The strange saga of a paper about the public behavior of some of the people who argue about climate science got stranger still over the weekend. The paper, slated for publication in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, was hung up in limbo for several years before finally being pulled from the journal’s website entirely. At the time, the journal posted a statement saying that the reason for its vanishing was that “the legal context is insufficiently clear,” and the journal’s lawyer told Ars that there were no ethical concerns regarding the study.
Roughly two weeks later, the journal apparently no longer feels that’s the case. Last Friday, it released a statement that said the paper was pulled because it “does not sufficiently protect the rights of the studied subjects” and that attempts to get the authors to submit a modified version that addresses the complaints have been unsuccessful. One of the authors, meanwhile, has professed confusion about the entire situation and says that an anonymized version had been submitted.
Ironically, the entire muddled and bewildering situation grew out of a paper on conspiracy theories and the blog communities who love them. Apparently, a small subset of the people who frequent climate blogs are prone to believing conspiracy theories, both generally and about climate scientists in particular (The paper’s title was “NASA Faked the Moon Landing—Therefore, [Climate] Science Is a Hoax”). The paper spurred a rather aggressive response on the blogs of the so-called “climate skeptic” community, one that—you guessed it—included a number of conspiracy theories. Which, naturally, some of the same authors chose to write up in another study, this one entitled “Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation.”
Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Leave a Reply