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Peer review denial and the abuse of science

Posted By Joanne Nova On June 22, 2011 @ 3:01 am In AGW socio-political,Global Warming | Comments Disabled

“Climate denial and the abuse of peer review

Can someone get Stephan Lewandowsky his medication? His new marketing message is that “deniers” don’t do peer review papers. There’s a curious case of acute-peer-review-blindness (APRB) occurring. It doesn’t matter that there are literally thousands of pages of skeptical information on the web, quoting hundreds of peer reviewed papers, by people far more qualified than a cognitive-psychologist, yet he won’t even admit they exist.

…most climate deniers avoid scrutiny by sidestepping the peer-review process that is fundamental to science, instead posting their material in the internet or writing books.

Dear Stephan, deny this: 900 papers that support skeptics. What is it about these hundreds of papers published in Nature, Science, GRL, PNAS, and Journal of Climate that you find impossible to acknowledge? (And  do tell Stephan, if people need to publish peer reviewed material before they venture an opinion on climate science online, how many peer reviewed articles on climate science have you produced?)

Obviously, the real deniers are the people who deny the hundreds of papers with empirical evidence that show the hockey stick is wrong, the world was warmer, the climate changes, and the models are flawed.

Twenty eight million weather balloons show there is no hotspot. So in response, stumped for evidence, the establishment team rolls out a psychologist to deny the results, and issue unscientific pronouncements about how we all have to “trust the establishment” and use only its’ approved formats to further human knowledge.

Instead of sidestepping the process, articles by people who want to sidestep the issue give themselves away in the first line. We can always rely on Lewandowsky to solve our climate dilemmas by analyzing… something else.

“On 20 April 2010, a BP oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and creating the largest oil spill in history.”

Then if he does get to the topic at hand, you can count on him to stick to fallacies, like argument from authority and ad hominem attacks. No doubt, UWA will be renouncing Lewandowsky’s science degree (I mean, surely the faculty of science at UWA have higher standards than that don’t they?). Breaking laws of reason is an embarrassment for any science faculty, and to any psychology school.

Then when he gets past the fallacies and actually tries to make a socio political point, he reverts to a kindergarten black and white world view –  me: good, you: bad. Humans in business = evil and untrustworthy. Humans in government = above question.

During peer review, by contrast, commercial interests are removed from the publication decision because journals are often published by not-for-profit professional organisations.

Obviously, commercial interests who advertise in journals, or own their stocks, their distribution, their publishing house, or offer jobs-for-the-boys never have any influence on angelic science publications**. And government interests are of course, obviously benign. No government has ever used it’s power to deceive its subjects. Right?

Even if private publishers are involved, they make their profit primarily via university subscriptions, and universities subscribe to journals based on their reputation, rather than based on individual publication decisions.

And universities make their money… follow that dollar… by appealing to government bureaus, ergo?* So government-paid-researchers vet other government-paid-researchers-papers which are published in journals which want to get more subscriptions from government paid entities. What could go wrong with that?

Very occasionally a contrarian paper does appear in a peer-reviewed journal, which segments of the internet and the media immediately hail as evidence against global warming or its human causes, as if a single paper somehow nullifies thousands of previous scientific findings.

Dear Stephan, that’s the point of science remember, as Einstein says, it only takes one experiment to prove a theory wrong, and your anti-science mind-set means if a skeptic proved man-made warming wrong (actually we already have) you would “know” the skeptic was wrong before you even read the paper.

In Stephens obey-thy-leader form of “science”, the answers to the universe can be figured out by counting the peer reviewed papers. It’s not about quality. It’s not about a chain of evidence. It’s not that some papers matter. It’s just the tally.

And if we only had a bureau of perpetual motion issuing papers, then we could finally solve the energy crisis. (In fact, why bother to do the research, just ask the government?)

Most of the Lewandowsky-carbon-tax-marketing-tactic is simply to confound his followers with a bread crumb trail of smears, which reinforces the neural pathways of pavlovian fans-of-the-carbon-cult so they too can issue reflexive insults against scientists, and warm themselves with smug superiority. And this man does it with your taxes.

John McLean corrected Lewandowsky’s points on the ABC site. Stephen apparently denys that too.

Other posts: We’ve had hours of entertainment with Lewandowsky (Stephan) before.

I think this post is particularly appropriate in light of a discussion about “experts”: The hypocrisy of the annointed.


* The UWA page called “Research” lays it out. Research is about doing things that gets you funding from the big-government. “These strategic outcome areas are important because: Alignment with national research and national innovation priorities and State goals and priority areas allows UWA to seek funding.”

** So much for non commercial science assocations: Nature is edited and published in the United Kingdom by Nature Publishing Group, a subsidiary of Macmillan Publishers which in turn is owned by the Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group.

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