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« More Deben conflicts | Main | More bad news for greens »
Wednesday
Sep052012

More Lew

Interestinger and interestinger.

I noted yesterday that McIntyre had unearthed an invitation to take part in the Lewandowsky survey. However, there is much about the survey that still appears problematic. Firstly, the invitation was sent on 6 September 2010, but upholder blogs like Deltoid had received the link more than a week earlier on 28 August.

McIntyre received a reminder two weeks later. Just three days after that, Lewandowsky was discussing preliminary results in public, which seems rather odd.

But there's more. In the comments at Lewandowsky's recent post on his "conspiracy theory" article, Steve McIntyre wonders why the survey he was told to complete was different to the one that was sent to Deltoid.

1) the link attached to the email to me HKMKNI_9a13984 was not the same as the link as at the Deltoid survey HKMKNF_991e2415

2) the number of questions noted up in comments at Deltoid was 40, while only 31 were reported in the article. In addition, the project description at UWA mentions questions concerning "life satisfaction" but these are not listed in the APpendix. What happened to them?

Another commenter notes the presence of another survey, number HKMKNG_ee191483, as well.

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Reader Comments (123)

Sep 7, 2012 at 7:04 AM | Laurie Childs (LC)

Thanks for the heads up.

Counterbalancing!

...is Lew's explanation for the different surveys but I don't think that cuts the mustard as an answer since the "balancing" of who got what and when and why is so hard to control.

The possibility for underlying bias in who got what survey isn't answered since the papers have questions in different orders and where targeted at different people. Also this "counterbalancing" approach method isn't mentioned in his paper either.

I think I am moving back to feeling sorry for him.

I have posted a question there too.

Sep 7, 2012 at 7:48 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Laurie Childs
Thanks for the tip off.
Glad you like it. I think we’re all conscious that there’s something a bit obsessive, insane even, about it. Normal people don’t argue on blogs with Australian professors they’ve never met.
It’s 8 am, the sun is rising over the Mediterranean between the palm trees, and I’m sitting here with the shutters down chatting to you lot. Time to wake up and get normal. Until the next time.
Foxgoose
Yes, it took four emails from John Cook to learn that he received a mail from Lew 28th August asking him to publicise the survey and wrote back saying he’d post it the same day. But there’s nothing at SkS. He must have deleted it when the survey was over (Oct?). I don’t know whether there were any comments to the post.
Dave
I suspect your remark would sum up the opinion of 99% of the population. Which means we’re wasting our time.

Sep 7, 2012 at 7:58 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Sep 7, 2012 at 7:47 AM | Dave

Two pages of self-congratulatory conspiracy theorising does a lot to support Prof Lewandowsky's paper.

Bless you Dave but no it really doesn't.

The two pages of speculation here are about criticising a really bad example of science originating from the mind of one man. Not speculations on the lizard king rulers.

Warning I am going to lump you in with a group of people ;)

Why can't people like you understand that difference?

Then again, his pages of *skeptic* baiting are doing a lot to rubbish it.

From an external observer, the nicest thing that can be said is that you are all as bad as each other.

BTW "you are all as bad as each other" don't you dare assume that Lewandowsky can hope to be raised to as "bad" a level as we attain! ;)

Sep 7, 2012 at 7:59 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Well, if being disingenuous is the flavour of the day, it's good to see such robust discussion coming from an online community so free of cognitive bias.

I'll leave it for you to work out which site(s) I am referring to.

Sep 7, 2012 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterDave

Dave

Before you make these gnomic pronouncements you should reflect on where the two sides of this ill-tempered debate are coming from.

Sceptics, generally, want to be left alone to get on with life as humans have been doing for the last fifty thousand years or so.

Stephan and his cronies want to insert their highly questionable theories into every corner of our everyday lives.

They set up websites like "Shaping Tomorrow's World" while giving us no cause to believe that they have the intellectual qualifications for the job.

From time to time, in modern human history, we see these movements of people with mild personality disorders who want to reshape society in their image - and it always ends in tears.

Best to nip it in the bud - before we get to the unpleasantness.

Sep 7, 2012 at 9:57 AM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Why Foxgoose, I am so glad to have free thinkers like you enforcing freedom so to allow people like me to go freely about my business!

I mean really. Do you people ever stop for a second and consider the hypocrisy of your verbose nonsense?

And yes, 'you people'. It's a wider statement than you might imagine and encompasses folks you certainly wouldn't agree with.

Also, I suggest both sides of the debate just come out and label each other as falling in line with 'Hitler' and 'Stalin' from the get-go. It sets the most appropriate tone for what will follow.

Anyway, you get back to discussing the global conspiracy by progressive scientists to turn off our oil and destroy our wonderful capitalist society and let the other team get back to calling you fascist lackeys of the entrenched power elite.

I'd just suggest that in five seconds of clicking links on the right hand page I came across marvellous conspiracy theories from tinfoil luminaries such as 'Lord' Monckton and Alex Jones. If you're claiming not to be moonbat conspiracy theorists, I sincerely suggest that the infowars.com site be light years away from your site or any site you link to.

Sep 7, 2012 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterDave

Dave
I thought you made quite a good point when you said “From an external observer, the nicest thing that can be said is that you are all as bad as each other”.
I’ve often thought that’s the impression we must give, and take heart from the fact that no-one I know ever reads the stuff I post.
But from the fact that we give the impression of being a bit weird to calling us “moon-bat conspiracy theorists” because we link to a site which links to a site which has conspiracy theories - now that really is a conspiracy theory.

Sep 7, 2012 at 10:44 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

I have visited hundreds of websites this week. This is the only one where

http://livingresearchinstitute.com/men/4Dangers/indexw.html?6ac8653a259a483c9fbe5dd602ec2bc2

and

http://www.infowars.com/nsa-harasses-infowars-magazine-editor/

are a couple of clicks away. Correlation is not causation but if you actually think there is factual evidence supporting many of the views I am seeing on this site, you are a mentalist of the first water.

But don't be discouraged, as the same applies to many of your detractors as well.

I'd argue there is a lot of basis in truth for Prof Lewandowsky linking conspiracy theorising with climate denial (or whatever today's term is). There is an equal basis for making the same argument regarding the proponents of global warming (insert relevant term here).

I have met in person many people at very high levels from both sides of the fence - from executives working in renewable energy firms and well respected climate scientists, to mining company execs and oil company representatives.

Both sides had equal representation of blinkered zealotry - and about the only difference was that the progressive team was a bit wimpier and less willing to go the distance when getting their way. Take that as a weakness or strength as you will.

Sep 7, 2012 at 10:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterDave

So to end this delightful sojourn on two very different yet eerily similar sites, the lot of you need to get off your backsides, stop indulging in intellectual...self gratification...and maybe employ these no doubt prodigious intellects to actually producing something constructive rather than spurious one-upmanship challenges based on flawed and biased data sets.

Sep 7, 2012 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterDave

"Tom Curtis’s comments have been snipped by the moderator. The SkS gang are turning on each other, and upon one of their own who dares to stand up for scientific standards. I think the boys from Bishop Hill can take some credit for this."

There are a few like that, trapped in the treehut.

They'll all get out, one day.

Sep 7, 2012 at 11:15 AM | Registered Commentershub

Sep 7, 2012 at 10:58 AM | Dave

I'd argue there is a lot of basis in truth for Prof Lewandowsky linking conspiracy theorising with climate denial (or whatever today's term is).

Well that's nice to hear you "argue" this, you have plenty of company on the SKS site too, where there is a lot of "arguing" along the line that I think can be summed up as:

"Climate sceptics just have to be more prone to conspiracy theorizing, don't they?"

But there is no actual rigorous well managed study to back this argument/hypothesis up yet, is there?

I think that is where the Lewanowsky study went wrong there was so much pre-existing certainty that the hypothesis just had to be true, that the echo-chamber just ended up allowing an incredibly low standard of discourse to prevail and this ended up with the quality of work we see from L.

Shame :)

Sep 7, 2012 at 11:19 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

"Anyway, you get back to discussing the global conspiracy by progressive scientists to turn off our oil ..."

Chris Rapley, who recommended that scientists who read Nature, read skepticalscience.com and realclimate.com:

"But in my view, the main reason that decarbonising humanity hasn’t progressed very well is that it is really hard to achieve! We essentially have a global civilisation of 7bn people supported by infrastructure and processes based (unwittingly) on a false assumption … that we can extract and burn fossil-fuels limitlessly without consequence! So we have landed ourselves with 100y of investment in what is turning out to be a stranded asset. That would be tough enough, though not impossible, to deal with. ... "

It is not a conspiracy. It is a sincere heartfelt wish. Kind of like how a shepherd might feel about his flock.

Sep 7, 2012 at 11:26 AM | Registered Commentershub

wimpy zealots?

I like that description.

Sep 7, 2012 at 11:28 AM | Registered Commentershub

"Tom Curtis’s comments have been snipped by the moderator. The SkS gang are turning on each other, and upon one of their own who dares to stand up for scientific standards.
Sep 7, 2012 at 11:15 AM shub

Yes - I think Geoff was wasting his time trying to "turn" Tom permanently by fluttering his eyelashes.

At his show trial in front of the SkS General Praesidium yesterday, Tom apologised and recanted his thoughtcrimes - it was all due to stress or overwork, apparently.

As a member of the Nomenklatura he'll probably escape a capital penalty - but you can never be sure with these regimes.

There was a gruesome scene where the prisoner Foxgoose was dragged from the cells and Tom was forced to join his firing squad. Sadly the ammunition malfunctioned - probably due to sabotage by conspiracy theorist elements.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?p=3&t=129&&n=1540

Sep 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

I mean really. Do you people ever stop for a second and consider the hypocrisy of your verbose nonsense?

And yes, 'you people'. It's a wider statement than you might imagine and encompasses folks you certainly wouldn't agree with.......

Anyway, you get back to discussing the global conspiracy by progressive scientists to turn off our oil and destroy our wonderful capitalist society .........

I'd just suggest that in five seconds of clicking links on the right hand page I came across marvellous conspiracy theories from tinfoil luminaries such as 'Lord' Monckton and Alex Jones. ....
Sep 7, 2012 at 10:32 AM Dave

Hmmm - that "from an external oberver" schtick is wearing a bit thin.

"Our wonderful capitalist society" ............ is there a refreshing little slice of watermelon in there somewhere?

Sep 7, 2012 at 12:35 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

A Skepticalscience Grammaton: "I see someone [i.e., Tom] who is not an expert in a subject claiming a peer reviewed paper is wrong based on their back of the envelope calculation. We see this all the time at SkS. We normally rely on peer reviewed data to support arguments."

Tom: "I am a little prickly at the moment as I am under a lot of pressure, so it is quite possible I have over reacted."

Swallows his Prozium.

Sep 7, 2012 at 1:02 PM | Registered Commentershub

After responding to Dave's ...

I'd argue there is a lot of basis in truth for Prof Lewandowsky linking conspiracy theorising with climate denial (or whatever today's term is).

by saying it struck me as familiar to sentiments I'd seen on SKS, I thought I'd collate a few examples of the similar SKS "pro-science" thinking here ;)

CBDunkerson

I'm surprised by the hub bub. When I first heard of these results my reaction was along the lines of, 'Yes... and the Earth revolves around the Sun and the sky is blue.' The findings of this survey fall into the category of 'blindingly obvious'.

CBDunkerson

Face it. Lewandowsky's survey just stated the obvious.

sout

The study findings should not be surprising to anyone, whether they are a fake skeptic or someone who seriously wants to know facts.

KR

My impression (my opinion only) is that the complaints by GeoffChambers and Foxgoose are driven more by the results of the Lewandowski study than the methodology. Which, in itself, is supportive of Lewandowskis conclusions...

Albatross

Said fake skeptics are doing a brilliant job if behaving just as predicted and demonstrating the very traits they are trying to rail against.

michael sweet

Lewandowsky claims that belief in conspiracy theories in general is correlated with denial of AGW. Is this a surprise to readers who have visited WUWT? I find this conclusion easy to believe, even though the number of responders is low.

michael sweet

I read the Lewandowsky paper and it looks pretty typical to me. The conclusions are not surprising. I have not seen on this thread a single link to a scientific paper that contradicts Lewandowsky's result.

I especially like that last one - since there aren't any scientific papers that support Lewandowsky's specific result either, Lewandowsky's is the first, I wondered how one gets to design a study proving sceptics are normally ideated, or at least create a study showing the believers to equally malignantly ideated? ;)

Maybe Tom Curtis's attitude alone could be enough to balance the above tendency - but as Shub hints Curtis's reprogramming may be underway as we speak!

Sep 7, 2012 at 1:50 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

I think one of Tom Curtis’s accusers actually suggested that you shouldn’t say anything on a SkS thread which hadn’t already been said in a peer reviewed paper. Monbiot once said something rather similar. Some people see this as a sign of the natural Stalinism of watermelons showing through, but I think it’s maybe the opposite - only in Anglo-Saxon countries, where communism and other forms of repression have had a negligible influence - could intelligent people express such a naive faith in the established structures of society. Scientists, like bankers, are above reproach.

I actually think the comments at SkS are not that bad. I’ve just been over there defending Lewandowsky against one of Tom Curtis’s criticisms.

Sep 7, 2012 at 3:36 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

You're a denier!

No I'm not!

See?

Sep 7, 2012 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda Klapp

Fascinating bit of context for undertanding Lewandowsky -- as I posted on another thread, he is not merely biased he is on the extreme end of CAGW hysteria and an uncritical devotee of Mannian religion:

Stephan Lewandowsky reviews Mann's book "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars"

Talk about "motivated reasoning"!

Sep 8, 2012 at 12:27 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Lew’s review of Mann is seriously weird.

Graphs can change the world... Charles Minard's map of Napoleon's 1812 campaign against Russia should be on the wall of every armchair warrior as a sombre reminder of how an initially impressive force can dwindle to a trickling retreat. And in 1998 Professor Michael Mann and colleagues published a graph, known as the "hockeystick," that will forever change how humanity views its future.
I can’t resist changing it round, as publishers do to make a good review:
Professor Michael Mann and colleagues published a graph, known as the "hockeystick," that should be on the wall of every armchair warrior as a sombre reminder of how an initially impressive force can dwindle to a trickling retreat.

Sep 8, 2012 at 9:27 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

The more we see of Professor Lew - the more disturbing it gets.

I'm sure there must be a known category in psychology for people whose idea of debate is to make self-glorifying rhetorical declarations, laced with veiled threats to their enemies and secret messages - followed by silence.

That, together with his chillingly egomaniacal blog title "Shaping Tomorrow's World" - makes it hard to avoid the conclusion that he should be seeking help from some of his academic colleagues.

Perhaps he could take a leaf out of Sigmund Freud's book and embark on a programme of self-analysis; that should keep him out of mischief for a few years - decades even.

Sep 8, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Lewandowsky et alii ("NASA faked the moon landing. Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax:
An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science") seem to endorse conspiracist ideation. They write (Table 2, p. 28) (our highlight):

A powerful and secretive group known as the New World Order are planning to eventually rule the world through an autonomous world government which would replace sovereign governments.
On page 7f Lewandowsky et al. write: "Most of the conspiracy items were adapted from previous research (e.g., Swami et al., 2009)." There is no such item ("A powerful and secretive group known as the New World Order") in Swami et al. 2009 (confer Swami, V., Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Furnham, A. (2009). "Unanswered questions: A preliminary investigation of personality and individual di erence predictors of 9/11 conspiracist beliefs.") but we find the item for instance in a paper by Swami from 2012, entitled "Social Psychological Origins of Conspiracy Theories: The Case of the Jewish Conspiracy Theory in Malaysia", published in Frontiers in Psychology (our highlights):
Conspiracist ideation The Belief in Conspiracy Theories Inventory (Swami et al., 2010, 2011) was used to measure general conspiracist ideation. This is a 15-item measure that describes a range of prominent and internationally recognizable conspiracy theories. (Sample item: “A powerful and secretive group, known as the New World Order, are planning to eventually rule the world through an autonomous world government, which would replace sovereign governments.”)
I suspect the item ("A powerful and secretive group known as the New World Order") stems from Swami 2011 but unfortunately that paper is behind a pay wall.

Let us see if the so-called "group, known as the New World Order" is among "prominent and internationally recognizable conspiracy theories" as Swami claimed apparently in two peer-reviewed papers. I use Google and exclude on the one hand the name "Lewandowsky" and on the other hand "Hulk" and "wrestling" from the search results because Hulk and the professional wrestling stable "New World Order" are not secret groups. The Google result shows exactly 17 hits for the search phrase: "group known as the New World Order" (On the first page of the first ten search results Google claims it found 237.000 matches but on the second page Google ends with hit number 17 (no! conspiracy here; Google misleads its customers all the time). Eight hits refer to the same text about a "group, known as the New World Order" which appeared after Swami's or Lewandowsky's study; one hit refers to Tamino's blog and the UWA survey from 2010; another hit refers to a survey with this obviously spurious survey question; one hit refers to the above mentioned Swami study).

My preliminary conclusion is that Swami and Lewandowsky are misleading with disinformation when they write there would be a "group, known as the New World Order" and that that "group" would be part of a "prominent and internationally recognizable conspiracy theory". And it appears that they endorse conspiracy ideation.

Sep 8, 2012 at 4:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterSeptember 2011

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