The big Lewandowsky … and the 97%

Dr. Stephan Lewandowsky is a “cognitive psychologist” at the University of Western Australia who seems to have a rather magnificent obsession with promulgating the message of the purported perils of “dangerous” climate change. By his own admission, he also likes to take trips back to the future.

On September 3, Lewandowsky began the rapidly snowballing descent of his credibility with a post that begins:

I recently published a paper on the motivated rejection of science that is forthcoming in Psychological Science.

How can one have “recently published” something “that is forthcoming”? And why in this particular post does Lewandowsky provide no link to this “recently published … forthcoming” paper?! Nor does he tell his readers in which issue of the journal they might find this opus in support of his Magnificent Obsession.

One might also ask why Anthony Watts received no response to his enquiry to the journal at which this purportedly “recently published” paper “is forthcoming”:

I asked Psychological Science editor Robert V. Kail to investigate this paper, as did others. Crickets

This does not inspire confidence in either Lewandowsky or the editor of the journal Psychological Science.

Notwithstanding several interim diversions of the desperate kind in lieu of responding to legitimate questions regarding his survey, his paper, and his methodology, it was not until September 10 that Lewandowsky chose to highlight – and provide – an introductory link to his paper.

Lewendowsky’s “published … and forthcoming” paper (which he claims is “In press”) begins as follows:

More than 90% of climate scientists agree that the global climate is changing largely due to human CO2 emissions (Anderegg, Prall, Harold, & Schneider, 2010; Doran & Zimmerman, 2009).1

In the conspicuous absence of any due diligence on his part, I can (almost) understand why Lewandowsky might have blinded himself to the many faults of the authorities to which he chose to appeal.

There can be no doubt that he is dedicated to “the cause” and I cannot imagine that he would have conducted any due diligence prior to granting credence to the fault-riddled conclusions of Anderegg et al or those of Doran and Zimmerman.

I have yet to see any evidence that Lewandowsky’s “published … and forthcoming” paper is anything but “motivated” by his dedication to “the cause”.

There are so many questions that have arisen from Lewandowsky’s purportedly published paper that he’s chosen to avoid answering, that one might wonder if his mere “over 90% of climate scientists agree” was a typo!

After all, the climatically correct mantra (according to his sources, which include the pronouncements of Anderegg who uses the “data” compiled by green hobbyist Prall, a tech-support guy at the University of Toronto) is we’re doomed … and so is the planet.

It matters not that the late great communicator, Saint Stephen of Stanford was the mentor and/or sponsor of Anderegg’s abysmally inadequate “paper” from which the “97% of climate scientists” meme was derived.

Lewandowsky’s “survey” – and the paper he has purportedly “published” – has so many deficiencies, even from a transparency perspective let alone from the perspective of those who know far more about survey design (e.g. Thomas Fuller) and statistics (particularly Steve McIntyre) than Lewandowsky has been able to demonstrate he possesses.

So I found it somewhat amusingly ironic that, in a follow-up poll to ascertain who among the skeptics might have participated in Lewandowsky’s 2010 survey, those who chose Option 2, “I’m a skeptic and I DID NOT participate in the Lewandowsky survey in 2010″ constitute … 97% (as of this writing, Total responses to all four options = 1,698), where it has consistently hovered since I began periodically checking on September 14.

Full disclosure: I chose Option 2 … which places me among the clear majority whose voices Lewandowsky seems to want to silence – as he has recently demonstrated by the post-moderation purging of inconvenient comments on his flurry of self-serving “revisionist” blog-posts.

Dr. Judith Curry recently remarked on her blog:

Conspiracy theorists (?)

The latest ‘explanation’ for lack of belief in the IPCC consensus ‘truth’ is that these non believers are conspiracy theorists.

[...]

While I have used the term ‘auditors’ for deep investigations of problems with climate data, BS detection seems much more apt for this particular issue.

Lew, get a clew. I hope this experience with the skeptical bloggers has revealed what they are really all about, as they have revealed YOUR conspiracy by finding a really big pile.

Motivated (?) reasoning

[Curry concludes by offering:]

an alternative hypothesis: the motivation reasoning is on the other side, the liberal defenders of the CAGW consensus. Once the ‘consensus’ argument stepped beyond climate science into the realm of ‘dangerous’ impacts and ‘solutions’ involving global changes in governance and energy policy, BS detectors were triggered in people who didn’t share that motivation.

Hear! Hear!

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5 thoughts on “The big Lewandowsky … and the 97%

  1. “This does not inspire confidence in either Lewandowsky or the editor of the journal Psychological Science.”

    At least one previous publication in Psychological Science displays a certain tendency towards pathologising one’s opponents (as per Tom Fuller’s recent article in WUWT on the “medicalization of dissent”) – the rather Mooney-esque paper “Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes” linking low IQ, racism and homophobia to social conservatism:

    http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/01/04/0956797611421206.abstract

    Even without the ugliness which arises when people label people who don’t agree with them mentally deficient or ill, the “NASA faked the moon landing” paper appears to have no shortage of flaws, large and small, which are being dissected as we write.

    On the APS homepage, Psychological Science is described thus: “Psychological Science, the flagship journal of the Association for Psychological Science, publishes cutting-edge research articles, short reports, and research reports spanning the entire spectrum of the science of psychology. Psychological Science is the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology.” However, if the “highest ranked empirical journal in psychology” could actually peer-review and promulgate something like this, you start to wonder what else might be out there that got published when it didn’t really deserve to be.

    On a subjective and personal level, having read Professor Lewandowsky’s articles and experienced their general tone, and having watched and listened to him on YouTube, frankly I’m finding it difficult to imagine how this man could have much that is useful or insightful to say about his fellow human beings.

    • I’m finding it difficult to imagine how this man could have much that is useful or insightful to say about his fellow human beings.

      I fully agree. And what’s probably even worse for him, is that he seems to be so lacking in humility and/or self-knowledge that he fails to realize how much his flurry of self-serving diversions of late are telling us about him – rather than about “beliefs” and attitudes of those he mistakenly thinks he’s discussing.

      Also someone commented elsewhere today (perhaps at WUWT) that both Lewandowsky and Steve McIntyre graduated from the University of Toronto – but in different fields and 16 years apart.

      Steve and I are in the same “age cohort” as we used to say back in the day when I studied psych; but even if we weren’t, a comparison of the output from both of them could not be more telling about the benefits of a pre-post-modernist education (which obviously Lewandowsky obviously missed out on!)

  2. Lewandowsky’s 2nd paper “recursive fury” is now published at

    http://www.frontiersin.org/Personality_Science_and_Individual_Differences/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00073/abstract

    This is the one that looks at comments on the first paper, the famous Moon-landing Deniers paper. Alongside the paper abstract top right under “Article Info” click on “Supplemental Data”, and you’ll find a list of all the conspiratorial thinking Cook could find, including this post.
    Just thought you’d like to know. I know you’d have been disappointed to have been left out.

    • Thanks, Geoff! Wow … this makes me almost famous!

      I had just assumed (since there was nothing that I recalled from this post that would do his new, improved thesis much good) that it was highly unlikely that he would “cite” it!

      Although, it’s too bad he was so quick off the mark to capture. Had he waited another day, the comment count he’d captured would have increased from 0->2 :-(

      Poor Lew, though. He seems to have trouble with the hyperlink concept. Athough he dutifully listed both page URLs and webcite URLs, his hyperlinks don’t always take one’s mouse to the page he has cited/webcited (my guess is that his mouse finds word-wrapped text too challenging to deal with appropriately!)

      And I’m so disappointed that he didn’t include my two subsequent posts:

      Lewandowsky booster, Bostrom, invokes 10:10 no pressure “defense”

      APS blogger didn’t get Lewandowsky’s title “joke”

      Sniffle. Sniffle.

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