Since the release of the Lewandowsky paper – “NASA faked the moon landing – Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science” – we have witnessed a wonderful demonstration of conspiracy ideation, the very thing the paper predicts. As the paper notes:
“…Another variable that has been associated with the rejection of science is conspiratorial thinking, or conspiracist ideation, defined here as the attempt to explain a significant political or social event as a secret plot by powerful individuals or organizations…” (Lewandowsky et.al pg. 4)
At last count we’ve seen at least three conspiracy theories explode in the face of the once-mighty denial machine.
Conspiracy #1 “inboxgate” – or when sceptics fail to check email inboxes
Graham Readfearn on Think Progress gives some the details:
Among the conspiracy theories tested, were the faking of Apollo moon landings, US government agencies plotting to assassinate Martin Luther King, Princess Diana’s death being organised by members of the British Royal family and the US military covering up the recovery of an alien spacecraft that crashed in Roswell, New Mexico.
In the paper, Lewandowsky concludes that “endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories… predicts rejection of climate science”. The research also claims a correlation between people who endorse free-market economics and the ”rejection of climate science”.
Much outrage from climate sceptics that “sceptic” blogs hadn’t been invited to participate – but in fact they had. That’s right folks, in attempting to refute a paper that implied climate sceptics had a tendency to engage in conspiracy making they responded with, er, conspiracy making:
Not content to wait, Australian skeptic blogger Simon Turnill has sent a Freedom of Information request to UWA asking for Lewandowsky’s emails. Lewandowsky told DeSmogBlog:
So now there’s a conspiracy theory going around that I didn’t contact them. It’s a perfect, perfect illustration of conspiratorial thinking. It’s illustrative of exactly the process I was analysing. People jump to conclusions on the basis of no evidence. I would love to be able to release those emails if given permission, because it means four more people will have egg on their faces. I’m anxiously waiting the permission to release this crucial information because it helps to identify people who engage in conspiratorial thinking rather than just searching their inboxes.
Lewandowsky revealed that two of the five skeptic blogs approached even replied to the email they were sent.
One stated “Thanks. I will take a look” and another asked “Can you tell me a bit more about the study and the research design?”
Conspiracy theory #2 “Versiongate” – in which basic methodology is not understood
Among the various conspiracies suggested by climate sceptics was the involvement of this blog. Indeed, Watts up with that? put a post in which the following claim was made:
Anthony, there was recently another survey (longer, and with a 1-5 scale) put out by Lewandowsky’s research assistant, Charles Hanich, on June 4, 2012. It seems that the link for this survey was only posted on two blogs: Watching the Deniers and Skeptical Science. Charles Hanich was also responsible for creating Lewandowsky’s 2010 survey, as mentioned in the comments here.
Anthony Watts then made the following claim:
I believe that Dr. Lewandowsky set out to show the world that through a faulty, perhaps even fraudulent, smear campaign disguised as peer reviewed science, that climate skeptics were, as Jo Nova puts it, “nutters”. Worse, peer review failed to catch any of the problems now in the open thanks to the work of climate skeptics.
I got a scattering of hits from WUWT, but I wasn’t at all phased by the attention from Mr. Watts & Crew.
But what of the claims being made?
Well it seems the big secret has been revealed!
It would seem Lewandowsky engaged in the shameful practice sometimes referred to as “basic methodology”.
In what I’m assuming is a tongue-in-check post titled “An update on my birth certificates” Lewandowsky writes:
I laud the stirring dedication to investigative Googling. Alas, this highly relevant detective work is far from perfect.
If I am not mistaken, I can indeed confirm that there were 4—not 3—versions of the survey (unless that was the number of my birth certificates, I am never quite sure, so many numbers to keep track of… Mr. McIntyre’s dog misplaced an email under a pastrami sandwich a mere 8.9253077595543363 days ago, and I have grown at least one tail and several new horns over the last few days, all of which are frightfully independent and hard to keep track of).
Finally this new friend from Conspirania is getting some legs.
About time, too, I was getting lonely.
Astute readers will have noted that if the Survey ID’s from above are vertically concatenated and then viewed backwards at 33 rpm, they read “Mitt Romney was born in North Korea.”
To understand the relevance of Mr Romney’s place of birth requires a secret code word. This code word, provided below, ought to be committed to memory before burning this post.
So here it is, the secret code. Read it backwards: gnicnalabretnuoc.
Translations are available in any textbook for Methodology 101.
It’s that funny.
But would you believe the laughs keep coming?
Conspiracy theory #3 “NIWAgate” – in which Jo Nova claims courts controlled by government
As noted earlier today (see also Hot-topic) the climate sceptic movement suffered a major defeat in New Zealand in its attempt to undermine the temperature records. As Gareth @ Hot Topic notes:
The attempt by NZ’s merry little band of climate cranks to have the NZ temperature record declared invalid has ended in ignominious defeat. In his ruling [PDF], handed down today, Justice Venning finds:
The plaintiff does not succeed on any of its challenges to the three decisions of NIWA in issue. The application for judicial review is dismissed and judgment entered for the defendant. [and] The defendant is entitled to costs.
It will be interesting to see whether the NZ Climate Science Education Trust, which was established purely to bring this action, is able to stump up to cover NIWA’s costs. If it doesn’t, the NZ taxpayer will be left to pick up the bill for this absurd bit of political grandstanding by the Climate “Science” Coalition.
My prediction Mike and its a no-brainer. They will either pretend it didn’t happen or claim the courts are in on the scam.
And then BAM!
Apparently since the judges are employed by the government they “must” be following whatever directives they are given:
The courts are supposed to be independent of the government. When these two institutions are effectively working together we lose one of the major safeguards of democracy. All the more reason to fight to keep the free press, free. What else is left?
No not a conspiracy theory at all…
I’ve worked in-and-out of the legal industry for almost two decades, so I think I can say with some authority Jo Nova has no f*cking clue how the court system works.
Now I admit I’m not across the NZ legal system but I assume they share a similar common law tradition devolved from the British system like Australia.
I’m going to assume that the separation between the judicial, legislative and executive branches is going to be robust and protected by constitutional or legislative safeguards.
Unless of course…
It’s a conspiracy!
But nooooooooooooooooooo, sceptics aren’t “nutters” at all.