The worst paper ever published has competition. I was going to mock this, but it has all rather slipped beyond the Plains of Derision and sunk in a parallel universe. Researcher Jose Duarte is flummoxed, he simply can’t explain why a paper so weak was written, but moreso why it was ever published, and why everyone associated with it is not running for cover. It’s not so much about the predictable flaws, biased questions, and mindless results, it’s now about why UWA, The Uni of Bristol, PLOS, and the Royal Society are willing to wear any of the reputational damage that goes with it.
Lewandowsky, Gignac and Oberauer put out a paper in 2013 which was used to generate headlines like “Climate sceptics more likely to be conspiracy theorists”. The data sample is not large, but despite that, it includes the potential Neanderthal, as well as a precocious five year old and some underage teenagers too. The error was reported on Lewandowsky’s blog over a year ago by Brandon Shollenberger, then again by Jose Duarte in August 2014. Nothing has been corrected. The ages are not just typos, they were used in the calculations, correlations and conclusions. The median age [...]
José Duarte is a psychology PhD candidate. He is able to make sense of issues in the “Moon Landing Paper” by Stephan Lewandowsky, with some new angles in a way I haven’t seen before. He makes a convincing case for the paper to be retracted, about six times over. My initial analysis of this paper still stands: “This could be the worst paper I have seen — an ad hom argument taken to its absurd extreme, rebadged as “science”.
I recommend Duarte’s whole long analysis, though there is language there that for legal reasons I won’t repeat or endorse. What we see is sloppy science and grand “incompetence“.
Duarte focuses on the deception of a title based on only 10 responses, some of which were fakes, none of which was disclosed to the reader:
Lewandowsky, Oberauer, Gignac titled their paper “NASA faked the moon landing—therefore, (climate) science is a hoax: an anatomy of the motivated rejection of science.”
Why is their title based on the variable for which they have the least data, essentially no data?
Why in the abstract are they linking free market views to incredibly damaging positions that again, they have [...]
What can I say. Not another “downfall” video, oh yes. Oh Yes! But for those who know the background on the Recursive Fury retraction, the irony is delicious. Enjoy. Right to the end.
Yesterday I said I had to learn German. Today it’s probably better that I haven’t.
Read on for clues if you are not familiar with the saga.
Good news, according to The Guardian Stephan Lewandowsky is doing Reddit/Science Ask Me Anything session (finished for today, but back again tomorrow).
Richard Tol asked Stephan Lewandowsky how he felt about data. Stephan Lewandowsky replied with exactly the right answer, saying it’s crucial, and “I release all relevant data immediately”. Then Barry Woods quoted the Vice Chancellor of UWA refusing to provide Lewandowsky’s data (after many requests). Apparently it is UWA practice not to release data, no matter how many times researchers politely enquire. How unfortunate for Stephan to have worked at such a backward institution?
Strangely, Barry Woods comment disappeared completely. (Lucky there’s a screen-shot.)
There must be something wrong with the server at Reddit, surely? Nonetheless Stephan Lewandowsky is passionate about data, I’m sure he will fix this as soon as possible in the morning. (Actually he is probably emailing Stephen McIntyre this minute). It could all be solved so quickly.
Of course, it is too late for him to call the Vice Chancellor, so it may take til lunch time tomorrow to change UWA’s data hiding practice.
We look forward to advancing cognitive science with open data too Professor Lewandowsky.
The Reddit Comments
And the PR stunts continue.
Once upon a time “Editors Resigning!” sounded important. Today, not so much. There are apparently hundreds of editors of Frontiers. As far as I can tell, these are not resignations from paid jobs, but resignations from a somewhat self-appointed, voluntary chore. They’re also not about any scientific argument, and it’s not clear that any of these editors were actually involved in editing the paper in question.
The three editors are Ugo Bardi (energy and resources), Björn Brembs (neurobiology of flies and snails), and allegedlyProfessor Colin Davis of the University of Bristol (who at least is an expert in Cognitive Science). Davis doesn’t appear to have made a public statement. The only record is Desmog. Bjorn Brembs intends to resign, but may not have actually done it. Who knows? (More to the point, who cares?)
Ugo Bardi, Chief Specialty Editor of the Frontiers Journal is resigning over the debacle about Stephan Lewandowksy’s twice failed paper. Overall, it’s an excellent event, but he’s a year too late. If I were an Editor, I would have resigned on Feb 3 last year (because on Feb 2, the journal published a ethically dubious, one-sided paper with no scientific merit, [...]
Get ready. Nowhere and nothing is safe. The Uncertainty Monster is here and it wants to raid your national finances.
In another stroke of tax-funded-insight, Stephan Lewandowsky has scientifically shown that the less we know, the more we should spend. This could be the perpetual-fountain-of-grants for scientists who discover Uncertainty. Sadly this is bad news for scientists who find something real instead.
Gone are the days when policy-makers try to do cost-benefit analysis on the factors we know and can measure. In a brave new world The Uncertainty Monster arrives in Monte Carlo and eats the Discount Rate. Common sense dissolves in a naked singularity, then Climatic Change publishes what’s left.
It’s not clear what effect this news will have on national climate science research budgets. Lewandowsky notes in Part I that: “…it is independent of the presumed magnitude of climate sensitivity.” This will come as a relief to modern climate scientists who have been actively failing to pin down climate sensitivity for nearly four decades. Now we know that it doesn’t matter what climate sensitivity is, the answer is “money”.
Some critics warn that political leaders might use this new research as a reason to cancel all BOM and [...]
Relish this win.
Recursive Fury, the ideated paper that Stephan Lewandowsky, John Cook and Michael Hubble-Marriott tried to publish early last year, was of such poor quality that it was placed in the scientific limbo-land of being not withdrawn, not retracted, and not published for almost 12 months. Lewandowsky previously published an article claiming skeptics believed the Moon Landing was faked, based on only 10 anonymous internet responses gleaned from sites that hate skeptics. Recursive Fury made out that skeptics who objected this previous paper were barking-mad conspiracy theorists with nefarious intent.
Finally, a week ago, the journal issued a strange but brief official retraction notice. Bizarrely, despite the ignominious failure, Lewandowsky and many others played the victim card, fanning the idea that legal threats had stopped them from publishing a paper that was otherwise academically and ethically fine. The howls of faux-outrage grew, as usual, over-played to the point where they became self-defeating.
Now Frontiers, the journal, already suffering from being associated with such dubious work, has finally had to set the record straight and defend their reputation. They had not caved in to bullying, or legal threats from the evil denier machine. Actually there were no threats at all, [...]
Brandon Shollenberger writes a follow up of the survey last week that was inspired by Stephen Lewandowsky’s work (thanks to all the people who helped fill it out). Note the footnote and the background reading, before commenting. – Jo
Warmists Are Never Wrong, Even When Supporting Genocide Brandon Shollenberger
Global warming proponents support genocide. That may seem hard to believe, but remember, they’ve said it’d be right to blow up dams and burn cities to the ground:
Unloading essentially means the removal of an existing burden: for instance, removing grazing domesticated animals, razing cities to the ground, blowing up dams and switching off the greenhouse gas emissions machine. The process of ecological unloading is an accumulation of many of the things I have already explained in this chapter, along with an (almost certainly necessary) element of sabotage. If carried out willingly and on a sufficiently large scale, this process would require dismantling many of the key components of civilization; no person would be foolish enough to cut off their own limbs unless they were suffering from some kind of psychotic delusion, and no civilization would be willing to remove many of the pillars of its own existence. Looking from the [...]
Stephan Lewandowsky (and John Cook) got excited that Barack Obama ‘retweeted’ the (fallacious) 97% consensus study. In The Conversation, Stephan Lewandowsky made it the leading line (right under the name-calling headline):
“When President Obama last week tweeted that “97% of scientists agree: climate change is real, man-made, and dangerous” it drew the attention of his 31 million followers to the most recent study pointing to the consensus in climate science.”
As a Professor of Psychology on a academic site, we might assume Lewandowsky might be more factual and less like a direct marketing campaign. (Dear Stephan, there is no chance 31 million followers read his tweets. Twitter is not like that. Obama is following 662,021 people. You think he reads them?)
Worse, that tweet was not by Barack Obama. The @barackobama account is run by an activist group called Organizing for Action (OFA). It’s the fourth biggest twitter account in the world, but Obama gave the account to OFA earlier this year, and he doesn’t appear to have used it since. (Still it’s not like Lewandowsky’s career depends on understanding how people work, and how to spot a fake right? Oh. Wait… )
OFA use Obama’s photo and his name, [...]
Professor Stephan Lewandowsky
Over Easter, psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky moved from Perth to Bristol (lucky UK). He’s the psychologist who is expert in an imaginary group of humans called “Climate deniers”. Neither he, nor anyone else has ever met one but he discovered their imaginary motivations by surveying the confused groups who hate them. As you would, right?
None of the so-called researchers can explain what scientific observations a climate denier, denies. It’s an abuse of English, profoundly unscientific, but has some success in shutting down public debate, if that’s what you want.
Can humans change the weather and stop the storms? If you know we can, Lewandowsky calls that “science”. If you wonder “how much”, you are a denier.
The Royal Society, possibly reaching a tipping point in its rush to abject scientific decay, has immediately awarded him the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award. It’s effectively a top-up on his salary for the next five years, just in case the UK might lose him. While Australia is grateful, scientists everywhere, cry. Hat tip to Geoff Chambers
[The Royal Society]
Value and tenure
The scheme provides up to 5 years’ funding after which the award [...]
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