Get your mind right – Embrace the ‘Lewandowsky Hypothesis’



John Cook, Michael Mann, and Stephan Lewdowsky pose tauntingly for a photo – Original source: Tallbloke’s Talkshop (GYMR overlay image added)

Guest essay by Peter O’Brien

I gave up reading Robert Ludlum novels about forty years ago. The highly convoluted and improbable plots became just too irritating. But recently, thanks to Eric Worrall at Wattsupwiththat,  I dipped into a new contribution to the genre – a piece with the title The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ mechanics of the rejection of (climate) science: simulating coherence by conspiracism. A bit clunky don’t you think? Having read the article, I thought a rather more apt title, in keeping with the well tested formula of the aforementioned Ludlum, might be The Lewandowsky Hypothesis, so that is the title I shall use throughout the remainder of this piece.

Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook (a co-author), the Laurel and Hardy of the CAGW scam, have a theory that CAGW sceptics ignore the ‘vast body of knowledge’ available to them in order to indulge conspiracy fantasies, what they call ‘conspiracist ideation’. They are determined to expose CAGW sceptics as conspiracy theorists and have published a number of papers on the topic.

I would not normally concern myself with these two clowns, but they have achieved a certain influence when someone like the President of the United States quotes from their discredited work and their latest offering contains such egregious distortions of logic that it just has to be called out.

The Lewandowsky Hypothesis does not appear to be a peer reviewed paper, simply a published article and the funding sources are quoted as:

a Wolfson Research Merit Award from the Royal Society to the first author (Lewandowsky). During part of this work, the first author was also supported by a grant from the Australian Research Council and he received funding from the Psychonomic Society

Lewandowsky has been resident at the University of Bristol since the middle of 2013, so one wonders how he would qualify for an Australian Research Council grant for a very minor work completed in 2016. In fact there is a grant of $434,200 that was awarded jointly to Ullrich Ecker of the University of Western Australia and Gordon Brown from the University of Warwick (presumably not the former British PM but who knows?) and Lewandowsky for a project on the psychology of misinformation, whose output will, apparently, contribute to:

the formulation of specific communication strategies to reduce the impact of misinformation on society.

But this article to which I am referring is not a product of that project. It seems to be a just private initiative on the part of Lewandowsky, Cook and another author from Indiana University. More about funding later.

But what about the article itself?

Well, the problems begin in the abstract which opines that because sceptics can’t offer an alternative view to CAGW then they must be wrong. They offer the view that ‘something must be wrong’, as a response by sceptics to the failure of the CAGW hypothesis to represent the empirical real world observations, is not valid unless sceptics can offer an alternative explanation.

To begin with this turns the scientific method on its head. Sceptics do not need to offer an alternative explanation, although, indeed, many of them do. Science is based upon testing a hypothesis against a null hypothesis. In the case of CAGW, the hypothesis is not that the world is warming and it is not that CO2 contributes to warming. The hypothesis is that human emissions of CO2 are warming the world to a dangerous (catastrophic) degree. The null hypothesis, which does not have to be proved, is that climate is changing primarily under the influence of natural factors as it has always done in the past.

So what is the Lewandowsky hypothesis? It is that sceptics hold mutually contradictory positions on many aspects of CAGW i.e. that what they profess lacks ‘coherence’, which is a classic symptom of ‘conspiracism’ ergo that sceptics are effectively in denial of the science simply in order to propagate a particular political position. They use as an example of this phenomenon the proposition, apparently held by some, that Princess Diana was both murdered and also that she faked her own death. They give no evidence as to how many deluded souls adhere to this fantasy. It is a laughable analogy.

In their abstract they foreshadow the type of argument that abounds in the body of the piece. Here they suggest that claims ‘the globe is cooling’, ‘observed warming is natural’ and ‘the human influence does not matter because warming is good for us’ are mutually contradictory opinions. They do not specify who made these claims or anything of their context. If one argues, as sceptics do that, there was warming in the latter part of the 20th century but due mainly to natural causes, that this degree of warming was beneficial and that, in the 21st century, there has been no statistically significant warming and there may even be a cooling trend, these are not mutually exclusive. Not off to a good start.

The most egregious example of logical legerdemain employed by the authors actually leapt out of the page at me during my initial cursory perusal of the piece. In paragraph 1.3.1, titled ‘Climate sensitivity is low but it is high’, they address the sceptical claim that climate sensitivity is low. They correctly define climate sensitivity:

‘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 CO2 concentrations from preindustrial times (e.g., Lewandowsky et al. 2014)’

Don’t you just love Lewandowsky’s conceit, attributing this definition to himself, and he not even a climate scientist!

They point out that sceptical scientists, such as Professor Judith Curry (and, in fact, many others) favour a low estimate for climate sensitivity (eg 1.5C). They also point out that sceptics believe the climate has changed significantly in the past, implying that, in this respect, sceptics are now adopting a contrary position that climate sensitivity is actually high. So, in the space of two contiguous paragraphs, they’ve changed the definition of climate sensitivity to mean the response of the climate to any external forcing not just CO2, as summarized below:

Either the climate changed in the past because it is highly sensitive to external forces, in which case we are facing considerable future warming, or its sensitivity to the forces triggered by increasing CO2 concentrations is low, in which case the climate should not have changed much in the past. Except that it did.

They gloss over the fact that the IPCC also accepts that climate changed in the past and that 1.5C is within the range estimated for climate sensitivity by the IPCC itself! That excerpt alone is sufficient to condemn this diatribe.

Most of the rest of the article is full of strawman arguments that I won’t go into in detail because they are just a rehashing of pro/con arguments that are mostly taken out of context and with suitable distortions of the sceptic arguments. But at para 1.3.8 there is a table of examples of supposedly contradictory positions taken by sceptics in general. I reproduce it here so that you can see it is pretty incoherent and has no context whatsoever:

Table 1

Sample of additional incoherent arguments


Table 2 in the same paragraph provides a list of supposedly contradictory opinions held by the same person. Some of them, on the face of it, may appear contradictory but without context one cannot be sure. In fact, the lack of context throughout this entire piece is a major failing. When attempting to discredit someone on the basis of what they have said in the past, proper context is paramount.

Here are just two examples from this table (there are others) where the statements are not even prima facie contradictory:



You will have noticed that the authors have distinguished between a body of supposedly contradictory opinions that supposedly represent the collective view of sceptics and some examples of specific supposed contradictions on the part of individuals.

They obviously recognise that the first class of ‘contradictions’ is a rather weaker body of evidence against sceptics than those that they can sheet home to specific individuals. They have addressed this in a paragraph 1.4 titled ‘Individual cognition vs, group behaviour’.


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.

Sounds fair. But wait:

We reject both the possibility and its hypothetical implication.

Of course you do!

To cut a long story short, their tedious reasoning goes back to the original claim that sceptics must offer a coherent alternative view to the CAGW hypothesis. They argue that CAGW adherents have a coherent view across multiple disciplines, even to the extent of rationalizing conflicting views about the warming hiatus (or as I like to call it warming stasis):

Second, the theoretical coherence of consensual climate science does not prevent robust debate. One striking example 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” (e.g., Cahill et al. 2015; Foster and Rahmstorf 2011; Foster and Abraham 2015; Karl et al. 2015; Lewandowsky et al. 2015c, d) whereas others have taken a contrary position (Fyfe et al. 2016; Trenberth 2015). We therefore argue that science achieves its coherence through a constant self-correction process (e.g., Alberts et al. 2015; Longino 1990, 2002) that occurs through peer-review, journal articles, conference communications, graduate training, mentoring, and so on. Scientific debate is a key element of achieving scientific coherence (Leuschner 2012). No such corrective processes can be observed in denialist discourse which focuses entirely on its opposition to mainstream science and does not entail any debate among the incoherent positions we have revealed in this article.

So somehow the emergence of differences, which, incidentally don’t appear to have been resolved, regarding the ‘stasis’ within the CAGW camp is healthy, but its recruitment within the sceptic camp, which first drew attention to it, is reprehensible.

In fact, for the CAGW hypothesis to be accepted it should have coherence. But it’s the lack of coherence that drives sceptics, who, contrary to the assertions in The Lewandowsky Hypothesis, do in fact offer alternative explanations as to what is driving the climate in the 20th and 21st centuries.

As just one example, Dr David Evans has developed an alternative hypothesis, The Notch Delay Hypothesis which predicts a modest cooling by the year 2022 at the latest.

And unlike the CAGW troughers, Evans, who has funded all his own work, concedes that if his prediction fails then so too does his hypothesis.

The peer reviewed works of Lewandowsky and Cook, relating to CAGW ‘denial’ have been routinely and rapidly debunked in the past. At the time I was content to simply accept the findings of their debunkers. Now, on the basis of what I’ve read in The Lewandowsky Hypothesis, I feel justified in having done so.

If the quality of the work of the ‘climate scientists’ that Lewandowsky seeks so enthusiastically to defend is as shoddy as his own, then God help us.

Finally, let me return to the question of funding. The fact that Lewandowsky provides a list of acknowledgements suggests he was specifically remunerated for this work. The provision of funds by The Royal Society and the Psychonomic Society are of no interest to me. But, as an Australian taxpayer, I am interested in the use of Australian Research Council grant money. A search of the ARC Grants database reveals two recent grants of which Lewandowsky appears to be a joint beneficiary.

The first of these, $215,913 over 3 years, titled ‘LP120100224 Creating a climate for change: from cognition to consensus’, was awarded in 2012. It was administered by the University of New South Wales and, although Lewandowsky is not named, participating organisations are listed as the University of Western Australia, the Department of Climate Change and the University of Plymouth. Its synopsis is:

Climate change is a significant contemporary issue, and communicating the complexities of the terminology and the data is a major modern challenge. This project will apply principles of cognitive and social psychology to determine the most effective methods for promoting an understanding of the scientific dimensions of the issue. The research is significant because it provides a coherent theoretical framework for identifying the psychological mechanisms underlying cognition and commitment at both an individual and collective level. The outcome will be a body of evidence that will inform strategies and policies for communication of complex scientific questions.

The second grant is the one I referred to earlier which commenced in 2016.

I suspect the grant that Lewandowsky is acknowledging in relation to The Lewandowsky Hypothesis article is the first. Admittedly, if I am right, the amount of money involved cannot be huge but nonetheless I have a few questions:

– Did Lewandowsky draw down funds against that grant for the production of this article?

– If so, how much?

– Was this article a deliverable of project LP120100224?

– If so, would the ARC agree that this was money well spent?

– Which of the 10 papers that Lewandowsky has co-authored since 2015 ( 5) is the substantive product of LP120100224?

Regardless of the above, I wonder how the ARC would consider that distorting the arguments of a huge body of people, among them many prominent scientists such as Professor Judith Curry, Professor Richard Lindzen, Dr Roy Spencer, Dr John Christy, Dr Garth Paltridge, Dr David Evans to name but a few, in order to classify them as somehow mentally disordered would inform strategies and policies for communication of complex scientific questions? By putting them in re-education facilities a la 1984?

Note from Anthony. Most often when I think of Stephan Lewandowsky’s and John Cook’s attempts to malign people such as myself for our informed opinions, I’m reminded of this famous scene from the movie Cool Hand Luke (1967), starring Paul Newman. Newman played the role of a non-conformist, and as such found himself in a chain gang camp, essentially a “re-education” camp.

In my opinion, this quote from the movie rather sums up how climate proponents view climate skeptics, because they have this ongoing belief that it’s a communications problem, rather than a science problem:

Captain, Road Prison 36: What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it… well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.

Simply put, Lewandowsky and Cook view themselves as climate police, or as enforcers of dogma for “the cause”. Perhaps someday they will self-diagnose their own psychological issues with noble cause corruption.


116 thoughts on “Get your mind right – Embrace the ‘Lewandowsky Hypothesis’

      • I have come to the conclusion that it takes a true Conspiract Ideationist (Conspiracy Nutcase) to look for conspiracies where they really don’t exist.
        In an effort to discredit your critics or those that oppose your point of view and dispel your own uncertainty over the validity of your beliefs, you simply create a new term (Conspiracist Ideation) as a derogatory label and apply it liberally to those who don’t share your viewpoint.
        Lewandowsky (Lewdowsky in the image credit) truely must believe in Conspiracies because every time you turn around, there is another Lew Paper touting another Conspiracy.
        So who is it really that has Conspiracies on the brain??

  1. I assume that’s Cook’s left hand….but where are Mann’s? Eewwww. (What? It’s not a caption competition?)

    • The Laurel and Hardy – neither of the two knuckleheads deserves a post. Last I heard, they were both kicked out of a university. Why does anyone care about their current droppings?

      • The ultimate insult is to simply “ignore”!

        For all future et al, please ignore the 3 stooges!

        Bigger Fish to Fry!

      • Why should Laurel and Hardy have their reputations trashed by association with these two imbeciles? (or the Three Stooges if you include Mann as in the photo)

      • “Last I heard, they were both kicked out of a university.”
        Not so. Lewandowsky was welcomed into a prestigious university (Bristol, England) with a five figure sum from the British government via the Royal Society (the world’s oldest scientific society) and his PhD student out-of-work cartoonist Cook got immediate employment at George Mason University in the USA.
        Every time we sneer they advance. There are no bigger fish to fry.

      • You have a point Geoff but the Bigger Fish are the true cause of the problem. Hook them and it’s game over for stooges.

        Example: UN policy makers who allow nation state delegates to rewrite AR conclusions to suit delegate needs.

    • @Vukcevic exactly:

      In their abstract they foreshadow the type of argument that abounds in the body of the piece. Here they suggest that claims ‘the globe is cooling’, ‘observed warming is natural’ and ‘the human influence does not matter because warming is good for us’ are mutually contradictory opinions.

      – Peter O’Brien, The Lewandowsky Hypothesis


      Globe cooling
      Observed warming natural (El Nino, trade winds)
      Human influenced warming doesn’t matter because it its good.

      Hang on, where have I heard these “incoherent” arguments before!!

      From the early 2000s to the early 2010s, there was a temporary slowdown in the large-scale warming of Earth’s surface. Recent studies have ascribed this slowing to both internal sources of climatic variability—such as cool La Niña conditions and stronger trade winds in the Pacific—and external influences, including the cooling effects of volcanic and human-made particulates in the atmosphere.

      – Mann et all, Geophysical Research Letters


      Globe warming
      Observed cooling natural (La Nina, trade winds, volcanic)
      Human influenced cooling (Particulates in the atmosphere) doesn’t matter because it is good.

      Clearly, it is the team that is lacking coherence!

      Q.E.D ;-)

      • They are so tethered to The One True Correct Thought that they can’t understand how free thinkers operate. There are millions of skeptics, but only one Humongous Fungus of Alarmism.

  2. “…or its sensitivity to the forces triggered by increasing CO2 concentrations is low, in which case the climate should not have changed much in the past. Except that it did.”

    Do they seriously argue that past changes to the climate were all due to CO2 concentrations alone? Is there nothing else in their view that could have produced a noticeable change in the climate, be it volcanoes, ocean currents, sun cycles, or even an asteroid hit?

    • “Do they seriously argue that past changes to the climate were all due to CO2 concentrations alone? …”.
      Apparently — at least it’s very a coherent view.
      CAGW is all about the future, people with coherent beliefs about certain future catastrophes and possible redemption are usually religious nutters.

      • Boyle, Kepler, Ampere, Volta, Riemann, Faraday, Maxwell, Newton, Mendel, Kelvin, Marconi, Planck, Eddington, Born, Röntgen, Babbage, Pascal, Bacon …

        You figure you’re qualified to judge those guys to be nutters, Chris?

      • That is a simply amazing piece of projection there JohnKnight.

        Boyle, Kepler, Ampere and all of the others are actual observant scientists. They’re not nutters.

        Nor do they have any relationships to the CAGW climate team, CAGW, Climate Change or whatever the current favorite is this week, and especially zero relationship to the CO2 hypothesis.
        A hypothesis, which after trillions of dollars spent is still unproven beyond isolated laboratory experiments; i.e. CO2’s true atmospheric contribution is unknown, let alone mankind’s small contributions of CO2 into the atmosphere.

        CAGW’s adherents are nutters.

      • JohnKnight: You sneer a list of historic persons who had coherent beliefs (which opposed the reigning orthodoxies). I don’t recall any of those beliefs being “about certain future catastrophies and possible redemption”.

        You figure you’re quailfied to read an entire sentence and then comment on it, John?

      • … or its sensitivity to the forces triggered by increasing CO2 concentrations is low, in which case the climate should not have changed much in the past. Except that it did.

        Formal published proof that Loo and Cook don’t know shit about climatology.

        It should not have changed much in the past if climate is driven primarily by AGW. Except that it did.

        Early 20th c. warming was just as strong as the later warming yet, according to IPCC CO2 emissions were not significant in that period. This does not prove that sensitivity is high, it contradicts the conclusion that later warming can be attributed to CO2.

        Early warming is natural, later warming is man made : a self contradictory position held by warmists. This is incoherent, hence AGW is conspiracy ideation according to Lewandowsky and Cook’s logic.

      • ATheoK,

        I don’t understand where you got the idea that I was projecting anything having to do with the CAGW onto those guys I mentioned . .

        My point was they were Christians, and in the Book there is certainly much discussion of the “end of days” and so on, and possible redemption, of course . . I tire of hearing about “religious nutters” in the face of (to my mind, and obviously many here) big science behaving badly. Suck it up, folks, I advise. and quit treating science as anything godlike.

    • I believe their argument is more along the lines of:

      If the climate is sensitive to one forcing, it must be sensitive to all forcings.

      • Why must the climate have the same sensitivity to one type of forcing as another? That doesn’t make much sense. A small volcanic eruption might have a small affect on the local region but has much less affect on the climate than a major eruption or a series of eruptions. The volcanic aerosol layer which forms in the stratosphere after major volcanic eruptions can practically cover the globe, and its cooling affect can last for more than a year. Clearly the climate’s sensitivity to different types of volcanic eruptions can vary from minor to major. So what logic dictates that its sensitivity to CO2 must be high?

      • Louis,

        “what logic dictates that its sensitivity to CO2 must be high?”

        Joules are joules and any joule can do the same amount of work. The proper way to think about this is in terms of equivalence, where doubling CO2 is equivalent to 3.7 W/m^2 more post albedo solar power. This arises from the definition of forcing as a difference in net flux at TOT (or sometimes TOA).

        There’s a contradiction in the way that sensitivity is defined as the LTE change consequential to an instantaneous difference, where all joules in an instantaneous increase in solar power forces the surface, while an instantaneous decrease in upwards flux owing to increased GHG’s means that the atmosphere is absorbing more and in LTE, about half of these joules are ultimately emitted out into space and are not available to perform the work of heating the surface.

        The question then becomes how is the 3.7 W/m^2 of equivalent solar input arrived and does it account for the fraction of absorption that is emitted into space. My line by line simulations of a standard atmosphere with nominal clouds after doubling CO2 suggests that they do not.

  3. Lewandosky and Cook seem to state that since the critics of CAGW are not using the same rationale, the same talking points, to oppose CAGW, that they cannot be serious. All that demonstrates is that it is not a conspiracy, as the critics are working off their own expertise to deal with parts of the CAGW theory that they know are egregious errors, and can demonstrate evidence in support of their particular point.

    • since the critics of CAGW are not using the same rationale, the same talking points […] they cannot be serious

      In other words, groupthink=serious?

      • Of course. Climate science demands “consesus” hence the circular peer reviews they have for their papers of “proof”

    • On the same vein, the scope and variety of issues and valid objections to what they are so bold as to call their “science” speak to the many ways in which these theories are flawed and also to the spectacular twists and turns they have taken to explain the many, many failings of their theory.

    • Lewny and Crook have apparently never heard of the concept of “complimentary narratives”. If several sports writers report on a certain game, each piece, other than a few major things like the winner and the score, can differ significantly from the others. Each writer puts focus on different details, based on what he/she considers worth writing about. But they all watched the same game, and they are all reporting fact.

      Complimentary narratives are normal and a natural part of human communication. It’s the abnormally coherent narratives that rouse suspicion (rightly or wrongly) of collusion, advocacy, and yes, conspiracy.

  4. So much CAGW nonsense, so little time. WRT the ‘vast body of knowledge’, well, the size of the septic tank does not in any way alter the quality of its contents.

  5. He has the audacity to consider himself a scientist, then refers to himself to support his incoherent drivel:

    Some scientists have argued against the existence or special status of this “pause” (e.g., Cahill et al. 2015; Foster and Rahmstorf 2011; Foster and Abraham 2015; Karl et al. 2015; Lewandowsky et al. 2015c, d)

    what an arrogant, self-serving narcissist.

  6. The paper is beyond terrible. One example from the above post suffices. Lewis and Curry 2014 used ONLY IPCC AR5 values to compute an ECS of ~1.65 using the enrgy budget method. The paper also showed this value was robust with respect to time frames chosen for the EBM method. That is important because it shows most natural variability was washed out of the calculation. Lew and Cook argue skeptics also think past variability was high so sensitivity is high. Well, there was a MWP and an LIA. But those have nothing to do with sensitivity. Sensitivity is with respect to change in CO2, and there wasn’t any. Thereby demonstrating these warmunist nutters cannot even keep their definitions straight. Not worth discussing further.
    Trying to have a rational discussion with irrational people would itself be irrational.

    • “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 CO2 concentrations from preindustrial times (e.g., Lewandowsky et al. 2014)”
      I thought climate sensitivity was the actual warming from a doubling of CO2.

      So, that’s how they come up with 7° C… climate sensitivity is any number they choose to predict or would that be the temp they ultimately expect?

  7. Recently Mann has teamed up with a left wing political cartoonist to assail skeptics with essays presumably in and effort to play a rehearsed role as a climate communicator. He’s using the “conspiracy ideation” theme. Would be nice if he answered the interrogatories in the lawsuit instead of writing a book.

  8. My comment from the previous thread on this topic:

    davidmhoffer September 27, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    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?

  9. Actually, the null hypothesis is that we don’t know if the world is warming and what the cause might be if it is. IOW, status quo from some selected point in our history. New theory must demonstrate otherwise.

  10. Saying that the climate is too complex to predict and acknowledging that sometime in the future there will be another ice age is not a contradictory position.

    • “Saying that the climate is too complex to predict and acknowledging that sometime in the future there will be another ice age is not a contradictory position.”

      It is if your remove context.

      I am comfortable in saying that I believe in global warming. I am also comfortable in saying i do not believe in global warming. So clearly I am contradicting myself and must be crazy.

      Now, if we simply add context…

      I believe in global warming, by which I mean the ECS of CO2 emissions is > 0. But I do not believe that Global warming is significant enough to warrant strong policy decisions. I prefer smart and cost effective ones.

      This is why people are (purposely) misunderstood as deniers. “But he said he doesn’t believe in global warming!!” Soundbites win the media debate and it is why skeptics have trouble getting real traction.

  11. Lewandowsky is clearly in his left brain. That’s the risk of academics. They are trained in analysis and process. They learn to ignore the actual world around them.

    The left brain is good at logic and language. The right brain is responsible for context. It is our BS filter. People with right brain damage will believe anything as long as it is not self-contradictory. People with right brain damage will underestimate the difficulty of projects and they will be disappointed with the results.

    Here’s something I didn’t know before. If you’ve wondered how seemingly intelligent people can be so clueless … this is it. The trouble is that the left-brained are taking over the country.

    • maybe it’s not left brain- maybe it’s black bile?
      what’s his aura look like?
      maybe he was born under a bad star?
      do you think an exorcism would help?
      what about a good rolfing?
      maybe some herbal remedy can purge his toxins?
      i think a high colonic wouldn’t hurt..

  12. “The null hypothesis, which does not have to be proved, is that climate is changing primarily under the influence of natural factors as it has always done in the past.” No hypothesis can ever be proved. None, zip, zilch, nil, null set, etc. The only thing that can happen is that a null hypothesis can be rejected with a certain statistical significance. I have yet to see any study that has done that to the null hypothesis mentioned.

    • The only thing I recall them saying about the null hypothesis was that man made global warming should be assumed and others must have to prove it wasn’t man made global warming wot dun it.
      If it rains, snows or doesn’t, you must prove man didn’t cause that!

  13. Psychonomic Society?? This appears to be the SL lovefest site. Science is dead, western civilization is dead, and before too long we’ll all be dead. The Earth, however, will continue to enjoy whatever climate it damned well pleases.

  14. oh man- look at that wall of anguished text.
    by troll rulez, they just won the internetz!

    the 4th wall is broken with the audience chorus:

    they’re so much smarter you had no chance
    flick of a keyboard put ants in your pants
    Flies in the buttermilk, dance clown, dance
    skip to the Lew my darling.

    and then lew sings his solo:

    i’ve been alive forever
    and i wrote the very first lies
    i possessed you with my demons.
    i put the lotto look in your eyes-

    i make the memes that keep the world confused
    i write the talking points and frame all the views
    i spin my narrative and call it the news
    i make the memes – i make the memes!

    My home lies deep within you
    and i’ve got a cavity in your mind
    so if you’re looking for the truth
    it’s a rotten tooth you will find.

    i make the memes that keep the world confused
    i write the talking points and frame all the views
    i spin my narrative and call it the news
    i make the memes – i make the memes!

    Like a puppet you will dance- and you never stood a chance-
    cuz i taught your parents how to teach you too.
    when uneasiness fills your heart, and your reasoning falls apart
    It’s from me, it’s for you
    to believe- and you do
    It’s a global industry!

    i make the memes that keep the world confused
    i write the talking points and frame all the views
    i spin my narrative and call it the news
    i make the memes – i make the memes!

    i’m a spin doctor
    i make the memes

  15. Actually it is not uncommon for there to be a bit of money left over from a research grant. There is nothing sinister about this. What project ever spends its entire budget exactly. The question is what happens to these left-over bits of money. It isn’t considered worthwhile to chase after them and insist they be refunded as the amounts are in most cases small. Anyway if they tried to do this the result would be that the money would just get spent in a hurry and probably wasted. The result is that many researchers have access to these little pots of money left over from various research grants. It is considered reasonable in the research community to use these on an ongoing basis to cover research expenditures.

    • Frequently most of the money is for salaries, equipment, travel, and overhead. Supplies, such as paper and ink, may be ordered toward the end of the grant period and replenish the stockroom, out of which things were used in the previous months. To account for every piece of paper used would be as productive as counting grains of sand on a beach. There may be a box of paper left but bits of money, generally, are known about and spent.

    • As a former recipient of ARC grants, I accept that there may be funds “left over” at the end of a granting period, but you still have to account for what you have done with the funds you received – if only to justify your next grant application. As such, the questions asked by author at the end are quite valid: basically, what was the work product produced by the use of these funds?

      Furthermore, as a recipient of grants from a number of bodies in the past, I would like to know what the funds were actually supposed to cover. Most research grants cover salaries for research assistants or stipends for students with some funding for the costs associated with the research. Large items of equipment are usually funded by separate grants, but things like specific computing requirements or survey expenses could be included in operating if they are specified up front as part of the research. Given that SL’s Royal Society Fellowship is specified to cover his salary (for up to 10 years, I think these Fellowships go for, but the details may have changed), then the ARC funds would have to be for someone else or operating funds for the research. Now, without wishing to be too critical, what does it cost to read some papers and blog postings and slap together some incoherent gibberish?

      I am not an Australian taxpayer (any more), but I would still like to know what these funds were actually used for.

  16. Hey Cook & clowns, which of those “‘vast body of knowledge’ available to them” actually shows that man’s CO2 is causing dangerous levels of global warming?

  17. Argument 1:
    The slope of the SB relationship sets the ‘zero feedback’ gain of the planet
    Argument 2:
    The SB relationship does not apply to the net energy emitted by the surface

    Argument 1:
    COE must be applied between the power entering the planet and the power leaving
    Argument 2:
    The feedback model assumes an implicit, infinite, internal source of power

    Argument 1:
    CO2 emissions cause global warming
    Argument 2:
    Global Warming causes global cooling

    Argument 1:
    Each of the 239 W/m^2 from the Sun results in 1.6 W/m^2 of surface emissions
    Argument 2:
    The next W/m^2 of input will produce 4.3 W/m^2 of additional surface emissions

    And so on and to forth.

    It seems to me that Lewandowski has it right, he’s just applying it to the wrong side. The fact that he can’t recognize a classic case of psychological projection tells me he isn’t even very competent in what he was trained in, much less, climate science.

    • ants in a jar
      your confusion and despair
      is all for the amusement
      of the child who put you there.

      you think lew isn’t very competent?

      is he writing walls of anguished text in response to you?
      he’s directing the show. you are a spectator cheering and jeering like a rube at the circus.
      who’s the smart one?
      smack that tarbaby – you know you can’t resist.
      do it repeatedly because it gets better every time, right?

      who got triggered? who’s finger is on the trigger?

      • “you think lew isn’t very competent?”

        He doesn’t have a clue about the science, moreover; he exhibits poor judgement about who he thinks does. He denies the many faults in the consensus arguments and then projects those faults on skeptics. This is a classic case of psychological projection which because he can not recognize, makes him appear incompetent in his own field.

        If he’s competent in anything, its propaganda and misinformation, but then again, this is a required skill for pushing the the false narrative supported by science that’s so broken it would be comical if the otherwise unjustifiable remedies weren’t so incredibly harmful.

      • you can say what you want –
        but the fact is you want to talk about lew – can’t stop yourself from talking about lew
        we know that for sure cuz that’s what you do.
        talk on and on about lew – thousands of words about lew
        you care soooooo much about lew
        and he never heard of you.

        but you think that his purpose is anything else but what he’s achieved with you?
        have a good look at that picture up top.

        have you ever seen a bullfight?
        lew waves the cape and you charge it.
        you need a clue about who wins that fight?
        or take the consequences. type furiously, give them a good laugh.
        take your best shot – that’s what they make the straw men for- to draw your fire.
        you are totally obliging. and you think you are smarter than he?
        while you’re whinging endlessly about lew – are you undoing any damage? no
        while you are worrying about lew – are you improving your own life one bit? no.
        are you getting paid? no rewarded? no.
        you are losing bits of your life all the way down.
        and they are laughing because that’s the plan; it works; you’re neutralized by your own actions.
        you are their puppet. that’s not incompetence on their part.

        but you know what? i’ve said this enough times to be bored with the reruns and now i have to say-
        if you fall for it, you deserve what you get for that.
        i won’t even try to warn anybody any more because they are just too effing thick to get it.
        lew can screw their heads on backwards and i won’t say diddly cuz if somebody is that stupid- the stupid is a bigger threat to me than lew’s trollery.
        i actually got more out of the splendid example of trollery than can be had from the writhing and moanng of those who can’t tell what’s goin on. – in fact, that stupidity is disgraceful.
        that stupidity is harmful as an example of how idiotic individuals can be. lew proves who is the fool.
        fools are such a bad example of humanity.

      • I agree with gnomish, in the sense that I don;pt believe these guys are “sincere” in what they do . . Mr. Lewandowski is a competent con artist, I believe.

  18. There is a marvellous new book: Hubris by Michael Hart.

    It’s a really good read, very well argued and referenced. It skewers the like of Lewandowski and Cook far more eloquently than I could.

    I particularly enjoyed the chapter “Corruption maquerading as Virtue”.

  19. Actually referring to Lewandowsky and Cook as “the Laurel and Hardy of the CAGW” sort of bothers me. Laurel and Hardy were very talented comedians who made fun of themselves as the basis for comedy. Lewandowsky and Cook are meretricious academics practicing pseudoscience who can’t imagine themselves being wrong and expect the rest of the world to bow to their vast intellect. The basis of bad science is the inability to consider your concept is wrong.

  20. I do not accept that all the points suggested are contradictory.

    For example, consider the very first point made in argument 1 and argument 2.

    If climate is defined as the average of weather over a 30 year period (which personally I consider to be misconceived), then it is not contradictory to suggest that the planet is heading into an ice age. As far as I am aware, no one is suggesting that the planet will enter an ice age within the next 30 years, or by the end of the century.

    Being pedantic the point is misconceived since the planet is already in an ice age. What will happen is that the present benign warmth of the present inter glacial will come to an end, and the planet will return to the deep throes of the ice age that it is currently in.

    There are many other obvious errors in the list of so called contradictory arguments/stances.

  21. That photo of John Cook, Michael Mann, and Stephan Lewdowsky reminds me immediately of the Three Stooges. The difference is that the Three Stooges were quite intelligent.

  22. You knew that when they had to cheat like the devil to come up with the infamous “97% consensus” that they knew they had lost on the science. I have been following the attempt to claim that the world will freeze or fry in just a few years from now since the ’70s. It is always mankind’s fault. (a religious meme)

    The thing that bothers me more than the clowns who are the topic of this post (and it is a great post) is that we teach the proper use of significant digits and so forth to middle school kids. They know that if you can only read a thermometer to the nearest degree for most of the time series — that you can not up and claim temperatures with accuracy to two decimal places. Many, but not all, children of 13 also know that there is only one average temperature for the 1940s and without a time machine you should not change that value on a daily basis. There is much more, but my conclusion over the decades has been that “science” is not what we teach kids. “Science” is a con game played to take other people’s money and to fabricate delusions. Under that definition, Lewandowski is a pretty good example of a “scientist”.

  23. I am a “Skeptic” in that I do not buy into catastrophic global warming brought on by the release of small amounts of CO2.

    I do not think that the CAGW religion is brought on by a conspiracy – contrary to what Lewandowsky apparently believes. I just think the alarmists are not particularly bright. I think many members of the CAGW church do attempt to cover for each other, and that they attempt to silence anything that disagrees with them – but this isn’t conspiracy, its just pettiness.

    • Robert,
      CAGW isn’t a purposeful conspiracy, but an accidental one that arose as the consequence of confirmation bias and group think reinforced by political ideology. Most involved are so blinded by misplaced self righteousness they either can’t see that this happened or they deny the possibility.

    • Oh, there’s definitely a conspiracy going on. How else would you describe indoctrination of school children in so-called “climate science” before they’ve had any basic science education? What or who is responsible for that rape of young minds? Its your governments and your UN bureaucrats, that’s who.

      Read some of the lesson plans offered to teachers by the EPA. The climate change “proofs” are found in very widely scattered NOAA data plots that mask cause and effect, not to mention rounding errors and pseudo-scientific use of Bunsen burners to “prove” sea level rise. A null-hypothesis is nowhere to be found.

      Or read how UNICEF tries to actually co-opt children directly into the political debate:

  24. 1 million years ago, Lewandowsky’s (more intelligent) ancestors would throw faeces when they felt threatened. These days they just write shit papers.

    But the principle is the same. They huff and puff and make a lot of noise, but if people like Lewandowsky ever faced a real threat, they stop throwing the shit around and run and hide.

    • so they are not facing any real threat – from anybody.
      and they know it.
      look at that picture. they are laughing at the reactions they get.
      they are laughing that people are so stupid they can’t see what the game is.
      that pic is like the chapter in Book of Lies called Goldbricks where the secret is revealed.
      they laugh because they can show exactly what they are doing and the clueless do not, will not and can not understand it – therefore it works with 97% reliability…lol

      they are trolls. that’s the truth, the whole truth and there’s nothing else to it.
      and it is funny. they reliably produce objects of ridicule- and i’m not talking about their papers.

      • They aren’t trolls. Trolls are aggravating, even infuriating, but harmless and easily dismissed. These guys are dangerous. It doesn’t matter that their arguments are ludicrous objects of ridicule, people in power, leaders of nations, are listening to them. That makes what they say not funny, and very dangerous.

      • who are they fooling?
        and you- who the hell do you think you are fooling?
        Trolling Could Get You 25 Years in Jail in Arizona
        Internet Trolls can be Prosecuted Under Australian Law
        New Zealand makes internet ‘trolling’ illegal
        Internet trolls face up to two years in jail under new laws – BBC News

        can you easily dismiss that?

        these guys talk – that’s what. and you feel threatened by their words, do you?
        sticks and stones, bro

        on the other hand- your cluelessness borders on pathological stupidity- because it does cause harm.
        as long as you are the only one harmed by it, i won’t interfere any.
        knock yourself out.

        “people in power, leaders of nations, are listening to them” ha ha ha – no, you are.
        they just write what they are paid to write. they’ve found a market and oh- who finances that? you do.
        so i see your fingerpointing as a diversion. and just like lew, you have the right to say anything you want to say. nothing you say is any threat but the example of concrete bound mentality is only useful in a clinical setting for educational purposes. other than that, your angsting is disgusting and a testament to how well they know how to yank your chain and how lame you are for not being able to take control of your own self.
        there’s nothing else to be learned from this fandango as you two do the trollish tango.

  25. If the quality of the work of the ‘climate scientists’ that Lewandowsky seeks so enthusiastically to defend is as shoddy as his own, then God help us.

    Don’t look now, but…

    At the least for the guy in the center, that’s pretty much been obvious for years.

  26. The future is fixed, it’s all doom and gloom…Unless you let us fix it for you. We’ll change the past to fix the future we want to see.

    That’s about all Lewandowsky, et al, really say.

  27. Now you do realise that without WUWT … Nobody would ever have heard of Lewandowsky.

    He would, without WUWT, be a flea claiming that the Dog had moved left and so his flea logic must be correct.

  28. I cannot believe that Lewandowsky is unable to recognise that many sceptics are actually people with solid scientific backgrounds, making logical deductions from observational data. Instead, he chooses to believe that “we” are deluding ourselves based on some pre-existing prejudice (whose nature and origin he is a bit vague about).

    There are some sceptics who may well be motivated by their own political beliefs or prejudices, and who have identified themselves with one or other of the sceptical “themes”. We see some of them at WUWT. But most of “us” are just well educated people capable of looking at the anthropogenic warming “consensus” and seeing that the science behind it is really rather shaky, and that there’s something very wrong with its conclusions and its predictions.

    Some of “us” have specialised knowledge of the physics of radiative heat transfer, others have studied solar cycles and fluctuations, others know about ocean circulation, others have knowledge of earth history (that’s me!) and so on and so on. So it’s no wonder that there are contradictory beliefs or conclusions in the sceptical “movement”. Lewandowsky has listed most of them (showing that he has at least read some of the sceptical literature). Of course these beliefs/conclusions/hypotheses sometimes conflict with one another. They reflect the different educational and experiential backgrounds of “us”. But taken all together, they make an overwhelming case that the CAGW consensus has many flaws and needs revision, if not total abandonment; climate is an incredibly complex system and it’s foolish to believe that we understand its processes well enough to believe that we can influence them.

    No, Lewandowsky can’t be that dim. He’s just building a case that sceptics can be safely ignored. The fact that he feels the need to do that shows that scepticism worries him. Perhaps his perusal of sceptical writings has led him to start doubting the power of the almighty CO2?

    • Smart Rock,

      I cannot believe that Lewandowsky is unable to recognise that many sceptics are actually people with solid scientific backgrounds

      Unfortunately, you have to have a solid scientific background to recognize people with solid scientific backgrounds. Pseudoscientologists wouldn’t recognize someone with a solid scientific background if it were a jackal and bit them on the @ss.

  29. Cook and Lew are semi-living examples of why psychology remains a junk science, unable to predict much of anything and impressing their low IQ followers by inventing words to characterize behavior, implying that this therefore means they actually understand human behavior. Hence the meaningless term “ideation.” I am astonished at the collective ignorance on display here,although Cook’s “97%” study was certainly nonsensical crap and a warning that we are dealing with third rate intellects.

  30. Climate Sharknado Apocalypse!


    Global Human Climate Sharknado Apocalypse!

    I for one will use both.

    I wonder with the new “paper” on methane “emissions” from damn reservoirs that Jerry Gov Moonbeam Imperious Emperor of Californium and All Domains There In will give Carbon Tax Credits to his faithful in their Hour of Power need since draining the Los Angeles Water District Authority reservoirs, according to the fraudulent paper, SAVED Californium’s from the dreaded Global Human Climate Sharknado Apocalypse only to give cause of perish from dehydration among the faithful! Ha ha ha.

    Imperious Emperor Moonbeam can now get on the TeeWee to browbeat fellow Californiums for their hording and selling at 100x price of water they drew from their wells to sell on the black market in Owens Valley. Ha ha ha

  31. Peter:

    What I’ve learned is that we can’t expect rational or logical debate from people who advocate the AGW hypothesis. I appreciate your above attempt to make a point of that, but I wanted to, in a backhanded fashion, console you on the subject. You will never “win” a debate with them, they aren’t subject to reason and will not be swayed by facts. It’s not going to happen.

    At best, you’ll have an influence on people like me. I am a scientist and for decades I just held the opinion they were right. I hadn’t looked into the matter personally but I trusted the ethics of my fellow scientists; they wouldn’t lie to me.

    I was wrong.

    • Bartleby,

      thank you for your comment and I agree with you. My post was not intended as a debate with the likes of Lewandowsky. But it is important to call these people out.

  32. IN a book I read years ago, there is a story of a village of illiterate peasants. The village possesses some books, but only one man can read them.

    A youth of the village moves away and goes to live in a town, where he learns how to read. One day he comes back to his village, where the village ‘reader’ is holding a weekly recital. He notices that the village ‘reader’ is holding the book upside down.

    “You can’t read at all” he declares. “You have the book upside down”.

    “What does it matter which way up a book is, to a man who can read?” declares the village reader, and the whole village relaxes. How could they ever have doubted him?!

  33. ” (they) have a theory that CAGW sceptics ignore the ‘vast body of knowledge’ available to them in order to indulge conspiracy fantasies, what they call ‘conspiracist ideation’”

    and are they not right, in part?

    How many times have you read a comment on some skeptic site about ‘agenda 21’ and the UN, about how this is all some plot to reduce the population/have us all living in cities?

    That is pure conspiracy theory – and untrue – and it has no place in discussion of the science of climate change.

    And since I never, ever, see this condemned by those of a skeptic viewpoint, I must consider that they accept it as valid…

    • No, Griff. It is more a reflection of the fact that most skeptics tend to be conservative to libertarian, and most adherents of CAGW tend to be socialist to liberal (to use US distictions, as I know very well the Australian Liberal Party is the most “conservative” major party in that country).
      Most conservatives distrust the record of liberals, and entertaining malevolent conspiracy theories mostly serves to trash people they dislike, and vice versa.

      • Well, in fact you confirm then that the majority of skeptics are conservative/libertarians who entertain malevolent conpriacy theories.. which is what is being alleged … ?

    • how many times have you read ‘koch brothers’ ‘climate deniers’ in AGW conspiracy sites

      AGW is a conspiracy theory.

      AND a conspiracy.

    • Here you go Grifter, the official “agenda”:

      Knock yourself out with some good reading. There’s no ideation in it, it’s a documented directive a collaborative “schema” to act together, work together, combine, join, unite, ally, join forces, cooperate, plot, scheme, plan, lay plans, intrigue, collude, connive, collaborate, consort, machinate, manoeuvre, abet… and what was that synonym again – are yes – to conspire!

    • Griff, I personally agree that many sceptics have limited rationality behind them. They are emotionally involved, and inclined to clutch at anything that supports their case. I’ve been looking at the comments on the latest UAH satellite temps, which failed to fall this month, and some of the sceptic comments were, well, embarrassing!

      But I disagree that suggestions of a ‘liberal’ ‘left-wing’ conspiracy are necessarily wrong. You don’t need actual contact between the conspirators, or clandestine meetings in smoke-filled chat rooms, when so many participants are wedded to a basic, fundamental idea, for a conspiracy to roll forward (look at ISIS/ISIL, for example). Agenda 21 could be described as a ‘mission statement’ for many, many like minded activists worldwide, many in key positions of power, and CAGW has give them a mighty tool to use to further their aims.

    • Griff,

      Is wikipedia a part of the “vast right wing conspiracy” promoting an “untrue” conspiracy theory”?
      Is the existence of the United Nations also an “untrue conspiracy theory”.

      Are you really that naive or are is your real name Stephen Lewandowsky?

      “sustainable development” is what AGW is all about.

    • There are many thousands of people in prison right now for “conspiracy”. Gangs, mafias, criminal traffickers in drugs, guns, humans, etc. are involved in conspiracies . . Only silly or very naive people actually believe conspiracy isn’t going on all time, including among some involved in Government, media, banking/finance, academia/science, and the rest of it, as far as I’m concerned.

      Indeed, the very existence of widespread shaming/belittling of “conspiracy theorists” is testament to a long term conspiracy, to keep people from discussing/exploring potential conspiracies as a routine/mundane matter, for obvious reasons, it seems to me.

    • Griff insinuates “…about how this is all some plot to reduce the population/have us all living in cities?”

      Griff, all you have to do is read Agenda 21; it really is a plan to reduce population an move everyone into cities. It’s very upfront about it, nothing is hidden, that’s the agenda.

      I’m unfortunate enough to live in a county in the US (CA to be specific) that has adopted Agenda 21 as it’s building, planning and zoning template, so I know something about its content and effect. It’s everything the ‘conspiracy theorists’ who criticize it claim it is.

  34. Actually, the climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 concentration is between 0.2 and 0.3 degrees C.

  35. Peter,
    Hope you read this, what struck me was the utter hypocrisy present in the argument where Lewandowski in his criticism of the Oregon Petition makes much of the domain experts (in feedback, renewable energy, , mathematics and statistics, thermodynamics, computer modelling) being “Unqualified” because they are not climate scientists yet expects that his own missive should be qualified despite the fact that he is NOT A CLIMATE SCIENTIST and has NO DOMAIN EXPERT KNOWLEDGE.

    To me that is clearly a case of Lewandowski believing simultaneously that those who are not climate scientists are not relevant, but others who are not climate scientists (himself, cook) are relevant. He has wonderfully illustrated the dichotomy that he attributes as a mark of a conspiracy theorist.

    Of course though, tell me something I don’t know, Lew, Cook and co ARE conspiracy theorists. perhaps denying the non-existence of Anthony Watt’s big-oil cheques.

  36. We have here the very roots of computer modelling and Green climate seance-

    “A firm scientific opinion
    to reinforce the layman’s
    instinct comes from
    France, where nuclear
    scientist Charles Noel
    Martin has been specialis-
    ing in computing the pre-
    dictable effects of H-bomb
    experiments,” he continues.
    “Martin’s findings are
    that repeated nuclear ex-
    plosions will lead to a
    lessening of the sun’s
    power, a consequent lower-
    ing of temperatures, local-
    ised torrential rain, and a
    marked climatic disturb-
    ance throughout the world.
    “Have these effects al-
    ready appeared?
    “Martin inclines to
    “He believes the H-
    bombs which have already
    been exploded have left
    their mark.
    “He believes that if there
    should never be another
    H-bomb explosion, there
    will still be traces of the
    past explosions 5,000 years
    from now.

  37. That settles it then cos the computer models never lie. If we’re to stop runaway warming we need more nukes :)

  38. …………….They use as an example of this phenomenon the proposition, apparently held by some, that Princess Diana was both murdered and also that she faked her own death. They give no evidence as to how many deluded souls adhere to this fantasy…………..

    Lewandowsky has made this claim before in an article for the Australian online publication, The Conversation.

    Steve McIntyre investigated this claim which cites a paper by Wood et al. The claim was included in the abstract to Wood’s paper. However, in Wood’s data, the number of participants who simultaneously believed the above contradictory positions was zero.

    I think this is a very fine example for Lewandowsky to include in his recent paper. Unfortunately for him, it is a fine example of how his brain is mush. Anyone with an IQ bigger than his hat size would be skeptical of such a bizarre claim and would check it out. Instead, Lewandowsky recycles a conclusion supported by a data sample of size zero.

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