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New Research Links Climate Science Denial To Conspiracy Theories

by crazy_inventor Friday, Sep. 21, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Western Australia (UWA), is about to publish research which shows that a strong indicator of the rejection of climate science is a willingness to accept conspiracy theories.

Research Links Climate Science Denial To Conspiracy Theories, But Skeptics Smell A Conspiracy.

Wed, 2012-09-05 13:42

Graham Readfearn

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Western Australia (UWA), is about to publish research which shows that a strong indicator of the rejection of climate science is a willingness to accept conspiracy theories.



http://websites.psychology.uwa.edu.au/labs/cogscience/documents/LskyetalPsychScienceinPressClimateConspiracy.pdf

In the paper, Lewandowsky concludes that "endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories... predicts rejection of climate science". The research also claims a correlation between people who endorse free-market economics and the "rejection of climate science".



"There's a fair bit of previous literature to suggest that conspiratorial thinking is part of science denial. Conspiratorial thinking is where people would seek to explain events by appealing to invisible, powerful collusions amongst individuals, rather than taking events at face value. The absence of evidence for the conspiracy is sometimes taken as evidence of its existence and any contradictory evidence is itself embedded into the conspiracy."





In his paper, Lewandowsky adds: "Endorsement of the free market also predicted the rejection of other established scientic findings, such as the facts that HIV causes AIDS and that smoking causes lung cancer."

Given the well documented links between free market think-tanks and climate science misinformation, this finding isn't surprising.

But back to that "conspiracist ideation" trait which Lewandowsky and other researchers, such as Pascal Diethelm and Martin McKee, have identified among people who reject science.

Because rather fittingly, no sooner had Lewandowsky's paper begun to make headlines than the world's loose, nimble and definitely-not-conspiring network of climate skeptic blogs began to construct their own conspiracies about Lewandowsky's research.

The survey was conducted online and Lewandowsky's research team approached climate blogs requesting they post a link to the survey. Some eight "pro-science" blogs agreed to post the link, which gained 1147 responses.

Lewandowsky's researchers also emailed five popular skeptic blogs, but none of those approached posted the link to the questionnaire.

But had Lewandowsky actually fabricated the claim he had emailed five sceptic blogs, asked Anthony Watts, Jo Nova and others, smelling a consipracy.

Steve McIntyre, a long-time mining industry consultant and active climate sceptic, even encouraged blog readers to email the ethics department at Lewandowsky's university.

"If Lewandowky’s claim about five skeptic blogs was fabricated, it appears to me that it would be misconduct under university policies," wrote McIntyre.

Once McIntyre had come down from the conclusion he had just jumped to, he later admitted that actually, he had been emailed by one of Lewandowsky's researchers after all but offered a "dog ate my homework" excuse.

Meanwhile, Lewandowsky says he has been "inundated" with requests to release the names of the four remaining bloggers his team contacted.

But since the approaches to bloggers were conducted on the presumption of privacy, the academic has asked his university's ethics committee and the Australian Psychological Society if he is free to release their identities.

Not content to wait, Australian skeptic blogger Simon Turnill has sent a Freedom of Information request to UWA asking for Lewandowsky's emails.



"So now there's a conspiracy theory going around that I didn't contact them. It's a perfect, perfect illustration of conspiratorial thinking. It's illustrative of exactly the process I was analysing. People jump to conclusions on the basis of no evidence. I would love to be able to release those emails if given permission, because it means four more people will have egg on their faces. I'm anxiously waiting the permission to release this crucial information because it helps to identify people who engage in conspiratorial thinking rather than just searching their inboxes."



Lewandowsky revealed that two of the five skeptic blogs approached even replied to the email they were sent.

One stated "Thanks. I will take a look” and another asked "Can you tell me a bit more about the study and the research design?"

Perhaps an inbox search for these phrases might help some bloggers to move on from their latest conspiracy theory.

Or maybe, just maybe, the real story is that the New World Order hacked their email accounts or a CIA operative secretly dropped a memory-lapse drug into their fake moon juice?

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 34 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
oh and here's the link to this story crazy_inventor Friday, Sep. 21, 2012 at 1:51 PM
typical libtard Orwellian idiocy laughing man Friday, Sep. 21, 2012 at 2:21 PM
got any >cough< data crazy_inventor Friday, Sep. 21, 2012 at 2:34 PM
amazing HAARP v. 'conspiracy theories' Friday, Sep. 21, 2012 at 2:48 PM
did you hear something? - maybe some flaccid pounding, not sure crazy_inventor Friday, Sep. 21, 2012 at 3:07 PM
"intellectuals" laughing man Friday, Sep. 21, 2012 at 5:53 PM
so, he hates women too crazy_inventor Friday, Sep. 21, 2012 at 8:40 PM
Weekly Fukushima update crazy_inventor Sunday, Sep. 23, 2012 at 10:35 PM
here is the result crazy_inventor Sunday, Sep. 23, 2012 at 10:56 PM
"hates women" laughing man Monday, Sep. 24, 2012 at 5:08 AM
and a clip just for you crazy_inventor Monday, Sep. 24, 2012 at 5:25 AM
unbathed imbeciles laughing man Monday, Sep. 24, 2012 at 6:08 AM
"only a knee-jerk fuckwit" crazy_inventor Monday, Sep. 24, 2012 at 6:11 AM
quite the mensa material, are you crazy_inventor Monday, Sep. 24, 2012 at 6:20 AM
Climate Crisis Deniers Confuse The Average American Mind crazy_inventor Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2012 at 4:03 AM
which way to turn? just wondering Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2012 at 11:26 AM
awww - another denialist talking point crazy_inventor Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2012 at 11:53 AM
oh, so now it's a "mole" laughing man Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2012 at 12:51 PM
addenda laughing man Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2012 at 12:59 PM
awwwww splitting my sides laughing objects to the word 'mole' crazy_inventor Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2012 at 1:23 PM
I are speshul! intellektual Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2012 at 12:12 AM
well well well crazy_inventor Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2012 at 3:21 AM
Weekly Fukushima update crazy_inventor Sunday, Sep. 30, 2012 at 5:14 PM
Weekly Fukushima update crazy_inventor Monday, Oct. 08, 2012 at 3:08 AM
question just wondering Tuesday, Oct. 09, 2012 at 6:14 AM
Solar Power Popular Among American Voters 92% Prefer It crazy_inventor Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 at 4:21 AM
Weekly Fukushima update crazy_inventor Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Here's _tomorrows_ election results :) crazy_inventor Wednesday, Nov. 07, 2012 at 1:31 PM
ya busted 'em cold, dawg !!! crazy_inventor WIN Wednesday, Nov. 07, 2012 at 3:30 PM
"I" didn't "win" - they didn't "fail" crazy_inventor Wednesday, Nov. 07, 2012 at 10:05 PM
bumper sticker real loons! Saturday, Dec. 01, 2012 at 7:22 AM
2012 another winter that wasn't 'heh heh...' crazy_inventor Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 at 8:08 PM
tell it to the East Coast a one trick dick for sure Monday, Feb. 18, 2013 at 5:44 AM
temperature, not precipitation crazy_inventor Monday, Feb. 18, 2013 at 9:10 AM

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