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

My mouse and I took a stroll through the In the News archives of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) in search of entries that might have mentioned Lewandowsky’s ground-breaking “research” paper entitled:

“NASA faked the moon landing -Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science”

We went all the way back to circa July 23, 2012, because I expected to find mention of Adam Corner’s Guardian article of July 27 – as noted in my previous post. Alas, we found no discernible mention of Lewandowsky’s opus.

Elsewhere on the APS site, though, we did find various opinion pieces by Wray Herbert.

Herbert seems to have beaten Corner to the punch on Lewandowsky’s not quite yet “published” opus with an article dated July 19 (my bold):

A Climate for Conspiracy

Tags: anti-science views, climate science, cognitive bias, conspiracy thinking, global warming, irrationality

I am writing this article knowing full well that it will be used as evidence against me—evidence that I have been duped by a powerful cabal, a vast conspiracy to . . . to do what? Well, take your choice. Perhaps to convince a naive public that NASA landed men on the moon? Or to hide the fact that our President is African? Or the fact that al Qaeda didn’t mastermind 9/11? Or to falsely link HIV with AIDS, or smoking with lung cancer?


Psychological scientists are very interested in this particular brand of irrational thinking—especially the link between conspiratorial thinking and anti-science world views. […]

Or consider global warming. More than 90 percent of climate scientists agree that the global climate is shifting, largely as a result of human activity. Scientifically, this is essentially a closed case. Yet conspiracy theorists continue to spin wild tales […] What are the motives of these climate deniers, who reject even overwhelming scientific consensus? […]

Cognitive psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Western Australia has been studying climate deniers and conspiratorial thinking—and the link between the two. He suspected that climate deniers—as opposed to climate “skeptics,” who actually use the tools of science to verify facts—are highly prone to unrelated kinds of conspiracy thinking, and also to a conservative, pro-business ideology. He decided to test these ideas by questioning people who write and read blogs related to global warming.

The results were unambiguous, and unsettling. […]


Second, conspiracy thinking was clearly linked to climate denial—and to the rejection of scientific propositions in general. This was true even of conspiracy theories unrelated to the environment or climate—the belief that NASA staged the moon landing, for example […]

YMMV, but it seems to me that – not unlike Corner – Herbert didn’t get “the joke”, either.

Calling Booster Bostrom … you need to set Herbert straight. So that he can amend his article.

And on a somewhat related note … If you’re interested in seeing Lewandowsky proudly wearing his green-activist heart on his sleeve … he does it in spades in http://permaculturenews.org/2010/03/12/climate-debate-opinion-vs-evidence/ [h/t BetaPug via comment at Bishop Hill]

Lewandowsky’s magnificent obsession clearly precludes any critical examination of the evidence in support of the tropes ‘n factoids on which he depends for his beliefs about those who do not share his views.

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

  1. Re tropes and factoids, another person who has vigorously promoted the Moon landing paper (and who also didn’t receive the “joke” memo) is Stephanie Pappas, described as a senior science writer for LiveScience:

    On 7th September, she posted the same article, under different titles, on LiveScience, Huffington Post and MSNBC:

    LiveScience: “Link Between Climate Denial and Conspiracy Beliefs Sparks Conspiracy Theories”
    HuffPo: “Climate Change Denial & Conspiracy Theories: New Research Provokes Even More Irrationality”
    MSNBC: “Those with conspiracy beliefs apt to deny global warming, too. And study that showed evidence of this sparks talk about – yep – another conspiracy”

    I recall that Steve McIntyre and Lucia Liljegren (neither of whom, it should be very obvious, deserve to be labelled conspiracy theorists) asked Stephan Lewandowsky some straightforward questions about the research, which were met with childish rudeness and obfuscation.

    In Ms Pappas’ article, however, their enquiries somehow morphed into conspiracy theories and “irrationality”.

    Wikipedia’s entry for LiveScience is interesting, by the way:

    “LiveScience has published controversial cognitive science articles; one study from Current Biology correlated certain brain structures with political beliefs, and another from the journal Psychological Science that linked socially conservative beliefs with lower IQs.”

    • Yes, I saw those three “churnings” as well. I don’t think any of us deserve the conspiracy theorist label! But I completely agree with your assessment of Lewandowsky’s “responses”! He really needs to take a look in the mirror!

  2. Time to send in the shrinks. Renee Lertzman, Ecopsychologist, advocates kinder treatment of deniers since they suffer from deep underlying problems of which they are not aware.
    Renee is on the faculty at Royal Roads University where $23,170 will get you an MA in the vital and fast expanding field of Environmental Communication. http://www.royalroads.ca/prospective-students/ma-environmental-education-and-communication/environmental-education-and-0

    More importantly, she was one of the members of Suzuki and Hoggans,latest DeSmog think tank, The Stonehouse Standing Circle 2011 annual Summit which is held on Salt Spring Is.

    http://stonehousesummit.com/list/presenter?page=1 You will recognize many of the mighty movers and shapers in attendance.

    Amazing amounts of money being spent to investigate and correct deviant thinking.

    (Thanks for the H/T)

    • An “Ecopsychologist”?! What will they dream of next, eh?! Just what the world needs … More “Environmental Communication”!

      But speaking of “jokes” … Suzuki is taking his schtick to the comedy circuit:

      So David Suzuki walks into a bar …

      […] the environmentalist, broadcaster, geneticist and, for one night only, a participant in this year’s Just for Laughs festival (JFL42) in Toronto. They say the government should tax the hot air coming from his mouth. They say he benefits financially from his Vancouver-based non-profit foundation. They say climate change is just a conspiracy perpetrated by the bikini industry […]
      Suzuki is worried. “At this stage of my life, I’m feeling very desperate,” he says. “The science has become increasingly urgent, and I’m tired of fighting. Can we not come together and leave our vested interests aside and at least come to an agreement that protecting our air should be our highest priority?”

      I guess they’ve given up flogging “the science is settled” … now it’s “increasingly urgent” … whatever that’s supposed to mean!

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