Lew Cypher

At the same time as the “yet another IPCC integrity issue” surfaced, I’d been watching an interesting sort of train wreck of an attempt to smear those who disagree with the catastrophist position. A Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Western Australia created an online survey to find out if climate catastrophe skeptics (“deniers” as he calls us) are as nutty as he’d previously written that we were.  The survey process suffered from several problems:

  • He decided to name the resulting paper in a way that was guaranteed to cause conflict: “NASA faked the moon landing – Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science” — in his mind, my rejection of tainted catastrophic conclusions from demonstrably bad scientific and ethical practices is equivalent to a rejection of all science.
  • The questions were poorly phrased — creating situations where the wrongness of the question interfered with the proper answer. Use of “x causes y” instead of “x increases the risk of y” tripped up some people.
  • The survey was conducted at eight catastrophist sites. While Lewandowsky attempted (through an assistant) to contact five skeptical sites, three of the emails were lost and at least one of the remaining two entered into a dialog that wound up without a posted survey link.
  • It seems that the “moon landing was faked” responses might be all or partly faked themselves. Skeptics had little role in this survey, apparently, and there were documented instances of the data being faked (admitted) and multiple surveys submitted from the same IP.  Out of 1157 total responses reported, the “moon landing was faked” response came from about 1%.
  • The methodology for dealing with “outliers” was rather arbitrary — and the story changed on what the process was. And some of the data disappeared.
  • It appears that some “conspiracies” — the focus of the survey —are more prevalent among catastrophists than skeptics.
  • The numbers — the actual scientific results — haven’t been able to be replicated from the paper itself. As usual, Steve McIntyre’s careful approach to this is enlightening, and the code for his own attempts are published and testable.
  • Lewandowsky’s attitude has been atrocious. Even a blogger who is on the same side (i.e., a catastrophist or “warmist”) has apparently had all of his comments deleted when he raised reasonable, substantive questions about the survey methodology.  Many other comments have been snipped or killed — and those criticisms are yet unanswered.
  • Lots of people on the skeptic side are having fun with Lewandowsky’s paper and his antics. A couple are attempting to do the same sort of survey more correctly.

In the midst of this is a discussion among the well-funded conspiracists scheming to do damage and to harm the interests of science. Some quotes that surfaced:

...people like us have to build the greatest guerilla force in human history. Now. Because time is up…Someone needs to convene a council of war of the major environmental movements, blogs, institutes etc. In a smoke filled room (OK, an incense filled room) we need a conspiracy to save humanity.

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.

Sorry about the language, but such is the nature of the practice of “climate science” these days. Ironically, other Australian catastrophists who complained about death threats (connected to this same group) later were shown to be lying about it.  Perhaps this paper is relevant — and was cited by Lewandowsky:

Douglas, K. M., & Sutton, R. M. (2011). “Does it take one to know one? Endorsement of conspiracy theories is influenced by personal willingness to conspire.” British Journal of Social Psychology, 50 , 544{552)

Having read the roughly six thousand emails of Climategate, and many other materials from these core climate scientists, to me the “willingness to conspire” is all too evident.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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