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« IPPR on wind | Main | Down on the farm with Yo 'n Dave - Josh 181 »
Friday
Aug312012

Lewandowsky's data

Geoff Chambers has obtained Stephan Lewandowsky's survey data which can be seen as an attachment at the bottom of this post. Of course it's anonymised, so we are not going to get to the bottom of the question of the number of sceptics he approached, but you may be interested.

Lewandowsky data

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Reader Comments (106)

I'm keen to do a little number crunching and data visualisation on this data. Since in Excel can turn this into a standard Table and do some pivots. Almost always draws out something of interest.

Do you know where there is a key to what all the numbers mean?

And there are numbers on the right which look to be the result of computations, but no formulae given.

Aug 31, 2012 at 7:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Schneider

Rob
See comments by DR at
http://bishophill.squarespace.com/discussion/post/1904675?currentPage=2
Ignore my earlier comments. I got it wrong.
For the questions, see Table 2 at the end of Lewandowsky’s paper.
The numbers at the right are %s, given in answer to open ended questions how many x scientists do you think believe...?

Aug 31, 2012 at 7:56 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Like Rob sayss, the numbers on the right are just dumb - there is no fomula behind them. It also looks that the numbers in the individual columns (question answers on a 1-4 scale perhaps) bear little relationship to the "totals" in columns AD to AF. Perhaps it need a Mannian analysis to get the right answers?

Aug 31, 2012 at 7:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterChrisM

Run the right algo and you can make a hockey stick out of those numbers.

Aug 31, 2012 at 8:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJay Currie

I spent a while looking at the data last evening. As Geoff says,it's only possible to understand the columns by reference to the paper itself (pdf here http://websites.psychology.uwa.edu.au/labs/cogscience/documents/LskyetalPsychScienceinPressClimateConspiracy.pdf)

The last 3 columns (ConsensHIV ConsensSmoke ConsensCO2) are the respondents' answers to the questions "Out of 100 medical scientists how many do you think believe that the HIV virus causes AIDS?" "...smoking causes lung cancer?" "...climate scientists think human CO2 emissions cause climate change?"

Aug 31, 2012 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterDR

@DR - I'm not surprised at the lack of consistency in the questions that leads to difficulties in analysing the data. This is thoroughly consistent with climate 'science' as anyone who has looked at "HARRY_READ_ME.txt" already knows...

Aug 31, 2012 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

(Now posting on correct thread!)

Thanks to all for the links. If the climate changes tomorrow (I want the back garden "office" to be warm enough to sit there), I'll play with the data a bit. I like data.

Aug 31, 2012 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Schneider

Oh bugger. Why does everything have to be in Excel ?

Aug 31, 2012 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterP. Jones

Oh bugger. Why does everything have to be in Excel ?

Aug 31, 2012 at 9:24 AM | P. Jones
..................................................

Settle down, Jones. Nobody asked you to calculate an Excel trend.
Just view the figures so that you can peer-review the papers of others, knowing that you have read the Lewandowski data.

Aug 31, 2012 at 9:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

Ha, sorry Phil.

You can take comfort though in the fact that Lewandowsky took a leaf out of your book in saying that confidentiality concerns prevent him from disclosing the data, in this case the list of sceptic blogs approached. You and your Mum should be proud.

Aug 31, 2012 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

"the list of sceptic blogs approached"

That's none, then.

Aug 31, 2012 at 9:50 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Any chance someone can just cut and paste a few changes to the paper such as replacing denier with doomsday cultist and then resubmit it has proof that global warming nutters don't believe in the moon landing and such...

I would think it would be pretty easy to do.

Aug 31, 2012 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterrobotech master

Maybe he thinks ScepticalScience is a sceptic blog?

Aug 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterHoi Polloi

What I found interesting was the selection of "conspiracies" presented.

What about "big oil" influence on government, or the "military indistrial complex"? My prior would have me believe that "alternative medicine" or "spiritual beliefs" would more closely link with alarmist warming beliefs than sceptical ones.

Aug 31, 2012 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Gold standard SI

Aug 31, 2012 at 11:36 AM | Registered CommenterGrantB

Two puzzles:
1) Where did the respondents come from? Only at Tamino’s did the survey announcement provoke any discussion, where a couple of dozen regulars made largely critical comments about how difficult it was to fill in honestly.
The obvious answer is Skeptical Science, but there’s no mention of it at the site, and John Cook (who had developed quite a crush on Lew) can be seen in a private email ten months after the fieldwork mentioning to a colleague the research that his mate Lewandowsky had done, as if it was nothing to do with him.

2) Why the four point scale? Leaving out the “don’t know” option is a perfectly legitimate way of encouraging a meaningful response. But you then count a blank as a ”don’t know”. But Lewandowsky actually threw out any incomplete questionnares - in a survey intended to capture sceptics! Nobody throws out a perfectly good questionnaire because of one blank box. Yet there’s not a single blank cell on his data.
What he ended up with is respondents with no shred of doubt at all - who have fixed opinions about everything - aliens, nazis in Oklahoma, SARL, AIDS - you name it. Including a number who think that global warming is a conspiracy to place alongside 9-11 and the murder of Martin Luther King.
Anyone here recognise themselves in that description?

Aug 31, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Lewandowsky is not actually offering anything different than Gleick's forged HI trash.
The very large majority of the respondents are extremist believers in AGW.
That it made its way through peer review is strong evidence that anything making caricatures of skeptics is quite acceptable for many academics, and offsets any need for accuracy integrity or honesty.
As we saw with Peter Gleick's fraud and forgery, the climate kooks will rally anything under any circumstance that offers a chance to pretend skeptics are wicked, evil and ignorant.
The irony that the believer obsession on climate is making them become what they claim skeptics are is apparently lost on the climate concerned.

Aug 31, 2012 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterlurker, passing through laughing

In case of any interest to others, I've done a little data munging. At the following public DropBox is the file:
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/1933832/LskyetalPsychSciClimate.zip which holds the data in a number of formats:

LskyetalPsychSciClimate.xlsx ... Excel as original, but "un-pivoted" the data into a standard Excel Table in tab "LskyetalPsychSciClimate"
LskyetalPsychSciClimate.txt ... text file with the un-pivoted data (tab delimited) as extracted from the Excel un-pivoted
LskyetalPsychSciClimate.accb ... Microsoft Access database with the data in a relational table as imported from the Excel un-pivoted data
LskyetalPsychSciClimate.sql ... moved the data into a MySQL database then made a standard dump of that data.

The fields in the relational table are: ID, Person ID, Question, and Response. There is 36,640 records. I'll probably add a Question table for presentation purposes.

Not sure what I will do next. Just sort of mess around with it a bit with various tools, being cognisant of course that the survey data appears to be suspect; but data none less.

Aug 31, 2012 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Schneider

What he ended up with is respondents with no shred of doubt at all - who have fixed opinions about everything - aliens, nazis in Oklahoma, SARL, AIDS - you name it. Including a number who think that global warming is a conspiracy to place alongside 9-11 and the murder of Martin Luther King.
Anyone here recognise themselves in that description?
Aug 31, 2012 at 12:04 PM geoffchambers

Nope not even me.

Which leaves us with just relatively sane, AGW enthusiast, regulars at the exclusively warmist blogs - who filled in his stupid questionnaire with the most extreme answers for a giggle.

Some of their posts at the time made it obvious this was the intention.

Incidentally, if he claimed to have offered the survey to a number of sceptic blogs who refused to co-operate, but if in fact he hadn't - that would be scientific fraud, wouldn't it?

Aug 31, 2012 at 2:41 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Geoff,
2) Why the four point scale? no option for a neutral "3" in the answers, you either agree or you don't. Same with "don't know" no answer is the preferred option as it doesn't taint the results.

Sandy

Aug 31, 2012 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

My guess is that the online questionnaire did not allow respondents to leave questions blank and had to choose one answer in order to proceed to the next question. Hence there is more apparent certainty than the respondents probably wanted or felt.

Aug 31, 2012 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterDR

DR
I think you’re right about the questionnaire blocking unanswered questions. I seem to remember someone commenting (but where?) on this, which would explain why it took 40 minutes to complete.
I’ve just noticed that it was on the thread to Adam Corner’s article at
http://talkingclimate.org/are-climate-sceptics-more-likely-to-be-conspiracy-theorists/
that you get the maximum of useful background information (all from BH regulars).
Barry Woods gives links to the original survey announcements on the “science-based” blogs. Foxgoose gives links to Lewandowsky’s articles at DeSmog and Deltoid, and I give a “best of” compilation of John Cook’s references to his pal Stephan in the SkeptikalScience internal emails. And thanks to Adam Corner for letting the comments through and replying to many.

Aug 31, 2012 at 5:45 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

No IP data... drat!

Aug 31, 2012 at 7:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterlucia

The sample distribution is interesting but not surprising.
The were 4 questions on climate science, with a score of 1 (reject the science) to 4 (accept the science) possible. The 48 who ticked 1 in every case compares to 498 who ticked 4 in every case.
More broadly, those whose average was less than 2 was 125 compares to 854 whose average was greater than 3. There were a further 50 who average 2.0 to 2.4. Depending of your definition of climate "denial", 4.2% and 15.3% of responses were from deniers. 48 to 175 responses is insufficient to make any claims about the sceptic population at large.
Also, there is reason to believe that the sceptics that responded were a skewed sample. My limited experience of the blogs is of polarized viewpoints and politically-incorrect language directed at those who disagree with them. To regularly read stuff that denigrates your opinions and to have comments deleted, or deliberately misinterpreted by people, takes a sort of person who is a minority subset of the sceptics who comment here, or at Wattsupwiththat or Climateaudit.
There is also the issue of unfinished responses. Progressing through such a questionnaire, you quickly realise that it is trying to confirm pre-conceived opinions that I certainly find distasteful.

Aug 31, 2012 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterManicBeancounter

For those who don’t like looking up links to links, here’s a “Best of” compilation
of comments on the survey from the warmist blogs where it was posted.
One thing it shows, I think, is that frequenters of warmists blogs are cynical, critical critters just like us - normal human beings in fact.
Makes you think...
From
http://profmandia.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/opinion-survey-regarding-climate-change/

- this is a simplistic and highly biased “survey” best ignored by educated people.
- J Bowers: I had no problem with the survey and sailed through it in a very short time.
- It required me to select an answer that I did not agree with because there was no middle ground answer.
http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2010/08/counting-your-attitudes/
- lol, I half expected them to ask about the de-medicalization conspiracy of psychologists.
- Done. I had never even heard of some of those conspiracy theories.
- Typical. As questions, nonsensical. I got as far as question 8 which is really two questions to which I have definitely different answers. So I was not allowed to continue.
- I can’t say I liked/understood the point of some of those questions, either. I didn’t want to say anything not to prejudice the survey sample.

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/29/survey-on-attitudes-towards-cl/
- The questions seemed to be picked in hopes to see “climate change deniers” “denying” also everything else there is a consensus at. I think far less of us skeptics disagree with those than you think.
- For a lot of those questions all you’re getting is which less extreme response I choose at random to represent no opinion – especially stuff like the Oklahoma bomber question (seriously, I know nothing about that).
- It has the usual failing of such questionnaires, but stands a fair chance of demonstrating whether or not the instinctive classification of deniers is valid. The main weakness is not the design, however, it’s the administration. This online survey format is very insecure. I could easily script a bot to take it a hundred times or more with responses designed to skew the results.
- I needed a “don’t know” choice rather than being forced to say probably one way or the other who was involved in assassinating who.
- .. at first, I thought the survey was bogus. Of course, I haven’t seen the thinking behind the survey so I cannot comment with much authority, but some of the questioned seem rather ill-posed. And why no 5-point Likert scale? The whole online survey format is also methodologically suspect.
- Not very well-written. What on earth is that question about Coca-Cola all about? I don’t even care enough to Google it.
- As for “Does burning fossil fuels warm the atmosphere measurably”, the answer is surely “no”: burning fossil fuels releases CO2, which is responsible for causing a measurable rise in atmospheric temperature. The heat from the burning of fossil fuels itself is not particularly consequential.
- I didn’t like the lack of a don’t know option, either. I knew what the Coke question was about, but Timothy McVeigh? Remembering that he was involved with various right wing crazies doesn’t help me with remembering whether or not they were involved in the bombing itself.
- It is a seriously weird questionnaire. I stopped doing it when I realized that the UWA logo directed one to the kwiksurveys site rather than UWA. Is it some sort of attempt to spish? Quite apart from the inept conspiracy questions that don’t allow “no idea” as an answer, and the two-part questions where you might have different response to the two parts.
- I definitely thought the survey was poor and tendentious
- ... the good thing about conspiracy theories is, that you will recognise it, even without ever heard about it! I am looking forward to the results of this one. but i fear very few denialists will take it.
- I find it amusing that I think it is more likely that there are aliens in US military bases, and that the CIA conspired to kill Kennedy, than climate science being wrong.
- Probably this whole thing is a cola marketing survey.
- I dunno. I got through it, but it hung when I tried sending it, so likely didn’t get counted.
- I submitted my honest responses to the questionnaire. There were some good insightful questions and a few strange ones too. I note that the questionnaire was designed for readers of pro-science blogs. In my experience it’s very apparent that certain readers of pro-science blogs are gormless idiots and Stephan’s admirable study may be skewed somewhat. I look forward to the final results.
- The survey is a tedious and transparent piece of agit-prop, designed, no doubt, at a UWA struggle meeting.
- The survey is very poorly written. It has a number of what we call “double barreled” questions in which there are two propositions asserted; you might agree with one but not for the reason proposed, or agree with one half but completely reject the other. One cannot answer these items without being misleading about what one really thinks.
- I think the “conspiracy theory” section is too heavy-handed to be useful. There’s no chance that people won’t figure out what the survey is looking for here, and everyone knows that “conspiracy theory!!” is pejorative. So I suspect that a lot of people who actually do think that climate scientists are rigging the data will hide their beliefs, even in an anonymous survey, because they’re worried that they’re going to be painted as conspiracy theorists.
- I’m too busy to take this survey, what with reds under the beds and sightings of Elvis to follow up. Does the survey require a clipping of hair to verify identity? Is this Lewandowsky person even real? I wasn’t here.

http://hot-topic.co.nz/questionnaire/
- Done, but some of the questions are poorly written. eg “I believe that the burning of fossil fuels on the scale observed over the last 50 years has caused serious negative changes to the planet’s climate”. The planet’s climate doesn’t have a view whether such a change is ‘negative’ or ‘positive’. It just changes.

http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/survey-says/
- I got as far as question 2. and decided not to continue.
- Oh, but you missed some really great questions! 7. “A powerful and secretive group, known as the New World Order, are planning to eventually rule the world through an autonomous world government, which would replace sovereign governments” Not so secret. Used to dance to them in the 80s.
- The survey leads leads to an ad. Not even any info on my IQ. But I know that I did really well.
- I guess they’re trying to use those survey questions to identify the nuts haha… All those conspiracy ones were a bit ridiculous (with the exception of iraq not being for WMDs, which is pretty obvious) although I do have to say the JFK lone gunman one is the only one i’m a little unsure about.
- These surveys are designed for an outcome, which as was apparent from the reply in first post, and thus in this case for either entertainment or wind-up, or a learning point on who ordered the survey for correct slotting. They’re so transparent.
- That was fun! I’m sure they loved my answers, as I try to judge every conspiracy theory on its own merits. Which probably makes me look a bit inconsistent. I’m sure 9/11 could have been stopped if the right people had wanted to [...] Same with JFK and Pearl Harbour and Bay of Tonkin: lots of legitimate questions. I’ve never investigated HIV/AIDS for myself, or SARS. Probably bogus theories, like the one about the moon landing. Lots of bullshit theories surrounding UFOs as well, but I know a few people who have seen them, so I’m not closing my mind entirely on that one. The death of Princess Diana is weird too on the face of it. With regards to NWO: evil could be organised (but needs a strong occult component to be possible) or is just the total sum of human systems, and thus random. But either way, I’m pretty darn sure AGW is happening.
- 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? Also, here are two words that, when put together, ought to make anyone critical of this research: “online” and “survey”.
- Ridiculously easy test! I’m certain I got 100%. Where can I find the answer key?

Aug 31, 2012 at 8:58 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Lewandowsky et al say:


a further 5 “skeptic” (or “skeptic”-leaning) blogs were approached but none posted the link.


The thing I don't understand is, why didn't they just make a post on sceptic blogs themselves, rather than approaching blog owners. They could have posted as a Discussion topic here at Bishop Hill without even asking the host, and I very much doubt that the Bish would have removed it. Climate Audit also has very light-touch moderation and I doubt whether Steve McIntyre would have removed such an unsolicited post. Same probably goes for many of the sceptic blogs, in my experience.

So it does appear to that they didn't try very hard to solicit views from the climate sceptic community.

Aug 31, 2012 at 9:00 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

A commenter has just mentioned on The Blackboard that they spotted two old OT postings of the survey link on sceptic sites from back in 2010 by anonymous posters, one on this blog and one on WUWT.

I had a go a searching for the key ID* of the survey and currently only get 15 results coming back, all from 2010, the two sceptic links mentioned above and the rest are showing up on only the deltoid and profmandia blogs.

How has Lewandowsky got his data together?

This is looking Glieckier and Glieckier by the hour ;)

*
H K M K N F_ 9 9 1 e 2 4 1 5 – Added a space between each char to not contaminate searches for this key

Aug 31, 2012 at 9:52 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Richard Betts
You’re right, there are so many ways they could have solicited the co-operation of sceptics. Joanna has a growing list of all the major sceptic blogs who definitely weren’t approached. The nuts and bolts of the research were apparently the work of Lewandowsky’s junior associate, but that’s no excuse. Lewandowsky had published articles on several major warmist blogs. These blogs know everything there is to know about us sceptics. As is shown by my contact with Adam Corner - the Guardian journalist and researcher into the psychology of scepticism - it’s perfectly possible to make contact with “the other side” if you want to.
I’m interested in your opinion, as a “hard” scientist, of the publishing habits of social scientists like Lewandowsky. No raw figures or percentages, just betas and correlation coefficients, incomprehensible to the common of mortals. You wouldn’t be allowed to publish an opinion survey in a national newspaper with such opaque data. No client of a market research company would accept such findings on trust. What about in the world of meteorology and climate science?

Aug 31, 2012 at 9:55 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Heh, heh, you now get 16 results searching for that key, Lucia has another post up

Multiple IPs, Hide My Ass and the Lewandowsky survey.

Aug 31, 2012 at 10:03 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

I'd be very surprised if Richard were to answer you, Geoff. It would be a bit like stepping out of his role.

As for Lewandosky...I'm convinced the whole thing is a mess of badly-collected and totally-invented data. It's the most shameful CAGW article in the history of the world. Now Briffa and Mann can proudly think they have many defects, but at least they're not Lewandosky.

Aug 31, 2012 at 10:09 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Maurizio
I fear the most shameful is yet to come. They’re not finished yet.
Leopard
Just as I get my evidence that Lewandowsky is lying into moderation at Lucia’s first post, she starts another, and goes out to dinner! The ways of the internet...
I compiled a list of John Cook’s references to his mate the cognitive psychologist Lewandowsky (aka Lew the Mind) which I posted at
http://talkingclimate.org/are-climate-sceptics-more-likely-to-be-conspiracy-theorists/
and subsequently forgot about. Lewandowsky asserts at Lucia’s that Skeptical Science linked to his survey. There is no evidence of this on Wayback, who were sampling SkS every week. I think the following quotes from John Cook’s emails to felllow authors on his private email threads demonstrate that Skepticalscience did NOT participate in the survey - whatever else Stephan and John may have got up to together. Dates of fieldwork were Aug-Oct 2010. All other blogs posted links to survey in Aug 2010. (dates are US style).

2010–10-3
then I got involved with Steve Lewandowsky and some of his cognitive colleagues who is very interested in the phenomena of science blogging and they’re planning to do some research into the subject that I’m going to help them with in November..
2010–10-1
I must be spending too much time conversing with Steve Lewandowsky (cognitive scientist)…
2010–10-8
a while ago, I added a bias field to the user data base and a bit of code so as comments came in, I could specify whether the user was skeptics or warmest/proAGW/mainstream (still haven’t found a satisfactory term for our side). I only assign bias if its obvious from the comment. I haven’t done anything with that data yet, I’m not even sure why I’m doing it other than my obsessive compulsion to collect data. The other day, Steve Lewandowsky (cognitive scientist) asked if I had any numbers on the ratio of skeptics to warmists so I dove into the database and counted up around 100 assigned skeptics and around 400 assigned warmists.
2010–10-6
I’ve been having some intriguing conversations with Steve Lewandowsky who’s throwing cognitive experiment ideas at me to see what’s technically possible. Having a significantly sized group of people classified as skeptic or proAGW makes all sorts of interesting experiments possible.
2010-11-25
First up, I met with Steve Lewandowsky and some other cognitive scientists who are interested in the phenomenon of science blogging and how it’s being used to educate and communicate science. In particular, they wanted to test the impact of blog comments on how people processed information. Did a blog post with all negative comments have a different impact on how people retain information compared to a blog post with all positive comments? So we sat down and designed an experiment to run on SkS to see if this has a discernible effect on blogs…
2011–6-2
What’s interesting is Steve Lewandowsky has done some research showing there is a high correlation between conspiracy theorists and climate deniers. This is a theme that could be explored further.
2012–3-7
Man, I’ve been spending too much time with Steve Lewandowsky, I see everything now as a potential social experiment.
2012–2-8
I must be hanging around Steve Lewandowsky too much, he loves poking ants nests with a stick…

Aug 31, 2012 at 11:06 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

By looking up the survey number posted by leopard at the internet archive you can find the first page of the survey from a snapshot on Sep 3 2010.

There are various interesting things in the pre-amble. I cannot find the rest of the original survey this way.

Also, note that some of the links had a slightly different url for the survey from the number given by Leopard,
http://www.kwiksurveys.com/online-survey.php?surveyID=HKMKNG_ee191483
I can't find this one on the archive.

Aug 31, 2012 at 11:15 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Come to think, 1,145 complete answers is a miraculous feat indeed.

Is there any way to check if Lew's results follow Benford's law?

Sep 1, 2012 at 12:06 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Aug 31, 2012 at 11:15 PM | Paul Matthews

Ah I never thought of using wayback. Plugging some of the preamble text from that into Google I get something vaguely similar showing on a 2010 archive page of the Junkscience blog (Look for the text "University of Western Australia seeks survey respondents" about 1/3 way down), it's not the same survey I think but its from the same Oz team. The host doesn't recommend taking this survey but posts the link nonetheless with the following observation:

I went through the above and felt it has numerous problems - questions are framed in absolute terms but lack useful definition (climate change is used frequently but is not defined, do they mean CAGW, natural variability with some anthropogenic component or what?). Climate scientists is used as a generic term without distinguishing between modelers (PlayStation® Climatology) or physical scientists (very few geologists are impressed by claims of CAGW, for example).

Basically it seems to be fishing for conspiracy theorists in an effort to associate them with CAGW skepticism. I suspect Hanich & HREC are likely to get a lot of complaints about this framing.

I get the impression this department is a real little conveyor belt of hack "academia". A bit of an eyeopener. I really can't believe anyone with any decent cognitive ability can take the results of this stuff seriously.

Sep 1, 2012 at 12:20 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Maurizio
It’s easy enough to falsify Benford by changing the rules of the game. Opinion pollsters often aim for a thousand responses, as being a nice comforting number that instils confidence in their clients, and fall short by a few. Thus many polls start with the statement: “based on a survey of 998 informants...”. Levandovsky likes correlations rather than raw data, so theres lots of 0.9xxs.. I wouldn’t worry about what is simply modern numerology.
The following post has just gone up at
http://www.skepticalscience.com/AGU-Fall-Meeting-sessions-social-media-misinformation-uncertainty.html#comments

geoffchambers at 09:14 AM on 1 September, 2012
I see John and Stephan are going to be convening a meeting together on Understanding & Responding to Misinformation in December 2012
There's a lot of speculation on the net at the moment about the Lewandowsky paper which  has been announced about scepticism and belief in conspiracy theories.
Stephan is claiming that skepticalscience was one of the blogs which took part in this survey, yet there is no evidence of this on the site of SkS. Could you, John Cook, please clarify whether SkS posted a link to Lewandowsky's survey between Aug and Oct 2010, or helped in any other way, eg by providing email addresses of potential respondents?
many thanks
Geoff Chambers
I’ll report back here about any possible reply.

Sep 1, 2012 at 12:35 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Leopard
This is indeed the Lewandowsky study. Hanich is the name spotted by a commenter on one of the blogs as being responsible for the study; the date, subject and description of the questionnaire all correspond.

University of Western Australia seeks survey respondents: Attitudes Towards Science*
*Not recommended or endorsed in any way by JunkScience.com
This study explores people’s beliefs about a wide range of topics, ranging from scientific propositions to claims made in the media and on the internet. In addition, the survey is interested in your attitudes towards your own life and issues confronting modern societies at the moment. The survey consists of around 40 questions and should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

Participation in this study is entirely voluntary. The completion of this internet survey is taken to constitute your consent to participate. If you do not wish to participate, exit this webpage now.

The data will be analyzed without regard to your identity. If the results from this study will be published, only aggregate results will be reported and individual responses will not be identifiable.

If you have any questions or comments about this research you may address them to the experimenter, Charles Hanich, at hanich@cyllene.uwa.edu.au.

The Human Research Ethics Committee at the University of Western Australia requires that all participants are informed that, if they have any complaint regarding the manner in which a research project is conducted, it may be given to the researcher or, alternatively to the Secretary, Human Research Ethics Committee, Registrar’s Office, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009 (telephone number +61 8 6488-3703).

Sep 1, 2012 at 1:01 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

The survey linked from junkscience is not the same survey as the one linked from Tamino and Deltoid. See http://web.archive.org/web/20100928145229/http://www.kwiksurveys.com/online-survey.php?surveyID=HKMKNI_9a13984&UID=3313891469

Sep 1, 2012 at 1:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

Sep 1, 2012 at 1:01 AM | geoffchambers

Yeah it might be the same Lewandowsky study but I think its not the same questionnaire used by the final paper. Sorry I should have said earlier, but I did what Paul Matthews did and checked the webarchive for the link indicated on the JunkScience site, I got a single page of the first 5 questions, and this questionnaire seems to have a different set of questions to the ones declared on the final Lewandowsky paper e.g.

5. If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing

That's what prompted my conveyor belt comment, it seems that this Hanich (at Lewandosky's behest?) was generating a few of these study questionnaires at about the same time and throwing them out - seeing who bit.

As someone else said, the whole study is a mess. It just strikes me as a totally slapdash and haphazard venture. Using a freebie survey system and just plopping it down on your mates self described "pro-science" sites with a nod and a wink and waiting for the junk responses to reach a certain level. It makes me wonder if it took nearly 2 years for the number of answers to fill up to the right level, waiting for half assed idiots to stumble on the survey link?

Also how many other surveys were going on at the same time by that same department, with the same aim, but didn't give the required result?

Since the study is clearly primed for bad answers to skew the results towards skeptics=nutters, all Lewandowsky would have to do is wait until enough answers come back that fit a basic criteria on at least one questionaire. It almost writes itself. Hack, hackie, retarded, hackie shite.

I really love this paper:)

Next time someone tries the "sceptics = nutters is proven by scientific evidence line" it will be fun to point to how well publicised and lauded this Lewandowsky crap was, and then walk people through the shittiness of its quality :)

Sep 1, 2012 at 6:11 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

OK the thick plottens.

Just for completeness I have to post this here ;)

I now notice manicbeancounter has a list of questions of a survey he spotted doing the rounds in early June this year. He thought it may have been the basis of the Lewandowsky paper but someone points out in his comments there are some differences in the questions, although there are enough similarities.

It does seem interesting that the link for this more recent study is actually associated with the university and not one of the kwiksurveys ones:

http://uwa.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_0UtxttVraAorKNS

But the survey has expired now.

Now it does seems this survey was the subject of a Special Request on the SKS site. The link doesn't come up on wayback however, it must have been pretty short lived.

However since the questions apparently don't include the ones mentioned on the final Lewandowsky paper, and given the relative lateness of its date, it can't be the same one used for this latest Lew paper*.

Just what is going with old Charles Hanich spraying around similar sounding surveys like this?

Is this all a texas sharpshooter fallacy writ large!?

*pun intended ;)

Sep 1, 2012 at 7:40 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Leopard
Congratulations on your efforts. The explanation may be simply this: running surveys, like plotting Arctic ice cover, is one of those things which used to require a lot of time and effort, and can now be done practically for free by anyone. All you need is an interesting enough end result to begin with.

Sep 1, 2012 at 9:04 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Geoff & Leopard - very impressive research on this.

I think a real showstopper is SKS moderator & author Tom Curtis' reply to Geoff at SkS:-

.... in my opinion, the title of the paper is not justified by the results, and is needlessly sensationalizing and offensive

I wonder if Lewandowsky groupie John Cook agrees.

Sep 1, 2012 at 1:30 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

This is damn near unbelievable, except we've seen the Peter Glieck's and the ClimateGaters, and still, my sense of being offended for the craft of Einstein, Bohrs, Newton, Feynman, and so many other giants, being sullied by hacks and propagandists, still has the ability to be amazed and saddened and disgusted. Who in a modern University department, or as an editor of a supposed science publication or a peer reviewer can bloody hell think an on-line self-selecting subject base can be used to conclude anything on any topic? This Lew guy is a professor? He should be demoted and forbidden from ever again using the words science, skeptic, research and knowledge, and instead trained in the language of his new craft with words like mop, bucket and Caution: Wet Floor.

Sep 1, 2012 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMickey Reno

Lewandowsky, of course, wrote an enthusiastic endorsement of Gleick's actions - even comparing him to Winston Churchill, who had to deceive the Nazis to pursue victory.

It includes the ringing words:-

Revealing to the public the active, vicious, and well-funded campaign of denial that seeks to delay action against climate change likely constitutes a classic public good.

Does this sound like the measured judgement of an impartial academic - or the wild ranting of an obsessed activist?

It's not hard to believe that striking a blow against the "deniers" might come higher in his priorities than careful and honest application of the scientific method.

http://theconversation.edu.au/the-morality-of-unmasking-heartland-5494

Sep 1, 2012 at 2:52 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Sep 1, 2012 at 1:30 PM | Foxgoose

Hmm the way I read that comment by Tom Curtis is that he just seems to think that Lewandowsky has possibly over-egged the PR side by accentuating the sceptic=conspiracy nutters with his title - Lewandowsky clearly has a better eye for PR than poor naive Tom though and clearly knew what would sell to the gullible press ;)

Other than that Curtis seems to think "deniers" have made "unwarranted" criticisms of the paper - he doesn't trouble to list these - I guess because once he has spat the word "deniers" out he feels his work is done.

Curtis seems to have essentially uncritically lapped up the bull offered from Lewandowsky though - Curtis thinks there is a so-called "big result" from the paper about free-market bias, whilst ignoring the basic issue with the murky state of the origin of the data. Curtis is just another puffed-up idiot coprophage.

Sep 1, 2012 at 5:15 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Cook is claiming at
http://www.skepticalscience.com/AGU-Fall-Meeting-sessions-social-media-misinformation-uncertainty.html#comments
that the Lewandowsky questionnaire was posted at SkS in 2011, while Lew says the fieldwork was completed in Oct 2010. It’s possible that SkS carried an invitation to participate in a different survey (an invitation that was quickly removed) but even this seems unlikely, because right up to February 2012 Cook is informing his fellow SkS authors of plans to cooperate on some research work with Lew. But they would surely have been aware if a survey had already been promoted on the site for which they are jointly responsible.
There is still no sensible explanation of the absence of the Lewandowsky research from the Septical Science site, and one of either the list of participating sites, or the dates of the Lewandowsky research is clearly wrong.

Sep 1, 2012 at 6:17 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Once people decide to mispresent and smear their enemies, rather than deal with their legitimate arguments, who knows to what depths they may sink. Even so, the ineptness exposed in the last few days - thanks Leopard and others - is a surprise. I do prefer botched conspiracies to the others.

By a strange turn of wiki search I came across my notes on Brigitte Nerlich this afternoon. I didn't remember the name either. But this is what Steve McIntyre wrote on Climate Audit in April 2011:

In contrast, Nerlich 2010, a peer reviewed publication, cited recently in Nature as a reference on Climategate, tried to analyse Climategate through the prism of the blogs, but instead of discussing Climate Audit, WUWT, Bishop Hill, Jeff Id and Lucia, looked instead to blogs like Dakota Voice and PA Pundits, whose involvement was so peripheral that I, for one, had been unaware of them until Nerlich’s article.

This rang rather strong bells. Nerlich hails from Nottingham, possibly the only characteristic she may share with Paul Matthews. But had it become some kind of habit by 'researchers' in 2010 to more or less invent the sceptics of their own choosing, rather than deal with the messier but much more interesting reality?

Sep 1, 2012 at 7:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

It was Brigitte Nerlich, of course, who collaborated with Adam Corner to use Nottingham Uni public money for Adam's "Talking Climate" activist site - she also lists, in her grant progress reports, her liaisons with the local Greenpeace group

I remember Adam complained to Geoff Chambers that Barry Woods ringing her up to ask about it was "smearing" him.

I also noticed from Katabasis, at Jo Nova's, that Adam Corner's Guardian article on Lewandowsky's unpublished paper appeared a full month before the official UWA press release - and contained a lot of background spin that wasn't in the draft paper.

At the risk of fulfilling Prof Lewandowsky's worst fears and succumbing to my inner conspiracy theorist, a clear picture is emerging of a coterie of academics in the "climate psychology" business who maintain a public face as serious and impartial academic researchers - while collaborating frantically behind the scenes as committed climate activists.

Think about it -

Adam runs around with banners demanding "Action Now", puts himself forward as a Green Party parliamentary candidate and acts as adviser to activist group COIN - whilst telling an important committee of MP's and policy makers "I'm a researcher, not a campaigner".

When challenged he announces on his blog "In my per­sonal time — when I do not rep­resent anyone but myself — I have taken part in many cam­paigning activ­ities, and I plan on con­tinuing to do so. You will no doubt be able to find pic­tures of me holding various plac­ards... I don’t see any con­flict in what I do in my per­sonal time and what I do at work."

Adam & Brigitte put their heads together with self-described "lifetime green campaigner" George Marshall to siphon public money from Cardiff & Notttingham Universities for a blatant climate activist site.

Brigitte writes in her official grant progress reports of liaising with activist Marshall and her local Greenpeace group as part of her academic work.

Adam gets an article in the Guardian to plug Lewandowsky's upcoming garbage a month before it's even press released - with all the exact same spin that later turns up in the release.

Are we dealing with academics who happen to have an interest in green issues which they keep separate from their day job - or a bunch of fully committed activists who are using their academic roles to promote "the cause"?

What do you think?

Sep 1, 2012 at 8:24 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

This post at Skeptical Science was snipped (part in italics) because it contained
“References to stolen intellectual property”.

John Cook
Are you sure the questionnaire you posted at SkS in 2011 is the one to the current Lewandowsky paper? Lewandowsky says the fieldwork was carried out between August and October 2010. The six sites where articles have been found all posted between the 28th and the 30th August 2010.
There’s a similar questionnaire from UWA (though with different structure and different questions) being discussed at
http://manicbeancounter.com/2012/07/29/climate-change-questionnaire-of-univ-of-western-australia/
and another one (or possibly the same one) was mentioned by junkscience. Clearly, several different surveys have been or are being conducted.
I’ve quoted some of your remarks from internal emails in a comment at
http://talkingclimate.org/are-climate-sceptics-more-likely-to-be-conspiracy-theorists/
In October 2010 you mention Stephan having asked you about the ratio of skeptics to warmists in your user database - (this is just after the completion of the fieldwork dates for the survey under discussion). In November you’re talking about setting up an experiment together to test the effect of positive versus negative comments on the impact of blog posts. Then in June 2011 you say: “What’s interesting is Steve Lewandowsky has done some research showing there is a high correlation between conspiracy theorists and climate deniers. This is a theme that could be explored further”. This is clearly the research which is currently being published. The fact that you are informing your fellow authors about it suggests that at that time nothing about surveys had been posted at SkS.
I’ve done a quick search through your internal mails on words like “survey” and “questionnaire” and “Kwiksurvey” but can find nothing.
Could you please clear up this confusion? Lewandowsky claims in his paper that the fieldwork was completed by October 2010, and that Skeptical Science participated. Apparently one or other of these claims is mistaken.

Sep 1, 2012 at 8:43 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

It's interesting isn't it. When thieving politicians, fornicating slebs or naked royals are caught out by illegally obtained evidence - they have to deal with the revealed reality, even while the source of the leak suffers opprobrium or prosecution.

Only in the wonderful, wacky world of climate "science" does what you say or do cease to have been said or done when revealed by irregular means.

It's real Winston Smith "Memory Hole" stuff.

Still - top marks for forensics & persistence Geoff, I see you've reposted the $64,000 question and we'll all await their reply with interest.

Sep 1, 2012 at 9:18 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Foxgoose, thanks for the additional info on Nerlich, revealing that I know little of this offshoot of climate studies. Not that whether you "succumb to your inner conspiracy theorist" or not doesn't alter whether the info is correct, which kyboshes the whole thrust of this kind of thinking anyway. But it does seem from his reaction on the blog that Adam Corner is a decent human being as well as a dedicated activist. That tends to limit what the dark side can achieve with him around, even if they are strongly organised.

Sep 1, 2012 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

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