Professor Stephan Lewandowsky and two colleagues from the University of Western Australia published a paper called ‘NASA faked the moon landing – Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax:An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science’.
Johnathan Pearce mentioned it in this post. As I said in the comments, Bishop Hill and other sceptical blogs made scathing criticisms of the survey. For instance, according to Australian Climate Madness, the headline finding about disbelief in the moon landings was produced from a mere ten responses, some or all of which looked likely to be jokers. The whole internet survey had only about 1100 self-selected responses. That self-selection makes it about as reliable as the surveys of the readers of bridal magazines that claim that the average cost of a wedding is £20,273 in the UK, or $26,501 in the US and are every year quoted as fact by credulous journalists.
To their credit, some commenters from the warmist side of the aisle also queried the obviously leading questions. Questions were asked from all sides as to why almost no effort seems to have been made to gather responses from AGW-sceptic blogs, leaving the sceptic responders to come almost entirely from those controversialists who post at warmist blogs. There was a farcical subplot in which Lewandowsky initially refused to reveal which sceptical blogs he had contacted. He does not seem to have asked many of the biggest sceptical blogs, such as Watts Up With That?, or to have made more than token efforts to get noticed by those sceptic blogs he did contact. Shall I go on? There was no option for “don’t know” or “no opinion” in the survey questions. The conspiracies chosen were mainly “right wing” conspiracies, such as Birtherism, rather than “left wing” ones, such as those relating to “Big Oil”. There were inadequate safeguards against multiple returns by the same person, or joke returns by any person. Different versions of the survey were sent out to different people – but not randomly, which would have been defensible; rather some blogs got one version and others got another. Results were being discussed online while the survey was still open, corrupting later responses. I will stop there. If you want to read more, just Google “Lewandowsky”.
Professor Lewandowsky’s response to criticism was revealing.
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.
Don’t give up the day job, Professor. On second thoughts, maybe a career in comedy is the way to go. There was a time when a scientist responding to criticism in such a fashion would have had a career change forced upon him.
This survey was published in the journal Psychological Science.
Reported seriously in the Telegraph and other newspapers.
Peer reviewed and everything.
It does make you wonder. Compared to most readers of this blog, I am still a warmist. But ever since I first saw the term “climate denier” I have worried about what an opinion becoming a cause would do to scientists. I feared, and still do fear, that if having a certain scientific opinion can get a scientist bracketed with Holocaust deniers, then perhaps researchers might unconsciously shy away from results that might have that result. Now that fear is joined by another. As for sticks, so for carrots. If a scientist can be published and lauded for coming up with the equivalent of “nine out of ten cats we tested prefer KittyTwinks to swamp mud” so long as his or her findings promote the Cause, then perhaps researchers might unconsciously prefer results that get that result.