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Climate denier bloggers sniff out new conspiracy

Moon landing faked ∴ climate science faked ∴ study of conspiracy believers faked

Climate skeptic bloggers the world over have a shiny new conspiracy to obsess about: whether a University of Western Australia psychology professor "faked" a research study.

In a deliciously recursive fury, the research – which looked at correlations between belief in "climate change conspiracies" as associated with other "conspiracist ideation" – is being held up by conspiracy theorists as evidence of a conspiracy.

The research, conducted by University of Western Australia psychology professor Stephan Lewandowsky is outlined here and the paper, to be published in Psychological Science (which means it’s survived the peer-review process) can be downloaded as a PDF here.

The key conclusions of NASA faked the moon landing, Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science, drawn on a questionnaire completed by more than 1,100 individuals who completed a questionnaire linked to various science Websites, include:

* Rejection of climate science was strongly associated with endorsement of a laissez-faire view of unregulated free markets; and

* Rejection of climate science and other accepted science (smoking causes lung cancer, HIV causes AIDS) is associated with "conspiracist ideation".

Lewandowsky writes (somewhat provocatively, perhaps) that "a general propensity to endorse any of a number of conspiracy theories predisposes people to reject entirely unrelated scientific facts".

The latter propositions have sent various denialist bloggers through the ceiling and, in their enthusiasm to cry conspiracy, they’ve tried to unpick the research methodology by accusing the researchers of lying in the paper. At issue is this claim:

"Links were posted on 8 blogs (with a pro-science science stance but with a diverse audience); a further 5 'skeptic' (or 'skeptic'-leaning) blogs were approached but none posted the link."

As is documented by Graeme Redfearn on his DeSmogBlog, one blogger first stated that Lewandowsky didn’t approach "skeptic" blogs at all before admitting that he was one of the blogs approached.

For both Jo Nova and Anthony Watts, the conspiracy exists in the claim to have asked "skeptical" blogs to take part, and are demanding that he "name names" for all the blogs invited to take part.

Redfearn reports that Lewandowsky has asked permission from his university and the American Psychological Society to do just that, since UWA’s ethics committee and the Society would both take exception to a release without specific permission from the individuals contacted. ®

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