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Lewandowsky bitten by a hoax

Posted By Joanne Nova On March 28, 2011 @ 4:45 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky may not understand much about the climate, but he is a professor of psychology — so satire, humor, and hoaxes ought to be right up his alley, right?  He’s realized he fell for the brilliant Alene Composta (a master satirist) replying to her and even sending her fake request for advice to fellow blogger John Cook (who fell for it too).

Alene ticked all the headline stereotypical victim-leftie boxes, her interests included “christine milne”, “organic gardening” and “batik hangings” and lets face it, “Composta” is a red flag, rather. So she wrote to Lewandowsky begging for advice in dealing with monster commenters from Bolt and Blair, and notably pointed to him surviving my scorn and ridicule:

I recently began blogging, especially about climate change, and after a month my site was noticed. Noticed by the wrong people, sadly. Readers of Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt have swamped my site with genuinely abusive comments, many relating to my disability, which I find very hurtful.

So my question to you is this: How do you deal with monsters like this?

I have read and savoured every column you have published at Unleashed, and I have read the hateful comments that, even with an ABC moderator to vet them, still make it up on the site. The worst charge is that they simply do not take me seriously, which diminishes me in my humanity. I must confess that, after the latest round of abuse, I hugged my little cat and cried for an hour.

You have not only shrugged off that abuse, you have also survived the scorn and ridicule of your fellow West Australian Joanne Nova (I found that while googling your email address). It is a species of bravery I do not know if I can tap.
I’m a fragile woman and I thought my blog, Verdant Hopes, might be a force for good in the world. Instead it has made me a victim once again.

He replied, soaking it all up. In a bold twist reminiscent of Soviet psychologists, he called the skeptics “bullies” and the attacks “orchestrated”:

Bear in mind that a proportion of those comments is orchestrated and for all we know there are only a handful of people with multiple electronic “personas” each, who are paid to create disproportionate noise.

He believes that the attacks are “paid for” and denies that thousands of real people disagree with him. Which means he’s shielding himself from the awful truth, that he might be a deluded puppet of big-carbon-finance and an apologist for big-government, which aims to trick the public out of it’s money by distorting science. Who, with any conscience or pride, could live with that?

Let’s be straight, I don’t doubt for a moment that he is acting out of genuine belief. If someone with money was going to pick a front man for the carbon campaign, they’d pick someone with more PR nous and human savvy than Stephan Lewandowsky.

Having been embarrassed, instead of just quietly vanishing, he thinks it helps his activist cause to parade his gullibility on Ad Hominem Unleashed (the ABC Drum), to show how it’s really just more evidence that humans really are changing the weather. If you can figure out the logical chain in that, do tell us.

Here’s his analysis (sic) where he struggles for the word “satire”:

This raises some interesting questions: Why would anyone go to the trouble of creating an artificial persona, only to engage in correspondence under the pretence of being a real person?

And why, once having obtained a reply, would they post it on “Alene’s” blog, as happened with the above exchange?

There are presently no definitive answers to these questions…

He has so much trouble with logic and reason (and human behavior!) that he thinks those mocking him for his gullibility are using that to “prove man made global warming is fake” when instead they are just enjoying the comeuppance of a pompous fool who lauded himself over them, called them names, and then was tricked by pandering false flattery.

There is also something unfunny about this issue, which has now been taken up by a tabloid blog. There is much hilarity among commenters there about how anyone could be gullible enough to believe that a seemingly troubled and challenged person was actually, well, a troubled and challenged person. By some leap of logic this “gullibility”, in turn, somehow disproves the science underlying global warming.

But wait, despite his confusion,” there is much that we can learn” (he says). He thinks there is a propaganda war against him when he’s the one on the team with billions of dollars, government ministries, a UN agency, major financial houses, and university “authority” (though he appears to be working to destroy whatever is left of that last one).  Albeit unwittingly, it is he who is part of the propaganda team with the big bucks.

First, the use of sock puppets has demonstrably become a tool in Australia in what has often been described as a propaganda war on science and scientists. Second, there are surely ethical issues that arise when someone impersonates a distressed and disabled person for their own purposes, be it juvenile amusement or a failed attempt to cause embarrassment.

And here’s the logical clincher… the use of sock puppets supports the argument that climate sensitivity to CO2 is high: ( h/t Mattb) Here’s the grand irony, the man who stoops to ad hominem attacks (“they’re paid hacks”) and denies 850 peer reviewed papers (“skeptics don’t have evidence”) and 28 million weather balloons (“the science is unassailable”) thinks sceptics are the ones seeking refuge from reality.

Finally, it amplifies yet again what is obvious to most of us: the fact that the climate is changing and that human CO2 emissions are causing it is now unassailable by conventional scientific means, forcing some of those who cannot accept this discomforting fact to seek refuge in the ethical twilight of internet warfare.

Stephan thinks it’s a “fact” that CO2 is to blame, but the only fact he provides is, as usual, the opinions of a committee.

We know the US government uses sock-puppets, one fan of the Big Scare admitted to using spam bots to generate fake comments, and though I can’t prove anything, there have been plenty of anonymous commenters here who returned with different names to write hate-filled messages with unsubstantiated insults. There was also even one commenter who wrote 440 comments on this blog under his real name, in business hours, from a government office.

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I presume Prof Lewandowsky did not mean to forget the original link to the Alene gotcha page he is referring to: http://verdanthopes.blogspot.com/2011/03/tomorrow-belongs-to-us.html

And since he knows the “deniers” are misinformed, “anti-science”, and confused, it seems odd that he also deleted the link in the quote from Alene’s original article (the one his whole article is about) that shows just how nasty those vile people can be. (It’s tricky to cut and paste directly isn’t it?)

The source of the scorn and ridicule that he bravely withstood:

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John Cook of un SkepticalScience quotes Ghandi, and feels like a victim too:

… deniers attack everyone indiscriminately from the lowly blogger to the most imminent climate scientists in the world. In fact, the level of attack that the climate scientists receive are the greatest – death threats, dead rats left on their door, legal harassment from conservative lawyers and ad hominem attack after ad hominem attack.

Has anyone ever seen a verified threat from a real skeptic? (And was it anything more than an angry commenter mouthing off, which no publicly known skeptic encourages.)

Remember, it was the bully believers  of the AGW faith (mostly with salaries too) who threatened skeptics, “we know where you live”, they’re the ones who have paid up attack sites to smear respected scientists, and made a  movie blowing up our children. The real bullies cry victim, but are happy to let their own attack dogs run.

My brief comment was sent in at 12.26 WST to the ABC site…  The moderators must be overwhelmed coping with all the comments, I’m sure they’ll put one up soon.  ;-)

UPDATE: The ABC are running scared from real debate again. My polite comment with links to the original Composta article, and links to my analysis of Lewandowsky is another ABC_Reject. (My comment was essentially the words between – - and – - above.)

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