UPDATE 2: Jo Nova says it could be the worst paper she has ever seen:
an ad hom argument taken to its absurd extreme, rebadged as “science”
UPDATE: As expected, the eight “pro-science” web sites included some of the most vociferous “denier smear machines” – Deltoid, Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science, Tamino, Scott Mandia and a handful of others. So, Prof Lewandowsky, precisely how many “deniers” did you actually find visiting those sites? As one commenter at Tamino stated:
“Yeah, those conspiracy theory questions were pretty funny, but does anyone think that hardcore deniers are going to be fooled by such a transparent attempt to paint them as paranoids?”
In other words, as we expected, it’s a complete crock, and a desperate attempt to portray genuine, educated and well-informed sceptics as nut-jobs. TOTAL FAIL. (h/t Bishop Hill)
More deeply offensive nonsense from Stephan Lewandowsky, polarising the debate further and successfully ensuring that reasonableness and the prized middle ground is never threatened. It just shows the desperation to which “The Cause” is reduced in order to try to silence dissent and win the argument by default:
An Australian study says avid climate change deniers tend to be either extreme free marketeers or conspiracy theorists who believe the moon landing was faked or Princess Diana was murdered.
The study, to be published in the journal Psychological Science, also found that those who reject the scientific consensus on the human contribution to climate change are more likely to to reject other scientific findings such as the linkage between tobacco and lung cancer or between HIV and Aids.
The paper, titled “NASA faked the moon landing – Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science”, was based on a survey of more than 1000 visitors to blogs dedicated to discussion of climate change.
“We find that endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science,” the paper says. “We additionally show that endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories (e.g., that the CIA killed Martin Luther King or that NASA faked the moon landing) predicts rejection of climate science as well as the rejection of other scientific findings.”
The paper says that a staunch belief in free markets was an overwhelmingly strong factor in the rejection of climate science and was a stronger factor than conspiratorial thinking.
It surveyed people on attitudes to a range of conspiracy theories, including that the United States allowed the September 11 attacks to occur and that SARS was produced in a laboratory as a biological weapon. (source)
Lewandowsky is a true believer and regularly smears anyone who dares to question the “consensus” (see here, for example, and at The Conversation here), so it’s hardly a surprise that the results are as they are. In the real world, the caricature of a ‘denier’ presented here applies to a tiny fraction of those who question some aspect of the alarmist position. This crude and offensive assessment is then extrapolated to anyone who challenges any part of the Gospel according to Gore.
It’s a tired old tactic – rather than acknowledge that there exists a spectrum of scepticism, the majority of which is entirely valid, this study is yet another attempt to tar all realists and sceptics as extremist fruitcakes.
The paper (which can be found here - PDF) does not list the blogs from which the survey results were taken (why not?). It states that respondents were self selected from 8 “pro-science” [by which it means pro-consensus science] climate blog web sites, but that no “skeptic” sites chose to post the request (ACM wasn’t asked). So I assume that the blogs which did post the link were mainly populated by those accepting the consensus position – if so, what was the actual size of the sample that were classified as “deniers”?
In the same week as the death of Neil Armstrong, I am deeply offended by the suggestion that anyone who questions the alarmist and politicised consensus must therefore believe the moon landings were faked. Lewandowsky should get out of his ivory tower and talk to some genuine sceptics, rather than paint this idiotic, one-dimensional picture of “denialism”.