So a couple of days ago Lubos Motl of the Reference Frame blog discovered that his name was being used by extremist envirowhacko John Cook. Lubos wrote a rather funny reply in an unserious tone which was then followed up on by a number of blogs including this one. Lubos’s post was titled: Identity theft: the thief of Lubos_Motl turns out to be a well-known man. I followed up with a rather angry post about Cook lying to people for his own gain. Note the title I used:
What am I saying in that?
Cook impersonated a known scientifically credentialed skeptic with fake bad arguments, showed those fabricated bad arguments to people (possibly changing the name on the comment beforehand) and planned to use their responses in another publication attacking reasonable climate skeptics. In his own words:
As the second part of our experiment on science blogging, we’ll be showing 4 conditions to lab participants at the Uni of W.A. The condition for this thread is Skeptic Blog Post, Skeptic Comments. So would be great if a handful of SkSers could post glowing, very skeptic comments to our Denial blog post – posted here in this forum thread. We need exactly 10 skeptic comments.
Here are links to four versions of articles Cook put together so you can understand the tone of what he wrote: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4. These show the articles and the poorly contrived ‘skeptic arguments’.
This is what passes for a scientific study at the University of Western Australia.
The claim that his argument was a skeptic argument, is of course a lie because extreme advocates made the arguments in very poor fashion. The claim that Cook has the scientific know-how to evaluate a scientific argument is a problem for me, but beyond basic competence it is quite clear that on climate science he has lost all objectivity. Of real concern to me, did he get paid for the work, has it ever been used in print or will it be in the future? I don’t really know but I do know that he intended to publish it from this comment.
|Will definitely post about the experiment|
|John Cook||Probably after it’s been accepted or published though, best not to pre-empt the peer-review process.Not sure if I’ll post the actual article and comments – that will be something to ponder way down the track. Could have a bit of fun with it.|
That quoted comment was in a file where thoughts on the study implementation were discussed prior to beginning. Interestingly Glen Tamblyn, expressed the same concerns that we all should have about this kind of chicanery. HIS bold, not mine.
|Glenn Tamblyn||Once your experiment is complete it might be good to actually do a post on it, showing all 4 versions and commenting prominantly that both warmist and skeptic comments were written by the same people|
Also in that same file, another commenter Steve Brown expresses concern that the skeptic arguments were a bit too realistic.
|Steve Brown||It’s really got me wondering how many of the regulars at WUWT are genuine and how many are SkS contributors having a laugh after the pub. Some of those skeptic comments were a bit too realistic.|
Which is of course the point of what I’m writing. The arguments are not realistic as they are made by and interpreted by advocates, biasing the study irreconcilably prior to it even being launched. Cook is such an advocate though that he even suggested handing out a flyer to those who read the “denier” stuff such that too many don’t get converted by accident.
Why write about this again today?
So I was sent a link to a facebook post today. John Cook wrote a ‘scathing’ reply to Lubos’s funny post. John is peddling his debunked claim that skeptics believe in ridiculous conspiracy theories. In it, he admits to moving forward with this above experiment.
Here is an excerpt of John Cook, unwittingly admitting to his gamesmanship.
The stolen private correspondance from 2011 involved Skeptical Science team members developing comment threads (both supporting and rejecting climate science) for use in a psychology experiment. In the private forum (only), I posted a few comments under the pseudonym Lubos_Motl (to signify that the comments were taking a contrarian stance). The username was changed to an anonymous name for the experiment. In other words, it was not used in the experiment and was never used outside of the private Skeptical Science forum.
Consequently, Motl’s accusations of identity theft are demonstrably false. Further, I find it extraordinary that Motl publicly posts comments about me being hanged, and allows public comments on his blog that approve of torturing and murdering me. I find it equally extraordinary that such misleading and venomous posts are uncritically endorsed by third parties such as Richard Tol, Anthony Watts and Roger Pielke Jr.
And this is where Cook missed the boat, Starting with the fact that the allegedly ‘stolen’ correspondence quoted here was left on line where anyone who was interested could find it and could hardly be considered private. Besides that, we only have his word that he didn’t share Motl’s name with his experiment victims, I do tend to believe this because he does take himself pretty seriously and you wouldn’t want to bias such a well-considered experiment, but we don’t really know do we. In this episode, he admits actually performing the experiment where he and other advocates from SKS pretended to be skeptics, and then likely rated answers of his hapless victims who responded to the fake arguments he happened to conjure. Perhaps the reason we cannot find the results in the promised paper, is that they weren’t up to Skeptical Science(TM) well known standards for proper ridicule of non-advocate climate scientists (AKA normal folk).
Keep in mind that John is a man who is completely incapable of objectively recognizing that climate models are not matching observation. In other words, he and other SKS’rs intended and initiated a scammed study, falsely claiming to be comprised of climate skeptic arguments, for their own purposes. The study was likely funded by government tax dollars of some sort through UWA but we don’t know. He did use Lubos’s name on a non-linked public forum on the internet, and may have used them in the actual study, however his protests of innocence on this miss the point and instead confirm the type of “statistical study” he and by association Lewandowsky prefer.
And he is so thoroughly confused on the matter that he doesn’t even recognize his own chicanery.
All for the cause.