- JoNova - https://joannenova.com.au -

Soaking in money — a fake “independent” unscientific Conversation

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 called “cognitive science”. If ever you needed evidence that the science of psychology was not the same as the science of physics, look no further. Lewandowsky is case study number one in reasons to eject the School of Psychology back to the Faculty of the Arts.*

When another scientist impersonated someone else, stole documents, possibly created a fake document, and published it all online, Lewandowsky argues this is morally all OK and it passes The Conversation’s editorial bar. He compares the lies to allied efforts to conceal the D-Day landing in World War II. So the morals of science and war are equivalent? Perhaps Lewandowsky has not noticed the two fields have slightly different aims?

Science is solely for the pursuit of truth, so he who uses lies (or specious ad homs) cheats himself and all those who fund or follow him. Deceit may win a war, but it won’t help humanity master the atmosphere.

Lewandowsky also thinks that anyone who disagrees with the government is mad, just like in the old Soviet Union. It all fits.

Presumably he lectures with these same ethical standards too — thus leaving a trail of students who think that if their research is for “the greater good” (and whose isn’t?) then it’s OK to steal or fake results? Is that the aim of The University of Western Australia — to fake their way to higher knowledge? Is cheating on exams any different? Would you hire one of Lewandowsky’s students?

What is science when cognitive scientists talk of “climate denial machines”? Dear Stephan, can you define that term scientifically, or even in plain English? Which “climate” is this machine denying? Can you name a single person who denies we have a climate, or that is it changing? Have you any empirical evidence to back up that claim, or it is just the dribbling speculations of a delusional cult-fan who gets promotions and status, not through reason or evidence, but by being the most active sycophant of a grant-winning theory?

Lewandowsky’s writing on The Conversation is not just ethically infantile (war = science), it’s sloppy and unresearched too. He claims that “According to the Heartland Institute, “junk science” is the research that has linked tobacco to lung cancer”, not realizing that Heartland have never claimed that tobacco doesn’t cause cancer. Perhaps Heartland’s position of assessing studies, different diseases, ages of death and odds ratios is a bit too old fashioned for Stefan? He demonizes them by oversimplifying what they do to the point where he speaks untruths. Heartland are mostly concerned about getting evidence on the issue of second hand smoke, and on the equity of cigarette taxes that go far beyond recouping costs of healthcare for smoking related illness. Their approach is far more scientific than Lewandowsky’s, which involves making inaccurate sweeping statements on topics he knows little about. It is indeed unresearched activist statements like his that are the “junk science” noble groups like Heartland oppose, and Heartland do it to serve the public, with volunteered funding. On the other hand, Lewandowsky uses funding extracted from the public by threat of force to offer us illogical, poorly studied, unreferenced and confused arguments in order to justify squandering more funds taken from the public. Wonderfully moral of you Stephan. Quite the parasite on the public purse.

Freedom loving business and enterprising people in the West need to wake up and face the fact that big-government grows more big-government. Governauctus infinititus — it’s practically a natural law that the tax-take from the regulating class will never shrink of it’s own accord. They will take, take and take until… something stops them. Something outside the government must push back. But who represents the voters if the House of Representatives  represents itself?

Who will argue for higher learning when our universities endorse thieves, fakers and cheats? It’s time to ask other university staff at UWA if they have a problem with this policy, and if they don’t protest, it’s time to stop funding all the “professors” who promote anti-science.

So it’s time, time for business world Australia to wake up. (It’s time we put some thought and resources into fighting back.)

Please commenters, every time The Conversation claims to be independent, lets remind them how dependent they are on the Government. Let’s ask them to find only voluntary financial backers who earn their money (as opposed to helping themselves to other people’s), and then see how “independent” they really are.


Hat tip to Jaymez. Merci!

Lewandowsky is a source of much fun on this blog:  Peer review denial and the abuse of science |   The death of reason at UWA | Lewandowsky: the ABC parades a witchdoctor again | Learn how not to reason at the University of Western Australia | The hypocrisy of the annointedName-calling fairy dust: “Conspiracy Theorist” | Picasso Brain Syndrome |

*If there are any psychologists who disagree, do speak up. I’m especially interested to hear from psychologists at UWA who understand what the scientific method is.

9.1 out of 10 based on 140 ratings