[Lounge #455] »« Friday Cephalopod: Flamboyantly poisonous

The paper they don’t want you to read!

The climate change denialists are a bit thin-skinned; they’ve also been exposed as a bit on the wacko side. The journal Frontiers in Psychology is about to retract a paper that found that denialists tend to have a cluster of weird beliefs (NASA faked the moon landings, the CIA was in charge of the assassination of political figures in the US, etc.) because the denialists screamed very loudly.

This outrage first arose in response to a paper, NASA faked the moon landing–Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science (pdf) which analyzed voluntary surveys submitted by readers of climate science blogs, in which the respondents freely admitted to having a collection of other beliefs, in addition to climate change denial. That paper found something else interesting, and was the primary correlation observed: a lot of denialists are libertarians. Are you surprised?

Rejection of climate science was strongly associated with endorsement of a laissez-faire view of unregulated free markets. This replicates previous work (e.g., Heath & Gifford, 2006) although the strength of association found here (r ~.80) exceeds that reported in any extant study. At least in part, this may reflect the use of SEM, which enables measurement of the associations between constructs free of measurement error (Fan, 2003).

A second variable that was associated with rejection of climate science as well as other scientific propositions was conspiracist ideation. Notably, this relationship emerged even though conspiracies that related to the queried scientific propositions (AIDS, climate change) did not contribute to the conspiracist construct. By implication, the role of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of science did not simply reflect “convenience” theories that provided specific alternative “explanations” for a scientific consensus. Instead, this finding suggests that a general propensity to endorse any of a number of conspiracy theories predisposes people to reject entirely unrelated scientific facts.

Oh, how they howled. Even libertarians seem to be embarrassed at being affiliated with libertarians, I guess. And conspiracy theorists, too? Why, the accusation itself is clearly evidence that there’s a conspiracy out to get them. They protested that because the respondents to the survey all found it through mainstream science blogs, all the responses were false flag operations put out by Big Climate.

What they didn’t realize was that they were generating more data to support the hypothesis. The authors of the first paper then wrote a second paper, the one that is now being retracted by the cowardly publisher, called Recursive Fury: Conspiracist Ideation in the Blogosphere in Response to Research on Conspiracist Ideation, in which they scanned public posts and comments on the first article, and analyzed the text for evidence of conspiracist tropes (it’s a nefarious scheme, they’re out to get us, it’s an organized movement to defeat us, etc.) and found that yes, conspiracist reasoning was quite common on climate change denial blogs.

They also rebutted some claims. The claim that the authors never bothered to contact the denialist blogs to host their survey was shot down pretty easily: they had the email, and further, they had replies from denialists who later claimed they never received any request to host the survey.

Initial attention of the blogosphere also focused on the method reported by LOG12, which stated: “Links were posted on 8 blogs (with a pro-science science stance but with a diverse audience); a further 5 “skeptic” (or “skeptic”-leaning) blogs were approached but none posted the link.” Speculation immediately focused on the identity of the 5 “skeptic” bloggers. Within short order, 25 “skeptical” bloggers had come publicly forward9 to state that they had not been approached by the researchers. Of those 25 public declarations, 5 were by individuals who were invited to post links to the study by LOG12 in 2010. Two of these bloggers had engaged in correspondence with the research assistant for further clarification.

Those emails were also revealed in a Freedom of Information Act request.

The squawking reached a new crescendo. Steve McIntyre wrote a strongly worded formal letter demanding that the defamatory article be removed, and accusing the authors of malice. Further, they complained that analyzing the content of blog posts and comments, public, openly accessible work, was an ethics violation.

Ludicrous as those claims are, Frontiers in Psychology is apparently about to fold to them. For shame.

You know, my university had a meeting with our institutional lawyers yesterday — I was called in to attend the information session for some reason, like having a reputation as a trouble-maker or something — and I was impressed with their professionalism and their commitment to actually defending the faculty and staff of the university. I guess not every organization is lucky enough to have good lawyers of principle.

Oh, well. All I can say is that, thanks to the denialist ratfuckers, now everyone is going to be far more interested in reading the two papers by Lewandowsky and others. I recommend that you read Motivated rejection of science (pdf) and Recursive fury(pdf) now, or anytime — they’re archived on the web. You might also stash away a copy yourself. You make a denialist cry every time you make a copy, you know.


The first author on the papers, Stephan Lewandowsky, has a few comments.

The strategies employed in those attacks follow a common playbook, regardless of which scientific proposition is being denied and regardless of who the targeted scientists are: There is cyber-bullying and public abuse by “trolling” (which recent research has linked to sadism); there is harassment by vexatious freedom-of-information (FOI) requests; there are the complaints to academic institutions; legal threats; and perhaps most troubling, there is the intimidation of journal editors and publishers who are acting on manuscripts that are considered inconvenient.

Comments

  1. Da Schneib says

    So I should be disagreeing with PZ’s article?

    I’m having a lot of trouble here. Should I be agreeing with PZ, or disagreeing? I can’t tell which one to say to avoid getting banned.

  2. Da Schneib says

    Is anyone going to tell me how to avoid getting banned, or is this just another Liberturdian game?

    Waiting.

  3. Da Schneib says

    Yeah, I figured.

    It’s easy to be an asshole.

    It’s hard to actually figure out what to do and assholes haven’t got a fucking clue.

  4. says

    To be more specific, stop typing incoherent babbling, and deal with what’s happening:

    1. This thread finished days ago. It’s only going because you’re flailing at it like Don Quixote versus a windmill, only with less efficacy.
    2. You got banned from some libertarian blogs. Most of the commentariat here would agree with you that those blogs are full of science-denying fools. But guess what? That doesn’t mean you get to give orders for us to go fight your battles.
    3. Free speech is alive and well on this blog if you can follow the rules — already pointed out to you by FossilFishy. If you can’t abide the rules, there are still plenty of other places on the Internet for you to babble. Your concern over free speech more resembles freeze peach.
    4. Thunderdome. Open thread, post there.

  5. Da Schneib says

    This article says, Liberturdians are liars and insulters and attempt to pollute free speech by claiming it’s insults and lies.

    The Liberturdians who are trying to corrupt PZ’s beliefs claim that all free speech is insults and lies.

    PZ is fooled by these lies and insults, and defends “free speech” that is, in fact, lies and insults, and not protected speech.

    This is unfortunate, but certainly will be reported by this witness.

  6. chigau (違う) says

    Shit.
    I had a brutally biting and witty comment…
    well not really
    good riddance

  7. says

    Da Schneib:

    This looks like suppression to me.

    Of course it does, Buttercup.

    That’s because it is.

    Since we like to have, y’know, intelligent conversation around here, we like to suppress the pointless, tedious, and inane conversation. It’s basically like how bars like to suppress belligerent and confrontational assholes by kicking them out. Or how good TV shows suppress boring hosts by getting rid of their shows.

    So. Go forth, and be suppressed!

    Also, can you pick me up a six-pack while you’re out? Nothing too extravagant, but not that tasteless shit you usually buy.

  8. says

    Da Schneib was still babbling away all night, but it was all getting automatically dumped to the spam queue. The weirdest thing, though, is that he clearly thinks I was arguing with Desmogblog, which broke this story about the lawsuit, and that you’re all a bunch of lackeys of the Libertarians. If you’re really paranoid, I guess you can’t let facts get the way of your persecution stories.

  9. says

    That weird ‘if you’re not for me, you’re against me’ cognitive error – since the Horde wouldn’t immediately spring to their aid to go storming some libertarian blogs that had banned them, therefore we are in sympathy with those blogs and taking away his freeze peach. One must be grateful for the robustness of the sp!m trap.

  10. torwolf says

    The IPCC has now toned down their hubristic projections/predictions of the catastrophic impacts of global warming that have distorted policy over the last decade.

    See Yale press journal:
    http://e360.yale.edu/feature/new_un_report_is_cautious_on_making_climate_predictions/2750

    This is what I have been arguing all along.

    anteprepro, a_ray_…, Nerd of Redhead, Sallystrange, … you are cognitively impoverished for having argued as long as you did under the umbrella of catastrophism. To remind you, we were not debating whether AGW is happening, but what humans should be doing about it. I was arguing for a balanced, reasoned approach to policy that acknowledges the fundamental limits of GCMs by not endorsing catastrophic projections/predictions that lead policy-makers to take drastic actions that are politically unsustainable. You simply could not see that and you all suck for it.

  11. torwolf says

    PZ…. you labelled me as “liar”. Could you clarify what you mean by that? Consider what is said in the recent leaked draft of the IPCC AR5 WG2 report, and relate that to what I have been writing in this thread. Where exactly have I lied?

    Incompetent leaders ruin everything. PZ, you are an incompetent leader. The above-named bloggers that frequent your website epitomize the ruin that festers in your mind’s wake.

    PZ, you recently wrote:
    “As long as atheism is about nothing but disbelieving in gods, and as long as skepticism is about nothing but demanding evidence, as long as there is no human heart behind the goals of these organizations, this behavior will continue. We must have secular values beyond simply rejecting claims; we must recognize the import and implications of living in a material, natural world; there must be secular values that give us purpose.”

    This is what humanism does, by the way, you ignoramus. Readers, refer to Grayling, Pinker, and Dennett for example. Not PZ.

    PZ, in the above, you construe yourself as a beacon of wisdom in the atheist community. However, you are nothing more than a shameless pandering automaton. You have written “developmental plasticity is all” and – in your post that led to this thread – you criticize a journal for retracting a paper that associates AGW denialists (who are wrong, I agree) with laissez-fairists and conspiracy theorists. Scientists like Judith Curry and Richard Lindzen – who accept AGW but who have been reasoning about the policy implications of this for a decade in a way that the IPCC is only now experimenting with – have been grouped in this category because of myopic simpletons like yourself.

    Stick to microscopes and hypothesis testing PZ, and leave reasoning in a complicated world to others more capable. You are a swelling disappointment and your efforts to attain respect among thinking circles will fail.

  12. David Marjanović says

    he clearly thinks I was arguing with Desmogblog, which broke this story about the lawsuit, and that you’re all a bunch of lackeys of the Libertarians.

    lolwut

    PZ, you are an incompetent leader.

    For what definition of “leader”?

    (What is it with Americans and their obsession with that word?)

    PZ, in the above, you construe yourself as a beacon of wisdom in the atheist community.

    I’m not seeing it. Are you projecting or something?

    Scientists like Judith Curry and Richard Lindzen – who accept AGW

    Whoa. Since when? Citations, please!

    Stick to microscopes and hypothesis testing PZ, and leave reasoning in a complicated world to others more capable.

    How do you propose to reason in a complicated world other than by testing hypotheses?!? By creating a dogma and not testing it, bravely staying the course right into the cliff like Captain Unelected?

    your efforts to attain respect among thinking circles will fail.

    A hint: not everything everyone ever says or does is about anyone’s social status. Some people seem to be incapable of even imagining that – they should start to learn.

  13. Suido says

    You are a swelling disappointment

    You should be able to find a nasal spray to take care of that. One of those sad facts of getting older.

  14. David Marjanović says

    Oh. From the previous page:

    there are indications that liberals/progressives embrace AGW significantly more than any other group

    It’s the other way around: US Republicans – not conservatives elsewhere in the world; specifically estadounidenses – embrace denialism a lot more than any other group this side of, I don’t know, religious fundies along the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan who insist the world is flat.

    Over here, the fact that AGW is happening is consensus across the political landscape, and the controversies are over exactly how much to subsidize wind & solar right now (“in this economy” yadda yadda).

    Al Gore

    Because of course. It wouldn’t be a real denialist argument without the obligatory “buuut AAAAALLL GOOOOOREEEEEEE”.

    He’s fat, didn’t you know?

  15. chigau (違う) says

    Suido
    I thought the swellings were somewhere else.
    But there are ointments for that, too.

  16. torwolf says

    David Marjanović, a “well-respected” commenter on Pharyngula writes “Citations please!”

    Look it up yourself. They merely recognize that attribution is a guessing game with models (the IPCC figures anthropogenic emissions are responsible for 50-95% of observed warming).

    I propose to reason in a complicated world by taking verifiable facts about the world, available from scientific hypothesis testing and observation, and reasoning at a higher level, acknowledging that knowledge is incomplete.

    Thanks for the hint regarding status, primate.

    Read up on Lindzen’s denialist (sarcastic) views here: http://www.desmogblog.com/richard-lindzen

    You epitomize the ruin that festers in PZ’s mind’s wake.

  17. anteprepro says

    torwolf remains to be more expert than experts. Because torwolf knows that experts cannot know. Or something.

  18. says

    There you go again, torwolf, reading the twisty spin the denialists throw on everything and taking it as gospel. Read the IPCC summary for yourself. Don’t be fooled by the objective neutral tone: it’s predicting serious consequences.

    If that’s too much, here’s the Guardian summary, IPCC report warns of future climate change risks, but is spun by contrarians. Contrarian — that’s the nice word for what you are.

    Contrarians have tried to spin the conclusions of the report to incorrectly argue that it would be cheaper to try and adapt to climate change and pay the costs of climate damages. In reality the report says no such thing. The IPCC simply tells us that even if we manage to prevent the highest risk scenarios, climate change costs will still be high, and we can’t even grasp how high climate damage costs will be in the highest risk scenarios.

    Keep spinning, denialist.

  19. torwolf says

    Yes, good work chigau.

    According to PZ in the thread you linked to I am a lying denialist.

    As for the “retarded” comment, I already apologized for that and I contextualized its use given the vitriol that was being spewed in that thread. If the contextualization isn’t enough for you, again I apologize.

    Get over it and on with reasoned deconstructions of my reasoned arguments.

  20. anteprepro says

    1. “That thread” was this thread.
    2. Torwolf’s final “apology”

    Again, you’re not addressing the substance of my arguments and instead alluding to an insult I regretfully used earlier in the thread.

    I did not mean to insult the mentally disabled and I will be sure to never use that term again in the presence of sensitives like you who are incapable of seeing the irony and benignity of on-the-fly insults.

    Now address the substance of my arguments.

    torwolf is not capable of honesty on any subject.

  21. says

    They merely recognize that attribution is a guessing game with models (the IPCC figures anthropogenic emissions are responsible for 50-95% of observed warming).

    I’d really like to see a citation for that. How can you assign percent responsibility to a perturbation from an equilibrium state? That makes no sense.

    Ditto for saying human emissions are responsible for 50-95% of earth’s warming. That’s nonsense. You’ve pulled that out of context somehow.

  22. torwolf says

    PZ:

    I am not a denialist or a liar and I am not spinning anything.

    In the new report, the IPCC is using less catastrophic language.

    From http://e360.yale.edu/feature/new_un_report_is_cautious_on_making_climate_predictions/2750:

    “Asia has fallen into a similar forecasting limbo. Last time, the IPCC warned that there would be less water in most Asian river basins and up to a billion people could experience “increased water stress” as early as the 2020s. This time, “there is low confidence in future precipitation projections at a subregional level and thus in future freshwater availability in most parts of Asia.” Last time the IPCC predicted “an increase of 10 to 20% in tropical cyclone intensities” in Asia. This time it reports “low confidence in region-specific projections of [cyclone] frequency and intensity.”

    Yes, I am a contrarian of all climate catastrophists and manipulative shameless rhetoric bags like yourself, PZ.

  23. David Marjanović says

    and reasoning at a higher level, acknowledging that knowledge is incomplete

    That’s what science is.

    Read up on Lindzen’s denialist (sarcastic) views here: http://www.desmogblog.com/richard-lindzen

    From there:

    “Richard Lindzen’s scientific stance on climate change and anthropogenic global warming is that the earth goes through natural periods of global warming and cooling.”

    In other words, the warming that’s happening now is not anthropogenic.

    And then there’s this “Key Quote” from as late as fall 2013:

    “…there is no substantive basis for predictions of sizeable global warming due to observed increases in minor greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons.”

    In other words, there’s no warming happening now, anthropogenic or not!

    *crickets chirping*

  24. torwolf says

    When the IPCC says that they are 95% certain that the MAJORITY of observed warming is driven by humans, it can be given a plausible quantitative range without statistical modelling.

  25. says

    #544, torwolf:

    That’s classic spin. Focusing on expressed caution about the details in something as complex as climate, when the overall report essentially states that major changes are inevitable and need to be mitigated now really is nothing but dishonest spin.

  26. anteprepro says

    Torwolf thinks that by inventing a “catastrophist” slur to straw-man the consensus of scientists, suddenly they are not blatantly denying science. The lie might help you sleep at night, torwolf, but it fools no-one. You are denying scientific conclusions because you think , based on virtually nothing but gut-feelings and literally two scientists agreeing with you, that “It’s Not That Bad”. Yeah. Go fuck yourself, you dishonest, obstructionist fuckwit.

  27. anteprepro says

    PZ, somehow I didn’t notice how smarmy it was the first time I saw it. I actually was fooled into thinking it was a real apology! Or I was too lazy to point out that it wasn’t. One of the above, my memory is shit.

  28. torwolf says

    David… unless you are clinically psychotic, you are deliberately misrepresenting the views of Lindzen as stated on that webpage.

    Lindzen’s scientific stance is that the earth goes through natural climatic change. Nowhere does this say that he attributes none of the observed warming to humans.

    You quote the article:
    “…there is no substantive basis for predictions of sizeable global warming due to observed increases in minor greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons.”

    And write:
    “In other words, there’s no warming happening now, anthropogenic or not!”

    Everyone read the quote and read David’s inference. Read it again.

    Infantile comes to mind.

    Stick to bone collection, Austro-douche.

  29. says

    No, that was not a real apology: to modify it by saying you will never use that term again in the presence of sensitives like you who are incapable of seeing the irony and benignity of on-the-fly insults is placing the blame on the listeners, not yourself. And demanding that everyone else address your assertions while all too pointedly ignoring everyone else’s rebuttals is trolling denialist behavior.

    And austro-douche? Seriously? That’s stupid, and gives the lie to your claim of having substance.

  30. anteprepro says

    “I will never again use the word in the presence of sensitives like you” isn’t a real apology, Cupcake.

    And you are really hung up on “coward”, huh? I don’t see how I am a coward, but it is still clearly better than being whatever the fuck you are, torwolf.

  31. torwolf says

    PZ, if you read the comment thread, you will see that I commented on others assertions and arguments as well.

    Your tactics are pathetic.

  32. anteprepro says

    And speaking of apologies!

    unless you are clinically psychotic

    MORE ABLEISM!

    Go fuck yourself, torwolf.

  33. torwolf says

    As I wrote:

    First: “I did not mean to insult the mentally disabled”

    And second: “… and I will be sure to never use that term again in the presence of sensitives like you who are incapable of seeing the irony and benignity of on-the-fly insults.”

    And I stick by it all.

  34. anteprepro says

    Bless your heart, torwolf. I can’t believe I thought you were half-way rational when you first came in here. Intellectually dishonest fucks like yourself can only fake it for so long.

  35. Amphiox says

    And second: “… and I will be sure to never use that term again in the presence of sensitives like you who are incapable of seeing the irony and benignity of on-the-fly insults.”

    And I stick by it all.

    What a disgusting piece of filth this torwolf is!

    Speaking of apologies, has the slimewad apologized to Obvorbis yet?

  36. anteprepro says

    And nothing of value was lost. Anyone who wanted to read more torwolf, just re-read this thread! It was obvious that torwolf was just going to keep repeating themself anyway.

  37. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re torwolf:

    “…there is no substantive basis for predictions of sizeable global warming due to observed increases in minor greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons.”

    torwolf, your “advice” to David. applies to you too: “there is no substantive basis for predictions of sizeable global warming due to observed increases in minor greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons.” He IS indeed saying, “… the warming we see now is not anthropogenic…”
    Are you saying the quoted statement is explicitly; sarcasm? And that David and I are missing the sarcasm?
    .
    David wrote:

    In other words, there’s no warming happening now, anthropogenic or not!

    Which does over-interpret the original, a little, but not by much.

  38. David Marjanović says

    Seriously, if torwolf wants to insult me for my passport, an immensely silly thing to do, there’d be so much in Austrian history and recent/current politics to choose from, but torwolf didn’t even try! :-D :-D :-D

    Which does over-interpret the original, a little, but not by much.

    Well, it overinterprets it if Lindzen actually believes there is warming today, but it’ll stop tomorrow… which is compatible with his statement, but… weird.

  39. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    PZ, if you read the comment thread, you will see that I commented on others assertions and arguments as well.

    Your tactics are pathetic.

    Oh, yours aren’t proven liar and bullshitter. You wan to do nothing for political reasons.
    The science says otherwise, and you haven’t/can’t show the science is wrong with more science. Only your twisted pathetic politically driven take on the science.

  40. Rey Fox says

    by not endorsing catastrophic projections/predictions that lead policy-makers to take drastic actions that are politically unsustainable.

    Fuck politics.

    (What is it with Americans and their obsession with that word?)

    We got a strain of authority worship around here, wish I could explain it more than that.

  41. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dang, late to the thread after the banhammer was wielded.

  42. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Aww! Shucky darns! I missed another chew toy. Not that it was a particularly good chew toy. I rather doubt torwolf could multiply more than 2 2-digit numbers together. It certainly couldn’t communicate coherently. I would just point out that Richard Lindzen has a documented history of lying in front of lay audiences (claiming that Mars is warming, too, and insinuating that the cause was the same as that on Earth). And Judy…. well, let’s just say, I don’t bother to read anything she writes anymore. After a while you get tired of watching her battle imaginary “uncertainty monsters.”

    BTW, torwolf’s assertion is a lie–the attribution is even more emphatic than it was in AR4.

  43. blairking says

    It would appear that the publisher has made a formal statement on the paper: http://www.frontiersin.org/blog/Retraction_of_Recursive_Fury_A_Statement/812

    and the statement strongly contrasts with the above post. It indicates that the basis of the retraction was not a legal threat but rather was the fact that:

    [the paper] does not sufficiently protect the rights of the studied subjects. Specifically, the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics.

    any comments?

  44. numerobis says

    Late to the party, but to PZ:

    I’d really like to see a citation for that. How can you assign percent responsibility to a perturbation from an equilibrium state? That makes no sense.

    Ditto for saying human emissions are responsible for 50-95% of earth’s warming. That’s nonsense. You’ve pulled that out of context somehow.

    There is a branch of climate research that tries to give attribution to how much of the earth’s warming is due to what. Attribution is a hard problem, but saying it is “nonsense” would ruffle a few hard-working feathers.

    IPCC attributes “more than half” of the warming to anthropogenic effects, based on rather a lot of studies, and now says it is “extremely likely.” The certainty has been growing every time they emit a report, mostly just because the signal is growing, but also because the science of attribution advances.

    Attribution studies generally show numbers in the range of 80% to 120% of warming being anthropogenic, clustering around 100%. Higher than 100% would mean that there’s natural cooling, lower than 100% means there’s natural heating (the Earth isn’t ever quite at equilibrium).

    The 95% upper bound is something that Curry came up with and is often repeated in the circle of the denialosphere that calls itself “lukewarmers” — people who claim that they accept the science, then turn around and reject it. I don’t know of any rational basis for the claim.