Mann and Lewandowsky's polar bear paper enters bizzaroland: Climate change leads to more…neurosurgery for polar bears?

The two most bizarre people in the climate debate have now had the most bizarre thing happen to them and their garbage science paper that basically become a peer reviewd smear of Dr. Susan Crockford.. Retraction watch notes:

Caught Our Notice: Climate change leads to more…neurosurgery for polar bears?

Denial by Proxy

What Caught Our Attention: There’s a lot going on here, so bear with us. (Ba-dum-bum.)

First, there was the paper itself, co-authored by, among others, Michael Mann and Stephan Lewandowsky. Both names may be familiar to Retraction Watch readers. Mann is a prominent climate scientist who has sued the National Review for defamation. A study by Lewandowsky and colleagues of “the role of conspiracist ideation in climate denial” was the subject of several Retraction Watch posts when it was retracted and then republished in a different form. And the conclusion of the new paper, in Bioscience, seemed likely to draw the ire of many who objected to the earlier work:

By denying the impacts of [anthropogenic global warming] AGW on polar bears, bloggers aim to cast doubt on other established ecological consequences of AGW, aggravating the consensus gap.

Indeed, there was the predictable reaction to the paper. Judith Curry referred to it as “absolutely the stupidest paper I have ever seen published.” And Susan Crockford, one of the bloggers referred to repeatedly in the paper, and now in the correction, raised questions. (In several blog posts, natch.) Crockford reported last week that the journal would be issuing a correction. Which it now has.

But what really caught our attention was that the correction appears not in Bioscience, but in another journal from the same publisher (Oxford University Press), Neurosurgery. If you’ve ever tried to perform neurosurgery on a polar bear — and hey, we’d like to hear from you! — then perhaps you can understand the mixup. We, however, are chalking it up to a typo in the DOI for now.

more here

Meanwhile, Dr. Susan Crockford has this to say:

An embarrassment to science: BioScience editor formally rejects retraction request

After four long months of waiting, late last week I finally received an official  response from the editor of BioScience regarding my retraction request for the Harvey et al. paper (Internet Blogs, Polar Bears, and Climate-Change Denial by Proxy), which I sent 5 December 2017.

Crockford 2017_Slide 12 screencap

From the sounds of it, the wait took so long because the paper went through a tedious process of parsing words just so among the 14 co-authors (akin to that used by the IPCC in constructing the Summary for Policy Makers), to convey the authors meaning and retain as much of the original insult as possible. In reality, we know the decision was made barely two weeks after I sent the request (16 December 2017) because that day, BioScience editor Scott Collins told a reporter he had no intention of retracting the paper.

In the end, the authors were compelled to make two small word changes. The editor insists that:

“…prior to publication, the article was peer reviewed by highly reputable scholars with expertise on the topic as per our standard procedures.”

So he says.

Michael Mann and Stephan Lewandowsky should just give up. Their credibility on this issue is hosed.

88 thoughts on “Mann and Lewandowsky's polar bear paper enters bizzaroland: Climate change leads to more…neurosurgery for polar bears?

  1. “expertise on the topic”
    …of polar bear brain science?
    That’s gotta be a pretty small sub-set of “climate science”…

    • Neurosurgery that went horribly, horribly wrong would pretty much explain Mann and Lewandowsky’s work, particularly the ‘Nature Trick’, and ‘Hiding the Decline’ kinda stuff not to mention the ‘Hockey Stick’ itself. ‘97% Concensus’ starts to be explained as well as the strangely overacted facial expressions in Lewandowsky’s video clips.
      It is also interesting that these effects are not noticed by their ‘peers’. Is neurosurgery perfromed by a climate science believer a prerequisite to publication? You know it makes sense folks, you know it makes sense. 🙂

      • Actually, their shoddy work can basically be blamed on laziness and political activism.
        That they think they can get away with it, however, does describe some sort of brain issue.

      • “That they think they can get away with it, however, does describe some sort of brain issue.”
        How so? They’ve obviously been getting away with it for many years so far.

    • Perhaps Neurosurgery published it because they thought the authors were frontal lobotomy patients?

  2. … long as you have to pay to publish…might as well use Cosmopolitan or Teen Vogue….might save them

  3. If you’ve ever tried to perform neurosurgery on a polar bear — and hey, we’d like to hear from you!

    There’s my paper: “A Ballistic Method for the Removal of Brain Tissue from Ursus Maritimus”.

  4. Is Lewandowsky in need of neurosurgery, which accounts for the place of publishing the retraction?

  5. They should be nominated for the Cat Ass Trophy. The Trophy goes to the most insane, ridiculous, and scientifically untenable claims that are attributed to AGW. These geniuses are out in front, but competition will be strong this year.

  6. Doesn’t say much for the article, but it sure doesn’t say much for the publication, either. Not much value in either place if you are willing to publish such “off topic” material as this article would be to the world of neurosurgery, unless you headlined it as ‘April Fools Day Article” or “joke of the month article.” Then you could forgive the publication for accepting it.

    • Tom,
      My point exactly:
      “When the “highly reputable scholars” that supposedly reviewed the paper couldn’t catch a few major spelling mistakes and the editor couldn’t be bothered to correct them when these were brought to his attention (see version downloaded 3 April 2018 here, check “Refereces cited”), it shouldn’t come as a surprise that BioScience couldn’t get the corrigendum right.
      Too busy trying to make names for themselves as climate action heroes to do their actual jobs, from the looks of it.”
      Spelling errors in the paper still not corrected when I downloaded it this morning.
      Susan Crockford

  7. We, however, are chalking it up to a typo in the DOI for now.
    OK, I understand not jumping the gun, but a suspicious fellow might think it was done purposely to escape attention…

  8. I see Lewandowski’s contribution in the title “….CC Denial by Proxy”. How precious and commanding. I remember psychology students in my day having this tendency to try to be overly jargonistic to seem erudite and sciency. It’s gotten worse since it stopped being a mental health service to individuals and became a rubber stamp for the marxy Alt Left agenda. The addition of ‘Social Psychology’ to support the long lefty politically corrupted sociolology where the plight of the poor, criminals, and a host of new post normal ‘stakeholders’ was the fault of capitalism and albescent male folk.

    • al·bes·cent
      adjective: albescent
      growing or shading into white.
      “the albescent waves on the horizon”

      Thanks for that…

  9. Taking the Mick, just a bit.
    However, the more these ridiculous fiascos are conducted, the more scientists begin to question their own institutions and hitherto reliable publications.
    Perhaps we are heading for an unexpected tipping point, one out the book of unintended consequences.

  10. I suppose I should have also asked what in the world is Mann contributing to a study of Polar bears. Probably his expertise in smearing female scientists.

  11. The editor insists that:
    “…prior to publication, the article was peer reviewed by highly reputable scholars with expertise on the topic as per our standard procedures.”

    Yet changes were made.
    So is the editor questioning whether these highly reputable scientists really had expertise on the topic? It can’t be. They are highly respected.
    So is he admitting that the journal’s standard procedures are inadequate?
    There need to be a follow up on the corrective actions taken by this journal in its crisis of confidence.

  12. It is wrong to assign equal culpability to Mann and Lewandowsky.
    Mann is clearly an opportunistic fraud; while Lew is a twisted, but useful idiot. Both are an embarrassment to Science, but at least dull-witted Lew believes he is saving the planet.

  13. This amounts to flying off the cliff at 90 mph with ones profession. They must have been influenced by news of a recent family plunge that is still under investigation.

  14. OK, I’m confused. Has the paper been retracted or not. I saw the corrected text and I’m still confused.

    • It’s not been retracted.
      They have been forced to change their wording to make it (slightly) less blatantly untrue.
      Even the new wording is unscientific – attacking the person not the facts or the interpretations.
      But as they haven’t got any facts on their side what options do they have? Forcing them to tell fewer lies is a win.
      The new text is in response to complaints from Dr Crockford; this is what they think they can get away with.

      First change: Notably, as of this writing, Crockford has neither conducted any original research nor published any articles in the peer-reviewed literature on the effects of sea ice on the population dynamics of polar bears.
      Second change: Some of the most prominent AGW deniers, including Crockford, are linked with or receive support from organizations that downplay AGW (e.g. Dr Crockford has previously been paid for report writing by the Heartland Institute).
      The authors apologize for any confusion.

      Yet they are clearly still confused.
      A) The original paper itself is a journal response to Dr Crockford’s work on the effects of sea ice on the population dynamics of polar bears. They are doing the peer review themselves. And the only counter-argument they can make is that they are the first (among their literature search).
      B) Being paid for work does not mean you are being paid for selected answers. It means you can earn a living. Nor do they claim that this work was paid for by the Heartland Institute. They admit that previous work was funded; previous work is not this work and so not relevant.
      It’s a slow retreat. A humiliation. A retraction would be amore merciful; a quick kill.

  15. Co-Authored by Mann and Lew. Says it all. Never mind the quality feel the width. It’s all about getting their names linked to a paper count. Improves their hit-rate on Google scholar.
    Pretty soon, their paper count will exceed my Puppies on a roll Andrex – at 200 sheets per roll (and that’s sheets!!). Still, not a useful.

  16. The real Sin is anonymous ‘peers’/experts of the Journal who’s credentials are secret and their inputs, comments and critiques (if any) are not-transparent. They don’t even need to take responsibility for either their inputs or lack for ‘review oversight’. One of the achilles heels of the contemporary ‘peer review process’,.. not to mention ‘stacking the review board’ and activism bias by the editors. Unfortunately, it usually takes decades for Journal incompetence, malfeasance or bias to be addressed or even acknowledged. In Science, this is the dirty little secret — “scientists” and science- reviewers don’t want to be held accountable for their gate-keeper actions or lack there of. Next gen peer view should be completely open, transparent and visible by the scientific community and interested public at large – else it becomes the focus for targeted political infiltration, manipulation and group think.

    • And when a serious flaw of a study is found, it’s usually the fault of that “invited researcher” who went back to his university…
      How the world can still take academia seriously is difficult to understand.

      • I’m not at all sure that the world does take academia seriously any more. Or even that a large proportion of it ever did.
        Scientific research used to be applauded but increasingly even that is attracting cynicism as more money is ploughed into discovering marginal improvements in medicine while the pharmaceutical industry tries to enhance its bottom line by medicalising half the population with drugs of dubious efficacy, climate scientists demand ever more funding to investigate a science that is (reputedly) settled, and physicists appear to spend an inordinate amount of time and public money searching for ever smaller particles of matter which they are “damn sure must exist” even though there is little evidence that they actually do.
        And the Left has politicised (and in the UK at least infantilised) university education to the point where a degree is more likely to be seen in “the world” as a liability rather than an asset.

  17. Seems racist or at least resulting from white bear privilege. Where is the concern for bears of color, like black or brown bears?

  18. It is really unusual that a journal devoted to neurosurgery should involve itself in such a poorly argued retraction on another subject.
    Could automatic layout have popped it in to the wrong journal?
    Next we will have an article on AI meets Neurosurgery, Polar Bears, the new paradigm.

  19. Seems racist or at least smacks of white bear privilege. Where is the concern for bears of color, like black or brown bears?

  20. Obviously, there is working gray matter, as Dr. Crockford uses.
    Then there is the cottony non-functioning gray matter; as Manniacal and Lewsandsowsky and the editor of not bioscience display so well.
    Neurosurgery on working gray matter risks great damage.
    Neurosurgery on non-functioning gray matter is unnoticeable to that gray matter’s owner/user.
    Manniacal’s neurosurgery version is a sad echo of science.
    History will not be kind to these destroyers of science. Just as piltdown man lives on in infamy, so too will manniacal and lewsandowsky’s abuse of science along with the PBI pretenders.
    Reviled forever!
    Has a nice ring to it.

  21. AW, a terrific catch. Been following this because another of warmunist icon blows. The images suggest not a typo, but rather a deliberate attempt to hide the corrigendum in a completely (except by ultimate source) unrelated journal. A typical Mann type tactic.

    • Yeah next Nick and all the blogger activist team will be giving us all the statistics ignoring the fact the entire premise is stupid.

  22. Just when you thought that “hiding the decline” of the “stupidest paper ever published” was as low as it could possibly get, come on admit it fellow readers, they will indeed find a way to reach a new low.
    Possibly too late for those two, but could we please cram more research dollars into gene editing?

  23. “… the journal would be issuing a correction. Which it now has.” – the link comes back with page not found. Any correction?

  24. I wonder where Michael Mann could have gone wrong. Do you suppose he counted rings on the wrong tree? Or perhaps he forgot to carry the 1 in running his omnipotent algorithm. The one that turns garbage science into a career.
    The editor should be replaced or subscribers and supporters should walk.

  25. Hi Guys. I read a long story by someone who was professionally involved with the bears living up near Hudson Bay somewhere ages ago but the facts and figures are lost in my overly full brain…sooo, does anyone have actual bear numbers? He was saying that numbers are way up, and that there were moves afoot to change the way bears were being counted…for obvious reasons.
    My poor memory is that numbers have been counted from about 1955 and then there were 5,000 bears and that number increased at each count by a pretty uniform number and that there is around 30,000 bears now…probably more. His feeling was about 35,000, 30,000 being a conservative number and the continued growth means a higher figure now anyway.
    I trust this site and find anything questionable would be heavily “peer reviewed” in comments should a mistake be made…and also know that a mistake would be unintentional anyway, unlike the lying stinking filthy mind-trapped vermin of the uber left.

    • maybe it was a misprint of “neoscience”, in which case Mann certainly wins a prize.
      Well, maybe a consolation prize…

    • There is no actual Nobel prize for the field of Neuroscience the field competes under the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. It has been won 17 times by people in the field of neuroscience but I am sure when the next win comes for the field Mike will somehow link himself and have his little plaque in the window.

    • To have a prize just for being a know-it-all hypocritical big mouth, go to Hollywood… or the “festival de Cannes”.

  26. “bloggers aim to cast doubt on other established … aggravating the consensus gap
    All these guys have the brain of a soviet “scientist” trapped in the body of the Westerner and the language of a modern SJW (which makes Marxism look reasonable in comparison).
    This is trans-sovietism.

  27. My favorite position relative to neurosurgery (and appropriate for this bunch of “authors”):
    “I’d rather have a full bottle in front of me, than a free frontal lobotomy”.
    Once you get it this ditty in your head, it’s hard to disremember it…

  28. “The authors apologize for any confusion”
    That is a wonderful example of a non-apologetic apology. I’d hazard a guess that more thought went into that short sentence than the rest of the ‘paper’.

    • I wonder who Mikie will have to coax, bribe, threaten or blackmail to get them to nominate him for a Nobel prize? Maybe Mikie can get Lew a Nobel prize, too.
      It worked for him before. I believe Mikie tried to join a sciency group by trading favors with Phil Jones at the University of East Anglia? What, you don’t remember Phil Jones? He’s the one who oversaw the destruction of the world’s historical climate data. as described in the “harry read me file” of the Climategate Papers. It’s an arduous but very enlightening read.

    • To get philosophical, I have to note that, sure, consensus is generally a great indicator of what is most likely true, but we have to acknowledge that it is not infallible. There are too many cases where the “consensus” has been wrong. In history, in the recent past, and carrying on right now.
      “We” concerned with epistemology of science have to give up on this idea that some field gets studied to death, saturation point of knowledge is reached, and a complex hypothesis eventually becomes a “fact.”
      Let it just be “a well-supported theory,” and if there are critics or competing schools of thought, then we have “a well-supported theory with some criticisms.”
      The U. S. Supreme Court issues decisions, and often these include dissenting opinions. “Science” should model this, rather than have a turf fight over what complex idea, with a varied array of supporting observations, is now a “fact,” and which is not.

    • The Cooker:

      Have just published The Consensus Handbook with @Sander_vdLinden @MaibachEd and @STWorg. Summarizes research into how opponents of climate action have cast doubt on consensus, why that matters, and how we (including journalists) can respond
      Sooo….this “research” isn’t about the actual science related to our variable weather and our naturally changing climate, but rather it is about how convincing people what they see out their window isn’t real?
      No wonder he said “(including journalists)”!
      It would would been better for Mankind if he and Lew had gone into advertising. Their careers may have been short but the rest of us would have been better off.

  29. It is worth noting that the lead author is one Jeff Harvey, who with Stuart Pimm did the hatchet job on Lomborg’s book, wherein the likening of sceptics to holocaust deniers was first made.

  30. Just a minute… I’m going to look that up in my new “Handbook of Consensus and Physics.”

  31. Hmmm…”The Lew” is now a polar bear expert?
    Hmmm…Mann is also now a polar bear expert?
    Maybe a polar bear took a dump up against Yamal 06 and used “Lew Paper” instead of Charmin?
    (Maybe Mann will sue Mr. Whipple?8-)

  32. This is not a paper about polar bears. It’s not about tree rings. It’s not about Mann or Crockford or anyone else.
    This is a paper about the differences in the way science in portrayed by “denier”/skeptic and “science-based” (poor descriptor) blogs, and the power they have to sway the public .mind. Why doesn’t anyone address that question? Why are the comments either about polar bears or about how stupid the paper it is? I think it makes some good points, ones that I have observed myself. I know skeptics generally despise Mann, but can you get beyond that to evaluate what the paper is really saying? The polar bears are an example of the way skeptics are more inclined to believe the ideas of someone who has never published a paper about them than those who have been actively researching and publishing for years. Why? Do you think Crockford is less biased? Why? Do you think it not significant how many outspoken, well-known “skeptics” are associated with conservative think tanks and fossil fuel funding?
    I haven’t read every single comment, but I read dozens, and none of them addressed the topic. That itself is significant.
    [???? .mod]

    • “more inclined to believe the ideas of someone who has never published a paper about them than those who have been actively researching and publishing for years”
      Yes, probably. Publishing a lot might be seen as a proxy for how biased, incompetent, dishonest, or whore someone is, at least in some fields.
      “Do you think it not significant how many outspoken, well-known “skeptics” are associated with conservative think tanks and fossil fuel funding?”
      Who is?

  33. “Yes, probably. Publishing a lot might be seen as a proxy for how biased, incompetent, dishonest, or whore someone is, at least in some fields.”
    I see. Well, that says a lot more about your bias than others’ since you cannot possibly show a connection between the publishing a lot and all that. There is none. Besides, there are contrarian scientists who have published a lot, too. “…at least in some fields” – isn’t that convenient! Whatever you don’t want to believe can be deemed one of those fields. THAT is what the paper is about. It’s an attitude, a choice of what science is corrupt and dishonest, and what science you trust, and it’s based on politics and economics rather than the quality of the science.
    Unfortunately I’m not at home and don’t have access to my bookmarks, and don’t have time to track down the links I want right now. The links below are OK, but not really what I was referring to. has a lot of info about FF propaganda, including direct mention of Patrick Michaels and a couple others, including two well-known skeptics a lobbyist from Exxon wanted the Bush WH to place in high-ranking positions in the IPCC.
    Naturally the sites that are going to bring this stuff up are those that “skeptics” don’t generally trust. That’s the catch-22: the distrust of evidence ensures that errors live on; there is no way to argue a point. Debate is futile.
    Willie Soon got over $400,000 in research funding from FF. (Well-known, should be easy to find evidence.)
    LIst of think tanks and connections to FF funding
    “The study, published in this month’s issue of Environmental Politics, analyzed books written between 1972 and 2005 that deny the authenticity of environmental problems. The researchers found that more than 92 percent of the skeptical authors were in some way affiliated to conservative think tanks – non-profit research and advocacy organizations that promote core conservative ideals”
    Heartland Institute targets schools

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