Lewandowsky Doubles Down

Last fall, Geoff Chambers and Barry Woods established beyond a shadow of a doubt that no blog post linking to the Lewandowsky survey had ever been published at the Skeptical Science (SKS) blog. Chambers reasonably suggested at the time that the authors correct the claim in the article to reflect the lack of any link at the SKS blog. I reviewed the then available information on this incident in September 2012 here.

Since then, information obtained through FOI by Simon Turnill has shown that responses by both Lewandowsky and Cook to questions from Chambers and Woods were untrue. Actually, “untrue” does not really do justice to the measure of untruthfulness, as the FOI correspondence shows that the untruthful answers were given deliberately and intentionally. Chambers, in a post entitled Lewandowsky the Liar, minced no words in calling Lewandowsky “a liar, a fool, a charlatan and a fraud.”

Even though the untruthfulness of Lewandowsky and Cook’s stories had been clearly demonstrated by Geoff Chambers in a series of blog articles (e.g. here), in the published version of the Hoax paper, instead of correcting prior untrue claims about SKS, Lewandowsky doubled down, repeating and substantially amplifying the untrue claim.

Contrary to one of the many untrue claims in Fury, the first interest of the few people to originally interest themselves in the Hoax paper (primarily Geoff Chambers and Barry Woods) was the identity of the eight “pro-science” blogs which had supposedly published a link to the Lewandowsky survey. Woods emailed Lewandowsky, who promptly replied with a list of the eight blogs, all of which were stridently anti-skeptic. The most prominent of the eight were SKS, Deltoid and Tamino. Chambers, Woods and others sharply criticized the idea of trying a survey of skeptics at stridently anti-skeptic blogs, a criticism that has remains unrefuted.

Chambers and Woods quickly located referring blogposts at all of the blogs except SKS. They were able to locate a contemporary tweet from John Cook, but no SKS blogpost. Close examination of the Wayback machine archive showed beyond any doubt that there was no SKS blogpost on the Lewandowsky survey in August/September 2010 (see my previous post here.)

Woods directly asked Lewandowsky in early August 2012 for the location of the alleged SKS blog post. Lewandowsky unequivocally told Woods that Cook had “posted it” and that he (Lewandowsky) had “made a note” of it, though he had not kept the “actual URL”. Lewandowsky speculated that Cook had deleted the post when the survey was closed (highly atypical blog behavior, to say the least):

I worked with John Cook directly at the time and he posted it (and I made a note of it), but I don’t have the actual URL to the survey dating back to the time when he posted it. I suspect he removed it when the survey was closed because then the link would have been dead.

The idea that Cook had deleted the SKS link to the Lewandowsky survey seemed highly implausible to, among others, Geoff Chambers, who asked about the incident in early September 2012 in comments at SKS here

Could you, John Cook, please clarify whether SkS posted a link to Lewandowsky’s survey between Aug and Oct 2010, or helped in any other way, eg by providing email addresses of potential respondents?

Cook replied with an inline comment that re-iterated Lewandowsky’s assertion to Woods, saying as follows:

Skeptical Science did link to the Lewandowsky survey back in 2011 but now when I search the archives for the link, it’s no longer there so the link must’ve been taken down once the survey was over.

The 2011 date was clearly an error and was immediately challenged. Cook promptly conceded that the 2011 date was not correct and should have been 2010, commenting as follows:

My apologies, it was 2010, not 2011 (have updated the original response).

The idea that Cook had deleted the referring blogpost remained implausible. Chambers continued to press for information, asking whether anyone at SKS remembered a blog post on the survey. Chambers’ questions were cut off by an SKS moderator who told him to take up the matter with Cook in offline emails:

You have already received a public response from John Cook. Should you wish more detail, please submit an email to him. This is a forum founded and administered by him. Therefore questions of the nature you have been posting should more rightly be submitted to him in private correspondence. Continuance in this behavior now constitutes grandstanding and sloganeering, and will be moderated accordingly. FYI.

Much to Chambers’ surprise, Cook contacted him directly with a contact email address:

JC: Hi Geoff, you can email me via this email address if you have any direct questions, although there’s not much more that I can add other than what I’ve mentioned in the comment threads.

Chambers then re-iterated his question about the “missing” SKS blog post, asking additionally for information about contemporary blog comments (which had been revealing at Deltoid and Tamino):

Thanks John. My interest comes from the fact that, of the eight “pro-science” blogs contacted by Lewandowsky, SkS is by far the most important. One might therefore expect that the majority of respondents to the survey came from SkS (depending on the coverage you gave it, and the date at which you posted it, etc.)
At two of the six (Tamino’s and Deltoid) there was significant discussion of the survey, with people criticising and taking up positions. This, too, is interesting when it comes to interpreting the survey. So here are my questions:
– The date the survey was posted
– The date the post was deleted
– Were there comments to the post? If so, how many, and are they still available, or were they deleted along with the original post?

Cook’s reply was unresponsive to Chambers’ question. Cook said that all he could find was an email from Lewandowsky on August 28 asking Cook to link to the survey:

Hi Geoff, sorry for the delay in replying, very behind in my email correspondence at the moment plus for this email, had to fire up the old machine that I was using back in 2010 to find any email correspondence back then. All I can find is an email from Steve on 28 August 2010 asking for me to link to his survey.

Chambers, increasingly frustrated, again asked Cook whether he did “in fact link to the survey”, suggesting that Cook had perhaps forgotten to post the link and that Lewandowsky’s count of blogs in his article was incorrect – nothing more than a “silly mistake” that Lewandowsky could “easily correct”:

GC: Hi John. Thanks for the reply. So did you in fact link to his survey? It looks to me that you just forgot and didn’t post the link. So Stephan just assumed you had posted, and put in his paper the reference to eight blogs he’d contacted, including yours and the dormant NZ one. A silly mistake easily corrected. All he has to do is correct the “eight blogs” in his paper to six. Can you confirm that his survey was not in fact linked from Skeptical Science?

Rather than conceding the point, Cook re-iterated that he had linked to the Lewandowsky survey:

I did provide a link to the survey.

Increasingly frustrated, Chambers once again asked Cook for details on when the supposed link had been put up:

GC: Hi John. Any chance of telling us when you put up the link? Sorry to keep pestering you but you are being a bit coy.

In response, Cook reported that he had “no records in the blog archives”, but claimed that he had found email correspondence between himself and Lewandowsky confirming that Lewandowsky had asked him to post a link to the survey and that Cook had replied on the same day that he had posted the link. Cook described the quality of the confirmation as “forensic evidence”.

I’ve given you everything I’ve got – I have no records in the blog archives (I searched the database for kwiksurvey, came up empty) so I must’ve either deleted the text link or deleted the blog post once the survey had closed. The only forensic evidence I could find was the email from Stephan asking for me to post a link and my reply that I posted it on the same day.

Subsequently, the actual email correspondence between Cook and Lewandowsky has been obtained through FOI. It completely confirms Chambers’ original surmise that Cook had sent out a tweet but forgot or otherwise failed to place a linking blogpost at SKS. It shows that Lewandowsky’s claim to have “made a note” of the linking blogpost was untrue. And as to Cook’s claim that his email correspondence was “forensic evidence” containing his “reply that I posted it on the same day”? Surely it can only be described as a baldfaced lie.

The FOI Correspondence from August 2010

On August 28, 2010, Lewandowsky emailed Cook as follows:

Hi , I am ready to launch my internet-based survey … I think I mentioned this to you before; the instrument is now ready to rock-n-roll. The link is shown below: http://www. kwiksurveys. com/online-survey. php ?surveyiD=HKMKNG ee191483

As you are my first “customer” I am not exactly sure how best to launch this, but ideally it would be some sort of flashing button that says “Contribute to Research-Record your attitudes about science by clicking here” or some such. Not sure the flashing button will work, but maybe you’ve got some idea? If you do write a post about it, maybe best not to mention my name but just anonymously refer to “researchers at the UWA” or some such?

let me know what you think … I am happy to draft something if you need me to.
Cheers Steve

PS: I will circulate this among the planet30 folks once I’ve got a good way sorted with you in how to link into this.

The “planet30 folks” is a reference to the private planet3.0 googlegroup, which is composed of activists and from which skeptics are excluded. In addition to Lewandowsky, other participants include Tim Lambert (Deltoid), Grant Foster (Tamino), Barry Bickmore, Coby Beck (Ill Considered) , Scott Mandia and Gareth ^ (Hot Topic).

At 11:20 am on August 28, Cook replied that he had filled out the survey. Cook ironically noted that his only information on the JFK assassination came from Oliver Stone, a prominent advocate of JFK conspiracy theory:

Well, I filled out the survey. Problem is after you click Finish, it just goes to the kwiksurveys.com homepage so there’s no message saying you’ve filled it out correctly. I think this is a bit of a faux pas as far as web functionality goes – people like to know whether their results were received.

Some of those conspiracy theories, I have no clue about – Oliver Stone is the only source of info I have for the JFK assassination :-)

Cook suggested that he simply start off with a tweet:

How about I start off with a tweet, something like: Help UWA research attitudes about science – fill out this online survey

Lew replied that a “tweet for starters” was fine:

Hi , a tweet for starters sounds good. I’ll see what I can do about the end-of-survey message; this is obviously constrained by the software.

Cook asked if Lewandowsky wanted to make further changes to the survey before Cook sent out a tweet:

Let me know if you’d like me to tweet now or would like to tweak the system first.

Lewandowsky confirmed that Cook might as well send out his tweet:

Hi … umm, tweet now. Not sure I can tweak much.

Cook sent out the tweet which Woods had already located (online here). It was word-for-word identical to his email to Lewandowsky.

Cook told Lewandowsky that Cook was “hoping” to do his own online survey and that he would “probably” mention Lewandowsky’s at the same time:

I’m hoping to post my own (much simpler) survey online shortly – when I blog post about that. I’ll probably include mention yours at the same time if show you the blog post when I’m ready to go).

Lewandowsky agreed with the plan:

thanks, sounds good.

As noted above, Cook’s failure to post a link at SKS can be unequivocally verified on the Wayback machine, as Chambers, Woods and others had reported at the time and as summarized at CA here. The Wayback archive took a screenshot of the SkS home page on August 30. Below is a screenshot of the SKS homepage showing all posts bracketing August 28, the date that Lewandowsky and Cook claimed that SKS had posted a link. It does not show any post linking to the Lewandowsky survey, (Nor does it appear in the screenshot for the following week which shows posts starting on August 31.)

The “forensic evidence” – which Cook had characterized as containing his “reply [to Lewandowsky] that [Cook] posted it [the blog link] on the same day” – clearly contradicts Cook’s assertion to Chambers. The email correspondence unequivocally shows that Cook did not put up an SKS blog post as he had claimed. The email correspondence is entirely consistent with Chambers’ original surmise: that Cook had only sent out a tweet, but had not done a blog post.

Worse, when one places the actual email correspondence against Cook’s statement to Chambers about the email, it is evident that Cook had consulted the 2010 emails in question and had deliberately misrepresented them to Chambers.

In an email to Cook on February 14, 2013, I sent a detailed review of the above events and asked Cook to defend himself, concluding my email as follows:

Not to put too fine a point on it, it appears to me that you lied, when you asserted that your correspondence with Lewandowsky on 28 August 2010 was “forensic evidence” that showed that you had posted a link at Skeptical Science to the Lewandowsky survey on that day. I use the word “lie” because you had clearly examined the 28 August 2010 correspondence at the time of your email to Chambers and knew that this correspondence did not show that you had posted a link at Skeptical Science to the Lewandowsky survey on 28 August 2010 or any other day.

Before I make any public statements about this matter, I am offering you an opportunity to rebut the belief that the statement bolded above was a lie.

Cook did not respond.

The Hoax SI
As Chambers had originally pointed out, it would have been easy enough for Lewandowsky to slightly amend the text of the Hoax article, to say that links had been posted on seven blogs, rather than eight blogs. Lewandowsky was aware of the evidence showing that there never was any SKS blogpost since a side comment in the contemporary CA post about the fictitious SKS blogpost was cited in Fury.

However, in the final published version of the Hoax, Lewandowsky not only continued to assert that he had contacted eight blogs, but added a discussion of blog participants at SKS.

In the “accepted” article (and in the published version), Lewandowsky had merely stated:

Participants: Visitors to climate blogs voluntarily completed an online questionnaire between August and October 2010 (N = 1377). Links were posted on 8 blogs (with a pro-science science stance but with a diverse audience); a further 5 “skeptic” (or “skeptic”-leaning) blogs were approached but none posted the link.

However, in the SI to the published version, Lewandowsky substantially amplified the discussion, with multiple references to SKS as follows:

Prevalence of “skeptics” among blog visitors All of the blogs that carried the link to the survey broadly endorsed the scientific consensus on climate change (see Table S1). As evidenced by the comment streams, however, their readership was broad and encompassed a wide range of view on climate change. To illustrate, a content analysis of 1067 comments from unique visitors to http://www.skepticalscience.com, conducted by the proprietor of the blog, revealed that around 20% (N = 222) held clearly “skeptical” views, with the remainder (N = 845) endorsing the scientific consensus. At the time the research was conducted (September 2010), http://www.skepticalscience.com received 390,000 monthly visits. Extrapolating from the content analysis of the comments, this translates into up to 78,000 visits from “skeptics” at the time when the survey was open (although it cannot be ascertained how many of the visitors actually saw the link.)

For comparison, a survey of the U. S. public in June 2010 pegged the proportion of “skeptics” in the population at 18% (Leiserowitz, Maibach, Roser-Renouf, & Smith, 2011). Comparable surveys in other countries (e. g., Australia; Leviston & Walker, 2010) yielded similar estimates for the same time period. The proportion of “skeptics” who comment at http://www.skepticalscience.com is thus roughly commensurate with their proportion in the population at large.

Lewandowsky’s claim that “it cannot be ascertained how many of the visitors [to SKS} actually saw the link” is merely the latest untrue claim. In fact, the number of SKS visitors who saw an SKS link to the Lewandowsky survey can be precisely ascertained: it was zero.

Nor, as was observed at various blogs last fall, can readership figures be extrapolated from SKS to the other even more more antagonistic blogs. The relevant content analysis is not at SKS, but at Deltoid and Tamino, blogs where the Lewandowsky link was actually published and where “skeptic” comments are few and far between.

Last fall, long before Lewandowsky had expanded his accusations of “conspiracist ideation” to include the UK Met Office, one of Lewandowsky’s coauthors (presumably Cook) observed that Lewandowsky’s critics were actually accusing him of “lying/deceiving/incompetence” rather than “conspiracy”:

Maybe we should address more head-on the inevitable criticism that they’re not accusing you of conspiracy because lying/deceiving/incompetence doesn’t necessarily involve conspiring.

On this point at least – the need for Lewandowsky to address issues of “Lying/deceiving/incompetence” – even Lewandowsky’s coauthors and critics appear to have found common ground.


205 Comments

  1. Skiphil
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

    The plot sickens…. Lewandowsky and Cook are playing losing hands, but cannot face reality honestly. Who would ever trust such people on anything?

    • B
      Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 2:53 AM | Permalink

      Steve Running at the University of Montana cited SKS as a “scientific blog.” I eventually gave up my discussion with him as it seemed hopeless when such an educated man would use such an obviously biased website as a source of information about global warming.

  2. Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings.

  3. Leslie Johnson
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    Has this been presented to the University and the publishers of the papers? I suspect that this violates some ethics codes at the very least.

  4. Skiphil
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    Why are Cook and Lewandowsky so fiercely determined to maintain the fiction that the survey was linked on SkS?

    Why cannot they admit that there were six, not eight, “pro-science blogs” (sic) posting the survey link?? Geoff Chambers has some further comments:

    http://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/the-moon-hoax-has-landed/

    • seanbrady
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

      I was thinking the same thing until about 4/5th of the way through the post.

      Then it becomes clear that only SKS can be claimed to reflect the US population as a whole. If all of the other sites could produce similar 80/20 “science”/”skeptic” ratios, they would have reported an average of all of them, rather than singling out just one site, especially the one site at which they failed to post a link.

      If all of the other sites are more like 99/1 (or 100/0) the reader of the “study” would ask himself: “so where did the supposed skeptical responses come from, if the only people who saw the request for responses were all antiskeptic??”

      • Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

        Because SKS was likely the only one with any reasonable ability to “quantify” skeptic share. The Cook forum post about his “bias” field data on participants dates back to Oct 2010 and notes the conversation with Lew. referenced was some days earlier. At almost exactly the time Lew was working on the results of the survey.

        • DGH
          Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

          Reasonable ability?

        • Skiphil
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

          Yes, seven not eight blogs with the link posted (to correct my statement above). Cook and Lewandowsky have so far failed to offer any adequate explanation of the SkS saga and the non-existent but scientifically reported link. Foxgoose has now posted a nice skewering of the current Lewandowsky et al. predicament:

          http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/Recursive-Fury-Facts-misrepresentations.html#3042

          It will be fascinating to see how this story goes from here….

    • James Evans
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

      I think the paper rather relies on the idea that some genuine sceptics answered the survey. And apparently a few sceptics visit SkS.

      • michael hart
        Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:14 PM | Permalink

        Guilty. But I learned the error of my ways pretty quickly at the-website-that-cannot-be-named.

        Separately though, notwithstanding all the other evidence, how can it be definitively proven that something never existed? If a post was put up and taken down very quickly (too quickly to be completed by many people?), would the wayback machine be expected to capture it? It can’t be everywhere at once, can it?

        I think it also correct that the wayback machine will remove archived material at the request of the blog owner, bizarre as that might appear for just this instance. I’m trying not to be surprised by each new twist of this saga.

        Steve: in this case, there is a Wayback machine record of the SKS homepage on August 30, 2010 listing posts for dates bracketing August 28, 2010. Yes, the Wayback machine is not everywhere, but August 30 is perfect. I cannot imagine better evidence of the non-existence of the SKS post. Particularly when combined with the emails.

        • Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:33 PM | Permalink

          Michael – re:Steve’s comment – Cook I believe has said maybe he deleted the post after the survey was over. This is highly unlikely for a blog and especially SKS.

          To Steve’s point, even if this was true – that he deleted it – his own words say he would have done so after the survey had run it course. And Aug 30 was smack in the period the survey was active – disproving Cooks claim if if it had already been found false.

        • Jan
          Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

          Skeptical Science hosted another experimental survey in July 2011. That post was not deleted after the survey ended.

          http://www.skepticalscience.com/An-experiment-into-science-blogging.html

        • bernie1815
          Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

          Jan:
          I don’t see the link to the actual survey. I assume that they have taken it down. Given that there were only 56 comments for the post and many of these were from the same people, it is hard for me to see that the sample was very large. Did they report the results of this experiment anywhere?

        • Jan
          Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

          Bernie,

          I wasn’t so much interested in the experiment but in the way in which a blog post presenting a survey was handled at SkS – not deleted but updated to reflect that the survey had ended.

          Did they report the results of this experiment anywhere?

          Not that I can see but I wonder if the experiment was somehow related to this:

          2010-11-25
          First up, I met with Steve Lewandowsky and some other cognitive scientists who are interested in the phenomenon of science blogging and how it’s being used to educate and communicate science. In particular, they wanted to test the impact of blog comments on how people processed information. Did a blog post with all negative comments have a different impact on how people retain information compared to a blog post with all positive comments? So we sat down and designed an experiment to run on SkS to see if this has a discernible effect on blogs…

        • Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 3:10 PM | Permalink

          Jan, Bernie … keep in mind there are several other Lew paper’s recently, and another in the pipeline for 2013. I suspect that data may well show up in the new Lew 2013.

          My guess is the Lew 2013 paper, identified in the Recursive paper’s references, will be the ‘real’ LOG12. What was published, in my opinion, with LOG12 was the bear minimum – to try and offload the baggage and controversy its drawn.

          And the Recursive paper in a way, may well be more of the same. Getting Recursive withdrawn, really does little in the end it would seem. Yes – its always good to get rid of poor of defective work – and I suppose Lew et al may well take a small ‘hit’ to credibility – although I think they’ll just shrug it off on those silly conspiracist skeptics.

          It is the LOG12 paper, and the alleged conclusions that is far more important to address. Its significant data collection and quality issues, coupled with the highly suspect analysis work and ultimately its conclusions, should be the real target. If left stand – the LOG12 work will I suspect become the basis and launching pad for far more from the Lew Crew.

          Remember that in the Recursive paper Lew notes – regarding the undisclosed, failed, and subsequently unused, on-campus survey from the LOG12 work – that they obtained a new control survey from a professional US firm:

          The authors subsequently obtained a control sample via a professional survey firm in the U.S: This representative sample of 1,000 respondents replicated the results involving conspiracist ideation reported by LOG12(Lewandowsky etal., 2013).

          From their references – this would be the paper they’re citing:

          Lewandowsky,S.,Gignac,G.E.,and Oberauer,K.(2013).The role of conspiracist ideation and worldviews in predicting rejection of science. [Manuscript submitted for publication].

          I’m venturing a guess the LOG12 paper will become the example of climate beliefs and conspiracist ideation, which they will try to expand to a general population level. The new “professional” survey was not questioning blog users or we would have seen some evidence of that I think. That they call it a “control” sample might lead one to believe it is of the general population – which would support my premise re: the Lew 2013 paper.

          For reference, here is the full list of Lewandowsky et al papers cited in the Recursive paper – note the two other 2012 papers (in addition to Moon Landing/LOG12) :

          Lewandowsky,S.,Ecker,U.K.H., Seifert,C.,Schwarz,N.,and Cook, J.(2012a).Misinformation and its correction: continued influence and successful debiasing. Psychol.Sci. PublicInterest 13, 106–131.

          Lewandowsky,S.,Gignac,G.E.,and Vaughan,S.(2012b).The pivotal role of perceived scientific consensus
          in acceptance of science. Nat.Clim. Chang. doi:10.1038/nclimate1720

          Lewandowsky,S.,Gignac,G.E.,and Oberauer,K.(2013).The role of conspiracist ideation and worldviews in predicting rejection of science. [Manuscript submitted for publication].

          Lewandowsky,S.,Oberauer,K.,and Gignac,G.E.(inpress).NASA faked the moon landing–therefore (climate)science is a hoax:an anatomy of the motivated rejection of science. Psychol.Sci.

      • bernie1815
        Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

        AScott:
        This is a helpful compilation of the Lew papers.
        I did notice that Gignac has written a number of separate technical papers on factor analysis so I do not think there will be Mann type statistical faux pas. I do think that there may well be issues with item design, respondent “errors”, the samples and, of course, interpretation.

        • Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 7:45 PM | Permalink

          bernie – there are other Lew papers than these as well – these are just the ones cited in Lews Recursive paper …

    • David L. Hagen
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

      In Moon Hoax has Landed, Geoff Chambers discovered the true “problem”:

      Something I’ve learned from a careful reading of the text (others can look at the statistics) is that Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts are the real targets of the paper. . . .
      “The influence of blogs should not be underestimated: For example, one skeptic blogger (Steven McIntyre of the “Climate Audit” blog, at climateaudit.org) has triggered several congressional investigations, . . .
      We acknowledge that our sample is self-selected and that the results may therefore not generalize to the population at large. . . .
      As noted earlier, this group of people has a demonstrable impact on society, and understanding their motivations and reasoning is therefore of importance”.

      • DaveS
        Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

        “As noted earlier, this group of people has a demonstrable impact on society, and understanding their motivations and reasoning is therefore of importance”

        So the notion of simply asking AW and SM what their ‘motivations and reasoning’ are never occurred to Lew and Cook? Perhaps they are even dumber than I gave them credit for.

        • bernie1815
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

          Dave:
          Why would those who believe that you are part of a conspiracy ask you if you are a part of a conspiracy? There are many visible players in this pantomime who believe that AW and SM are in the pay of the fossil fuel industry. The rest of us are part of the tin foil hat brigade.

        • David L. Hagen
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

          Apply “Heinlein’s Razor”:

          Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don’t rule out malice”

    • Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 4:34 AM | Permalink

      unity was a seventh, but blink and you would have missed it, just one line, it took ages to find the url for that survey

  5. Leslie Johnson
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    Some advise for Lewandowksy et al:

  6. Brandon Shollenberger
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    I don’t get this:

    To illustrate, a content analysis of 1067 comments from unique visitors to http://www.skepticalscience.com, conducted by the proprietor of the blog, revealed that around 20% (N = 222) held clearly “skeptical” views, with the remainder (N = 845) endorsing the scienti c consensus. At the time the research was conducted (September 2010), http://www.skepticalscience.com received 390,000 monthly visits. Extrapolating from the content analysis of the comments, this translates into up to 78,000 visits from “skeptics” at the time when the survey was open (although it cannot be ascertained how many of the visitors actually saw the link.)

    There is no source or reference given for this “content analysis.” How do authors offer that as “support” for their conclusions? Is it really okay for authors to say, “Some guy did some stuff and showed our results are fine”?

    Plus, their description is unrealistic. They say 20% of the commenters “held clearly ‘skeptical’ views” and the remainder endorsed the scientific consensus. Are we really supposed to believe they were able to tell with certainty which side each commenter was on? There was nobody who could have been on either side? If I’m reading it right, it looks like he only looked at one comment from each commenter. There’s no way you could perfectly ascertain people’s view like they claim was done.

    Beyond that, the authors assume a proportion for comments on a blog will hold for visitors of the blog. The demographics of people who comment on a blog are not the same as the demographics of people who visit the blog. Not only are the demographics different, but the number of “hits” a visitor generates will be different based on his activity on the site.

    That paragraph seems mind-bogglingly wrong.

    • bernie1815
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 2:25 PM | Permalink

      As I said at Geoff’s site, I do visit SkS on occasions. However, I never comment because I do not want to give them access to any identifying information. They are way too strident for my taste.

    • KingOchaos
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

      I used to comment over at sks a year or two back(under the name of joe blog.) And it would certainly depend what comment was reviewed, and by whom as to whether i was viewed as a skeptic or main stream(i have zero issue with underlying physics, i certainly took exception to some interpretations of them over there). It does seem kinda strange to base the percentages, of someones opinion, of someone else s opinion of, what in all likely hood is an opinion piece about a paper, or physics etc… far to many opinions! (and you dont have to look very hard to see “some” skewed opinions of what the science says over there from what they are presenting.)

      In my opinion, the percentage would be much lower ;-)

    • Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 10:37 PM | Permalink

      Brandon – I noticed and meant to comment on your points earlier – been busy ;-)

      As written they note N=1067 “unique visitors” … it seems quite clear this is a completely unsupportable statement. As stated it says 1067 different people visited the site and they reviewed and classified each as to skeptic or warmist viewpoint.

      This is impossible for several reasons. And also exposes another unidentified likely flaw in the content analysis – time period.

      And luckily we have a fair amount of actual data to prove them wrong. First, Cooks own words – on Oct 8, 2010 Cook states in one of the SKS members forum comments that he reviewed the database …

      2010–10-8 ” … a while ago, I added a bias field to the user database and a bit of code so as comments came in, I could specify whether the user was skeptics or warmest/proAGW/mainstream (still haven’t found a satisfactory term for our side). I only assign bias if its obvious from the comment. I haven’t done anything with that data yet, I’m not even sure why I’m doing it other than my obsessive compulsion to collect data. The other day, Steve Lewandowsky (cognitive scientist) asked if I had any numbers on the ratio of skeptics to warmists so I dove into the database and counted up around 100 assigned skeptics and around 400 assigned warmists.”

      … and found appx. “100 skeptics” and “400 warmists”

      This quote was at the exact time the survey was underway and represents an excellent contemporaneous statement from Cook, which we can take as factual.

      He notes a TOTAL of appx. 500 identified users on Oct 8, 2010 with appx 100, or 20%, identified as skeptics. Remember that ratio.

      Now compare to LOG12 on the subject:

      To illustrate, a content analysis of 1067 comments from unique visitors to http://www.skepticalscience.com, conducted by the proprietor of the blog, revealed that around 20% (N = 222) held clearly “skeptical” views, with the remainder (N = 845) endorsing the scienti c [sic] consensus. At the time the research was conducted (September 2010), http://www.skepticalscience.com received 390,000 monthly visits. Extrapolating from the content analysis of the comments, this translates into up to 78,000 visits from “skeptics” at the time when the survey was open

      They claim 1067 “unique visitors” were identified, with 222 classified as skeptic’s and 845 classified as warmists. They do not reveal what time frame this encompassed.

      Next they claim the analysis, considering the 390,000 “monthly visits” to the site in Sept 2010, can be translated into appx 78,000 visits from skeptics. The stated 78,000 skeptic visits is based on their comment analysis determining 20% of their unique users are skeptics.

      This number simply does not hold up to serious scrutiny.

      First – we know from Cooks 10-8-2010 extemporaneous statement it would be impossible to have 1,067 true “unique visitors” – as Cooks own statement indicates they had a total of appx. 500 total users in Sept 2010 – skeptics and warmists combined.

      This shows a lack of understanding of what “unique visitors” are. PC Magazine defines “unique visitors” thusly:

      A count of how many different people access a Web site. For example, if a user leaves and comes back to the site five times during the measurement period, that person is counted as one unique visitor, but would count as five “user sessions.” [or "visits"]

      But they also include the necessary caveat:

      Unique visitors are determined by the number of unique IP addresses on incoming requests that a site receives, but this can never be 100% accurate. Depending on configuration issues and type of ISP service, in some cases, one IP address can represent many users; in other cases, several IP addresses can be from the same user.

      Again, SKS could not have 1,067 truly unique visitors in Sept. 2010 when they have only 500, by Cooks admission, total users. They could technically have 1067 “unique visitors” based on how their web stats program (appears likely Google Analytics) tracks and reports them.

      Unique visitors are typically tracked by IP addresses, and in some cases cookies on your computer. But if you disable cookies, or delete/clear them regularly, every visit will be counted as a “unique visitor” as the system cannot uniquely ID you.

      This is even more applicable to the IP tracking part. In many cases users may share an IP address – either at school, work etc, or thru your internet provider. Visits from shared IP’s will count as unique visitors as well – as again, the system cannot ID you.

      But what Lewandosky likely did is more problematic yet. Again – they claim they tracked 1067 “unique visitors” AND identified which side they were on. This can only be accomplished by reading one, sometimes many, posts from each unique visitor, and developing your classification as skeptic or warmist from those comments.

      The data shows they cannot possibly have done this for the 1067 claimed unique visitors.

      First, because as we’ve shown, at least half of those are not truly unique visitors – many are repeat visits by the same users. And if you were to read a post from each of the 1067 as the authors claim – you would notice the repeated (non-unique) usernames. Therefore the authors claim they reviewed and analyzed these unique visitors comments to determine their beliefs – is simply false.

      Second – we are able to look at the SKS data itself. For the month of Sept 2010, Steve McI’s files show a total of 2,931 comments at SKS, made by 287 unique users. This would be entirely consistent with Cooks comment 10-8-2010 of having approximately 500 total users at the time. A participation rate of 287 out of 500 is actually pretty good by web site standards.

      Last (for now – there are others), Lewandowsky digs a deeper hole yet, with the “monthly visits” data they present. And this is perhaps the biggest issue of all. Monthly visits are the total of all visits to the site – every time someone views a page for example. They offer no information as to the number of users participating – actually posting comments – at the site. Likewise there can be no real inference drawn from monthly visits data between visitors viewing the site and users posting at the site. Pretty much exactly as Brandon noted.

      The authors here again show substantial errors in the methods, and at minimum, charitably, a complete misunderstanding of the claims they are making. They are beyond minor errors – they are completely nonsensical and wholly unsupported by fact.

      That old phrase “whatyoutalkin’boutWillis” seems to be the only logical reply to such a grand failure in a professional and supposedly scholarly – and peer reviewed – work ;-)

      I have a pretty good opinion how the authors came up with the above. Assuming no one would, or perhaps could, check their work if they did not provide their source data, they simply used Cook’s “bias” data field and made the rest to fit.

      As I stated before – it is all but impossible, IF they did any real, independent review of the 1,067 alleged “unique visitors,” that they could end up by chance with a statistic that essentially exactly matches Cooks internal “bias” ratio. The 222/845 skeptic/warmist split of the 1,067 unique visitors is 20% – Cooks “bias” ratio was 100/400 skeptic/warmist split … or 20%.

      I suspect their web stats program did perhaps show 1,067 “unique visitors” for the period they reviewed. And in their seeming hubris and arrogance – they simply worked the math backward to fit.

      We’ve seen there seems no apparent way they could have 1,067 true “unique visitors” in Sept. 2010, when their own data shows just 287 unique user names posted comments at SKS in the same period, let alone independently reviewed each of the alleged 1,067 “unique visitors” comments to determine their classification.

      A preponderance of the evidence and facts, along with Cooks own statements, seems to clearly show that the claims made by the authors in the Supplemental Info for the Lewandowsky Moon Landing Hoax paper cannot be accurate or truthful. And there is no conceivable way they could not have known it.

      The facts and evidence seems to clearly show – pretty much beyond a reasonable doubt – that the authors, with purpose and intent, provided and allowed to be published knowingly false and inaccurate information in a key part of the paper.

      They needed to support their failure to exercise proper quality controls on the data collection for the paper, and so seemingly conjured up support, with no basis in fact, to back up their claims.

  7. Doug Proctor
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

    Is this just an example of really bad research and paper-writing that has always gone on but had no importance before, and so (observation bias) we were unaware of it?

  8. Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

    That is the hottest I have ever seen Steve McIntyre.

    • AndyL
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

      Not at all.
      In the past Steve M has always carefully said something was untrue. Now he has the evidence that the originators knew it was untrue, so he is now cooly, calmly and dispassionately calling Cook and Lewendowski liars.

      • Posted Apr 3, 2013 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

        AndyL, do not get me wrong. I am not arguing he is not justified. But it was a surprise to see him actually use the correct terminology (as you point out) that is not encased in diplomatese.

  9. Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    Steve a small correction is required. Geoff doesn’t understand twitter, I found it, and let you know about it ages back, in th ecomments at Climate Audit

    “Cook sent out the tweet which Chambers had already located (online here). It was word-for-word identical to his email to Lewandowsky.”

    Steve: :) Fixed.

  10. Craig Loehle
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

    Given that they can’t distinguish between conspiracists and those who think they are simply incompetent, I don’t for a minute trust that they could distinguish “skeptics” from among commentators.
    On the other hand, since SkS was not a posted site for the survey, they had essentially zero skeptics in their sample (and the survey was heavily discussed at some sites too), so they have no valid survey at all.

    • Skiphil
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

      Re: conspiracy vs. incompetence

      I think there are some fascinating parallels between how Lewandowsky and co. can ignore, deflect, and/or lie about criticism, and how Lewandowsky’s favorite climate scientist ala Michael Mann do the same. Similar rhetorical abuses of critics, accusing them of conspiratorial operations based upon vast “fossil fuel” funding. Lots of pot/kettle hypocrisy and worse from both the Mann clique and the Lewandowsky/Cook clique.

      Steve: The SKS secret forum is full of conspiracist talk. Many allegations about the Koch brothers and the “denial machine”.

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

        Not one of the major skeptic blogs gets any funding at all, not SM, not Watts, or Donna or Jo Nova or Lucia or JeffID or anyone. No funding certainly means no oil funding. The Heartland and Cato climate budgets are tiny, much less together than Mann gets by himself in grants. I do not think any of these people has ever gotten a call from the Koch brothers either. So who is believing in conspiracies?

      • Beta Blocker
        Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 10:42 PM | Permalink

        Steve: The SKS secret forum is full of conspiracist talk. Many allegations about the Koch brothers and the “denial machine”.

        Maybe there is the conspiracy ideation equivalent of upside-down Tijander operating here — interpreting allegations concerning the Koch brothers as being allegations concerning climate scientists.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

          The SKS forum also contained many posts evidencing shall-we-say “Nefarious Intent”. One SKS thug wrote:

          my personal contribution will be to rip Anthony Watts’ throat out – metaphorically of course.”

          Prompting the response:

          Pray tell, how do you intend to “rip Anthony Watts’ throat out?

          Another stated:

          McIntyre need to go down, it is quite that simple.

          Another:
          to be candid, McIntyre or Watts in handcuffs is probably the only thing that will slow things down.

          And:

          Sometimes you just want to let loose and scream about how you want to take those motherfucking arseholes, those closed-minded bigotted genocidal pieces of regurgitated dog shit and do unspeakable violence to their bodies and souls for what they are doing to the safety of what and who we all hold dear. (Ain’t a lack of a moderation policy a cleansing and liberating thing?)

          What Lewandowsky and the SKS thugs really think.

        • Oke
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 3:02 AM | Permalink

          I do believe that the technical term is “projection”…

        • JvdLaan
          Posted Apr 1, 2013 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

          Don’t be such a hypocrite, Mr McIntyre. Your commenters are full of manure too, constantly accusing climate scientists of fraud and only on it for the money. Or harrassing them with useless FOIA’s. Or publishing their private mails.
          If you really had some guts, you would publish e.g. a temperature reconstruction in a scientific magazine.

          Steve: I have blog policies against making accusations of fraud and “being in it only for the money”, as I do not believe that such accusations are helpful. If you’ve noticed comments making such allegations (in breach of blog policies) that I have missed, could you please draw them to my attention so that I can snip or delete them in accordance with blog policies. Or otherwise withdraw your accusations. I’ve spoken out on a number of occasions against such attitudes.

          Lewandowsky and Cook present an entirely different situation. I found Cook’s baldfaced lie to be very disquieting. I offered him an opportunity to explain the matter offline and he chose not to respond. I found Lewandowsky’s baldfaced misrepresentation in the published SI to be equally disquieting. I did not speculate on why he did so.

  11. Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

    Someone asked me why it was important that Hoax wasn’t publicised at SkS. As always, it’s the coverup that’s important.
    When I couldn’t find a reference to the survey at SkS, I went on a dead thread there and asked, which started a heated discussion, with Cook mailing me personally, being very charming, and very evasive. It was clear from the beginning that this was a cover up, confirmed by the discovery of the tweet by DGH, and the FOI material by Simon Turnill of Australian Climate Madness.
    It was only a few hours ago that I realised why they were so insistent on the fact that the the survey had been posted at SkS. The absurdity of trying to recruit sceptics at “pro-science” blogs is the first objection anyone would make; maybe some colleague or journal editor made it right at the beginning. Hence the half-hearted attempts to contact sceptic blogs.
    When that failed, Cook turned to his SkS visitor list, divided into believers and infidels, which he’s been enthusiastically compiling since the beginning, as he reveals in the internal SkS mails (the Treehut Files).
    The discussion of this previously unknown analysis, revealed yesterday in the supplementary data, in the same format and typeface as the prepublished paper, is a strange document in itself, since as Brandon Schollenberger notes, it rests on no scientific basis at all. My guess is that the “20% sceptic” figure corresponds to the proportion of comments that get erased at SkepticScience, and nothing more.

  12. mpaul
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about what constitutes acceptable and normative professional conduct in climate science. Climate Science ethics specialists like Peter Gleick have weighed in on this topic as have the investigative panels chaired by Sir Muir (Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, Deputy Lieutenant, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh) and the blue ribbon panel from Penn State. Each have examined the conduct of researchers in the field and have consistently found climate scientists to have performed according to the highest standards of conduct for the profession. Of course, each profession has different standards and the standards of conduct in climate science are dramatically different from those of my own profession. But what remains unanswered is: “what would constitute misconduct in climate science”? Perhaps Nick Stokes could weigh in here.

  13. bernie1815
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

    I was doing a little checking of the supposed 20% skeptic at SkS and I found this comment by the relatively level headed Tom Curtis concerning the Lewandowsky mess:

    53 Tom Curtis at 19:26 PM on 24 March, 2013

    BaerbelW @57, the blogs contacted first by Lewandowsky (and hence described as misinformation sites by Brad) are:

    1.Skeptical Science (posted by tweet only, Aug 27th, 2010)my bold
    2.Climate Asylum (posted Aug 28th, 2010)
    3.Open Mind (posted on Aug 28th, 2010)
    4.Deltoid (posted on Aug 29th, 2010)
    5.Global Warming: Man or Myth? (posted Aug 29th, 2010)
    6.A Few Things Ill Considered (posted Aug 29th, 2010)
    7.Hot Topic (posted Aug 30th, 2010)
    8.Climate Change Task Force (posted as an addendum to a July 17th post, presumably in late August, 2010)

    (The dates are the times the surveys were posted.)

    The blogs contacted second, and hence defined by Brad as “science defending” are:
    1.Steve McIntyre Climate Audit
    2.Dr Roger Pielke Jr (he replied to the initial contact)
    3.Mr Marc Morano (of Climatedepot; he replied to the initial contact)
    4.Dr Roy Spencer (no reply)
    5.Mr Robert Ferguson (of the Science and Public Policy Institute, no reply)

    He has also specified that WUWT, Jonova and Biship Hill as “good examples of pro-science sites”. The list speaks for itself and demolishes any claim he makes to be “defending science” or to accept AGW.

    Tom Curtis must have been following this carefully. Is Tom likely to have insider info on SkS?

    • Jonas N
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

      Interesting Bernie

      Tom Curtis, who indeed comes acrossas one SkSer with some integrity left (occasionally) confirms the fact that SkS never hosted the survey.

      But in follow-up comments asks ‘Why should this matter at all? It doesn’t!’ You are a conspiracy theorist! As deniers typically are’

      So muchfor ‘level headed’ ..

      But reading the thread is amazing, after a while the moderators snip almost every skeptical commenter, participate in the name-calling and issue threats of future deletion …

      It’s simply impossible to take them seriously when every argument or opposining view is said to be in violation of their ‘Comment Policy’ …

      ‘Sloganeering’ apparently is not allowed for skeptics … Duh!

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

        The SKS comments relating to Curtis’ admission that there never was an SKS blogpost to the Lewandowsky survey is here:

        Curtis opened with a comment listing the blogs “contacted first by Lewandowsky”, beginning with SKS listed as “by tweet only” – as Chambers and others had long stated and as Cook had denied:

        1. Skeptical Science (posted by tweet only, Aug 27th, 2010)

        At 00:12 AM on 25 March, 2013, Chambers responded:

        So invitations to participate in LOG12 weren’t published at SkepticalScience, and the information provided by John Cook was incorrect. Will he be issuing an apology?

        At 06:55 AM on 25 March, 2013, Curtis replied:

        Geoff Chambers @61, that again? Obsess much, do we?

        OK, John Cook tweeted the survey for LOG12 rather than posting it on SkS proper. He then advised Lewnadowsky that the survey had been posted, and a year later when you questioned him, remembered only that it had been posted, and not that the post had only been by tweet. Indeed, he’s a busy person so posting on SkS proper may have slipped from his mental “to-do” list to his mental “done” list almost immediately…

        Curtis’ account obviously does not hold up when compared against actual documents. In August 2010, Cook did NOT advise Lewandowsky that the survey had been posted. He advised him that the survey had not been posted and that he had only tweeted. Lewandowsky could obviously not have “made a note” of seeing the survey post at SKS since there never was one. The issue with Cook’s September 2012 correspondence is not with his initial false memory, but his statements AFTER he had retrieved and consulted his 2010 correspondence. That correspondence clearly showed that Cook had only tweeted. COok’s claim that the correspondence provided “forensic evidence” that he had made a blog post can only be characterized as a baldfaced lie.

        Curtis then went on to argue (in tortured style) that Lewandowsky’s false claim in Fury about the SKS blog post could not be described as a false claim in Fury, because Fury had only quoted Hoax. (at 13:29 PM on 25 March, 2013 here


        2) The fact that John Cook notified people of the survey on the SkS twitter feed rather than on the blog site itself is not an error in LCOM13 as LCOM13 does not make any claim to the contrary. Rather, they quote a claim in LOG12, which does make that claim. That is entirely appropriate because the actual event is not germaine to LCOM13, whereas the reported event against which the various hypotheses where directed was.

        • Jonas N
          Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

          Yes, I’d expect Cook (and Lewandowsky) to lie the moment they are in a corner, and when they believe they can get away with it. But not before that, when they don’t need to or when it will be revealed ..

          But when they lie, I still expect them to contort, to miscontrue and misunderstand, and later claim to have misunderstood or others have misread them.

          Cook will (be able to) say that the ‘forensic evidence’ and the ‘posted’ referred to the tweet. As will Lewandowsky wrt his ‘mental note’. Cook is carefully wording his way around what actually happened, avoiding definite answers (and omitting key words) everytime he addresses the matter …

          But I have been pondering one more possibility (which makes the answers above just a little mor thruthful):

          What if the survey was linked only on their ‘secret forum’? There, they could be more at ease discussing what the best way to answer the survey was?

          Apparently Lewandowsky is adamant about having SkS-contributers to the survey. Partly because of his claims of ‘diverse commenters/respondents’. But he notes: “(although it cannot be ascertained how many of the visitors actually saw the link.)”

          I don’t know if this makes sense or could have happened this way. But in my experience, even the most devious individuals bend over backwards to later being able to claim that ‘none of my statements (taken individually)
          was false’

          Tom Curtis? I don’t think he is material to this issue, he thinks LOG12 had real merit somehow. And argues that it surveyed ‘deniers’ which then exhibited ‘conspiracy ideation’ ..

        • Jeff Alberts
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

          “Curtis’ account obviously does not hold up when compared against actual documents.”

          Add to that the fact that Cook was all excited about participating with Lewnadowski (A rather appropriate misspelling), having mentioned it numerous times in the “private” forums form SkS. That he would have forgotten seems as unlikely as forgetting a date with a supermodel.

        • Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 9:31 AM | Permalink

          Steve, the FOI request to UWA did not, and could not turn up the emails stored on Cook’s computer, still less the results of the search. Ergo they cannot show that Cook has lied. You may want him to have lied; but leaping so far ahead of the evidence does you no credit.

      • Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

        Jonas N, your purported quote of me is a fabrication made by quoting out of context, not noting omitted texts, by rewording clauses to fit your frame up, and by adding in phrases that in no way correspond to anything I said.

        If you wish to damn me, damn me for the words I speak – not the words you place in my mouth!

        • Jonas N
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

          Tom C

          You are no stranger to offensive language and name-calling. And I think you argued poorly in said SkS-thread.

          Where I paraphrased your words of a longer, not-very-nice comment (which I linked btw)! And I most certainly did not present this as a verbatim quote, I do however think my paraphasing catches the gist of it.

          And I am not damning you here, but ‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks’

        • Andrew Barnham
          Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 4:54 PM | Permalink

          Jonas N said: ‘Why should this matter at all? It doesn’t!’ You are a conspiracy theorist! As deniers typically are’. And claimed this is a fair paraphrasing of your SKS comments. You claim that “phrases that in no way correspond to anything I said.”

          Breaking this down.

          1. “Why should this matter at all? It doesn’t!” corresponds well to your comment “Is LOG12 distorted by an under representation of acceptors of the IPCC concensus as a result? Does it make any substantive difference to the paper? The answer clearly is no to both. “.

          2. ” You are a conspiracy theorist!” : corresponds well to “That you are a conspiracy theorist suggests why.”.

          3. ” As deniers typically are”. : has no strong correspondence to actual quotes I can see and Jonas is possibly, arguably misrepresenting you here by implying that you think that all skeptics are typically conspiracy nutters. Yet other comments on the SKS thread strongly suggest that you wholeheartedly embrace and vigorously defend the principal claim LOG12 strives to make. i.e. : “More like three, or possibly 4 substantive errors which at least one of the authors wants corrected prior to the paper being in print; and no error invalidating the primary thesis.”. Of course feel free to clarify your actual position on this question if you like; would save alot of toing-and-throwing.

    • Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

      Tom Curtis is an insider, a SkS writer and contributor to the Treehut Files. He contributed devastating criticism to the Lewandowsky survey in comments at

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?p=1&t=155&&n=1540

      which must have cost him a heavy re)-education session, because in the discussion on the new “Recursive Fury” file, he turns on me, accusing me of trolling.

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/Recursive-Fury-Facts-misrepresentations.html

      snip

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 5:50 PM | Permalink

        have you looked at the number of followers that SkS has and how often the tweet was retweeted and by whom.

        this data exists and can be mined via API

        Steve Mc: Cook’s twitter followers (in August 2010) are obviously not the same population as blog readership.

        • DGH
          Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

          It can be easily mined via bitly since he circulated a shortened link. See below.

          My guess is that SKS posted their own shortened survey (per the emails) and that is the data referred to in the paper. Otherwise somebody has some ‘spalinin to do.

        • Skiphil
          Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 6:56 PM | Permalink

          The SkS tweet for the link to the Lewandowsky survey only had 5 re-tweets. The 3 still listed now have only small numbers of twitter followers (the other 2 seem to be from accounts since cancelled? because they do not show up at all now under the “5 re-tweets”).

          Cook’s SkS tweet for Lewandowsky survey

          In any case, Lewandowsky can’t simply arm-wave at Cook’s tweet, since there is even less reason for confidence in the claimed “20%” figure for SkS “skeptic” visitors if one is arm-waving at unknown Twitter followership. Cook/SkS currently have close to 6,300 followers on Twitter, but that number may have been much lower if he was just getting active with Twitter in summer 2010 (had not yet linked it from the SkS homepage, which is one of the first things any web active Tweeter will do when they become active).

          I recall that the % of accounts on Twitter which are truly active, and with real humans not spammers, is only a few %. So the number of likely survey responses from the Twitter link, given that only a very small proportion of the SkS Twitter followers even saw the tweet, is probably well under 100. It’s another huge unknown in Lewandowsky’s wildly unscientific sampling method….

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

          iguess thats my point

        • DGH
          Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

          Twitter followers and blog visitors are a different populations, no doubt. But for the record and a laugh @skepticscience had !,000 followers as of July 30, 2010.

          A far cry from 390,000 monthly visits to his SKS and the potential for 78,000 skeptic views.

          (also noted at JoNova)

      • Scott Basinger
        Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

        Actually Tom Curtis doesn’t seem to be much of an insider when he posts in that first link above: “Clearly his questions have been answered already. Skeptical Science and John Cook are not associated with Lewandowski’s study.”

  14. Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

    From Recursive Fury – Frontiers

    (under the heading of “Potential Limitations”, it is explained why the content analysis of blogs was entrusted to authors Cook and Marriott:

    “Two of the present authors also contributed to LOG12, and the present analysis may therefore be biased by a potential conflict of interest. This possibility cannot be ruled out [...]. [B]ecause data collection (via internet search) was conducted by two authors who were not involved in analysis or report of LOG12, the resulting “raw” data – available in the online supplementary material – cannot reflect a conflict of interest involving the LOG12 authors.”

    {borrowed from Geoff’s blog)

    Marriott and COOK are utterly conflicted here.. for Lewandowsky to claim otherwise is distasteful, whilst not involved in analysis or report of LOG12.. (Cook had discussed survey with Lewandowsky, including counting the sceptics, etc)

    MARIOTT’s blog and COOK’s website were attacking the critics of LOG12, Geoff and I were commenting at respective blogs and Marriott was also, writing derogatory stuff on me, whilst researching sceptics they were engaging with as protagonists about me, as I have shown in a previous comment. Additionally as Skeptical Science was supposedly one of the diverse blogs HOSTING the survey in the LOG 12 survey (and Lewandowsky and COOK had discussed doing a survey, and SkS (COOK) was supposedly the control data for how many sceptical visitors there were, this I can only say is untrue as well

    It is worth noting at least 4 of the blog owners surveyed have also been GUEST authors at Skeptical Science attacking sceptics,
    Lewandowsky also writes at Skeptical Science, and also co-authored the “Debunking Handbook” with Cook (which has the logo’s of University of Queensland and UWA all over it – Lew/Cooks associated universities), and the Debunking Handbook is prominent on Shaping Tomorrows World blog (lewandowsky university funded blog) and Skeptical Science – more conflict

    Barry Bickermores (surveyed blog, LOG12) – blog article Roy Spencer anti science, is also particularly distasteful. Psychology is supposed to protect us all form rhetoric like this, not encourage it. (that is DR Roy Spencer – NASA! – )

    This is utter bad faith towards the journal they present there data and paper to. I have EVERY sympathy with the Journal Psychological Sciencse, as all science has the presumption (unless proven otherwise ) that authors are acting in good faith, not as I perceive them political/cause activists in academic clothing.

    I will try to contact Psychological Science, and ask them if the can advice me what to do, and ask if I can help the journal sort out this mess in any way, sympathising as I did with the Frontiers journal editor, that they had been blindsided with these papers.

    I have also NOT made a complaint with UWA I have raised my concerns explained what has occurred (ref Marriott) and ask for what public information is available to me, as an unwilling,.unwitting participant in the Recursive Fury paper, as a named readily identifiable psychological research subject. (ie ethics clearance went wrong here!?) I want to help the University of Western Australia sort out this conflicted mess. Psychology is supposed to help people, not be used to label people by activists, so that their opinions get ignored

    I’m on the side of science.
    Always have been, and that includes that absolute majority of climate scientist that act in total good faith and trust (too trusting?) their very few colleagues ahead of criticisms of made of them by ‘deniers’, labels activists like SkS impose on us, or not true sceptics, or exhibiting psychological tendencies (MARRIOT, zero psych qualifications – DUNNUING-Kruger label for me), or conspiracy theories, to tell people to ignore me/us.

    What a mess.

    • Skiphil
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:22 PM | Permalink

      The label “punitive psychology” has been offered (by A. Scott and others) for what Lewandowsky and pals are doing. I think “abusive psychology” would also be an appropriate term. Lewandowsky, Cook, all of them are totally (un)ethically conflicted in studying with evident hostility human subjects in order to abuse the subjects of such studies.

      Steve mentioned last fall how Lewandowsky’s abuses of statistical methods would stand a good chance of becoming textbook examples of how not to conduct and summarize survey research.

      I think that Lewandowsky and Cook will also become textbook case studies for unethical behavior and conflict-of-interest by abusive researchers.

    • JunkPsychology
      Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 8:32 AM | Permalink

      The assertion (in LCOM13) that Cook and Marriott don’t share Lewandowsky and Oberauer’s bias is laughable. One of many reasons why the piece should not have been published in anything close to submitted form.

      Psychological research subjects are generally understood to be people who are specially recruited to participate in experiments, agree to confidential interviews, consent to fill out anonymous surveys, allow their medical or educational records to be used, etc.

      If your statements are a matter of public record (published in an article, on a blog that everyone can read, in blog comments that everyone can read, etc.) and a psychologist writes about you for publication, you are not a psychological research subject in the sense that would interest an ethics committee or institutional review board.

      That, of course, doesn’t excuse misquoting (which LCOM13 have done a fair amount of), and the authors of any published article are subject to laws concerning libel and defamation.

      Likewise, if anyone might want to perform a qualitative analysis of the public statements of Lewandowsky, Cook, and Marriott (say, to find indicators of “conspiracist ideation”) and publish that, there’s no need to ask a review board first.

      Steve: Lewandowsky sought permission in 2010 from the Ethics Committee to conceal his association with the survey from bloggers, stating that knowing of his association would “contaminate” responses. However, lewandowsky immediately disclosed his association to activist blogs in seeking their participation, while deceiving “skeptic” blogs (not that any of us had ever heard of Lewandowsky at the time). This original deception had a knock-on effect in 2012 when none of us were able to locate “Lewandowsky” in our emails. Lewandowsky misrepresented our limited reports of being unable to locate “Lewandowsky” as much more sweeping claims that we’d never been contacted by the “researchers”. I, for one, did not preclude the possibility that I’d deleted the email or that it had gone to junk and made only a very limited statement that Lewandowsky misrepresented.

      • JunkPsychology
        Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

        A couple of issues here.

        One is that Lewandowsky asked the Ethics Committee for permission to have one of his research assistants put his name on the survey and do the contacting of bloggers.

        The implication being that the approaches to skeptical blogs were planned before the surveys were first sent out. (But then, why the delay before skeptical blogs were approached?)

        A second implication, however, was the research assistant would do all the contacting. So why did Lewandowsky personally contact the warmist blogs?

        It’s possible that Lewandowsky was more interested in setting a trap for skeptical bloggers (thereby providing fodder for LCOM13) than in getting them to post a link to his survey (thereby obtaining data for LOG13). I hope not, but…

  15. Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    Hi , a tweet for starters sounds good.

    This is survey corruption from the get-go. Forget the respondents to the survey of blogs categories. The population was “salted” with people that subscribed to the “Twit”.

    This admitted fact alone is cause to dismiss all results. “Sounds good”?? Good for WHAT? Nothing to do with honest research, certainly.

    • PaddikJ
      Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 3:21 AM | Permalink

      Not corruption, just sloppy. In thinking about both of Lew’s recent papers, that’s the one word that always comes to mind first.

  16. André van Delft
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    Fresh from the press: Retraction Watch on Lewandowski’s “recursive fury” paper that has been taken down again from Frontiers in Personality Science and Individual Differences:

    http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/why-publishers-should-explain-why-papers-disappear-the-complicated-lewandowsky-study-saga/#more-13353

  17. Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    On the importance of the source blogs:
    The first check on any kind of survey is to analyse responses by source (interviewer / geographical location etc) to see if there are any anomalies. I believe the two outliers Steve identfied were close in the list on the spreadsheet, suggesting maybe they came from the same blog.
    I don’t believe for a moment those six blogs and one tweet could have generated 1300+ responses. Total number of commenters on the six blogs was around 50 I’d guess (100+ comments with many mutiple comments from one person). Some said they weren’t going to complete the survey, some tried and couldn’t.
    Is it likely that there were more than 25 times the number of silent fillers-in of the questionnaire than commenters?

    Steve: I sent a formal request to Lewandowsky for the dates of the responses and the questionnaire version used in each response. Lewandowsky has not provided the information and has refused to even acknowledge the request.

    • bernie1815
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

      Geoff:
      I just did a simple analysis of the comments in response to Recursive Fury: Facts and misrepresentations
      There were to date 106 comments from 39 different ids. Of the 39 there were 5 who took issue with the post and therefore could be labeled “skeptics”. There were 22 who were clearly supportive of the post. I could not categorize 12 commenters because their comments were too brief or simply asked clarifying questions.
      I also noted that many of the SkS team chimed in on this post.
      I haven’t checked on the average number of distinct commenter per post and on the site altogether but I am extremely skeptical that SkS would generate more than 100 survey responses in total and certainly not to a twitter feed.

      • Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

        Bernie … keep in mind the definition of “skeptic” for Lews purpose – it was those who did not believe the “consensus” regarding catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.

        Several other participants did have views that could be considered “skeptic” regarding that blog post but their view on climate science was – to me anyway – not discernible from their comments.

        And therein is another problem with their comment analysis – did they define comments as skeptical of climate change – or simply “skeptics” in the convention sense of the word in relation to the topic of the comment.

        Dang – that sounds more complicated than it is – hope it made sense ;-)

      • Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:37 PM | Permalink

        In fairness – I’d like to point out bernie posted his review a couple hours earlier than mine here … appears Steve combined here for continuity of the topic

        • bernie1815
          Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 9:26 PM | Permalink

          A Scott: Thanks. My classification for my quick and dirty analysis was who was opposed to the specific post – so strictly speaking they may not be skeptical about CAGW.
          What was most scary were some of Scott Mandia comments. The moderators comments also seemed a bit odd.

  18. Ian H
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    “has remains unrefuted.”

  19. Ian H
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

    Clinton was impeached not for having an affair but for telling a lie about it. In constitutional terms the affair was trivial and irrelevant. The lie was what they hung him on. Similarly Cook forgetting to post the link on SkS is pretty trivial really. But lying about it is getting them into much deeper waters.

  20. observa
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    Someone needs to urgently inform the Team producers that the Dead Parrot sketch is only hiarious first time round and with the original talented actors.

  21. Rud Istvan
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

    Steve M, this is brilliant forensic auditing.

    But ‘they’ don’t care, and the judge and jury are only the court of public opinion. Which you cannot reach through ordinary MSM at present.
    Wait for bigger game, like your most recent Marcott untruth trophy.

    BTW, second author Shakun had an equally bogus paper last year in Nature claiming CO2 led warming by 1000 years, so proving Al Gore was ‘right’ in An Inconvenient Truth’! But inverting the ice cores plus Henry’s Law and Le Chatellier’s principle in physical chemistry. I have deconstructed Shakun as an essay in my next book, but would be interested to see what you make of Shakun’s nonsense from basically the same proxies as Marcott used, same thesis adviser Clark, same university OSU. Just different tricks for an equally prestigious journal.
    Highest regards

  22. Don Keiller
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

    This kind of activity comes under the heading of “Academic Malpractice” and/or “Behaviour likely to bring the University into Disrepute”.
    The latter is a sacking offence.
    A letter to the (Lewandowsky’s) University Vice Chancellor is in order.

    • Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 3:34 AM | Permalink

      Hi Don.. Could you give me some advise.. on this. I’m not used to interacting with university procedures

      • Don Keiller
        Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 6:10 AM | Permalink

        Barry, I will check out my University’s code of practice after tghe easter break (Tuesday) and get back to you.

      • Don Keiller
        Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

        Barry, this is from the University’s Academic Disciplinary Code. I would imagine that other universities have very similar policies.

        On my reading of Lewandowsky’s activities, I believe that he is in breach of several of these items.

        Procedure for the Investigation of Allegations of Misconduct in Research
        Misconduct in research is regarded as serious or gross misconduct and we are committed to ensure that all allegations of misconduct in research are investigated thoroughly and with vigour.

        Definition of Misconduct in Research
        Misconduct in this context includes, but is not limited to:

        • Fabrication and/or falsification of research data, including intentionally misleading or deliberate false reporting of research information
        • Fraud (including the invention of data or the misuse of research funds, equipment or premises)
        • Deception in proposing and/or conducting research and deliberate, dangerous or negligent deviations from accepted practice of conducting research
        • Any conduct that seriously deviates from ethical standards in research
        • Failure to acquire ethical consent from our Research Ethics Sub Committee or Faculty Research Ethics Panel and any linked NHS Committees
        • Facilitating misconduct in research by collusion in, or concealment of, such actions by others
        • Disclosing improperly the identity of individuals or groups involved in research without their consent, or other breach of confidentiality;
        • Improper conduct in peer review of research proposals or results (including manuscripts submitted for publication); this includes failure to disclose conflicts of interest; inadequate disclosure of clearly limited competence; misappropriation of the content of material; and breach of confidentiality or
        • Mismanagement or inadequate preservation of data and/or primary materials, including failure to:
        • Keep clear and accurate records of the research procedures followed and the results obtained, including interim results;
        • Hold records securely in paper or electronic form;
        Make relevant primary data and research evidence accessible to others for reasonable periods after the completion of the research: data should normally be preserved and accessible for ten years, but for projects of clinical or major social, environmental or heritage importance, for 20 years or longer.

        Gross misconduct is misconduct of such a nature that the attendance of the employee at the place of work can no longer be justified. The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of the sort of offences which amount to gross misconduct:
        • theft, fraud or any other dishonesty
        • deliberate falsification of records
        • unauthorised use or disclosure of confidential information or breach of confidence
        • any action likely to bring our University into serious disrepute

  23. DGH
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 5:50 PM | Permalink

    I can’t vouch for the accuracy of Bitly stats. But hare is what they report dating back to 8/28/2010 for the link that was used by @skepticscience http://bit.ly/aZ7Znv

    climateaudit.org 74
    Email Clients, IM, AIR Apps, and Direct 67
    twitter.com 28
    TweetDeck 4
    iconfactory.com 2

    Going long on orville redenbacher…

    • DGH
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

      By my count @skepticscience referred 75 or fewer respondents to the survey. The bitly link has no clicks after late September 2010 until the news broke last year.

    • DGH
      Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

      Commenting on the quality of the survey is probably piling on at this point but the bitly stats also suggest that the responses generated by John Cook were heavily weighted to Australia. Given that the conspiracies, 12 of 15 or thereabouts, were American issues, (Area 51, JFK, Pearl Harbor, etc), it seems weird that they would look outside the U.S. for responses and one wonders what the impact was on the results.

      As SM notes above, John Cook agrees, “Some of those conspiracy theories, I have no clue about – Oliver Stone is the only source of info I have for the JFK assassination”

  24. rogerknights
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

    Typo in the article:
    “. . . from SKS to the other even more more antagonistic blogs.”

  25. DGH
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 6:09 PM | Permalink

    Let me add that the participants were not only visitors to climate blogs, they were invited guests from friends of friends of Dr. L.

    http://www.manpollo.org/forums/archive/index.php?t-988.html You can find Barbel Winkler’s BIO over at Shaping Tomorrow’s World.

    Steve: My guess is that Barbel Winkler learned of the survey from the private Planet 3.0 listserv.

    • bernie1815
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 6:36 PM | Permalink

      She is also an SkS team member I believe.

      • DGH
        Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

        These two folks also tweeted the link…

        @podblack – (Kylie Sturgess) Under a protected account.

        And a Leslie Cannold of Melbourne.

        Steve and others have a valid point. For Lewandowsky to argue that the results were derived from blogs and that the respondents can be characterized (pro vs anti science) by the makeup of the comments on the blogs is ludicrous. Particularly when the blog of choice, SKS, didn’t post the link and only generate 10% of the responses.

        Steve: podblack is mentioned in the Lewandowsky FOI correspondence.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

      The survey was also publicized at the Planet 3.0 listserv, though this was not reported in the article.

  26. Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

    These two comments from the internal mails at SkepticalScience (the Treehut Files) help to explain Cook’s thinking:

    8 October 2010
    “a while ago, I added a bias field to the user database and a bit of code so as comments came in, I could specify whether the user was skeptics or warmest /proAGW / mainstream (still haven’t found a satisfactory term for our side). I only assign bias if its obvious from the comment. I haven’t done anything with that data yet, I’m not even sure why I’m doing it other than my obsessive compulsion to collect data. The other day, Steve Lewandowsky (cognitive scientist) asked if I had any numbers on the ratio of skeptics to warmists so I dove into the database and counted up around 100 assigned skeptics and around 400 assigned warmists.”

    6 October 2010
    “I’ve been having some intriguing conversations with Steve Lewandowsky who’s throwing cognitive experiment ideas at me to see what’s technically possible. Having a significantly sized group of people classified as skeptic or proAGW makes all sorts of interesting experiments possible.”

    You can see that the proportions (100 assigned skeptics and around 400 assigned warmists) correspond to the figures in the supplementary material. But the dates are after the end of the survey fieldwork, suggesting that Cook had no idea what Lewandowsky wanted of him.

    Note that Lewandowsky had already announced provisional results of his survey at Monash 23 September, and 8 October Cook is saying in a private email, “I haven’t done anything with that data yet”. It doesn’t make sense.

    • Michael
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

      :)

      Their lying to save the kids has inadvertently discovered time travel.

    • HaroldW
      Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 7:20 AM | Permalink

      geoffchambers –
      That 100-to-400 count would seem to be the likely source of the “20% skeptics” figure which is assigned to SkS visitor statistics. First, this statistic was compiled from commenters, not visitors — not necessarily the same population. Second, Cook’s description makes me wonder how current that database was — he clearly had a list of ~500 unique names, but I wonder if some of the “skeptic” names in Cook’s list were hit-and-runs rather than regular readers. That is, persons who visited the site, dropped a negative comment or two, were jumped on by the residents, and left. If so, they wouldn’t have been current visitors at the time of the survey.
      So many imponderables about methodology — perhaps there should be a paper: Evanescent Evidence — Weaving Wisps into Diaphanous Data.

      • gober
        Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 8:01 AM | Permalink

        “That is, persons who visited the site, dropped a negative comment or two, were jumped on by the residents, and left.”

        That was my experience in 2012. I went in, posted a few comments, got snipped a bit and found that several of the protagonists I was up against in the discussion were also the moderators who were deciding what part of my comments to cut out.

        I can’t complain about that – it’s their blog and they can do what they like with it – but I concluded it was a waste of my time/effort.

        • JunkPsychology
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

          Not only that, but I’ve noticed that the moderators go back in after a while and make further snips.

          I have no interest in seeing my comments progressively mutilated, and I don’t see why anyone else would either.

    • Jan
      Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

      Re: geoffchambers (Mar 28 19:02),

      This interview published December 2010 is interesting:

      “The kind of people who visit my site regularly are not the same people who look at the skeptic sites,” Cook said. As for skeptic sites that he sees as his competition, “the closest thing to mine in Australia” is joannenova.com.au, which he said gets about the same level of monthly traffic as his own site. He identified Anthony Watts’ WUWT site as a counterpart American skeptics blog, “though he gets an order of magnitude more traffic than my site gets.”

      Pointing to climate change sites such as Tim Lambert’s Deltoid, Tamino’s Open Mind, and Michael Tobis’s Only In It For The Gold, Cook said that “all the climate bloggers, we all keep in pretty close touch. There’s a whole bunch of them.”

      http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2010/12/skeptical-science-founder-john-cook/

  27. Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

    Cook and Lewandowsky remind me of my twelve year old nephew, a kind of hypo-pathological liar, goes for the lie first even when parents know he is lying then sticks to the lie again and again. He almost always avoids the full consequences of lying to parents, probably why he still does it. He also seems to enjoy feeling of power of getting away with it.

    The parents seem to have a deep inhibition about challenging the tyke to the level of fight he is willing to give. It really weird to watch because the kid is willing to take relatively trivial issues to a personally [meaning personal ego] existential level before quitting. The parents seem to be unwilling to go to the point where they crush his ego to wring the truth out of him, and he seems perfectly willing to take the issue there. Weird.

    Looking out the kitchen window I see him [the nephew] pour a half gallon of torch fuel on the backyard fire pit. Woof. Big fire. Mom comes around the corner sees the fire, sees the empty fuel jug. Nephew hauled into the house by one ear by my plus-sized Norwegian sister-in-law [can be scary]. I stand by the sink and just watch the whole situation go down, I was the eyewitness and could have pulled the plug on the situation at any moment but I really wanted to see what was going to happen. I watch as boy ‘doubles down’ on the lie three or four times. Finally mom has to pull the ‘thermonuclear option’, “If you don’t tell me the truth right now I will never trust you again”. Tears. Sniveling. Confession. To bed.

    Seems exactly the case here, except who is going to tell Cook and Lewandowsky, “Fess up NOW or you never publish again.” Who?

    W^3

  28. Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

    Geoff Chambers posted some of the comments from the invite only members section at Skeptical Science (that the admins there apparently left public for a period of time). One post from John Cook is highly relevant to this discussion (emph. mine):

    2010–10-8 ” …a while ago, I added a bias field to the user database and a bit of code so as comments came in, I could specify whether the user was skeptics or warmest/proAGW/mainstream (still haven’t found a satisfactory term for our side). I only assign bias if its obvious from the comment. I haven’t done anything with that data yet, I’m not even sure why I’m doing it other than my obsessive compulsion to collect data. The other day, Steve Lewandowsky (cognitive scientist) asked if I had any numbers on the ratio of skeptics to warmists so I dove into the database and counted up around 100 assigned skeptics and around 400 assigned warmists.

    If I did my math correctly 100 out of 500 total = 20% … exactly the same number as the alleged “content analysis” done on “1067 comments” from allegedly “unique visitors” at Skeptical Science (SKS).

    It is simply far too great a coincidence that an analysis of 1067 comments, provided exactly the same ratio as Lewandowsky co-author John Cook said his internal database showed was the ratio of skeptic vs non-skeptic participants.

    Which also almost exactly matched the 18% Lewandowsky reports another survey in the US found:

    “… survey of the U. S. public in June 2010 pegged the proportion of “skeptics” in the population at 18% (Leiserowitz, Maibach, Roser-Renouf, & Smith, 2011) found.

    Imagine that.

    That all is bad enough on its own – however, there is another gigantic hole in their claims.

    Their “content analysis” of 1067 comments, and their resultant claimed ‘skeptic share’ at Skeptical Science has effectively no real life relationship with the number and share of skeptic participants at SKS. This is especially true considering SKS’s highly antagonistic attitude and actions towards skeptics who dare venture to their little club – from regular non-skeptic participants and moderators alike.

    Comparing comment counts offers no legitimate insight into the skeptic vs non-skeptic participant ratio, which is the metric supposedly being measured.

    A simple review of one post at Skeptical Science is illustrative of the almost complete lack of association between skeptic comments and skeptic participant shares.

    Lets choose the recent cross post from Shaping Tomorrows World, of John Cook’s excuse-making, err … ‘explanation’ of the Recursive paper posted here.

    This post has generated, to date, a total of 106 responses. Lets break down the responses:

    >Barry Woods – skeptic – posts 9,13,14,15,22

    >Geoff Chambers – skeptic – posts 24,27,28,38,40,60,78 (heavily moderated and strong mod warning), 89 (moderated again), 101 (moderated – final warning)

    >Brad Keyes – skeptic – posts 30, 31 (deleted), 32, 34, 49, 51, 52, 55, 57, 58, 63, 66, 69, 70, 73, 92, 93, 96, 98 (moderated and banned – Brad’s foray is a typical skeptic experience at SKS)

    There are a couple other posts that could be definied as skeptical of the SKS position in this thread, but cannot be defined as AGW skeptic’s – which is the subject of this study.

    While we’re reviewing lets look at a few of the typical comments from non-skeptics to see how skeptics are treated at SKS:

    <Post 47 definitely NOT a skeptic – but a perfect demonstration of the attitude towards skeptics at the site (you'll note this clear ad hominem attack was ignored by mods):

    Although a recent occurrence came close, no thread was better deserving of the following metaphorical advice: “don’t wrestle with a pig. You’ll both be covered in mud and the pig loves it.” I urge all that are able to think rationally to not waste their time.

    <Post 68 – from a site moderator:

    I’m not going to engage you, because this is silly. John Cook’s paper says it all, and I have no intention of spending my time arguing about “sides” that have been entirely fabricated by a small community of “victims” who have identified themselves as separate and special.

    <Post 74 – another site moderator – John Hartz:

    @John Cook: Do you now have enough raw material from this comment thread for another paper in your series?

    <Post 102 – post by site moderator – "John Hartz" another site moderator tells him not to "feed the troll" referring to geoff chambers.

    So – the count:

    *Skeptic comment count: N=35 comments (out of 106 total) … 33.02% of all comments

    *Non-Skeptic comment count: 71 comments (of 106 total) … 65.98% of all comments

    *Skeptic individual participants count: N=3 (out of 42 total participants) … 7.14% of all participants are SKEPTIC’s

    *Non-Skeptic individual participants count: N=38 (out of 42 total participants) … 90.48% of all participants are NON-SKEPTIC’s

    An interesting aside – regarding participation by moderators and/or SKS staff:

    *SKS moderators/staff commenting individually count: N=40 comments (out of 106 total) … 37.74% of all comments were made by SKS staff/moderators

    *SKS moderators/staff individual participant count: N=10 (of 38 non-skeptic posters) … SKS moderators/staff comprised 26.32 of all participants

    The data – at least in this thread is clear … contrary to the authors conclusions, while 33% of the comments here were from skeptics, just 7% of the participants were the same.

    This shows the SKS formula provided in the Lewandowsky Supplemental Information – which uses total skeptic comments vs non-sceptic comments as support for and proof of the alleged diversity of the SKS, provides little or no meaningful information on the share of skeptic’s who participate at SKS.

    Additionally, the paper’s “comment analysis” is, to be charitable, highly suspect, considering this supposed standalone comment analysis finds EXACTLY THE SAME conclusion as author John Cook found in his wholly separate and unrelated forum post – using his own internal participant “bias” information

    Worse, the Lewandosky authors extend this seriously flawed “comment analysis” conclusion as definitively representative of all 7 other non-skeptic sites that offered the survey.

    A more detailed review would likely find somewhat different results, however the basic premise here – that a “comments” review does not provide meaningful insight into the share of “participants” who are skeptics, is not likely to significantly change.

    • bernie1815
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 9:15 PM | Permalink

      Neatly done. The essence of content analysis is to have independent coders. I wonder if JC followed such a protocol?

    • Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

      A.Scott
      The entire roster of published comments at Skepticalscience for the month of September 2010 is available online. It runs about 58 pages, and carries ~2900 comments. It shouldn’t be a stretch for someone download these pages and create a document that contains all comments, which could then be classified for skeptical vs consensus vs neutral comments.

      Start page: http://www.skepticalscience.com/comments.php?p=1290&t=84508&amp;
      End page: http://www.skepticalscience.com/comments.php?p=1232&t=84508&amp;

      (i.e., it runs from 1290 through 1232)

      Secondly as can be seen, the number of total comments, if one goes by the description in the methods section, does not match up with the comments published in Sept 2010.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 8:52 AM | Permalink

        Shub and others,
        I spent a few minutes this morning and extracted the SKS comments for Sept 2010 and information on the commenters. I’ve placed the results at http://www.climateaudit.info/data/sks.

        Since the claim of Lewandowsky and Cook to have linked the survey from SKS is clearly untruthful, the allocation of SKS commenters is moot.

        However, for those interested, there were 2933 comments at SKS in September (see http://www.climateaudit.info/data/sks/info.csv) made by 287 commenters. A list of commenter names and count of comments is at http://www.climateaudit.info/data/sks/sks_commenter.csv

        The comments are contained as an R list of length 2933 at http://www.climateaudit.info/data/sks/comments.tab. R users can download this using download.file(“http://www.climateaudit.info/data/sks/comments.tab”,destfile,mode=”wb”); load(destfile). destfile is a location on your computer. The object is called “comments”.

        • JunkPsychology
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

          Steve,

          Thank you for providing these.

        • Pouncer
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

          The analysis, the data, and the code, all archived, turnkey, available and linked…

          I suppose in certain circles this would be construed as proof that you must be taking money from “Big Oil”. How else could you afford to pay the dozens of clerical workers it is KNOWN to require to accomplish this burdensome sort of task? And of course, it’s similarly KNOWN that if you were to attempt this huge labor yourself, you would find it impossible to do any of the other more important work you prefer.

          In other circles, (and among the folks I run with) this is just setting a good example. Nice work.

    • Jeff Alberts
      Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

      Just a nit, the plural of Skeptic is not Skeptic’s…

  29. Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:22 PM | Permalink

    From Recursive Fury – Frontiers

    (under the heading of “Potential Limitations”, it is explained why the content analysis of blogs was entrusted to authors Cook and Marriott:

    “Two of the present authors also contributed to LOG12, and the present analysis may therefore be biased by a potential conflict of interest. This possibility cannot be ruled out [...]. [B]ecause data collection (via internet search) was conducted by two authors who were not involved in analysis or report of LOG12, the resulting “raw” data – available in the online supplementary material – cannot reflect a conflict of interest involving the LOG12 authors.”

    {borrowed from Geoff’s blog)

    Marriott and COOK are utterly conflicted here.. for Lewandowsky to claim otherwise is distasteful, whilst not involved in analysis or report of LOG12.. (Cook had discussed survey with Lewandowsky, including counting the sceptics, etc)

    MARIOTT’s blog and COOK’s website were attacking the critics of LOG12, Geoff and I were commenting at respective blogs and Marriott was also, writing derogatory stuff on me, whilst researching sceptics they were engaging with as protagonists about me, as I have shown in a previous comment. Additionally as Skeptical Science was supposedly one of the diverse blogs HOSTING the survey in the LOG 12 survey (and Lewandowsky and COOK had discussed doing a survey, and SkS (COOK) was supposedly the control data for how many sceptical visitors there were, this I can only say is untrue as well

    It is worth noting at least 4 of the blog owners surveyed have also been GUEST authors at Skeptical Science attacking sceptics,
    Lewandowsky also writes at Skeptical Science, and also co-authored the “Debunking Handbook” with Cook (which has the logo’s of University of Queensland and UWA all over it – Lew/Cooks associated universities), and the Debunking Handbook is prominent on Shaping Tomorrows World blog (lewandowsky university funded blog) and Skeptical Science – more conflict

    Barry Bickermores (surveyed blog, LOG12) – blog article Roy Spencer anti science, is also particularly distasteful. Psychology is supposed to protect us all form rhetoric like this, not encourage it. (that is DR Roy Spencer – NASA! – )

    This is utter bad faith towards the journal they present there data and paper to. I have EVERY sympathy with the Journal Psychological Sciencse, as all science has the presumption (unless proven otherwise ) that authors are acting in good faith, not as I perceive them political/cause activists in academic clothing.

    I will try to contact Psychological Science, and ask them if the can advice me what to do, and ask if I can help the journal sort out this mess in any way, sympathising as I did with the Frontiers journal editor, that they had been blindsided with these papers.

    I have also NOT made a complaint with UWA I have raised my concerns explained what has occurred (ref Marriott) and ask for what public information is available to me, as an unwilling/unwitting participant in the Recursive Fury paper, as a named readily identifiable psychological research subject. (ie ethics clearance went wrong here!?) I want to help the University of Western Australia sort out this conflicted mess. Psychology is supposed to help people, not be used to label people by activists, so that their opinions get ignored

    I’ve always thought I’m on the side of science –

    Always have been, and that includes that absolute majority of climate scientist that act in total good faith and trust (too trusting?) their very few colleagues ahead of criticisms of made of them by ‘deniers’, labels activists like SkS impose on us, or not true sceptics, or exhibiting psychological tendencies (MARRIOT, zero psych qualifications – DUNNUING-Kruger label for me), or conspiracy theories, to tell people to ignore me/us.

    have got an expense paid invite to Met Office coming up, arranged today, see twitter, somebody tell Lew and Cook they don’t invite deneiers , or disnformers there (I will be happily called wrong on an issue, and ask/discuss why, with anybody”

    see @barryjwoods chatting (tweeting) with @Richardabetts

    IT’s only because we all had a laugh at Prof Richard Betts also being in Fury’s suplemntary data,at the researchers expense, Aussies not knowing somebody, that all readers at Bishoip Hill, knew as Met Office (maybe he should post as Prof Richad Betts so as not to confuse people looking for sceptic comments ! ) that I found out that Watching the Deniers, was also a researcher on this paper, and if @Skepticscience had tweeted back to me, “no you are not a conspiracy theoris, Barry” I would never have looked harder and found the etics issues.

    Richard tweeting Lewandowsky et al are delusional should make them think what they are doing?

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2013/3/21/lewandowsky-and-cook-in-spectacular-carcrash.html

    What a mess.

    Hopefully the journals/universities and others, will look to Geoff, Steve and myself and others to help sort this mess out.

    • Skiphil
      Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 8:12 AM | Permalink

      “Two of the present authors also contributed to LOG12, and the present analysis may therefore be biased by a potential conflict of interest. This possibility cannot be ruled out [...]. [B]ecause data collection (via internet search) was conducted by two authors who were not involved in analysis or report of LOG12, the resulting “raw” data – available in the online supplementary material – cannot reflect a conflict of interest involving the LOG12 authors.”

      [emphasis added]

      Cook and Marriott are deeply conflicted as partisan zealots attacking the very “human subjects” they purport to be studying. It is farcical for Lewandowsky et al. (2013) to pretend that two guys who were/are engaged in a propaganda effort against the subjects of the study *cannot* be conflicted b/c they are not authors on the 2012 paper. This is an embarrassment to the very idea of a “psychological science”…. and to research ethics.

  30. ianl8888
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

    Lewanclownsky et al have reached the tabloids:

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/lewandowsky_accused_of_defamation/

    Geoff Chambers’ defamation complaint seems to be the reason behind the withdrawal of the “Fury” publication, according to this tabloid article

  31. Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:37 PM | Permalink

    Hi Steve.
    Marriott was publically writing stuff like “Verified Bullshit”, Denier, Disinformation and Dunning Kruger about me (Lewandowsky’s co-author for Recursive Fury), and as lead author I assume Prof Lewandowsky is responsible for his researchers!) big conflict for a psychology paper about identifiable human subjects

    Steve, Could you do me a BIG favour and publish all the exchanges between me and Professor Lewandowsky in sequence, etc. (we don’t want to be accused of cherry picking) – mine as well, with my pemission (strip out email adresses, etc !!!) (linked doc?)

    I assume generally with people that all email correspondence is to be kept not to be published without permission, not as a rule but general ettiquette, and Lewandowsky and anybody I correspond with can depend on that,

    UNLESS

    someone lies to me, or treat me unethically or they show bad faith towards me, I was going to publish them now myself, so a slight tap on the wrist, I wanted to put my concerns to Prof Lewandowsky first, telling him I was going to publish, to see if he would treat me with courtsey and ask him about lost the url

    I have raised I think serious ethics issues (not criticism about the paper, though their are many)with the authors,journals and UWA (not complaints, concerns to work with them to resolve), yet the authors failed to acknowledge me or respond( to be clear UWA and the journal are looking into, but Easter hols now).

    Prof Lewandowsky had a number of chance to possibly tell me, “oh I checked and it actually didn’t appear, Cook just tweeted it, but no he said he had a link, and had lost it – silly us.

    Geoff gave Cook every opportunity to say yes, it was silly mistake, I tweeted it, but never published it on the website.

    And I do think it is important to demonstrate that, given that the supplementary material makes the claim that Skeptical Science hosted the link, and the whole premise that the amount of sceptics based on John Cooks traffic at Skeptical Science, that is assumed across the rest of the blogs) that this paper should be withdrawn..

    Lewandowsky must surely responsible as lead author for M MArriott / J Cook (M Marriot – Watching the Deniers)

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/a-cabal-of-bankers-and-sister-souljah-lewandowsky-versus-the-extreme-sceptic-fringe/

    ‘tracking the comments of high profile climate sceptics’, M MArriott

    and Marriott further alluded to his research for Lewandowsky presumably, saying in answer to a question (which was distasteful) asking why he was doing this::

    “Cheers, many thanks. There is big picture and details.” – M Marriott

    And:

    “This post is authored by well-known climate “sceptic” Barry Woods:” – M MArriott

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/here-we-go-again-watts-up-with-that-pushing-the-no-consensus-myth/W

    When I found this week that Lewandowsky et al (Recursive Fury – Frontiers) used one of my blog comments, cherry picking it in the process, in the Recursive Fury paper. And as I have pointed out at Shaping Tomorrows World., Watching the Deniers (M Marriott, Lewandowsky’s co-author has written derogatory blog article about myself (labelling me, DENIER, DISINFORMATION, DUNNING-KRUGER,BULLSHIT, and particularly red rubber stamping an adulterated graphic of a Watts Up With That article of mine – ‘Verified Bullshit’;

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/here-we-go-again-watts-up-with-that-pushing-the-no-consensus-myth/

    Skeptical Science also ENDORSED WTD’s ‘Verified Bullshit, DUNNING_KRUGER, rebutal to my Watts Up With That article, saying he had debunked me, as they are working with Al Gores Climate Reality Project, slogans Destroy Denial, Reveal the Deniers, making the conflicts of the authors also political, in my view

    Mariotts apparently favourite graphic for Watts Up ‘critiques’ is repeated here:

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/watts-explains-why-lewandowsky-paper-on-conspiracy-theories-is-wrong-its-a-conspiracy-between-john-cook-and-the-prof/

    I was concerned that whilst MARRIOT was researching me in the timeframe of LOG12 and Recursive Fury research, for the Lewandowsky et al Recursive Fury paper, all whilst I was being civil and commenting trying to engage on Marriott’s blog (without informing me he was researching me) – ALL of which is part the ethics complaint (hostile researchers to their human subjects, named in their paper) I made to Frontier journal, publisher of the Recursive Fury article.

    Frontiers have taken the Recursive Fury – Lewandowsky et al data/paper offline following my complaint (paper status unknown,it WAS published, now not available) I’m still waiting for a formal statement about the current status of the paper from Frontier, they have said after a few days (presumably because of Easter)

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 10:27 PM | Permalink

      As Barry requested, here is a transcription of his complete correspondence with Lewandowsky showing that my selection of quotes was not, in any sense, cherrypicking. Barry has done a great deal of work on this file and I’m happy to provide some wider exposure for his work.

      Barry was responding originally to a Guardian article (July 27th) http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/comment-permalink/17464802 by Adam Corner.

      From: barry.woods
      To: Stephan Lewandowsky
      Subject: Guardian Article about you recent paper.

      Hi Stephen

      I have just read Dr Adam Corner’s Guardian article that refers to this paper.

      http://websites.psychology.uwa.edu.au/labs/cogscience/documents/LskyetalPsychScienceinPressClimateConspiracy.pdf

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/jul/27/climate-sceptics-conspiracy-theorists?commentpage=all#start-of-comments

      I would be very interested to know the names of the eight blogs that allowed your survey link to be shown, and the names of the five blogs that rejected your link to the survey.

      Very Best Regards

      Barry Woods

      From: Stephan Lewandowsky
      Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2012 9:58 AM
      To: barry.woods
      Subject: RE: Guardian Article about you recent paper.

      Hi Barry, thanks for getting in touch.

      The blogs who posted the links were:
      %http://www.skepticalscience.com
      %http://tamino.wordpress.com
      %http://bbickmore.wordpress.com
      %http://www.trunity.net/uuuno/blogs/
      %http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/
      %http://profmandia.wordpress.com/
      %http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/
      %http://hot-topic.co.nz/

      I am reticent to release the names of the ‘skeptic’ blogs because they were approached via personal correspondence, in which case a presumption of privacy likely applied.

      Given that the identity of those blogs couldn’t possibly have an impact on the results or conclusions, I prefer to act on the presumption of privacy and keep the names of those folks out of the public arena. They were under no obligation to post the link, and declining to do so should not entail a later public ‘outing.’

      Regards Steve

      From: barry.woods
      Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2012 5:21 PM
      To: Stephan Lewandowsky
      Subject: Re: Guardian Article about you recent paper.

      Many thanks

      Adam Corner has a blog – Talking Climate and is also posting soon a discussion article on a ‘sceptic’ blog with a sceptic

      as these survey were in the public domain on these blogs, I assume I could discuss these blogs with Adam and others.

      Best Regards

      Barry Woods

      From: Stephan Lewandowsky
      Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2012 10:23 AM
      To: barry.woods1@ntlworld.com
      Subject: RE: Guardian Article about you recent paper.

      Barry, that is correct—the links were in the public domain at the time and hence you can talk about the blogs which posted the links. Steve

      From: barry.woods
      Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 5:00 AM
      To: Stephan Lewandowsky
      Subject: Links to surverys – Skeptical Science – Guardian Article about you recent paper.

      Hi Stephan

      sorry to approach you one more time.

      I cannot find the link to Skeptical Science survey, this is probably the most high profile blog with the most media/public recognition (i.e. won awards) of the ‘pro-science’ vs. the “Skeptical” blogs
      (I’m guessing Climate Audit, WUWT, Bishop Hill & maybe The Air Vent (ie Condon) and Jo Nova )

      I’ve found six of the links to the opinion surveys, and the range of comments on the blogs are quite interesting as well, did you consider this feedback in the research?
      but, I would expect that Skeptical Science would have the most comments and opinions and probably the largest readership.

      Can you send me the link to the Skeptical Science blog article/comments?

      And was the survey able to capture the referring blog, as this might also give indicators of relative popularity of the blog,
      does the survey break down by referring blog and are these figures available?

      Best Regards
      Barry

      rather than lots of questions, if you have the supporting data, etc in an easily accessible package (without too much trouble for yourself) could you send that as well.
      If not quickly to hand, that’s fine please don’t waste any time, as I’m mainly just curious on the couple of point above.

      there were the links I found:

      http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2010/08/counting-your-attitudes/

      http://profmandia.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/opinion-survey-regarding-climate-change/

      http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/29/survey-on-attitudes-towards-cl/

      http://hot-topic.co.nz/questionnaire/

      http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/survey-says/

      http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/take-a-survey/

      I’m missing this blog survey link as well.

      http://www.trunity.net/uuuno/blogs/

      From: Stephan Lewandowsky
      Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 11:00 AM
      To: barry.woods
      Subject: RE: Links to surverys – Skeptical Science – Guardian Article about you recent paper.

      Hi Barry, the survey was done about 2 years ago, and I don’t have the link to SkS: I worked with John Cook directly at the time and he posted it (and I made a note of it), but I don’t have the actual URL to the survey dating back to the time when he posted it. I suspect he removed it when the survey was closed because then the link would have been dead.
      Regards Steve

      • Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 4:29 AM | Permalink

        We were looking at this, a MONTH before or the fuss and bigger press attention. after Dr Adam Corners Guardian article, Adam reproduced the Guardian article here.

        http://talkingclimate.org/are-climate-sceptics-more-likely-to-be-conspiracy-theorists/

        This blogpost are and Comments (only 41, me first, with listing the 8, antisceptic blogs, that Adam had not thought to ask about, and a link to 6 of the surveys, with all the comments from the regulars saying what a duuf survey it was, at Tamino’s etc)

        Why did he not list the URL’s of the survey blog article do you think in the supplementary data (because comments embarrassing?) so he just put the 8 domain names, not the links to the surveys). The comments at Talking Climate are a MUST read for background for where it really kicked off (following on from a discussion post at Bishop Hill), myself, Geoff, Paul, Foxgoose, others (recognise names in the Frontiers – Recursive Fury supplementary data anybody?!)

        We all take Adam for task for, not asking himself (Dr Adam Corner is a psychologist researching in the field – see his Guardian bio and Cardiff Uni’s bio) who were the ‘pro-science’ blog were, if no sceptic blogs were surveyed, before writing glowingly about it in the an internationally known newspaper. If no sceptic blogs surveyed an obvious thing for Adam to be sceptical/curious about..

        Adam said he’d looked at the paper, but no further as it had passed peer review, take a look at the comments, only 41 (we mention Adam’s private activism, giving him motivated reasoning to subliminally perhaps, not be too sceptical, Adam is also policy adviser at COIN (Climate Outreach and Information Network, and director of PIRC), COIN’s founder George Marshall, started the first UK Deniers – Hall of Shame – on the Rising Tide activist groups website, back in 2001). NOT a good association for a psychologist looking at climate scepticism you would think!

        ON the funny side, There is actually, the photo of Adam painted blue, wearing a blue fright wig, on a Stop Climate Chaos march, outside the Houses of Commons, is so funny, on a stop Climate Chaos march. the photo, is IN an article actually written by Adam himself on a regional Friends of the Earth website, slap bang in the public domain) I could obviously easily have made a big thing about all this (ie a WUWT article), but I was trying to engage, discuss,persuade them to look in the mirror, as I also did on the Watching the Deniers blog, see my comments there, at the time I just thought WTD, was just a random nasty blogger, oblivious of Lew/Cook connections))

        Me trying to point out to Adam how he might be perceived by the public as a bit conflicted was taken as attempt to make him lose credibility amongst his colleagues.(Geoff had spoken to him, and there was a discussion about it at B Hill)

        He wrote the article publically!, anybody can see FOE website, anyone could have found it, how utterly naive, he is also publically known writing for Guardian, Times Higher Education, Ecologist and other high profile places, so not just an unknown academic being picked on by nasty ‘sceptics’! (see elsewhere at Bishop Hill for this discussion)

        That on top of Dr Adam Corner’s Copenhagen own article in the Green Party magazine, with a photo of him waving a banner Act Now, was also quite funny, we thought.. He was standing as a Green Party candidate it said in the photo, but he stepped down before the election) look it up

        Adam is just a relatively junior academic (with a media profile) – Prof Lewandosky is a much bigger fish.

        At the end of August George Monbiot (Guardian) was tweeting look at this Telegraph article a month later and lots of activist were tweeting sceptics are conspiracy theorists, Adam who had written a month before in the Guardian was tweeting to George Monbiot, look I wrote about the here! which was quite funny at the time.

        That time round Climate Audit took a look, and started taking a look at the data and the statistics.. and it all started up

        …and here we are now…

        so this is worth a read

        http://talkingclimate.org/are-climate-sceptics-more-likely-to-be-conspiracy-theorists/

  32. Craig Loehle
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 8:04 PM | Permalink

    Way better than any CSI show…
    If a large number of their responses to the survey came from Cook’s tweet (twit?), let us consider who would have been on his twit-list at that time: Cook’s friends and only these because it was not a button on the web site yet. And I would bet that whatever skeptics happened to visit and comment at SkS at the time were NOT on that list and would have been unlikely to want to know every blow by blow of Cook’s activities. Most of the commenters here at CA, many of them near/past retirement age and not the hippest crowd (and I do say that with admiration), do not tweet. I don’t. It just sounds so stupid and I can’t say much in 140 characters or whatever the limit is. So this would be even a more biased list of people than posting it on the SkS site per se.

    • bernie1815
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 9:20 PM | Permalink

      Excellent point. Also I do not tweet.

  33. DaveA
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

    Depending on the subscription list tweets can disappear pretty quickly from the twitter user’s screen. They sure don’t have the staying power of a blog post.

  34. Gras Albert
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 11:25 PM | Permalink

    Barry

    Good luck with getting the journal Pyschological Science to act in a professional manner

    At the bottom of the Nasa Faked The Moon Landing abstract there are three links, one is labelled ‘Climate Science’

    Click it and you get a list of PSS articles, of the front page of 10, 7 are about family ‘climate’, economic ‘climate’, social ‘climate’ etc., only 3 about ‘climate science’, 1 of which is the Moon Landing paper!

    It would appear that an inability to be accurate with data is systemic, perhaps even a pre-requisite for publication…

  35. durango12
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 11:42 PM | Permalink

    My take on this affair is that it is one more confirmation of increasingly bizarre and petty behavior pretty much across the climate advocate spectrum. As neither the climate nor human politics is following the desired script, advocates have taken to all manner of distortions, manipulations,and subtrafuge to keep the movement afloat. It is classic cognitive dissonance, and we can expect much more of it.

  36. Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 1:03 AM | Permalink

    One wonders how the publishing journal regards such misbehavior. It can’t be good for their reputation. Unless they value the reputation of being a shill for shoddy, political ax grinding.

  37. XML Parser
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 3:07 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    There appears to be a spurious control character in the word “scientific” in the paragraph that contains the phrase “with the remainder (N = 845) endorsing the scientific consensus.”

    Depending on which browser I use, it reads as “scientic”, “scienti c” or some variation on that theme.

    While it isn’t a huge problem in the browser itself, it does prevent my RSS feed reader (and quite likely others) from parsing your feed at this time – I only found out about this post when WUWT linked to it.

    The feed reader will continue to choke on the error, refusing to process the entire feed until this post falls out the bottom in another 10 posts time.

    Steve: I cut and pasted from the pdf. I re-typed and hopefully fixed.

    • Brandon Shollenberger
      Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

      That fixed it. I had the same problem when I copied from that file, but Notepad showed the extra character so I spotted and fixed it.

      You have to be careful when copying from .pdf files. They often contain weird characters like this.

    • Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

      I’ve found for some reason PDF files have a hard time with the characters “fi” together …. you’ll find in the majority of instances they get missed in the “text” overlay that we can copy and paste

      • Ross Berteig
        Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

        Just an aside to explain the “fi” thing… there is a concept in classic typography of a “ligature”, where letter forms that conflict when set close together are merged into a combined form that is more pleasing to the eye (at least the eye of a type designer) and usually easier to read. The common example of a ligature needed in running English language text is for the letters “fi”. In a proportional typeface, the dot over the “i” will be very close to the serif at the top of the “f”. So quality typesetting will arrange to make that sequence of letters look like a dot-less “i” tucked under an “f”. In PDF, this most commonly results in the substitution of distinct character code for the pair of characters. There are a bunch of common letter sequences that will get ligatures: “fi”, “ffi”, “ae”, and “oe” are among the most common that leap to mind.

        Adding to the fun, the PDF file format doesn’t actually require that the codes used it identify characters match any established convention. It is essentially blind luck that most PDF files support easy cut and paste. There are commonly available document production tool chains that appear to assign character codes in their generated PDF output at random. Cut and paste works, but the result is gibberish.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 6:15 PM | Permalink

          jorgekafkazar in comments at WUWT has noticed a very clever anagram (rearranging letters) for the letters in
          “What Lysenko Spawned”. Don’t tell if you’ve already read the anagram in comments elsewhere.

  38. Climate Daily
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 5:16 AM | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Climate Daily.

  39. Paul Matthews
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 5:57 AM | Permalink

    I drew attention at Bishop Hill back in September to how the SkS team were contradicting themselves over the question of whether or not they had hosted the survey (see Geoffs comment four above mine for the link to the SkS thread).
    Curtis said “Skeptical Science and John Cook are not associated with Lewandowski’s study.” Cook said “Skeptical Science did link to the Lewandowsky survey back in 2011 2010 but now when I search the archives for the link, it’s no longer there so the link must’ve been taken down once the survey was over.” Both of these statements are untrue.

    Ironically, it was this comment of mine pointing out their false statements that led to me being granted the honour of being listed in the LCOM13 (Fury) data sheet as ‘expousing conspiracy theory’.

    There is a nice analogy between LCOM13 and Marcott et al. Both papers include supplementary information which shows very clearly that the results of the paper are bogus.

    • Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

      quote:
      “Hi Barry, the survey was done about 2 years ago, and I don’t have the link to SkS: I worked with John Cook directly at the time and he posted it “

  40. Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    Steve:

    1) Cook says “forensic evidence”, not “forensic proof”. The difference is that the former refers to evidence obtained by “forensic” procedures, in the case be a detailed search of computer files, and makes no claim of probitive status. In order to make Cook out to be a liar, you have grossly misinterpreted him.

    I further note that a search of Lewandowsky’s emails does not tell you which emails Cook had copies of on his machine, nor which he managed to find. Consequently the FOI data does not show Cook to have lied about what he found. He was incorrect in his claims about where the survey was posted; but that is likely to be the result of faulty memory.

    2) Lewandowsky’s new addition to his paper is silly beyond belief. While the issue of whether the SkS notification was by blog or by tweet was of no consequence when it was simply notification of the publicizing of the survey, once Lewandowsky drew conclusions from the population commenting on SkS it becomes a substantial issue. Specifically, there is no a priori reason to assume the readership of the blog and followers of the tweets are the same. In fact, followers of the tweets are likely to be even more heavily weighted in favour of acceptors of the IPCC position than is the readership of the blog. That is, the very point Lewandowsky tries to make is the substantive difference between notification by blog or by tweet.
    (I note that in my comments to Geoff Chambers I was unaware of the changes made by Lewandowsky to his paper.)

    I also note that the population at large does not contain 80% supporter of the IPCC position, so that the proper comparison (even if the survey had been posted on the blog) was with the percentage of “skeptics” as a proportion of all people with strong views of the subject.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

      Tom, thanks for commenting. It is helpful to try to agree on whatever facts and matters can be agreed so that any disagreements are precise.

      You say:

      I further note that a search of Lewandowsky’s emails does not tell you which emails Cook had copies of on his machine, nor which he managed to find. Consequently the FOI data does not show Cook to have lied about what he found. He was incorrect in his claims about where the survey was posted; but that is likely to be the result of faulty memory.

      Let me try to follow you here. Cook and Lewandowsky exchanged a number of emails on August 28, 2010 which clearly demonstrate that Cook sent out a tweet and did not post a SKS link. The FOI record is, as you observe, of Lewandowsky’s side of the exchange.

      As I understand your argument, you’re saying that Cook’s records may have been incomplete and that he might no longer have copies of the Aug 28, 2010 exchange with Lewandowsky or perhaps had been unable to find the exchange and therefore you argue that his misrepresentation to Chambers was merely a failure of memory rather than the baldfaced lie that it appears to be.

      A couple of points. Is it Cook’s present position that he deleted the relevant correspondence with Lewandowsky and no longer has the relevant email records? Or is this a sort-of Nick Stokesian thought experiment on something that might have happened? I presume that you’re on close enough terms with Cook to find out. If this is Cook’s present position, why didn’t he respond to my email?

      Be that as it may, I don’t think that it changes the situation. Look at Cook’s exact words. He said:

      The only forensic evidence I could find was the email from Stephan asking for me to post a link and my reply that I posted it on the same day.

      So Cook did not say that he was unable to locate any relevant correspondence with Lewandowsky. He claimed that he had actually found relevant emails. He claimed to have located Lewandowsky’s opening email (the first one in the sequence above.) So he did not delete all of the Lewandowsky correspondence on August 28. Why would he have deleted some of it and not all of it? I personally don’t believe that he deleted it.

      But most importantly, my primary issue is his claim that he located the email showing his “reply that I posted it on the same day”. None of the FOI emails support this assertion. If Cook, as you suggested, deleted the relevant emails and was merely misremembering in his email to Chambers, then his claim to have inspected an email containing his “reply that I posted it on the same day” was a lie.

      You say that I “want” to show that he was lying. This is untrue. While I have often observed that people have made “untrue” statements, I avoid calling people “liars” and have used such language on only a handful of occasions. Indeed, some regular readers were surprised at how strong my language was on this occasion. Actually, I do not like making this sort of statement and I wasn’t sure whether I was going to. I notified Cook about the pending post over six weeks ago and have mulled over what I was going to do. I found his lie very offensive, but do not necessarily respond to every offence.

      Had Lewandowsky not upped the ante by doubling down with his fabrications about SKS, I might not have pursued the matter. But Lewandowsky did expand his fabricated claims about the SKS post and there we are.

      • Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

        Actually, Steve, let’s start with the difference between “evidence” and “proof”. If you cannot distinguish between the two, and your misinterpretation of Cook suggests you cannot, discussing other issues will be rather pointless.

        So, do you accept that “forensic evidence” =/= “forensic proof” and that you have misinterpreted Cook’s claim to have found the former as a claim to have found the latter?

        • AndyL
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

          Tom
          I am baffled by your arguments. Steve does not mention “forensic proof”.

          In a court of law, if all the forensic evidence points one way, one is entitled to form an opinion “beyond reasonable doubt”.

        • seanbrady
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

          Hi Tom, I agree with you on the difference between evidence and proof, but I don’t think it changes Steve’s point in any way.

          To demonstrate, substitute almost any noun for the term “forensic evidence” in the sentence and the result is still the same:

          “The only forensic evidence I could find was the email from Stephan asking for me to post a link and my reply that I posted it on the same day.”

          “The only [emails] I could find [were] the email from Stephan asking for me to post a link and my reply that I posted it on the same day.”

          “The only [relvevant items] I could find [were] the email from Stephan asking for me to post a link and my reply that I posted it on the same day.”

          “The only [things] I could find [were] the email from Stephan asking for me to post a link and my reply that I posted it on the same day.”

          In any case, the sentence reduces to:

          ‘I found an email from Stephan asking for me to post a link'; and

          ‘I found my reply that I posted it on the same day’.

          If he did not find “my reply that I posted it on the same day” but claimed that he did, the statement is a lie.

          Whether he believes that “my reply that I posted it on the same day” is a form of “forensic evidence” (his words), “forensic proof” (yours), just an email, an ‘item’ or a ‘thing’ doesn’t change anything.

        • amac78
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

          Re: Tom Curtis (Mar 29 11:29)

          Tom, you say, “let’s start with the difference between “evidence” and “proof”… do you accept that “forensic evidence” =/= “forensic proof”…?”

          In the body of this post, the term “forensic” appears within a quote of an email that Cook sent to Chambers:
          I’ve given you everything I’ve got – I have no records in the blog archives… so I must’ve either deleted the text link or deleted the blog post once the survey had closed. The only forensic evidence I could find was the email from Stephan asking for me to post a link and my reply that I posted it on the same day.
          The plain reading, and McIntyre’s reading, is that the “forensic evidence” to which Cook is referring consists of the back-and-forth emails between Lewandowsky and Cook, initiated by Lewandowsky asking Cook to post a link to the survey.

          Chambers and McIntyre assert that this email correspondence was released under FOIA, and is represented in the body of this blog post under the heading “The FOI Correspondence from August 2010.”

          In your view, do those emails comprise the “forensic evidence” under discussion? Or, do you have something else in mind?

        • amac78
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

          Re: amac78 (Mar 29 12:47),

          Blockquote confusingly stripped out from my comment, supra. Trying again —

          …In the body of this post, the term “forensic” appears within a quote of an email that Cook sent to Chambers:

          I’ve given you everything I’ve got – I have no records in the blog archives… so I must’ve either deleted the text link or deleted the blog post once the survey had closed. The only forensic evidence I could find was the email from Stephan asking for me to post a link and my reply that I posted it on the same day.

          The plain reading, and McIntyre’s reading… [continues]

        • James Smyth
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

          Tom Curtis seems to be arguing that the “evidence” of the post itself was the email that Cook says he found; implying that the email itself is not proof of the post. Steve McIntyre is questioning the very claims of finding the email.

          Not sure if that is pea under the thimble stuff.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

          Tom, Cook is a liar because neither forensic evidence, nor forensic proof exists for what he claims. And he knows it. He made it up, to cover up.

        • Unscientific Lawyer
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

          “Proof” is evidence supporting a position. Or put another way, evidence provides proof of a position. Assuming the position here is Cook’s statement, “I did provide a link to the survey,” his evidence to support his position is an email exchange with Lewandowsky. His evidence constitutes his proof that he “did provide a link to the survey.”

          The word “proof” does not convey absolute certainty. Proof refers to the level of evidence needed to establish your position. These levels are referred to as a party’s “burden of proof.” Examples: in civil law, a party must prove his case “by a preponderance of the evidence;” on some issues, a civil litigant must present “clear and convincing evidence;” and of course, in American criminal matters we often require proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

          I don’t think a position staked on the difference between the terms “forensic evidence” and “forensic proof” is very instructive here.

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

      Tom

      “1) Cook says “forensic evidence”, not “forensic proof”. The difference is that the former refers to evidence obtained by “forensic” procedures, in the case be a detailed search of computer files, and makes no claim of probitive status. In order to make Cook out to be a liar, you have grossly misinterpreted him.

      I further note that a search of Lewandowsky’s emails does not tell you which emails Cook had copies of on his machine, nor which he managed to find. Consequently the FOI data does not show Cook to have lied about what he found. He was incorrect in his claims about where the survey was posted; but that is likely to be the result of faulty memory”

      Well argued. Both Cook and Lewandowsky now stand in a position to demonstrate that Steve made a mistake in calling them liars by producing the unicorn mails. This will be huge as folks know that Steve rarely uses the word liar. Producing these mails would be the ultimate smackdown which explains why they were posted to SkS today.. opps, not. The assumption that these unicorn mails exist is somewhat akin to the skeptical argument that something else caused the warming or the argument that the other mails in the climategate files provide a context which explains why “Delete the mail” doesnt actually mean ‘delete the mail.” and it comes pretty close to MBW ( Must be Wrong ) thinking.

      • michael hart
        Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

        snip – please do not rise to this particular bait. Trying to prove or disprove CAGW in a few sentences is discouraged under blog policies.

    • miker613
      Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

      Think I agree with Tom Curtis on this one. I really couldn’t care less if Cook lied or not; I have no interest in his moral stature. The only thing that matters to me in all this is: Where did the respondents to the survey come from? Is it true – as seems to be agreed so far by all – that the survey was not posted at SkS? And not at all at the skeptical sites? That all the respondents came from fervent pro-AGW sites?
      Are we all agreed now that the skeptical responses are bogus?

      Concern troll warning: Tom Curtis, if you’re listening, you have a opportunity here. Some of us have noted with approval your standing up for reality on this survey issue. Keep doing it. You should be screaming over at SkS and everywhere that this survey is bogus, and anyone who takes it seriously, or worse, quotes it, is betraying science and hurting it.
      Really, believers in AGW have lost a lot of political points since Climategate, and the reason is always the same: Too many of them look like partisan politicians instead of scientists. The scientists should be doing their best to stamp this out; it’s killing you.
      “After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you’ve lost the power to convince them of anything else.”

      • Robert
        Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

        I don’t care if Cook lied. If Lewandowsky lied, however, then this is extremely serious. Researchers don’t do this under any circumstances, ever.
        It also doesn’t matter if the issue over which a lie was made turns out to be serious or trivial, about global warming of the mass of the electron. One lie throws a shadow over a lifetime of work.

        Since the alleged lie concerns publicly funded research, this should be referred to an ethics committee at his university.

        • miker613
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

          Let’s be a little more precise about it. Researchers lie like anyone else. What you mean to say is, if a researcher lies _about his research_, that’s extremely serious. Falsified research is no research at all, and everything the person has done is suspect.

          That’s the problem here: Lewandowsky lied about where his data came from, and it’s pretty easy to guess that he did it to pretend that the results were valid.

  41. Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

    Two minor points:

    1) Many people appear to be under the mistaken assumption that the survey was not posted at any “skeptical” blogs. That is not true. Rather, it was not posted at any of the blogs contacted by Lewandowsky. It was, however, posted by Steve Milloy at Junk Science on Sept 24th, 2010, who wrote:

    “University of Western Australia seeks survey respondents: Attitudes Towards Science*
    *Not recommended or endorsed in any way by JunkScience.com

    This study explores people’s beliefs about a wide range of topics, ranging from scientific propositions to claims made in the media and on the internet. In addition, the survey is interested in your attitudes towards your own life and issues confronting modern societies at the moment. The survey consists of around 40 questions and should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

    Participation in this study is entirely voluntary. The completion of this internet survey is taken to constitute your consent to participate. If you do not wish to participate, exit this webpage now.

    The data will be analyzed without regard to your identity. If the results from this study will be published, only aggregate results will be reported and individual responses will not be identifiable.

    If you have any questions or comments about this research you may address them to the experimenter, Charles Hanich, at hanich@cyllene.uwa.edu.au.

    The Human Research Ethics Committee at the University of Western Australia requires that all participants are informed that, if they have any complaint regarding the manner in which a research project is conducted, it may be given to the researcher or, alternatively to the Secretary, Human Research Ethics Committee, Registrar’s Office, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009 (telephone number +61 8 6488-3703).

    I went through the above and felt it has numerous problems – questions are framed in absolute terms but lack useful definition (climate change is used frequently but is not defined, do they mean CAGW, natural variability with some anthropogenic component or what?). Climate scientists is used as a generic term without distinguishing between modelers (PlayStation® Climatology) or physical scientists (very few geologists are impressed by claims of CAGW, for example).

    Basically it seems to be fishing for conspiracy theorists in an effort to associate them with CAGW skepticism. I suspect Hanich & HREC are likely to get a lot of complaints about this framing.”

    The date of posting, and the fact that the link used for the survey appears to be the one sent to “skeptic” blogs indicates that Milloy recieved his information about the post from one of the owners of “skeptic” blogs contacted by Hanich on behalf of Lewandowsky.

    The number of respondents to the survey increased by 277 (+/-50 depending on Lewandowsky’s rounding conventions) following Lewandowsky’s Sept 23rd presentation at Melbourne University. It is likely that the majority of that increase came from Milloy’s posting rather than from the month old postings on “pro-science” blogs.

    2) DGH claims above that SkS did not have a link to its twitter account on it home page at the time the survey was posted on twitter. That is incorrect. SkS first introduced a link to twitter between Dec 14th 2009 and Dec 21st, 2009.

    Geoff Chambers commented that:

    “The lack of a twitter feed is important. The claim of 78,000 sceptic visits per month to SkS is essential to render the claim of 250+ skeptic respondents to the survey credible.”

    I wonder if he will now consider the presence of a twitter feed important?

    More importantly, the Steve Milloy posting with subsequent increase in responses makes the “250+ skeptic respondents” entirely plausible regardless of what happened at SkS.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

      Tom, you say:

      Many people appear to be under the mistaken assumption that the survey was not posted at any “skeptical” blogs. That is not true. Rather, it was not posted at any of the blogs contacted by Lewandowsky. It was, however, posted by Steve Milloy at Junk Science on Sept 24th, 2010.

      The Milloy link was reported at CA last September and regular readers have long been aware of the Milloy link. Indeed, we had presumed that he was one of the “five skeptic” blogs. The person who’s responsible for any “mistaken assumption” is Lewandowsky and coauthors, who have, for inexplicable reasons, failed to report the link being posted by Milloy.

      You continue:

      The date of posting, and the fact that the link used for the survey appears to be the one sent to “skeptic” blogs indicates that Milloy recieved his information about the post from one of the owners of “skeptic” blogs contacted by Hanich on behalf of Lewandowsky.

      The version link HKMKNI_9a13984 was sent to me and Marc Morano. Spencer, Pielke Jr and Ferguson received a different link HKMKNH_7ea60912. (I received the latter link in the second notice). I didn’t send a link to Milloy. I don’t think that Morano sent it to him. Hanich also sent a link to podblack. According to FOI material, Lewandowsky and coauthors were aware that they had sent a link to podblack, but they decided not to mention it for reasons that remain unclear.

      You say:

      The number of respondents to the survey increased by 277 (+/-50 depending on Lewandowsky’s rounding conventions) following Lewandowsky’s Sept 23rd presentation at Melbourne University. It is likely that the majority of that increase came from Milloy’s posting rather than from the month old postings on “pro-science” blogs….

      More importantly, the Steve Milloy posting with subsequent increase in responses makes the “250+ skeptic respondents” entirely plausible regardless of what happened at SkS.

      I am very very doubtful that you are right on this. I think that it’s equally likely that the presentation elicited responses from attendees at the session. Or from continued entries at the activist blogs. Roman M did some analyses of cumulative responses that IMO count heavily against your hypothesis. If there were a sudden bump of late returns from Milloy, there would be a big change in the proportion of warmists/”skeptics”. But there isn’t such a changepoint in the data.

      But regardless, it’s pointless to just guess, since the matter is easily resolved by reporting the questionnaire version used in each response: the Milloy questionnaire id was different than the warmist questionnaire ids. I requested this information from Lewandowsky but he has refused to acknowledge my email. All too typical. Maybe you can get this information. I’d appreciate it if you could.

      • Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 7:07 PM | Permalink

        Can you provide me with a link to Roman M’s analysis, and advise me where he got the data on cumulative responses?

        • RomanM
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

          The data came from the spreadsheet originally released on the web when the Lewandowsky paper kerfuffle began.

          I assumed that the data was not entered into the spreadsheet in a randomly ordered fashion, but rather as blocks copied from a temporally ordered format in which the data would have provided to them. If so, then the results from specific versions of the questionnaire would tend to be together in the sheet.

          For a measure of skepticity, I used a cumulative count of the 1 or 2 responses indicating disagreement with the the statement “Human CO2 emissions cause climate change” in the survey. Here is the plot:

          Cumulative counts of CauseCO2.

          It has some very interesting features such as a small group of “skeptics” followed by a relatively long sequence of “AGW supporters” and varying slopes indicating higher and lower numbers of such responses. Other question responses can give further information such as to where the extreme conspiracists occur.

    • DGH
      Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

      Tom,

      It becomes clear that you are either technologically challenged or just hanging around to argue. snip

      A “feed” and a “link” are entirely different things.

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=417

      DGH

      Steve: good spotting. The Wayback homepage on Oct 14, 2010

      http://web.archive.org/web/20101014053909/http://www.skepticalscience.com//

      shows a twitter link in the right margin. It is not present prior to the Oct 7, 2010 format change linked by DGH above. In my opinion, DGH has conclusively refuted Tom Curtis’ claim that the Twitter feed was present since 2009.

      • sue
        Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 7:28 PM | Permalink

        Nice DGH.
        I don’t see the Twitter Feed on the current site. I think the twitter feed was removed between Feb 13, 2012 http://web.archive.org/web/20120213145812/http://www.skepticalscience.com/ and Feb 16, 2012 http://web.archive.org/web/20120216235740/http://www.skepticalscience.com/. This was around the time of the Heartland/Gleick episode.

        • DGH
          Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 8:08 PM | Permalink

          Thanks.

          Let me add, there is no way that a tweet going back to August would have suddenly appeared in October. Not only is it technically unlikely, John Cook aka @skepticscience is a prolific tweeter and his tweets between 8/28 and 10/10 would never have fit on the page. (Don’t bother counting Tom, been there done that.)

          It would be funny albeit embarrassing if @skepticscience produced some evidence that the link was actually posted on his website. I suppose that remains possible. Perhaps he has a proof of life style photograph featuring him at the keyboard with the link on the screen and a newspaper dated August 29, 2010? Or maybe an older archive of the site that he didn’t accidentally expose to the general public?

      • korden
        Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 8:35 AM | Permalink

        The effective sleuthing by DGH has presented Tom Curtis with a key test. Mr. Curtis posted two points, both of which have been shown to be demonstrably wrong. Those of us who believe that he is one of the few SkS members capable of independent thought hope that he will take the high road and acknowledge his mistakes and what that means for Lewandowsky and Cook’s claims. That would go a long way to preserving his own credibility. OTOH “moving on” without ever recognizing his errors will not reflect well on him.

        • pouncer
          Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

          Again, depending upon one’s predispositions, this may indicate conspiritorial idee fixation. No matter how many inferential, plausible, and well-argued alternatives can be imagined and presented, skeptical websites and the commenters there on continue to focus on the facts.

          Stubborn lot.

    • DGH
      Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

      But let me thank you for endorsing the Wayback Machine as a tool in these discussions.

      If you spend a bit more time practicing with the archive, you too will note that there is no link to the survey at any time on the SKS website despite what @skepticscience, the tweeter, has claimed.

      The link was never posted. Never. 0 people who visited that site got to see the link because it was never posted. Never. No matter how many times you protest, no matter how many conspiracists Dr. Lewandowsky imagines, the link was never posted.

  42. mrmethane
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 6:08 PM | Permalink

    Proof? Sorry, proof is proof, establishing a conclusion as unassailable. Evidence comprises facts pointing to or away from a conclusion. Lawyer, you say. Oh.

  43. DaveA
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 8:09 PM | Permalink

    John Cook declined to publish the survey thread. So now he’s h…

  44. junkpsychology
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 10:17 PM | Permalink

    One thing that still doesn’t make sense to me is why Stephan Lewandowsky was in such haste to collect survey data in August-September 2010.

    Particularly when the writeup was significantly delayed, I assume some of the analyses as well.

    Psychological Science received the manuscript on May 22, 2012.

    First, in mid-August 2010, Lewandowsky removed a bunch of survey items from a study previously approved by the UWA Ethics Committee, and inserted a bunch of new items. Which the Ethics Committee promptly approved (maybe that’s OK under Australian rules… in the United States, an Institutional Review Board would have demanded a new application because of the magnitude of the changes).

    Then he rushed out his calls to the pro-CAGW blogs at the end of August. He didn’t want to wait for John Cook to suggest revisions.

    Around 10 days later, his research assistant (who he’d told the Ethics Committee would be sending out all communications) made unsuccessful (in some cases, unnoticed) pitches to a few skeptical blogs.

    On September 23, Lewandowsky was presenting not yet complete results.

    So what was the hurry? Was he afraid of being scooped by a rival research team?

    • Skiphil
      Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

      fyi, the revised Ethics Committee proposal in Aug. 2010 did not give any accurate representation of the magnitude of the changes. The research study (sic) of the “moon hoax” paper was not adequately explained in the Aug. 2010 update, so the Committee was misled.

    • Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 11:09 PM | Permalink

      In reality Lewandowsky submitted virtually an entirely different project to the ethics committee under the guise of a simple amendment of the original approval. Additionally, if I recall correctly, there is email traffic indicating the original project had been closed out by UWA as completed, yet magically was resurrected something like a year later.

      Again, if my memory serves me, this was all noted in the emails released under the FOI request

      • junkpsychology
        Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

        Lewandowsky had been given five years on the previously approved project (expiration December 2014), and I didn’t see any indication that it had been closed out.

        Again, rules vary from place to place. Approval by a US IRB is for one year at a time.

        • Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

          junkp … took some digging – but Lewandoesky’s last annual report noted the project completion date was Dec 2012. Annual reports were required, and as the FOI shows it seemed often they had to hassle Lew to get them.

          A final report was requested in 2011, and after several promptings, was received, approved and a closure letter was provided in Dec 2011.

          FOI document stamped #250 shows Lewandowsky submitted a final report as requested and UWA issued the letter of closure on the file:

          Our Ref: RA/4/1/4007 09 December 2011
          Professor Stephan Lewandowsky
          Psychology (School of)
          MBDP:M304

          Dear Professor Lewandowsky

          HUMAN RESEARCH ETHICS OFFICE- FINAL REPORT APPROVED

          Understanding statistical trends

          Student(s):
          Thank you for submitting a final report for the above project. The Human Research Ethics Committee has noted that the report is satisfactory.

          Your file for this project has been closed and any further work in this area should be the subject of a new application for ethics approval.

          If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact Kate Kirk ou (08)

          Please ensure that you quote the file reference – RA/4/1/4007 – and the associated project title in all future correspondence.

          Yours sincerely

          Kate Kirk
          Secretary
          Human Ethics Research Committee

          Then … following documents 251 thru 329 contain the amendment requests for at least 3 different papers under the auspices of the original RA 414007 ethics approval.

          And if one goes back to the beginning tranche of FOI documents and reviews FOI doc stamped 43 and 44 – a letter from a complainant asks just some of the difficult questions:

          I have some follow-up questions, which I would be grateful if you would address:

          1. The original proposal provided by Prof Lewandowsky to the Committee in December 2009 related to a project entitled “Understanding Statistical Trends”. The approval relating to that proposal was RA/411/4007. It appears that the paper, Popular consensus: Climate change set to continue, follows from the specific research authorised by that approval. Is that correct?

          2. Ethics approval for the paper that was the subject of my Pol request, NASA faked the moon landing-therefore (climate) science is a hoax: An anatomy of the motivated rejection of science, was sought not by a fresh application, but by an amendment to the existing approval above. Please would you kindly explain why it was not necessary for Prof Lewandowsky to submit a fresh application to the Ethics Committee, given that the nature of the paper and the methodology to be employed was substantially different from the first?

          3. Prof Lewandowsky submitted the request for an amendment to the approval by email to Kate Kirk on 12 August 2010, for which approval was granted by her by email the following day. What form did the ethics review of that amendment take?

          4. The amendments proposed by ProfLewandowsky altered the nature of the research to such an extent that even the Title and Aim of the research (as set out in the original approval) were rendered wholly il).accurate, since no amendment was proposed to those sections by Prof Lewandowsky in his email. Why was Prof Lewandowsky not required to make consequential amendments to the approval so that the approval was at least internally consistent and made some sense in the context of the new research to be carried out?

          5. Is it considered normal practice at UWA to amend an ethics approval granted for one project in order to use it for a second, entirely different, project? If so, how is this abridged process carried out to ensure that ethical considerations are fully understood and examined prior to subsequent approval, especially where there are such wholesale changes to the original? If not, why was ProfLewandowsky permitted to use this course of action in order to seek approval for the second paper without going through the full ethics procedure procedure?

          Please let me know if you have any queries. My mobile is [redacted] to discuss. I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

          With many thanks and kind regards, [redacted]

          Somehow I doubt he ever received an answer.

          Now go back to FOI documents stamped 234-237 – and find yet another of Lewandowsky’s entirely new projects submitted and approved – in MAY 2012 – under the original ethic approval from 2009.

          This project changes the survey entirely – this time with questions on genetically modified food.

          This is simply ridiculous.

        • JunkPsychology
          Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

          A Scott, thank you for all of this additional information.

          Even if the project was due to close out in December 2012, rather than December 2014, this still doesn’t explain why Lewandowsky was in such an ill-fired hurry during August and September 2010?

          Is there any chance he thought John Cook would run his own survey and scoop him?]

          I’ve been going through the Skeptical Science comments from September 2010 and there’s exactly one from Lewandowsky—not related to his survey.

          Apparently, the UWA Ethics Committee accepted two different “amendments” that largely gutted the old survey and inserted a bunch of new items, patently changing the purpose of the study.

          It would be nice to know whether that’s actually allowable under Australian rules.

  45. mpaul
    Posted Mar 29, 2013 at 11:41 PM | Permalink

    Unlike Climate Science, Psychiatry is a profession that actually has ethical standards and is regulated and licensed by government bodies. Several members of the editorial board of Psychological Science are licensed psychiatrists. Nearly all licensing boards and professional associations, no matter which jurisdiction, have clear guidelines regarding how personally identifiable information should be treated. For example, Gretchen Chapman is a member of the editorial board of Psychological Science and is a member of the American Psychological Association. The Ethical Principals of the APA state:

    4.07 Use of Confidential Information for Didactic or Other Purposes
    Psychologists do not disclose in their writings, lectures or other public media, confidential, personally identifiable information concerning their clients/patients, students, research participants, organizational clients or other recipients of their services that they obtained during the course of their work, unless (1) they take reasonable steps to disguise the person or organization, (2) the person or organization has consented in writing, or (3) there is legal authorization for doing so.

    Yet Lew’s publication seems to go out of its way to identify, by name, the individuals who he publicly diagnoses as having physiological illnesses. For example, Lew calls out Geoff Chambers, a real individual, by name and describes him as exhibiting the following symptoms of conspiracist ideation: nefarious intent, nihilistic skepticism, “must be wrong”; “no accident”, and unreflexive counterfactual thinking.

    It would seem to me that the editors of PS failed to take basic measures to insure the privacy of the “research subjects” (targets of intimidation might be a better term). I suspect this is an issue that the state licensing boards would look dimly upon. I need to do more research, but it would seem that complaints to state licensing boards regarding the editor’s role in this mess would be in order.

    • Skiphil
      Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 12:55 AM | Permalink

      I don’t see how that 4.07 could apply to individuals already self-identified in public, where the information discussed had been provided voluntarily in public by the named individual(s). However, the Lew/Cook approach to “psychological research” is definitely abusive and malicious in a broader sense, so there may well be ethical guidelines and explicit professional standards which can be shown to be violated.

      Also, keep a clear distinction between psychology and psychiatry, and between “clinical” psychology and “academic” psychology. I do not doubt that Lewandowsky is a disgrace to his profession, but we will not make the case effectively by conflating clinical psychology or psychiatry with academic forms of research not involving “patients” of a clinical practitioner.

    • Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 1:38 AM | Permalink

      I don’t think my privacy is the point here. I wouldn’t dispute Lewandowsky’s right to quote anything I say and criticise it (and me) as you would in a book review, or whatever. “Chambers is talking rubbish”, “Chambers is an idiot” etc is all acceptable in normal discourse, provided it’s backed up with evidence.

      What’s more serious, I think, and more difficult to pin down, is the perversion of scientific discourse by the misuse of the standard structure of the scientific paper as a kind of replacement for rational debate. Lewandowsky is free to say “Chambers is paranoid. He believes in conspiracies” and then justify it with evidence. Insead of which, he takes a long detour via the citation of peer-reviewed papers in order to create a completely artificial set of criteria, drawn from the work of philosophers, anti-tobacco professors of public health, political analysts of the Iran Contra scandal – you name it.

      You’re supposed to wade through it, thinking “Yeah, ‘nefarious intent’, just like the tobacco lobby, AIDS deniers..” and at the end, all you get is table 3, with Steve, Anthony Watts, Joanne Nova, the mysterious ROM and me having been identified, quite arbitrarily and falsely, as having been the first to say something or other, (which, as the authors admit, may or may not have been true – it doesn’t matter).

      It screams out “infantile behaviour”. If you tried it in a debate or a court room or a commercial context, you’d be out on your ear and never seen again. But it’s accepted in a scientific journal because it has the right structure, with the right number of references to the literature and the right sort of statistical tables. (Well, it doesn’t, but it pretends to).

      You can’t say any old rubbish in a courtroom just because you begin your discourse with “Your Honour…”. You can’t talk nonsense in church just because you open with a quote from the Bible. There’s something badly wrong with science that this can get through.

    • JunkPsychology
      Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

      Right.

      Lewandowsky is a researcher, not a clinical practitioner. What appears on blogs is public information; no assurance of confidentiality attaches to it.

      The question is not whether a therapist-client relationship has been breached, but whether psychological research has been abused.

  46. Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 8:15 AM | Permalink

    Barry: What’s the equivalent of Physician, heal thyself? Psychologist, de-conspiracise thyself? Needs work. Doesn’t it all.

  47. Steve Reynolds
    Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

    Response by Marcott et al. is up at RealClimate.
    Revkin also has a post.

    • Steve Reynolds
      Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

      Their FAQ does not seem to provide any real answers to the hard questions.
      No acknowledgment of how misleading their graph and dating are for recent temperatures, just repeating the ‘not robust’ statement.

  48. JunkPsychology
    Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

    Using the CSV files that Steve provided, I’ve analyzed all extant comments in the Skeptical Science archives from September 1 through 30, 2010.

    I skimmed through all the comments, and the positions taken in them are my basis for categorizing the commenters. I wouldn’t be able to recognize most of the warmists or skeptics by name or customary handle, anyway. It’s always possible that other comments made outside the time frame would have led me to change my classification of a few of them.

    I used a broad definition of “skeptic.”

    SkS being, umm, dogmatic in its general drift snf tone, I classified any commenter who seriously questioned either the standard SkS claims about the science base or the standard SkS policy prescriptions as a skeptic. This left a few who either weren’t directly addressing either, or were hard to make sense of.

    Commenters:

    68 skeptics (23.7% of the total)
    189 warmists (65.9%)
    30 unclassifiable (10.4%)
    287 commenters in all

    Comments:

    716 from skeptics (24.4% of the total)
    2174 from warmists (74.1%)
    43 from unclassifiable persons (1.5%)
    2933 comments in all

    Among the warmists, 4 commented more than 100 times, 13 more than 50 times, and 21 at least 25 times in one month.

    Among the skeptics, 3 commented 50 or more times, and 11 commented at least 25 times.

    The mean number of comments was nearly the same: 10.5 per skeptic and 11.5 (with large standard deviations).

    No unclassifiable commented more than 5 times.

    Stephan Lewandowsky commented once under his own name—on September 29, 2010, about a matter unrelated to his survey.

    I did not read every comment that came from a prolific commenter with a clear position (the same people tended to dominate many of the threads)… but I didn’t see any references to the survey from anyone else.

    It might be useful for someone else to code these independently, enabling us to see how well we agree.

    And which 1067 comments out of the 2933 Cook analyzed, I have no idea.

    Since 222 + 845 = 1067, there were zero unclassifiables in his data set. So maybe he just excluded anyone he couldn’t tag as a warmist or a skeptic?

    • JunkPsychology
      Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

      Sorry that should be

      dogmatic in its general drift *and* tone

      • DGH
        Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

        @JunkPsy

        You wrote, “Using the CSV files that Steve provided, I’ve analyzed all extant comments..”

        When I open the .csv files I don’t see the comments. I’ve opened them, imported them and browsed them in Notepad. No comments. Did you find the comments in the .tab file?

        Your undertaking was impressive and seems to confirm @skepticscience’s stats if I’m not mistaken. He claimed 20% of his blog visitors were skeptics. You’ve found the number to be a bit higher.

        @skepticscience hasn’t posted any evidence other than a recollection that contradicts his emails that SKS ever posted a link. The Wayback Machine shows definitively that if the link existed it was short lived. In that case does the number of Skeptics visiting the site even matter?

        Given your effort I ask that question with due respect. And as mentioned I intend to spend some time with the comments, too.

        DGH

        • junkpsychology
          Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

          DGH,

          I followed the link upthread to the Skeptical Science archives. At the time, the comments were on pages 1290 (Sept. 1, 2010) through 1232 (Sept. 30). Because new material keeps pushing into the archives, it’s now roughly page 1294 through 1235.

          Then I started skimming, while entering a classification for each commenter in a spreadsheet file.

          I think it could be argued that no more than 15% skeptical responses in the sample, which was all that LOG13 could muster, is too small a percentage—for a study purporting to draw from sites where any actual skeptics hang out.

          Since they didn’t publish the percentage in LOG13, and gave an absolute number but not a percentage in LCOM13, maybe even Lewandowsky et al. realize that they have an exposure.

          However, I did the analysis mainly because I didn’t trust John Cook’s math.

          Since there is zero evidence that a link to the survey was ever posted at SkS, neither Cook’s numbers nor mine matter in the larger scheme of things.

          But the inclusion of Cook’s numbers in the supplemental materials for LOG13 does appear to be deliberately misleading.

          Besides, if you buy the argument presented there, all replication studies should conducted by recruiting participants only at warmist sites (??!).

        • RomanM
          Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

          The comments are in a variable (not surprisingly) called comments from the file comments.tab available at the link given by Steve. The file can be loaded as a workspace into the R programme. Putting the data into Excel would be clumsy and an ineffective way of accessing it.

          I would trust JP’s work being reasonably reliable.

        • DGH
          Posted Apr 1, 2013 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

          @JunkPsy – Let me say again that your effort of sorting through that data is impressive.

          You’re absolutely right about the lack of skeptics in this research about skepticism. The fact that Lew et al conducted their research at the wrong blogs wasn’t helpful. But the survey itself was so poorly crafted that it required a real commitment to get to complete. Only a conspiracy nutter or a friend of Lew could have gotten to the end without thinking, “what the heck is this nonsense?” before clicking off the page.

          The post survey comments at the “pro-science science stance” blogs were priceless in that regard. See here http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/29/survey-on-attitudes-towards-cl/ if you haven’t already.

          IMO the survey filtered out rational people and found what it was looking for – that people who believe in conspiracies believe in conspiracies. The funny thing is that according to the analysis that others have done the data didn’t even show that very well.

          @RomanM – Excel isn’t bad for the kind of work that JunkPsy has done. There’s no reason to repeat his effort which is, no doubt, reliable.

          That said until yesterday I was able to avoid adding R to my list of competencies and I was hoping to hold out a bit longer. But this is a simple little project and it’s time to learn.

        • JunkPsychology
          Posted Apr 1, 2013 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

          Thanks. I hadn’t seen these comments before, as I don’t hang out at Deltoid.

          I’ve now made a copy, because the comments are worth citing in any critique or replication of LOG13.

          Several of the Deltoid commenters had the same objections to the survey that I had.

          I also saw that “adelady,” a warmist regular at SkS, was among those expressing criticism.

          The Lewandowsky survey wasn’t actually very effective at finding people who believed in several of the conspiracies. Though not for want of trying…

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Apr 1, 2013 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

      Re: JunkPsychology (Mar 31 15:52),

      I’ve browsed some of the comments and reviewed your classification, which seems reasonable and plausible.

    • Posted Apr 1, 2013 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

      JunkP

      I’ve largely completed the same work, from a slightly different approach. Rather than read all the Sep 2010 posts I used a Google search – including the SKS user name and “Skeptical Science” in the search, and where a definitive classification could not be made from the results, expanded the search to “user name” and “climate” to try and look at posts other than SKS for insight. I included (but conservatively applied) a “Lukewarmer” option as well – for active users without a clear bias in their writing.

      My results to date (with appx 264 users classified out of 287 total users who posted in Sept 2010 at SKS):

      Total Sep 2010 posts @ SKS: 2,931
      Total Sep 2010 Users @ SKS: 287
      Avg Posts/user: 10.2

      Classified Sep10 SKS posts: 2,889 (99% of total posts)
      Classified Sep10 SKS users: 264 (92% of total users)
      Avg posts/classified user: 10.9

      Commenters (users):

      38 skeptics – 13.2% of total users (14.4% of “classified” users)
      216 warmists – 75.3% of total users (81.8% of “classified” users)
      10 “lukewarmers” – 3.5% of total users (3.8% of “classified” users)
      23 unclassifiable – 8.0% of total users
      287 commenters in all – 264 classified

      Comments (posts):

      611 from skeptics – 20.8% of all Sep 2010 posts
      2,177 from warmists – 74.3% of all Sep 2010 posts
      101 from “lukewarmers” – 3.4% of all Sep 2010 posts
      42 from unclassifiable users – 1.4% of all Sep 2010 posts
      2933 comments in all – 2,889 classified

      I also found roughly the same as junkp on these:

      Among the warmists, 4 commented more than 100 times, 13 more than 50 times, and 21 at least 25 times in one month.

      Among the skeptics, 3 commented 50 or more times, and 11 commented at least 25 times.

      The mean number of comments was nearly the same: 10.5 per skeptic and 11.5 (with large standard deviations).

      No unclassifiable commented more than 5 times.

      Stephan Lewandowsky commented once under his own name—on September 29, 2010, about a matter unrelated to his survey.

      I also did not read every comment that came from a prolific commenter – once a clear position was identified I moved on.

      I would note that I classified users encompassing about 75% of the comments and Shub N stepped in and classified a good chunk of the remaining, more difficult ones – posters with low comment counts. He used a nearly identical method as I noted I used. I have been working thru his classifications as time permits, and I have agreed with almost every one so far.

      I think my results (including Shub’s) compare well with junkp’s – showing a general agreement.

      I pointed out same as junkp above as well:

      Since 222 + 845 = 1067, there were zero unclassifiables in his data set. So maybe he just excluded anyone he couldn’t tag as a warmist or a skeptic?

      By the time I had classified 91 usernames out of the 287 I had covered 80% or so of the total comments. The majority of the remaining 287 user names were time consumingly difficult to classify.

      Notwithstanding that Cook himself noted he only had appx 500 total commenter’s (100 skeptic and 500 warmist) and as such could NOT have had 1,067 unique visitors in Sept2010, I believe junkp’s comment is highly relevant. It is all but impossible to classify several dozen of the users who posted in Sept 2010.

      Which just reinforces they simply worked backward from Cooks 100 skeptic/400 warmist split of 20%, and applied the result to the 1,067 “unique visitors” his webstats package provided him for Sep2010 to come up with the Supplemental “content analysis” numbers.

      In other words they pretty clearly, simply made up the claims in the Supplemental Information for the LOG12 paper.

      • Skiphil
        Posted Apr 1, 2013 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

        In other words they pretty clearly, simply made up the claims in the Supplemental Information for the LOG12 paper.

        Wow, great work! This is worth pursuing with the journal, for sure.

      • DGH
        Posted Apr 1, 2013 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

        A couple of predictions/observations-

        1. An upcoming Lew at al paper will claim an independent confirmation of their characterization of SKS blog visitors without crediting the work from this site and without acknowledging the actual discrepancy.

        2. The paper will be a discussion of the relationship of an obsessive disorder and climate change skepticism.

        3. We will all have to plead guilty as charged.

        But seriously, it’s hard to imagine the @skepticscience spent more time poring over his blog vistor data than you gentlemen. Or at least not as it relates to Moon Landing SI.

        • JunkPsychology
          Posted Apr 1, 2013 at 8:26 PM | Permalink

          A Scott (and Shub),

          Thank you for doing independent ratings.

          As you’ve noted, there’s plenty of convergence.

          And low-frequency commenters are often difficult to classify.

          I think we’ve established that John Cook wasn’t nearly thorough enough—or he would have had to report a number of unclassifiable commenters.

      • Posted Apr 2, 2013 at 1:14 AM | Permalink

        These were my results:

        Warmie – 221/286 ~ 77.3%
        Lukewamer – 9/286 ~ 3.2%
        Indeterminate – 20/286 ~ 6.9%
        Skeptic – 36/286 ~ 12.6%

        The method is as described above. It involves a Google-based ‘read-assess-classify’ for every commenter. By a strange quirk, A Scott and I worked independently. In my version, I reviewed close to 75%, on my own. So the matching conclusions affirms the results.

        The numbers reported by Cook (222 +845) are likely from his own database of *all* registered commenters at his website, likely a crude binning given that it squeezes everyone into two categories. There is no basis for assuming that a proportional cross-section of visitors passed through his website in Sept 2010, i.e., the period Lewandowsky claims the survey was displayed there. As the data shows, the actual unique commenting skeptics were about ten times lower in number.

        More importantly, Lewandowsky’s claim that Skepticalscience has a ‘broad readership’ is wrong, as shown by the data. Close to 90% of commenters are supportive of consensus views. Over 70% of all posted comments are from ‘warmists’. Contrary to assertions therefore, Skepticalscience is largely homogeneous, going by the authors’ own logic of judging readership from commenters. Polarized websites are unlikely to attract a broad range of readership. Readers and potential commenters are unlikely actively pursue viewing material in which hostility is constantly directed at views they might be sympathetic towards.

        I find it laughable that a website which actively discourages skeptical commenters from contributing comments, and pursues every possible effort in getting rid of them, suddenly makes claims in a peer-reviewed paper that it has a ‘broad readership’. With the above results, Skepticalscience belongs broadly in the same category as Tamini, Deltoid, Hot Topic and other polarized, ‘pro-science’ blogs. Lewandowsky’s survey results are fully questionable simply on the basis of non-exposure to the population the study’s results are about.

      • Posted Apr 3, 2013 at 12:37 AM | Permalink

        A Scott, neither Cook nor the LOG13 SI claims that Cook’s survey of SkS commentors was restricted to Sept 2010. In fact, it remains an ongoing project so that the data collected could extend up to the drafting of the SI, and may not even extend back to 2010. (I think it does, but am by no means certain as I did not involve myself in that project.) Consequently your survey can compliment the information in the SI, but, as it does not cover the same time frame, cannot refute it.

        That is largely irrelevant, of course, in that the survey was not posted at the Blog, so that it is the twitter audience, not the blog audience that is germane; and further, SkS cannot be assumed to be representative of “pro-science” blogs in general. Open Mind, for example, is likely to have a far lower portion of “skeptical” readers; while Real Climate and Hot Topic may have more.

        • DGH
          Posted Apr 3, 2013 at 7:12 AM | Permalink

          Tom,

          Glad to see you’ve come around on that point. Sorry but I have to press…

          – you know it wasn’t posted at the SKS blog,
          – I know it wasn’t posted at the blog,
          – John Cook has reviewed his emails which we know say it was going to be tweeted.

          Help me understand why it’s OK that he and Lewandowsky represented otherwise.

          DGH

        • Posted Apr 3, 2013 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

          Re: Tom Curtis (Apr 3 00:37),

          Tom – as the authors did not identify in the Supplemental Information ANY references or data for their participant make-up claims, it is impossible for us to know where they came up with those numbers.

          I agree with you that the participant make-up of Skeptical Science is not representative of the other of the 8 pro-AGW blogs offering the survey. But that is not what the authors stated. The LOG12 Supp. Info. shows them pretty clearly implying that their content analysis was representative of pro-AGW blogs in general.

          I disagree the question is moot – regardless of whether Skeptical Science posted the survey, the authors made the claim in the paper, and there is considerable value in addressing the claim regardless. The authors implication that this content analysis was an example of the typical make-up of participant at all of the blogs that promoted the survey makes review of their statement and claims important and relevant.

          Even if it is true they did not post the survey at SKS, review of their content analysis claims remain relevant and warranted. They made the claims and conclusions and review of their work is entirely relevant. These claims are part of the paper, even if other matters show they are not necessarily applicable, and as such review of the accuracy of the claims IS relevant and important.

          I appreciate you have better access and insight, and your comments are quite valuable here. You provide the support the authors failed to. Your comments directly reinforce the serious flaws in the authors claims re: skeptic participation, and apparently in their mindset about what information is relevant and appropriate in supporting their claims.

          The recent, or current make-up of participants at Skeptical Science or the other pro-AGW blogs has zero bearing on the LOG12 paper. The ONLY time period relevant is the time the survey was promoted and undertaken. That period was Sept 2010.

          That “neither Cook nor the LOG13 SI claims that Cook’s survey of SkS commentors was restricted to Sept 2010″ and that it “remains an ongoing project so that the data collected could extend up to the drafting of the SI” well demonstrates the seriously flawed thinking that seems to be the hallmark of the recent work by these authors.

          This is not mere “sloppiness” … rather it is, like their apparent failure to understand what “unique visitors” actually represent, a seemingly clear example they do not understand the fundamentals of the work they claim to perform.

          Once again – there is no point or value in extending the participant make-up ‘project’ to any point other than around Sept 2010. As to the results and claims of the LOG12 paper – the make-up today, or at ANY time other than Sept 2010, or a short period prior, is completely meaningless.

        • Posted Apr 6, 2013 at 8:52 AM | Permalink

          Tom Curtis
          The analysis is predicated on authors’ own premises.. It is Lewandowsky and Cook’s logic, that commenter profile would roughly match reader profile. Therefore, if the survey was posted in Sept 2010, what would matter most would be the profile of Skepticalscience visitors in Sept 2010.

          The merits of such methodologies apart, the reason for Cook and co-authors to make such estimates is to be able to claim that Skepticalscience has a ‘broad readership’ and therefore samples skeptics. The above data shows this to be unsustainable.

  49. Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 10:23 PM | Permalink

    Just out of curiosity, I was looking at the section regarding very short-lived claims of IP blocking with their assertion that their websites were not available on certain parts of the world.

    When I checked today one website host was in US and the other was in Australia – it seems odd that there should be blockage across two continents.
    Any possibility the authors were deliberately trying to generate content for their already conceived paper? Or is it point, that even if true, is not strategically worth following up?

  50. mikep
    Posted Apr 1, 2013 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

    Only just came across this case of social psychologist Stapel who faked data. But what is particularly interesting in the reports from the Dutch investigations is their criticisms of practice in the field in general. It will sound familiar and may explain Lewandowsky. See this blog, and the link to the report.

    http://errorstatistics.com/2013/04/01/flawed-science-and-stapel-priming-for-a-backlash/

    • junkpsychology
      Posted Apr 2, 2013 at 8:51 PM | Permalink

      mikep,

      Thank you for the link to Deborah Mayo’s site.

      I’d heard of Diederik Stapel being caught faking data, but knew nothing of the research culture of Dutch social psychology.

      The full report of the three Dutch university committees that investigated Stapel’s data-faking and finagling is well worth reading:

      http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/nl/nieuws-en-agenda/finalreportLevelt.pdf

      Some research psychologists are complaining about the bad practices (falling short of outright fraud) that the report goes after in Chapter 5.

      Apparently want to pretend that such practices are acceptable…

      Which is scary.

  51. DGH
    Posted Apr 3, 2013 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

    Responding to at least one concern, Frontiers in has now posted a message.

    “This article, first published by Frontiers on 18 March 2013, has been the subject of complaints. Given the nature of some of these complaints, Frontiers has provisionally removed the link to the article while these issues are investigated, which is being done as swiftly as possible and which Frontiers management considers the most responsible course of action. The article has not been retracted or withdrawn. Further information will be provided as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.”

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

    • bernie1815
      Posted Apr 3, 2013 at 8:32 AM | Permalink

      Thanks for keeping us informed on the Lewandowsky debacle and the link to Mayo’s site. Replication and transparency are essential.

  52. dfhunter
    Posted Apr 4, 2013 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

    bit /to but relevant
    ht/to to somebody on another blog, can’t find the ref !!!

    http://m.tata.com/article.aspx?var1=7uoMgLVj23k=

    got to love the Lew & others influence, you can see where they always wanted this to go –

    “So why the denial?
    The denial, at least in Australia, is particularly strong in one group — men over 65. These are often the people (mainly engineers) who have built the power plants which are now causing the problems. When they built the plants they had no idea that they would cause so much trouble. But then they discovered that young people are turning around and seeing them as virtually criminals because they built this stuff that is destroying the future. So I think they are very disillusioned with that and the first response is denial and to say that these youngsters are wrong. ”

    sad, but that is the mindset.

    ps. just watched a Horizon prog here in the UK talking about datasets etc, crap as per usual, but got me thinking have you (with some regulars) ever been approached to
    do your audits/data mining for any companies ?
    if not, why not ? seems to me you would be snapped up if they had any scene.

  53. Brian H
    Posted Apr 20, 2013 at 4:15 AM | Permalink

    Fear of exposure ==> doubling down. Characteristic, and part of the Big Lie strategy.

  54. DGH
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

    No. It did not appear in any form or fashion at SKS.

    The site was archived by the Wayback Machine on August 30, 5 times in September and 2 more times into early October. I have searched the site extensively and the link was not posted.

    Furthermore, SKS didn’t add a twitter feed to their right margin until October 10 of that year.

  55. Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

    The lack of a twitter feed is important. The claim of 78,000 sceptic visits per month to SkS is essential to render the claim of 250+ skeptic respondents to the survey credible.
    The next bit of supplementary information to obtain is the number of responses by source blog. Kwiksurveys would know, but they were hacked last year and lost lots of data.

  56. Skiphil
    Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    John Cook of SkS has also “doubled down” on his Twitter smears:

    Cook’s latest SkS tweet

    [emphasis added]

    John Cook
    ‏@skepticscience
    The Lewandowsky moon landing paper that started all the climate denier conspiracy theories is now published http://bit.ly/XiuA8U

  57. Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

    Do they not know what the word ‘misinformation’ means?

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/misinformation?q=misinformation

    Definition of misinformation
    noun
    [mass noun]
    false or inaccurate information, especially that which is deliberately intended to deceive:
    nuclear matters are often entangled in a web of secrecy and misinformation

    …of course they know what it means:

    because they believe in a vast shadowy network of mad, bad or crazy, fossil fuel funded ‘deniers’, deliebeartely spreading doubt, etc,etc

    Which is the only thing that fits in their worldview for the failure of policies,and mildly sceptical public!

    tragic really, as they are the psychologists!

  58. Skiphil
    Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 9:20 AM | Permalink

    Good finds, Hilary! Lewandowsky and friends are turning this garbage into quite an industry of output. Their cross referencing of various garbage papers is helpful, though, since the whole shaky edifice will come crashing down.

  59. Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Skiphil. Although I’m not sure what might have happened because my post (to which both you and Barry appear to have responded) seems to have disappeared without a trace :-(

    Well, that’s the view from here, so to speak! Steve, did I say something wrong?!

  60. RomanM
    Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 6:09 PM | Permalink

    Could you re-post the comment?

    I believe that it accidentally left because of a WordPress app malfunction on an iPod which was used when reading it. Sorry.

  61. Posted Mar 30, 2013 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Roman … that makes me feel much better! Using WP on one’s iPad can be flakey at times, I’ve found :-)

    My repost follows:
    =======

    Some interesting insight into the views of Dr. Lew Jeckyll and Mr. Ever Hide (who will be making a few presentations at the May 23-26 Convention of the APS) can be found in Q & A With Psychological Scientist Stephan Lewandowsky (Part 1).

    The interview begins as follows (emphasis mine -hro):

    Stephan Lewandowsky is a cognitive psychologist at the University of Western Australia. His research investigates memory and decision making, focusing on how people update information in memory.

    We asked Stephan Lewandowsky questions based on his recent paper on misinformation, published in the December issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest.

    The report, “Misinformation and Its Correction: Continued Influence and Successful Debiasing”, is co-authored by Ullrich Ecker of the University of Western Australia, Colleen Seifert and Norbert Schwarz of the University of Michigan, and John Cook of the University of Queensland.

    Below is Part 1 of 2:

    Your paper indicates that social networking is a contributor to misinformation. Do you think that social media can also act to counter misinformation?

    In principle, yes. And indeed there are some terrific science blogs with large numbers of twitter followers (e.g., skepticalscience.com) that have made it their mission to combat misinformation in specific arenas, such as climate science.

    But speaking of Dr. Jekyll and his increasing count of “now you see ‘em, now you don’t, now you do” papers – which may well be contributing to his cursing fury (if not that of the affiliated SkS thugs, as documented by Steve above) – for the record, it should be noted that at least one of his looped assays appears to have made it into publication, via an “Article” in the April 2013 issue of Nature Climate Change:

    The pivotal role of perceived scientific consensus in acceptance of science

    Stephan Lewandowsky, Gilles E. Gignac & Samuel Vaughan

    Nature Climate Change Volume: 3, Pages: 399–404 Year published: (2013) DOI: doi:10.1038/nclimate1720

    Received 08 May 2012 Accepted 13 September 2012 Published online 28 October 2012

    Here’s an interesting excerpt from the Discussion (all emphases mine -hro):

    There are two reasons to suggest that people’s knowledge and acceptance of science represents at least in part a unitary construct. [...]

    Second, all propositions, ranging from AGW to medical facts with varying strengths of association between the proposed cause and the outcome (for example, HIV–AIDS versus obesity–ill health), could be constrained to load equally onto their corresponding factor without loss of fit in both studies. The general factor structure seems quite general as it has also recently been obtained with a sample of visitors to climate blogs24.

    Setting aside the fact one would not be surprised to find that a “general factor structure” – whatever this is supposed to mean – would be “quite general”, no doubt readers will be as surprised as I was to find that on mousing-over “24” one learns that this ‘recently obtained sample’ citation can be found in “Lewandowsky, S., Oberauer, K. & Gignac, G. E. NASA faked the moon landing therefore (climate) science is a hoax: An anatomy of the motivated rejection of science. Psychol. Sci. (in the press).”

    And I’m sure that readers will be equally surprised to learn that the first three references cited in this “Article” are to the works of Anderegg et al, Doran & Zimmerman and Oreskes.

    From a preliminary perusal of the Nature Climate Change pages, it is not entirely clear to me whether or not “Articles” are required to undergo the “fair and rigorous review process” to which “cutting edge” research papers are (presumably) subject prior to publication (either online or in print).

  62. JunkPsychology
    Posted Apr 1, 2013 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

    The April 2013 Nature Climate Change article is a mess.

    What I would consider important parts of the data are fobbed off onto the Supplemental Materials—which, in the usual Lewandowskian manner, turn out to be pretty skimpy.

    There is even a hasty appeal to a barely described, unpublished “companion study” (without so much as a reference to a writeup in preparation).

    And let me see if I get the point of Study 2, in which half of the participants were given a neutral statement about climate change and the other half were given the “accurate” information that 77 out of 79, no, strike that, 97% of climate scientists believe in CAGW.

    Whereupon, lo and behold, those told of this overwhelming consensus were significantly more inclined to express belief in CAGW than those not so informed.

    The authors try to argue against an explanation in terms of “demand characteristics,” but if the shoe fits…

    I should think articles submitted to this journal are supposed to undergo a fair and rigorous review process. Whether they actually get one is another matter.

  63. Skiphil
    Posted May 6, 2013 at 9:58 PM | Permalink

    This can use some serious ‘Fisking’ for those so inclined:

    (h/t Ruth Dixon at Bishop Hill)

    Scientific Amercan blog spouts Lewandowsky propaganda

    “…Unfortunately it’s not easy to disabuse people of a conspiracy mindset since as the article notes, presenting evidence to the contrary only makes them more convinced of the diabolical success of the supposed conspiracy. The one thing we can do is to at least point out to climate change denialists how their beliefs are in fact conspiratorial. Demonstrate the features that climate change conspiracies share with 9/11 denial and Pearl Harbor revisionism….”

  64. Skiphil
    Posted May 19, 2013 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    Looking at the SciAm blog article now, I see that Geoff Chambers has done a nice job in comments summarizing inaccuracies and worse in the portrayals of the Lewandowsky work. Thanks, Geoff!

    Geoff Chambers comments on Scientific American blog re Lewandowsky

12 Trackbacks

  1. [...] result of information obtained from FOI requests that ACM put in last year, Steve McIntyre posts a withering attack on their [...]

  2. By Lew paper … flushed | pindanpost on Mar 29, 2013 at 3:46 AM

    [...] Conspiracy questionnaire fail. Jonova has it covered at the link above, and Climate Audit kills it once and for all with additional help from comments. Lewandowsky Doubles Down [...]

  3. By Tom Curtis Writes « Climate Audit on Apr 3, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    [...] we’ve also noticed that he is straightforward. Recently, in comments responding to my recent post on misrepresentations by Lewandowsky and Cook, Curtis agreed that “Lewandowsky’s new [...]

  4. [...] the survey, but very few anti-global-warming blogs did. This then devolved into literally the worst flame war I have ever seen on the Internet, centering around accusations about whether the study authors [...]

  5. [...] the survey, but very few anti-global-warming blogs did. This then devolved into literally the worst flame war I have ever seen on the Internet, centering around accusations about whether the study authors [...]

  6. [...] Lewandowsky Doubles Down (climateaudit.org) [...]

  7. [...] are resistant to classification. Validation of method was available when blogger A.Scott arrived at similar results working independently on portions of the [...]

  8. [...] are resistant to classification. Validation of method was available when blogger A.Scott arrived at similar results working independently on portions of the [...]

  9. […] here for a detailed discussion of a baldfaced lie by SKS proprietor John Cook in connection with the […]

  10. […] http://climateaudit.org/2013/03/28/lewandowsky-doubles-down/#comment-408051 […]

  11. […] in a previous incident also involving lying, a conclusion which Tom Curtis of SKS also reached: see here […]

  12. […] Cook and Lewandowsky were, of course, involved in a previous incident also involving lying: see here, a conclusion which Tom Curtis of SKS also reached in respect to Lewandowsky (see here) but not […]

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