By Jon Ray
I have been posting about the Green/Left 6 days a week for many years, so you would think I would be suffering from burnout by now. But on the contrary, I often find the whole thing amusing. The stuff that Warmists come out with in great seriousness is often so silly that one has to laugh. And Stephan Lewandowski really is a lamebrain.
He is a psychologist and has latched onto the old "ad hominem" Leftist idea that he can discredit conservative arguments by showing that conservatives are not right in the head. Psychologists have been trying to do that at least since 1950 and they have come up with some lulus in the course of pursuing that goal. The oddest one was their claim (p. 343) that Communist dictators such as Stalin, Khrushchev and Castro are conservative. But if Communist leaders and ideologues are conservatives, who is a Leftist? More on that here and here. And the "research" concerned has been much acclaimed! It's pretty clear who the twisted minds actually are. It is conservatives who are the normals.
One would feel sorry for Leftists if they were not so aggressive. They are so desperate for self-validation that they will believe just about anything that tends to support their beliefs.
Lewandowski burst onto the Warmist scene with an alleged study of climate skeptics which did indeed do the job of finding them not right in the head. The only problem was that there was absoutely no evidence that the people he "studied" were in fact a representative sample of climate skeptics. There are in fact some grounds for concluding that many of those studied were in fact from the Green/Left. Be that as it may, Lewandowski clearly has the typical psychologist's insouciance about sampling and thus conducted a study of no demonstrable generalizability. He might as well have filled out all his questionaires by himself.
Lewandowski is such a nut that he even got himself disowned by the Warmist establishment. All Warmists hate the "hiatus" in warming that has dominated this century and a couple of them have tried various tricks to "abolish" it -- to show that there really has been no "hiatus". And Lewandowski was one of those. His work was so shoddy, however that in the Fyfe et al. paper the Warmist heavies disowned the claim and reaffirmed that there was a 21st century temperature slowdown, which they explained as due to "special" factors. The joint authors of that paper were: John C. Fyfe, Gerald A. Meehl, Matthew H. England, Michael E. Mann, Benjamin D. Santer, Gregory M. Flato, Ed Hawkins, Nathan P. Gillett, Shang-Ping Xie, Yu Kosaka & Neil C. Swart. Mann and Santer are particularly well-known Warmists.
Anyway, on to Lewandowski's latest brainwave -- under the heading: "A blind expert test of contrarian claims about climate data". I think I had better reproduce its abstract before I go any further:
"Although virtually all experts agree that CO2 emissions are causing anthropogenic global warming, public discourse is replete with contrarian claims that either deny that global warming is happening or dispute a human influence. Although the rejection of climate science is known to be driven by ideological, psychological, and political factors rather than scientific disagreement, contrarian views have considerable prominence in the media. A better understanding of contrarian discourse is therefore called for. We report a blind expert test of contrarian claims about climatological variables. Expert economists and statisticians were presented with representative contrarian statements (e.g., “Arctic ice is recovering”) translated into an economic or demographic context. In that blind test, contrarian claims were found to be misleading. By contrast, mainstream scientific interpretations of the data were judged to be accurate and policy relevant. The results imply that media inclusion of contrarian statements may increase bias rather than balance"
He starts out well -- with a straw man argument. He says that skeptics "either deny that global warming is happening or dispute a human influence". There are some skeptics who hold those positions but by far the majority of skeptics concede the theory of some CO2-induced warming but just see no evidence or reasonable argument that it is anything but trivial in magnitude or urgent in any way. In technical terms, they dispute the climate "sensitivity".
But you can accurately summarize what Lewandowski does above by saying that he examined skeptical arguments by not examining skeptical arguments. It is that bad. Another lulu! Only a true believer would give it any credence. I think anyone can see that the hole in the bucket is the "translation" of skeptical arguments into some allegedly equivalent argument in another field. I'm betting that my translations would have been very different. And the selection of "experts" was probably another hole in the bucket. Academe is heavily Leftist so getting sympathetic experts on board would have been a no-brainer.
Anyway, he provided me with the hour of entertainment that it took to write the above notes.