Lewandowsky and Cook lose the plot


It's Lew, no it's Cook, no Lew, Cook, Lew, er, hang on...

It’s Lew, no it’s Cook, no Lew, Cook, Lew, er, hang on…

[UPDATE 3 [8 Feb, 07.30 AEST]: Jo Nova has more on Mr Hubble Marriott here.

[UPDATE 2 [7 Feb, 18.40 AEST]: This is all in the public domain now, so I am sharing it here. The fourth author on this paper, Michael Hubble-Marriott, is the “Mike” who is responsible for the Watching the Deniers site (sorry, what are we denying again? Duh). Mike couldn’t contain his glee at being asked to be part of the team, so he revealed it all on his blog. I guess you judge people by the company they keep…]

[UPDATE: John Cook responds in the comments below.]

It’s typical isn’t it? You take a break and then, well, stuff happens. But this particular ‘stuff’ is too good to pass up.

The University of Western Australia’s very own Nutty Professor, Stephan Lewandowsky, goes full-on stupid, with best buddy John Cook of Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science, by publishing another risible paper on the ludicrous “moon landing denier theory” previously discussed widely here and on the net (see here and here and here and here and plenty more).

But wait… This time, instead of labelling anyone daring to question any part of the climate consensus as a crazy conspiracy theorist, it’s anyone who questions Lewandowsky’s moon landing denier paper, who’s, er… a crazy conspiracy theorist.

It’s snappily entitled Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation, but what it actually represents isn’t recursive fury, but recursive idiocy: rational, if sometimes irritated, responses to an idiotic paper confected into yet another, this time doubly idiotic, paper. It’s bullshit squared, in other words.

So I assume that this post on ACM will be used as evidence to show that because I dare question this paper, I am (yet again) a crazy conspiracy theorist – and Lew will write a paper about that in due course. Will it ever end? [No - Ed]

Here’s part of the abstract:

This article analyzes the response of the climate blogosphere to the publication of LOG12 [shorthand for the 'moon landing denier paper']. We identify and trace the hypotheses that emerged in response to LOG12 and that questioned the validity of the paper’s conclusions. Using established criteria to identify conspiracist ideation, we show that many of the hypotheses exhibited conspiratorial content and counterfactual thinking. For example, whereas hypotheses were initially narrowly focused on LOG12, some ultimately grew in scope to include actors beyond the authors of LOG12, such as university executives, a media organization, and the Australian government. The overall pattern of the blogosphere’s response to LOG12 illustrates the possible role of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of science, although alternative scholarly interpretations may be advanced in the future.

No acknowledgement of the multitude of obvious failures in the original paper’s methodology, just more of the same ideology, plugged as science.

The full text is here (PDF). I’m proud to say that this humble blog gets three mentions – I will wear those mentions as a badge of honour.

I can’t be arsed (or assed for our American readers) to bother even reading it let alone wasting my time responding (I used the search function in my PDF app to find out where ACM was mentioned, by the way), it’s so laughable. I’ll leave it to the incomparable Ben Pile at Climate Resistance to eviscerate this latest steaming heap of ‘research':

I have little interest in parsing the 57 pages of the new paper [yep, with you there, bro], to get the measure of the remainder of what Lewandowsky believes are conspiracy theories. It seems sufficient to say that, whether or not the comments in question do betray a tendency of the authors towards conspiracy theorising, they were a response to a poorly-conceived research exercise which was transparently intended to frame the debate as one between science on the one hand, and idology/conspiracy theorists on the other. If the internet has a gutter, in which thrive conspiracy theories and pointless interminable flame wars between people who have little grasp on the real world, Lewandowsky’s work is amongst it.

But what is remarkable, however, is that seemingly academic research should have fallen to this level. Lewandowsky reduces academia to a silly blog comment war. He drags journals, and research organisations into this war, undermining the value of research in general and trust in it. The thrust of Lewandowsky’s paper is ‘I picked a fight on the Internet, and this is what people said about me’, which, of course, omits any criticism of his work that may enable him to develop a better argument.

And that’s the point. Lewandowsky’s research is intended to reduce the phenomenon of ‘scepticism’ and ‘denial’ without taking any notice of what sceptics say, except when it confirms to the stereotype Lewandowsky wants to demonstrate the existence of. No doubt that’s a ‘conspiracy theory’ on his view, but the truth is much simpler: either his mediocre talents aren’t sufficient for the critical self-reflection necessary to produce robust research, or an inflated ego precludes critical self-reflection.

Ultimately, ‘research’ of this kind will bring the academy down with it, because drawing attention to, and publishing Lewandowsky’s work means demonstrating to the world the fact that quite often, academic researchers are as petty-minded, ‘idologically-motivated’, and pig ignorant as the worst of online commentary.

Are you hearing this, UWA?

ACM taking a 'well earned break' (© ABC)


ACM taking a WEB

ACM taking a WEB

Virtually all the ABC seems to disappear off for two months over Christmas, on what has become colloquially known as a ‘well earned break’, so now ACM is doing the same.

A number of other projects are demanding my time, and will do for a while, so new posts will be infrequent (or non-existent) for the time being.

As always, visit the sites in the Live Blog Roll to the right for your climate needs.

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