Butterfly study: a case study in confirmation bias

Butterfly study: a case study in confirmation bias“. Anthony Watts wants us to know that there is a bias against skeptics in the scientific literature. Marc Hendrickx, denialist Australian blogger and “part time consulting geologist”, submitted a Comment on a paper on Biology Letters called Early emergence in a butterfly causally linked to anthropogenic warming. It was rejected for basically lacking any basis.

Poor Hendrickx, a denialist geologist trying to attack a biology study, then asks Anthony’s readers for help improving it! Talk about the blind leading the blind.

Hendrickx presents his full Comment and the text of his rejection. He’s so deep in Dunning–Kruger that he badly misconstrued this bemused complete response by Referee 2 (italics are Hendrickx’s oblivious addition):

In the short intro, the author writes twice “phonological changes”. I guess that would be “phenological changes”? (MH based on this I take it that Ref 2 was generally happy with the manuscript)

Perhaps Anthony thinks this is an example of insightful research unjustly rejected because of the alleged bias against skeptics in the scientific literature? If so it’s Anthony with the ‘confirmation bias.’

1 thought on “Butterfly study: a case study in confirmation bias

  1. Obviously, this is readily mockable, but at the same time, I feel we ought to give this guy some credit for trying to be a part of the process. He wrote to a journal instead of, say, posting a picture on his blog of Michael Mann dressed as Hitler. When he got the reviewers comments, rather than denounce the process as biased, he decided to re-submit after trying to address the referees’ concerns. Two small gold stars for him.

    Stars as well for the careful, through, and polite response of the editors.

    [True, it’s a step up from rabid blogging. But does he really think that appealing to Anthony’s readership is going to improve his Comment? – Ben]

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