Taking the Truth Pledge

[Thanks to Vinnie Burgoo for pointing out a stupid mistake. I wrongly attributed the Psychology Today article to Professor Lewandowsky. Corrected 29 September 2018]

Barry Woods, in a series of comments at Paul’s article draws our attention to a Climate Change and Philosophy Colloquium at the Hobart and William Smith Colleges, a small, liberal arts college in Upstate New York, which offers the degrees of bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and master of arts in teaching.

The colloquium has already featured: Naomi Oreskes on Climate Change: What Now?”; Elisabeth Lloyd on “When Should We Adopt New Methods of Attributing Climate Change? Arguments on Behalf of a Causally Based Approach” We’ve met her in company of Lewandowsky and Cook. See here); and Stephan Lewandowsky on “Rational Denial of Undeniable Climate Change: When Gullibility Masquerades as Scepticism.”

It culminates on November 12th with Professor Michael E. Mann on “A Return to the Mad House: Climate Change Denial in the Age of Trump.”

Mann is a pioneering climate scientist who [sic] groundbreaking research… has reconstructed climate history to prove — notably with the “hockey stick” graph — that climate change is human caused… Mann has been recognized with honors and awards including including [sic sic] the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize…

Videos of the Oreskes, Lloyd and Lewandowsky talks are available at the above link.

Barry’s second link is to this article at Psychology Today in which Dr Gleb Tsipursky tells us about his new project, the Pro-Truth Pledge:

Take the Pro-Truth Pledge to encourage politicians – and everyone else – to commit to truth-oriented behaviors and protect facts and civility. Join 8751 signers, 87 organizations, 640 government officials, and 878 public figures and take the pledge, demand that your elected representatives do so, and encourage your friends to take it!

Well, I’ve taken the pledge, and I did it on behalf of Climate Scepticism, without waiting for a vote at a plenary session of the Cliscep Collective. Sorry about that guys, but I couldn’t resist the offer:

This is your chance to get the positive public recognition your group deserves for taking the pledge.

Furthermore, I succumbed to their plea for a full confession:

Please share why your group took the pledge and what you hope to accomplish by taking it. We will send your message to those who signed up for the Pro-Truth Pledge Updates.

Replying thus:

We aim to inject rational discussion into the arena of climate change by fostering dialogue between differing views on the reality and the importance of, and the appropriate reactions to, climate change, as well as discussion of the philosophical, psychological, and sociological nature of the climate change debate.

Now, I didn’t ask any of my colleagues’ permission about this. I did send them an email a few hours ago, but they have lives to lead, on three continents, and despite the resources of a multi-billion dollar fossil fuel-fuelled climate denial industry, they can’t be always on call. One of us is saving up for a visit to the dentist; others are busy finishing their studies or trying to earn a living. So the responsibility for the pledge is entirely my own; but the chance to explain why we at Climate Scepticism fully endorse Dr Tsipursky’s plea for Truth was too good to miss. Anyone can follow up my pledging and make their own pledge (or not) and add their own comment at their site.

What I’ve signed up to is this:

I Pledge My Earnest Efforts To:

Share truth

Verify: fact-check information to confirm it is true before accepting and sharing it

Balance: share the whole truth, even if some aspects do not support my opinion

Cite: share my sources so that others can verify my information

Clarify: distinguish between my opinion and the facts

Honor truth

Acknowledge: acknowledge when others share true information, even when we disagree otherwise

Reevaluate: reevaluate if my information is challenged, retract it if I cannot verify it

Defend: defend others when they come under attack for sharing true information, even when we disagree otherwise

Align: align my opinions and my actions with true information

Encourage truth

Fix: ask people to retract information that reliable sources have disproved even if they are my allies

Educate: compassionately inform those around me to stop using unreliable sources even if these sources support my opinion

Defer: recognize the opinions of experts as more likely to be accurate when the facts are disputed

Celebrate: celebrate those who retract incorrect statements and update their beliefs toward the truth

Who could quibble with that? For example, take my last pledge: to “celebrate those who retract incorrect statements and update their beliefs toward the truth.” Of course I celebrate the retraction of Professor Lewandowsky’s Recursive Fury paper with its many hundreds of incorrect statements. What a shame he had to make more incorrect statements about the reasons for its retraction.

Careful readers may note that I have also pledged to:

Defer: recognize the opinions of experts as more likely to be accurate when the facts are disputed.

Well, I’ll swallow that one, even though I know that my opinion of what constitutes an expert may differ from that of fellow-pledger Stephan Lewandowsky. But that’s no problem, because we’ve both pledged to:

compassionately inform those around [us] to stop using unreliable sources even if these sources support [our] opinion[s].

Me: Stop using unreliable sources, Stephan.

Lew: Who, unreliable?

Me: John Cook, for example.

Lew: ?

Me: You asked John Cook to post your Moon Hoax survey on his SkepticalScience blog in July 2010, and he said he would, but he didn’t. Then, when you pre-published your “Moon Hoax” paper, which falsely claimed that it had been published at Cook’s website, he kept mum. Barry Woods and I revealed the mistake in early August 2012, but by then you’d already hired Cook to work on your (later retracted) “Recursive Fury” paper, designed to portray Barry and me and scores of other people as paranoids incapable of rational thought. Late in September 2012, when you asked Cook why he hadn’t included material about the (non) appearance of his survey at SkepticalScience in his list of conspiracy theories compiled for your follow up paper, he gave an evasive answer. He was less than frank with you, and went on to take a doctorate under your supervision, which is how he became a professor at George Mason University. Drop him, Professor Lewandowsky, before he lands you in it again.

And again and again.

Yours, compassionately,

your friend, Geoff.

Dr Tsipursky has publicised his findings that signing the Truth Pledge has been proved to make people more truthful, demonstrated in two peer review studies, at Psychology Today, whose website lists four sections, the first two of which are labelled “Find a therapist”’ and “Get help.” Unfortunately my ancient browser won’t let me access these.

From the Tsipursky article I learn that, of his two papers demonstrating the effectiveness of taking his truth pledge, the first one is based on a survey of 24 informants. The second one “… to address the weakness of the first study’s reliance on self-reporting… sampled 21 people…”

Those are not big samples. I hope we get a bigger sample reporting on their reactions to the Truth Pledge in comments here.

The Pro-Truth Pledge project is a project of Intentional Insights which is:

an educational nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit devoted to promoting science-based truth-seeking, rational thinking, and wise decision-making.

It was founded by Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, a behavioral science expert and consultant on decision-making and social and emotional intelligence, and Agnes Vishnevkin, who holds an MBA in Nonprofit Management from Brandeis University and has more than 10 years of experience in fundraising, grantmaking, strategic planning, and social enterprise.

They have an advisory Board of ten experts, including:

August E. Brunsman IV, member of the Humanist Society and humanist celebrant performing nontheistic ceremonies and services.

Felicia Winfree Cravens, who promotes truth via her Unfakery Facebook page. She founded the Houston Tea Party Society in 2009… Felicia is also a seventh-generation Texan, and mentions it to the point of being obnoxious.

Susan McLean who is a grant writer and prospect researcher in Northern California. Her interests include geology, hiking, and humor. Her master’s degree in mass communication makes imperious people respect her expertise, while her bachelor’s degree in art frightens no one.

Lorenzo T. Neal who is the senior pastor of the New Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Jackson, MS.

Peter Singer, named by Time magazine in 2005 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

and Stephan Lewandowsky, who is a cognitive scientist at the University of Bristol in the UK. His most recent research interests examine the potential conflict between human cognition and the physics of the global climate, which has led him into research in climate science and climate modeling. Professor Lewandowsky has contributed around 50 opinion pieces to the global media on issues related to climate change “skepticism” and the coverage of science in the media.

Great people, great people. Happy to sign up with them. Peace and love.

39 thoughts on “Taking the Truth Pledge

  1. “The “Truth” Pledge” is one of the more evil steps yet taken by the climate obsessed in their long march towards the cliff they are determined to jump off of.
    Thank you for posting this and keeping their pathetic efforts to destroy civilization documented.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are two reasons I can think of why I would personally never pledge to ‘share, honour and encourage’ truth.

    Firstly, ‘truth’ is extremely hard to define and is often open to interpretation. It is not an absolute. The best one can hope for is to strive to promote what one reasonably assesses to be the ‘truth’. Actually, no, the best we can do is share the best evidence we have which appears to point in the direction of the truth and give others the space to share their ‘best evidence’, which may point in a slightly different, or even opposite direction. This is a far more empirically rooted aspiration, unlike the rather more subjective goal of ‘sharing, honouring and encouraging’ something which we arbitrarily call Truth, which we can never be 100% sure is deserving of that lofty epithet.

    Secondly, this truth pledge is really a pledge to consciously strive to behave in a more ethical and moral way. This necessarily implies that one sets (and resets) one’s moral and ethical compass consciously, according to externally derived standards. But this is only half the story. Moral and ethical guidance comes from within and without and both are in constant dynamic interplay. So any conscious pledge to behave morally and ethically is essentially meaningless, as moral and ethical guidance is (or should be) partly derived via the unconscious which, if the unconscious is integrating successfully with consciousness, will sometimes – but not always – contradict externally derived moral and ethical guidance, which is not infallible. We also cannot assume internally derived ethical and moral guidance is infallible, which is why it is so important to have a universally agreed framework of ethics in our professions. The problem today is that those universally agreed standards of ethics and morals (developed over thousands of years) are under attack and are actively being broken down by ‘progressives’ intent on re-ordering society according to their own vision of what is ‘correct’ and ‘just’. So taking a ‘truth pledge’ by agreeing to consciously act in a moral and ethical manner is a somewhat dubious proposition in a time when ‘truth’ is being constantly being molded in the service of political expedience and ‘morality’ is being redefined in the image of ‘social justice’ and cultural relativism.

    So as far as I’m concerned, this ‘Truth Pledge’ thing is pants and I’m fully supportive of Geoff signing it on behalf of us all at Cliscep in the thinly veiled, cynical and mocking way which he has.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. The pledge that I would have liked to have seen was:

    Distrust Truth

    Question: Do not assume an assertion is truthful simply because it emanates from a ‘reliable’ source.

    Contextualise: Recognise that all claims for truth are subjective and even the best efforts to render them objective will be effected by cultural context.

    Liberalise: Avoid oversimplification and recognise that truth is often not a binary concept, allowing instead for degrees of seemingly contradictory wisdom.

    Explore: Resist the temptation to stop looking for weaknesses in one’s own position just because it feels so strong.

    Realise: Recognise that uncertainty is usually greater than you think it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There is a word for this development, epistocracy. From Steven Novella:

    “OK – this is my new favorite word: epistocracy. I first encountered it reading an article about attempts by the Indian government to control what passes for knowledge. It has the same root as “epistomology” – which is the philosophy of knowledge, or how to legitimately separate opinion from fact.

    Epistocracy is essentially rule by the knowledegable. It is a relatively new term (the oldest reference I could find was from 2015), and replaces an older term, noocracy (dating from the 1930s). It refers to any system in which voting rights are restricted by some measure of intelligence or knowledge. The most recent advocacy for epistocracy was by Georgetown University political philosopher Jason Brennan, in his controversial book, Against Democracy.

    But the article about the Indian government’s epistocracy is about something else – something more subtle and insidious. This is not about rule by the knowledgeable, but rule through the control of not only knowledge, but what constitutes knowledge. This kind of epistocracy does not require a constitutional amendment, just an erosion of understanding and respect for genuine knowledge and expertise. It might only need a relative prioritizing of partisanship over process and fairness (sound familiar?).”

    https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/the-new-epistocracy/

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Here is Novella’s main point:
    “Essentially the Indian government is using their political power to insert rank pseudoscience into textbooks – but pseudoscience that is meant to glorify Indian culture. This, in turn, is justified through a subtle but powerful logical twist. The idea begins with the truism that knowledge is power. It then reverses this idea, making into the claim that power is knowledge.

    Historically, they argue, the West has used their power to impose their knowledge onto India. And now India has to take back their power by imposing their own knowledge – one that is gratifying to Indians, and celebrates their cultural contributions. Who cares if some of those contributions are fictitious – and what is fact anyway? There are no facts, only power.”

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  6. Ron,

    In one of those rare and seemingly very meaningful moments of synchronicity, I read your posts, logged onto Twitter and this was the very first tweet I saw:

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is another very recent tweet by Thomas. How very apt a description of “The Truth Pledge”!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I find the most interesting bolded word in the pledge to be, “Balance”. Does this mean Lew is going to stop deleting comments that disagree with him?

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  9. JAIME
    I’ve only read conservative political commenter Thomas Sowell on free access articles on the internet, but he seems to be one of the most perceptive commenters on contemporary society around.

    On your first comment, I plead guilty to “the thinly veiled, cynical and mocking way,” but I do actually take this thing seriously. Combatting fake news is becoming the subject of the decade, and Lew is setting himself up as an expert on fake news, conspiracy theory and climate denialism, all rolled into one. You can see where this might lead.

    I can sign up to those principles with no qualms, except for the deferring one. So let’s make the distinction between deferring to experts and deferring to authority – an easy enough point to make. I agree the principles might have enunciated with a bit more care, but this is something we can surely basically agree with? We spend most of our time countering fake news, after all. The fact that in this combat we have Lew on our side only makes it more interesting.

    Once I signed up, I got a chatty email telling how sticking the truth label and motto on my website would bring the truth-loving punters running. It’s all a bit naïve and quixotic, but well-meaning. On his facebook page, founder Gleb says “wouldn’t it be nice if we remembered that even those on the opposite ideological extreme share about 90% of our values?”

    By the way, what’s the etiquette about stuff on facebook posts? Is it ok to quote them? I was only on facebook for a day or two several years ago, so I don’t know how to use it. I’ve got loads of friends though, most of whom I’ve never heard of.

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  10. I’d say the biggest shibboleth to beware of is “false balance”. That’s the biggest justification for exclusion and marginalization.

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  11. Now that you’ve signed the truth pledge, Geoff, you probably won’t mind me pointing out that the Psychology Today article was by Tsipursky, not Lewandowsky. (And the final ‘s’ is missing from your link to the article.)

    Would you have minded before? Prolly not. But pledging changes the picture. You now have to make a big deal out of doing what you would have done anyway, so I’ll have a very big thank you, please.

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  12. Vinny,

    I fear this pledge business may already be getting out of hand. Earlier I recognised that I’d made a typographical error within a comment, and two people ‘celebrated’ my retraction by pressing the ‘like’ button.

    Why do I feel I am now a member of a cult.

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  13. Vinny
    I do care, and since I’m a changed person now, I’ll re-evaluate what I’ve done, defer to you, acknowledge your help, fix it, and align my actions with true information. And I hope you’ll bloody well celebrate my update towards the truth.

    Many thanks.

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  14. Geoff, combating fake news and misinformation appears to be subtly different from pledging to ‘share, honour and encourage truth. I could certainly sign up to that endeavour with no qualms. I could also certainly pledge to be as honest and straightforward as I possibly can when communicating to the public. That’s definitely something we could all agree on I think. Then again, Lew’s idea of fake news and misinformation is probably rather different from ours.

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  15. Geoff: I haven’t signed the pledge. I can do what I want.

    John: Ah, cults! My fave was founded by Jenny James, Bertrand Russell’s personal assistant at The Committee of 100 in the early 60s. The newly merged CliScep/IntIns has a long way to go before it gets quite this culty:

    http://www.npostart.nl/floortje-naar-het-einde-van-de-wereld/11-01-2018/BV_101385628

    An off-grid matriarchal anti-education anti-medicine bigly pro-Che collection of leaky shacks in darkest, FARCest Colombia.

    (I do admire their courage, though.)

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  16. I just got a mail presumably emanating from the ProTruthPledge people:

    Dear geoff chambers,

    Congratulations! You have successfully registered for the GYLF Global Youth Leaders Forum) Online Conference scheduled to hold on the 10th of November 2018

    I didn’t get a reply to my query about Facebook etiquette, but I suppose if you’re committed to spreading Truth, that must mean the whole truth and nothing but. I’ve corrected a silly mistake that Vinnie Burgoo pointed out. I thought that the article at Psychology Today about the Pro-Truth Pledge and the two studies with twenty odd informants were by Lewandowsky, when in fact they’re by Gleb Tsipursky. Lew is merely on the advisory board. Thanks to my newfound niceness I refrained from making sarky comments about Lew that would have made me look even more stupid, and I thank Gleb for that.

    Gleb is a Disaster Avoidance Expert, ProTruthPledge and Intentional Insights co-founder, Gardener and Cat Person. There’s not a lot else at his facebook page, except that he’s proud of his article being the fifth most popular piece at the Scientific American website. (That was in 2017.)

    He recently lost his health insurance due to being forced out of Ohio State University as a result of mental illness discrimination, and he is appealing for $6,400 financial support for his treatment. Apart from that, and the fact that he’s changed his profile photo (he still looks very young) there’s nothing else this year, except a photo from a CNN article of the Queen and Prince Philip sharing a joke about Donald Trump. For some reason Gleb thinks this is an example of CNN shooting itself in the foot, and would be a violation of the Pledge, if CNN had signed it. This is odd, but surely not a reason for being sacked from Ohio State?

    I’ve just discovered something that nine or ten billion other people no doubt already know, that you can’t copy and paste from Facebook. This means that all communication, whether of truth, or of false news has to be conducted via Mr Zuckerberg, a bit like in a monastery. Luckily some of us have retained the skills of a mediaeval scribe, and can copy important information by hand.

    Vinny
    Your link from naar het einde van de wereld is far out. They must be wereld champions in the green air miles stakes.

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  17. Just to keep things in perspective:

    On the evidence of the extent to which published results are failing to stand up to the challenge of repeatability, science is currently in crisis. So we have a problem with truthiness even before the feckless journalists and tendentious activists get involved. Whilst we can all agree that maintaining certain standards of personal integrity will do no harm, this will go nowhere near towards dealing with the fundamental problem – most of us wouldn’t know the truth if it fell upon our heads from a great height, and turning ‘truth’ into a proper noun will not help.

    Coincidentally, I had already submitted an article illustrating this point, just before Geoff’s post was published. It is currently receiving some editorial attention but I’m hoping it will appear shortly so that it may be read with Geoff’s post still fresh in the mind.

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  18. Making the pledge for ideological purity is what this latest effort involving Lewandowsky imposing more authoritarianism is.
    His gang of censorious soft science thugs know nothing of science or history.
    They only seek to control debate, thought and society by ending critical thinking, open debate and discovery.
    Discoveries only happen because a person( group) decides to question the accepted consensus.
    Under the wildly misnamed “truth pledge” discovering things will be as dangerous as being a witch in the dark ages.
    Or a Jewish scientist in 1930s Germany.
    Or a Soviet era Darwinian biologist in the age of Lysenko.
    What a heritage Lewandowsky and his disgusting thugs are part of.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Truth is what you make it:

    In 2004, Moser and Dilling produced a paper called “MAKING CLIMATE HOT – COMMUNICATING THE URGENCY AND CHALLENGE OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE” in which they advocated as one strategy, the use of religious leaders to communicate the message. That tactic reached its zenith with the enrolment of the Pope by Professor Schellnhuber in 2015.

    “Making Climate Hot” can be found here:
    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-1734-2005.22.pdf

    “The deeper question, however, is whether scientists are always the best messengers, even on a complex issue like climate change. Pioneering industry leaders will be more legitimate to industry audiences; a religious leader more legitimate as carrier of the moral argument.

    Even more creatively, can we employ the skills of artists, storytellers, and musicians to popularize a “dry” scientific matter as—ultimately—a deeply human affair?

    Consider also that, for example, an African American speaker will tend to have greater legitimacy with an African American audience than a non-African American speaker would.”

    It was in the December 2004 issue of Environment, volume 46, no. 10, pages 32–46. Part of a special “Beyond Kyoto” issue.

    It seems to have been a useful handbook. Still in the mix, Susanne Moser was an author for AR4 and 5 and is a member of the Scientific Steering Committee for the IPCC’s Special Report on the “Impacts of 1.5 Deg C and Associated Emissions Pathways,” shortly to hit the media.

    In 2006, Labour think tank IPPR produced a booklet called “Warm Words – How are we telling the Climate Story and can we tell it better”

    https://www.ippr.org/publications/warm-wordshow-are-we-telling-the-climate-story-and-can-we-tell-it-better

    Sample:
    “To help address the chaotic nature of the climate change discourse in the UK today, interested agencies now need to treat the argument as having been won, at least for popular communications. This means simply behaving as if climate change exists and is real, and that individual actions are effective. The ‘facts’ need to be treated as being so taken-for-granted that they need not be spoken.[their own quotes on ‘facts’]

    Ultimately, positive climate behaviours need to be approached in the same way as marketeers approach acts of buying and consuming. This is the relevant context for climate change communications in the UK today – not the increasingly residual models of public service or campaigning communications. It amounts to treating climate-friendly activity as a brand that can be sold. This is, we believe, the route to mass behaviour change.”

    Archived at The Ministry of Truth…or is that the BBC?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Mann is a pioneering climate scientist who [sic] groundbreaking research… has reconstructed climate history to prove — notably with the “hockey stick” graph — that climate change is human caused

    One or two truth issues there :/

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Those who advocate climate truth would not recognize it if it were presented on a silver platter, nor would they accept it if it were offered on a golden one. The unvarnished truth is unpalatable for most, malleable, and not especially appreciated, even by those who would pledge their soul to uphold it. Pledgees should neither be believed nor trusted.

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  22. I considered taking the pledge.
    However, it immediately occurred to me that this would interfere with one of my basic instincts, which is to lie to pollsters. Seemingly because I am happy to do polls, I do a lot of them. This makes me question the basic methodology- doesn’t seem like a random sample.
    In all other matters, like most adults, I discovered long ago that it is simpler to tell the truth (as I perceive it) than not to- at least when what or how I think is anyone’s business to know.

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  23. What is the point of a Truth Pledge to a scientist? When communicating new material you are already bound by codes of conduct. When submitting work for publication you usually sign a document stating that the work is not submitted elsewhere, is new and was done by the named authors (well I always did). I don’t ever recall being asked if the results are not faked, and I believe this is because truthfulness is assumed and, at least in part, guaranteed by the institution(s) to whom the author(s) are linked. When data is proven to be false, this is usually highly publicized and consequences for the authors are usually (and rightly) dire.
    As an aside, this topic is linked to peer review, which is commonly misunderstood. Commonly the cry goes up that peer review of climate papers has been inadequate, the data (such that it is) is suspect and reviewers have failed in their task. But is it the job of reviewers to check data, and exactly how is this to be done? The authors know the data better than anyone. Reviewers tasks are to examine whether the data support the conclusions reached, and determine if proper reference to previous work has been made. Reviewers are commonly asked if the submitted paper is suitable for the journal to which it has been submitted (my last manuscript, for example, was considered by my highly biased reviewers and editor to be too parochial by one journal). Peer review is not meant to guarantee truth. As a reviewer I never felt obliged to check any data, nor would I know how I could do that. As an external examiner I could have requested sight of notebooks, but if I had done so it may well have caused offense. Determination of data truth should be in the remit of the student’s supervisors.
    I should add that geology is not usually highly controversial and cutthroat. Medicine and climate science are different and perhaps peer review proceeds with different rules and expectations, but I think not.

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  24. Lewandowsky tweets as STWorg. He has just reacted to Jeremy Hunt’s comments comparing the EU to the USSR:

    There is no rock bottom below which a Brexiteer cannot find another basement. I am thoroughly disgusted at the casual moral depravity of current UK leadership. This initially took me by complete surprise, having always held UK in high esteem.

    It was a real eye-opener to visit Belfast recently and to find that for many people there, the recent eruption of Tory depravity (I cannot think of another term) is neither new nor surprising.

    FWIW I may find it difficult to overcome my growing repugnance at the way the UK is reshaping itself into a contemptible nationalist cesspool. This is sad but there is only so much nastiness, mendacity, and unprovoked aggression I can overlook. Frankly, yuk.

    As far as I can find out (from the Daily Mail. The Guardian didn’t have a direct quote) what Hunt said was this:

    ‘What happened to the confidence and ideals of the European dream? The EU was set up to protect freedom. It was the Soviet Union that stopped people leaving,’

    Anyone see a problem with this?

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  25. Lew moaning about depravity is a nice example of projection, as well as an example of how slimeballs will abuse their pathetic (anti)truth pledge.

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  26. Barry Woods’ first link https://www.hws.edu/academics/philosophy/colloquium.aspx
    is to a talk Lewandowsky gave at a university recently entitled “Rational denial of undeniable climate change: When gullibility masquerades as scepticism.”

    The sound quality is too poor for transcription, but you can follow the argument thanks to the slides. The first 25 minutes are all about Trump and fake news. Then he gets on to climate scepticism with the claim that “climate change is the crucible of the “post-truth” world.” There’s some blather about what Imhofe said in 2003 and something Christopher Booker got wrong in 2011. As a debunking of all the criticisms that have been levelled at climate science it’s not very thorough somehow.

    Then at 42 minutes it gets intreresting with these two quotes (I think from Bishop Hill:

    Tiny CO2 November 16 2013 at 11.15am
    I think Lewandowsky is in the pay of big oil and he is part of a conspiracy to make warmists look like nutters who do poor work.

    Scottish Sceptic November 15 2013
    I think Lewandowsky is in the pay of big oil and he is a part of a conspiracy to make sceptics fearful of suggesting there is a conspiracy so that we dare not mention that this is real conspiracy tom make us think there is another conspiracy to make us miss the real conspiracy that isn’t there.

    He reads out the latter quote slowly to laughter from the audience and says: “You know, what on earth does that mean? I dunno. But to me that sounds gullible, to me.. So how do we go from here? Well I go from here by skipping over a study – you know, it’s such a boring study – it’s got to a point.. I really don’t want to talk about it…”

    So he doesn’t (It’s ‘Recurrent Fury,’ the study which improved on the lies in the retracted ‘Recursive Fury’ by actually making up the evidence) and goes on to discuss “The Alice in Wonderland mechanics of rejection of (climate) science: simulating coherence by conspiracism” (Lewandowsky Cook & Lloyd).

    It’s difficult to believe, but watching him, I get the impression he really doesn’t understand that Tiny CO2 and Scottish Sceptic are having fun at his expense. He says he thinks they’re gullible. What’s going on here?

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  27. Barry
    Funny you should mention that. I thought Gleb had a touch of Alene about him. But Lew has been in the USA/Australia/UK all his adult life.

    While you’re there, you say in your comment at Paul’s article: “… not only is he signing it.. he is organising it.. ! Take an extra look at the – Encourage Truth -section!”

    I took a look but couldn’t see anything to suggest that Lewandowsky is organising it. It’s a very baroque site mind you, with loads of links to other parts of the site, so I may have missed it. Can you give details?

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  28. “The Pro-Truth Pledge project is a project of Intentional Insights, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. ”
    https://www.protruthpledge.org/

    Prof Lewandowsky is on the Advisory Board
    https://intentionalinsights.org/advisory-board/

    “Unsurprisingly, signers include prominent leaders in the misinformation-fighting movement, and one of the most prominent scholars of misinformation, Stephan Lewandowsky, is on the Advisory Board of the organization running the Pro-Truth Pledge project, Intentional Insights.”

    from the Psychology Today article….
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/intentional-insights/201809/how-do-we-bring-back-truthfulness

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  29. Have you lot seen this yet?

    http://effective-altruism.com/ea/12z/concerns_with_intentional_insights/

    Pretty damning. (And there’s more elsewhere. He seems to have a lot of enemies.)

    That was from Oct 2016, two months before he started the Pro-Truth Pledge. Some people who have a nervous breakdown reinvent themselves as life coaches or counsellors as a way of getting over it. This is a ‘thing’. It happens quite a lot. And it seems to be what Tsipursky and his wife did with Intentional Insights, which originally was about promoting ways to lead happier, more meaningful lives. They had both had nervous breakdowns and all of a sudden they were life coaches.

    A few years later, he’s being accused of dishonesty. So what does he do? He reinvents himself as a champion of truth.

    There’s a pattern there.

    (I thought the ‘disaster avoidance expert’ thing also fitted the pattern but he started calling himself that at least a year before he was kicked out of Ohio State.)

    Other malarkeys have surfaced since he set up the Pro-Truth Pledge, notably his habit of charging his Patreon patrons for content created by others and which is freely available online and for doing so without the permission of the content creators. He has said that he won’t link to content if its creators ask him not to but he continues to charge his patrons for links to videos and podcasts made by other people. He excuses this by saying that he appears in the linked content and his patrons are financially supporting those appearances, not the linked content itself. I know almost nothing about Patreon but that seems an odd way of looking at things. Though if his patrons are happy… (I wonder if any are InIn/PTP employees.)

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Here is a consequentialist defence of lying that Tsipursky offered shortly before launching his absolutist Pro-Truth Pledge:

    https://srconstantin.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/ea-has-a-lying-problem/#comment-1222

    Do we want to be honest, he asked, or do we want to do the most good? For example, should we tell lies to a rich dying uncle so we can steer his money towards a cause we think is important and away from what we see as a lesser cause but which the uncle thinks is important?

    If you do not lie, that’s fine, but don’t pretend that you care about doing the most good, please. Just don’t. You care about being as transparent and honest as possible over doing the most good.

    If you do lie to your uncle, then you do care about doing the most good.

    It was a poor example (you’d have to be a right little shit to behave like that at a relative’s deathbed) and Tsipursky didn’t argue his position very well but good arguments for consequentialism do exist.

    And yet just two months later Tsipursky seemed to have abandoned it entirely. Here is the first article of the original 13-article Pro-Truth Pledge as it was at its launch in March 2017*:

    Sacrifice: I will strive to avoid sharing misinformation – including clear lies, statements that go against reliable fact-checking organizations, or the scientific consensus on a given topic – even in service to a cause I believe is good.

    Quite a volte-face – quite the little Kant all of a sudden.

    The ‘Sacrifice’ thing is a bit puzzling. It was an odd label to attach to a repudiation of personal dishonesty. Whose sacrifice? Of what? Tsipursky’s sacrifice of his usual working methods so he could rebuild his reputation after the run-ins with the humanists? Or perhaps he meant that people who might have been helped by lies were being sacrificed on the altar of truth. Neither interpretation would demonstrate a wholehearted commitment to truth.

    But never mind. That first article was ditched a few months later and you can now sign the current 12-article Pro-Truth Pledge without any sacrifice whatsoever.

    Which is how things should be with virtue-signalling.

    ===
    *I said earlier that the Pro-Truth Pledge was launched in Dec 2016. I was misled by several statements to that effect by Tsipursky himself but in fact he launched it in March 2017. Pro-Truth Pledge truths can be hard to pin down.

    Like

  31. VINNY
    Gleb’s original Sacrifice promise contains the promise not to share “statements that go against reliable fact-checking organizations, or the scientific consensus.”

    Gleb has just backed up that promise in an article on the truthpledge newsletter which he wrote for Scientific American last August:
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/truth-isnt-truth-giuliani-borrows-from-the-climate-denial-tobacco-company-playbook/

    in which he cites Cook, Oreskes and Lewandowsky.

    Like

  32. Glebs’ article is a huge demonstration that he has the analytical skills of a three toed sloth.
    Not to insult Sloths.

    Like

  33. Hunter: ‘Glebs’ article is a huge demonstration that he has the analytical skills of a three toed sloth.’

    It’s yet another of his thinly disguised plugs for the PTP. He gets to the important bit via a long diversion about climate denial that starts and ends with a claim that Giuliani had denied the existence of objective truth, but he hadn’t, so the diversion is an irrelevance and the whole article can be summed up as ‘Giuliani is a big smelly poo, so sign my Pro-Truth Pledge’.

    Liked by 1 person

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