While CA readers may disagree with Tom Curtis, 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 addition to his paper is silly beyond belief”, but argued that “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.”
Showing both integrity and personal courage, Curtis has sent me the email published below (also giving me permission to publish the excerpt shown.) While Curtis agreed that Cook’s statement to Chambers could not possibly be true, Curtis re-iterates his belief that Cook is honest, though he is obviously troubled by the incident. Curtis also reports that, as early as last September, he emailed both Lewandowsky (cc Oberauer) and Cook informing them that no link to the Lewandowsky survey had been posted at the SKS blog, only a tweet – a warning inexplicably ignored by Lewandowsky and Oberauer in their revisions to Lewandowsky et al (Psych Science).
Tom Curtis writes:
I have been following up on the issue of whether or not the LOG12 survey was posted at SkS, or only tweeted; and whether or not Cook or Lewandowsky knew that it had only been tweeted. To that end I have made a new search of SkS. When the issue was first raised, I extended your search method by looking not at the home page, but at the “recent articles” in the side bar for a period from Aug 28th to Sept 23rd, 2010. By using the sidebars of particular articles I was able to get continuous overlap and positively confirm that no blog post of the period had been deleted unless it was deleted withing a week of posting, and prior to Sept 23rd. I had written this up in a blog post but did not post it as it was intended as a footnote for a larger blog post that I have yet to complete.
Because of the renewed interest in the issue, I have (as noted) done a new search. In this instance I took a recent (early March) copy of the SkS archive page on the wayback machine. For each article listed on the archive from Aug 28th to Sept 30th, 2010, I found the earliest copy on the Wayback Machine of that article. I then checked that:
1) The preceding post listed in the “recent posts” sidebar was the preceding post in the March 2013 listing in the archive page;
2) That the survey was not mentioned either as a header or footnote;
3) That the date of the earliest copy on the Wayback Machine was close to the date of publication; and
4) That a link to the survey was not placed in the sidebars.
From (1) and (2) I can conclusively say that no post has been deleted from that period, and no post from that period mentions the survey.
With regard to (3), no page I checked was archived more than three days after publication; although I only checked about one in three pages for dating. I am confident, therefore, that if the survey was posted then removed, it must have been posted then deleted in four days or less, which is so improbable as to not be worth considering.
I did not think to check (4) until about a third of the way through, so it is possible that the link was posted in a sidebar on the 28th or shortly after, and taken down within a fortnight. I suspect such a procedure would stick in the mind, and such a short period of posting would be unlikely. Hence, absent contrary evidence this can also be discounted.
The only remaining possibility is that the survey was posted as a comment, then deleted. At SkS, deleted comments are only kept in an archive for a short period. If it was posted by this method, it may still be recoverable from the wayback machine, but given the improbability of the method, absent evidence making it more likely it is.
On the 29th Sept, 2012, I notified John Cook of my original survey, saying:
“I’ve been looking into nooks and crannies with regard to the Lewandowsky survey. One of the things I have found is a continuous record of SkS posts from the 17th of Aug to 23rd Sept contemporary with those dates. Comparison with the SkS archive makes it almost certain that notice of the Lewandowsky survey was not given on SkS during that period. At the same time, notice was given by you on Twitter on August 27th. It may also have been given by you on face book.
I’m letting you know so that you can notify Lewandowsky if you think he may have a need to correct any reference to SkS in his paper, and to ask if you had anything further to add, or whether you would accept that account (notification on twitter but not on SkS) as essentially accurate.”
At about that time, I also notified Lewandowsky in a brief mention of the fact that the SkS notice was by tweet only, but not the means of determining that. The email to Lewandowsky was copied to Cook and Oberauer.
In reply to a recent email, Cook still assures me that the survey was posted on SkS. He also mentions a half remembered email on the FOI release that mentions that posting, but that he cannot find at present.
For my part, I believe he is not trying to deceive. I have had considerable interaction with him as part of the SkS team, and he is, to the best of my knowledge, honest. He is, however, in this case, wrong.
I note that I owe you an apology regarding my response to your posting. Those responses were made in the very early morning (around 3 AM) and, owing to tiredness, I misread Cook’s “forensic evidence statement”. On rereading it after waking, I noted my error and that Cook definitely claims to have forensic evidence of having posted on SkS, which in fact he cannot have had, and certainly not for a posting on Aug 28th. I intend to correct that record publicly, both with a comment at Climate Audit and with a blog post at my blog. In lieu of the comment at Climate Audit, feel free to post all of this email to this point on Climate Audit.