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A survey

Brandon Shollenberger is doing a survey of climate sceptics.

Take part here.

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Reader Comments (34)

I did it, it's only short, but it made me laugh all the same.

Jan 10, 2014 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Brandon, if you're reading, your "thank you" page doesn't say thank you - it's just an advert for the survey site, which was a bit confusing, since you don't realise the survey is done. I was looking for a 'continue' button.

Jan 10, 2014 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

An accurate survey of skeptics/skeptic blog readers might be interesting but this isn't it. The 1st answer to the 1st question was a typo or unfinished, the 2nd and 3rd questions were absurd. Not sure what the point is, I didn't bother to complete it.

Jan 10, 2014 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterredc

redc, if the idea is to claim some sort of insanity amongst skeptics, then please humour them.

Jan 10, 2014 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

The survey seems fundamentally flawed unless he knows something about our mothers. That would seem to be a broad generalisation.

Frankly, this is laughable.

Consider this: Most people would say that they haven't been probed by aliens. I don't think I have. Yet, as I don't wear a tin-foil hat, I may have faulty memories caused by the little green men. Clearly as a sceptic, I should be neutral on that question. But is that a reasonable position?

This could be twisted into anything.
let's hope this doesn't double-post this time

Jan 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterM Courtney

Guys, calm down. I believe it is a joke with reference to Lewandowsky and his ilks.

Jan 10, 2014 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeorgeGr

I assume the point is to run some crazy Lewandowsky style analysis in an attempt to further display the idiocy of his methods. Not sure it will succeed though: if you can't already see that Lewandowsky is mad/bad/stupid (pick explanation of your choice, but not more than two please) then I don't see what would convince you.

Jan 10, 2014 at 11:58 AM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

M Courtney.

The mother question is a control question. It helps to identify suspicous responses to the other subjective judgmeental questions.

Jan 10, 2014 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko


Where are the questions about the Moon Landings ?

Jan 10, 2014 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Barrett

Of course it's a joke but I can't see how creating an even more absurd survey is productive.

Jan 10, 2014 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterredc

I don't see how the mother question is a control question. Any of the available answers was reasonable. Some people have terrible mothers.

Overall a complete waste of time, and I'm surprised it was posted at all. If it was supposed to be funny, it failed.

Jan 10, 2014 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Some interesting ques... moment...'s the swat team at the door. I'll be back... ...or may be not....

Jan 10, 2014 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Czerna

So, since everybody hates this survey can I instead direct people's attention to the Pub meet with Donna Laframboise in London 28 Jan thread on the discussion forum?

Jan 10, 2014 at 12:14 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

The mother question is really silly. Since my mother is dead, I don't "have a wonderful mother". There should have been an NA field

Jan 10, 2014 at 12:18 PM | Registered CommenterAlbert Stienstra

Obviously any comments in this thread are also part of the "survey".

Brandon thinks he's smarter than everybody but I'm not seeing it.

Jan 10, 2014 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterredc

Albert Stienstra
Neutral in those circumstances.

Jan 10, 2014 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

It is normal for surveys to have strange questions.
..As it brings out patterns that really help interpret the data.
So I wouldn´t be put off.

Jan 10, 2014 at 12:48 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


I don't see how the mother question is a control question. Any of the available answers was reasonable. Some people have terrible mothers.

Yes. That is the point of a control question. It will show starkly different statistical properties to the other questions. The answers themelves don't matter, only the statistical nature of the data.

Jan 10, 2014 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Seems more scientific than anything Lewandowsky has done to date.

Jan 10, 2014 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Global Warming is a real...... What sort of question is that?

A real what?

Jan 10, 2014 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Carter


Jan 10, 2014 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

... It's ok. They SWAT team let me go.

Thanks @Geckko.I told them the racism, eugenics, genocide and pedophilia questions were just controls.

Jan 10, 2014 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Czerna

TheBigYinJames, that's an issue I'm aware of. Sadly, KwikSurveys only allows you to customize that page if you're a paying member. I didn't find that out until after I built the survey, and it didn't seem worth purchasing a premium account for.

redc, typos are known to catch people off guard and cause them to pay more attention. That's my story for anyone pointing that typo out! I have no idea what you think is absurd about the second or third questions though. The absurdity starts around question five.

For those who complain the survey is pointless, stupid or whatever, it may help to see what I said about it on Twitter:

To explain, I'm doing a survey to test an aspect of the methodology used by Stephan Lewandowsky and others.

The point of the survey isn't to reach meaningful conclusions. The point is to test what effect a particular methodology has on survey responses. The use of off-the-wall questions is intended to ensure results gathered reflect methodological issues rather than demographic (or the like).

In other words, I intend to use a methodology on honest answers to strange questions to produce results people will reject in order to cause them to think about why the methodology is flawed. Reductio ad absurdum.

Jan 10, 2014 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger


I assume the point is to run some crazy Lewandowsky style analysis in an attempt to further display the idiocy of his methods. Not sure it will succeed though: if you can't already see that Lewandowsky is mad/bad/stupid (pick explanation of your choice, but not more than two please) then I don't see what would convince you.

Why not more than two?

I found it very amusing. (Sorry Mum but I had to be honest.)

I also was confused by the advert. The button at the end should make it clear you've finished.

PS: Hi Brandon! Wrote that before seeing yours. Thanks for whatever it is you're up to. :)

Jan 10, 2014 at 3:32 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I was going to answer "yes" on Big Foot, then I realized he was not asking about my feet.

Jan 10, 2014 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterEd Forbes

I answered it seriously. Damn.

Jan 10, 2014 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

On typos, it asks about "pedophilia" (not 100% sure 'cos you can't go back and re-read it). And there is also a question about Bigfoot. Does someone have a foot fetish or was this adapted from a chiropodists survey??

Jan 10, 2014 at 5:31 PM | Registered Commentermikeh

mikeh -
If you think that concerns feet, then you're in the clear.

Jan 10, 2014 at 5:45 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

mikeh, you're thinking of podophilia, not pedophilia. Pedophilia is the American spelling of paedophilia. Podophilia is the attraction to feet.

And now part of me will always wonder what would have happened if I had used podophilia instead of pedophilia.

Jan 10, 2014 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

I did it, but only because I already trust Brandon Schollenberger enough to not wholly misrepresent the results of a probably meaningless survey. Having said that, the way the second screen appears makes it seem like just another attempt to grab some internet-details or clicks from passing users. If you want another one Brandon, it will have to be a good one.

Jan 10, 2014 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered Commentermichaelhart

michaelhart, I have no intention of doing another survey, but if I do, I'll probably purchase an account with KwikSurveys. Not only would that remove any advertisements, it'd let me customize the exit page. The second page you saw had nothing to do with the survey. It was just an unfortunate byproduct of using a free host (one I didn't realize until after I had created the survey).

I'll admit. I was cheap. I know skeptics are said to be funded by Big Oil (and I've even been accused of professional - that is paid - hacking), but I haven't received a cent in funding for anything. I'd do things differently if I had a university footing the bill.

Jan 10, 2014 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

I was tempted to game the survey to give Brandon the results he wants, then I realised I don’t know what he wants.
And besides, I couldn’t do that to my mother. Or to that nice adoptive family which abducted me.

Jan 11, 2014 at 9:07 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Hey guys. I just wanted to let you know I've closed the survey.

The response rate far exceeded anything I imagined, with the survey receiving approximately 5,800 responses in 24 hours. That's more data than I could possibly need, and I'm closing the survey so I can begin writing about the results. I hope to have material to post come Monday, but don't hold me to that. As entertaining as this project is, there are other fun things I might want to do on my weekend.

Thanks to everyone who participated. You guys rock!

Jan 11, 2014 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

I've just spoken to my mother on the telephone and I've been let off with a caution.

Jan 11, 2014 at 10:29 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

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