In Which Lewandowsky and Oreskes Discover an Interesting Variation on ‘Utterly Wrong’

Harken ye back to May of 2015, when charlatan Stephan Lewandowsky and pseudo-historian Naomi Oreskes trumpeted their finding–that scientists were being intimidated by nasty skeptics and letting words–yes, words and even memes!–seep into their language. Words like… ‘swell.’ And ‘So’s your old man.’ And that starts with Hiatus and it rhymes with Afflatus and that stands for… well, typical activist garbage, actually.


According to Lewandowsky and Oreskes, climate scientists were unconsciously kow-towing to the mighty power of the evile Skeptic Brigades. You will recall that they wrote “Stereotype threat refers to behavioral and emotional responses when an individual is reminded of a stereotype against the group they belong to. So when climate scientists are dubbed as alarmists, they respond by downplaying threats to distance themselves from the stereotype.”

From the Stopped Clock Department, we find that not only were they wrong, the exact opposite has been happening. Via the ever-vigilant Bishop Hill we are led to an academic paper (Communicating Science In Public Controversies: Strategic Considerations Of The German Climate Scientists) which reports the findings of research revealing that “although most climate scientists think that uncertainties about climate change should be made clearer in public they do not actively communicate this to journalists. Moreover, the climate scientists fear that their results could be misinterpreted in public or exploited by interest groups. Asking scientists about their readiness to publish one of two versions of a fictitious research finding shows that their concerns weigh heavier when a result implies that climate change will proceed slowly than when it implies that climate change will proceed fast.”

As Bishop Hill wrote, “Some of the more “politically aware” climate scientists have been keen that nobody should publish anything that might work against the green agenda. Michael Mann’s infamous comments are a case in point. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that climate scientists moderate their behaviour accordingly, withholding anything that might give “fodder” – in Mann’s words to the sceptics. They either do this willingly, because they share Mann’s political outlook, or unwillingly, because they fear the consequences.”

Why would climate scientists worry about offending the consensus?

Well, maybe they’re worried that they’ll get thrown under the bus, like Roger Pielke Sr., Roger Pielke Jr. Andrew Revkin, Mark Lynas, George Monbiot, Judith Curry, James Hansen and President Barack Obama, all of whom have been labeled ‘deniers’ by members of the activist crew, despite several of them being climate scientists and the rest being staunch advocates of a vigorous climate policy.

Well, being labeled a ‘denier’ isn’t the end of the world, so maybe they’re afraid of something more… concrete?

concrete boots

“I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.” (Phil Jones, Climategate email)

“I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.” (Climategate email, Michael Mann)

“Mike’s idea to get editorial board members to resign will probably not work — must get rid of von Storch too.” (Climategate email, Tom Wigley)

Perhaps the scientists are afraid of ending up labeled climate deniers in someone else’s pseudo-scientific paper, such as Anderegg Prall et al 2010, which copied the names of some scientists from open letters signed over the years and labeled them deniers, complete with a link to a website that had their names, institutions and even photographs of the offending scientists? Or worse yet, like Richard Betts, they could end up labeled as a conspiracy theorist by Stephan Lewandowsky himself in a paper that saw wide circulation before being retracted for numerous errors and violations of privacy.

Surprisingly, although Lewandowsky and Oreskes couldn’t find it (they have a track record of not finding things), the seepage they claimed to find coming from heavy-handed skeptics is actually there. But the climate of fear among scientists actually is due to pressure from climate activists who have set themselves up as judges of the true and faithful. These… people… are not usually climate scientists (Lewandowsky pretends to be a psychologist and Oreskes pretends to be a science historian). They are not part of the very real consensus on climate science. They want to go much further. They have created a climate cult and woe betide any unfortunate scientist who crosses their line in the sand.

The fact that James Hansen, one of the most respected figures in climate science, can be called a denier by one of the activists (Guess who? Naomi Oreskes), just shows how pervasive their Climate of Fear has become. That Barack Obama–the president who has done more to reduce emissions than any other president–can be called a denier by one of the most deranged of the activists is just the topping on the cake.

The extreme climate activists. Wrong on the science. Wrong on the ethics. Wrong on the message.

Wrong on every level

17 responses to “In Which Lewandowsky and Oreskes Discover an Interesting Variation on ‘Utterly Wrong’

  1. Some people must be repeatedly reminded that Orwell did not intend to write a howto manual.

  2. Almost,

    I thought he wrote two of them? No?

  3. Tom,

    Awesome. One of your best stories this year. Minor tribble with the title: scientists discover things. Lewandowsky and Oreskes invent. They couldn’t discover their own perineums with two hands and a copy of the Kama Sutra.

    Still, Seepage was probably the most beautiful thing they ever made together, with John Cook a distant second.

  4. Excellent post. Confirmation bias abounds. Conspiracy ideation abounds. Lewandowsky accuses people like us of having pathological traits and conspiracy ideation and then blames everything on the Koch brothers (and Exxon). Truly ironic.

  5. Climate change – according to the scientific literature that is – without exception is beneficial to harmful and plague animals and plants but harmful for cute cuddly and useful animals and plants.

  6. Tom, great post. But please tell us if the recent earthquake has put you or the lovely Mrs. In any difficulty.

  7. I think climatology suffers a bit of Lysenkoism. Question: what causes seismicity in Taiwan?

    By the way, I finished my Leonardo di Carpio interview, it has a plug for you.

  8. Hi thomas any personal impact of the recent earthquake in taiwan?

  9. Pingback: Is it something about the name ‘Naomi?’ | The Lukewarmer's Way

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