This article, like the last two here, is about this important article (Lewandowsky, Mann, Brown, Friedman).
If you haven’t been following, Lew has been standing by his Mann, and together they’ve been throwing up smokescreens around their troubled oeuvres.
Their first campaign enlisted three innocent medical researchers as fellow resistance fighters in the subterranean war on science.
This was the paper in which Lew mentions being labelled in an anonymous email as a “Nazi zionist kike”—unpleasant, but what’s it got to do with peer reviewed science?
The purpose of mentioning this vile insult (which strangely echoes one of Lew’s tell-tale signs of conspiracy ideation—self-contradiction) was clearly to taint us sceptics, who are the main target of the article. (Yes, articles at Psychological Science have targets. But, as editor-in-chief Professor Eric Eich of Vancouver University patiently explained to me, those targetted are perfectly at liberty to reply with peer reviewed articles of their own).
Lewandowsky comes back to the subject of hate mail in the new article, with a quote from an anonymous correspondent who “wanted to see him ‘six feet under’.” Then, directly after the mention of death threats, comes this:
Those public attacks are often paralleled by prolific complaints to scientists’ host institutions with allegations of research misconduct. The format of such complaints ranges from brief enraged emails to the submission of detailed multi-page dossiers…
I confess. I’m guilty of sending “detailed multi-page dossiers” to Lewandowsky’s university and to the publishers of his articles. So, I believe, are other members of the Climate Sceptic team. Should we confess straight away to being the authors of the death threat, or the “Nazi zionist kike” email? Or should we point out that associating a vile anonymous anti-semitic email with the valid complaints of individuals defamed in an article is itself defamatory? The last time we made this point Lewandowsky sent his lawyers to the editors of the journal concerned and publicly accused us of bullying and harrassment. It ended badly for Lew, since the article was retracted.
Another complaint in the first Lew/Mann paper was about being bitten by a “sock puppet”.
Other attempts of intimidation have involved the solicitation of potentially compromising information from the first author by a non-existent internet “sock puppet” whose unknown creators pretended to be victimized by climate deniers — and who then splattered the private correspondence on the internet
Most people might feel slightly embarrassed at falling for a very obvious practical joke. Not Lew, who describes in detail his pratfall – in a peer reviewed paper, no less. Again, is this what science is for, to reveal the idiocy of its practitioners?
In February 2012 it was revealed that Peter Gleick, a reputed scientist working at the Pacific Institute, had assumed a false identity in order to obtain private correspondence from the Heartland Institute. Lewandowsky is on record as defending the action of Peter Gleick.
If it’s OK to assume a false identity in order to perform an illegal act, why not to perform a perfectly legal practical joke?
Or even the perfectly legal act of insulting oneself? Certainly; nothing in Lewandowsky’s publicly professed moral code would prevent it. Was it Lewandowsky who sent the email calling himself a “Nazi zionist kike”? Why shouldn’t he? After all, Lewandowsky has written a long learned article justifying such action.
Apparently sock-puppeting is OK when practiced by scientists like Gleick. Lew’s correspondent was not a sock puppet but a practical joker, and a very funny one. Think about this. A distinguished professor at a distinguished British university is writing peer reviewed articles in reputable scientific journals to complain about being the victim of a (very funny) practical joke, and to announce that he has received hate mail. Who hasn’t? What scientific conclusions are we supposed to draw from this?
We’ve had some fun discussing this article here, but the real action has been at the blog of one of the article’s authors, Nick Brown.
Several Cliscep authors have been active there; in fact, 23 of the first 25 comments are fom Cliscep authors or sympathisers. The only commenter I hadn’t heard of (DH Hunter) airs criticisms similar to ours, and is answered fully by Nick Brown. Congratulations to Nick. I’ve rarely seen a thread in which sceptics have been allowed to express themselves with such freedom. (Comments are delayed by moderation, which explains why there’s none of the cut and thrust of witty repartee to be found on our own blog…)
Then along came Sou, with:
BTW – were you warned about the band of Stephan Lewandowsky’s stalkers, who probably have a Google alert in place? If you weren’t, you’ve now experienced them first hand. (They are serial harassers/defamers who’ve been cultivating their grudge for something like three or four years now. To call it an obsession would be a vast understatement.)
Why should Nick need warning about us? He’s the joint author of a paper which states that we’re part of a dangerous conspiracy in receipt of “up to US$1billion” already.
The fact that we “probably have a Google alert in place” obviously increases our dangerosity. But should we apologise? I quote from “Recursive Fury” the retracted (but still available on the internet) article by Lewandowsky et al (h/t Barry Woods):
the second phase of the research used Google Alerts to detect newly published material matching the search term “Stephan Lewandowsky”…
Sou, along with commenter Andthentheresphysics, is one of those ardent defenders of Lewandowsky and Mann who prefers to remain anonymous. We sock puppets understand.