Nature on Research Integrity?

In times gone by, Nature used to be a top quality science journal.  But more recently it has descended into a mouthpiece for opinions, pseudo-science and political activism.  As an example, see the recent anonymous editorial Harassment victims deserve better. It claims just below the headline that “Sexual harassment is rife in science” and “But one thing we do know is that sexual harassment is a serious problem in science.”  These assertions are untrue, and the editorial provides no evidence in support of them apart from a couple of cases that have recently come to light. In fact it contradicts itself by mixing phrases such as “Nobody knows” and “We don’t know the answers to those questions” in among the statements of apparent certainty.  Why is Nature magazine employing someone who is incapable of logical thought to write its editorials? Furthermore, the article is irresponsible and counter-productive, since inaccurate scaremongering of this type is likely to put women off careers in science if they read and believe this sort of nonsense.

However, the main theme of this post is the Nature comment article Research integrity: Don’t let transparency damage science by Stephan Lewandowsky and Dorothy Bishop. Lewandowsky of course needs no introduction to readers of this blog, being notorious for breaking a fundamental principle of his research field, respect for subjects. So the very idea of him writing an article for Nature on research integrity is an absurd irony, on a par with self-confessed fraudster Peter Gleick being on an ethics panel. His co-author Dorothy Bishop recently achieved notoriety as one of a small handful of academics who led the prejudiced witch-hunt against Sir Tim Hunt, based only on a single misleading tweet from Connie St Louis; she wrote “@profgeraintrees Could we ask that he not be on any appointments or promotions committees, given his views.”

The ridiculous idea of the article is that transparency, in other words free availability of research data, can somehow “damage” science. The data might fall into the hands of bad people, who might misuse it. As pointed out by Brad Keyes, in a comment that the Nature moderators deleted, this is reminiscent of Phil Jones’s notorious response to a request for data,

“We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”

[A brief reminder of what happened in that case: Jones and his university came up with a sequence of bogus excuses for not releasing the data, including claims of confidentiality agreements, then the notion that the data could only be released to academics. This led to two academics making FOI requests, met with further refusals and appeals, ending with a ruling from the information commissioner in 2011 in favour of the requesters.]

The main idea of L&B does not stand up to the most basic scrutiny.  They provide lists of vague, subjective and unworkable criteria for distinguishing between “use” and “abuse” of data, and a list of “Red flags” (ironically, Lewandowsky’s own work fits with at least five of these flags) . Speculation about the motivations of data requesters makes no sense, as it cannot be done in any rigorous objective way. Who would decide who was worthy and who wasn’t? Stephan Lewandowsky himself perhaps? Quis custodiet? These issues were thought through by the people who devised the FOIA, with the result that a key principle of the act being that the reason for the request is of no relevance and not required.

The response to the Nature piece was interesting, in that as well as the expected objections from climate sceptics, another group of individuals reacted just as angrily. These were suffers from, or researchers in, a debilitating and poorly understood illness known as ME or CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome). L&B said that some CFS researchers had been subjected to harassment, referring in particular to a large-scale trial known as PACE. In the comments, and on twitter, many people objected to this, saying that the PACE researchers had used dubious research methods (such as changing criteria during the experiment) and had refused to release data for independent scrutiny. See the comments under the Nature article by Keith Gerachty, Peter Kemp, Simon Wright and others, and the comments at PLOSONE on a PACE paper.  There is also an interesting discussion forum, Demonization of Patients continues: Nature Blog. Of course those of us not familiar with this story shouldn’t really take sides, but it’s hard not to, given the apparent close similarities of researchers with a pre-set agenda (CO2 is the climate control knob / climate sceptics are conspiracy theorists / CFS is largely psychological and can be successfully treated with CBT) using dubious methods to confirm their beliefs, making exaggerated misleading press releases, refusing to produce data and complaining about being harassed.

A comment from Ken Rice inadvertently highlighted Lewandowsky’s inconsistent claims about his own data transparency. Rice provided a link to this Lewandowsky data set, which says in large letters “Access to this dataset is not open“, but in this article, linked from the Nature piece, Lewandowsky says that he always releases his data. Following the Phil Jones approach, his data is available “to credentialed scholars only”. Presumably this is just an administrative mix-up by Bristol University that will soon be corrected.

The final irony was that yesterday, Thursday, around lunchtime, Nature moderators started deleting comments that were critical of L&B’s flawed and inflammatory piece about openness and transparency (comments were then closed).  When Richard Tol noticed the comment deletion and mentioned it on twitter, I  saved the comments that I had in an open browser window, see this docx file. Tol’s deleted comment read:

“Research integrity and transparency are great. It starts at home. It would be good if Professor Lewandowsky would come clean about his research on climate change, and if he would tell his student John Cook to do the same. Harassment would be much reduced if researchers would tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about their data, how it was gathered, and how it was processed and analyzed.”

Barry Woods also had a comment deleted which you can read here; although critical of Lewandowsky, it’s entirely factual.

At the time of writing, my comment that ends with “I find it remarkable that Nature should publish such nonsense” is still visible.

Updates:
I will add in links to other blogs here.

Getting the idea of transparency all wrong from Nicole Janz, a Cambridge academic in social sciences.

James Coyne, Professor of health psychology at Groningen, has a blog post here that criticises the Science Media Centre as well as L&B.

Violating the norms and ethos of science: Judith Curry picks out phrases from L&B that break the principles of science set out by Merton.

Tom Fuller, Transparency in Science Over-rated: Stephan Lewandowsky writes “I have frequently described Lewandowsky as a charlatan at this blog and I see no reason to change my views”.

Trial By Error, Continued: A Few Words About “Harassment”  by David Tuller, a well written piece with useful background on PACE.

El nuevo escándalo de Lewandovsky salpica a Nature from the PlazaMoyua blog.

FOI Coyne ridiculous at Bishop Hill.

PACE trial and other clinical data sharing by Leonid Schneider.

More On The Epidemic Of Orthodoxy Enforcement In The World Of “Science” by Francis Menton.

The Committee on Public Ethics is holding a webinar on these issues on February 12th. They claim that the questions were “explored systematically and thoughtfully” by L&B. They invite comments.

Some of Brad’s deleted comments are posted at Canman’s blog.

30 March: Warren Pearce, Sarah Hartley and Brigitte Nerlich have written a response at the Making Science Public blog. They also had a very short comment published in Nature. They say that the L&B article is oversimplified, inflames tensions and makes unsubstantiated claims.

37 thoughts on “Nature on Research Integrity?

  1. Esprit d’escalier time.

    “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” <– Lewandowsky, Bishop summarized in one line.

    "Because my aim is to try and find something wrong with it." <– Lewandowsky, Bishop debunked in one line.

    Like

  2. This post about Nature is disappointing but not surprising.
    Nature Climate Change published the Fabricius study on PNG corals (2011). Nature Geoscience published the O’Leary study on sudden sea level rise. Both papers comprise clearcut academic misconduct, exposed in essays Shell Games and By Land or by Sea respectively in my ebook Blowing Smoke. Not disclosing toxic hydrogen sulfide at a PNG seep site, when it is in the SI water samples. Representing the key chart as reflecting a long section of coast when in fact the data (found by searching the SI data labels) is only Quobba Ridge, known to have been earthquake perturbed.

    Like

  3. I was drawn to the Nature post by a tweet from Barry Woods saying he had commented. I read the piece I read some of the comments including Barry’s. As a non academic I don’t read scientific journals nor papers as a matter of course but I am interested in science and as a member of the public interested in discovering as much for myself, I’m often bewildered by the political shenanigans that go on behind the scenes of the headlines and the sheer bloody-minded and arrogant attitude re release of data. As I understand the scientific method, once published, the hypothesis is open to re-experimentation to validate or falsify the original findings. If the data is to be kept under lock and key and only released to those deemed appropriate, this is no longer science, it is propaganda. I’m not qualified to get into a debate on methodology but it seems to me that, once a paper is published, data should be open. This is especially important when the science presented has a direct bearing on every tax paying individual. Globally.

    So as a non-academic reading comments in Nature I was shocked to find Barry Woods’s comment suddenly gone. Then to see others go. This was happening in real time, censorship of opinion, and researched and qualified opinion at that, surely has no place in scientific debate. This allows the uncensored unimpeded and unchallenged access to the public from whom the cost of their unverifiable findings will ultimately be extracted. So, whilst I know of Nature as a journal with a historic reputation, I find myself appalled at the lack of objectivity in their treatment of informed and qualified critics. Meanwhile the uncensored strut about on social media (and indeed in the media) like the cat who got the cream, or as I bluntly put it yesterday on twitter; like a peacock on heat.

    Meanwhile, us; the tax paying public, reliant on those qualified to do so, are denied the scrutiny of our tax funded scientists and I have now seen first hand how this absolutely necessary and essential scrutiny, critique and questioning, in just this small part, is erased

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Climategate archives contain many examples of ‘consensus’ scientists and their associates successfully preventing publication of articles in journals and conspiring to suppress dissent, so I wasn’t at all shocked to find Barry’s comments (among others’) deleted. Nor was I surprised to find comments left by arch propagandists Rice and Lewandowsky retained.

    Let’s face it, Nature, and other journals, continually promote bad science teeming with flawed logic and statistical nonsense. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s little doubt that self-appointed experts in ‘science communication’ and psychology also understand how to use resources like comment threads and social media to frustrate and outrage their opponents.

    I think the decision to emulate campaigning organs like the Guardian and RealClimate by brazenly deleting comments was, perhaps inevitable. I’m only surprised it took so long.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. One of the biggest medical scandals resulted from a lack of freely available data. It was the determination of a journalist pestering the researcher that got the data into the public sphere where everyone could see that the scientist was even more flawed than his data. People like to quote the MMR debacle as an example of science over conspiracy theorists but the ‘et al.’ scientists who put their name on the Lancet paper were too lazy or stupid to demand they see the data they linked to their credibility. As for the countering scientists, instead of saying ‘hang on, this paper is crap’ they did what scientists do and generated more papers.

    Even at the end, Andrew Wakefield wasn’t struck off for a fraudulent paper but for unethical use of children and failing to disclose financial interests. The Lancet only withdrew the paper after 10 years and the bad doctor’s removal from practice.

    At the other end, the journalist risked his career and 10 years of his life to chase a guy whose biggest mistake was trying to sue in a US court that allowed disclosure, including Wakefield’s data. I don’t remember the big parade they gave him for services to medical science.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tim Hunter

    I’ve seen Lewandowsky compared to a lot of things, but a peacock on heat is a new one!

    What puzzles me most about Lewandowsky (and his associates) is why he engages in these combats where time after time he comes off worse. He didn’t have to put his name to an article about disclosure, thus disclosing his own hypocrisy for all to see. Scientists read Nature. Surely some will read that thread and wonder.

    He seems to think he’s immune to criticism if it isn’t in a peer-reviewed paper. Was he dipped in something as a baby? Hasn’t he heard of kryptonite? He lists gliding and rock climbing as his hobbies. He certainly likes taking risks.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “The data might fall into the hands of bad people, who might misuse it.” The data IS already in bad people’s hands AND it has been misused. No argument there.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. There is no administrative mix up.

    Bristol University’s data repository, has an option for the data to be tagged as ‘restricted’ for bona fide researchers only..

    https://data.bris.ac.uk/files/2015/02/Publicationsensitive.pdf

     Restricted – explicit consent is not in place to
    openly share data but risk of re-identification is
    still considered to be low. Data is made available
    to bona fide researchers only, after they have
    signed a data sharing agreement

    via the clicking on Guidance section to go here:
    http://data.bris.ac.uk/

    I have asked Bristol about this, and this would have been tagged like this by the author (ie Lew) as far as I’m aware their is no oversight on this decision. yes, I have queried it, as the data is an anonymous online survey, no personal information, where the ethics approval was low risk, and deemed no risk to participants

    thus, this is why all of Lew’a data can say “credentialed scholars’ only.

    A search of “credentialed” only brings up the 4 datasets by Lewandowsky out of the 182 datasets currently in the repository

    https://data.bris.ac.uk/data/dataset?q=credentialed&level=top

    My data request has been refused,
    thus I am unable to submit the comment I wish to, to the Journal of Psychological Science.
    I advised Bristol University in my data request, that as a critic of Lewandowsky’s paper, the Chief Editor of Psychological had personally emailed me suggesting that I submit a comment.

    Please recall when I asked Prof Lewandowsky for evidence of his methodology, he replied that he couldn’t find it, maybe Cook had deleted it. and as we know, it never happened Cook lied about it.

    ‘credentialed scholars only’ , “bona fide researchers” only , would cut me out, of ever submitting a comment to any journal, and any member of a public. ‘Science’ as a closed shop for ‘academics’

    Like

  9. I was invited to submit a comment by the Chief Editor of Psychological Science

    “Whether you obtain the data or not, you are welcome to submit a Comment on the article, which I would send out for review by at least three highly qualified, arms’-length reviewers plus to one of the LOG authors if they agreed.” – Prof Stephan Lyndsay

    complete email

    Dear Mr. Woods:

    I don’t know what criteria Bristol uses to decide who does versus does not get access to a data file. I am not familiar with British guidelines on data sharing, but the American Psychological Association stipulates that members of that organization “…do not withhold the data on which their conclusions are based from other competent professionals who seek to verify the substantive claims through reanalysis and who intend to use such data only for that purpose.” The Bristol mechanism appears to be in keeping with that guideline. APS encourages but does not require authors to share the data upon which the analyses they reported were based.

    The allegation that LOG did not solicit respondents through Skeptical Science was assessed by APS about a year and a half ago. Editor Eric Eich and APS Executive Director Alan Kraut judged that there was insufficient evidence for that claim.

    Whether you obtain the data or not, you are welcome to submit a Comment on the article, which I would send out for review by at least three highly qualified, arms’-length reviewers plus to one of the LOG authors if they agreed. That is my standard practice with Comments; I keep in mind that the author of a target article has a bias to defend his/her work but I find that the target author’s input is nonetheless useful to me in assessing a Comment. If you submit a Comment I will ensure that it gets a fair hearing from competent experts who do not have a dog in this fight and if, having considered the Comment and the reviewers’ assessments of it, I judge that the Comment makes a sufficient contribution to warrant publication in Psychological Science then I will accept it for publication.​

    Yours sincerely,

    Steve Lindsay

    ====================================

    D. Stephen Lindsay, Ph.D.

    Professor and Interim Editor of Psychological Science

    Department of Psychology

    University of Victoria

    ———————————————————————————————————————–

    Sent: October 8, 2015 3:24 PM

    To: Stephen Lindsay
    Subject: Re: Psychological Science – I am unable to submit a comment, because author will not make the relevant survey raw data and metadata avaialble

    Dear Prof Lindsay

    Thanks for your quick reply, I do appreciate your time on this.

    A partial set of the of the survey data was previously available at Prof Lewandowsky CogSci website.
    http://www.cogsciwa.com/
    I’ve just checked the old links, which now redirect to a page at Bristol University and this is not directly downloadable anymore.(a request is required now)
    It was created and published there on the 28th September 2015 – just ten days ago, may I ask did you discuss data availability with the authors recently?
    https://data.bris.ac.uk/data/dataset/ibw0m5wnv271if6u3uu3jdpc

    I am concerned now that my request will be rejected as I may not be considered as a ’credentialed scholar?
    “In compliance with University of Bristol regulations, the data are therefore made available to credentialed scholars only and through a standardized approval process. (The data were formerly available at my previous host institution, the University of Western Australia, but they have been moved to Bristol as part of my move to the UK.”

    I note Professor Lewandowsky moved to the UK 2 and a half years ago.
    It is good news that for the first time an extended version of the dataset has now been made available.
    https://data.bris.ac.uk/data/dataset/17856rwmxv3pb19ywtm4ejzm2q

    The publication date for this is also 28th September 2015, this apparently includes answers to other questions, Iraq war and lifestyle questions.
    However it is unclear whether this extended dataset has age, gender, referring IP , timestamps, rejected responses and referring URLs [domain] included, which is the data that I require.

    As I have had previous requests for the full raw data ignored or point blank refused (Paul Johnson UWA) I have a low expectation of Bristol University providing it.

    I was an early critic of this paper, and your predecessor Professor Eric Eich suggested that I should submit a comment to the journal, are you willing to support me in obtaining this data so that I may submit a comment, should Bristol University refuse my request?

    Additionally, when you have some time, will you take a look at the factual error in the methodology as I outlined in my previous email, as this should not need a comment to be submitted?

    The factual errors just need a correction by the authors, Skeptical Science was not a participant blog, and a new content analysis of the 7 blogs (with methodology described, not available). Along with a reanalysis of audience and % of sceptics prevalent in the survey of each of the other 7 blogs that did participate in the survey.

    All the best and thank you for your time

    Barry Woods

    Like

  10. just found this email from Nature: (I’m not a Doctor by the way, why assume that, just a BSc, MSc)

    Dear Dr Woods,

    A user has reported your comment on the Nature article “Research integrity: Don’t let transparency damage science” so the comment (below) has been removed. Please see the website terms and conditions, section 6, for more information on Nature’s community guidelines: http://www.nature.com/info/tandc.html.

    Thank you,

    Regards,

    Web Admin

    Nature

    Barry Woods • 5 hours ago

    Perhaps a follow up article could be written: Academic Integrity – Don’t let Activist Academics Damage Science – I’d recommend Prof Lee Jussim.

    Prof Lewandowsky has experienced a number of calls for retraction of I think 4 of his papers. Frontiers In Psychology did in fact retract one paper, and it is clear from the original retraction statement that they tried to let the authors go gently. When Prof Lewandowsky went to press saying the journal gave in to bullying and harassment, the journal responded twice saying this was not the case. And Prof Markram the co-founder of the journal went as far to publicly state that Professor Lewandowsky and his co-authors (including John Cook) actions were – to quote – “activism that abuses science as a weapon”

    ********************************************************************************

    DISCLAIMER: This e-mail is confidential and should not be used by anyone who is not the original intended recipient. If you have received this e-mail in error please inform the sender and delete it from your mailbox or any other storage mechanism. Neither Macmillan Publishers Limited nor Macmillan Publishers International Limited nor any of their agents accept liability for any statements made which are clearly the sender’s own and not expressly made on behalf of Macmillan Publishers Limited or Macmillan Publishers International Limited or one of their agents.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. From: Stephan Lewandowsky
    Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 11:00 AM
    To: barry.woods
    Subject: RE: Links to surverys – Skeptical Science – Guardian Article about you recent paper.

    Hi Barry, the survey was done about 2 years ago, and I don’t have the link to SkS: I worked with John Cook directly at the time and he posted it (and I made a note of it), but I don’t have the actual URL to the survey dating back to the time when he posted it. I suspect he removed it when the survey was closed because then the link would have been dead.

    Regards Steve

    From: barry.woods
    Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 5:00 AM
    To: Stephan Lewandowsky
    Subject: Links to surverys – Skeptical Science – Guardian Article about you recent paper.

    Hi Stephan

    sorry to approach you one more time.

    I cannot find the link to Skeptical Science survey, this is probably the most high profile blog with the most media/public recognition (i.e. won awards) of the ‘pro-science’ vs. the “Skeptical” blogs

    (I’m guessing Climate Audit, WUWT, Bishop Hill & maybe The Air Vent (ie Condon) and Jo Nova Winking smile) I’ve found six of the links to the opinion surveys, and the range of comments on the blogs are quite interesting as well, did you consider this feedback in the research?

    but, I would expect that Skeptical Science would have the most comments and opinions and probably the largest readership.

    Can you send me the link to the Skeptical Science blog article/comments?

    And was the survey able to capture the referring blog, as this might also give indicators of relative popularity of the blog, does the survey break down by referring blog and are these figures available?

    Best Regards

    Barry

    rather than lots of questions, if you have the supporting data, etc in an easily accessible package (without too much trouble for yourself) could you send that as well.

    If not quickly to hand, that’s fine please don’t waste any time, as I’m mainly just curious on the couple of point above. there were the links I found:

    http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2010/08/counting-your-attitudes/

    http://profmandia.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/opinion-survey-regarding-climate-change/

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/29/survey-on-attitudes-towards-cl/

    http://hot-topic.co.nz/questionnaire/

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/survey-says/

    http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/take-a-survey/

    I’m missing this blog survey link as well.

    http://www.trunity.net/uuuno/blogs/

    ——————————————————————-
    [Note Unity blog was found a couple of weeks later]

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  12. Barry, that assumption that you’re a Doctor of something, while kinda flattering, surprised me since I thought those comment-removal emails were auto generated. Now I’m upset that mine are all addressed to “Mister” Keyes 😦 LOL

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  13. Raff, I have worked in science for about 25 years at 3 institutions and in that time have come across one incident of inappropriate behaviour. SH is a crime, so to say it is rife in science is just daft. It’s for those making such a claim to justify it, not for me to prove that it isn’t true. Innocent until proven guilty.

    See also Athene Donald’s blog today, where she says that she looked into this previously and “very little came to light”.

    And abusive comments will be spam-binned.

    Like

  14. Surely you would have to ask those who vulnerable to SH rather than just state your male perspective as fact. In 30 years of professional work I have never “come across” a case of either SH or sexual or racial discrimination. Is it possible to say from that experience that they are not rife in my profession? I have also never come across colleagues using illegal drugs or viewing child porn. Can I say these things are not rife from my sheltered existence?

    Like

  15. Raff, yes indeed, and I think that is what Athene Donald is trying to do.

    Though I do feel that if it really was “rife” in our professions, you and I would know about it.

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  16. Paul, as we are likely not on the receiving end of harassment or discrimination, I doubt we would know about it. See Marnie Dunsmore’s comment to get an idea of how a complaint of harassment might affect career prospects in her industry. I doubt many of her male colleagues would even realize.

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  17. I think the article on harassment conflates sexual harassment and just harassment/bullying, although in the article linked to, it looks like there was both. Can we doubt that some researchers are nasty pieces of work? I don’t know how common it is but instead of some young female researcher, imagine it was a guy wanting to investigate the accuracy of the US temperature network. Can you imagine the abuse he might get, first from individuals and then by the wider community as he whistleblows? What about a renown professor who has decided to join the GWPF? I doubt the system is any easier if you’re a woman trying to complain about SH and bad behaviour by a senior collegue. It could easily be much harder.

    Bullies tend to pick on people they know are in a weaker position to them. To everyone else they can be charming and witty. How often are those who have committed terrible crimes described as model citizens by those they’ve never crossed? ‘Not that nice man’ was how my grandfather was defended when he walked out on the wife and kids he systematically abused while drunk. So sure were his neighbours that he was a fine man that they ostracised a tiny little woman who had ‘doormat’ woven through her soul.

    Like the author of the article, I don’t know how rife SH is but from an external position I’d say bullying is pretty common. Not sure how different it is in any workplace though. Is academia more prone to little empires?

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  18. Geoff, yes it is puzzling. In the comments he says he was surprised by the reaction to his piece. So apparently one of the top social psychologists in the field is completely unable to anticipate how people will react to the drivel that he writes.

    And he himself deliberately draws attention to the fact that he was attacked on twitter. Perhaps this is all a data-gathering exercise for his next paper, as I warned one of the Nature commenters.

    Like

  19. Paul, yeah, it seems climate psychologists are even worse than climate scientists at prediction.

    They’re past masters at projection though.

    Like

  20. Can I ask you limit the number of issues in a post? There are four major ones in this article at least. Data availability, Papers that don’t stand up to scrutiny, Dr Lew’s shocking behaviour and sexual harassment in science.

    Like

  21. Pingback: Violating the norms and ethos of science | Climate Etc.

  22. Pingback: Violating the norms and ethos of science – Enjeux énergies et environnement

  23. Pingback: Violating The Norms And Ethos Of Science | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

  24. “Can I ask you limit the number of issues in a post? There are four major ones in this article at least. Data availability, Papers that don’t stand up to scrutiny, Dr Lew’s shocking behaviour and sexual harassment in science.”

    There appears to be a troubling confluence of people and ideas at the moment whose focus would seem to be to ‘re-normalize’ science and scientific debate to be more ‘open’, more inclusive, fairer, more ethical and to offer ‘protection’ to ‘vulnerable’ members of the scientific community engaging in learning and research. Protection from all forms of harassment and protection in particular from a pernicious breed of meddlesome anti-science deniers who don’t like the conclusions of the research which issues on a daily basis from the hallowed cloisters of these new and improved scientific institutions swollen with corporate and government grants.

    So all these seemingly disparate issues are in fact part of the same corpus which seeks to undermine the Old Science and put in its place a more equitable, fairer, but paradoxically far less open and transparent New Science where progress is measured in consensus, in results generated from equal opportunities for all adhering to Approved Research, not in ground-breaking new research by bright individuals which might shed light on those troubling issues which bring into question the applicability of the consensus scientific opinion to the real world. Brilliance, talent and individualism are being driven out in favour of low quality, mass-produced confirmation science.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Judith Curry’s piece on the Lewandowsky / Bishop article is quite interesting in that she starts with the “Mertonian Norms of Science” – that describe “four sets of institutional imperatives [comprising] the ethos of modern science”
    In some ways they parallel the ideal of criminal court. That is, a new idea / hypothesis is put forward and challenged. Those putting forward the idea must conform to the same standards of evaluation as those rebutting it. Evaluation should be by outsiders. In a court, the prosecution must convince a lay jury. In science, the hypothesis must be to some extent falsifiable, or at least have some clear explanation of the real world (some prediction) that comes true despite the possibility of it being wrong and would not be predictable by other means. It cannot be like a prediction that a horse will win the 3.30 at Kempton, or that there will be some warm sunny days in the summer.
    The Lewandowsky approach seems to be that “science” should be evaluated by conformity to the expert consensus. Science is so loosely defined that an academic physicist or psychologist, or even a climate communicator working within a University building (with the occasional Guardian editorial), are to be viewed as having superior understanding of public policy to an outsider working in an independent research institute and advised by Nobel laureates in economics.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Further evidence today of what I said in the first sentence about Nature and political activism: today there’s another anonymous editorial, Better together, declaring that
    “On balance, it is the view of this journal that science, in Britain and elsewhere, would benefit from the United Kingdom remaining as a committed member of the European team. An exit decision would cause chaos and uncertainty, and could set back some projects significantly.”

    Like

  27. Jaime, thanks for that.
    It seems that stage 6 of the Lewandowsky modus operandi that I described in a comment at Coyne’s blog (accusing people of conspiracy theorising) has been reached already.

    https://jcoynester.wordpress.com/2016/01/31/further-insights-into-the-war-against-data-sharing-the-science-media-centres-letter-writing-campaign-to-uk-parliament/#comment-1589

    Also, Coyne has a new blog post, quoting my 6 stages of the Lewandowsky MO and then quoting at length one of Jose Duarte’s blog posts.

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  28. Yes, that about sums up Lewandowsky’s self-perpetuating, self-reinforcing ‘research’ into the ‘illegitimate’ questioning of science and the supposed motivations of the people who involve themselves in such nefarious activity. The man really is a complete joke and Bishop doesn’t seem much better. He thinks he knows what makes sceptics tick but with every ‘new’ and astounding academically lauded insight he merely reveals the very messed up workings of his own inner clock.

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  29. There are a few who can see what Lewandowsky claims is deceptive nonsense. Nature has demonstrated it is no longer the objective review force of time past. To continue this debate and and give both the oxygen that prolongs it seems counterproductive. Let us move forward and not down that path.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Pingback: Los alarmistas del clima quieren ocultar los datos en los que basan sus estudios – Economía y Libertad

  31. Pingback: A day of politics at Nature | Climate Scepticism

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