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Steve McIntyre finds Lewandowsky’s paper is a “landmark of junk science”

Steve McIntyre audited Stephan Lewandowsky’s data to weed out the obvious fake responses. That people would “game” the test was predictable given the clumsy nature of the survey, the one-sided nature of the conspiracies investigated, the virulently anti-skeptic sites where it was hosted, and the comments on the threads where it was announced. Obviously the survey hoped to show skeptics were nutters, and when it was posted in front of those who-hate-skeptics, readers obliged.

Steve McIntyre weighs in with a lengthy post, several original graphs, and concludes:

“Lewandowsky, like Gleick, probably fancies himself a hero of the Cause. But ironically. Lewandowsky’s paper will stand only as a landmark of junk science – fake results from faked responses.

As Tom Curtis observed, Lewandowsky has no moral alternative but to withdraw his paper.”

When the number of responses to conspiracies are graphed against  the share that is “skeptical” of man-made global warming McIntyre reveals an interesting pattern.  The “Oklahoma” point on the bottom right of the graph was the most popular conspiracy theory — but percentage-wise, “alarmists” were more likely to support this theory than so called “skeptics” were.

The line across the graph represents the proportion of the total responses which were “skeptics” (a bit over 20% of the total). So the proportion of “skeptics” who believed the 911 conspiracy — which falls on that line — was exactly the same as the proportion as alarmists who supported it.


Figure 1. For all ‘skeptics’ disagreeing with CO2HasNegChange, showing count for each conspiracy against skeptic proportion. (Steve McIntyre graphs the number of responses to conspiracies against  the share that is “skeptical” of man-made global warming. ) Graph: ClimateAudit

The “smoking-doesn’t-cause-cancer-conspiracy” is a signature of a fake response

The points that are on the top left of the graph are the more outlandish conspiracies, especially the “smoking” point which ranks right at the top. In my opinion this is a signature point. Skeptics don’t believe that conspiracy, but alarmists have been trained to think skeptics do. The high rank there is the “Oreskes Effect”.

After 120,000 comments on this blog, I can’t recall a single skeptic who thinks smoking doesn’t cause cancer, nor do I remember reading a comment on it on any other skeptic blog, nor have I even heard a hint of it in an email. But the two issues are often tied in alarmist propaganda. Like here on un-SkepticalScience (“Skeptic arguments about cigarette smoke – sound familiar?”). This “denial-wiki” (“Major targets of denialism include the link between smoking and lung cancer”). See also here (“Smoking Causes Cancer; Carbon Pollution Causes Extreme Weather” )  wikipediahere   (“Climate change is the same as smoking….”) and here. Jim Hoggan (Mr DeSmog himself) said: Soon … these deniers will look as foolish as the scientists who once claimed that smoking did not cause cancer.

Frequently people like  Naomi Oreskes claim Fred Singer and others have doubted that smoking causes cancer, something which is an outright misrepresentation (see my point #3 here). Singer wrote about the statistical failures of the passive smoking case, which is scientifically entirely different from the well documented link between smoking and cancer. Given that this dishonest material is circulated widely on alarmist blogs, it’s likely that all 11 of those responding “yes” to that conspiracy question are the fakers, dutifully ticking off the boxes they have been trained to tick.

“As others have observed, the number of actual respondents purporting to believe in the various conspiracies was, in many cases, very small. Only 10 respondents purported to believe in Lewandowsky’s signature Moon Landing conspiracy. These included a disproportionate number of scam responses. Indeed, probably all of these responses were scams.

However, Lewandowsky’s statistical analysis was unequal to the very low hurdle of identifying these scam responses. Lewandowsky applied a technique closely related to principal components to scam and non-scam data alike, homogenizing them into a conspiratorial ideation.”

Lewandowsky should provide all the data in the survey from all the questions.  There is no valid reason for hiding the rest of the results.

McIntyre’s post goes into great detail trying to extricate any meaningful data from the mix.


PART I  Lewandowsky – Shows “skeptics” are nutters by asking alarmists to fill out survey

PART II  10 conspiracy theorists makes a moon landing paper for Stephan Lewandowsky (Part II) PLUS all 40 questions

PART III here Lewandowsky hopes we meant “Conspiracy” but we mean  “Incompetence”

PART IV  Steve McIntyre finds Lewandowsky’s paper is a “landmark of junk science”

PART V Lewandowsky does “science” by taunts and attempted parody instead of answering questions



(or not)

Lewandowsky, S., Oberauer, K., & Gignac, C. E. (in press). NASA faked the moon landing—therefore (climate) science is a hoax: An anatomy of the motivated rejection of science.. Psychological Science.


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