‘Intellectual yet idiotic’: the sad case of Stephan Lewandowsky

Guest opinion by Drieu Godefridi

In a new paper just published with two other authors “The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ mechanics of the rejection of (climate) science: simulating coherence by conspiracism“, Stephan Lewandowsky states — for the umpteenth time — that climate skeptics are deniers, that

“there is strong evidence that the rejection of climate science is primarily driven by ideological factors”

(page 2), even psychological factors since their identity (page 3), or worldview, is threatened by climate science, that

“there is growing evidence for an involvement of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of climate science”

(page 4) and that the whole body of skeptical pseudo-science (pp. 4, 15, 16) is incoherent, thus implying a form of “Mad Hatter” nonsense, since he claims that coherence is at the very essence of science.

Mr. Lewandowsky commits errors in reasoning that should have him immediately stripped of his university affiliation.

First of all, the idea that the critics of a dominant paradigm should be coherent among themselves, is not only false or ludicrous, but comical. At every step of the formidable development of science in the history of the West, we find a myriad of parallel and concomitant challenges to the dominant paradigm. That is, before one of them finally takes over. Were all the critiques of Newton, Kepler, Einstein or Heisenberg coherent between themselves? See the present state of physics, with several theories in the quest of the last particle, theories that are perfectly coherent as such, but mutually incoherent.

Lewandowsky is conscious of this slight monstrosity of his (only) argument since he writes (in the end): “Our analysis was performed at the aggregate level; that is, we considered the incoherence of collective argumentation among a “community” of like-minded individuals as if it were a single intellectual entity. It is possible, therefore, that individuals within this community would only hold one or the other of two incoherent views, and that each person considered in isolation would not be incoherent. In that case, one could argue that there is merely a heterogeneity of views in the “community” of denialists, which might in turn be interpreted as being an indication of “healthy debate” or “scientific diversity” rather than incoherence.” (page 16), only to reject it: ” the argumentative incoherence that we analyzed in this article also arises within arguments offered by the same individual.” Lewandowsky then gives a few samples of such individual incoherences, then concludes:

“This sample is far from exhaustive but is sufficient to establish the existence of argumentative incoherence at the level of the individual in addition to the denial movement in the aggregate.”

Having thus conceded the falsity of his argument, Lewandowsky tries to save it by explaining that somehow the incoherence of some scientists reverberates on the whole body of skeptical climate science. May we remind the 15 years old who may read this text that there is not one scientist who has ever been perfectly coherent, and that it takes some magical thinking to sustain that such an incoherence is contagious, not only between individuals, but between individuals and theories.

The main sample of incoherent thinking (at the “aggregate level”) given by Lewandowsky is this: ” Another long-standing contrarian claim has been that global warming “stopped” in 1998. Although this claim is based on a questionable interpretation of statistical data, it has been a focal point of media debate for the last decade or more and it has ultimately found entry into the scientific literature under the label of a “pause” or “hiatus” in warming. Either the temperature record is sufficiently accurate to examine its evolution, including the possibility that warming may have “paused”, or the record is so unreliable that no determination about global temperatures can be made.” (page 4). Did it occur to our expert in coherence that you can show the incoherence of a theory without accepting this theory?

Having thus showed that the argument of the hiatus since 1998 — which is indeed one of the favorite themes of scientists skeptical of the dominant paradigm in climate science — belongs to the realm of ideological, conspiracist and psychiatric pseudo-science, Lewandowsky explains that “the theoretical coherence of consensual climate science does not prevent robust debate.” (page 16). Of this robust, sane debate — opposite to the his alleged conspiracist pseudo-science of the denialists with a problem of identity — he gives an example: the hiatus. “One striking example <of robust debate inside the scientific community> involves the recent controversy about the so-called “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming in the early 2000’s. Some scientists have argued against the existence or special status of this “pause” (here the psychologist Lewandowsky quotes himself) whereas others have taken a contrary position. We therefore argue that science achieves its coherence through a constant self-correction process” (page 16).

In a very recently published paper Nassim Nicholas Taleb defines the “intellectual yet idiot” as a bureaucrat paid by the taxpayer who “pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited.” However, in the case of Lewandowsky, an acknowledged expert in the psychological sciences, one can appreciate that this pathologizing of diverse experts in climate science who do not conform to his consensus ideation, appears to be intentional and is a career theme for him. If this speculation of intent is true, such activity is clearly in breach of medical and psychological codes of ethics, beginning with the acknowledged fundamental of “Do no harm.”

Enormous harm is done to science and to dissenting scientists by Lewandowsky’s portrayal of them as being pathologically unstable for voicing dissent – especially as well-known scientific codes of conduct like that of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine state that “Science has progressed through a uniquely productive marriage of human creativity and hard-nosed skepticism….”

Having fallen down his own rabbit hole into a magical, fantasy world of scientific conformity, the appreciation of the crucial value of critical thinking and skeptical review to science is something that Lewandowsky continues to deny.

National Academies:



148 thoughts on “‘Intellectual yet idiotic’: the sad case of Stephan Lewandowsky

  1. John Cook is not just any old “other author”. He fully deserves a detailed critique of his own.

    Thank god he’s leaving Australia for the George Mason University

    • I cheered and punched the air when I heard this – now we have got rid of both of them. Hopefully a few more will follow and restore some measure of sanity to the country.

    • Please no. Take him back. His arrival at GMU will cause my degree (MS Software Systems Engineering) from GMU to be denigrated (is that a ‘conspiracist ideation’ in the aggregate or individually).

      Dr Lewandowsky practices an intellectual exercise in which you propose what is ultimately nonsense, but, the proposal is so complex, so convoluted, and is built one’buzzword’ upon another, one invalid logical leap upon another, that most quail at the idea of unraveling it, something like unraveling a mental Gordian Knot. That and it says something they want to hear about those who disagree with them, so they (the Journals) accept it without really examining it.

      I’ve seen many examples of this in the software development field. One of my son’s friends won a HS Science Fair with an incoherent, obfuscated, ridiculously complex ‘C’ code program (not all that difficult to do with ‘C’ btw) that didn’t actually work, it was just so convoluted and complex that the judges were not willing to expend the energy to really examine it and just accepted it as valid even though it wouldn’t compile.

      • I think the comparison to obfuscated code is an abt one. I can’t follow Lewandowsky’s reasoning, despite trying. It’s like poorly written detective fiction. The ones where you can’t tell if the confusion is due to clues being too subtle or the author being an idiot. He’s trying to create a logic trap that might work in debate, but against an opponent who isn’t speaking

      • Ben, you offer a multiple choice question regarding Lew’s writing style.
        I believe the answer is “all of the above”.

      • Is that how they’re teaching programming these days – your program doesn’t actually have to work as long as there’s evidence that you put in some real effort? So these idiots can even get around the basic strictures of computer science … (I’m impressed.)

  2. Lewdowsky old boy should change his name to Oxymoron then pay the 500 quid for a Trade Mark, then pony up the 35 quid for a Copyright.

    At least he could then become a legit Patent-Copyright Troll and file a suite against the Oxford English Dictionary.

    Ha ha

  3. Lewandowsky is IYI minus the prefacing IY.

    To be sure, Lew understands where his bread is buttered, as Drieu Godefridi writes, “and is a career theme for him. “

    • Yes, that image shows him as the sliimeball he is , very appropriate.

      “there is strong evidence that the rejection of climate science is primarily driven by ideological factors”

      What he omits to report is : “there is strong evidence that belief in climate science is primarily driven by ideological factors”

      That makes his views ‘incoherent” with the facts.

      • Rather:

        “there is strong evidence that [the] belief in [what they believe to be the only and righteous verion of] climate science is primarily [in its entirety] driven by ideological factors”

        In fact, there is no indication whatsoever that there is any other factor driving both the erecting of such hyptheses, and the .. ehrm .. ‘efforts’ to demonstrate their vailidity

  4. Lewandowsky hardly needs refuting. Psychology is not and never has been a science. It has no foundations, is based on no laws. It borrowed the scholarly language, but for a psychologist to decide what is or isn’t science is a paradox.

    • Psychology is a science. It can be used to predict behavior of humans. For example, I can predict that Lewandowsky will make even more bizarre statements in his forthcoming papers.

    • “”In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy”. (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.”

      You would fond the same tendency in USSR. And Herbert Marcuse critical theory and political based logic. Free thinking is a sin?

    • maybe you never heard of skinner, but yes, psychology is most definitely a science.
      and every single time you use the terms ‘propaganda’, ‘influence’, ‘brainwashing’, etc. you affirm that it is not just a science but an applied science.
      furthermore- you are reacting to their stimuli JUST AS THEY INTENDED.
      the only person you might be fooling about that is your self which is not solely owned by you any more when they make you dance like their puppet.

      • “and every single time you use the terms ‘propaganda’, ‘influence’, ‘brainwashing’, etc. you affirm that it is not just a science but an applied science.”

        Yes. And it is applied very well by the Leftwing Media.

      • Skinner was a behaviorist who believed free will was an illusion, something science cannot prove (free will probably isn’t even science—it’s more philosophy and religion). While he did try, the best he could possibly claim was that stimulus/response was science. However, when stimulus/response is applied to large, chaotic systems, it’s impossible to identify all the contributing factors and produce accurate predictions. The theory can only be proven with very limited success. Humans are far too complex for such simplicity—or at least they used to be. Now, I do sometimes wonder…..

        Psychology is a mixture of science and philosophy. Only actual experiments with double-blind studies come close to a scientific standard and even then depend on statistical analysis to determine the validity of the conclusion. To be actual science, they must be duplicated over and over. I would guess that the majority of psychology experiments are not duplicated, based on what I’ve read recently about duplication of scientific papers. What Lew does is marketing research and propaganda development. Most of the time the only goal is to “win” the argument and sell the most product. Truth has no part whatsoever in the selling—witness commercials toaya. Lew’s only goal is to sell the idea of global warming. Nothing he does indicates he cares in the least about the veracity of the science. He is counting on group think and people not wanting to be outside the group.

        Lew also lacks insight into psychology itself. Confirmation bias exists in global warming studies and scientists, conspiracy ideation exists in global warming (fossil fuel conspiracy theory runs rampant in global warming), and Lew is completely blind to the reality that political and social pressures apply to BOTH sides. Indications are he has little to no understanding of the field he supposedly excels in.

      • There are very accomplished, very well off, people out there in society (some admired, some not) that never studied psychology (some never even got out of high school) that utilize their understanding of human nature to get whatever they want. In getting what they want they even make those they get it from feel good about the whole thing.

        Those tens of thousands of accomplished hucksters must be the genius savants of the psychology universe, right?

        Kinda like that one impoverished kid from India that never had the chance to go school or study math and has the innate understanding of the subject that no one else in the world has.

      • “Skinner was a behaviorist who believed free will was an illusion”
        quite true.
        but know that the formation of associations is the root of cognition and it applies universally to any creature with a brain. that is the foundation of psychology.
        skinner put the numbers to it- for example, the optimal delay for the formation of an association is @ 400mS.
        all animals can be trained this way and no other way.
        you learned the alphabet this way; you learned what to eat, which bathroom to use and everything else you ever learned this same way. this is the automatic thinking done by all creatures with a brain.
        if you are human and have acquired the habit of abstract symbolism we call ‘language’, then you are also capable of performing logic to validate your associations.

        skinner’s foray into philosophy was a symptom of what i call ‘guru syndrome’.
        a fine example of this is mr decaprio’s rantings. it’s training he’s received from ‘yes men’ he’s become surrounded with.

        what you may not realize is that a game of chess is not all on the board. there are a million moves yu can make outside the room that can affect the outcome as well.
        lew and cook are not playing the game the way you imagine it’s played.
        they are not interested in climate science qua science. they are very well focused on suppression of resistance to a narrative. they are phd trolls and very accomplished. frankly, i admire their talent the same way i can see the beauty of a shark.
        they tie a can to a skeptic tail and watch him chase it in circles. it renders the enemy ineffective.
        that’s the nature of the game and you either get that or you get got.

    • ??? Do you really think that neither behavior nor cognitive processes have regularities? Well, from light adaptation to moral development, they do.

  5. This guy is a psychologist, right? You would think he would have a rudimentary ability to recognize psycological defects… like obsession, which is a trait he exemplifies.

    Time to give it up Lew…

    • Lew, like Trofim did, depends entirely on the regime in power for their prestige and position. No science involved.

    • Now would be a good time to remind people that “Stephan Lewandowsky” is an anagram of “What Lysenko spawned”.

    • It (Lewandowski’s pseudo-science psych analysis) comports with the current regime’s climate agenda which supports a broader socialists agenda). Nothing more.
      Lewandowski, a govt grant-paid shill. Disgusting.
      Lewandowski’s govt provided remuneration is a disgusting example of human waste (to meet an agenda) that could be better spent on real science, like cancer research or high energy particle physics.

      Joel O’Bryan, PhD

  6. Still trying to play psychological games. ” the whole body of skeptical pseudo-science ” perhaps he should save his finely crafted words for AGW. After reading that, don’t you feel bad for being a skeptic?
    It’s fairly condescending without much substance, more of a school yard mentality ” nuh ugh, my science is better than your science ” . No wonder he went into psychology, couldn’t do real science. How did such people get into such positions that they should be given credit of being talked about ? Nepotism?
    That’s his claim to fame, writing a pseudo-intellectual piece about something he has no clue.

    • Bullsh!t baffles brains is one of the truest sayings there is. The ‘brainier’ a person is the more certain they become in their positions and the more subject to confirmation bias they become, although the truly ‘brainy’ realise this and actively seek to combat it. Thus the plethora of sayings like, ‘science advances one death at a time’, ‘….. much learning, but little wit ….’.

  7. Critique of Lewandowsky, S., Cook, J. & Lloyd, E. Synthese (2016)

    The authors continue:

    “We reject both the possibility and its hypothetical implication.”

    Well, you would, wouldn’t you, you slimy little [snip]. Because the very idea that people might have differing views is such anathema that you think that merely demonstrating that some of the people who think that you’re a bunch of pathetic arseholes sometimes say things that are not in accordance with what some other people say (who also think that you’re a bunch of pathetic arseholes) somehow proves that you’re not a bunch of pathetic arseholes. And that by adding the names of Watts, Monckton, Christy and Plimer to a rehash of a blog article by [snip] Cook and using the good offices of philosopher and female orgasm expert Lloyd to get published in a journal of epistemology you can further your nasty fascist project of keeping scepticism out of the public eye.

    Well it doesn’t and you can’t.

    • Geoff,

      Lewandowski is not worth the energy you put into refuted his P O S worthless manuscripts (are they even intellectual??) and utter nonsense. He publishes that garbage crap so as to satisfy the pro forma publication criteria for his equally P O S intellectually-void-of-honesty academia faculty at GMU.edu. Jokes them all. Adults of the children enrolled there should pull them out and avoid that worthless educational institution.

      But I agree with your spirit and intent.

      Joel O’Bryan, PhD

  8. Lew says if you don’t believe what I believe, then there must be something the matter with your way of thinking.

    Lew, all skeptics want is some proof of human-caused global warming. As soon as you provide that, we can all get on the same page.

  9. All I know, is that as a complete denier, i should not be trusted with a thermonuclear device.

    So says, Lewdowsky.

    In fact, I should not be trusted to even think for myself.

  10. “Lewandowsky” is nothing more than a long spelling of bully. When I was a kid,we kicked the crap out of idiots like him. And you let him post here as a scientist?

    • “Lewandowsky” is nothing more than a long spelling of bully. When I was a kid,we kicked the crap out of idiots like him. And you let him post here as a scientist?

      I guess it takes a bully to know one.

  11. ‘body of skeptical climate science. May we remind the 15 years old who may read this text that there is not one scientist who has ever been perfectly coherent,’
    The last 15 year old I asked the question of
    ‘What is the most powerful greenhouse gas in the Earth’s atmosphere?
    answered ‘CO2’
    Talk about an ideation of narrative
    Once our budding scientists believe that, its a short step to any belief system.
    That is one worth a study.

  12. I believe that Mankind’s burning up Earth’s very finite supply of fossil fuels in order to support his out of control population growth is not such a good idea. I would like to use AGW as another reason to conserve on the use of fossil fuels but the AGW conjecture has too many flaws to defend. Despite the hoopla, there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate. There is no such evidence in the paleoclimate record. In part to provide evidence the IPCC sponsored the generation of a plethora of climate models. The large number of such models is evidence that a lot of guess work was employed in their creation. The large number provided a wide range of predictions for today’s global temperatures. But these models do have one thing in common. They have all been wrong. They have predicted global warming that has not happened. If these models provide any evidence at all it is that there is something basically wrong with the AGW conjecture. There is plenty of scientific rationale to support that idea that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is really zero and that the climate change we have been experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which Mankind has no control.

    If CO2 did effect climate then one would expect that the increase in CO2 over the past 30 years would have caused a noticeable change in the environmental lapse rate in the troposphere but that has not happened. Central to the AGW conjecture is the concept of a radiant greenhouse effect. A real greenhouse does not stay warm because of the heat trapping effects of so called greenhouse gases. A real greenhouse stays warm because the glass limits cooling by convection. It is a convective greenhouse effect. So too on Earth. The Earth’s surface is 33 degrees C warmer because of the atmosphere because gravity limits cooling by convection. The convective greenhouse effect as derived from first principals is responsible for all 33 degrees C. There is no room for an additional radiant greenhouse effect. A radiant greenhouse effect has not been detected on any planet in the solar system, not even Venus with an atmosphere more than 90 times more massive than the Earth’s atmosphere and more than 96% CO2. If CO2 were such a great insulator then one would expect that there exist engineering applications of CO2’s insulating properties but there are not any. The problems with the AGW conjecture are not a matter of psychology but a matter of physical science and mathematics.

    • You use reason and logic against the field of human psychology.
      That’s like quantum physics standard model versus phlogiston and alchemy.

      The first is science, the latter is hokum and hand-waving.

    • The convective greenhouse effect as derived from first principals is responsible for all 33 degrees C. There is no room for an additional radiant greenhouse effect.

      … and yet the world bashes into and out of glaciations. The temperature swing could be 8° C. If we look back 50 million years, the temperature may have been 12° C warmer. That’s a total of 20° C as compared to 33° C for the ‘greenhouse effect’.

      I agree that convection is the main thing that governs the planet’s temperature, but there are other things at work and they have a significant effect.

    • “I believe that Mankind’s burning up Earth’s very finite supply of fossil fuels in order to support his out of control population growth is not such a good idea.”


      The fact is that fossil fuels have elevated populations OUT of poverty and AWAY from population growth. Population growth levels out in rich countries with abundant cheap energy.

      • But the supply of fossil fuels is very finite. When the fuel runs out those that depend on fossil fuels will be in big trouble.

      • I read your objection to be that we were using fossil fuel “in order to support his [Mankind’s] out of control population growth”. Population, not that fuel was finite.

        Fossil fuels may indeed be finite, but we still have enough for hundreds of years at the very least and with new technology quite a bit longer than that. Who knows where our explorations will take us and what we will find before then. The future will look after itself. There is no point in putting ourselves now (and our children) into “big trouble” by pulling the plug on our own resources today and collapsing civilization as we know it purely because of unfounded fears and illusions.

        Fear-mongering has been around a very long time. Overpopulation, shortages (such as food and fossil fuels) and end-of-the-world scenarios have been held up as “punishment for our sins” (meaning it’s all mankind’s fault) for years, never once being anywhere near to the truth. Each generation is brought into it as new stories are told and dates are shifted.

      • A few hundred years is not very long at all. The Earth’s space and resources are finite yet we have been growing our population as if they were infinite. Remember that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. If Mankind does not control his own population then Nature will, catastrophically. Why do we need so many more people? Why must we burn up Earth’s finite resources of fossil fuel just as quickly as possible? Sure, advances in technology have been allowing us to get at more fossil fuel but the resource is still finite and when it is gone, it is gone. To avoid catastrophe, Mankind must switch to alternate sources of energy and reduce our population so that these alternate sources of energy will satisfy our needs. We must do this before the fuel runs out.

      • Population is steadying itself very well in all countries that have a wealth of power. This is happening. Rich countries have a population that generally have two children whereas poorer counties have populations that give birth to four or six.

        Three hundred years is also quite long and our power sources (coal, oil, gas) have not all been identified, meaning there is more available and more to come. Some estimates already have claimed we have enough oil and gas now to see us 800-1000 years, but I stuck with a more conservative estimate for fairness sake.

        Two hundred years ago there was serious concern that the streets of London would fill with horse manure because there were so many horses in London. The people back then might have concerned themselves with how their children and grandchildren would cope with such a problem. As it turns out, the problem never eventuated thanks to the automobile – something they did not see on the horizon.

        We should not fear things that may never eventuate – it’s a waste of time, effort and enjoyment of life. As problems arise they will be dealt with, as we have always done.

        Way back in 1970, at the ripe age of 12, I was indoctrinated into believing that we were running out of oil and would have none left within ten years. I was told that we would have no food within 20 years and that by the year 2000 there would be standing room only – the situation would be that bad. There were many other doom-and-gloom stories told to me at that age (such as the Great Barrier Reef being no more).

        The point is, that was 46 years ago! And the hype continues.

        A rich nation with a rich and healthy population looks after the environment and does not over-populate its boundaries, it’s as simple as that. Oh, and the stories are just that – stories. You are being manipulated for gain (always watch out for that guilt-lever, it’s their favorite tactic of those who want control, power and money).

  13. Me thinks that attention like this is exactly why these clowns publish such gibberish. The appropriate reaction is.. YAWN..

    What doesn’t seem to be appreciated is that they are SUPPOSED TO BE incoherent. After all, they are PSYCHOLOGISTS.

    • this is their fame and glory:
      them make up arguments intended to distract the other side from the real issues and waste the opponent’s time and effort.
      they succeed like a boss. they are very competent at this craft.
      they put up strawmen andppl fire their arrows at them. while so occupied, are outflanked and never know what hit em.
      they are the matadors waving the red cape. the bull who chases it gets the sword.
      the set the tarbaby up on the post. all the stupid rabbits get stuck on it because they can’t resist touching it.

  14. o We’re not basing our opinions on the data, we’re basing them on the models
    o We can’t find the missing heat (and it is a tragedy)
    o We found the missing heat, it is hiding in the oceans
    o No, we think it leaked out at the poles, perhaps to do with the ozone hole
    o No, no, no, we figured out that the heat must be hiding in the places where we aren’t measuring temperature
    o No wait, we adjusted the data and now the heat isn’t missing anymore
    o OK, never mind the models, they run too hot, we’re going with expert judgment now
    o 97% of us agree. On something. You’re not allowed to ask exactly what because you aren’t a climate scientist and wouldn’t understand the answer anyway.
    o The models use wildly different values for aerosols and cloud feedback, but that’s OK because we just average them together.

    Who, exactly, is incoherent?

  15. La Lewney writes:- “there is strong evidence that the rejection of climate science is primarily driven by ideological factors”

    but then La Lewney is himself strong evidence that the rejection of climate science skepticism is primarily driven by ideological/psychological factors .

    Dunno where that leaves us in Australia except as others have noted much better off as La Lewney and Kapitan Kook have both left the country.

    • PS I know its probably bad for my mental health but I did watch some of La Lweney’s vidoes, the still in the article is from one of them, and it is mesmerisingly weird viewing is all I can say. The closeup shot and the manoevering if his eyes, eyelids, lips and mouth is just a bit too much information. The main benefit is that you just do not relly listen to what he is actually saying. You could turn the sound off and still just watch the pantomime of authoraitive, narcissistic lunacy.

      I am going to go pourmyself a glass of wine and do the dishes just to flush my head with some reality.

      • PPS

        Just reading an article in the Spectator Australia by Matthew Lesh regarding the advent of “trigger warnings’ in universities, a whole dimension of communist inspired madness that has spread like ebola through the now inbred leftard and utterly illiberal world of academia. The article does note one wry consequence noted by an academic, in all seriousness as she is a fan and proponent of ‘trigger warnings’, which that her students are coming to class after doing their reading and basically not listening to what she has to say, their minds made up from their own research ( at least that was my take on what she was reporting).

        Anyway, perhaps La Lewny should add trigger warnings to his ( and Kapitan Kook’s) utterances and publications.

  16. I read through the Lewandowsky paper and calling him idiotic was being generous. Here’s an example of Lewandowsky engaging in a little incoherent ideation himself. Contrast this statement:

    “However, the overwhelming scientific consensus about the . . . risks of climate change—and the impetus for mitigative policies it entails—poses a particular dilemma for people whose identity is threatened . . . ”

    with this statement:

    “One of the most important, but uncertain, variables that determines the extent of future warming is climate sensitivity, defined as the warming that is ultimately expected in response to a doubling of atmospheric.”

    If climate sensitivity is uncertain, i.e. if we don’t know how much warming results from a doubling of CO2, how can there be an “overwhelming scientific consensus” as to the “risks of climate change?” Note also that the articles used in the paper to document some “overwhelming consensus” position do not purport to establish any consensus on the “risks of climate change.” I just checked them, and they all merely deal with the threshold issues about whether adding CO2 causes warming and if so, whether most of the observed warming was caused by man.

    Also from the paper:

    “When a person’s worldview and identity, or their livelihood, are threatened by the regulatory implications of climate change, or other environmental risks, they frequently engage in “identity-protective cognition”

    Couldn’t this be flipped around on climate scientists? Since their livelihood would be threatened by a conclusion that athropogenic-CO2-induced climate change is negligible, wouldn’t they also tend to “engage in ‘identity-protective cognition’ to maintain the level of their paychecks”?

    *As a footnote, isn’t climate sensitivity DEFINED AS how much warming ultimately results from a doubling of CO2, as opposed to merely being “one of the most important variables” in determining it?

    • Kurt

      Said in another way, “A person whose job depends on not knowing the right answer is unlikely to find the right answer”.

    • Couldn’t this be flipped around on climate scientists?

      Yes, this reminds me of the situation with the Freudians. Someone would criticize their ideas, and they would label it a “reaction formation”. It’s depressing that the same stupid tricks still have mileage a century later.

  17. “We therefore argue that science achieves its coherence through a constant self-correction process” (page 16).

    Except if Lewandowsky got his wish, any dissenters from an imaginary consensus on climate science would be ridiculed and shunned. In such an environment, no one would dare deviate from the official line, and the “constant self-correction process” in science would cease to exist.

    Lew can’t have it both ways. He wants to assure us that any mistakes that might creep into the science will be “self-correcting.” But, at the same time, he wants to label anyone who might point out a possible mistake as someone involved in “conspiracist ideation” who rejects science. Science can only sustain a constant self-correction process when alternate conclusions are free to be voiced. There can be no self-correction or coherence in science when dissenters face an inquisition and a possible charge of heresy for simply voicing an alternative view to the status quo.

    • The DEPLORABLE “Global Warming Denier Movement” I’m sure he meant to say.
      At least he recognizes the subject is Global Warming and not the meaningless term Climate Change (even if the issues he avoids are the extent of that warming and whether it is harmful or beneficial).

  18. I think they guy is really creepy and also really scary.
    (Maybe its the ‘stock photo’ wuwt uses – a 4 eyed fungus faced red & sweaty blob being strangulated by his own shirt & tie)
    How can he get away with saying such things?
    If he came up with that craic about black peeps, Jews, Muslims, Texans vs Canadians, peeps from Cumbria vs rest-of-the-world, the Farceborks and Titterati of this world would be in uproar.

    does Facebork and Titland actually matter?

    But anyway, you know what I mean..What he’s saying is potentially very dangerous

  19. Lewandowsky’s situation is just like a Wile E. Coyote trying to catch sceptical Road Runners. Every time out, you know he’s going to get blown sky high, or flattened by a 10 ton weight, or whatever, but a few frames later, sure enough, there he is, back again plotting his next doomed plan anyway. And, just like the (excellent) cartoons, every time we watch and laugh.

  20. The paper has already been completely shredded by several bloggers.

    Geoff Chambers points out that the “its only purpose is to insult and denigrate people that the authors don’t like (mainly Ian Plimer, Christopher Monckton and Anthony Watts)” and that none of the supposed contradictions listed are really contradictions at all.

    • Brandon Shollenberger carefully goes through the list of supposedly incoherent contradictory statement listed in Table 2 of the paper and says that ‘nearly every single “contradiction” the authors list in this table is fake, and I feel it is worth demonstrating this.’

      For example the two allegedly incoherent and contradictory examples quoted in the paper from Anthony Watts are one saying their isn’t a linear relationship between CO2 and temperature, and another saying that temperature rise isn’t linear with time. There’s nothing remotely contradictory or incoherent between these two statements, but this obvious point escaped the notice of the dimwits who reviewed the paper and accepted it for publication.

  21. I just discovered the power of the Incoherence Drive: it’s enough to be incoherent to transform reality itself. I want the Earth to be flat? It’s easy, I just say that “the Earth is not flat because red frogs are blue”. The Lewandowsky God gets upset by the incoherence and makes the Earth flat.

    Unfortunately psychology has big issues nowadays with reproducibility among many others and crapping on the scientific method like that is one of the reasons. Science should get rid of Lewandowsky kind of pseudo-research and science denial. It should turn back to logic and the real scientific method, instead of using the cargo cult ‘scientific’ method.

  22. I realise that this is somewhat off topic, also somewhat not.
    I’ve just seen that South Australia, one of Australia’s economic basket cases, sorry Renewable Energy Powerhouses, has had a blackout!
    Unbelievable, they boast of being one of the 2 States in the Vanguard of the energy sources of the future. The other is the only other basket case – Tasmania.
    DOH!!! For energy reliability they are both likely to the brown coal power stations in Victoria but claim to be “Progressive Green Economies”. It’s s total falsehood. They both have high levels of unemployment and little economic future othrr than subsidies.
    Of all the failings, South Australia could be Australia’s powerhouse with Nuclear Powerhouses sending “clean” electricity around the nation.
    Can only sigh and silently weep at such poor governmental stewardship.

  23. “there is strong evidence that the rejection of climate science is primarily driven by ideological factors”

    No, Lew, it’s the other way around: it is the AGW movement itself that is ideologically driven, the ideology (collectivism) being promoted by proxy (AGW), because collectivism failed to convince people on its own merit.

    The political divide in the AGW question is simply due to the left-wing generally embracing AGW for its appeal to their collectivist instincts, which automatically leaves AGW sceptics predominantly right-wing.

    • “The political divide in the AGW question is simply due to the left-wing generally embracing AGW for its appeal to their collectivist instincts, which automatically leaves AGW sceptics predominantly right-wing.”

      Good point. And the Leftwing tends to be more credulous and prone to a herd mentality.

  24. This post reminds me of an H.L. Mencken quote that I have seen. From memory it goes something like this:

    “You can take a moron and drag him through a University, you can even confer a PhD on him, but he will still be a moron.” (may not be exact)

  25. I expect ‘Dr’ Lewandowsky’s next work to be to prove that all ‘climate deniers’ are also members of {Donald Trump ‘Basket of Deplorables’}.

    Psychology is NOT a science.

  26. For Lew and others like him, skepticism to their state religion is completely inexplicable. Their favorite state (the UN) has spent trillions of dollars to carefully inculcate their propaganda throughout the world to enable their one-global-state dictatorship of bureaucrats and yet there are those who still resist. The great and powerful should not be resisted – after all they used the magic word – “SCIENCE”, and yet, the people still resist.

    Lew and Co have FAITH that we will all fall into line once we hear and understand the magic word, but they themselves do not have the intellectual horsepower to look behind the press releases and look at the data. Once one sees how the sausage is made, dinner is not as enjoyable.

    • “For Lew and others like him, skepticism to their state religion is completely inexplicable.”

      Tunnel vision. The blinders are on. They should be examining their own mental processes. They don’t think to do that because they don’t understand their problem.

  27. Lewandowsky et al. are postmodernists who actually deny that science is a real thing. They are the real denialists.

    Scientific realists (such as Norman Levitt, Paul R. Gross, Jean Bricmont and Alan Sokal) argued that scientific knowledge is real, and accused the postmodernists of having effectively rejected scientific objectivity, the scientific method, and scientific knowledge. Postmodernists interpreted Thomas Kuhn’s ideas about scientific paradigms to mean that scientific theories are social constructs, … link

    They don’t understand science and, because they study scientists, they think they are somehow superior. They are suffering from infantile omnipotence.

  28. The sane hatter is really pi55ed that sceptics pulled his original “conspiracy ideation” paper apart so badly that the journal was obliged to retract it. The critique of it, moreover, was based on the quality of his data collection, ethical considerations in revealing who his subjects were and interpretation of it (what else is there in social science?). It is widely acknowledged that social science is totally corrupted and co-opted by neomarxbrothers as a tool in their war against western civilization. I’m on a phone and not skilled at links and lesser subtleties. Google social psychologist Durarte, probably the only honest one left in the genre- he has a killer U tube/Facebook video on it.

  29. Lewandowsky is effectively a government-paid climate hitman, taking pot-shots at all and sundry who challenge establishment climate orthodoxy. He seldom studies the actual climate data evidence, instead projecting his hysterical BS to try and discredit or silence his opponents. High-brow ad homs from a low-brow ‘academic’.

  30. Regardless of all the sensible and accurate demolitions of this paper, here and elsewhere, the fundamental point is that the paper is anyway pointless.

    I don’t have to hold coherent views on science to be right about climate change – and vice versa.

    If man-made CO2 is causing the Earth to warm in a dangerous way, that is true whether or not I believe it, and whether or not I also believe in faeries.

    Truth in science is not dependent on what else is deemed to be true.

  31. All the famous personalities of the alarmistas, Hanson 2 Naomis, Pachauri(The Novelist). This Guy Lew. etc.
    What they all have in common is the you-better-watch-yourselves manifestation of pedantry, finger wagging pedantry.
    These peopkle are of the ELITE group who know whats best for all of us. They seek control .
    .To all political science students, these charactereistics are archtypical of a Central-Planning Socialist.
    As We’ve learn from the Soviet Union “experiment”, this form of civilizatioin doesn’t work .
    They’re snakes in the grass.so ,just like in the Soviet Unioin, eventually they turn on themselves.

    • Finger wagging from a public speaker is a gesture that I’ve been observing lately. I first noticed wagging in videos of Bin Laden or other radical imams preaching , They wag, sometimes two fingers.
      Then I see President Obama wagging. Then, what-do-you-know, Slick Willy Clinton wagging his finger.,
      (Nothing like being talked down upon by a dis-barred sexual predator.)
      I invite others to observe this phenomenon too.
      I Think its a tell, as in cards.
      The tell of the Socialist

  32. All sorts of junk is published under the banner of climate science or commentary, but the only work criticised is that by so-called “deniers”. Who for the most part do not deny CO2 radiative forcing. They mostly assert the importance of other effects. A paper I criticised on climate policy (one author is a GP board member) has data which might as well have been made up: http://nukespp.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/refutation-of-recent-climate-policy.html Although they claim open data origin, the data isn’t where their reference says is should be and all other corresponding data contradicts it. I still can’t imagine how it passed “peer review”. I found 18 issues (at least) with that paper. It took me about 60 minutes to find most. I copied some issues from other’s. No one has opened a Pub Peer issue on it yet. If nothing’s done by the end of the year, and I get no reply from the journal editor, I may end up petitioning the likes of Anthony W, and Judith C to raise the issue! Any old paper exaggerating any real or imagined effect of climate change is hyped and loved by them. The same idiots who claim the science is only on their side.

    • “Any old paper exaggerating any real or imagined effect of climate change is hyped and loved by them.” <– By "them" I clearly meant the GP crew. Certainly not Judith and Anthony.

  33. Anybody who tortures the English language, as Lew does, is obviously up to no good. Most of psychology could be consigned to the bin on this basis, but Lew is an egregious example of the worst of his discipline.

  34. The booklet linked at the end of the article sits on my bookshelf — and sails the seas with me. I recommend it to all those interested in science.

  35. The ‘Pathology of Lewandowsky’ will some day make an interesting study for some astute sociology or psychiatry undergrad.

  36. The ideological motivation decryed by Lewandiwski is logic. They haven’t proved that we are in such mortal danger that totalitarian controls presented as emergency martial law necessary for the survival of us and the planet is indicated. There is some warming. That’s definite.

    What Lewandowski reveals is a rigid consensus and populist mentality.
    This connects to the ethical hysteria that his elite academically based cohort is so enjoying dumping on others in various arenas. Here, they have associated any serious questioning of their climate consensus as the equivalent of racism and Nazi genocide. Now that’s rigid and that’s hysterical.

  37. I really like the picture of our dear Lew. It even looks like he is trying to talk out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.

  38. The playwright Terence knew better than to expect “coherence” more than 2000 years ago:

    Quot capita tot sensus — there are as many opinions as there are heads

    Why should it be any different on either side of the global warming controversy.

  39. Lewey-lewey declares “There is growing evidence…” for this and that, yet he never presents any of the ‘evidence.’

  40. this is Mr. Lewandowsky in his own mind as forecasted by Frank Zappa in the early 1970S:
    I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
    So I looked like I was deep
    I said some mumbo-jumbo, then
    I told him he was going to sleep
    I robbed his rings and pocketwatch
    And everything else I found
    I had that sucker hypnotized
    He couldn’t even make a sound
    I proceeded to tell him his future…..”

  41. I find it interesting that the skeptic community is very able to identify and marginalize wingnuts on the skeptical side of the discussion while the warmist community appears to embrace and celebrate wingnuts on the warmist side of the discussion.

    • More the case that warmists never criticise wingnuts on their side. Because warmists are a political movement and they know it. So they keep a “united front”.

  42. The kingdoms of experience
    In the precious wind they rot
    While paupers change possessions
    Each one wishing for what the other has got
    And the princess and the prince
    Discuss what’s real and what is not
    It doesn’t matter inside the Gates of Eden

  43. Let’s see, there is the lack of any clue from climate science as to how pre-human influenced climate shifts occurred, which means there is no way to know that current changes are “unnatural”. There is the pause, which does actually exist in the most reliable, thorough, and unmeshed with climate data from UAH. There is the net GAIN in land surface area over the last several years as reported in a recent mainstream paper, in spite of the constant (not increasing) sea level rise over the last several hundred years. There is the lack of net change in global sea ice (decrease in arctic which is all that is ever reported and increase in antarctic, which is not reported). For a scientist with no dog in this fight (e.g., no grant money or position to be gained or lost), this seems to be plenty of evidence to indicate that the case for CAGW is weak.

  44. First point. I may hold a view for emotional or ideological reasons. I may, for those reasons, interpret the evidence as support for that view. But that does not automatically mean that I am wrong. (My distaste for the Church may have, in the past, inspired me to hold the heliocentric view, but I may well be right about it, nonetheless.) The truth or falsity of my views depends on their relationship with reality, not on my reasons for holding them. That is why argumentum ad hominem is a fallacy.

  45. Lewandowski is clearly a disgrace to psychology and to science in general. But there is a bigger disgrace on the peer-reviewed journals that publish his vindictive, tendentious codswallop in the name of science. They are a disgrace to all civilization and their corruption stinks.

  46. If Cook and Lewandowsky genuinely believed their own climate hysteria they would seek to engage in civil discourse with skeptics and listen to the diversity of opinion that exists. But instead of an inclusive, consultative and constructive approach they choose to denigrate, stereotype, and construct walls of exclusion.

    It could be easy to pass off as stereotypical activism, but both are students of human psychology with university qualifications and are fully aware of the consequences of their actions.

    By actively undermining action on climate change, they both out themselves as fakes, and at the same time they also undermine the discipline of psychology and bring academic institutions into disrepute.

  47. Second point. Let us suppose that I say that malaria is NOT caused by a surfeit of persimmons. And I offer solid evidence for that.

    Let us further suppose that I believe it is caused by (a) bad air and (b) the curses of witchdoctors.
    A and b seem to be incoherent. If I believe that the bad air is caused by the curses, they are not incoherent. But If I believe they are unrelated, and yet that both are the sole cause, then my position is, indeed, incoherent.

    And yet, whether my position is incoherent or not, it does not affect the truth of the claim about malaria and persimmons.

    Nor is that affected by the fact that modern medical science says I am wrong about the bad air, and, perhaps, even about the curses.

  48. Third point. “The cat sat on the mat”, not “The cat, sat on the mat.”
    “The cat” is the subject, so we do not put a comma between the subject and the verb.
    “The cat with green whiskers sat on the mat”, not “The cat with green whiskers, sat on the mat.”
    “The cat with green whiskers” is the subject clause, so we do not put a comma between the subject and the verb.

    A comma before a verb indicates that the clause immediately preceding the verb is a subordinate clause.

    In “this pathologizing of diverse experts in climate science who do not conform to his consensus ideation, appears to be intentional and is a career theme for him.”, is the clause immediately preceding “appears” subordinate or not? If it is a defining relative clause, it isn’t subordinate, but part of the subject clause. In that case, there should be no comma. The comma is misleading.

    If it is a non-defining relative clause, then it is subordinate, and so there should be two commas.
    Thus: “this pathologizing of diverse experts in climate science, who do not conform to his consensus ideation, appears to be intentional and is a career theme for him.”

    They used to teach this stuff in schools. But they used to teach a lot of worthwhile stuff in schools.

  49. I Loooove this paper

    It’s about simultaneously holding contradictory beliefs being a “Signature” of conspiracy theorists.

    In this latest Lew paper, Lew makes much of the fact that the Oregon Petition is populated by Non-Climate scientists despite the fact that it is well populated by “Domain Experts” relevant to the material, EG Engineers commenting on Feedback, Renewable Energy or Thermodynamics, Physicists on physics of gasses, Geologists on paleo climatology and Mathematicians and Computer Scientists on Modelling and Statistics. In this he implies/says that the Oregon Petition is invalid because the cohort of signatories are not climate scientists (broadly), Only Climate Scientists can comment on climate science, yet Lew Simultaneously holds the belief that a Psychologist (himself) has sufficient grasp of the science (despite having less domain expertise that most of the Oregon Petition signatories) that he is entitled to publish papers on the psychology of a particular set of protagonists in the debate and whether they are right or not. How dissonant is that. A mere psychologist – non climate scientist, should become the arbiter of truth within the climate debate!

    Lew of course is guilty of holding simultaneously two contradictory beliefs, which by his own reasoning marks him as a conspiracy theorist …. Of course though, tell me something I didn’t know.

  50. Climate “science” is not one science but is rather composed of many parts of which many are empirical (ie, not “physics”). There are also historical data used for testing (and tuning) and statistical tests of outputs. Many sceptics argue that various pieces of the climate puzzle model are flawed, and that therefore uncertainty is underestimated. With uncertainty underestimated, it is not logical to rush into extreme policy decisions like shutting down power plants. This is in fact a coherent argument. It is not necessary for all critics to agree because they are often commenting based on their own expertise and the piece of the puzzle that they have had time to look at. Lew himself is making up the “coherence” of the climate model field. The different models use different assumptions, different approximations (parameterizations), different driving data, different spatial scales, different numerical algorithms, and all generate different outputs. It is only possible to view all of this as coherent by being very forgiving or very ignorant. To view the climate models as inadequate for purpose is not a conspiracy but a logical deduction.

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