On Monday, TheBlaze reported on a study from a University of Western Australia professor who found through a survey that those who were skeptical of man-made global warming were more likely to be believers of free-market economics and/or conspiracy theories. These deniers of man-made global warming had for the last few weeks been criticizing the study, seeking more information. Some of information has now been released.
Professor Stephan Lewandowsky wrote in his study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, that he contacted eight "pro-science" blogs (those supporting man-made global warming) and five "skeptic" blogs to post a link to his voluntary survey in 2010. In his paper he made a case for how some blogs were playing an “influential role in questioning climate science."
After publishing this study, some blogs that would be considered skeptical of man-made global warming began to question Lewandowsky's methodology, including which blogs he actually contacted -- none of those considered skeptics ended up posting the survey. Some of these blogs calling out Lewandowsky, like Anthony Watts' "Watts Up With That" were alluding to the researcher either not contacting mainstream skeptic blogs or not giving them enough time to post the survey.
Later on Monday, the names of these skeptic blogs were released and Lewandowsky issued a blog post responding to some of the recent criticism.
Here's a breakdown of the skeptic blogs that were invited to post Lewandowsky's survey in 2010 and their response status to this invitation:
- Climate Audit (maintained by Steve McIntyre who said he received an invite to post the survey)
- RogerPielkeJr.blogspot.com (maintained by Dr. Roger Pielke Jr who Lewandowsky said replied to the initial contact)
- ClimateDepot (maintained by Marc Morano who Lewandowsky said replied to the initial contact)
- Dr.RoySpenser.com (maintained by Dr. Roy Spencer who Lewandwosky said did not reply to his invitation)
- Science and Public Policy Institute blog (maintained by Robert Ferguson who Lewandowsky said did not reply to his invitation)
Lewandowsky says in his post that all four of these blogs have said they were not contacted previously. Some bloggers alleged that he had not contacted any climate skeptic blogs, which Lewandowsky writes "in light of such massive, and massively false, allegations numerous apologies ought to be forthcoming."
Lewandowsky goes on to say he is unsure why these last four bloggers were unable to find his survey correspondence, but offers these hypotheses:
It's called “human error.” It simply means the 4 bloggers couldn’t find the email, didn’t know what to search for, or their inboxes were corrupted by a move into another building, to name but a few possibilities.
Some commenters in Lewandowsky's blog post have said perhaps the initial invitation could not be located easily as it was sent from his research assistant, Charles Hanich.
TheBlaze, in an email to Lewandowsky, also asked if he would release the "pro-science" blogs who posted his survey and answer a few other questions regarding criticism he was receiving from climate skeptic blogs.
The blogs that did post in 2010 included the following:
Lewandowsky was also accused by climate skeptic blogs of providing different survey's to different sites. To this, he told TheBlaze "it is standard practice in research to assign different versions of a survey to different people which differ only in the order in which questions are presented." Doing this, he said, canceled out "carry-over effects from one set of questions to another, which occurs when the various versions are then combined and analyzed together."
Although he writes he has received support for his research from climate science colleagues and those in cognitive research, he reiterates among the skeptics, the response "confirmed my research findings better than any further data collection could have achieved."
"Accusations were made without a shred of evidence at hair-trigger speed, and each theory was followed by another one built on the misreading of simple facts—such as the question-order scheme just discussed," he wrote. "When I explained that I had to ensure that no ethical guidelines were violated by releasing the bloggers’ identity (as I explained here http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/ccc1.html ), this was instantly turned into all sorts of accusations ranging from (a) I had something to hide to (b) didn’t contact those bloggers at all."
Climate skeptic blogs such as McIntyre's Climate Audit have been documenting the release of the deniers contacted by Lewandowsky and his team. One of them -- Pielke Jr. -- McIntyre writes may not be skeptical enough to be considered a denier of man-made global warming. McIntyre writes:
No one thought of [Pielke Jr.] because he believes that increased CO2 causes temperature increases and that it is an important and relevant problem.
Pielke Jr obviously doesn’t have a particularly high regard for Peter Gleick, Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann, but these are positions that one can reasonably hold without being a “skeptic” who obsessively yelps and who disregards satellite records.
McIntyre also believes his comments on Lewandowky's blog are censored unfairly. He wrote initially on Monday part of a comment that said "...it doesn't seem to me to be a major issue as compared with your use of fake responses." This comment was snipped by a moderator for being "inflammatory." Referring himself to the site's comment policy, McIntyre found "profanity or inflammatory tone" was not allowed. "Again, constructive discussion is difficult when overheated rhetoric or profanity is flying around," the policy says.
McIntyre did not consider his comment in violation of this policy. He was later moderated for "accusations of dishonesty/impropriety" against the paper.