Let's say you want to find out what climate skeptics think and why they think it. What's a better method?
1. Find a registry on the blogosphere where climate skeptics have laid out their views in some detail, and how they came to those views, as well as their educational and professional backgrounds. Read these entries and report their content in some sort of organized fashion in a journal article.
2. Post a survey on environmentalist, anti-skeptic blogs, open to anyone in the world of any age, including fakes. Ask participants if the moon landings were a hoax and if HIV causes AIDS, along with climate questions. Notice that about 2% of self-identified climate skeptics in your survey endorse the moon-landing hoax. Report that climate skepticism springs from belief in the moon-landing hoax.
1 or 2, you be the judge.
When the story of Method 2 is told, in magazines, books, television specials, and so forth, wow. I want to see the looks on people's faces. It's going to be fun. The University of Western Australia and Bristol might want to get ahead of this thing before they end up under it. Eric Eich's role in all of this is fascinating, as is APS. It's actually sparked some scientific curiosity, in myself and others, on the cognitive processes involved, the strange combination of the exquisiteness of the human eye and its willful non-use. Blind people should be offended by this. All these good eyes going to waste.
In any case, regarding Method 1, here it is. Nice work by applied mathematics Professor Paul Matthews of Nottingham, a gentleman and a scholar. Such men were once the rule in the academy. My hat to you, sir.
José L. Duarte
Social Psychology, Scientific Validity, and Research Methods.