More Bandwidth for 'Recursive Fury'

By Stephan Lewandowsky
Professor, School of Experimental Psychology and Cabot Institute, University of Bristol
Posted on 25 March 2014

One of my most widely read papers, "Recursive Fury", was recently retracted by the journal Frontiers even though they found no academic or ethical problems with the paper. The reasons underlying this decision are outlined here and here.

Because of the paper's popularity, I made it available after its retraction on a server hosted by the University of Western Australia, accessible under the short link The demand on the paper appears to have been so large that this relatively small server could not always cope with the traffic. At one point, it took me more than 2 minutes to download the pdf.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

Predictably, the technical difficulties with accessing the paper have given rise to some wild speculations about its existence or well being. No need to apologize for that: more confirmation of the well-established fact that denial of science often involves a measure of conspiratorial discourse never goes astray.

To resolve those bandwidth-related technical difficulties, the paper has now been moved to a more focal server within the University of Western Australia, and the UWA web manager has kindly created a special link to the paper that identifies its host more clearly:

I hope that this resolves any technical difficulties.

Bookmark and Share


Comments 1 to 3:

  1. Can you tell us when, or if, the University of Western Australia will eventually be hosting the Supplementary Material for the Recursive Fury paper?

    Currently the UWA Cognitive Science page is only showing the Recursive Fury pdf on its own.
  2. geoffchambers at 01:47 AM on 2 April, 2014
    Professor Lewandowsky
    Further to tlitb1's request above, could you also release the data for LOG12 (“Moon Hoax”), the paper which sparked off the “Recursive Fury” paper, including answers to the Iraq question, the demographics, and the blog sources for all 1300+ respondents, including the 200+ which you discarded? , Barry Woods requested it of Psychological Science, and Psychological Science referred him to your old university UWA, but they say it is not their policy to release data.
    Your original release of data to Katabasis was performed promptly, and your original email exchange with Barry Woods about the non-appearance of the survey link at SkepticalScience was equally prompt and polite. Since then you have refused to answer any of the questions put to you on the threads to your numerous articles on the subject. Why is that?
  3. Hello Prof. Lewandowsky,$

    I was finally able to read your "recursive fury" paper. Thanks for your efforts to make this research available. Here are my thoughts and comments:

    Conspiracies, Conspiracy Theories and Climate Change

    A recent study that has created some fuss linked denial of climate science with conspirational thinking. Conspiracy theorists are people who believe in conspiracies where none exist, or greatly exaggerate existing ones.

    It is a fact that there are conspracies, and that the conspirators – often even with official support – are lying about it.

    Just remember the Iraqi „Weapons of Mass Destruction“. The Bush administration clearly lied about them, to the extent that many people are convinced they never existed. This is wrong, however: evidence suggest that Saddam Hussein acquired huge stockpiles of chemical warfare agents and their delivery systems from multiple sources and used them in his 1980-1988 war against Iran as well as against unruly Kurds in Iraq itself, and was working on nuclear and biological weapons until 1991, but these stockpiles were destroyed, and the development disbanded under UN supervision by 1995.

    Perhaps the biggest government conspracy of all was the „Manhattan Project“ to develop nuclear weapons during the Second World War. Thousands of people were involved, and the whole thing was kept secret for years, and its budget hidden among other items. To this day, nuclear weapons are covered under „Department of Energy“ in the US budget! Interestingly I know of no conspiracy theory about that, however. But maybe it is the key to their existence. Just imagine how many husbands and wives were suspecting their spouses to hide an affair during that time, claiming to work overtime, but not allowed to tell what they are working on because it's so secret! After realizing this was the truth, maybe some pattern recognition set in, and some people began thinking „the government is hiding something“ whenever something strange happened?

    The government is not the only actor of such conspracies, another suspect is Big Business. The „theory“ that automotive industry bought up tramway systems in order to dismantle them and so promote car sales is one of the oldest, and also one of the more legitimate ones. The phenomenon is neither restricted to the USA: the Reichstag Fire in Germany 1933 is just one example. These are the „legitimate“ conspiracy theories of people not accepting lies.

    Another conspiracy was the 1947 „UFO-Crash“ in Roswell. The „Unidentified Flying Object“ was only after the Cold War revealed to be a reconnaissance balloon, belonging to a top-secret spying program against the USSR and equipped with detectors for radioactive fallout to discover a possible secret atomic bomb test. Conspiracy theorists have of course identified the UFO as an extraterrestrial spacecraft. A somewhat related conspiracy was „Area 51“, which was used for testing alien technology. Not from outer space, but captured Soviet equipment.

    That the US government under John F. Kennedy conspired with the Mafia to murder Fidel Castro is also widely acknowledged today, and allegations that the scheme backfired, and Kennedy was killed instead, are of course a story too good to be true. An exhaustive list of all conspiracies and coverups would be too tiresome for the gentle reader, and probably still be incomplete, but one fairly recent event should be noted: The 9/11 terrorist attacks shook the world in 2001, and speculations and conspiracy theories started to emerge in huge numbers. It is obvious that the Bush Administration had something to hide, although it was rather incompetence than direct involvment, but it is remarkable how widely even the wildest theories are believed by otherwise sensible people.

    There are also known examples where no relevant government or corporate conspiracies exist. Such is the case with HIV/AIDS, vaccines, water fluoridation, chemtrails etc. These are the more clinically relevant cases of conspirational thinking, as are those where several mutually exclusive theories are circulating; that Osama Bin Laden is still alive AND that he died long before the 2011 Abottabad raid is one of those; as are many 9/11 stories.

    How does Global Warming fit in all there?
    There is one hand the „Government“ conspiracy theory, that scientists publish alarmist claims in order to receive more funding for their research and get rich, or because they want to introduce socialism. On the other hand, there is the „Big Business“ one, that science deniers are lavishly funded by the fossil fuel lobby to promote „skepticism“. Only one of them belongs to the „legitimate“ category.

    Kind regards,
Comments Policy

Post a Comment

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or register a new account.