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Flushed away

Via Ben Pile we learn that the Lew Paper - the 'Recursive Fury' one, about reactions to the bonkers conspiracy theorists one - has been retracted, or is about to be. It seems that a Dana Nuccitelli post went up at Skeptical Science announcing the paper's end an hour or so ago. The post has now been removed from public view, although Google's cache enables us to see it in all its glory.

...nobody likes being called a conspiracy theorist, and thus climate contrarians really didn't appreciate Recursive Fury.  Very soon after its publication, the journal Frontiers was receiving letters from contrarians threatening libel lawsuits.  In late March 2013, the journal decided to "provisionally remove the link to the article while these issues are investigated."  The paper was in limbo for nearly a full year until Frontiers finally caved to these threats.

In its investigation, the journal found no academic or ethical problems with Recursive Fury.  However, the fear of being sued by contrarians for libel remained.  The University of Western Australia (UWA: Lewandowsky's university when Recursive Fury was published – he later moved to the University of Bristol) also investigated the matter and found no academic, ethical, or legal problems with the paper.  In fact, UWA is so confident in the validity of the paper that they're hosting it on their own servers.

After nearly a year of discussions between the journal, the paper authors, and lawyers on both sides, Frontiers made it clear that they were unwilling to take the risk of publishing the paper and being open to potential frivolous lawsuits.  Both sides have finally agreed to retract Recursive Fury.

It's unfortunate that the Frontiers editors were unwilling to stand behind a study that they admitted was sound from an academic and ethical standpoint, especially since UWA concluded the paper would withstand a legal assault.  Nobody wants to get caught up in a lawsuit, but by caving in here, Frontiers has undoubtedly emboldened climate contrarians to use this tactic again in the future to suppress inconvenient research.  Academics also can't be confident that the Frontiers staff will stand behind them if they publish research in the journal and are subjected to similar frivolous attacks.  Frontiers may very well be worse off having lost the confidence of the academic community than if they had called the bluffs of the contrarians threatening frivolous lawsuits.

Hopefully editors of other climate-related journals will learn from this debacle and refuse to let climate contrarians bully them into suppressing valid but inconvenient research.

The "threat of libel" story is very strange, given that to the best of my knowledge nobody has threatened a libel suit and also, as Ben Pile notes, because a notice at the top of the online version of the paper notes that US Courts have ruled that foreign libel rulings are unenforceable in the USA.

Strangely though, the original paper can still be seen on view at the website of the journal involved, Frontiers in Psychology.

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Reader Comments (101)

The Goat Theory

The Alarmists , Enviromentalists Politicians,Broadsheet Journalist looking for a sensationalist headline ,Advertizers Celebrities they all need a Goat so they can milk that to death like they have with Global Warming.Also add hack opportunist scientices /researchers like Lewandowski just looking for quick funding.

Mar 21, 2014 at 8:14 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

I complained to Frontiers about the ethical conducts and conflicts of interest and vested interestof the authors. I requested my name to be removed fromthe paper. Because one of the authors Marriott, had been writing over a dozen articles attacking the critics of LOG12 during the research period (ie not neutral as cliamed) and more particulalry, had personally attacked me (and others) on his blog Watching the Deniers.. and as such I said this compromised the paper.
I also said because of this it was also in Frontiers best interests to remove this paper for consideration, in light of these issues

I emailed them Marriotts personal attacks about myself and Anthony Watts, labelling us deniers, disinformation, denial Industry, writing 'Verified Bullshit' and worst labelling us with a psychological defect Dunning-Kruger, and he had adulterated an WUWT graphic (my article) with a red rubber stamped 'Verified Bullshit'

These article was endorsed by Skeptical Science, and it transpires that Mariott was also a Skeptical Science insider (writing rebutalls)

and most importantly (I think) I actually spoke to somebody at Zurich. the paper was taken down 30 minutes later to be investigated when I raised my concerns about personal attacks on me, Anthony and others, by a 'researcher on this paper. I do think speaking to people is much better than email, LOTS of people HAD already complained, so that phone call was perhaps just the final straw for a tipping point, to allow Frontiers to make the correct decision to investigate the ethical conduct for themselves, in it's (Frontiers) and the field of psychologies own interests.

I did complain to UWA ethics department, but they found no problems with Marriott's conduct, or the other issues raised about the paper. which says a lot about UWA, I think

Has anybody told Richard Betts yet (he was also named in it, as was Judith Curry))

Mar 21, 2014 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

I think the tweet from "Grumpy Old Wombat" sums up the whole situation perfectly

Bunck of sooky la lahs.

Mar 21, 2014 at 8:41 AM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

geronimo, the paper named names. It had names and associated conspiracy theories listed by table.

Mar 21, 2014 at 8:44 AM | Registered Commentershub

As Steve Mc points out, the pdf file linked by DGH, containing the muddled statement quoted by Leopard, has now disappeared. The claim made in that statement that "the retraction statement can be found here" is not true.
The journal site still has the same announcement that has been there for a year, though it has clearly been edited recently, because someone has garbled the html tags.

geronimo, are you thinking of the wrong paper? The paper under discussion named a lot of people and labelled them as conspiracy theorists. This violated the the ethical standards of the field, which was the main basis of the complaints.

Hilary, as one of the complainers, the journal has not said anything to me.

I urge everyone to exercise caution and not jump to any conclusions from a withdrawn sks post and a withdrawn statement by Lewandowsky.

Mar 21, 2014 at 8:52 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

It's curious that Lew and Frontiers thought they'd get away with such a shockingly bad paper. I wonder if they were lulled into the false idea that sceptics are like politicians, royalty or businesses, who are more worried about letting a story die than fighting against smears? They clearly don't think of us as the underdog because it's very bad form to kick downwards.

Mar 21, 2014 at 8:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I am not a lawyer but:

1) Taking the paper off the Frontiers site doesn't retract or correct the libel. It is a pdf. Everyone who has read it potentially has a copy. If anyone is serious about it, the libel still exists.

2) The truth is always a valid defence (in English law anyway.) The only reason you would worry about libel is if you were lying.

I think the publication need to provide evidence of the threats to show it hasn't been taken down because it wasn't erroneous and unscientific.

Mar 21, 2014 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterClovis Man

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

There exists, according to some sources, a place to which anyone who has had dealings with the Guardian, should be consigned.

In it, sinners guilty of "simple" fraud are punished (that is, fraud that is committed without particularly malicious intent, whereas Malicious or "compound" fraud — fraud that goes against bond of love, blood, honour, or the bond of hospitality — would be punished in the ninth circle). Sinners of this category include counterfeiters, hypocrites, grafters, seducers, sorcerers and simonists.

There in the 9th circle will we find the politicians & those of the likes of the Nuccitellis, who, not being honest men, became good liars, because they never stopped lying to themselves. Such craven creatures have disqualified themselves from the company of men who prize honour and virtue above the external advantages of rank and fortune. They are wilfully perjured individuals who should be banished as outcasts from society & excluded from all consideration.

Who will gainsay me?

Mar 21, 2014 at 9:54 AM | Registered Commenterperry

Sorry, wrong paper, in fact wrong author and wrong topic. Not bad for one post.

Mar 21, 2014 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Please, please, all be careful not to go near to actions like censorship, denial of free speech, expression, curtailment of academic research and the likes. That is a dirty world that others inhabit.

Mar 21, 2014 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

boy, do I stand corrected:

Mar 21, 2014 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Gosh. All the communications to and from Frontiers have been released through FOI.

Mar 21, 2014 at 10:26 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Naming individuals and 'analysing' publicly-offered comments for conspiracy is, or can be, defamatory. Whether the individuals so affected pursue legal action, and whether the journal was influenced by the possibility to undertake its ?imminent retraction, are a different matter.

No existing expert opinion on online research ethics deems naming of individuals necessary to conduct psychologic research. There is a large body of literature and guidance available in this regard. Naming individuals is not encouraged by a single one of them.

Lewandowsky and Cook cannot make their case in the paper without naming specific individuals and circumstances. If the context is removed, the claim of conspiratorial thinking vanishes. If the conspiracy characterization has to be demonstrated, explaining who said what (person, time and context) is necessary. Consequently, this is not psychologic research, where the so-called forms of conspiracist ideation are abstracted from de-identified text, but the dressing-up of a specific dispute Lewandowsky had with his critics as academic theory.

Mar 21, 2014 at 10:59 AM | Registered Commentershub

Lewandowsky received his Wolfson/BIS award for his project titled:

"The (mis)information revolution: information seeking and knowledge transmission which addresses how people navigate the blizzard of information with which we are faced on a daily basis, not all of which is accurate or truthful."

Given that he accepted this award, I'd suggest that since he has had material withdrawn that was published as a clear and calculated attempt to misinform the public, his position is untenable and his award of PUBLIC MONEY must be returned.

Mar 21, 2014 at 11:04 AM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

A few quick comments on the desmog FOI. It's interesting to learn that Frontiers convened a team of "senior academics" to evaluate the complaints.

In one of the closing emails (page 3), Frontiers asked UWA for particulars of the university's supposed investigation of the events, with a good list of questions. However, the university's response to the journal is not shown.

According to the desmog FOI, the UWA notified Frontiers on May 1, 2013 that they had found no research misconduct. (I received a short letter a few days later dismissing my complaint.) I had submitted a detailed complaint to UWA on April 5, 2013. It's hard to picture a thorough investigation being completed in three weeks, particularly since Lewandowsky was then already in England.

It doesn't show the actaul request. The release doesn't contain any correspondence to or from Lewandowsky or Cook, for example.

Mar 21, 2014 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

I had I think an identical email from UWA, following their investigation

My complaint was purely ethics related. and the response from UWA, addressed none of my concerns whatsoever.

Mar 21, 2014 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Pile...Lew paper...fnarr, fnarr!

Mar 21, 2014 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterRightwinggit

Brandon says he thinks the FOI was just to UWA, not to both UWA and Frontiers as claimed by Redfearn. (The Frontiers emails in the file could have also gone to UWA or been forwarded).
If this is the case, then Richard T would not have to "stand corrected".

The story is now at retraction watch.

"A year after being clumsily removed from the web following complaints, a controversial paper about “the possible role of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of science” is being retracted."

Mar 21, 2014 at 11:48 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

@Paul M
I always thought that the emails I send are subject to FOIA, but the emails I receive are not. That is, if you want to know the sh*te Bob Ward sends me, you need to FOIA LSE rather than U Sussex.

Here we see emails SENT by Frontiers.

Mar 21, 2014 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

The 2011 "Debunking Handbook" by Lewandowsky and Cook begins:-

It’s self-evident that democratic societies should base their decisions on accurate information. On many issues, however, misinformation can become
entrenched in parts of the community, particularly when vested interests are involved. Reducing the influence of misinformation is a difficult and complex challenge.

By Lewandowsky's own beliefs, the damage caused by the myths in the "Recursive Fury" paper will live on.

Kevin Marshall - "Manicbeancounter"

Mar 21, 2014 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

Problem #3 with warmist case for CAGW : "Low level of INTEGRITY"
.. Rather than apologise & correct they try to PR spin their way out of mistakes. And media & science bodies let us/science down by playing along *
.. Yet when skeptics are shown to have made a mistake they own up quickly, apologise and fix the problem, so I trust them much more.

* upmost respect to Tol, and all the others who don't just play along.

Since projection is the main characteristic of warmist activists, some student may want to analyse/compare the tactics of those activists and 1970s tobacco companies.

Mar 21, 2014 at 12:38 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

With regard to the University of Bristol, I keep the Vice Chancellor and Lewy's boss informed of all such as the above. They haven't responded since noting that they were quite happy with Lewy's academic status (WTF has happened to our Universities), but it seems a courtesy to keep them abreast of matters such as this.

Mar 21, 2014 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Lewandowsky hits back

Mar 21, 2014 at 12:42 PM | Registered CommenterGrantB

Professor Lewandowsky knew the retraction was coming, as he made a video about it 6 days ago

the video I note, is credited as University of Bristol (which make it theirs as well)

Video, is linked on the Retracation Watch article about Fury being retracted
I have added a comment there, and at Shaping tomorrows world. (Lew's blog - ref my 'ethics' complaint)

Mar 21, 2014 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

I am not a lawyer but:

1) Taking the paper off the Frontiers site doesn't retract or correct the libel. It is a pdf. Everyone who has read it potentially has a copy. If anyone is serious about it, the libel still exists.

2) The truth is always a valid defence (in English law anyway.) The only reason you would worry about libel is if you were lying.

Mar 21, 2014 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterClovis Man

Also my interpretation as well, the only difference is the level of damages due to the different numbers of people reading the paper between an unpublished draft and a fully published paper.

Mar 21, 2014 at 12:54 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

A comment on points made by Richard Tol and Paul Matthews about the FOI. After reviewing the documents, it seems certain to me that the documents were produced by the UWA, not Frontiers (which is private). UWA appears to have been asked to produce their correspondence with Frontiers and to have done so. In some cases, emails to Frontiers have been forwarded to UWA - some pages start partway down and forwarding details may have been redacted.

Mar 21, 2014 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

There are a number of mistakes in the deSmogBlog article which revealed the FOI material from UWA.
First, Redfearn says “the FOI covers complaints sent to Perth-based UWA and also to Frontiers”. In fact it only covers the complaints to Frontiers that were forwarded to UWA. Frontiers is a private company and can't be FOAed.
Then Redfearn gets the date of his own article on the Lewandowsky affair wrong, claiming to have written about it in May 2012 when the correct date is September.
He's unfair to Lewandowsky's co-authors Cook and Marriott who did the “Discourse Analysis” when he says: “The researchers looked at 69 responses posted on 10 skeptic blogs”. In fact that they claimed to have looked at thousands of responses on dozens of blogs, and quoted a couple of hundred in the supplemental material. True, they looked on the wrong blogs in the wrong time frame, garbled and misattributed quotes, and lied about their critics when the errors were pointed out. but they weren't so stupid as to accuse scores of named individuals of suffering from paranoiac symptoms such as feelings of persecution on the basis of 69 responses. Only Redfearn could do that.
Under the heading “Gagging Orders and Libel Threats” Redfearn links to my letter of complaint to Frontiers (which isn't in the FOI material, since the FOI request was to UWA, and only includes complaints to Frontiers that were quoted in complaints to UWA) and quotes me as saying that the articles was defamatory of myself. But calling the article defamatory is not a libel threat. It's just my polite way of pointing out that it's a bunch of lies based on mangled truncated quotes attributed to the wrong people in an arbitrary and mendacious fashion by three stooges who couldn't survey their way out of a pile of kangaroo poo and a professor at a prestigious Austrian university who should know better.
(PS Steve's Note 3 minutes ago has it right)

Mar 21, 2014 at 1:15 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

I'll reproduce the comment I made under Lewandowsky's article about the retraction at Shaping Tomorrows world.

Barry Woods at 23:01 PM on 21 March, 2014
I wrote to Frontiers about my concerns about ethical conduct and conflicts of interest and vested interest of the one or more of the authors. In particular, I requested my name to be removed from the paper's data set, Because one of the authors Marriott, (Watching the Deniers blog) had been writing over a dozen articles attacking the critics of LOG12 during the research period (ie not neutral as claimed) and more particularly, had personally attacked me, naming me (and others) on his blog Watching the Deniers.. and as such I said this compromised the paper.

I made the point,to UWA and Frontiers, as my name was merely in the data set, but not referenced in the main paper, the removal of my name should have no impact on the paper. and given the circumstances I thought this was a reasonable request.

I also said because of this it was also in Frontiers best interests to remove this paper for consideration, in light of these issues

I emailed Frontiers, links to Marriott's personal attacks about myself and Anthony Watts, labelling us deniers, disinformation, denial Industry, writing ‘Verified Bullshit’ and worst labelling us with a psychological defect Dunning-Kruger, and he had adulterated an WUWT graphic (my article) with a red rubber stamped ‘Verified Bullshit’

This article I found was was endorsed by Skeptical Science, and it transpires that Mariott was also a Skeptical Science insider (writing rebutalls)- John Cook the founder of Skeptical Science, also being an author on this paper.

I did write to UWA ethics department, asking for my name to be removed from the paper, in light of Marriot’s conduct, as initially a reasonable request not a complaint. It was only when a complaint seemed to be the only way forward, that I made it a complaint

(I also repeated it had no impact on the paper, and this should be a simple request for UWA/ and the lead author to fulfill, given the circumstances) but UWA found no problems with Marriott’s conduct, or the other issues I raised about the paper, which says a lot about UWA, I think

From the FOI request for ethics approval for this paper, the ethics secretary directed professor Lewandowsky to a UWA webpage.

(extract from)

The page contains a ‘risk assessment checklist’ to guide researchers to whether a planned study would need ethics approval. It has these questions:

1 Active concealment of information from participants and/or planned deception of participants

2 Will participants be quoted or be identifiable, either directly or indirectly, in reporting of the research?

3 Will data that can identify an individual (or be used to re-identify an individual) be obtained from databanks, databases, tissue banks or other similar data sources?

4 Might the research procedures cause participants psychological or emotional distress?
5 Does the research involve covert observation?

The answer is a ‘Yes’ to many of these questions. ’Participants’ declared to be conspiratorial by Lewandowsky are directly identified by name in the paper. The element of covert observation is undeniable.

so I do think ethics approval went a bit wrong with this paper.

Mar 21, 2014 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Perhaps it was Readfearn who submitted the FOI to UWA. Although a Lancastrian who immigrated to Oz in 2005, I presume he is an Australian citizen and is therefore entitled to submit an FOI request.

Whoever it was, they have done a service. I've only browsed them but the complaints are polite and civilised, unlike the slagging off seen in the Climategate emails.

Mar 21, 2014 at 1:29 PM | Registered CommenterGrantB

The paper is still on full view at the US government's National Institutes of Health (NIH) site:

I wonder if they're going to do something. Maybe someone who knows how to write a letter ought to get them up to speed on developments.

Mar 21, 2014 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterkcom

Lew has surpassed himself in the article linked by GrantB above, adding sadism to paranoia and persecution mania as psychological symptoms of his critics. If this what he he's like under a gagging order, what might he not do once the muzzle is off? Reply to his critics perhaps? Answer the charge of repeated lying made by Barry Woods, me and Steve McIntyre?

Instead, he suggests that his article has been withdrawn because of fear of libel threats. He doesn't give any evidence, but the article at deSmogBlog which quotes the gagged Lewandowsky cites as evidence the tone of McIntyre's letter of complaint and my use of the word “defamatory”.
That's it folks. One stern critical letter from a respected blogger and one polite but critical word from an obscure and vulgar one, and academic freedom is under threat. Does Lew's paranoia know no bounds?

Mar 21, 2014 at 2:03 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

..and in a link entitled “This is not the first time that legal fears have led to the withdrawal of a paper” Lew makes the parallel between the withdrawal of his paper and the withdrawal of a paper on satanic ritual abuse.
Before you get the wrong idea, he's not comparing us sceptics to satanic ritual abusers. The victim of academic censorship in this case was a psychologist who had dared to accuse fellow academics of falling victim to a case of mass academic hysteria over a non-existent threat. The comparison is interesting, but I don't think it establishes the point Lewandowsky wants to make.

Mar 21, 2014 at 2:04 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Steve McIntyre (1:26 AM):

I urge Andrew and readers not to take the position that the journal's decision to regard themselves having potential legal liability as "very strange". Better to commend the journal for their belated decision to do the right thing by retracting the article.

Just catching up on this - and I admit I find the details of the 'Lew-dunnit' elusive and always have. But, following my facetious earlier comment, this was when the music restarted for me. Always better to commend, whenever the facts allow.

Mar 21, 2014 at 2:13 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

The clowns at Frontiers have edited it again, getting rid of one html error and replacing it with another. But the text remains the same as for about a year, "The article has not been retracted or withdrawn".

At the same time the official retraction notice is here.

One for Schrodingers cat I think?

Mar 21, 2014 at 2:31 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Once more, with feeling.

Mar 21, 2014 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Lest the tortious meander over criminality.

Mar 21, 2014 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

The retraction notice is up at Frontiers now - not at the link UWA header indicated -

Retraction of the Original Research Article: Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation by Stephan Lewandowsky, John Cook, Klaus Oberauer and Michael Marriott Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00073 In the light of a small number of complaints received following publication of the original research article cited above, Frontiers carried out a detailed investigation of the academic, ethical and legal aspects of the work. This investigation did not identify any issues with the academic and ethical aspects of the study. It did, however, determine that the legal context is insufficiently clear and therefore Frontiers wishes to retract the published article. The authors understand this decision, while they stand by their article and regret the limitations on academic freedom which can be caused by legal factors. - See more at:

I notice that the original UWA header statement claiming "continued attempts to suppress inconvenient science" does not appear, although it looks like Frontiers been asked by the the authors to get their version of that statement in this more passive voice

"[The authors] regret the limitations on academic freedom which can be caused by legal factors"

definitely not as strong and may explain Dana Nuccitelli's rather petulant sounding heading: "Frontiers Bails Out" ;)

Mar 21, 2014 at 3:29 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Remarkable, they 'did not identify' and seem to regret that academic freedom doesn't include license to libel.

Mar 21, 2014 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

The entire idea behind the paper was frankly a 'bit mad ' the idea you can base such claims on blogs, the cat litter tray of knowledge, makes as much sense has claiming little green men are out to get you.
In reality it was a reaction from AGW proponents to the fact that their losing badly on the WWW and their need to come up with a reason that is was due to, ironically, a conspiracy and not that it was their message and behaviour, which was the problem.
Lew is in his way a ‘typical’ climate scientists, poor academic ability combined with massive ego and willingness to do ‘anything ‘to support the cause. Like a good old fashioned religious fanatic, how he must regret not being able to burn the ‘unbelievers’ at the stake like in the good old days.

Mar 21, 2014 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Surely NathanD exhibits everything Lew was talking about that us "deniers" show all the time (wild conspiracy about Big Bad Dirty Oil funding deniers!!!!)?


Mar 21, 2014 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman


" the idea you can base such claims on blogs, the cat litter tray of knowledge, makes as much sense has claiming little green men are out to get you."
Meow. Welcome to the "cat litter tray."

Mar 21, 2014 at 5:05 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

johanna, I've already taken his little nugget and pawed it all over the place.

Mar 21, 2014 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

purrrr ...

Mar 21, 2014 at 5:42 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Those pesky limitations about using faux statistics, phony surveys and made up numbers are so very inconvenient.
Their retraction excuse says a lot about the magazine, and none of it is good.

Mar 21, 2014 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

The real point though, is that the notion of an alleged conspiracy theory by sceptics is a blatant strawman.

This is because the state is both the funder of the climate science that speaks of dangerous man-made warming, and stands to benefit handsomely from public belief in this very danger its tirelessly preaches of. What is thus plain for all to see, is that the state's behavior is explained by simple self-interest.

Indeed the reverse is true - the only conspiracy theorists are those who claim that state-funded climate science is on the level. Because implicit in that claim is the notion that some cabal must secretly be directing efforts towards objectivity, and hence away from their paymaster's best interests.

Mar 22, 2014 at 7:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterTuppence

It is fun to watch the SkS gang, and Lewandowsky and Cook in particular, act out in great dramatic detail the very things they accuse skeptics of. They have gotten Frontier to join in for free, to top it off. And the attention they have drawn to themselves can only get more people to realize what a bunch of unpleasant kooks they are. Lewandowsky could become the Doug Cotton of psychology at this rate.

Mar 22, 2014 at 9:08 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Odds on how long this comment will survive at the Guardian?

BarryJWoods thelonggrass

22 March 2014 12:48pm



In the case of LOG12 paper you need to look at the data as well not just the percentages.. or the statitistics...

out of 1300 responses to an anonymous online survey, held at 7 blogs that hated sceptics, there were 4 responses (4 people not 4 %) that said moon landing was a hoax.

just 4 people.

all the blog owners having contributed to Skeptical Science (by the way, so John's mates)

given that here were comments under the blogs in question saying they didn't think the deniers would be dumb enough not to realise what the survey was trying to show.

or that some respondents that filled the survey out 'had fun' with the responses..

perhaps you can see why the title of the paper

NASA faked the Moon landing, therefore [climate] science is a hoax. - Lewandowsky et al - Psychological Science

was thought to be provocative, and just a piece of messaging in the 'climate wars'

take a look at the comments under the survey, at 6 of the blog (unity did not allow comments, and the survey was never held at Skeptical science)

and ask yourself, how much fun did the readers of these anti-sceptic blogs have with this anonymous survey?

Yeah, those conspiracy theory questions were pretty funny, but does anyone think that hardcore deniers are going to be fooled by such a transparent attempt to paint them as paranoids?

Also, here are two words that, when put together, ought to make anyone critical of this research: “online” and “survey”.

Prof Lewandosky did not put the direct links to the surveys into his paper's supplementary material (just the domain name) perhaps because a lot of comments were less than complimentary (and these were anti-sceptic blogs)

Mar 22, 2014 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Lew and Lewis Carroll.

Mar 23, 2014 at 4:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterBeth Cooper

The paper was clearly a personal vendetta dressed up as academic research. It was an abuse of the system, akin to Soviet psychiatry. It should never have seen the light of day in any serious journal. It's disappointing that the retraction notice was so mealy-mouthed.

Mar 23, 2014 at 4:54 AM | Unregistered Commenterkcom

I have nothing of real substance to contribute, other than to say it pushes the number of posts to an even 100. And as we all know the bigger a number looks the more settled the science is.

Mar 23, 2014 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterjbirks

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