Ugo Bardi Stands by Fabrication

You may not have heard of Ugo Bardi before. I hadn’t until a day ago. That’s when I was directed to this post of his. In it, he explains he’s resigned as “Chief Specialty Editor” from Frontiers over how it handled the retraction of Recursive Fury. I say good riddance. Anyone who makes things up then insists his fabrication is true shouldn’t be an editor.

Anyone familiar with Recursive Fury who reads Ugo Bardi’s post should immediately spot his fabrication. It’s in his first paragraph:

You may have followed the story of “Recursive Fury”, the paper by Stephan Lewandowsky and others that the journal “Frontiers” had published in 2013. The paper reported the results of a survey that showed that the rejection of climate science was often accompanied by a similar mindset on other scientific areas. So “Climate skeptics” were also found to reject the notion that AIDS is caused by the HIV virus and that smoking causes cancer. A result not at all surprising for those of us who follow the climate debate in detail.

For those who don’t spot it, I’ll quote Tom Curtis. Tom Curtis is a member of the Skeptical Science team, and he has actively criticized (and sometimes insulted) me for what I’ve said about Recursive Fury. He defends and supports that paper while I say it’s complete rubbish and the fact he finds it compelling speaks poorly of him. Even so, we both agree:

Ugo Bardi, the paper that included the survey purportedly showing a correlation between rejection of climate science and conspiracist ideation, and also showing correlations between rejection of climate science and fundamentalist free market attitudes, rejection of the theories that the HIV virus causes AIDS, or that smoking causes lung cancer was “NASA faked the moon landing, therefore (climate) science is a hoax” published by Psychological Science, and often referred to as LOG12. It has not been retracted.

The paper which was retracted was Recursive Fury, which collects and analyzes denier responses to LOG12, showing a high proportion of conspiracist ideation (and some rather whacky conspiracy theories) in those responses.

So what happens when two people with opposite views about Recursive Fury point out a factual error in Ugo Bardi’s piece? Well first, he responds to Tom Curtis by saying:

Sorry, but “Recursive Fury” does report on what I said it reports – that is the correlation of various attitudes against science which was described more in detail in a previous paper (LOG12). Then on, it goes into describing the reactions to that – but the gist of the paper is on this attitude. So is my note.

Then he adds an addendum to his post saying:

some people seem to have find a handle to criticize my stance on this issue by saying that I described incorrectly what “Recursive Fury” says. Sorry, but the paper says exactly what I say: that denial of climate science is accompanied by other conspiratorial beliefs. Then, of course, it deals with the reactions to an earlier paper on the same subject, but the focus of the discussion is the same. In any case, this is just the usual trick of shifting the discussion on a marginal point to avoid confronting the main issue which is, in this case, the behavior of “Frontiers”.

It’s remarkable he thinks Tom Curtis and I both are resoring to a “trick of shifting the discussion on a marginal point to avoid confronting the main issue.” The reality is we both pointed out a factual error in his post, and if he had just fixed it, there’d have been no shift in discussion. The only reason people continued talking about Bardi’s fabrication is he insists its true.

Ugo Bardi’s only defense for what he said is to say Recursive Fury reports results which were “described in more detail in a previous paper (LOG12).” Only, this doesn’t make sense as he also said in a comment:

Let me repeat it: my statements exactly describe what the paper is about and you are simply trying to shift the discussion to marginal points.

His description of Recursive Fury does not say a word about what the paper actually sought to study (how people responded to a previous paper). The only thing he discussed was the results published in LOG12. In other words, he screwed up, refused to admit his mistake, and he faults everyone else for pointing it out.

I think we should all say good riddance to Ugo Bardi. Frontiers is better off without him.

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