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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Speaking of ethics and conspiracies ...

Sou | 10:12 AM Go to the first of 70 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts has a new "sticky" article about - guess what - yep, it's another protest against Professor Lewandowsky (archived here).  He's writing about the arguably unethical action by the journal that retracted the Recursive Fury paper.


Frontiers did not identify any issues with the ethical aspects of the study


I've written about that already.  The journal has this statement  on the page of the article, showing they found NO issue from an ethical perspective:
In the light of a small number of complaints received following publication of the original research article cited above, Frontiers carried out a detailed investigation of the academic, ethical, and legal aspects of the work. This investigation did not identify any issues with the academic and ethical aspects of the study. It did, however, determine that the legal context is insufficiently clear and therefore Frontiers wishes to retract the published article. The authors understand this decision, while they stand by their article and regret the limitations on academic freedom which can be caused by legal factors. 

Journal is squirming and making matters worse for themselves


Now the journal is trying to argue otherwise, writing:
As a result of its investigation, which was carried out in respect of academic, ethical and legal factors, Frontiers came to the conclusion that it could not continue to carry the paper, which does not sufficiently protect the rights of the studied subjects. 

The journal has made a real mess of this.  First they got the paper reviewed and it got the tick for publication. Then they published the paper. Then they got complaints from a "small number" of science deniers so they pulled the paper. Then they sat on it for a year or so and there was probably stuff going on behind the scenes.  Then they retracted it, while saying there was no reason other than an "insufficiently clear" legal context!

Now they are backtracking from the statement they made and is still on their website.  Now they are implying there are ethical issues! This latest statement comes across as an attempt to obfuscate after they got such bad press for caving into the conspiracy nutters who complained that their public statements showing their conspiracy ideation were studied to see how conspiracies evolve over time. That latest action by Frontiers seems to me to be a violation of ethics on their part!

I doubt this latest statement from them will help recover their now-sullied reputation.  As Peter Hannam wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald (my bold italics):
Kim Heitman, a lawyer for the UWA, said the university had done its own risk analysis before publishing the paper online. “There’s no reason to take it down,” Mr Heitman said
The university had also received complaints from some groups. “It’s quite relentless,” he said.
“There’s always a close interest in everything that Steve (Lewandowsky) does,” Mr Heitman said. “We are conscious that we are going to be targeted by people opposed to his works.”
The university, though, had also received plaudits from around the world for its decision to publish the paper.
"I couldn't list them," Mr Heitman said. "And I wouldn't list them, having regard to the fact that anyone who issues a 'thanks UWA' will probably get their own enquiry."

Thing is, most people had probably never heard of the journal Frontiers in Psychology before.  Now a lot more people have heard about it - and what they read is not exactly the sort of publicity a journal would be expected to seek.  The mess is their own making.  This is from Ars Technica:
When asked for comment, Lewandowsky forwarded Ars a letter he received from the staff of the Australian Psychological Society. In it, they note they are "concerned about the possible reasons behind Frontiers’ decision to retract the article, particularly given that their investigation has not identified any significant issues with the academic and ethical aspects of this study. It is concerning that some scientific journals feel sufficiently threatened by potential liability fears to not publish articles with ‘inconvenient information’ about climate change."


Update: As pointed out by Jammy Dodger, it's a bit unusual for such a statement to appear on a blog page (rather than on a press release page, for example. Especially as they have not revised the retraction statement.) However the blog article is from Costanza Zucca, Editorial Director and Fred Fenter, Executive Editor so looks as if it's meant to be a formal statement.

70 comments:

vitaminccs said...

The blog post also appears to have having a dig at one of their reviewers, Elaine McKewon, if I've read it correctly. Not very professional.

Sou said...

The deniers whose comments were used by the researchers are trying to argue that they, personally, were clinically diagnosed. That's a complete fabrication. The paper was exploring how conspiracy ideation evolves over time, including how they evolve to incorporate (or reject) new facts when they emerge.

There is no "clinical psychology" going on here. Thing is, the more deniers protest the more material they are generating. Now the reaction of the journal itself can be included in any future analysis - in regards to how it feeds into the conspiracy ideation of the fake sceptics. Also, how science deniers, fake sceptics and conspiracy theorists can shape or inhibit the free flow of information.

This period of human history has a lot of tales to tell about human nature.

Dave said...

So you are telling me that the data that the paper references is real. But if you read many of the denier blogs, they say that it's all been 'faked' or 'fabricated'. It kinda blows out of the water the lies, and directly exposes the actual conspiracy ideation that the paper is all about.

But really, the paper is just a water is wet paper anyway. Anytime you read the comments section on an article on climate change, pretty much all you get from deniers is a long list of conspiracy ideation. It's a plot by government to increase taxes, it's all a hoax, etc, etc. This whole fiasco is a tempest in a teacup, and makes the deniers look even more foolish. (If that's even possible)

The main problem the deniers have is that they don't have reality on their side. They don't have thousands of papers that show that AGW is just a natural variation or another climate cycle. They don't have 'fingerprints' or even a working model that fits the observations and known physics. There is nothing. All they have is their ideology, founded in ignorance and misunderstanding, so they have to rely on a large dose of conspiracy ideation to keep their ideology from being exposed for what it is, and falling into a heap.

Sou said...

Agree Dave.

You'll get some deniers complaining their public comments were used. The reality is the science deniers wanted as many people as possible to see their comments. Some of them (one in particular) has spent most of the past few months posting long protests on every blog and article that displays anything relating to Recursive Fury or the moon landing paper.

On the other hand, I see that Anthony has posted a very long article with a letter, in which he complains loudly that he deserved to be invited to post the original moon landing survey, because (according to him) - "I operate the most popular climate related blog in the world". Which is highly debatable (think climate progress, wunderground.com, the capitalweathergang for example). He does admit his blog is geared towards conspiracy theorists who think climate science is a hoax, writing "While the audience is primarily of the climate skeptic nature...".

Thing is, the moon landing paper only found a weak association between science denial and conspiracy ideation. I don't know if the link would be seen to be stronger now, but probably not. It's still only the real extremists who push crazy theories - unless you count the oft-touted notion that all the world's scientists have been colluding for the past 100 years or so to pretend that AGW is real.

In the eyes of fake sceptics, everyone sane is in the wrong, no matter what they do. It's all a conspiracy to make out the fake sceptics include conspiracy theorists among their number :)

Like these:

http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2013/11/anthony-watts-pushes-more-crazy.html

http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2013/05/dissecting-conspiracy-theory-on-wuwt.html

http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2013/10/free-marketers-and-conspiracy-theorists.html

http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2013/06/its-another-conspiracy-is-anthony-watts.html

http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2013/12/anthony-watts-takes-exception-and-posts.html

This one's a classic. It's from HotCopper not WUWT, but it's the sort of thing you see from the climate conspiracy nutters all over. http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2012/12/denier-memes-communist-socialist.html

There are lots of the same all over the internet.

Millicent said...

I particularly liked the bit where a denier was ethically browsing through private comments ethically stolen by a hacker from a private forum and then ethically used them to infer malice on the part of Lewandowsky even though he wasn't involved. There seems to be some confusion as to what ethics are.

Catmando said...

Some people think ethics is a county north east of London. Hypocrisy, on the other hand, is the island of unreality occupied by Anthony and his chums.

Ian Woolley said...

I like how Sou's thinking is evolving over time to incorporate (or reject) new facts as they emerge.

Eric Worrall said...

Nice piece of conspiracist ideation Sou.

Frontiers were initially satisfied with the paper, but on receiving well argued, cogent objections that the paper violated the privacy of the study subjects, they decided to withdraw the paper.

Frontiers have expressed the opinion the paper unethically breached professional guidelines. If they are right, this may well have had legal ramifications, had they not acted - because the paper unethically breached professional guidelines on how psychiatrists should behave.

Sou, you have turned this into a raving conspiracy theory about dark forces bullying a scientific journal, instead of what it is - a paper which upon review turned out to have questionable adherence to professional standards.

Eric Worrall said...

From Lewandowski himself:-

"The authors were involved in drafting the retraction statement and sanction its content: We understand the journal’s position even though we do not agree with it."

Anonymous said...

They are all the equivalent of very angry chimpanzees throwing their own excreta at others.
Their hands and faces are full of faeces but they will claim that only they can decide who is correct.
When accused of throwing faeces they will use the classic projection delusion where their sins are carried by their enemies. The shit on their hands and faces was put there by others. They are too stupid to even see their own zealotry as the idiocy it really is.

For this journal to even back off by a tiny bit under pressure from total idiots is an admission of some kind of guilt.

These morons deserve our pity. They do not deserve any free analysis.
I am sure Lewandowsky will find more fertile ground in all of this for more data as these twits dig ever more deeper holes.

Bert from Eltham

Marco said...

If the authors "unethically breached professional guidelines", care to tell us why the retraction notice directly claims the absence of ethical breaches?

Clearly the authors did not sanction your conclusion that there was a breach of ethics...

Eric Worrall said...

From the Frontiers Retraction Statement

I'm not saying they didn't change their mind.

As a result of its investigation, which was carried out in respect of academic, ethical and legal factors, Frontiers came to the conclusion that it could not continue to carry the paper, which 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.

The Lewandowski article appears to breach several ethical guidelines about the protection of the privacy of subjects of studies, and informed consent. If Frontiers had ignored this issue, there may well have been legal consequences. But the point is - that from this perspective, the paper may have violated ethical standards. There was enough of a question about this issue so Frontiers thought it reasonable to withdraw the paper.

Catmando said...

Eric, the only thing I can think the editors are referring to is the classification of arguments by Lewandowsky and their understanding that they are labels indicating clinical or mental issues. I think Frontiers have bought a pup if that's the case.

If the original statement was an agreed one then it might be that Frontiers have broken a binding agreement. I think the UWA statement is likely to be closer to the truth. Someone at Frontiers got cold feet when a letter threatening legal action arrived and rather than pass it by a proper lawyer as UWA has done, they got some nuanced legal advice, did the sums and chucked the baby out with the bath water. Not a good day for academic freedom.

Eric Worrall said...

The Lewandowski paper is alleged to have given a sufficiently detailed description of some of the subjects of the paper that it was not difficult to infer their identity. It ascribed psychopathic tendencies to the subjects. No consent from the subjects of the paper was obtained. The people who are the subjects of the paper are not convicted criminals, serial killers, they are public figures, but they have not broken any laws, to my knowledge.

This seems to me to be a violation of professional ethics. Psychologists can't go around writing scientific papers which imply law abiding public figures are nutcases - its against the rules. You might think that the people who are the subjects of the paper are doing something very wrong, but that is an opinion, it is not a position which is actionable under the law as it currently stands.

To put this into perspective, imagine someone wrote a paper implying someone who was easily identifiable as Michael Mann was a nutcase, and had it published in a peer reviewed journal. Would it be a case of "bullying", if Michael Mann objected, and demanded that the journal retract the paper, on the grounds that his rights to privacy were violated?

As far as the law is concerned, there is no significant legal difference between Michael Mann and Anthony Watts. You might think there is a huge difference, ethically, between Mann and Watts. But from a legal perspective, both are entitled to the same protections and consideration.

metzomagic said...

Catmando, I agree. From the editors' latest statement:

Frontiers did not “cave in to threats”; in fact, Frontiers received no threats.

That's an outright lie. There is written evidence via FOI that they received threats. This paints the editors of Frontiers as liars and cowards. No good can come of this situation at all. The very people who were responsible for having the paper retracted are all strutting their stuff and high-fiving each other over at shapingtomorrowsworld. It's pathetic.

I sets a chilling precedent that public blog comments are off limits for behavioural studies.

Eric Worrall said...

I sets a chilling precedent that public blog comments are off limits for behavioural studies.

Only for papers which don't pay attention to ethical considerations, such as the need to ensure the subjects of a discussion of psychologically aberrant behaviour can't be identified.

Dumb Scientist said...

Ethicists who smear scientists by peddling illegally obtained private emails assure us that analyzing public comments is unethical.

Sou said...

" It ascribed psychopathic tendencies to the subjects."

Eric, are you now alleging that the people who made comments that were quoted in Recursive Fury have "psychopathic tendencies"? That's a new one. The authors neither wrote nor implied any such thing by any stretch of the imagination (of a normal sane person - yourself obviously excluded).

Right up the front of the paper the authors compared conspiracy ideation with extraversion. Do you believe that extraverts have psychopathic tendencies by nature of being extraverts?

"the need to ensure the subjects of a discussion of psychologically aberrant behaviour can't be identified."

Oh I don't know Eric. You've always been happy enough for your behaviour to be identified. McIntyre, Foxgoose and others haven't hidden any of their conspiracy ideations. McIntyre has boasted about his wacky ideas at length on his blog and Foxgoose has promoted his conspiracy theories all over the blogosphere.

In any case, the research couldn't be documented without writing what people wrote. Once you did that then it's easy to identify who said what, even if the paper itself de-identified the comments. Because all the comments were public statements on public blogs written so the public would read them, then all you'd need to do is Google.

In any case, the research had no problems from an ethical standpoint according to the funding body, the universities involved and the journal that accepted the paper.

The only people demonstrating a paucity of ethics at the moment are the journal editors and a lot of the denialati, including those who are knows to make up conspiracy notions.

captain flashheart said...

Eric, are you saying that content analysis of public statements is unethical? That is the sole focus of half the posts at WUWT!

Eric Worrall said...

Sou, imagine that a professor of psychiatry wrote a paper alleging an insular religious group, such as the Quakers, were psychologically aberrant. She didn't state that the subject of the paper were Quakers, but she described the community in sufficient detail that it was easy to infer that the paper was about Quakers, maybe even a particular community of Quakers. Lets say that the professor did not get permission from the Quaker community to discuss them in such terms, and to some degree misrepresented the reason for her interaction with their community (hid her true identity behind the identity of an assistant, as Lewandowsky did).

Would it be "bullying", if the Quaker community targeted by the community strenuously objected to the paper, as a gross violation of professional ethics?

I am not suggesting "deniers" are a group of Quakers - I am just trying to find an example which is sufficiently separate from the emotional polarisation of the climate issue, to demonstrate why not respecting the rights of the subject of a psychology paper is a problem.

Rightly or wrongly, psychologists who research mentally aberrant psychology are required, in most circumstances, to conceal the identity of their subjects. Suggesting that "conspiracist ideation" (creating fantasies of conspiracies) and extroversion are part of a continuum, that describing someone as a conspiracy nutjob is no different to calling them an extrovert seems a ridiculous defence. There is a huge difference, in terms of popular perception at least, between being described as an extrovert, and being described as a delusional conspiracy theorist.

flashheart, of course there is a lot of discussion of public statements on WUWT. WUWT is a blog, dedicated to discussing scientific issues, such as climate change. It is not bound by the same ethical codes of conduct as a professional psychologist publishing a research paper about aberrant psychology.

All this might be different of course, if the subject of the psychology paper was say a serial killer or war criminal, who was on record as having committed a crime. But the subjects of Lewandowski's paper were not convicted criminals, to my knowledge - at least not in regard to their climate activities. You might think what they are doing is an act of mass murder perpetrated against future generations, or whatever, but that is an opinion - it is not, under current laws, an actionable offence.

Sou said...

I've just read your earlier comments, Eric.

First of all, the journal made a specific statement that *no* issues were identified of an ethical or academic nature.

I see you've also misinterpreted "psychopathological characteristics" to mean the blogging deniers have "psychopathic tendences". That's wrong - and funny (black humour), especially coming from someone who compares climate scientists to a small number of eugenicists from the 1930s.

AFAIK, psychopathy is a term generally used to denote people having a particular set of psychopathological characteristics. People who suffer depression have a different set of psychopathological characteristics. People who suffer anxiety another set of psychopathological characteristics. People who tend to obsessiveness another set. People who are prone to conspiracy ideation another set again.

Steve McIntyre complained that the paper said he had a mental disorder IIRC. He was wrong, but he might genuinely think that because of his psychopathological characteristics. He has a known tendency to conspiracy ideation (you didn't need any paper to demonstrate that, it's all there on his blog over the years), which could mean his view of the world around him isn't quite what would be classed as "normal".

The editors of the journal are misleading you, Eric, because there is hard evidence that people said they threatened a defamation suit. Empty threats probably, a la Monckton, but threats nevertheless. Graham Readfearn at DeSmogBlog provided the evidence.

The editors of the journal are also misleading when they hint there are ethical problems. There are not, according to UWA and to the journal itself (in its retraction statement) and, as Bernard pointed out elsewhere, the funding body would have spoken out if there were any ethical problems.

As I and others have already pointed out ad nauseum. The comments are all public. The people who made them wanted as many people as possible to read them. You'll see the same people making the same comments ad nauseum.

[Actually, I wonder if Eric Worrall is disappointed that he didn't feature, if he didn't, and his hoping to be included in Recursive Fury 2. He probably reckons his conspiracy theories top many of the comments featured in Recursive Fury version 1, and he'd be right. I don't know if he did feature or not, by the way. He might have rated a mention.]

Dumb Scientist said...

"You might think what they are doing is an act of mass murder perpetrated against future generations, or whatever, but that is an opinion..."

That's actually your comedy routine:

… Last time the Eugenics catastrophists, confident in their scientific consensus that genetic pollution would return us to the stone age, killed 7 million Jews to improve the race. Now poor people are dying because only rich people can afford the self inflicted expense of trying to appease the Carbon God. … How many poor Africans and Asians will die because of the great global warming swindle, before their pseudo scientific bluff is finally called? … [Eric Worrall, 2008-02-05]

Consider a group of academics who claim the world faces an imminent catastrophe unless drastic steps are taken. Am I talking about Eugenics NAZIs or Climate alarmists? [Eric Worrall, 2012-12-18]

Its not my fault if you guys are pushing for the implementation of harmful policies on the basis of pseudoscientific predictions of imminent catastrophe – just like the NAZIs did. [Eric Worrall, 2012-12-29]

Given your gross advantage in economic and political muscle, its a wonder we’ve managed so far to hold off your new dark age. … [Eric Worrall, 2013-02-27]

… As for my children, they’ll be laughing at the stupidity of their ancestors, wondering how we could ever fall for alarmist nonsense, gasping at murderous biofuel policies, talking about the need for reparations to compensate formerly poor people for the mistreatment of their ancestors – just as we marvel at the incomprehensible stupidity of people who mistreated the Jews in the early 20th century. … [Eric Worrall, 2013-03-21]

Eric Worrall said...

Dumb Scientist
Ethicists who smear scientists by peddling illegally obtained private emails assure us that analyzing public comments is unethical.

You mean like Peter Gleick?

The AGU doesn't seem to have any problem with what Gleick did - he is still welcome at AGU conferences.

Eric Worrall said...

Dumb Scientist
That's actually your comedy routine:

I see - so because I once said I think that climate alarmism has something in common with some previous mass hysterias, that justifies what Lewandowsky did? Are you for real?

Dumb Scientist said...

When all else fails, Gleick! Squirrel! Peddling private emails to smear scientists is ethical! Analyzing public comments isn't! Comparing scientists to NAZI eugenicists isn't conspiracy ideation!

Sou said...

Eric, the authors were analysing the development of ideas, not individual people. And the comments were public comments on public blogs, with the intention *by those commenting* that as many people as possible would read them.

Your example doesn't come close to what the research was all about.

Either you haven't read the paper or you haven't understood it (either wouldn't surprise me).

And the fact that you don't seem to know the difference between the moon-landing paper and the recursive fury paper also supports the thesis that you either haven't read either of them or if you tried to do so, you couldn't understand either of them.

Look, as a conspiracy theorist yourself, you ought to be arguing that people who entertain conspiracy ideation aren't all that different to the norm. I can't understand why you are painting people who have a tendency to conspiracy ideation as if they should be locked up. The paper doesn't suggest that. It was analysing public comments, not the people who made those comments.

I'm sure you'd argue that you yourself can function okay in normal society. Therefore I don't know why you are taking such an extremist line with people whose comments suggest they aren't as prone to conspiracy ideation as you yourself have been over the years.

(For readers new to Eric Worrall, he has compared climate scientists to eugenicists of the 1930s among other things. He clearly is prone to thinking that climate science is a hoax - which would make it the biggest conspiracy of all time.)

PS "Some of my best friends" have entertained conspiracy theories etc etc. :D

PPS I found the paper very interesting and it's helped me understand what's the thinking behind some of the wackiness you read every day on denier websites. (There's a new article at WUWT that fits the bill, which I'm writing up at the moment.) Also it helps with critical thinking in a general sense.

Eric Worrall said...

Sou
First of all, the journal made a specific statement that *no* issues were identified of an ethical or academic nature.

Frontiers said in their new statement there were issues. From their statement:-

the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics. Frontiers informed the authors of the conclusions of our investigation and worked with the authors in good faith, providing them with the opportunity of submitting a new paper for peer review that would address the issues identified and that could be published simultaneously with the retraction notice.

The authors agreed and subsequently proposed a new paper that was substantially similar to the original paper and, crucially, did not deal adequately with the issues raised by Frontiers.


Lewandowky's paper, in the opinion of Frontiers, violated ethical guidelines about the identifiability of subjects. They asked Lewandowsky to address the issues. Lewandowsky submitted a new paper, but Frontiers felt it did not adequately address the issues they raised. Seems pretty clear to me.

I see you've also misinterpreted "psychopathological characteristics" to mean the blogging deniers have "psychopathic tendences". That's wrong

Fair point - I should have used the correct phrase "psychopathological characteristics". Nevertheless, suggesting an identifiable subject of a psychology paper is a delusional conspiracy theorist seems to be at least a potential violation of codes of practice.

Steve McIntyre complained that the paper said he had a mental disorder IIRC. He was wrong, but he might genuinely think that because of his psychopathological characteristics. He has a known tendency to conspiracy ideation (you didn't need any paper to demonstrate that, it's all there on his blog over the years), which could mean his view of the world around him isn't quite what would be classed as "normal".

That is your opinion Sou. I have a different opinion.

The editors of the journal are misleading you, Eric, because there is hard evidence that people said they threatened a defamation suit. Empty threats probably, a la Monckton, but threats nevertheless. Graham Readfearn at DeSmogBlog provided the evidence.

I'm sure they received some hate mail.

The editors of the journal are also misleading when they hint there are ethical problems.

Is it, or is it not, OK to publish a Psychology research paper which describes identifiable public figures as delusional conspiracy theorists? That is what this debate hinges on. I have seen copies of various codes of conduct which suggest it is not OK.

[Actually, I wonder if Eric Worrall is disappointed that he didn't feature, if he didn't, and his hoping to be included in Recursive Fury 2. He probably reckons his conspiracy theories top many of the comments featured in Recursive Fury version 1, and he'd be right. I don't know if he did feature or not, by the way. He might have rated a mention.]

Aw shucks Sou, I'm not that important.

Sou said...

I see that Dumb Scientist came up with examples of Eric's own conspiracy ideation.

Strikes me that the people who most object to an analysis of the nature and progression of conspiratorial thinking are people who indulge in it themselves.

It's always hard to face your own demons I guess.

Eric Worrall said...

Dumb Scientist
When all else fails, Gleick! Squirrel! Peddling private emails to smear scientists is ethical! Analyzing public comments isn't! Comparing scientists to NAZI eugenicists isn't conspiracy ideation!

You're getting a little over excited DS. Do try to stick to topic.

Dumb Scientist said...

That topic being the hypocritical crocodile tears about defamation and privacy from the conspiracy theorist who peddles private emails and compares scientists to NAZI eugenicists.

Eric Worrall said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sou said...

Eric, now you're just regurgitating the links I referred to in my blog article. What, you think I didn't read what I wrote or what the journal editors wrote on their blog? That was the main point of my article.

You're the one saying the people whose comments were written about are "delusional conspiracy theorists". The paper itself didn't make that claim.

Maybe that's one of the psychopathological characteristics of people who tend to conspiracy ideation. They cannot distinguish between ideas and the people who subscribe to them. A tendency to over-personalise. That would explain a lot of the behaviour I see on denier blogs, too.

(The HotWhoppery is open and ready for comments.)

Eric Worrall said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dumb Scientist said...

Yes, I'd already noticed that you're not bound by codes of conduct or ethics.

Dumb Scientist said...

Hmm. I think you're right to cut this off, Sou. With Eric, every day is Groundhog Day. Now that we've been around the Worrall merry-go-round once, there's no reason to keep riding it.

Anonymous said...

Here are a few more.

"Alien Communication?
One possibility that is being ignored is that high energy gamma rays could be residue from an alien communication system."

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2008/06/12/glast_launch/#c_244252

(hmm, rewriting astrophysics now)

"Back in 2006, the Russian Academy of Science predicted imminent severe global cooling, beginning in 2012-2015, peaking at around 2055.

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20060825/53143686.html"

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/05/what-is-to-be-done/

No, the Russian Academy of Science NEVER said that. It was the "head of the space research sector of the Russian Academy of Sciences' astronomical observatory" who said that. See how Eric misrepresents what he reads, either that, his comprehension skills are highly deficient.

Or check this out.
https://theconversation.com/profiles/eric-worrall-119779/activities

Nice to put a face to name. (Remind you of anything Eric?)

Want to give Eric an email or call?
http://desirableapps.com/contact/

Captain Flashheart said...

So again just to confirm Eric - it is unethical to do content analysis of public speech? So any academic who analyzes Obama's public statements on anything is behaving unethically? An academic who analyzes McIntyre's thuggish behavior is behaving unethically - but you guys at WUWT can say anything you like about Mann? That's awfully convenient for you!

Bernard J. said...

Eric Worrall is one more Denialatus in a long line of Denialati* who don't seem to understand that if you say something on television, or on Twitter, or in the blogosphere, it is public domain and it is fair game for response and analysis. If a person chooses to append their name to a public comment then they should be prepared to be judged on the merits of the comments made, as I noted earlier today at Prof Rabbet's.

Of course, if the import of the person's public pronouncements is twisted, altered or otherwise misrepresented then there may be a case for libel or other defamation, but no one's actually shown where Recursive Fury" doesn't present an accurate analysis of the posts considered.

If someone can point to such work I would be most interested. And for brownie points, if they can demonstrate why the tens of thousands of factless and libellous comments against real, professional climatologists aren't worthy of at least the same scrutiny as is being directed at Lewandowsky, I would be especially interested.


*A historical note. When I coined in 2009 the term 'Denialati' to describe those who bravely resist what they perceive is a conspiracy of scientists to defraud the world, I thought that the underlying conspiracy theory of theirs would die within about a year. How wrong I was. On the upside the word has taken on a life of its own...

Sou said...

Eric has retired for the evening, Captain Flashheart. Not entirely voluntarily. (Some of his comments have been put up at the HotWhoppery., a couple didn't even rate that dubious honour.)

He's been jumping around from pillar to post and is now wanting to veer off onto another topic, the moon landing paper. By his silly comments he either hasn't read it or hasn't understood it. I decided enough was enough.

Millicent said...

So McIntyre's complaint this time round is that the scientists DID make their data publically available?

caerbannog said...

Sou,

Every time you remove a Worrall post, you deprive Prof Lewandowski of one data-point for Recursive Fury II. ;)

Catmando said...

If you're not aware of this site, Retraction Watch has something to say

http://retractionwatch.com/2014/04/04/journal-that-retracted-conspiracy-ideation-climate-skepticism-paper-says-it-did-not-cave-into-threats/

Sou said...

That article, like all the others on the subject, has attracted the conspiracy theorising science deniers like moths to a flame.

John Mashey said...

Eric Worrall appeared frequently last year in the SalbyStorm, which did not end well for the dismissives/pseudoskeptics who adored Salby.

Samples from NOVA, basically, within a day after this appeared, before MQ responded.

"Eric Worrall} 532 #2
July 9, 2013 at 1:08 pm · +68 -1
Absolutely shocking – from reading the article, Macquarie appear to have lied,
stolen equipment, sabotaged research– and our tax money pays for all this?
Time for Universities to solicit their own funding, based on merit, rather than
suckling at the public teat."

'{Eric Worrall} #5.1
July 9, 2013 at 4:08 pm · +26 -1
I do wonder if these institutions are being strong-armed by someone who doesn’t like what these esteemed professors have to say.
If that was the case, one word of this to the press about such tactics would blow
the scheme wide open. No I think the evidence I’ve seen so far suggests that this horrible process has the full support of many if not most of the University academics.'

"{Eric Worrall} #18
July 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm
To me it seems a modern day version of Deutsche Physik – the lunatic parody
of science set up in the 1930s by a country which couldn’t accept that the
world’s greatest living physicist was a Jew. A systematic attempt to eliminate
academic dissent, by removing academics whose views deviate from the
accepted groupthink.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsche_Physik "

"Eric Worrall} #29
July 9, 2013 at 5:51 pm · +10 -0
Jo is right – there are a few red flags on this article..."

"02{Eric Worrall} #52.2
July 10, 2013 at 10:47 am · +8 -0
Andrew McRae I gave that an up vote because I respect your position. You
don’t have to agree with Salby to see that, on the basis of our current evidence,
Macquarie University has behaved in a shabby and unprofessional manner, and
quite possibly breached several employment and contract laws.
I would feel similarly about a University which sacked an alarmist, because of
his or her views.
Science advances when scientists question something everyone always
assumed to be true. Most of the time those who question are wrong – but
science can only progress so long as such questions are allowed.
This is why the NAZIs were so bad at science. This is why the Soviets had to
resort to stealing American technology secrets. It is *not* because Russia
didn’t have enough clever people – FFS, we’re talking about a country which
considers chess to be a spectator sport. It is because in the Soviet Union,
people weren’t allowed to question the beliefs of their superiors, even in an
academic setting.
And now it looks like this is happening to Australia – question the theories of
your academic seniors, at least in Macquarie University, and you get fired."

Then at WUWT, ~same day:
"03{Eric Worrall}838 says:
July 8, 2013 at 11:03 pm
Its a modern day version of Deutsche Physik ..." (again)

And at WUWT, after MQ responded the first time, and in response to "Josh" cartoon.
"{Eric Worrall} says:
July 10, 2013 at 4:34 pm
Hilarious :-) – and sadly so true. Science is only acceptable these days if your
findings don’t embarrass your academic seniors. Deutsche Physik reborn...." (third)

Given how this all worked out, I'd suggest Mr. Worrall owed MQ an abject apology ... but sadly, I did not find any. In fact, of the 300+ commenters who bought Salby's store, frothed at MQ, said they'd never hire MQ graduates or give donations, demanded its funding be reduced, sent insulting letters to MQ and published them on blogs, etc, etc ... exactly zero apologized, in public anyway.

BBD said...

John

Do you by any chance have something like this for Foxgoose? Illustrative of conspiracist ideation? It would be an interesting read if you do.

Cugel said...

Slightly OT, but Prof Lewandowsky has taken his dog to poop on Judith Curry's
lawn.

'Scientists unmask the climate uncertainty monster'
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140404140301.htm

It may cause a stir.

metzomagic said...

The most disturbing theme running through all this is, IMO, that somehow every researcher is expected to expose their hard-earned data to any anonymous armchair scientist who requests it. From the comments over at Retraction Watch (and this is about the LOG12 data, not Recursive Fury's):

It is kind of hard to submit “a peer reviewed response” when the authors and UWA refuse to reveal and share the data. Barry Woods wants to do so but cannot get the data upon which the paper is based.

Go get your own freakin' data. That's how science is done. McIntyre the rent seeker seems to have imbued his own twisted worldview of how science is done unto all his sycophants. Weird. These people have lost touch with reality in a self-reinforcing denialist echo chamber.

John Mashey said...

From BISHOP

"That's a US government report marked "confidential" Nick.
Do you mind telling us where you got it?
Jul 13, 2013 at 8:58 AM | Registered Commenter Foxgoose"

"Foxgoose,
I just provide a link. If you check, it's there on the nsf.gov website for everyone to see. Some of the history is in the attached correspondence.
Jul 13, 2013 at 9:09 AM Nick Stokes"

"Post deleted
Jul 13, 2013 at 9:22 AM | Foxgoose"

(Too bad, I'd liked to have seen that.)

"Well, a lot of work has clearly been done very quickly, by the likes of Nick Stokes, Graham Redfearn, John Mashey and the Desmog PR professionals, to try and destroy Salby's credibility and get Macquarie off the hook.

I can't think when we've seen the private life of any individual, including messy divorce proceedings and relationships with estranged wife & kids, picked over in the public blogs so blatantly.

Presumably consensus scientists lead lives of complete domestic and financial rectitude and have nothing to fear.

It may well be that Salby's three year suspension was justified - although clearly no criminal charges were brought. One thing puzzles me though. I was once involved in a business supplying research equipment to universities in the UK and Europe and the nature of the technology often resulted in my company carrying out joint research projects with them. When I became quite deeply involved in the financing and management of such projects, I never failed to be amazed by the casual and lax attitude that most senior academics and their employers took to things like time management, expense controls, property ownership, separation of academic and personal business interests etc etc etc.

I have a strong feeling that the NSF charges against Salby, for the way ran his projects, could be proved against large numbers of senior academics all over the world - if anyone bothered to launch investigations.

Something else caught my eye while browsing the NSF bulletin covering the Salby case - I read this, pertaining to another case of academic misconduct:-
(long quote)
Who could have guessed the NSF can launch investigations against academics for "insufficient statistical rigour" - I bet Steve McIntyre could point them in a few interesting directions.
Jul 13, 2013 at 5:31 PM | Foxgoose"

1) Divorce case was relevant because it was a key part of the pattern of wild claims Salby kept making in court (and getting dismissed), and was almost certainly one of the motivations for the 2nd shell company.

2) The NSF cannot bring criminal charges, but needs to build a case and get the DoJ ... and when case closed, Salby had long since fled the country. Such do go to DoJ, and people do go to jail, but rarely, as most people settle, their careers already in shreds. No way the NSF was going to spend the effort and $ to get the DoJ involved and seek extradition. As far as I know, Salby has not appeared publicly in the US since.

3) Of course, McIntyre's most famous "statistics" paper had bad time-series statistics and a fraudulent 100:1 cherry-pick.

So, Foxgoose:
a) Did not understand the NSF or DoJ.

b) attacked people who actually did investigative journalism and unearthed relevant facts, with rather robust soruces.

c) tried tu quoque to justify Salby's extreme behavior.
Professors can have off-campus busineses, and need to be careful with Conflict of Interest, and some aren't ... but most don't set up 2 shell companies yo get grants hiding their involvement, for a decade+. Most profs don't acts as P.I.s for an off-campus company to get grants, and publish papers about that work ... but *never* put that affiliation on the papers where it would be visible.)

d) Then introduced a red herring from another case and added McIntyre as though that had the slightest relevance to all this.

Anthony David said...

The implicit assumption in uncertainty-based "skeptic" discussions is lower climate sensitivity is equally likely as higher sensitivity - a "bell curve" of clmate system responses. That is not the case with climate sensitivity estimates as they have a log-normal distribution. Both (paywalled) papers referred to are an excellent tutorial on real-world implications of log-normal distributions and the urgency of policy responses to the science.

To bring the topic back on-track, anyone using their academc credibility, whether it be in the field of economics or earth science, to argue for "do nothing, let's wait" and ignoring the assymetric uncertainty, needs to reconsider the foundations of their message.

Sou said...

The fake sceptics did get their own data in a survey by A. Scott who "replicated" the Lewandowsky survey with a couple of differences. He ran it at WUWT and got more than 1500 responses.

Thing is he handed over the results to Steve McIntyre, who promptly buried it and it's never seen the light of day. It's never been analysed publicly. I asked A Scott several times about what had happened to it and why the results weren't made public. He kept saying "soon" before giving up.

This data sharing notion only applies one way when it comes to deniers.

I expect the results were not dissimilar to LOG12, except the number of fake sceptic responses would be a lot higher. There would have been a lot more "one world guvmint" positives going by the comments at WUWT etc, for example. And McIntyre did get as far as letting on there were a lot more responses from free marketers, which vindicates the finding of LOG12.

The data is not available though, and not even Steve's results were available. (As Steve McI did in the case of LOG12, Steve did indicate he was going to do the analysis after he removed the results he found inconvenient. He probably found himself in an embarrassing dilemma after he'd done this, maybe whittling down the results from 1500 to 200 or so :))

BBD said...

John

Thanks for this. FG seems to be having credibility issues.

Dumb Scientist said...

Thanks. Here's a fixed BISHOP link.

Anonymous said...

"Go get your own freakin' data. That's how science is done."
metzo, you clearly have absolutely no idea how science is done do you?

John Mashey said...

Thanks (for link fix).
Since I don't normally read those blogs, I ran across a whole new set of Internet handles I'd not noticed before. In the SalbyStom case, about 80% of the dismissive commenters went all-in for Salby's sotry, with zero skepticism. They were especially likely to go for conspiracy ideas.

About 7% were consistently cautious, and another 7% were at least able to change their minds somewhat as new data arrived, although often fought on for Salby after the NSF report, as did Foxgoose above.

John Mashey said...

I urge: the right term is pseudoskeptic, not skeptic or "skeptic" as the latter might allow the possibly they belong with folks like Carl Sagan, Martin Gardner or Steve Schneider.

Debunker said...

http://retractionwatch.com/2014/04/04/journal-that-retracted-conspiracy-ideation-climate-skepticism-paper-says-it-did-not-cave-into-threats/

A Psychological journal in denial about Denial.. :D You couldn't make it up!

metzomagic said...

metzo, you clearly have absolutely no idea how science is done do you?

While IANAS, I'm pretty sure that random DK-inflicted know-nothings demanding to see raw data painstakingly gathered by researchers so they can do who-knows-what with it is not typically part of the scientific process. It does, however, seem to be some kind of false entitlement brought on by the age of the internet.

For example, what qualifications does Barry Woods have to analyse the data from the LOG12 surveys? None, AFAIK. So what would he do with the data if he got it? Oh, wait, I know... he would pass it along to someone like Steve McIntyre, who is also not qualified to analyse it. Steve would get a lot of mileage out of that. Probably good for at least 5 of his sniping-from-the-sidelines blog posts. Now, it would be another thing entirely if McIntyre were to publish his results in a reputable psychological journal. Then it would be peer-reviewed, and other people could comment on it in a controlled manner. That is how science is done. But he can't, because he doesn't have the training necessary in order to be able to competently analyse data of this kind.

So, scientists sharing their raw data with other scientists who will possibly publish their own results, I'm fine with that. Scientists sharing their raw data with random vexatious people who are going to do 'blog science' with it? I'm sure you can see how non-productive that is.

metzomagic said...

ETA: ...I'm sure you can see how non-productive that is. Just ask Keith Briffa:

Yamal and Polar Urals: a research update

That paints McIntyre in a really bad light. He may have some stats fu, but he doesn't have the scientific training to be able to tell the difference between good data and bad data, as he's demonstrated time and again over the years.

John Mashey said...

metzomagic:
Given:
"Instead of commenting as "Anonymous", could you please comment using "Name/URL" and your name, initials or pseudonym or whatever."

I suggest that anyone who posts as "anonymous" here, , is not even worth reading, ever much less responding to.

Q: Really, what is the value of opinions by anyone who can't even pick an consistent Internet handle.?
A: less than zero, because it wastes time.

Sigh, I pine for the good old days of USENET, with usable KILLFILEs.
"Anonymous" would be the first on the list.

Anonymous said...

"While IANAS, I'm pretty sure that random DK-inflicted know-nothings demanding to see raw data painstakingly gathered by researchers so they can do who-knows-what with it is not typically part of the scientific process."

So let's just have scientists publish any paper they like and say "here are our conclusions, you will just have to take our word for it", or better still only release their data to like minded friends who won't criticize the work no matter how shoddy. That should advance the world of science no end. You Clown.

Catmando said...

Anon,

You have described exactly what deniers like Eschenbach, Monckton and friends do. Put up a post at WUWT that is not allowed to be criticised. Any attempt to point out flaws is met with derision and insult.

Real science on the other hand... Well, I'm sure you know how that proceeds.

Anonymous said...

Catmando,

WUWT is a private blog and the owners can do whatever they please. The same type of censorship happens here all the time, in case you hadn't noticed.
The paper written by Lewandowsky and his minions was funded by the Australian Taxpayer, a totally different set of circumstances, comparing the two is just nonsense.

From the UWA Code of Conduct for the Responsible Practice of Research:

3.8 Research data related to publications must be available for discussion with other researchers.

No ifs buts or maybes, data must be available. UWA are in breach of their own Code of Conduct, and besides, if the data is as robust as Lewandowsky claims, what do they have to fear?

Lewandowsky has moved on and now wants to pass the buck to UWA, UWA are covering their own a#@e because they know that they have failed to adhere to the proper ethics approval process. If this is the way that"science is done" today it is little wonder the public have lost faith in scientists.


cRR Kampen said...

Climate revisionist. Nothing else.
'pseudoskeptic' is too naive for this evil.

Catmando said...

Anon, you misunderstand my point. There is very limited criticism of things posted at WUWT and it doesn't matter if it is "private" - it is very public and makes claims as to its popularity. It is cynical to say anything else. My point was that even minor criticism at WUWT of a constructive type is barely tolerated and moderators, commenters and endless socks bully the person trying to make a valid point.

Public confidence in science is eroded by the deniers, which I am assuming you are one.

Sou said...

Steve McIntyre got the data from LOG12 already. He just wants more than is permissible from an ethical perspective, presumably (data that may allow identification of otherwise anonymous respondents).

I also note the "for other researchers". Steve McIntyre isn't "another researcher". He's just another blogger. And he's not competent to analyse LOG12 data - he's demonstrated that already on his blog.

He can't manage analysis of climate data and he sure as hell hasn't the competence to do cognitive science.

Anonymous said...

"He can't manage analysis of climate data"

Tell that to Gergis and Karoly

Bernard J. said...

Person-who-isn't-sufficiently-competent-to-sign-a-name, you say:

"WUWT is a private blog and the owners can do whatever they please."

"Whatever they please"? Only to the extent of the "privacy" of that blog.

And guess what? That most certainly does not mean that they get the opportunity to manufacture their own universe of science... no matter how deluded they might be in the luxury of their own privacy.

You also say:

"From the UWA Code of Conduct for the Responsible Practice of Research:

3.8 Research data related to publications must be available for discussion with other researchers.

No ifs buts or maybes, data must be available. UWA are in breach of their own Code of Conduct...
"

Um, no.

As I noted at Deltoid the day before yesterday it is quite clear in the UWA data use guide that data sharing may be based on any of:

1) Restricted access
2) Open access
3) Researcher-mediated access
4) Metadata Sharing
5) Licencing
6) Creative Commons

There is no dictation in any of this that lay bloggers on the internet have any inalienable right to data generated by professional research staff at the University of Western Australia - unless of course there is a particular contractual obligation specifying such. I don't suppose that you are aware of such a contract?

"Lewandowsky has moved on and now wants to pass the buck to UWA, UWA are covering their own a#@e because they know that they have failed to adhere to the proper ethics approval process.

Bollocks.

The Vice Chancellor Paul Johnson's very emphatic letter shows very clearly that UWA stands staunchly behind their researchers, and the comment from Kim Heitman, the UWA's legal council's just as emphatic comment on this matter shows that he is solid in his defense of UWA procedure.

You aren't well acquainted with reality, are you?

metzomagic said...

Anon said:

So let's just have scientists publish any paper they like and say "here are our conclusions, you will just have to take our word for it", or better still only release their data to like minded friends who won't criticize the work no matter how shoddy. That should advance the world of science no end. You Clown.

Oh I think almost everyone here can see who the clown is. What Bernard says above. There is nothing in the UWA guidelines (and this would be boilerplate stuff applicable at most universities) that gives random people on the internet the right to demand access to researchers' data.

ligne said...

Anthony David: i'd disagree, the implicit assumption seems to be that lower climate sensitivity is the only way the uncertainty can go. which would fit with their assumption that the IPCC position is exaggerated and alarmist.

BBD said...

Ugo Bardi resigns over Frontiers' handling of Lewandowsky:

The climate of intimidation which is developing nowadays risks to do great damage to climate science and to science in general. I believe that the situation risks to deteriorate further if we all don't take a strong stance on this issue. Hence, I am taking the strongest action I can take, that is I am resigning from "Chief Specialty Editor" of Frontiers in protest against the behavior of the journal in the "Recursive Fury" case. I sent to the editors a letter today, stating my intention to resign.

I am not happy about having had to take this decision, because I had been working hard and seriously at the Frontiers' specialy journal titled "Energy Systems and Policy." But I think it was the right thing to do. I also note that this blunder by "Frontiers" is also a blow to the concept of "open access" publishing, which was one of the main characteristic of their series of journals. But I still think that open access publishing it is the way of the future. This is just a temporary setback for a good idea which is moving onward.