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UWA's ethical collapse

Jose Duarte has posted an update on his efforts to have Stefan Lewandowsky deal with the errors and ethical breaches in his Conspiracist Ideation paper.

The journal, PLOS ONE, has forced the authors to publish a correction dealing with most (but not all) of the errors. Lew, rather gracelessly refuses to name Duarte as the person who discovered the problems, prompting Richard Tol to post a comment on the PLOS website:

The anonymous reader referred to in the correction is not Lord Voldemort, but rather Dr Joe Duarte.

However, but it seems fairly clear that university offficials - from the vice-chancellor down - are thumbing their noses at the very idea that ethical considerations might apply to their staff and they appear to be trying to give Lewandowsky retrospective permission for his use of minors in the survey. They are in essence covering up for Lew.

As Joe puts it, it is an "ethical collapse".


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Reader Comments (32)

I'm assuming no one is surprised by these games are they?

And that in itself should be a damning incitement of just how low the expectations are for how any scientist or researcher or whatever that is attached to Mann Made Global Warming (tm) has sunk! The fact we aren't surprised is a disgrace, or should be, to anyone involved with climate research!


Sep 1, 2015 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Lewandowsky, along with Cook, are the greatest gifts to climate skeptics. We must hope they continue to spread merriment and continue to embarrass their alarmist friends for many years to come.

Sep 1, 2015 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

from the Results section of:

NASA faked the Moon Landing, therefore [climate] science is a hoax - Lewandowsky et al, Psychological Science [LOG12

"An additional 161 responses were eliminated because the respondent’s age was implausible (< 10 or > 95 years old), values for the consensus items were outside the range of the rating scale, or responses were incomplete. This left 1,145 complete records for analysis." - LOG12

- being 11 years old is of course 'plausible' (/sarc) and/or appropriate (sarc) or any 11-17 non adults for that matter. How many 11-17 year olds were in the LOG12 data, we don't know, the authors and UWA refuse to release the data.

So how many 11 to 17 year olds were there in the data, we know from PLOS One that two 14 year olds that believed in Moon Hoax conspiracy were included in the PLOS One data set..

Did one or to minors contribute to the headline of the paper, or the other conspiracy theories that had tiny numbers of believers (not to say 3 adults gives him any justification for the papers titular conclusions.)

oh we don't know, because age and gender (and other responses,-Iraq War, lifestyle and metadata data) is redacted from Lew's dataset. and University of Western Australia refuses to release the full dataset for LOG12, and Psychological Science refuses to do anything about it..

We should thank Joe hanks for all his effort, it really shouldn't have been necessary.

I actually really believed when UWA refused to release the data for Moon Hoax to me, that Erich Eich might actually do something.. sadly I was mistaken.

Sep 1, 2015 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

"Have you read Lewandowsky's papers?

No, but I once trod in some."

(With apologies to Sir Thomas Beecham, RIP.)

Sep 1, 2015 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Ethics doesn't matter when your religion involves saving the planet from the evils of humanity.

Sep 1, 2015 at 9:51 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

14 months have passed since Mr Cook submitted his PhD thesis

Sep 1, 2015 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

With great haste, Richard Tol's comment has been vanished.

Sep 1, 2015 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Wotts is funny

Sep 1, 2015 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

UWA is fully committed to what is 'face saving ' exercise , and has often happens in this cases their making it worse not better because in their arrogance they treat everyone has to stupid to see their are being lied to.

Why ,given Lew paper not longer works there, is an interesting question perhaps the vice-chancellor shares the same type of massive ego typical seen in climate 'science' and they simply cannot think they can do anything wrong.

However it worth remember that such poor professional and personal behaviour far from being usual are in fact acceptable and even rewarded within this area , whose standards are seemingly so low a snake could not crawl under-them.

Sep 1, 2015 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

José is to be congratulated on his brilliant work. (Note that he's no climate sceptic. In a recent article he issued a challenge to sceptics which went unanswered I think)

It's worth pointing out why his protest worked, while others fail. It was based on the ethical implications of interviewing a five-year-old (who was almost certainly a mere slip of the keyboard). The journal jumped at the word “minors”, while they wouldn't budge when you say “lies” “statistical nonsense” or even “defamation” unless your complaint is accompanied by a lawyers' letter. What does that tell us about the state of peer-reviewed publishing?

Sep 1, 2015 at 10:50 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

What's really concerning about this lack of integrity, never mind basic honesty, is that it now seems almost de rigueur in academia.

Is it now considered okay for science to be corrupt


Sep 1, 2015 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

It is sad to see so many academics and associated institutional leaderships succumb to the facile pleadings and sloppy arguments of climate alarm campaigners. What does it say about the integrity and robustness of our intellectual life that this has happened on what seems to be a widespread scale? The supine behaviour of the UWA when it comes to dealing with violations of their own purported standards by one such campaigner is but another instance that gives cause for concern.

Sep 1, 2015 at 10:56 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade


Psychological Science, APS, UWA knows all about the minors (LOG12), and refusal to release data.. They have done nothing.
As Joe, mentions

Sep 1, 2015 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods


The dilution of higher education to the point where some institutions are offering "degree" apprenticeships / apprenticeship "degrees" and dispatching administrators / salesmen around the world to harvest the progeny of the moneyed + aspiring middle and upper classes in developing nations - means that a large part of what was once called academia is now a turnover obsessed bureaucracy.

Bureaucracies operate by their own sets of rules - it is in their nature to be dishonest and when unsupervised to career off-task and invent more ways to burn away funding so they can demand more..... regardless of the quality of service / product provided (results can be adjusted....) . Process is paramount - > delivery ? - meh... honesty and integrity are rarely if ever found in "advanced" bureaucracies (particularly those at "saturation") - where ethics are viewed as weakness....

Lew and Cookie are merely fruiting bodies of the rot.

Sep 1, 2015 at 11:12 AM | Registered Commentertomo

"In a recent article he issued a challenge to sceptics which went unanswered I think" geoffchambers

Or maybe nobody noticed?

Sep 1, 2015 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Geckko (and Wotts): the comment is still there. A bit hidden by PLoS's formatting.

Sep 1, 2015 at 12:12 PM | Registered CommenterJeremy Harvey

Hello Tomo. I'd quite agree that the cachet of having a degree has been diluted. I know so many people in their middle/late twenties with a degree who've found that it means little to potential employers. One, with a first in history, actually works as a ticket inspector on the railways. He has huge student debts to pay off and given what that job pays, his chances of being able to buy his own flat are remote.

In the main, the graduate entrance schemes to business are thing of the past, because employers are fed up of teaching graduates things like the ins and out of how to calculate a percentage.

Bureaucracy has always been a part of academia, except more so. I recall a story about an Oxford don staggering out of a faculty meeting and muttering words to the effect that how a predominantly male society could produce so many old women was beyond him.

My deeper concern about tertiary education is that in terms of producing ideas, it's barren. There's lots of displacement activity going on but when looked at in any detail, it's usually probabilistic but defensible nonsense. I suspect it's being compounded by the creation of a priesthood ethos that by its nature would exclude the novel thinkers whose ideas will naturally offend the resultant intellectual orthodoxy.

The Weaponisation of pure Research.


Sep 1, 2015 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

@ Pointman

first thing that comes to mind is "intellectual Leylandii".

As somebody who's dealt with a procession of graduates (and post docs) over some years I have seen critical thinking and its application to mapping possible outcomes and devising tactics - simply evaporate. Box ticking rules - those who think outside the box are haram (but very refreshing when you find them)

I have been known to pull a face / deploy sarcasm with geologists and geophysicists who don't like getting dirty.

Deploying horticultural metaphor again - almost all gardens require planting, pruning and in particular - weeding.....

Sep 1, 2015 at 12:38 PM | Registered Commentertomo

"Ethics"? In anything even remotely connected to climate "science"?

As in Gleickian ethics?

Surely you jest...

Sep 1, 2015 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterfortunatecookie

'Correction' is much more important than 'revision' AFAIK, possibly requiring an additional peer review.

Sep 1, 2015 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered Commentersrga

My wife - a UWA graduate - resigned from their Alumni association over the Lomborg affair, explicitly referring to this in her resignation. There was nothing beyond a formal " we note your decision" response. I know of some really good academics at UWA who are dismayed at that episode and - I suspect - over the Lewandowsky affair as well. It certainly does not represent my experience of working with UWA researchers: even when we were effectively competing for grants, there was integrity.

I had a (University) boss once who said "You can tell academics, but you can't tell them much." This was in reference to the autonomy that a tenured academic has over how they operate (in the US at least). However, it seems that the issue at UWA is not the academics but the leadership which really does need to take a long hard look at itself. UWA has a long history with a justified reputation for some excellent research. I just hope that they get the leadership changes soon before the entire institution becomes tainted with this stink.

Sep 1, 2015 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob

Rob, I was just about to remind readers about the disgraceful Lomborg episode.

The "leadership" at UWA are a bunch of craven jellybacks who seem to have abandoned old fashioned principles like academic freedom and academic integrity in favour of using the Twitterati as a benchmark for how to behave.

Sep 1, 2015 at 3:15 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

The ends justify the means. Winning is now the only game in town for them, partly because of their unshakeable belief system and partly because if they lose at this point they face career / financial / reputational meltdown.

Sep 1, 2015 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Duarte certainly doesn't mince his words, and calls it as he sees it: "Corruption."
And he names names again. Up to, and including, the Vice-Chancellor.

It's more than just the reputation of the individuals that is at stake. If the charges weren't true then I would expect most self-respecting institutions would have instructed libel lawyers before now.
But.....crickets, as they say.

Sep 1, 2015 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The real money to be made in Psychological Science, will be trying to treat the delusions of those in Psychological Science, who thought Lewandowsky was worth standing up for, in the first place.

Is there a paper on how slight increases in CO2 have befuddled the brain logic functions of 97% of people in climate science?

If taxpayer funded grants were available, both these research areas could have full reports available by October 2015, (peer reviewed in April 2015), all in time for the Paris Bunga-Bunga Party.

Sep 1, 2015 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Psychological "Science" has at least one aspect in common with Climate "Science". Their practitioners are frequently in error but they are never in doubt.

Sep 1, 2015 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaleoclimate Buff

Climate Science Ethics:
What Lysenko Spawned.

Sep 1, 2015 at 6:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar


Science can not be corrupt.
If it's corrupt it's not science, just corruption.

Sep 1, 2015 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

Tol has his own gremlin farm to deal with.

Sep 2, 2015 at 1:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

Eli, so apart from an attack on Richard Tol, your scientific expertise does not render you capable of a comment on the rights and wrongs of Lewandowsky having to have his wrists publicly smacked? I guess you think Lewandowsky deserved it too.

Sep 2, 2015 at 3:03 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Why does UWA support the likes of Lewandowsky?


Grant money, trumps ethics every time.

Sep 2, 2015 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Respectfully disagree, Don Keiller.

UWA knocked back $4 million when they refused to host Lomborg's outfit.

Sep 6, 2015 at 8:56 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

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