The Subterranean War on Science

Science denial kills. More than 300,000 South Africans died needlessly in the early 2000s because the government of President Mbeki preferred to treat AIDS with garlic and beetroot rather than antiretroviral drugs (Chigwedere, Seage, Gruskin, Lee, & Essex,2008). The premature death toll from tobacco is staggering and historians have shown how it was needlessly inflated by industry-sponsored denial of robust medical evidence (Proctor, 2011). The US now faces the largest outbreak of whooping cough in decades, in part because of widespread denial of the benefits of vaccinations (Rosenau, 2012). According to the World Health Organization, climate change is already claiming more than 150,000 lives annually (Patz, Campbell-Lendrum, Holloway, & Foley, 2005), and estimates of future migrations triggered by unmitigated global warming run as high as 187 million refugees (Nicholls et al., 2011). A common current attribute of denial is that it side-steps the peer-reviewed literature and relies on platforms such as internet blogs or tabloid newspapers to disseminate its dissent from the scientific mainstream. In contrast, the publication of dissenting views in the peer-reviewed literature does not constitute denial.

The tragic track record of denial has stimulated research into its political, sociological, and psychological underpinnings (Dunlap, 2013; Jacobson, Targonski, & Poland, 2007; Kalichman, 2009; Lewandowsky, Oberauer, & Gignac, 2013; Lewandowsky, Gignac, & Oberauer, 2013; Oreskes & Conway, 2010). Although research has focused on diverse issues — from HIV/AIDS to vaccinations to climate change — several common variables have been isolated that determine whether people are likely to reject well-established scientific facts. Foremost among them is the threat to people’s worldviews. For example, mitigation of climate change or public-health legislation threatens people who cherish unregulated free markets because it might entail regulations of businesses (Heath & Gifford, 2006; Kahan, 2010; Lewandowsky, Gignac, & Oberauer, 2013; Rosenau, 2012); vaccinations threaten Libertarians’ conceptions of parental autonomy (Kahan, Braman, Cohen, Gastil, & Slovic, 2010; Lewandowsky, Gignac, & Oberauer, 2013); and evolution challenges people’s religious faiths (Rosenau, 2012). Another variable that appears to be involved in science denial is conspiracist ideation (Kalichman, 2009; Lewandowsky, Gignac, & Oberauer, 2013; Lewandowsky, Oberauer, & Gignac, 2013; Lewandowsky, Cook, Oberauer, & Marriott, 2013; Smith & Leiserowitz, 2012). Thus, AIDS is thought to be a creation of the US Government (Kalichman, 2009), climate change is a “hoax” perpetrated by corrupt scientists (Inhofe, 2012), and research into the health effects of tobacco is conducted by a “cartel” that “manufactures alleged evidence” (Abt, 1983, p. 127).

The conspiratorial element of denial explains why contrarians often perceive themselves as heroic dissenters who — in their imagination — are following Galileo’s footsteps by opposing a mainstream scientific “elite” that imposes its views not on the basis of overwhelming evidence but for political reasons. Mainstream climate scientists are therefore frequently accused of “Lysenkoism,” after the Soviet scientist whose Lamarckian views of evolution were state dogma in the Soviet Union. Other contrarians appeal to Albert Einstein’s injunction “. . . to not stop questioning” to support their dissent from the fact that HIV causes AIDS (Duesberg, 1989).

This conspiratorial element provides a breeding ground for the personal and professional attacks on scientists that seemingly inevitably accompany science denial. The present authors have all been subject to such attacks, whose similarity is notable because the authors’ research spans a broad range of topics and disciplines: The first author has investigated the psychological variables underlying the acceptance or rejection of scientific findings; the second author is a paleoclimatologist who has shown that current global temperatures are likely unprecedented during the last 1,000 years or more; the third and fourth authors are public-health researchers who have investigated the attitudes of teenagers and young adults towards smoking and evaluated a range of tobacco control interventions; and the fifth author has established that human memory is not only fallible but subject to very large and systematic distortions.

This article surveys some of the principal techniques by which the authors have been harassed; namely, cyber-bullying and public abuse; harassment by vexatious freedom-of-information (FOI) requests, complaints, and legal threats or actions; and perhaps most troubling, by the intimidation of journal editors who are acting on manuscripts that are considered inconvenient by deniers. The uniformity with which these attacks are pursued across several disciplines suggests that their motivation is not scientific in nature.

In light of the lethal track record of denial, one might expect opprobrium to be reserved for those who deny the public’s right to be adequately informed about risks such as AIDS or climate change. Paradoxically, however, it is scientists whose research aims to inform the public of such risks who have been at the receiving end of hate mail and threats. Thus, the first author has been labeled a “Nazi zionist kike” and has been accused of “mass murder and treason.” The second author has been attacked on a neo-Nazi website and has received envelopes with a powdery white substance resembling Anthrax (Mann, 2012). The third author has received anonymous abusive emails and nighttime phone calls in her home. This abuse is at least in part orchestrated because the frequency of such emails tends to increase when scientists’ e-addresses are posted on contrarian websites.

Other attempts of intimidation have involved the solicitation of potentially compromising information from the first author by a non-existent internet “sock puppet” whose unknown creators pretended to be victimized by climate deniers — and who then splattered the private correspondence on the internet (Lewandowsky, 2011). At a public level, an American lobbying outfit has recently likened climate scientists to the Unabomber in a billboard campaign, and a British tabloid journalist entertained the execution of the second author by hanging in what passes for a “mainstream” newspaper in the UK (Delingpole, 2013).

Another common tool of harassment involves FOI requests. Under many legislations around the world, email correspondence by an academic is subject to almost unconditional release. During the last 9 months, the first author has been subject to numerous requests for correspondence and other documents, including trivial pedantry such as the precise time and date stamps of blog posts. In a paradoxical twist, accusations of impropriety were launched against the first author when an FOI-release confirmed that inconvenient research (Lewandowsky, Oberauer, & Gignac, 2013) was conducted with ethics approval. The allegations — by bloggers unaccountable to any form of review or ethical scrutiny — cited the fact that ethics approval was granted expeditiously (for details, see Lewandowsky, Cook, et al., 2013). The second author and his former university endured vexatious demands for the release of personal email correspondence by Virginia’s Attorney General. Those actions attracted national and international attention and were labeled a “witch hunt” by Nature (2010). The demands were ultimately rejected with prejudice by the Virginia Supreme Court. Other attacks on the second author involved front groups like the “American Tradition Institute” and the “Competitive Enterprise Institute” which sought access to his personal emails, professional notes, and virtually every imaginable document from his entire career. The third and fourth authors’ research center on tobacco control has been subject to a number of extensive FOI requests from a tobacco giant, Philip Morris International, for confidential interview records involving teenaged participants. Notably, the identity of Philip Morris was disguised during the first FOI request, which was launched with a law firm serving as a front group (Hastings, MacKintosh, & Bauld, 2011). The information requested included “all primary data,” “all questionnaires,” “all interviewers’ handbooks and/or instructions,” “all data files,” “all record descriptions,” and so on.

The use of FOI to obtain correspondence or research data mirrors legislative attempts by the tobacco industry to gain unhindered access to epidemiological data (Baba, Cook, McGarity, & Bero, 2005). At first glance, it might appear paradoxical that the tobacco industry would sponsor laws ostensibly designed to ensure transparency of research, such as the Data Access Act of 1998. However, the reanalysis of inconvenient results by obtaining the raw data is a known tool in the arsenal of vested interests: Michaels (2008) shows how epidemiological data have been subjected to industry-sponsored re-analysis because of their regulatory implications, such as the link between tobacco and lung cancer or the link between bladder cancer and chemicals used in dye production. Re-analyses by industry bodies often fail to detect such well-established links (e.g., Cataldo, Bero, & Malone, 2010; Proctor, 2011). Similarly, results by the first (see Lewandowsky, Cook, et al., 2013), second (see Mann, 2012), and third (Sims, Maxwell, Bauld, & Gilmore, 2010) author have been reanalyzed on internet blogs (sometimes by the same individuals). Those reanalyses used various tricks, such as the violation of strong statistical conventions relating to the inclusion of principal components, to attenuate the inconvenient implications of the research—specifically, that the warming from greenhouse gas emissions is historically unprecedented (Mann, Bradley, & Hughes, 1998) and that those who oppose this scientific fact tend to engage in conspiracist ideation (Lewandowsky, Oberauer, & Gignac, 2013; Lewandowsky, Gignac, & Oberauer, 2013). Another tactic to discredit “inconvenient” peer-reviewed results involves publishing alternative versions of “the evidence” using different sources that proport to be equally legitimate. For example, the third author’s review of the impact of smoke-free legislation in England, published by the UK government (Bauld, 2011) was the subject of a report by Imperial Tobacco, the world’s fourth-largest tobacco company. Entitled “The Bauld Truth” as a play on the third author’s name (Imperial Tobacco, 2011), it presented alternative, non peer-reviewed evidence as more viable and opened with the statement that the third author’s review was “lazy and deliberately selective”. Anyone familiar with climate disinformation on the internet will recognize those rhetorical tools as the standard fare of dismissal of inconvenient science.

A further line of attack involves complaints by members of the public to scientists’ host institutions with allegations of research misconduct. The format of those complaints ranges from brief enraged emails to the submission of detailed, elaborately-formatted multi-page dossiers. The scientific literature on querulous complainants (e.g., Lester, Wilson, Griffin, & Mullen, 2004; Mullen & Lester, 2006) explicates the nature of the majority of such complaints. However, not all complaints to universities are from querulous individuals: The tobacco industry, specifically Philip Morris, used complaints to scientists’ deans or department heads as part of their action plan to discredit researchers who investigated the health risks of smoking (Landman & Glantz, 2009).

The fifth author has experienced a particularly chilling legal attack based on an article that disputed the legitimacy of the claim by an individual (whose name was not released) that she had with the help of a psychiatrist recovered a “repressed childhood memory” of sexual abuse by her mother (for a review of the case, see Geis & Loftus, 2009). Although the suit was ultimately settled, the complaints to the university delayed publication—or indeed any public mention—of the research by several years (Loftus, 2003).

Those attacks on scientists by personal abuse, vexatious use of FOI and the complaints process, and legal proceedings, have not only consumed valuable time, thereby delaying research, but have also taken an emotional toll. Those attacks have caused considerable trauma among some junior scientists known to us. However, the problem does not end there. Even more concerning is another line of attack that directly targets the integrity of the scientific process: We are concerned about the activities of individuals outside the scientific community and of little scientific standing, who systematically insert themselves into the peer-review and publication process to prevent the publication of findings they deem inconvenient. Those insertions typically involve emails to editors which have been described as “bullying” by some parties involved. Far from being isolated incidents, at last count we have identified 7 editors of several journals who have been subject to such bullying tactics across two disciplines; viz. climate science and psychology.

Once again, precedents for those attempts to subvert the scientific process involve the tobacco industry. A 1995 Philip Morris action plan explicitly devised strategies to interfere with funding of health research. Those strategies included approaches to the appropriations committee of Congress (albeit without raising the profile of the tobacco industry), and the writing of letters critical of public-health research to the editors of scientific journals by associates of the industry’s Tobacco Institute (without necessarily revealing their associations). Landman and Glantz (2009) show how this plan was translated into action.

What are the consequences of such insertions by external parties into the scientific process? There is little doubt that pressure from the tobacco industry affected the course of medical research, if only by consuming massive amounts of scientists’ time that could otherwise have been devoted to research (Landman & Glantz, 2009; Proctor, 2011). It also delayed the translation of that research into interventions and policies that could have saved lives by reducing smoking rates. There is also a growing body of literature which suggests that the aggressive efforts by climate deniers have adversely affected the communication and direction of climate research (Brysse, Oreskes, O’Reilly, & Oppenheimer, 2013; Freudenburg & Muselli, 2010; Lewandowsky, Oreskes, Risbey, Newell, & Smithson, 2013), and allegations of defamation have led to the re-examination of one of the first author’s papers to eliminate legal risks that is ongoing at the time of this writing (Lewandowsky, Cook, et al., 2013).

How should the scientific community respond to the events just reviewed? As in most cases of intimidation and bullying, we believe that daylight is the best disinfectant. This article is a first step in this effort towards transparency. Knowledge of the common techniques by which scientists are attacked, irrespective of their discipline and research area, is essential so that institutions can support their academics against attempts to thwart their academic freedom. This information is also essential to enable lawmakers to improve the balance between academic freedom and confidentiality of peer review on the one hand, and the public’s right to access information on the other. Finally, this knowledge is particularly important for journal editors and professional organizations to muster the required resilience against illegitimate insertions into the scientific process.

Author Note

Preparation of this paper was facilitated by an Outstanding Researcher Award from the Australian Research Council and a Wolfson Research Merit Award from the Royal Society to the first author. Linda Bauld and Gerard Hastings are members of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies. Funding from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Medical Research Council and the National Institute of Health Research, under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, is gratefully acknowledged. Address correspondence to the first author at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, 12a Priory Road, Bristol BS8 1TU, UK. email: Personal web page:


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Observer Vol.26, No.9 November, 2013

Leave a comment below and continue the conversation.


What an excellent article; with its point reinforced by so many anti-science comments. There is nothing less sceptical than a climate sceptic.

If the Anti Tobacco Industry provided data and details of analysis with its “studies”, they wouldn’t feel so put upon. Here is just one example in the bmj, which appears to contravene the bmj’s own guidelines.
Contrast this with the Journal of Political Economy

What you say is science and fact – what others say is denial.

How could we ever forget …

Lewandowsky et al. myopically claim supposed climate change deaths while ignoring the direct harm caused by mandating “green” biofuels. e.g. Indur M. Golkany documents 192,000 “excess deaths” per year directly attributable to higher grain prices from the “green” fuel policies imposed by politicians coerced by climate alarmists such as Mann et al. See IM Golkany, Could Biofuel Policies Increase Death and Disease in Developing Countries? J. American Physicians & Surgeons, Vol. 16 No. 1 Spring 2011 pp 9-13

Albert Einstein: “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”
Richard Feynmann: “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”
Under the scientific method, hypotheses are only as strong as the degree to which they are tested against the data and external critiques by which they are examined. Roy Spencer, Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger and Patrick J. Michaels etc. document how >95% of CMIP-5 global climate models predict temperatures warming from 1979 that exceeds actual historic temperature rises to date. e.g. Roy Spencer STATEMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE 7/18/2013 updated
The IPCC has finally begun to reluctantly admit the models have too high climate sensitivity.

Yet Lewandowsky et al. deny the growing mountain of such evidence that natural causes are much greater than assumed by the CIMP-5 climate models. They deny the current 17 year lack of warming. Mann further denies the mountain of global evidence for the Medieval Warm Period. He refuses to acknowledge the severe statistical errors in his “hockey stick” models, as exposed by Steve McIntyre of and others. Instead Lewandowsky and Mann demonize those performing their scientific and civic duty to test their models and expose their fallacies.

Prof. Judith Curry has systematically exposed the numerous underestimated or unaddressed uncertainties and scientific weaknesses of climate models. Michael Mann sought to libel her and destroy her professional reputation, calling her a “serial climate disinformer”. His accusations here are the height of hypocracy. See Judith Curry, “Misinformation, disinformation and conflict” at Climate Etc. By this extreme refusal to face the evidence and their critics the models of Lewandowsky & Mann must be very weak.

Rather than public evaluation of the evidence, independent validation of the models, and robust public debate over adaptation vs mitigation, climate alarmists like Lewandowsky et al. try to frustrate the scientific method, prevent debate, and impose their incredibly expensive mitigation policies. Contrast the sensible policies that first care for the poor advocated by the Copenhagen Consensus, and the Cornwall Alliance.

Lewandowsky & Mann epitomize the systemic failure of such climate alarmists to rigorously follow the scientific method and severely harm the reputation of “climate science” in the public arena. They are the ones warring on science. I find it remarkable that this paper was even published.

Climate Change is two different, but similar religions, not science

Interesting tobacco paper the authors are criticizing. Could the smoking ban be an “inconvenient” killer?

“Preparation of this paper was facilitated by an Outstanding Researcher Award from the Australian Research Council and a Wolfson Research Merit Award from the Royal Society to the first author.” Grounds for de-funding both bodies, I fear.

Jeff Condon – who resorted to his lawyers about LOG 12, Lewandowsky et al, has made this comment at the Making Science Public blog (Dr Warren Pearce – Nottingham university)

Which puts things from a slightly different perspective.

Making Science Public – The Subterranean War on Science? A comment. Dr Warren Pearce

Jeff Condon’s comment
November 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm

In my particular case, I did demand that their article be corrected as it made libelous remarks specifically identifying me by name and implied some form of cognitive defect based on the fabricated opinions. Specifically, they claimed that I wrote temperature records were illegitimately adjusted to make the records appear warmer. In fact, what they were reacting to was their own ignorance that the US record HAD been adjusted just as I stated – whether the adjustment is done, is not controversial in the field. They inserted “illegitimately” all by themselves which I have never said or written. In effect, Lewandowsky was claiming that a named individual, myself, suffered from some kind of psychological problem, because I discussed these adjustments.

I sent simple email requests to Lewandowsky and found him intractable on the matter and so went to the editors who had clearer heads. Lewandowsky’s response, rather than being an adult, was to repeat the offense in a different article having a tweaked claim, using my name again.

I was pleased to learn that the intentionally false information (personal attack) he is attempting to publish as though it were data, is being held from print. It is the height of arrogance that he would publish a third paper claiming being harassed.

Of particular note, I am a businessman with Libertarian style thinking that I often blog about. My belief is that had more to do with his false information campaign than anything scientific.

Reacting to this article as though it needs a slightly improved balance to make it reasonable, doesn’t sufficiently address the actual history of the authors blatantly false claims. Nor will it help slow the publication of political attacks from the halls of the soft sciences.

“What an excellent article; with its point reinforced by so many anti-science comments. There is nothing less sceptical than a climate sceptic.”

How does a rant like this end up in a science publication?

@ John H Vibber It doesn’t. That is why the author’s have arts degrees with the exception of Mann who used to be a physicist.

Science is open minded skeptical and inclusive. Only those with something to hide or something to gain attempt to restrict debate to narrow channels that they and their supporters can control.

This article is anti-scientific and seeks to deny free speech. It says a lot about the authors.

I was sad to see Elizabeth Loftus put her name on this latest rubbish from Lewandowsky. I thought she was a more competent researcher than this.


This is fascinating and useful. Firstly, the article contributes to the discussion of science denial, which is much needed these days. Secondly, the comment section illustrates and confirms in a brilliant way the claims of the article on how denial works. Almost no scientific refutations; really, really heavy on the personal attacks. The authors of the article must be thrilled that you all step in and prove their point so efficiently.

It frustrates me no end that climate deniers are often called (or call themselves) “skeptics”. A sceptic is not someone who denies things as a kneejerk reaction. A sceptic looks at the evidence and follows where it leads, regardless of whether or not the results are comfortable. Climate deniers do the exact opposite, and sullies the label “sceptic”.

I was unaware that The University of Bristol had moved to East Anglia, but based on the quality of papers produced that must be the case.
What a pity that a once renowned and well respected academic reference has become a shabby and perverted excuse for a university.
Hang your heads in shame.
The founding fathers will be turning in their graves.

So denialists – this is how it works. There is no doubt that the planet is warming and it is having noticable effects on many of the systems of the planet. The most robust hypothesis is that is it due to human activity and will continue. If you have a better explanation that covers all the observed phenomena then lets hear it. If all you can do is cherry pick and argue about minor discrepancies or phenomena that don’t fit the current hypothesis then you are not adding anything – it’s fine to point these out and then all scientists can look at it to refine or change the hypothesis. But you can’t reject the current orthodoxy unless you have a superior explanation. There is none that has been put forward by climate deniers/sceptics that passes this test so when it comes down to it, you have nothing of importance to say. Therefore, all your rants, lies and nonsense should be ignored.
If you had read the article you would see that it argues that there is a common pattern in denialist behaviour. The science is completely settled on smoking, HIV/AIDs and vaccination. All the denialists on these issues are 100% wrong. Climate science is still a work in progress. However, if denialism of climate science is following the same pattern then it is a workable hypothesis that it will turn out to be 100% wrong as well. Of course, it doesn’t prove it. It should give you pause before you open your mouths or post but because you already think you know everything, I’m postulating it won’t.

Just because you are paranoid, that doesn’t mean they can’t get you.

What an astonishing assortment of trollish critters have crawled out when the authors kicked this particular rock.
Nil Carborundum and keep up the good work Stephan, Michael, Linda, Gerard and Elizabeth.

“What are the consequences of such insertions by external parties into the scientific process?”

It is a shame that Lewandowsky has inserted himself into the scientific process – hypocrasy is one thing, to be so completely blind to it is another. Yet another shameful insertion by Lewandowsky into a science he so clearly does not understand. Lewandowsky should challenge his own assumptions otherwise he appears to be just an attention-seeking dilettante.

How did these blokes get to university, apparently without a general school education that might have allowed them to avoid writing such tosh? Perhaps it’s different over there?

“What are the consequences of such insertions by external parties into the scientific process?

Laughter, mostly. Further responses to Lewandowsky’s eternal outrage are found here. Incidentally, thin-skinned warmy Lewandowsky is a psychology professor. He may also be out of his mind.” — Tim Blair

“How did these blokes get to university?”

Letting themselves out as pegboys to the profs?

How did these blokes get to university, apparently without a general school education that might have allowed them to avoid writing such tosh? Perhaps it’s different over there?

How did someone who claims a general school education not learn the difference between an unscientific, invalid personal attack and a valid argument about the substance of the matter? By all means keep ranting and displaying to the world your inadequate grasp of both logic and irony.

Sources cited by the authors: 40
Sources cited by the commenters who attack the authors: 0

Evaluate accordingly.

Thanks for the paper, please keep working!
Speaking of light, I agree that some statistics on the number of comments (unusually high I guess) would be illuminating.

If there is a war on science, it is the authors of this article who are on the front line of destroying the scientific method.

Apparently, since data such as the all time record HIGH Antarctic sea ice, advancing Arctic sea ice, slowing to non existent GMSL at less than 2/mm annual (and negative in some recent years), flat to lower global temps for almost 2 decades, and all the myriads of other associated data… flatly, empirically, REFUTE this cadre of AGW grant leaching con artists pretending to do science with grossly false models…. they resort to the lowest form of rhetorical anti science with this paper. And to ‘Real skeptic’ since when do ‘commenters’ provide formal papers with reference citations in comments? The only ‘references’ needed are the past 2 decades of data from ANY legitimate data collection website, government agency included. NOAA, NSIDC, et al.

The actual data just simply destroys the cult of AGW’s 2 decades of false models, false predictions, false mechanisms, false claims, false pre-suppositions, and false conclusions.

All of you AGW cultists are losing your unscientific battle BECAUSE of the scientific evidence, data, and method. You will continue to lose credibility at the same brisk pace you have been over the past few years, as the public learns the truth about the actual measured data, and the fact they have been hoodwinked by the likes of the parroting media citing your fraudulent claims.

In science, truth and reality wins out in the end, over agendas, and phony claims based on ideology instead of objective analysis.

The irony of this paper’s title is breathtakingly comic.

I forgot to mention that on the ‘science denial kills’ question, while others have already pointed out how laughably bogus the ‘Global Warming is killing people’ claim is, we might also mention that when the globe cools, (and when people don’t have access to low cost energy for warmth), the associated crop failures, disease, starvation, and cold related deaths, number in the millions annually as history has amply demonstrated.

Furthermore, quality of life, longevity of life, and low death rates, have all of course been improved by ORDER OF MAGNITUDE due to the modern industrial revolution… which authors like these now laughably pretend is responsible for net loss of human life from CO2 emissions!

You want to spend trillions on carbon taxes, ruin people’s lives, and destroy the economies of first world democracies to lower future temps by 1 tenth of 1 degree, which will be more than offset by increased emissions from emerging 3rd world economies? Good luck with that! But then, we know the real agenda here has nothing to do with humanity or science, and everything to do with power, politics, polemics, and grant money, yes?

I’m unsure whether denialists are just crazy or just don’t care that they’re going to ruin the lives of most people in the future, so are happy to take the shilling from the industry PR campaigns. Perhaps they think it won’t make a difference and that it’ll be sorted out in the long run. I don’t know. How are they so delusional, self-centred, greedy and ignorant? I suppose it’s not that uncommon.

It is sad to see such an emotional unscientific rant published by an organization that putatively supports science in general and the scientific method in particular. Dr. Mann’s “work” is the penultimate denial of true science when he continues to push “models” that derive preselected patterns from chaos don’t care which direction the y-axis is pointed.

The non-science pushed by the authors has real consequences; yes, science denial does kill — it kills economies, jobs, industries, and apparently the personal reputations of people who innocently ask for data so results can be replicated (or not) or who question misapplication of procedure.

According to Lewandowski, these guys say we haven’t been to the moon.
Amazing what passes for “science” these days.

Some commenters seem confused by the article. None of the authors object to their scientific conclusions being challenged by the application of scientific methods sufficient to stand up to peer review. All those who criticise the authors are free to submit papers for publication that challenge their data, their analysis, or their conclusions. They should do so if they can. What the authors object to are challenges to their science based on harassment and lawsuits, and not science.

This is a reasonable position. Few people, for instance, would like their doctor or hospital to be subjected to email attacks, nuisance phone calls, threats or lawsuits because someone (qualified or not) disputes the treatment being given. On the other hand, most patients would like to see reliable and validated studies that demonstrated their treatment was not as good as some alternative. This would enable a rational choice of better therapy, something that administrative time-wasting, an injunction or a fine cannot deliver.

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