Some skeptics wonder why I bother pursing and documenting the problems with Lewandowsky et al 2012 and with the blog ShapingTomorrowsWorld. They figure that all skeptics now know the papers dismal failings, and it’s clear that Lewandowsky is unlikely to be grateful for the help.
But Lewandowsky exposes people higher up to awkward questions. Why do they fund work so unscientific? Why do they allow such hypocrisy and bias on a government funded publication? Are standards at the University of Western Australia (UWA) so low that they can’t find a Professor who understands the scientific method, and can reason without name-calling? Aren’t other statisticians at UWA concerned at what Lewandowsky is doing to the reputation of “UWA Statistics”? Finally, aren’t the scientists who missed out on ARC funding angry that our taxpayer funds are given instead to someone who apparently uses the funds to promote his personal political views, instead of in the pursuit of knowledge? (See: Lewandowsky gets $1.7m of taxpayer funds to denigrate people who disagree with him)
The abject incompetence is a gift to us. Rarely is a study so outrageously bad that people with no scientific background [...]
The Lewandowsky view is Drilling into noise. The McIntyre response: Lewandowsky’s Fake Correlation
My favourite Lewandowsky line is: “We cannot get into the details here…”
McIntyre can and does in gory depth. He posts the equations, the code, the tables, everything. He graphs the residuals, and shows the “severe non-normality” of them. He tests the correlation and finds that the two most obvious fake responses heavily affect the results:
“Lewandowsky is absolutely off-base in his assertion that the examination of outliers is inappropriate statistical analysis. In fact, exactly the opposite is the case: proper statistical analysis REQUIRES the examination of outliers.”
“One can readily see that the two super-scammers (889, 963) contribute essentially 100% (over 100%) actually of the negative correlation between CauseHIV and CYMoon in this calculation.”
Lewandowsky says: “no one who has toyed with our data has thus far exhibited any knowledge of the crucial notion of a latent construct or latent variable.”
McIntyre replies: “Principal components, a frequent topic at this blog, are a form of latent variable analysis.”
As a former graduate of UWA, this is embarrassing. Does UWA not teach and use rigorous statistical methods? Is there no one who can help him?
Plus, when will [...]
Stephan Lewandowsky, Gilles Gignac, Klaus Oberauer
The scathing blog posts are popping up everywhere. From William Briggs we get a sense of the historical importance of the Lewandowsky et al effort. One day a terrific psychological study is going to be written on the madness and mass lunacy which arose after climate change swam into the public’s ken… The cornerstone of this future pathological report may well be the peer-reviewed Psychological Science paper “NASA faked the moon landing—Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science” by Stephan Lewandowsky, Klaus Oberauer, and Gilles Gignac, perhaps the completest, most representative work of its odd era. “Everything that could have been done wrong, was done wrong. Every bias that could have been manifested, was manifested. Every fallacy pertinent to the matter at hand was made. The conclusions, regurgitated from unnecessarily complicated statistical procedures, did not follow from the evidence gathered, which itself was suspect. In its way, then, the paper is a jewel, a gift to the future, a fundamental text to how easy it is to fool oneself. “ Steve McIntyre goes through the statistical tests, finds questionable practices, questions he can’t answer, and general [...]
Stephan Lewandowsky, Gilles Gignac, Klaus Oberauer
Stephen Lewandowsky’s paper, soon to be published in Psychological Science, appears to be drawn from one or two grants from the Australian Research Council that total nearly a million dollars (though it’s not entirely clear which grants apply to the paper).
“If you wonder, like I do, whether the Australian taxpayer gets value for money, ponder that somewhere a cancer researcher was denied funding in order for Lewandowsky to do his work”
One grant, which he shares with coauthor Dr Klaus Oberauer, was for $694,000 for research on “Keeping Memory Current: Updating and Discounting of Information“. Apparently it is of national benefit, because: “Basic research in psychology is of particular national benefit because the available national research funding is commensurate with the requirements of world-class research in psychology.” “World class” does not usually mean research based on a logical error with a sample too small to be statistically significant and using a self-selecting, unsecure, sample from sites that detest the research group. Aside from that, the sentence itself is circular bureaucratese-babble. What does it mean? Is he suggesting that research in basic psychology is useful because taxpayer funds are only given to world class [...]
Stephan Lewandowsky is rattled. Not surprisingly. Right now, his blog has gone from a steady run of zero-to-three-comment-posts up to 200, and the skeptics are armed with cutting questions.
But the more he writes, the worse it gets. Skeptics have picked apart his methods, his data, his transparency, and his conclusions. His latest responses are childish taunts with variants of name-calling. What place does an unrelated smear have in a science debate? It’s an effort to distract people.
His paper, in press, has been shown to have a misleading headline, with worthless conclusions based on statistically insignificant number of responses, using a clumsy one-sided test — the aim of which was obvious to most readers. When asked for data he provided answers to 32 questions but still hides the results obtained to a quarter of his original survey, including the basic demographics. He changed the order of questions depending on the blog he sought replies from — effectively putting different versions of the survey up (see below for his explanation). He himself emailed or was named in emails to alarmist anti-skeptic bloggers, while he used an unknown assistant to email skeptical blogs. These non-standard methods were not described in his paper.
Steve McIntyre audited Stephan Lewandowsky’s data to weed out the obvious fake responses. That people would “game” the test was predictable given the clumsy nature of the survey, the one-sided nature of the conspiracies investigated, the virulently anti-skeptic sites where it was hosted, and the comments on the threads where it was announced. Obviously the survey hoped to show skeptics were nutters, and when it was posted in front of those who-hate-skeptics, readers obliged.
Steve McIntyre weighs in with a lengthy post, several original graphs, and concludes:
“Lewandowsky, like Gleick, probably fancies himself a hero of the Cause. But ironically. Lewandowsky’s paper will stand only as a landmark of junk science – fake results from faked responses.
As Tom Curtis observed, Lewandowsky has no moral alternative but to withdraw his paper.”
When the number of responses to conspiracies are graphed against the share that is “skeptical” of man-made global warming McIntyre reveals an interesting pattern. The “Oklahoma” point on the bottom right of the graph was the most popular conspiracy theory — but percentage-wise, “alarmists” were more likely to support this theory than so called “skeptics” were.
The line across the graph represents the proportion of the total responses which [...]
Steve McIntyre weighs in:
“As others have observed, the number of actual respondents purporting to believe in the various conspiracies was, in many cases, very small. Only 10 respondents purported to believe in Lewandowsky’s* signature Moon Landing conspiracy. These included a disproportionate number of scam responses. Indeed, probably all of these responses were scams.
However, Lewandowsky’s statistical analysis was unequal to the very low hurdle of identifying these scam responses. Lewandowsky applied a technique closely related to principal components to scam and non-scam data alike, homogenizing them into a conspiratorial ideation.”
Josh is so quick these days :- ) Thank you Josh. An excellent job.
* Correction: “Curtis’s” should have been Lewandowsky.
Josh is so quick these days :- ) Thank you Josh. An excellent job.
What can I say? Prof Lewandowsky, expert in conspiracies, thinks we are postulating a conspiracy — but the bad news for him is that we are postulating straight out incompetence, no conspiracy required.
How does Lewandowsky define “conspiracy”? However he wants.
I hate to say I told you so, but I did. Back in May 2010, before Lewandowsky posted his survey, he foresaw the results:
“This attribute of conspiracy theorising applies in full force to the actions of climate “sceptics” who operate outside the peer reviewed literature” [ABC Drum]“
and I foresaw what he would do with them:
“Lewandowsky uses the name-calling to “poison the well” against people who don’t even believe in a conspiracy [about man-made global warming], but happen to also be skeptical…Jo Nova May 2010“
Graham at OnLine Opinion (OLO) has posted Part II of a Fish rots from the Head and it’s quite something to see.
This post will look at the question of what is a conspiracy, and also what constitutes “conspiracist ideation”. The conclusion, just to save you reading to the bottom, is that Lewandowsky has no clear idea so adapts it to what fits his thesis. This is [...]
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 [...]
I‘m putting on a conservative, understated hat. This could be the worst paper I have seen — an ad hom argument taken to its absurd extreme, rebadged as “science”.
Professorial fellow Stephan Lewandowsky thinks that skeptics who are “greatly involved” in the climate debate believe any kind of conspiracy theory, including that the moon landings never happened, that AIDS is not due to HIV, and that smoking doesn’t cause cancer. But he didn’t find this out by asking skeptics who are “greatly involved” in the climate debate or by reading their popular sites. He “discovered” this by asking 1,000 visitors to climate blogs. Which blogs? He expertly hunted down skeptics, wait for it… here:
Deltoid, Tamino Scot Mandia, Bickmore, A Few Things Ill Considered, Hot-Topic (NZ) Trunity (unconfirmed?) John Cook (through twitter, h/t Barry Woods at Climate Audit)
This is the point where the question has to be asked: Did Lewandowsky, Oberauer, and Gignac really think they would get away with it? Did none of the reviewers at “Psychological Science“ think to ask if the “sampling” of alarmist blogs would affect the results?
The paper is titled:
“NASA faked the moon landing — Therefore (Climate) Science is a [...]
I wondered who was funding Oreskes to fly all the way around the world to deliver two seminars in Perth to audiences of mostly evangelical believers. Michael Kile (Quadrant magazine) reveals more of the details. Presumably she is funded by the Professors-at-large program at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Western Australia (UWA). We still have no details on the amounts.
UWA think achieving “international excellence” is so important they’ve put it in their logo.
We see below how many of the UWA hosts benefit from climate change grants, and thus would potentially gain from promoting a baseless smear against critics who threaten their funding or status. These hypocrites are happy to promote the untruth that skeptics are funded to speak, when the they themselves are the ones who benefit financially from a dubious scare campaign. The professors-at-large program is supposed to foster public debate, but four of the ten Oreskes hosts signed a letter seeking to silence a skeptic from speaking at another university.
Who would sponsor an expert that is ignorant of 99.99% of their topic?
Oreskes claims skeptics are funded by big-oil, but misses that most oil companies [...]
In response to the ABC doco I Can Change Your Mind, the believers of man-made global warming are out attacking with logical fallacies, cherry picking deceit, and the usual barking mad irrelevant lines about tobacco and AIDS. Desperate eh?
Never before in one day on one post have I enjoyed responding to Mr Unskeptical himself (John Cook), as well as Stefan Lewandowsky (aka Lysenko-strikes-again) and Clive-break-democracy-Hamilton.
John Cook on the ABC website.
Cook is from the University of Queensland, and he runs the ambush site “Skeptical Science” (where even the name of the site is misleading, and where he dutifully parrots the government scientists).
His litany of logical errors continues:
He’s still resorting to namecalling with a term he can’t define scientifically. Which paper do we deny John? You’ve had two years to find it, and you still can’t come up with anything better than papers which cheat by changing color schemes, or which use wind-shear instead of thermometers to measure temperature? He’s clinging to that consensus, when evidence is what matters. The fallacy is known as argument from authority — but in science, authority is trumped by data. In contrast, I keep referring to 3,000 ocean [...]
What kind of organization receives all its funding from one source, then claims to be “independent?” (Yes, spot another GONGO idea).
The Conversation trumpets that it is “Independent” but it’s funded with $6 million from … the Government. As Tim Blair said “it’s a baby ABC“. (A Government organized “non government” organisation).
The Conversation gets 20,000 readers a day (apparently). According to the Alexa Stats, I single-handedly get about half the global traffic they do. They have an entire nation of university staff to help write stories. I’ve had ten guest authors and have written over 700 posts myself.
(If what they do costs $6 million, does that mean my site is worth $3m? Am I grossly underpaid, or are they grossly overpaid?)
This is another example of the self-growing-cycle of big-government. The site is dominated with stories that favor statist-big-government policies. They break laws of logic and reason, claim that experts are writing, but we non-experts working from home can point out the errors of those with professorships in our spare time, and with no PhD.
Consider the wit and wisdom of one Stefan Lewandowsky — who writes as a Professorial Fellow of a misnamed topic [...]
UPDATE: While MediaWatch (ABC) is hassling Jennifer Marohasy, Marc Hendrickx at ABCnewswatch responds in kind, posting an excellent open letter to MediaWatch, asking if they can outline their own scientific qualifications to judge Jennifer Marohasy’s scientific work. ABC staff want to know her motivations, but Marc wants to know theirs. And “given that they employ 11 staff full time” and produce “one 15 minute show per week”, do they consider that this represents good value for the Australian taxpayer? Touche!
Brilliant Marc. It’s a must read.
Jennifer Marohasy has extraordinary influence. She’s so powerful that the ABC’s Media Watch program has singled her out, asking questions about her income and disclosures that they don’t even bother to ask Tim Flannery. Presumably they don’t think anyone still takes Tim seriously.
They sent her a barrage of questions last Friday, which she hammered in a detailed reply on the weekend. I hear they are still sniffing around anyone they can think of who may know something about Marohasy, asking leading questions and volunteering information that isn’t correct.
Media Watch (aka Witch Hunt) thought this was a question worth asking:
[To Jennifer Marohasy] In your recent opinion columns [...]
The other headline I could have used: Jo Nova and Watts Up graphs used in UEA lectures!
It doesn’t get much better than this. Imagine finding out your work helped to support a university course in a place right at the center of the dogma and unscientific reasoning you are working to expose? Well I’m chuffed.
Allan Kendall is a lecturer at the University of East Anglia (UEA) with principles and an open mind, who gave his students the whole story. I applaud his brave approach, he would have known he risked castigation and exile in his workplace, and that there would be little reward.
Curiously a small storm erupted on Bishop Hill. Alan Kendall is defending UEA, saying that not everyone or every branch of research at UEA ought to be tarnished with the poor behaviour of the Climate Research Unit. And his behaviour rather proves his point, but many commenters at UEA are bagging him for expecting anyone to take UEA seriously, and in a sense they are right too. Therein lies the rub.
People of Kendall’s quality are either rare or silent at UEA. As long as the Chancellor of UEA continues to deny that it [...]
What’s the worst thing you could call a scientist? Apparently, a “climate change denier” and “a fraud”.
Even scientists who are hunting Yetis are not suspected of being as evil, unscrupulous and deranged as skeptics-of-the-extent-of the-UN-committee’s-projections-of-man-made-global-warming, aka, “climate-change-deniers”. I mean, who would dare question the UN, eh? It is a collective God, it can’t be wrong — like, say, the Pope in 1633. If they say it’s 3 degrees / 2 degrees /3.3 degrees, whatever, they must be right (even if they do keep changing their mind).
Scientists who are hunting Yetis have no credentials, poor sods and are ripe for a whack.
Who are these “international scientists” who are going to find his Yeti for him? We have been given no names, nor credentials, nor institutions they belong to. I suspect, like so many of the so-called climate-change deniers, they are frauds.
But here’s the thing, I know the author, Darren Curnoe (though it’s been a while), and he’s a really nice guy. We shared a group house once, when I was on the way from science to TV, and he was on the way from TV to science. We had avid conversations about the evolution [...]
It’s hard to believe, but not long ago, people used to write to me to tell me not to use the word “skeptic” telling me it had a bad name. “Use the word realist” they said. But I wasn’t going to let the forces of darkness get away with destroying the English language. I’m proud to be a skeptic. I wasn’t giving that word up. And besides, I had a feeling that if we stuck with the truth, the distortion the-newspeak-team had set up would come back to bite them, and I rather wanted to whip them with that.
After all, what’s not to like about the word skeptic (or sceptic):
1565–75; From the Latin scepticus, meaning thoughtful, inquiring
From the Greek : skeptikós, means to consider or examine (akin to skopeîn, meaning: to look, “scope”)
“Skeptic” is a prize worth having.
In Nov 2009 I pointed out the bleeding obvious truth: What’s the opposite of skeptical — gullible. It caught on (if I do say so myself).
And if we are the skeptics, then it followed that they are the Unskeptics and who wants to be an Unskeptical Scientist?
Bitten by their own propaganda campaign, [...]
What are they so afraid of?
It’s all become a media frenzy. Who would have thought that holding an opinion about climate sensitivity due to a trace gas could become a reason to mark someone as an untouchable heretic? Venues are being canceled (and new venues arranged), the media are hunting in packs, and the university witchdoctors are coming out to show how neolithic (but politically correct) their reasoning is.
And they think they are so civilized.
They are stone age tribes with smartphones.
University Witchdoctors — collapse under the hypocrisy of their own reasoning
Academics want climate sceptic’s Lecture cancelled! is the headline on the front page of The West Australian.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s serious. We can no longer stand by and watch as once great institutions embarrass themselves with childlike efforts to silence dissent.
Natalie Latter, a PhD Student at UWA, wrote a letter, endorsed by a few other academic types (who ought to have saved her and themselves from such an embarrassing mistake):
“Lord Monckton propounds widely discredited fictions about climate change and misrepresents the research of countless scientists,” says the letter. “With zero peer-reviewed publications, he has declared [...]
“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.
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 [...]
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