Bunnies may recall the controversy stirred by Lewandowsky , Oberauer and Gignac, NASA faked the moon landing therefore (climate) science is a hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science. Readers of Rabett Run and the Weasel may have noticed that this was no joke, for example, Gerhard Wisnewski featured by Willis Eschenbach on Willard Tony's blog of no repute, believes the moon landing was faked, climate science is a hoax and much much more, even worse, he has a publisher who has doubts that the moon is not made of green cheese (slight, very slight exaggeration).
At the time, several of the more suspicious amongst us, including Eli and John Mashey warned (using Silvia Tognetti's term) the cranks to be careful. Their response was simply fodder for the social scientists. Indeed just last week Eli cautioned "Herr Prof. Dr. Lewandowsky is warming up his grist mill" and, indeed it has ground exceedingly fine, with a new paper, accepted for publication
In the case of the response to our earlier paper, we were struck by the way in which some of the accusations leveled against our paper were, well, somewhat conspiratorial in nature. We therefore decided to analyze the public response to our first paper with the hypothesis in mind that this response might also involve conspiracist ideation. We systematically collected utterances by bloggers and commenters, and we sought to classify them into various hypotheses leveled against our earlier paper. For each hypothesis, we then compared the public statements against a list of criteria for conspiracist ideation that was taken from the previous literature.
This follow-up paper was accepted a few days ago by Frontiers in Psychology, and a preliminary version of the paper is already available, for open access, here.Exploding heads will notice that John Cook is one of the authors. The abstract, which may be discussed holds forth
Conspiracist ideation has been repeatedly implicated in the rejection of scientific propositions, although empirical evidence to date has been sparse. A recent study involving visitors to climate blogs found that conspiracist ideation was associated with the rejection of climate science and the rejection of other scientific propositions such as the link between lung cancer and smoking, and between HIV and AIDS (Lewandowsky, Oberauer, & Gignac, in press; LOG12 from here on). This article analyzes the response of the climate blogosphere to the publication of LOG12. We identify and trace the hypotheses that emerged in response to LOG12 and that questioned the validity of the paper's conclusions. Using established criteria to identify conspiracist ideation, we show that many of the hypotheses exhibited conspiratorial content and counterfactual thinking. For example, whereas hypotheses were initially narrowly focused on LOG12, some ultimately grew in scope to include actors beyond the authors of LOG12, such as university executives, a media organization, and the Australian government. The overall pattern of the blogosphere's response to LOG12 illustrates the possible role of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of science, although alternative scholarly interpretations may be advanced in the future.Eli cautions the cranks that there is almost certainly more to come. When you are in a hole, stop digging.