Motivated rejection of stupidity – Part 2

Ah, the insight of these cretins, to integrate outrageously diverse concepts into the essence of hogwash.

Reading through this paper identifies extra drivel but it’s an unsatisfactory reward for labour because I just don’t want to find drivel in a scientific paper. Such a paper lets everyone down. Take a look through this mindless vacuity presented (with the unforgiveable connivance of the publishers of Psychological Science) as scholastic acumen.

How to maintain the appearance of consensus

To maintain the appearance of a consensus, Lewandowsky tries to claim that some “core principles” are not in question among mainstream climate scientists. But he picks core principles which are far from it.

The existence of a scientific consensus about core principles of climate change does not imply absence of uncertainty or the absence of legitimate scientific debate surrounding as yet unresolved issues.

So the science is certain, but not completely uncertain. There’s still a consensus, though. Then:

The core aspects of climate science on which there is a strong consensus are that the climate is changing, that greenhouse gases are responsible, and that we are beginning to witness predicted changes in climate patterns (Somerville, 2011).

Nobody disagrees that the climate is changing (whenever did it not?) and nobody credibly argues that greenhouse gases have no warming effect. So nobody’s interested in debating those points. We can picture the authors sitting back after writing that breakthrough passage: “That’ll fox ’em! No answer to that!” And thinking “we’ve got this little battle done and dusted.”


Well, sorry to be a denier and everything, but this is wrongness, gentlemen. You’re as wrong as an error in a book of mistakes wrongly cited as inaccurate. Picking two points that are totally undisputed won’t win you this argument.

The final point: are we seeing predicted climate changes? It’s good to bring this subject forward, because it is eminently debatable. Most things have been predicted by now, and in a chaotic system there’s something there for everyone, so there’s lots to discuss (but no consensus). Lewandowsky doesn’t really assist his argument by not identifying claimed changes in the various climates of the Earth and not specifying what “beginning to witness” might mean (even a hint, Stephan?).

Being unconvinced by evidence is rejection of science

Wow. The abstract states (emphasis added):

Although nearly all domain experts agree that human CO2 emissions are altering the world’s climate, segments of the public remain unconvinced by the scientific evidence.

But the paper asserts:

There is little doubt that people’s personal ideology – also often referred to as worldview or cultural cognition – is a major predictor of the rejection of climate science


We de fine the rejection of science as the dismissal of well-established scientific results for reasons that are not scientifically grounded

They twist “people remain unconvinced” into “those people reject science.” Watch the nut under the cup.

So if I don’t believe that the warmer ocean can be substantially warmed by radiation from cooler air floating over it, on the basis that a warmer object will always heat a cooler object, it’s a rejection of science. That is itself unscientific – however, it would be scientific to produce evidence of the alleged warming.

They make a promise

Footnote 3 on page 24 says:

The complete data are available upon request.

An idea is coming to me… No, I’m being coy. I’ve asked Stephan for the data. Well, I hope to send the email; the mail server replies: “Temporary local problem – please try later” when sending (same thing happens when trying to let Joanne Nova know that we weren’t asked to carry the survey). I’ll keep trying.

Visits: 380

8 Thoughts on “Motivated rejection of stupidity – Part 2

  1. Andy on 03/09/2012 at 7:36 pm said:

    Some undiluted drivel from the man himself in video format

    • That’s a seriously disturbing performance from the Head of Department.

    • Sorry, not Head of Department (don’t know where I read that), but one of two professorial fellows.

      The email was sent (the problem was with my desktop client) but I just received an interesting addendum to the “I’m travelling” auto-reply.

      “I am currently traveling with uncertain email access until 7 September.

      Note that although I endeavour to keep all email correspondence private and confidential, this does not apply to messages that are of an abusive nature.”

      One must receive a great many abusive messages to add this to the auto-reply. Why would one receive lots of abuse?

    • Andy on 03/09/2012 at 9:23 pm said:

      That has to be the funniest thing I have heard in a long time. Absolutely hilarious.

  2. Richard C (NZ) on 04/09/2012 at 9:16 am said:

    “…..segments of the public remain unconvinced by the scientific evidence”

    Obviously then the scientific evidence is unconvincing. The reason is that it’s been analyzed and compared against observed metrics and physical principles and found not to be of sufficient substance and validity (model scenarios are not data) to explain the current situation and therefore not fit for predictive purposes.

    And those “segments of the public” include: climate scientists, geologists, chemical and mechanical engineers, astrophysicists etc i.e. experts that require rigourous science of a standard they are accustomed to in their own disciplines to be convinced on anything scientific.

    The solution for climate science isn’t substandard psychological studies, it’s the presentation of convincing evidence starting with an explanation of why CO2 hasn’t actually forced temperature for some time now. Easterling and Wehner’s 2009 opinion that we should expect “one or two decades of natural variability” just adds to to the unconvincing nature of the ACO2 case.

  3. Richard C (NZ) on 04/09/2012 at 9:57 am said:

    The Age has an article on the Lewandowsky paper:-

    Pity the reporter didn’t do a bit of background research.

  4. val majkus on 04/09/2012 at 5:02 pm said:

    the last sad thing is that it’s an Australian Research Council grant

  5. Clarence on 10/09/2012 at 2:54 am said:

    Go to to replicate the Lewandowsky research. The password is REPLICATE.

    The survey questions are spectacularly asinine. Not one of them is suited to a yes/no answer.

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