Richard Betts clears it up with Stephan Lewandowsky

mail rebate conspiracistFrom Hilary comes a remarkable little bit of news. In Lewandowsky’s retracted Recursive Fury, he and his co-authors listed climate scientist Richard Betts as a person with ‘conspiracist ideation’.

It turns out Betts ran into Lewandowsky, physically, at a conference. Why a psychologist and a climate scientist would go to the same gathering is a different matter but the two scientists had a little chat over coffee (about one being called a conspiracist by the other), and lo and behold they “cleared the air’.

The comment that qualified Betts as ‘conspiracist’ in the paper is unequivocal: it meets criteria set out by the authors. I cannot see how the air can be cleared. As far as one can tell, Betts did not stand up for the principle but like the rich and powerful who bought papal indulgences or skip the waiting line at bank counters, he went backstage.

This brings up another point: you can be a conspiracist and still get out of Lewandowsky’s list. Possible if you are well-connected. That or you have coffee with Lewandowsky. I wonder if the people attending his Bristol conference have a little chat and coffee and get their names off his list.



  1. tlitb1

    I especially liked Richard Betts telling us

    My guess is that this arose because of where I posted the comment (a sceptic blog), not the actual content of the comment.

    This seems quite a backhanded damning comment on Lewandowsky’s work. At the time, on CiF and twitter, I pointed out to Betts that it was not much of a complement on Lewandowsky’s work to opinionate, even *after* talking to him, that the paper’s data gathering rigour was no better than an arbitrary prejudice which had nothing to do with the content. He didn’t get back to me, although my questions were rhetorical I guess.

    However I went and had another look through at Recursive Fury to try and make head or tail of the use of the blog “raw data” and remembered it seems Lewandowsky is at pains to point out that the “raw data” was not gathered by LOG12 authors, it was Marriott and Cook who did the scouring. So maybe Lewandowsky just slagged those two guys off as incompetent to Betts? 😉

    I had another look at that table and see plenty of problems with it, empty rows, wrong dates, at least one comment attributed to the wrong person. And when you consider how arbitrary it is – just looking at the Bishop hill post that Betts was on shows other candidates that could have been included but weren’t – I wonder if there were some private recriminations going about how sloppy it was to trawl Betts in there?

    My betting it was Marriott who made the mistake of including him, his WTD post on the subject seemed a little over the top Uriah Heep unctuous in asserting how much Betts was “a scientist whose contribution I deeply admire” 😉

  2. Shub Niggurath

    So maybe Lewandowsky just slagged those two guys off as incompetent to Betts? 😉

    That’s it. Did Lewandowsky push Cook and Marriott under the bus/sell them down the river? Those two were certainly not there when Betts cornered Lewandowsky with the coffee.

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  4. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001)

    I very much doubt that Lewandowsky has pushed his little gophers and/or sidekicks [e.g.. Cook, Nuccitelli and Marriott] “under the bus”; he seems to depend on them to promulgate (the latest variants of) his creative writing exercises, as if they were gospel truth.

    Betts’ original “they’re deluded” (OWTTE) tweet [in which he only seemed concerned about the inclusion of his BH comment on their “methodology” of supposedly soliciting skeptics’ views] struck me for the implication that it didn’t seem to matter too much to him that the comments of others were equally mis-categorized.

    This unspoken implication, in my view, is consistent with that contained in his more recent comment at the Guardian, which I had quoted in my post. Betts doesn’t seem to care or dare (although, based on his past performances, more likely the former than the latter) to criticize the far more egregious problems with Hoax, Fury and (according to at least one criticism I’ve seen) “Son of Hoax”. Not to mention Betts’ deafening silence regarding the “highly irresponsible” headline, tagline and lastline in Nuccitelli’s dutiful recyling of the latest Lew-Mann (Lewmannian? Mannlewnian?!) meme.

    But speaking of the spinning and multicycling of this “bullying and intimidation of publishers” meme … Thanks, Shub, both for the link in your post, as well as for RTing “reviewer” McKewon’s tweet, which led to more fodder for my blog 😉

  5. Shub Niggurath

    Oh yeah, Elaine McKewon was the second conflicted reviewer to handle the paper. You can look at her Twitter feed – 100% pure climate activism promotion.