UPDATE: Take a look at this article [backup link] on ABC’s The Drum, from May 2010, which reveals that Lewandwosky had already made the link between scepticism and conspiracy theories well before his paper was published – he just needed the right survey to confirm it:
Why would anyone believe that Prince Phillip is running the world drug trade? Why do some people believe that NASA faked the moon landing? Why is the internet abuzz with claims that 9/11 was an “inside job” of the Bush administration?
Conspiracy theories are part and parcel of modern life and some people clearly find their allure irresistible.
Likewise, climate “sceptics” obsessively yelp at the alleged frailties of the surface temperature record and accuse respectable scientific agencies of “fudging” data, oblivious to the fact that multiple independent analyses of the temperature record give rise to the exact same conclusion. The further fact that the satellite data yield precisely the same result without any surface-based thermometers is of no relevance to climate “sceptics.” It is also of no relevance to climate “sceptics” that their claims about the absence of global warming are logically incoherent with their simultaneous claim that humans didn’t cause the warming.
The conspiracy theory known as climate “scepticism” will soon collapse because it must be extended to include even the macrolepidoptera, including the rhopalocera, geometroidea andnoctuoidea. Yes, the European moths and butterflies must be part of the conspiracy, because they mate repeatedly every season now, rather than once only as during the preceding 150 years.
I’m not planning on posting any more on this ridiculous paper until I have some more news on FOI, but I do have a few final thoughts.
Steve McIntyre is doing sterling work digging into the data in great detail. But my question is, why bother? It’s lending credibility to a study which had zero to start with.
Let’s look at the facts:
- Lew is well known as a vociferous critic of anyone who questions the “consensus”
- He’s buddies with John Cook, he of climate alarmist heaven Skeptical Science fame
- He’s previously published a lengthy catalogue of patronising articles relentlessly and repetitively attacking “deniers”, and often questioning their psychological health
- He has already decided that he can besmirch his ideological opponents by linking climate scepticism to kooky conspiracy theories, and designs an online survey accordingly [see article in the update above]
- Alongside questions regarding the effect of CO2 on the climate, there are questions about HIV/Aids, smoking and cancer, JFK, the moon landings, and a bunch of other crazy conspiracies
- He gets the survey published on a bunch of headbanger blogs, many of which have undisguised contempt for realists, and probably think that they can help achieve his
unstatedpretty clear goals
- None of the sceptic blogs approached publish it (maybe because it’s so painfully obvious to them what he’s attempting to achieve and don’t want a bar of it)
- 10 out of 1100 or so survey responses express belief in the faking of the NASA moon landings, a large proportion of which were probably faked by alarmists having a laugh…
- Despite the fact that six of those ten also believe the consensus on climate change, he submits the paper for publication in a journal with a title linking moon landing “denial” to climate “denial”
- Newspapers in the UK pick up on the story (Telegraph, Guardian) and in passing at the Sydney Morning Herald, making sure the moon landing bit features heavily in the stories
- Objective to portray sceptics as nut-jobs achieved
And as a postscript, when any of the above is questioned by the great unwashed, Lew labels that a conspiracy theory as well. Enough said.
Last word goes to A Scott on WUWT:
For the first time, in a now total 9 blog posts on this paper, [Lewandowsky's] most recent story is more talk, less condescension and derision towards those who would dare challenge his work. Well OK, mostly, sorta less. It is a long story, with lots of fancy terms, initials, equations and descriptions.
In it he reminds us lowly unwashed masses that we are knowledge-less simpletons – merely “toying” with his data. That we couldn’t possibly understand all the important stuff real scientists like him know. Or maybe he didn’t say it exactly that way, but it’s just how it came across.
He takes the long way around to re-tell us why skeptics are somehow conspiracy theorists who believe the moon landing, and (science), is fake, or something like that. I guess the parentheses mean because the answers to some of the other questions about science were true, that we can perform a latent variable analysis, and prove we actually DO believe in that fake old moon landing even though we said we didn’t. Or maybe not.
That’s this cool new idea he shares – we can’t just look at the simple answers to the questions – like whether we believe the moon landing was fake, nah, those 10 people don’t know nothing – they’re just noise. Nothing to see here – no one behind this curtain – now move along …
No – we must look to the answers of the other questions, to determine if we believe the moon landing was fake and thus are nasty old science rejecters. And motivated ones at that. Or something like that.
I think we’ve given Lew enough oxygen for now.