that exclusionary practices drive science forward more efficiently than inclusive ones!

Reference

Lewandowsky, S., N. Oreskes, J. S. Risbey, B. R. Newell and M. Smithson, 2015. Climate change denial and its effect on the scientific community. Global Environmental Change, (in press)


 

You Ought to Have a Look is a feature from the Center for the Study of Science posted by Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. (“Chip”) Knappenberger.

 

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105 thoughts on “Lewandowsky’s Competing Theories for Source of Bias in Scientific Research

  1. ‘a new paper by Stephan Lewandowsky, Naomi Oreskes’

    Good a had something to eat that really does not agree with me so I am real need of some new ‘Lew Paper ‘.
    Despite what others man think of the quality of these authors work making it suitable for my intended purpose , my only question is 3 or 2 ply ?

      • “””””…..First off is a doozy of a new paper by Stephan Lewandowsky, Naomi Oreskes and colleagues that complains that skeptical viewpoints are disproportionately influencing the science of climate change. …..”””””

        Well As far as I know the United Nations is not trying to tax the free peoples of the earth to implement some of these skeptics (ho hum) radical ideas.

        The only thing they are trying to tax free peoples for is these hair-brained mann made global warming eradication schemes.

      • Since when did these two ever have anything to do with scientific research ??

    • Actually when you think about papers like this, “Used lew paper” is more accurate.

  2. Brilliant and not before time: while you are at it take a look at:

    The UN FCC Background Paper (IPCC Rev 4) entitled “INVESTMENT AND FINANCIAL FLOWS TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE” states:

    “RESOURCE ALLOCATION FRAMEWORK (RAF)

    China, India and the Russian Federation are likely to receive the most under the RAF formula, followed by Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, followed by a group of countries that includes Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Romania, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela (GEF, 2005b).”

    Quite clearly the UNFCC expect the developed nations to fund GW Adaption and Mitigation projects in Oil & Gas rich Iran, Russia and Venezuela. This beggars the imagination.

    http://unfccc.int/files/cooperation_and_support/financial_mechanism/application/pdf/background_paper.pdf

    Absolutely no political gerrymandering here. And now we have a UN Green Fund to which the US is considering paying a Billion or Two… :-(

    • For your edification; RAF means The Royal Air Force.

      There is NO other interpretation of those three letters. Period !

      • “Resource Allocation” is a well-recognized term used when examining the distribution of inherently limited benevolent or civic funds to address an array of problems. In a resource allocation model, you prioritize needs and calculate how much benefit you get from a dollar spent here rather than there. This is the classic “guns and butter” issue: should we spend more on national defense or providing food for the hungry.

        So, these models require a common beneficience metric. Here, economists are ready to rush in with their “utilities.” This framework thus ends up being an exercise in utilitarianism: achieving the greatest good for the most people (the down-sides being: individuals do not get to have input in prioritization, and if your needs are not worthy enough, you are not far enough up the list to get your problem funded/addressed). Funny how the brief description of utilitarianism sounds a lot like communism. Communism is a utilitarian philosophy.

        A Resource Allocation Framework is a logical, top-down model for setting spending priorities. There are a few alternative models, for sake of contrast.

        The politics-as-usual model, where resources (tax dollars) are superficially supposed to be allocated by civic good to be gained, but are merely vehicles for pleasing constituencies, and thus getting re-elected.

        Rather than a system based on utility, a system can be based on morals. Under a utilitarian system, it makes sense to have forced abortion and to have death panels; under a moral system, life might be given high moral value, and the society be expected to take care of the vulnerable and unproductive, regardless of cost.

        Freedom: rather than being based on morals or utility, a system could be organized to maximally allow individuals to do whatever they might for their short time on earth, with the minimum civic effort allocated to sustain this right to pursuit of happiness.

        All of these perspectives have their value.

        The worst of all is tyranny: when a small group can hijack any of these systems to favor themselves and their own philosophies and wealth.

      • Well the USA, thankfully is not a democracy; it is a Republic, and people are still free to allocate their own resources, as they personally see fit; without any input from any democrat ideas.

        Democracy is one step removed from anarchy.

  3. L&O’s goal is to make those who are seriously considering the causes of the hiatus appear as victims of a psychological syndrome rather than as objective scientists. It’s really quite vicious.

  4. These denialist-slayers: It’s like watching an addict explain how it’s not really his fault.

    [??? .mod]

    • K-Bob: Do you mean to say an addict lives in an alternate reality and devises complex, convoluted explanations / theories based on that alternate reality and then gets angry at people who live in the real world? If that’s what you mean it’s a thought provoking analogy….

    • K-Bob
      May 11, 2015 at 1:30 pm
      These denialist-slayers: It’s like
      watching an addict explain
      how it’s not really his fault.
      [??? .mod]

      ____

      yes, K-B: a Climate Alarmism Addict of course responds –

      1. I’m no climate alarmisn addict at all.

      2. My climate alarmism addiction is on the better of environment.

      3. There’s no such thing as Climate Alarmism Addiction.

      Thanks – Hans

    • Not in itself enough.
      The source may really want something to be true. But they may still want to know if it is true.

      The fools in Logan’s Run may truly desire Carousel to be a renewal.
      But as it affects them directly, they may still run.

    • I can spout absolute tosh for long periods but no one will pay me for it! How come they can get away with it?
      It may be because I know what I’m saying is rubbish from what I have forced myself to watch of these THEY BELIEVE IT.

      James Bull

    • My boss when I was an apprentice use to say start at the source. Similar and brilliant.

  5. I wonder if bias increases concurrently with the dollar amount. Concerning the green fund would 2 billion create twice as much bias as 2 billion or would it be a curve. At 1 billion you get Z amount of bias and for every additional 100 million you get an additional 25% of bias.

    This research I am proposing fits the Lewandowsky method for research which ignores the need of a measurement methodology and testable predictions. The Lewandowsky scientific method is better called the editorial science method. It is science where you spout opinions along with random facts like the editorial pages in news media.

    It is interesting that the “A Framework Analysis of Federal Funding-induced Biases”, seems to provide a methodology for measuring bias in the very measurable area of government funding. Also since Eisenhower predicted this risk of scientific bias, it could determine the accuracy of Eisenhower’s prediction. He was right about the growth of the military industrial complex.

  6. Scientific uncertainty can also be under-estimated in many ways. For example by confusing metrology with meteorology.

  7. Lewandowsky and Oreskes, really!
    Did they leave the gates unlocked again?

  8. Recent warming has been slower than the long term trend, but this fluctuation differs little from past fluctuations in warming rate…
    So we’re good then? Current climate fluctuations are just “more of the same”? Sounds like Science Daily is in denial.

  9. “We’ll be surprised if we find that exclusionary practices drive science forward more efficiently than inclusive ones!”

    It’s good to know you don’t have a bias!

    • You are a bit confused what is bias and what is hypothesis. They have a hypothesis, which may turn out wrong or not. That is how science processes. Example of bias is belief that you are right and those who disagree do not deserve to live

      • Have to agree with Bill 2: if that is their hypothesis, it is quite poorly expressed as a belief. It is unclear how their surprise might be tested??? Or even how “exclusionary practices drive science forward more efficiently than inclusive ones”? That implies a directional hypothesis and rules out other directionality.

        I look forward to discovery and particularly to some definitions of terms: exclusive, inclusive, what is a measure of forwarding science? Efficiency? Are there metrics for these? I am not familiar with analysis of this sort of categorical data beyond descriptive statistics.

        I hope that this was simply a poorly chosen sentence to wrap up the piece.

    • Bill 2: we all have biases. Science is a methodology to explore whether we are right or wrong, while controlling these biases. In my opinion, things work BETTER when we all own up to our biases, just to make matters more clear.

      No drug company undertakes a randomized clinical trial without hoping that their drug will be a blockbuster. A decent study should simply reveal whether their bias is accurate or not.

      The efforts to require disclosure of conflicts of interest in medical trials allows us all to incorporate that bias when considering results of some study.

  10. If IPCC ‘scientific literature’ has turned ‘contrarian’, where does it leave Stephan’s and Naomi’s publication now? Doesn’t it display a stereotype threat, pluralistic ignorance or third-person effect towards IPCC?

  11. Amazing, almost eerie. The Warmists are accusing us of the very ‘group’ think that we have been accusing them of for years!
    We should just refer to them as Global Water Vapour Convection Cooling Deniers.
    or GWVCCDs….now there’s a snappy acronym.

  12. It seems reasonable to conclude that the pressure of climate contrarians has contributed, at least to some degree, to scientists re-examining their own theory, data and models

    Why is this positive effect, worded as if it is somehow a bad thing?

    • My neighbors have had to pull and replace almost one-third of their grape vines due a disease coming down from the trees in the drought. So I’m guessing you see that as a good thing? Wasn’t higher CO2 supposed to increase crop production?? Same goes in the coffe bean industry, higher night-time temps reducing production. All good in the hood.

      • You “guess” that… is correct. You make stuff up in your own mind, in other words.

      • Since CO2 has nothing to do with the drought, do you have a point, or are you just whining again?

      • Lneraho,
        You should have read the quote I included, as it had nothing to do with your reply.

        But that said, while it might be warmer at night, it also warmer during the day, and when you look at tonight’s cooling compared to today’s warming, on average since the 40’s, it cools more than it warmed.
        As well as 50 of the last 74 years, and 30 of the last 34 years.

    • Seems like you’re pretty deeply rooted in your own view, and the views put up on this site, which all come to the same conclusion, no matter what the topic. The future by definition is unknown and uncertain and therefore we should be talking probabilities, not absolutes. But like religion, no one ever says there is a 60 percent chance God exists so I’ll go to church, they just ignore any evidence there is and keep going to church.

      [??? .mod]

      • Since there is a zero percent chance that CO2 will cause harmful, much less catastrophic warming, why should anyone care?

      • @MarkW: Love the confidence. Reminds me of S&P’s housing credit model that assumed national housing prices can never go down, because they hadn’t. Until they did. Really. It happened. They went down and the US blew $4 trillion and counting.

      • No need for confidence, just follow the data.
        As for economics models, they ignored the data, and got crushed. Just like your climate models.

      • Lneraho commented:
        “…. they just ignore any evidence ….”

        So you have empirical evidence that proves AGW? Please share, “this site” keeps waiting for it.

  13. Here is a recommendable reading for Lewandowsky, Oreskes and other over-zealous & self-rightous “heretic-slayers”:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/0/22078983

    Maybe they will understand the message ???

    I’m afraid they won’t because of their deeply rooted ideological bias. But it’s fair to give them a new chance from time to time… ;-)

    • Seems like you’re pretty deeply rooted in your in view, and the views put up on this site, which all come to the same conclusion, no matter what the topic. The future by definition is unknown and uncertain and therefore we should be talking probabilities, not absolutes. But like religion, no one ever says there is a 60 percent chance God exists so I’ll go to church, they just ignore any evidence there is and keep going to church.

      • “Seems like you…”
        Why don’t you come right out and tell us your reasons for supporting this latest paper from Lewandowsky and Oreskes, rather than continue with your insipid little SkS- style attacks on WUWT and the readership?

      • @ Alan R: I come to this site to find contratrian information to keep my mind open and the probabilities shifting. Yet I am always disappointed. The reference to Newton and Galileo is absurd given the consistent and rigid conclustions made here which to me seem directly linked to conservatism, which would be in line with the ruling class who imprisoned scientists like Galileo and Copernicus. I reference the deterioration of vineyards since it is not based on models, but real life, and I recalled the last time visiting the site that commenters were promoting the benefits of higher Co2 levels with higher crop production. This must certainly be true somewhere in the world, but not in the vineyards or coffee plantations, my two favorite beverages. That is my insipid motivation. To debate the paper would be a waste of forehead beating against wall. The comments are almost always the same no matter what article is posted.

      • Lneraho

        The reference to Newton and Galileo is absurd given the consistent and rigid conclustions made here which to me seem directly linked to conservatism, which would be in line with the ruling class who imprisoned scientists like Galileo and Copernicus.

        Hmmmn. Galileo lived some 500 years ago, was never imprisoned by today’s conservatives; and Copernicus was never imprisoned at all, nor restricted in his publications. Makes one wonder about the accuracy of the rest of your statements and conclusions.

      • Cutting and pasting the same stupid comment over and over again, does not make you sound smarter.

      • Lneraho, someone who actually had an open mind, wouldn’t confuse the affects of a disease, with a claim that CO2 makes plants grow better.

      • You come here for a different perspective, to keep your mind open. That’s all well and good. The last time you were here, did you happen to notice that NASA’s own data affirms that the biosphere is indeed greening as benefit from increased atmospheric CO2? It’s ok to allude to your failure to keep your mind open. Keep working on it and you’ll meet with some measure of success, surely. We all have our own crosses to bear (you do enjoy religious overtones, eh?)

      • First of all MarkW, I didn’t learn of the crop failures until this Friday night, so nothing cut and pasted on that topic but I do worry about my wine. Secondly the way this works: Global warming (yes, this is true despite your cut and pasted pause data that never goes away despite records breaking) = drought = disease = lower crop yields = higher chemical use = lower health = higher food costs. DO YOU GET IT? OR DO I NEED TO TALK LOUDER? I have argued with stupid people before, until real events proved them unequivocally wrong so I am used to it.

      • Lneraho

        Global warming (yes, this is true despite your cut and pasted pause data that never goes away despite records breaking) = drought = disease = lower crop yields = higher chemical use = lower health = higher food costs.

        Why do you claim global warming = drought? Thought higher temperatures caused more humidity and were going to cause more flooding.

      • Lneraho, wow, your allegedly open mind didn’t last very long, did it.
        The claims of record breaking temperatures have been more than adequately thrashed by others, so I won’t bother you with the details that you would just ignore again.

        Saying stupid things even louder, only makes you look dumber than before, so be my guest, scream all you want.

        Pointing out that even in an enhanced CO2 world, plants would still get diseases, does not disprove the claim that enhanced CO2 would make plants grow better.

        If you weren’t so closed minded, you could have figured that out for yourself.

      • …no one ever says there is a 60 percent chance God exists so I’ll go to church, they just ignore any evidence there is and keep going to church.

        Or they just ignore the evidence and keep staying home….

      • until real events proved them unequivocally wrong so I am used to it…..

        quick, which lotto numbers should I pick?

      • @lneraho. You say people should be talking probabilities, but then come here talking in absolutes, as if there can be no view but yours, all others are deserving only of ridicule. One would have to have lost their critical thinking skills not to be a little skeptical of all the claims of AGW alarmism given failures of predictions and a plausible case of no warming in 18 years contrary to predictions. Just a little skepticism doesn’t occur to you. By my observations, the consensus here is that 97% of the commenters think that you might have lost the very ability to critically think, that you are certain of your correctness in an area you say there are only probabilities. It’s contradictions like that, and those pointed out in the main post, that plague the credibility of your case to real critical thinkers. But that’s just my view.

      • @Lneraho

        Thanks very much for your obviously rather “over-zealous & self-righteous” reply. So I understand of course why you felt personally addressed by my posting… ;-)

        BTW: I’m not at all “deeply rooted” in the skeptical viewpoint of man-made Global Warming by CO2 from fossil fuels. Though I believe that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is likely only about a third of the most promoted IPCC claims, and that the atmospheric feedbacks might be more negative than positive, I would have no problems to accept the official IPCC declarations if they could offer any real and scientific proofs instead of their manifold but valueless computer-model results (garbage in = garbage out).

        On the contrary, I would happily accept their promises for a 4 degrees C warmer planet at the year 2100 because I’m convinced that – in the long run – a warmer world would be a much better place for the flourishing of mankind and nature, though there would be some adaptations needed, of course. But the advantages would be quite likely bigger than the drawbacks, as you can see at the example of the likewise warm era of the Holocene climatic optimum in which e.g. the Sahara desert was a green and thriving grassland and animal paradise.

        My reason to be critical against the ruling CAGW doctrine has nothing to do with a ideological refusal of the (still unproven) IPCC claims, but with the alarming fact that this claims have become the status of a “divine truth” which can’t questioned any more. The ruling belief that CO2 by fossil fuels is “evil” and must lead to a (w)armageddon of the whole planet is an infallible religion now and “heretics” of this orthodoxy are called “deniers” and become victims of witch-hunting in the MSM. As a trained scientist myself, I cannot accept this totally unscientific intellectual dictatorship and scare mongering by the IPCC followers.

        The key quote in the recommended BBC link is:

        “Great scientists change the way we view the world. Doing that usually means smashing an old, entrenched idea – often making enemies in the process. Before being proven and accepted, a great theory can be subjected to harsh criticism and its proposer can be mocked, rejected, even vilified.”

        There you have it:

        “smashing an old entrenched idea” and “its proposer can be mocked, rejected, even vilified”

        That is exactly what CAGW heretics do and how the IPCC community treats them…

    • Lneraho says:

      My neighbors have had to pull and replace almost one-third of their grape vines due a disease coming down from the trees in the drought. So I’m guessing you see that as a good thing? Wasn’t higher CO2 supposed to increase crop production?? …Same goes in the coffe bean industry…

      Quit cherry-picking random factoids. The basic debate concerns man-made global warming (MMGW). Anyone can find local climate changes and weather events, and crops always get diseases. Haven’t you ever been in a garden supply store? Shelves are crammed with disease treatment products.

      Global T has risen by only about 0.7ºC over the past century. However, global warming stoppped almost twenty years ago. To rational folks, that debunks the ‘dangerous MMGW’ scare — and furthermore, there aren’t even any measurements quantifying MMGW! Not a single one, and we’re getting tired of climate alarmists telling us, in effect: “Trust us, MMGW is there. But you will have to take our word for it, because we can’t produce any measurements.”

      Since it’s clear you are rooted in your own (evidence-free) view, how is your view any different from a faith-based religion? In science DATA IS EVERYTHING. Measurements are data. But you can’t produce any measurements quantifying MMGW.

      Who are you trying to kid?

  14. ‘contrarian discourse’:

    google ‘fukushima effect’ for a global discussion on release of some radiation.

    and

    google ‘Fukushima-Effekt’ for the positive outcomes to german greens polls and votings by the loss of lives in a natural desaster.

    Hans

  15. Lewandowsky and Oreskes repeatedly ignore the most direct and, in my opinion, the most correct explanation of “denial” and of “denial” influencing climate science: “Denial” is better supported by the science than CAGW. At the very least, there are fewer and less troublesome inconsistencies with “denial” than with the CAGW narrative. By way of explanation, I place “denial” in quotes, because it is an incorrect characterization of the position of most skeptics. Most of us do not deny warming or that there is such a thing as a greenhouse effect or that increasing CO2 would tend to increase temperature if all other things were equal and if there is no negative feedback (which, of course, is not known). Thus, in most ways Lewandowsky and Oreskes have been attacking an imaginary enemy. Funny, that sounds like a pathological, psychologically motivated approach to science, doesn’t it? As to why climate scientists are finally being influenced by skeptics, maybe it has something to do with not just the pause, but failure of virtually all major climate predictions (e.g., 50,000,000 climate refugees, ice free arctic, accelerated sea level increase, etc., etc., etc.). Maybe some climate scientists are finally coming to their senses and letting the data rather than theory drive their thinking. Extraordinary claims made about wicked problems involving complex systems about which there are many, many gaps in understanding (role of clouds, for example) must be supported by extraordinary data with few or no contradictions to be accepted. At least, this is how it works in most fields of research. I would suggest that a few climate scientists are shaking their heads to clear the cobwebs and to recall the rigorous demands of serious science. Hopefully, this will continue before public trust in all science is permanently damaged.

    • Steve writes “Thus, in most ways Lewandowsky and Oreskes have been attacking an imaginary enemy. ”

      Furthermore, its not the sky dragons who influence the debate, its the mainstream “deniers”. You know, the ones who look at the arguments, look at the facts, look at the measurements, unknowns and uncertainty and then form their own opinions within the debate.

  16. Climate change denial in public discourse may encourage climate scientists to over-emphasize scientific uncertainty and is also affecting how they themselves speak – and perhaps even think – about their own research.

    WOW!
    It’s a bad thing for a scientist to consider and (HORRORS!) actually imply (in public, no less) that the actual results don’t completely support his hypothesis! A scientist admitting he is not Omnipotent?!?!
    Such thoughts cannot be allowed!

  17. In the long run, I do believe it best that scientists should try and stick with peer reviewed scientific papers rather than opinion pieces rubber stamped with “peer reviewed.” – that goes for both the climate alarmist and the “contrarian.”

    • As the climategate e-mails made clear, the warmist side has gamed the system to prevent papers they disagree with from being published, even getting an editor who wouldn’t play along fired.

  18. “why might scientists be affected by contrarian public discourse?”

    That is why they publish – to attract feedback. That is why they have their work peer reviewed – to attract constructive commentary, feedback and spot the errors.

    Its called the scientific method.

    Oreskes should know better but seems to have abandoned the disciplines of her BSc. La Lewny just can’t help himself it seems to me.

  19. PS

    It is a bit weird that someone like Oreskes who wrote “The Rejection of Continmental Drift” should not spot the other obvious parallel with CAGW. That is it is not the newness of the theory that is the proper analog rather it is the arrogant, pig headed intransigence of the academic establishment.

    One thing about ivory towers it seems is that the cushions are very comfortable and once arranged just so, why would one bother to shift them? Why should one have to shift one’s derriere to do so? These have become the big questions it seems.

    It would seem that Naomi never sees the candle stick only the two faces – and they are conspiring against her. I mean its so obvious.

  20. IPCC AR5 acknowledges the pause/hiatus.

    WG1AR5_Chapter09_FINAL

    Box 9.2 | Climate Models and the Hiatus in Global Mean Surface Warming of the Past 15 Years
    “The observed global mean surface temperature (GMST) has shown a much smaller increasing linear trend over the past 15 years than over the past 30 to 60 years (Section 2.4.3, Figure 2.20, Table 2.7; Figure 9.8; Box 9.2 Figure 1a, c). Depending on the observational data set, the GMST trend over 1998–2012 is estimated to be around one-third to one-half of the trend over 1951–2012 (Section 2.4.3, Table 2.7; Box 9.2 Figure 1a, c). For example, in HadCRUT4 the trend is 0.04ºC per decade over 1998–2012, compared to 0.11ºC per decade over 1951–2012. The reduction in observed GMST trend is most marked in Northern Hemisphere winter (Section 2.4.3; Cohen et al., 2012). Even with this “hiatus” in GMST trend, the decade of the 2000s has been the warmest in the instrumental record of GMST (Section 2.4.3, Figure 2.19). Nevertheless, the occurrence of the hiatus in GMST trend during the past 15 years raises the two related questions of (1) what has caused it and (2) whether climate models are able to reproduce it.”

    And two very good questions they are. Tossed up for discussion:

    (1) Evaporation leading to Increased water vapor and cloud/snow albedo.

    (2) Obviously no, no they haven’t and can’t.

  21. ‘Stereotype threat’ ‘pluralistic ignorance’ ‘third-person effect’ — psychobabble.
    Psychology isn’t science: “… psychology often does not meet the five basic requirements for a field to be considered scientifically rigorous: clearly defined terminology, quantifiability, highly controlled experimental conditions, reproducibility and, finally, predictability and testability …”.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/13/news/la-ol-blowback-pscyhology-science-20120713

    • Lots of “psychology” is genuine science. If people play loose with the concept, then it is not.

      It is ridiculous to claim anything labelled as “psychology” has nothing to do with science.

      We humans have certain ways we think, act, and feel. We are part of the natural world. If you investigate us scientifically, you can find consistent phenomena, and can make predictions.

      When the Abu Ghraib atrocities were revealed, a good amount of reference was made to the empirical research on the topic of “obedience to authority.”

      In retrospect, some have decided that the empirical research conducted by Milgram and Zimbardo was unethical. However, at the time, the guidelines and concepts to see this were not well-formed.

      These scientists conducted empirical, well-designed studies to try to understand human behavior. Specifically, “why did so many Germans comply with Hilter and the Holocaust?”

      They basically found the answer: in certain circumstances, we humans generally will obey authority, or the status quo, rather than what our own morals or feeligns tell us.

      Solomon Asch showed us WE WILL EVEN DENY WHAT WE SEE RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR EYES in order to comply with a consensus view.

      All of these scientists were following science to explore “psychology.”

      This is when “psychology” is a science. When concepts are formed out of thin air and used for political or financial ends, that is not science any more than all of these claims of quantum healing properties of homeopathy are matters of “physics.”

      Claims of the physics of homeopathy does not negate all of physics.

  22. Recommendation to Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger:

    The US Research and Technology Agenda is proposed by the Executive Branch, i.e. White House, and its Office of Science and Technology Policy – here’s where NSF, EPA, DoD . . . come in:
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/rdbudgets

    Much ripe reading for 2016 and bring a calculator:
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2016/assets/fact_sheets/building-a-clean-energy-economy-improving-energy-security-and-taking-action-on-climate-change.pdf

    That is just part of the research budget. At 1st URL are previous agendas and budgets, which would be excellent to study for trends.

  23. When it comes to climatism, the word “bias” doesn’t cut it. The correct word is “lying”.

  24. I find it entertaining that these two attack dogs are now attacking their masters. They are admonishing the consensus scientists of being lilly-livered and abandoning the already passed deadlines for ice free arctics, a billion deaths, famine from destroyed agriculture, the death of the sea, the end of snowfalls, no water for the Ganges, endless chains of hurricanes….Come on you guys and gals, don’t shrink away from the task because the temperature has flattened. Bend the sucker upwards again like you used to do before you became shadows of yourselves. Are Lew and I the only one’s of the CAGW proponents with balls?

    • Wonderful.
      This stuff just makes me want to invent a story – it is just psychobabble anyway – and shoot it out for publication in some of these “journals”.

    • “Bend the sucker upwards again like you used to …”
      They did that in the 90’s and we caught them. I thought they wouldn’t dare do that again, but I was wrong. This year there have been a spate of “corrections” to a hundred or so city temperature records that had been downtrending. The repaired graphs show warming temperatures.

  25. The reason why we say there is a “pause” or a “hiatus” is because there is a pause or hiatus in the rise in temperatures. Temperatures are NOT increasing.

    We are psychologically damaged because we can actually count and we actually passed Grade 1 addition math.

    I imagine Lewandowsky and Oreskes failed Grade 1 math and were sent to Grade 1 psychology and socialist history class instead. The classes where 0.4 plus 0.0 plus 0.0 equals more than 0.4.

    We are not psychologically damaged. We passed Grade 1 math but they did not. I imagine the teachers they have had over time moved them along to the next grade, to the next year of college out of fear. They are scary non-math people who any sane teacher would not fail since bodily harm is at risk.

  26. Two of the most biased persons known in Climate Science writing about bias is so opaque it’s light years beyond the pale. Can you imagine the kind of therapy you’d get in those phycho shops? I wonder if anyone is able to look past their clown suits with a straight face. Well maybe since they are the scary kind of clowns it’s looked at in horror.

  27. Expect more of these smoke screens as we ramp up to Paris this fall. We’ve seen it before and after the headlines no one will notice the retractions.

  28. Over the next few years, if the climate fails to warm, while CO2 continues to increase, the scientific consensus on climate change could very well flip. If that happens, do you think Lewandowsky and Oreskes will abandon their alarmist views to conform to the consensus like they expect everyone else to do? Or will they become the deniers? I pose that question because they seem so invested in their new religion, I just don’t see them abandoning it for any reason that would require them to admit they were wrong.

    • We are already past that point by my math. If you think there is no scientific basis for being skeptical of the C in cagw, you are in denial.

  29. “It seems reasonable to conclude that the pressure of climate contrarians has contributed, at least to some degree, to scientists re-examining their own theory, data and models, …”

    Does he mean that skepticism causes scientists to actually properly do science? This is a good thing.

  30. Oreskes should be a stand up comedian:

    “During earlier rapid warming there was no additional research effort directed at explaining ‘catastrophic’ warming.”

    Is Oreskes serious? The ENTIRE CAGW hypothesis depends on the short 1980~1998 “rapid warming”, which was: shouted from the rooftops, wildly proclaimed in every leftist newspaper, magazine, book, blog, youtube video and news outlet, all leftist NGOs, pushed on TV and movies screens, trumpeted on the floors of the House and Senate by leftist politicians, upheld by SCOTUS, rammed down the throats of businessmen by the EPA, pushed by almost all teachers from kindergarden to grad-school, supported by almost all public and private sector Unions, advocated profusely by every leftist politician, and proclaimed by scientists that hungrily applied for CAGW research grants.

    What planet has Orsekes been living on?

    The only other “rapid warming” period in the 20th century was from 1910~1945, and even pro-CAGW “scientists” agree this could not have been caused by man made CO2 emissions since they were so minimal back then….

    Many pro-CAGW “scientists” are rightfully “changing their minds” as they see the CAGW hypothesis collapsing.

    Some CAGW advocates may seriously have to consider whether the data manipulation they’ve done will be actionable, if brought before Congressional Committees investigating possible CAGW waste, fraud and abuse violations.

    Now is not a good time to be a pro-CAGW advocate.

    • The trouble is you need to consider that for these authors anything short of rabid and unquestioning support of their own views is wrong . They live not in world of ‘if you not with use your against us’ but one of ‘supports us totally and without question or be damned ‘

      These are not the type of people that are willing to throw others to the flames , but the type to be happy about throwing others to flames and while their burning sing joyful songs about it .
      In other words very dangerous if they ever get any real power.

  31. Friends

    I provided this post in the previous WUWT thread about the Lewandowsky & Oreskes paper. It seems appropriate to copy the post to here.

    It is reported that Lewandowsky and Naomi Oreskes say

    The idea that ‘global warming has stopped’ has been promoted in contrarian blogs and media articles for many years, and ultimately the idea of a ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ has become ensconced in the scientific literature, including in the latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    Multiple lines of evidence indicate that global warming continues unabated, which implies that talk of a ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ is misleading.

    OK. I ‘get’ that. Lewandowsky and Oreskes are saying
    “Multiple lines of evidence indicate that global warming continues unabated” but papers in “the scientific literature, including in the latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)” discuss the fact that global warming has stopped because that fact has been reported by “contrarian blogs and media articles”.

    It is a bummer when belief is trumped by inconvenient facts being reported, isn’t it?

    Richard

  32. Couldn’t “climate denial” be influencing the behaviour of thermometers, thereby causing the apparent “pause” in global warming?

  33. There is simply no sense of reality in Lew. At least not one he will admit. We have billions of dollars in pure profit style cash with extreme pro-government political motivation type people on the receiving end. Gee, I wonder if we might find a little bias?

    • The anti trust laws, which are designed to try to keep free enterprise competitive instead of collusive, are the strongest in the government arsenal. If two executives from competing companies have the opportunity to fix prices or collude otherwise (being in the same hotel, meeting for a drink, etc) their companies can be investigated for anti-trust. You don’t need evidence of crooked dealings, you just need to have had the opportunity to do so – no innocence until proven guilty. This says a lot about government’s read on human nature – they know everyone they pay grants to is cooking their favorite paradigm.

    • I think Lewandowsky and Mann are cut from the same cloth on this. They never really wanted the fame and attention but hey, now they have it, they dont want to lose it and instead want to milk it.

  34. Witches! Witches are everywhere! I can see them even if you don’t. And they are corrupting everybody’s mind. Witches! Witches!

  35. I love how these government funded scientists are normally portrayed as “beyond reproach”. How dare we accuse them of seeking fame and just wanting to keep the gravy train running with endless grants and research expenditures.not to mention pressure from their bosses(government) and media.
    Fast forward to the present time, when support for the green machine is waning. Suddenly these scientists CAN be influenced by others such as the media and “contrarians” like myself.
    Nothing like having it both ways :)

  36. Lewandowsky seems to only have warmist colleagues and no contrarians ones. Psychology is the study of behaviours and mental processes so doesn’t this imply that his professional associations are already biased?

  37. Sounds very much like the old USSR. Dissidents, who did not buy the Marxist “religion” were diagnosed as suffering from mental illness and were confined to psychiatric ward and prescribed anti-psychotic medications. However, it was the Kremlin who were delusional.
    It seems here that it is the Global Warming/Climate Change alarmists who are not grounded in reality.
    Lewandowsky and Oreskes and need to look up the meaning of the psychological term “Projection”.

  38. one day papers like this will be used as reference for explaining what “doublespeak” is.

    • Seriously though… I have already had this paper cited to me in supposedly science based debates as proof that there isn’t merit to the growing body of data showing the holes in the claims. Yep ignore the growing albeit muffled voice of those in this actual field of study trying to explain this lack of warming, instead focus on a soft science paper that literally essentially argues that opinion has trumped data, while essentially imploring people to ignore data and focus on opinion.

      If science cannot be reclaimed, I expect some new form of dark ages to emerge.

  39. modified Heinrich von Kleist, ‘Der zerbrochene Krug’: Indipence of Justice.

    1. I’m no climate alarmism addict at all.
    2. My climate alarmism
    addiction is on the better of environment.
    3. There’s no such thing as Climate Alarmism Addiction.

  40. mod – could also say some one lends a car, returns it broken.

    Argumenting:

    1. I never lent a car.
    2. When I returned the lent car it was OK.
    3. The car was broken when I lent it.

    eyes only – Hans

  41. so we have the usual suspect Climate Alarmism Addicts Obama, Merkel, Figueres, add Franziskus.

    And notorius Climate Alarmism Dealers Al Gore, Lewandowsky, Oreskes et.al.

    Thanks for the info BK.

    +++ Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger.

  42. Lew writes “It seems reasonable to conclude that the pressure of climate contrarians has contributed, at least to some degree, to scientists re-examining their own theory, data and models, even though all of them permit – indeed, expect – changes in the rate of warming over any arbitrarily chosen period.”

    Of course the same argument applies to scientists being influenced by alarmism hype in the late nineties and early part of this century. Its just that Lewandowsky and Oreskes are so influenced by that hype, they cant see their own bias. They think early estimates represent the truth whereas in fact they were estimates on the road to truth.

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