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« Fracking green - Josh 334 | Main | Met Office still brazen »

Sokal hypothesis confirmed

Well, you really can't keep a good man down! Having written a bizarre paper ("Moon Landing") that drew conclusions from a sample size of zero,  having then written a follow up paper ("Recursive Fury") that libelled anyone who thought that his first effort was at all odd, and, moreover, found that the head of climate impacts at the Met Office was a conspiracy theorist, Stefan Lewandowsky was ultimately forced to retract the latter.

Undeterred, the great man has decided to put this magnum opus to good use, apparently setting out to confirm the Sokal "no-threshold" hypothesis for publishing gibberish in academic journals. Yes folks, he has managed to get "Fury" republished, this time at the open-access Journal of Social and Political Psychology, triumphantly confirming that there is no paper too daft to be published in the peer-reviewed literature.

You just have to laugh. Academia eh?


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Reader Comments (45)

Doh, this will spoil my enjoyment of the video of the earlier rejection.

Jul 8, 2015 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Its is amazing what you can do with friends in low places , of course with Paris coming up it was not unexpected that there would be a push to 'Lew Paper's ' work published somewhere as its 'needed'

That worthless nonsense, setting side its ethics issues which shot it down , is held up has an icon of the CAGW dogma, shows how poor this dogma is in the first place . For if you case is so strong you do not need to even use rubbish this , and the infamous 97%, is in the first place. If the best they can offer is not even good enough to be the worst of any other area , just how bad are they ?

Jul 8, 2015 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Lewandowsky, the mannian who found the alarmists were gullible and change their view of the data when they were told it was something different whereas sceptics tend to maintain the same view of the data irrespective of what some researcher told them it was.

The conspiracy ideationist who believes some dark force is behind us sceptics.

He whose only real contribution to knowledge is to have re-invented the "grand lie" - that if you tell an enormous whopper often enough - then even if you are eventually forced to retract it some people are gullible enough to still believe the lie.

The world has not seen such intellectual genius of his calibre & morality for 70 years.

Jul 8, 2015 at 10:06 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Perhaps he figured that if he republishes it then the Royal Society will give him another award. I wouldn't rule it out.

Jul 8, 2015 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

For a bloke who doesn't know which way is up, he's got an awful lot to say.

But I wonder, who if anyone is really listening, talking to yourself - and isn't that a sign of madness?

Jul 8, 2015 at 10:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Oh let's see. Just yesterday I read about Dr. Ivar Giaever, a Nobel Prize-Winner for physics - so not only a Nobel winner but unlike Lewandowsky who has no qualification to speak on climate, Ivar Giaever has a degree relevant to atmospheric physics. And this is what he says:

“I would say that basically global warming is a non-problem,”

“When you have a theory and the theory does not agree with the experiment then you have to cut out the theory. You were wrong with the theory,” Giaever explained.

Global Warming ‘a new religion’

Giaever said his climate research was eye opening. “I was horrified by what I found” after researching the issue in 2012, he noted.

“Global warming really has become a new religion. Because you cannot discuss it. It’s not proper. It is like the Catholic Church.”

But apparently Lewandowsky disagrees ... no doubt believing that Ivar is funded by "dark forces" ... and who told Lewandowsky this?

Was it aliens?

Jul 8, 2015 at 10:20 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

"Global Warming a non-problem" but unfortunately the individuals exploiting it are.

Jul 8, 2015 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

So when you have to go back to your parliaments (Reichstags etc) and say that all the money is lost that you gave to Greece whats the response....oh, please do it again? Similar to the Climate cr*p I suppose, repeatedly arched right up and over the wall!

Time will tell...too much unfortunately.

Jul 8, 2015 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx- expat Colin

Is it true? Is he really Joseph Goebells' love child? He certainly loves his brainwashing/conspiracy theories! Tarring we sceptics with the same brush. Bet you any money you like they'll hold a psychiatrists weekned conference down in Exeter before too long, to discuss AGW scepticism as a mental illness.....................Doh, they've alreay done that!

Jul 8, 2015 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Jamspid: "Global Warming a non-problem" but unfortunately the individuals exploiting it are."

Most of them now seem to be so busy fire-fighting trying to slow down the roll back of subsidies/grants and stop politicians looking too deeply at all the money they are getting, that they don't seem to have much time left to cause problems.

Jul 8, 2015 at 11:03 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Lewandowsky is a dangerous man in the coward sense of the word. Behind the scenes, he has tirelessly threatened and harassed many people to make this happen.

Everyone knows this and his previous paper are not only baseless but unethical. Lewandowsky's victory is to prevent anyone from publicly saying so. Anyone on "his side", of course.

Much like Oreskes does. Their objective is the intimidation of their own people through the lynching of others, others that have been selected because they cannot defend themselves.

Jul 8, 2015 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

Brute: in a sense I'm quite pleased this paper got published, because it proves all we sceptics have been saying about "peer review". Now when parliaments hold their inquiries and someone says: "but it was all peer reviewed", all one need do is point to this Lewandowsky paper.

Jul 8, 2015 at 11:16 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

It really matters little what oddballs like Lew say: what matters is what Obama, Cameron and the presidents and prime ministers of the developed world say. And unfortunately they are not listening to the powerful arguments made by the few, highly qualified and brave sceptical scientists They are just continuing to mouth the CAGW propaganda generated by the IPCC. Climate change, we are told by senior politicians, is the world's greatest threat, it is even a greater threat than Islamic terrorism. What we have to determine is why do these politicians find it so easy and useful to heap praise and honours on to the warmist academia? Whilst ignoring the better reasoned and empirically backed advice from sceptical academics?

Jul 8, 2015 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

The embrace of Lewandowsky by climate scientists with relevant credentials is a very bad sign of where the science has gone. Rather than consider evidence, and debate interpretations of evidence, they embrace a theory to the effect that anyone who questions the orthodoxy is a bad person, or crazy.

The way all of this has shaped academia, the media and (to a lesser extent, fortunately) the minds of the public is even more troubling. Boomers had a certain tendency to live evidence-free when they were young, because they knew there were a lot of them, they would probably get away with it, and life should be fun. (Moral indignation can be fun). Now that they're old, they're not exactly more likely to do the hard work of sifting through evidence, when they would prefer to keep re-heating their old platitudes.

Jul 8, 2015 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterLloyd R

It is embarrassing that a British academic institution is proud to be paying this man to trash openminded thinking. It proves that anything can be peer reviewed, if you choose and approve your peers very carefully.

Hopefully Lewandowsky will become a great example to students and universities around the world, on how to destroy credibility.

Jul 8, 2015 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

What I must love about Lew paper is the why is underlining message , that CAGW sceptics are conspiracy nuts and CAGW are not , is undermined by his own claims of 'evil fossil fuel funded conspiracy' that in public many CAGW advocates are 9/11 truthers etc and his own work which showed that more people thought the moon landings were a hoax are CAGW supporters than CAGW sceptics..

Although such 'you could not get further from the truth' approaches are a standard part of climate 'science' they remain hilarious.

Jul 8, 2015 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Ho, hum.....

Still waiting for my cheque from Big Oil/Coal......

What about you guys..? You too, eh..?

Jul 8, 2015 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

As an eyewitness ( along with John Maddox ) to the Sokal-Latour debate at the LSE, I have a duty to remind the Bish that he is grossly misrepresenting Sokal's criterion .

The 'threshold' pertained to his successful effort to demonstrate that postmodern literary theory had grown too tendentious for its scientifically illiterate practitioners to recognize their own capacity for self-parody.

While that may fairly describe both sides in the Climate Wars, the hypothesis Sokal applied was articulated decades earlier by critic Kenneth Burke in <I> A Rhetoric Of Motives , and in the work of Snow and McLuhan.

Jul 8, 2015 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

@ Peter Stroud Jul 8, 2015 at 11:25 AM

You're right of course, however such posturing from presidents and prime ministers only lasts as long as each person holds meaningful office. The Republicans will shred any legally binding effort from Obama and should they win their next election all US climate bets are off. Over here Cameron is DEFINITELY reigning back on delivering his green agenda.

Without a doubt they've studied the figures and realised wind and solar would be the ruination of this country, hence they're stopping onshore wind, rolling back subsidies, reducing 'carbon' targets and ceasing unilateral emissions cuts. All that and they're tippy-toeing towards shale at a pace designed not to agitate the green blob. Sure, they TALK a good game and occasionally pass projects like the Swansea tidal barrier to maintain the subterfuge, (Cameron is a PR spin man, remember) but they're clearly not delivering anything like what the greens are demanding.

In short, we've reached Peak Green.

There is NO way senior politicians aren't achingly aware (because of the undeniable fact of the observed Pause and regardless of what we do, there's BRICs) that they've been grievously duped. Mark my words, 'The Retreat' is already discretely underway.

PS. If Osborne does well these next 3 years or so he'll be odds-on the next PM (which will infuriate the Left) and he's definitely aware of the real implications of green stupidity. Once he's in office he can call his own shots sans Cameron.

Jul 8, 2015 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Further to the above, it seems Osborne is already on the case. (And no, I hadn't seen this GWPG article before posting the above. Honest!)

Jul 8, 2015 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Beware Greeks bearing financial advice.

Beware Lewandowsky bearing anything.

Jul 8, 2015 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Russell: "I have a duty to remind the Bish that he is grossly misrepresenting Sokal's criterion."

I love sceptics - never fail to provide intelligent critical evaluation.

And alarmists like Lewandowsky think we all work for BIG OIL!

Jul 8, 2015 at 12:30 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

For all of his talk..

Prof Lewandowsky has vindicated the complainants.. (no people are named,)
He has apprently accepted not ethically acceptable to name people.
which was one of the main concerns of the paper.

However: (and I have made this comment at his blog)

Barry Woods at 21:08 PM on 8 July, 2015
Hmmm - table three now has anonymous ID's... (instead of names)
(thus at least one ethics concern HAS been accepted and addressed)

but as Recursive Fury was the most downloaded paper (Stephan's own words), which had table 3, with the people actually named...

It isn't really that anonymous now even now...

Perhaps, now this is published, you should take down the original from here:

I was amused by this though (from the new paper):

"Conversely, a peer-reviewed critique of LOG12 and LGO13 has recently appeared in print (Dixon & Jones, 2015) (accompanied by a rejoinder; Lewandowsky, Gignac, & Oberauer, 2015),which exhibited none of the features of conspiratorial ideation that we report in this article and which involved authors that were not part of the blogosphere examined here. Crucially, such academic discourse, however critical,does not involve the attempt to silence inconvenient voices, which has become an increasingly clearly stated goal of elements of the climate “skeptic” blogosphere."

ref: "and which involved authors that were not part of the blogosphere examined here"

Jones and Dixon were very much involved in the blogosphere with respect to this paper and are well know climate sceptics (Jones FOI'd the Climate Research Unit,( and eventually won) when they refused to supply data, he did this on basic scientific principle, when Climate Audit was refused CRU's data. And from the climateate emails, showed how the scientist were discussing how to deal with J Jones and Don Keiller, (having words with their university's)

Prof J Jones even gets quoted in Mark Steyn's book, criticizing Michael Mann, Ruth Dixon has a well respected blog, and Jonathan Jones has comments in the blogosphere about LOG12 quite often during the period (Climate Audit and Bishop Hill)

an example recently being this (at Climate Audit)

Prof J Jones:

"From one point of view there are only four things wrong with the original LOG13-blogs paper. Unfortunately those four things are the design of the experiment, the implementation of the data collection, the analysis of the data, and the reporting of the results. As a consequence of this interlinked network of ineptitude it is very difficult to disentangle all the errors from each other.

The LGO13-panel paper, by comparison, is much better. The design is relatively standard: no worse than many papers in the field. The implementation is still very poor (see for example the discussion at our post on satisficing), but it’s not so bad as to render the data completely useless. The analysis is still incorrect, but this time it is possible to tease out how and why it is incorrect, rather than just noting that it’s all a horrible mess. The reporting is still poor, but that doesn’t matter for a reanalysis.

So the original point of our comment was to see what we could say about the analysis of the data from LGO13-panel. Somewhat to our surprise we found that, once we knew what to look for, the same analysis also worked for LOG13-blogs, albeit not so clearly because of the appalling skew in that dataset. We don’t say much about other issues, not because we don’t believe they are important, but simply because it’s best in a comment to pick one important issue, where the argument can be made very clearly, and then run with it." - Prof Jonathan Jones

Prof Henry Markram (co founder of Frontiers) explains why he retracted recursive Fury)

"The studied subjects were explicitly identified in the paper without their consent. It is well acknowledged and accepted that in order to protect a subject’s rights and avoid a potentially defamatory outcome, one must obtain the subject’s consent if they can be identified in a scientific paper. The mistake was detected after publication, and the authors and Frontiers worked hard together for several months to try to find a solution. In the end, those efforts were not successful. The identity of the subjects could not be protected and the paper had to be retracted. Frontiers then worked closely with the authors on a mutually agreed and measured retraction statement to avoid the retraction itself being misused. From the storm this has created, it would seem we did not succeed.

For Frontiers, publishing the identities of human subjects without consent cannot be justified in a scientific paper. Some have argued that the subjects and their statements were in the public domain and hence it was acceptable to identify them in a scientific paper, but accepting this will set a dangerous precedent. With so much information of each of us in the public domain, think of a situation where scientists use, for example, machine learning to cluster your public statements and attribute to you personality characteristics, and then name you on the cluster and publish it as a scientific fact in a reputable journal. While the subjects and their statements were public, they did not give their consent to a public psychological diagnosis in a scientific study. Science cannot be abused to specifically label and point out individuals in the public domain." - Markram

Jul 8, 2015 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Barry Woods, ignoring his beliefs on any subject, how do you score Lewandowsky's techniques in corrupting the scientific method, honesty, and deceitfulness?

I score him 10 out of 10. A true champion, like Lance Armstrong.

Jul 8, 2015 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@Barry Woods

Lewandowsky has shown what can only be described as a consistent hatred toward sceptics in his work.

And far acting ethically, he has used ideas in his paper to mount a series of politically motivated attacks dressed up as "research" which are clearly intended to discredit us by repeating knowingly false statements about us sceptics.

He has done this despite the fact that after 18 years without significant warming the evidence is clearly on our side, that many worthy people are sceptics and despite the fact that most sceptics are far more qualified than Lewandowsky to discuss the merits of climate theories and whether or not they fit the data.

In my view his work has no credibility, he personally has no ethical or moral compass and I have other concerns about him which I don't think would be fair to raise in an open forum.

I cannot imagine how any University deems him a fit person to do any kind of research involving members of the public.

Jul 8, 2015 at 12:52 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

You've go to give the guy credit for urinating on two different fields of study with such enthusiasm. He's going to provide fodder for entertaining lectures when the climate change furore is studied. The students will be wondering if Dr Lew was actualy a computer generated lown character or some kind of TV prank.

Jul 8, 2015 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

golf charlie makes the great point,
Lewandowsky is to science what Lance Armstrong is to sports.

Jul 8, 2015 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter


"I have other concerns about him which I don't think would be fair to raise in an open forum."

I'm not sure he's someone it's possible to be unfair to. Do tell!

Jul 8, 2015 at 1:08 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

hunter, with this paper, Lewandowsky just passed another dope test, with top marks.

Jul 8, 2015 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

comments are open.....

......but don’t ever expect a reply....

“Engagement of so-called skeptics is ill-advised,” Stephan Lewandowsky, a psychology professor at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom told me recently. “It is a hopeless task to try to talk to them and change their minds.”

Jul 8, 2015 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Nothing so recursive as Lew's fury.

Jul 8, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeth Cooper

Mike Haseler's indifference to what Alan Sokal has to say about self parody makes Mike Haseler Alan Sokal's lawful prey.

Jul 8, 2015 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell


Your indifference to what Lewandowsky has to say is quite revealing, too.

Jul 8, 2015 at 2:00 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

vvussell, you would rather attack people who post here, than defend Lewandowsky because you know how wrong he is? Good to note you have learned a bit about science in your time here.

Jul 8, 2015 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Mike Haseler at 12.52 pm:

"I cannot imagine how any University deems him a fit person to do any kind of research involving members of the public."

It is the sort of University that, as part of The University of Bristol Centenary Campaign, sent alumni a few weeks ago a magazine which contains the following article: "Building resilience - Conversations about climate change often focus on developed countries and low-carbon solutions. But for small island states in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, like St Lucia or Fiji, rising sea levels and extreme weather are already a reality.
PhD student, T S (MEd 2008, PhD 2014-) is exploring how these communities are coping with these changes by talking to climate change experts, community leaders and schoolchildren in these regions.
"We have much to learn from their collective experience," explains T. "Their insight (largely absent from international literature) will provide researchers and policymakers with powerful real-life examples. One of my objectives is to consider ways these can be introduced to the wider international development community."
T's PhD is collectively funded by alumni donations to the Centenary Campaign .................
Clever girl, T. I hope she remembers the factor 50!
It was a very different university fifty years ago. Although there was a chap called Dr Severn building a model of a Severn barrage!

Jul 8, 2015 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

I think Green Blob Climate Science has entered the Twilight Zone, where you can expect Tales of the Unexpected.

Who would have thought that Lewandowsky would inject new life into the Living Dead Zombie paper? Like Frankenstein's evil monster, it threatens the credibility and life of its own creator. Stumbling and muttering incoherently, bludgeoning science, and innocent bystanders, Lewandowsky will trample through science promoting his fabricated genius, trailed behind him.

Just when people thought it was safe to return to Paris, the evil monster from the green lagoon returns.

Jul 8, 2015 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The Guardian has fallen for this hook, line and stinker.

Jul 8, 2015 at 2:57 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

“It is a hopeless task to try to talk to them and change their minds.”

Do you know what? He's right, it is a bloomin' bloody hopeless task, that's where me and Lewlew agree.

Truly, it's a helluva job trying to convince people................................. who recognize, factor and can conceive of the truth - there's just no persuading them - no sirreeee.

Jul 8, 2015 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

M Courtney, do you think Dana Nuccitelli constitutes an independent, unbiased individual, without any financial interest in Lewandowsky's earning potential?

I just couldn't help notice Dana referencing work he did have an interest in. Obviously climate science is like a dwindling pool, where the small fry have been swallowed by the bigger fish, and the bigger fish are wary of the predatory monsters.

I commend you for posting in the Grauniad's comic section.

Jul 8, 2015 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I got my cheque last Spetember from Big Oil, £45.10 from the heating oil company when I moved house! So they are telling the truth, aren't they?

Jul 8, 2015 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Do University of Bristol Academics have a bet to see who can get the most stupid paper reviewed in the Guardian, without allegations of misconduct?

A good review from Dana Nuccitelli must be considered a "good omen" in climate science, a bit like having a particularly lucky piece of seaweed, in the shape of a four-leafed horse shoe.

Jul 8, 2015 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"...[T]alking to yourself - ...isn't that a sign of madness?" -- Athelstan

I said that very thing to myself just the other day.

"I think Green Blob Climate Science has entered the Twilight Zone, where you can expect Tales of the Unexpected." --golf charlie

Not totally unexpected. It was clear that AGWism would take this path from the Climategate Papers, which gave us a look into the minds behind "Climate Science" groupthink. This is just more of "what Lysenko spawned."

"...I have made this comment at his blog," --Barry Woods

He's spelt shaggin' wrong, Barry.

Jul 8, 2015 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Actually, Lew could quite easily change sceptics' minds. All he has to do is come up with some convincing evidence.

Oh, wait a minute - I think I see his problem...

Jul 8, 2015 at 8:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Peacock

From the Journal's Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement

Disclosure and conflicts of interest
All authors should include a statement disclosing any financial or other substantive conflicts of
interest that may be construed to influence the results or interpretation of their manuscript.

If you published a paper titled NASA faked the moon landing:Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science and folks pointed out that less than 1% of respondents believed in the conspiracy in the title (10/1145), would it not be a conflict of interest to do a paper analyzing the responses without recognizing this fact that was hidden in the actual original paper? Or recognizing that 75% of responses were from strong believers in climate science?
There is no sophisticated and complex conflict of interest here. Just a bunch of dogmatic people who cannot recognize that there are are other points of view possible, that could be more valid than their own.

Jul 8, 2015 at 11:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

Good of him to show implicit support for the case of Bjorn Lomborg...

"In my view, the events surrounding XXX are of importance to the academic community and the public at large because they reveal how scholarship can sometimes be compromised by a small number of individuals who intimidate and bully editors, authors, universities or journals to suppress inconvenient work. XXX is not an isolated incident as harassment of editors has, unfortunately, become widespread.

XXX can help inform the academic community and the wider public about the behaviour and discourse that is being used by the YYY climate blogosphere, and how it differs from conventional scholarly critique."

Full quote with missing words (obviously not about Lomborg) can be found here:

Jul 9, 2015 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterantman

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