Wednesday, December 12, 2012

 Hilarious!  NPR and psychologist rely on a withdrawn paper to prove that climate skeptics are bad eggs!

Earlier this year, Greenie psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky had a paper accepted by Psychological Science which claimed to prove that climate skeptics were bad eggs indeed.  It was listed as "In press" as of July 27th. and was much publicized at the time.

Its research methods were so ludicrous however that protests to the journal caused it to be withdrawn -- perhaps for rewriting.  I have however just done a search on the journal site and it is not mentioned at all.  Only a 2011 paper by the nutty professor is listed.  The 2012 paper has not been published nor is it any longer listed as "In press".  It is rejected research  -- rejected by the fellow psychologists who run the journal. It FAILED peer review.

But in the article excerpted below you get no hint of that.  Lewandowsky speaks as if his paper were scientifically acceptable and accepted.  If you read carefully,  it appears that he did revise his paper but could get even the revised version published on a blog only,  one called  -- He He!

The article below is however carefully written to skate around all that.  It is a DELIBERATE fraud -- JR

That's right: climate-change denial, discussed in last week's post by Adam Frank, is associated with conspiratorial thinking.

The paper that reports this finding, forthcoming in the leading journal Psychological Science, has already caused a major flurry in the blogosphere, particularly among those who reject climate science. Assorted bloggers denounce the paper's "Anthropogenic warmist nonsense," suggest that the paper is "not scientific or competent," and describe it as "an ad hom[inem] argument taken to its absurd extreme," an "inane, irrelevant and completely biased rant study."

Disgruntled climate skeptics have gone beyond digs at the science to suggest "hidden motivations" for the paper — perhaps a systematic attempt by left-wing academics to discredit those who reject climate science. And in support, they've cycled through a number of hypotheses for how the results were obtained: by deliberately biased sampling, by collecting data from "warmists" posing as "skeptics," or by statistical sleight of hand, among others. This sounds awfully ... conspiratorial (a point made here and here).

Meanwhile, calls for the paper's retraction and accusations of ethics violations on the part of the researchers have come to naught. The fact is, the paper reports solid research, with all major findings now replicated in a new sample and with several specific critiques addressed in detail by the authors in a series of posts at So why the aggressive (and ironic) response?

I recently had an opportunity to chat with Stephan Lewandowsky, the paper's first author, on his visit to California for the American Geophysical Union's annual fall meeting. Lewandowsky is a Winthrop Professor in the department of psychology at the University of Western Australia, with broad research interests that include human memory, the persistence of misinformation, and more recently, the motivated rejection of science.

Lewandowsky has also written for a general audience about why people reject science, the pivotal role of perceived scientific consensus, the distortion of climate science in the media and the link between climate change denial and free market ideology, among other toothsome topics, as well as co-authoring the handy Debunking Handbook, a psychologically-informed guide to combatting misinformation.

I asked Lewandowsky about his experience as a researcher working on the psychology of science denial, and in particular his take on the blogospheric reception to his forthcoming paper. He suggested that the paper engendered such hostility because it not only "cast people who rejected climate science in a less than favorable light," but also because "it was too close to the truth." Of course, he points out, "the way the blogosphere responded was really by confirming my finding. What they basically did was spin one conspiracy theory after another, trying to invalidate the data."

"They," a number of active bloggers who are skeptical of climate science, also tried to discredit Lewandowsky and the paper by contacting the editor of Psychological Science and officials at his university, and by filing four Freedom of Information requests for all correspondence associated with the research, including ethics approvals for the use of human subjects and communications between authors. "If you talk to climate scientists," Lewandowsky noted, "you find that pretty much anyone in climate science is subject to these kinds of attacks."


A SMALL CLARIFICATION: Since it was never in fact published, we may never see a formal withdrawal notice for the 2012 Lewandowsky paper. Its absence from the "In press" list indicates however that it is not currently accepted. It is conceivable that Lewandowsky may eventually produce a form of his paper which is acceptable to the journal. We will judge that if and when we see it.

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

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