Motivated rejection of stupidity

New paper (in press, Psychological Science):

NASA faked the moon landing|Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax:
An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science

by Stephan Lewandowsky
University of Western Australia

Remember that name. Lewandosky will soon become a byword for rejection of science.

The entire abstract

Although nearly all domain experts agree that human CO2 emissions are altering the world’s climate, segments of the public remain unconvinced by the scientifi c evidence. Internet blogs have become a vocal platform for climate denial, and bloggers have taken a prominent and influential role in questioning climate science. We report a survey (N > 1100) of climate blog users to identify the variables underlying acceptance and rejection of climate science. Paralleling previous work, we fi nd that endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science (r ≅ .80 between latent constructs). Endorsement of the free market also predicted the rejection of other established scientifi c fi ndings, such as the facts that HIV causes AIDS and that smoking causes lung cancer. We additionally show that endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories (e.g., that the CIA killed Martin-Luther King or that NASA faked the moon landing [sic]) predicts rejection of climate science as well as the rejection of other scientifi c fi ndings, above and beyond endorsement of laissez-faire free markets. This provides empirical confi rmation of previous suggestions that conspiracist ideation contributes to the rejection of science. Acceptance of science, by contrast, was strongly associated with the perception of a consensus among scientists.

Must I go through this tripe line by line? Question the cause of global warming and that’s tantamount to the rejection of science. Beware, children.

This is a black day for science, for Psychology, for the University of Western Australia and for all those keen to save the world from man-made global warming.

If none of this author’s colleagues move to discipline him and his co-authors for this stupid paper the deed will turn blacker. Psychologists, in particular, should protest the misuse of their fairly useful discipline.

I’m sickened.

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11 Thoughts on “Motivated rejection of stupidity

  1. Mike Jowsey on 02/09/2012 at 9:55 pm said:

    Yes, it is simply laughable that this cr@p could pass peer review. Yet another example of the warmist rent-seeker jamboree evangelists linking arms in a polka. No skeptical blogs were included. Only the major “denier smear machines” were polled.

    Post-normal pychobabble.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 03/09/2012 at 8:20 am said:

      Blogs surveyed (supposedly) as listed at JoNova:-

      * Deltoid,
      * Tamino
      * Scot Mandia,
      * Bickmore,
      * A Few Things Ill Considered,
      * Hot-Topic (NZ)
      * Trunity (unconfirmed?)
      * John Cook [Skeptical Science] (unconfirmed?)

      Hardly representative and they missed at least 2 Weblog award winners.

      Does prove that if you ask silly questions you will probably get silly answers but how this paper can be University standard is beyond me.

  2. Mike Jowsey on 02/09/2012 at 10:07 pm said:

    Further to my previous, this article is a real pearler (to put it in the Australian vernacular):

    Excerpt: It’s a tired old tactic – rather than acknowledge that there exists a spectrum of scepticism, the majority of which is entirely valid, this study is yet another attempt to tar all realists and sceptics as extremist fruitcakes.

    Jo Nova does some digging on which blogs were asked to run the survey. No surprises there….

  3. Mike Jowsey on 02/09/2012 at 11:14 pm said:

    Yes, I’m still up, and I’ve got a big day tomorrow…..
    My thought of the night is this:
    This example of psycho-science-gone-nutty serves to remind us that it is easy to listen to the echo-chambers of our own beliefs or paradigms without ever seeking truly challenging points of view.

  4. Andy on 03/09/2012 at 9:06 am said:

    Cognitive Science Laboratories

    School of Psychology, University of Western Australia

    HOD Stephan Lewandowsky

    Research Areas:

    Computational Modeling

    All research within the Cognitive Science Laboratories involves “computational modeling” of one sort or another: That is, we try to understand human cognition by developing computer models of how people process information. We are particularly interested in connectionist models and their application to various cognitive phenomena, in particular category learning and short-term memory. In pursuit of this goal, the models are first fit to existing results, and novel predictions of the models are then explored experimentally.

    Category Learning

    Category learning refers to people’s ability to learn to classify objects into different categories; for example, as children we learn to differentiate between furry things that are dogs and other furry things that are cats. As adults, we learn to differentiate between meaningful email messages and spam. In all experiments within this line of research, people are taught arbitrary new categories involving artificial stimuli (e.g., line drawings). The aim of these experiments is to tell us something about the fundamental way in which people acquire, organize, and revise their knowledge.


    I have learned to differentiate between BS and non-BS quite early on. This was an important part of my own “category learning” development

  5. Alexander K on 03/09/2012 at 9:42 am said:

    Obviously Lewandowsky and his colleagues don’t get out much. I can imagine the response to them broaching this topic in a public bar! 🙂

  6. Andy on 03/09/2012 at 10:19 am said:

    Lewandowsky is also behind “Shaping Tomorrow’s World”

    • Richard C (NZ) on 03/09/2012 at 12:48 pm said:

      Nuccitelli and Winkler tip toe around the awkward reality that Germany will need to build 10 – 20 GW of fossil fuel capacity over the next decade (along with renewal programs) if they’re to phase out nuclear power and then take the rather naive view that:-

      “…we can only hope Germany straightens out its priorities”

      Whistling in the wind in my view.

  7. Andy on 03/09/2012 at 12:27 pm said:

    ACM now reckoned the data used for the paper shows that more “alarmists” think the moon landings were faked.

    i.e the complete opposite of the paper’s conclusions

    • Richard C (NZ) on 03/09/2012 at 12:54 pm said:

      Yes that was my immediate reaction – “hang on, those blogs are alarmist perspectives not sceptical perspectives”

      Or at least they are the perspectives that alarmists wanted to be revealed in the results.

      I don’t recall any mention of the survey at Hot Topic, and if Hot Topic was selected from NZ (I have my doubts) then why not CCG?

    • Andy on 03/09/2012 at 1:37 pm said:

      It’s the same kind of leftist brain dead thinking that would interview a selection of Palestinian activists to get a balanced view on Israel.

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