There were only ten positive responses.
There are many questions to be answered about this paper in “Psychological Science.“ Questions worth asking at all kinds of levels.
The authors, Lewandowsky, S., Oberauer, K., & Gignac, C. E., drew conclusions about skeptics by largely surveying alarmist sites. They got hardly any positive responses, some of which may have been faked (who can tell?). Then with a tiny ten positive responses out of 1147, the authors drew inferences about a group of people which must number between one hundred thousand to one million or more individuals. Worse, of the ten who thought the moon landing was faked, only three or four were skeptics. In the UPDATE below note that there appear to be three different forms of the survey, a point that surely needs some explanation.
The headline of the study “NASA faked the moon landing—therefore (climate) science is a hoax: An anatomy of the motivated rejection of science” is drawn from only those ten responses. Do I need to say it’s a sample size too small to draw any conclusions? I shouldn’t. But this point alone should have been enough for the paper in its current form to fail review, yet it didn’t.
Furthermore, the questions and the aim of the survey was so transparent (see below) that commenters on the sites where it was hosted openly discussed whether “deniers” (the obvious targets) would be fooled by them.
Graham from OnlineOpinion was so struck by the study he’s written a post titled: Fish rot from the head Part 1.
He uses this paper to ask questions about falling standards of Australian university academics. “If credentialled, well-funded and tenured tertiary institution staff are capable of dishing-up research which should fail an undergraduate, what chance have lower echelons.”
Professor Stephan Lewandowsky’s… latest project is a study entitled MOTIVATED REJECTION OF SCIENCE and sub-titled “NASA faked the moon landing|Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science”.
It could have been sub-titled “The man who polled his prejudices and mistook them for the facts”. Prof Lewandowsky’s paper is certainly motivated, but it is not scientific or competent.
Visit Online opinion to read his Part I analysis with graphs. It also includes links to the full screenshots of the survey — Graham was so astonished at the survey back in 2010, he kept the images. I’ve transcribed them below.
Graham and I both wonder why there were
40 42 questions in the original survey, but only 32 in the data tables of results. What happened to the demographics data and the other missing questions? It may mean nothing, but sometimes what is left out tells a story all of it’s own.
Questions 28 to 32 have also been removed. It was a mystery to me why they were in there in the first place as they ask how I feel about my life. That they play no part in the paper suggests that whatever theory was being investigated using them failed to pan out. If this is the case it is bad practice… not to report the failure.
Graham points out that there were two substantial findings in the paper: one on people who believe in free markets, and one for people who believe in conspiracies. There were between 80 – 244 respondents who felt strongly about a free market, and, depending on the conspiracy, there were between 3 and 289 who ticked “yes”. Graham adds up the numbers of people who agreed with the conspiracies mentioned in the press release: AIDS (9), Moon landing (10), Princess Diana (25), SARS (42) and Climate Change (134).
He will be publishing more on this, as will I.
UPDATE Are there two or three different forms of the survey?
Geoff Chambers tells me that Leopard on the Bishop Hill thread has noted that Steve McIntyre is asking Lewandowsky why there are two or even three different forms of the survey? Why indeed?
Paul follows them up:
The Deltoid, Tamino, Mandia and Hot-Topic blogs were sent the survey number surveyID=HKMKNF_991e2415 on about August 29th. That survey is on the archive, and starts with 6 questions about free markets.
Bickmore and Few Things had the survey number surveyID=HKMKNG_ee191483 also about Aug 29, but this one doesn’t seem to be on the archive.
Steve Mc was sent survey number surveyID=HKMKNI_9a13984 on Sept 6th. This survey is on the archive, and it starts with 5 completely different questions! About how happy you are with life.
(Junk Science was sent survey number http://www.kwiksurveys.com/online-survey.php?surveyID=HKMKNI_9a13984&UID=3313891469)
Junkscience hosted a link — so one skeptic did host it – though with a warning
JunkScience discovered a link posted to the survey, so contrary to the claim, it was hosted on one skeptical site. Having said that, I don’t know that there would have been many responses as Steve wrote at the time that it was *Not recommended or endorsed in any way by JunkScience.com, and “Basically it seems to be fishing for conspiracy theorists in an effort to associate them with CAGW skepticism. I suspect Hanich & HREC are likely to get a lot of complaints about this framing.”
He also listed the official complaints department: (please be polite!)
If you have any questions or comments about this research you may address them to the experimenter, Charles Hanich. The Human Research Ethics Committee at the University of Western Australia requires that all participants are informed that, if they have any complaint regarding the manner in which a research project is conducted, it may be given to the researcher or, alternatively to the Secretary, Human Research Ethics Committee, Registrar’s Office, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009
Hat tip to Barry Woods, Foxgoose, Lionell, Graham, Geoff Chambers and another reader from afar.
The Full Survey Questions:
These are transcribed from the screenshots, and may contain typos or errors. Apologies from me. For simplicity’s sake I’ve only written in the answer system when it changes (so for example, questions 1 – 6 all used the same format).
1. An economic system based on free markets unrestrained by government interference automatically works best to meet human needs.
1 S Agree 2 Agree 3 Disagree 4 S Disagree
2. I support the free-market system but not at the expense of environmental quality
3. The free-market system may be efficient for resource allocation, but it is limited in its capacity to promote social justice
4. The preservation of the free market system is more important than localized environmental concerns
5. Free and unregulated markets pose important threats to sustainable development
6. The free-market system is likely to promote unsustainable consumption
7. The Iraq War in 2003 was launched for reasons other than to remove WMD from Iraq
1 Absolutely True 2 Probably True 3 Probably False 4 Absolutely False
8. A powerful and secretive group known as the New World Order are panning to eventually rule the world through an autonomous world government, which would replace sovereign governments
9. SARS was produced under laboratory conditions as a biological weapon
10. The US government had foreknowledge about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but allowed the attack to take place to as to be able to enter the Second World War.
11. US Agencies intentionally created the AIDS epidemic and administered it to Black and gay men in the 1970′s
12. The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr was the results of an organized conspiracy by US government agencies such as the CIA and FBI
13. The Apollo Moon landings never happened and were stages in a Hollywood film studio
14. Area 51 in Nevada US is a secretive military base that contains hidden alien spacecraft and or alien bodies
15. The assassination of John F Kennedy was not committed by the lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, but was rather a detailed, organized conspiracy to kill the President
16. The US government allowed the 9/11 attacks to take place so that it would have an excuse to achieve foreign (eh wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) and domestic (eg attacks on civil liberties) goals that had been determined prior to the attacks
17. In July 1947, the US military recovered the wreckage of an alien craft from Roswell, New Mexico and covered up the fact
18. Princess Diana’s death was not an accident but rather an organised assassination by members of the British royal family who disliked her
19. The Oklahoma City Bombers, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nicols did not act alone but rather received assistance from Neo Nazi groups
20. The claim that the climate is changing due to emissions from fossil fuels is a hoax perpetrated by corrupt scientists who wish to spend more taxpayer money on climate “research”.
21. The Coca Cola company intentionally changed to an inferior formular with the intent of driving up demand for their classic product, later reintroducing it for their financial gain.
22. I believe that burning fossil fuels increases atmospheric temperature to some measurable degree
1 Strongly Agree 2 Agree 3 Disagree 4 Strongly Disagree
23. I believe that the burning of fossil fuels on the scale observed over the last 50 years has increased atmospheric temperature to an appreciable degree
24. I believe that the burning of fossil fuels on the scale observed over the last 50 years will cause serious negative changes to the planet’s climate, unless there is a substantial switch to non-CO2 emitting energy sources
25. I believe that the burning of fossil fuels on the scale observed over the last 50 years has caused serious negative changes to the planet’s climate
26. The problem of CFC;s is no longer a serious threat to the ozone layer
27. The problem of acid rain is no longer a serious threat to the global ecosystem
28. In many ways my life is close to my ideal
29. The conditions of my life are excellent
30. I am satisfied with my life
31. So far I have gotten the important things I want in life
32. If I could live my life over I would change almost nothing
33. The HIV virus causes AIDS
1 Absolutely True 2 Probably True 3 Probably False 4 Absolutely False
34. Smoking causes lung cancer
35. Human CO2 emissions cause climate change
36. Out of 100 medical students how many do you think believe that the HIV Virus causes AIDS
37. Out of 100 medical students how many do you think believe that smoking causes lung cancer?
38. Out of 100 climate scientists how many do you think believe that human CO2 emissions cause climate change?
39. Out of 100 people in your neighborhood, how many do you think earn more than you do?
40. Out of 100 people in your country overall, how many do you think earn more than you do?
41. What is your age?
42. What is your gender (M/F)
UPDATE: Bolded numbers indicate questions for which data was not made available.
(If you could call it that)
Lewandowsky, S., Oberauer, K., & Gignac, C. E. (in press). NASA faked the moon landing—therefore (climate) science is a hoax: An anatomy of the motivated rejection of science.. Psychological Science.
PART I Lewandowsky – Shows “skeptics” are nutters by asking alarmists to fill out survey
PART II 10 conspiracy theorists makes a moon landing paper for Stephan Lewandowsky (Part II) PLUS all 40 questions
PART III here Lewandowsky hopes we meant “Conspiracy” but we mean “Incompetence”
PART IV Steve McIntyre finds Lewandowsky’s paper is a “landmark of junk science”
PART V Lewandowsky does “science” by taunts and attempted parody instead of answering questions