The Wegman plagiarism scandal

Not only was the Wegman report plagiarised, three of Wegman’s PhD students committed plagiarism in their theses. Deep Climate has the report.

Comments

  1. #1 sunspot
    September 19, 2010

    Ah….. so you ignore the IPCC’s repeated distortions and try to deflect with this little mistake in an otherwise well presented and factual report.

    ‘We are told that the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represents a consensus of 2,500 experts in the field. Yet when we look at the details, we find that the IPCC process, and especially the Summary for Policymakers, is in the hands of a small group, no more than two or three dozen.

    The practically incestuous links among these scientists were revealed in a 2006 report by a team led by George Mason University statistics professor Edward Wegman at the request of Congress following a report by the National Research Council. These people work together, publish papers together and peer-review each others’ work. And we now know from the “Climate” leaks that they also cobbled together unrelated data sets, sought to “hide the decline,” to eliminate the Medieval Warm Period from the record, to prevent publication of alternative views and to bring about the dismissal of editors who took a more open-minded approach.’

    http://www.tinyurl.com.au/sb4

  2. #2 Marion Delgado
    September 19, 2010

    Lest the plagiarism issues take center stage, I want to remind the lurkers that the “Wegman Report” was:

    A. commissioned by a right-wing extremist politician (Joe Barton) to counter a mainstream scientific analysis being carried out at the same time,

    B. Hand-picked by Wegman, himself hand-picked by Barton, to consist of himself and a few of his students and advisees, and

    C. Concluded that paleoclimatology was falsified because it had too small a social network.

  3. #3 Derecho64
    September 19, 2010

    Spotty takes chutzpah to a new level.

  4. #4 Deep Climate
    September 19, 2010

    #2
    I, for one, have no intention of letting the other issues be forgotten. And there are further revelations to come.

    Meanwhile, for a previous detailed discussion of the Wegman panel process, including the key, hands-on role played by Barton staffer Peter Spencer, see:

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/02/08/steve-mcintyre-and-ross-mckitrick-part-2-barton-wegman/

  5. #5 cce
    September 19, 2010

    And thanks to Deep Climate and others, we know that Wegman was fed information from a Republican staffer, changed the conclusions of the source material, and constructed an incestuous report co-written and reviewed by present and past colleagues and flunkies. If “skeptics” want to keep to the party line that “method wrong + answer correct = bad science” they must discount the Wegman report, it’s conclusions, and everyone involved with it. Unless, of course, they consider such things “method correct”.

  6. #6 MapleLeaf
    September 19, 2010

    Re #1,

    More evidence that sunspot activity really is relatively low.

  7. #7 Rattus Norvegicus
    September 20, 2010

    Marion, at least sunspot mental activity…

  8. #8 Marion Delgado
    September 20, 2010

    Deep Climate, “think of the lurkers!” is my “think of the children!” :) I just like the sheer Lysenkoism of a tiny, tightly knit ad-hoc committee using that as perhaps its key claim against an entire discipline. Trying to sum it up as pithily as possible.

  9. #9 John Mashey
    September 20, 2010

    Wegman was given 2 main requirements from Barton through Jerry Coffey and then Peter Spencer. They were, in effect:

    1) Ratify MM, i.e., focus on Principal Components issues in a tiny fraction of the data in MBH98 to discredit the hockey stick. In passing, try to promote the big MWP.

    2) Ratify MM’s ideas about peer review, because it wasn’t enough to discredit that alone. Wegman’s crew had *zero* experience with real SNA… and what real SNA people say about their work is not complimentary. Also, it is very unwise of Wegman, Said & 2 other Wegman students to reuse the plagiarized material in a paper in Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, doing poor SNA, wildly overstating conclusions.
    It went from receipt to acceptance in 6 days, compared to average of 200. It cited 3 Federal research contracts (very bad idea). It may have helped that Wegman was a 20-year advisor and frequent author CS&DA, and Said, 2 years post-PhD managed to be an Associate Editor.

    It claimed in effect that Wegman’s style of social network was less prone to peer review problems and hence is a rarity: a self-refuting paper.

    Actually, if you want to read the game plan for the Wegman Report, read the May 11, 2005 talk at George Marshall Institute by MM.

  10. #10 salrick
    September 20, 2010

    sunspot @1

    Climate Scientists Defend IPCC Peer Review as Most Rigorous in History
    by Stacy Feldman – Feb 26th, 2010

    http://solveclimate.com/blog/20100226/climate-scientists-defend-ipcc-peer-review-most-rigorous-history

    “Nicholls, a professor at Monash University in Victoria, Australia, said the IPCC 2007 Fourth Assessment report was subjected to several rigorous tiers of review. The study cites over 10,000 papers from the scientific literature, “most of which have already been through the peer-review process to get into the scientific literature.”

    “The report went through four separate reviews and received 90,000 comments from 2,500 reviewers, all of which are publicly available, along with the responses of the authors, Nicholls said.”

    If only those outside professional statisticians called in to examine the IPCC work could get it right. (McIntyre) Wasn’t that one of your complaints? No outside professional statisticians?

    “The amusing thing about the “hockey stick has been debunked” meme is that it seems to generally trace back to McIntyre, who screwed up his attempted debunking. He blindly assumed that the number of significant components in uncentered PCA would be the same as Mann’s decentered PCA – which is not generally the case. (For someone who implies climate scientists regularly screw up statistics because they aren’t nearly as competent as professional statisticians…this is particularly egregious.)”

    “And once you apply McIntyre’s method properly, you get largely the same hockey stick as the original. So McIntyre in a sense helped confirm the original hockey stick, even as he and his enthusiastic supporters continue to echo the exact opposite conclusion.
    Posted by: Lotharsson at http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/science_show_on_climate_change.php

  11. #11 Lotharsson
    September 20, 2010

    > If “skeptics” want to keep to the party line that “method wrong + answer correct = bad science” they must discount the Wegman report, it’s conclusions, and everyone involved with it.

    I do believe that is a kind-of corollary of the “sunspot’s links frequently discredit his own argument” principle, and as John Mashey has pointed out in this instance the underlying result is even stronger:

    > …a rarity: a self-refuting paper.

  12. #12 toto
    September 20, 2010

    Meh.

    The “plagiarism” seems to be limited to the background/introductory sections. Essentially they copy-pasted some technical descriptions and definitions. Poor form, for sure, but nobody should lose their PhD over it.

  13. #13 Wow
    September 20, 2010

    you cried for Jones’ resignation for refusing vexatious and invalid FOI requests, toto.

    You aren’t anywhere near as censorious here because Wegman’s report confirms your beliefs.

  14. #14 Mike
    September 20, 2010

    “These people work together, publish papers together and peer-review each others’ work.”

    Be it on the public record, that sunspot has just discovered that “Peer Reviewed” means “Reviewed by your Peers”.

  15. #15 Wow
    September 20, 2010

    Spots IS the PHB..!

  16. #16 Jeremy C
    September 20, 2010

    So Toto,

    >Poor form, for sure, but nobody should lose their PhD over it

    What’s your opinion of the few mistakes, poor citing in the 4th assessment report…

    Just curious……..

  17. #17 toto
    September 20, 2010

    you cried for Jones’ resignation for refusing vexatious and invalid FOI requests, toto.

    Uh, no I didn’t. You have me confused with someone else.

    What’s your opinion of the few mistakes, poor citing in the 4th assessment report.

    My opinion is that one or two mistakes (none of them in the WG1, “hard science” section) in a report with thousands of citations is pretty amazingly accurate.

  18. #18 frank -- Decoding SwiftHack
    September 20, 2010

    > Essentially they copy-pasted some technical descriptions and definitions. Poor form, for sure, but nobody should lose their PhD over it.

    Copy and pasted from random sources such as Wikipedia, changed a bit of wording here and there, and then totally failed to summarize the resulting goop or to cite the sources? That’s merely “poor form”?

    frank

  19. #19 Joel
    September 20, 2010

    While the Virginia Attorney General considers another investigation into Michael Mann and UVA, I wonder if these shenanigans at GMU will catch his attention?

  20. #20 luminous beauty
    September 20, 2010

    >Essentially they copy-pasted some technical descriptions and definitions. Poor form, for sure, but nobody should lose their PhD over it.

    You are missing the forest for the trees, toto. It isn’t the plagiarism, per se, that is so egregious (though that is sufficient grounds for academic discipline), it is the changes in meaning they induce in their clumsy efforts at paraphrasing, which they then use to draw erroneous conclusions from the material they are, even then, failing to properly reference.

  21. #21 trrll
    September 20, 2010

    I don’t find a lot of Deep Climate’s examples of “plagiarism” very convincing, and I’ve been involved in some academic reviews of alleged plagiarism. Several of the examples seem to fall into the category of “there are only so many ways to say it.” Picking on similar turns of phrase by people who have worked together also seems unfair, as people who interact a lot tend to pick up a kind of group “boilerplate” — standard ways of expressing background material that gets repeated over and over — to the point that it becomes difficult to think of any other way of expressing it, and nobody really knows whether they originated a particular turn of phrase or whether somebody else did. Trying to elevate this to the level of academic misconduct seems downright mean-spirited.

    Frankly, this seems a lot like the kind of nitpicking and making mountains out of molehills that I’m more accustomed to seeing from the denialist camp.

  22. #22 Bernard J.
    September 20, 2010

    [Trrll](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/09/the_wegman_plagiarism_scandal.php#comment-2808091).

    Yes, it’s fair enough to say that there are sometimes only so many ways to say something. The trouble arises when one uses what is obviously someone else’s words to say that thing, and then doesn’t attribute the words to that person.

    It’s the first step on a slippery slope, and whilst one or two short instances might be acceptable, especially at the neophyte level, to lift pages from another, and to do so in a document as potentially influential as the Wegman report, is plain misbehaviour.

    As a victim of another’s pliagarism I can attest that it can indeed have significant consequences, and I think that Deep Climate is performing sterling work in cleaning out a dirty pile of laundry.

    If Wegman and his students couldn’t between themselves figure out a novel phrasing of their material, all they needed to do was to use some quotation marks and Reference Manager, EndNote, or ProCite.

    It’s not difficult.

    Of course, doing so might have changed the context of the background that they were using, but then, that might be the point of it all, perhaps…

  23. #23 Rajan Alexander
    September 20, 2010

    If Pachauri did not exist, we climate sceptics would have had to literally invent him. He is in fact every sceptic’s dream. How could we have asked for more when he embodies the UN Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in all completeness? Interestingly, he also strongly epitomizes the typical climate activist and their organizations that they are attached. Did he mould both in his image or its vice versa is however for history to judge.

    Next month 194 governments of the IPCC are scheduled to meet in Busan, South Korea. This is where a plot to ouster Pachuari could be unleashed. Pachuari remains defiant: “At the moment, my mandate is very clear. I have to complete the fifth assessment” The Indian Government who Pachuari is their candidate is equally defiant, backing him to the hilt. If Pachauri goes, we leave the IPCC! And if India leaves the IPCC, it can trigger an exodus.

    We launch our “Save Pachauri Campaign”. This is the least we can do for a Patriot of our country. He accomplished what climate sceptics were unable to do by functioning as our Trojan horse that effectively destroyed the IPCC from the inside.

    Read More: http://devconsultancygroup.blogspot.com/2010/09/salute-this-man-pachauri-did-what-no.html

  24. #24 Boris
    September 20, 2010

    Trying to elevate this to the level of academic misconduct seems downright mean-spirited.

    I think it’s a pretty slam dunk plagiarism case. In the case of Said, the sentence structure and paragraphing appear to be very similar. There’s just no way that this could be group “boilerplate.” (If you check out DC’s pdf you will see how much similarity there is.)

    That said, in cases I have seen, background material that is plagiarized can be rewritten and it’s doubtful that a PhD would be stripped. But that is very much up to the institution.

    Personally, I’d rather focus on the plagiarism in the Wegman report. Has DC or anyone actually submitted a complaint to GMU? If GMU has any academic integrity, they have to investigate the Wegman report and probably Wegman himself in his role as scholar and mentor. He seems to be derelicting his duties across the board.

    This pisses me off as an academic more than as a supporter of the AGW theory.

  25. #25 frank -- Decoding SwiftHack
    September 20, 2010

    Great, so Rajan Alexander shows that he’s a staunch supporter of clumsily disguised unsourced plagiarism.

    And he shows his staunch support of clumsily disguised unsourced plagiarism by … throwing out some totally irrelevant linkspam!

    Why, I wonder, is Rajan doing this? Does he sincerely think that it’s all for a good cause? What sort of good cause requires one to resort to covering up malfeasance with diversionary spam?

    (If you ask me, I think Tim Lambert should terminate such irrelevant linkspam on sight with extreme prejudice. But that’s just me.)

  26. #26 Steve Reuland
    September 20, 2010

    These people work together, publish papers together and peer-review each others’ work.

    Perish the thought! These people sound dangerously close to being normal scientists. I bet they also attend the same conferences, publish in the same journals, and cite each others’ work. Real scientists are supposed to cut themselves off from the outside world and never share ideas or seek collaborations with their peers. At least, that’s my understanding of science from having watched some old B-movies.

  27. #27 Hank Roberts
    September 20, 2010

    > invent him

    Ah, those who do not remember history are _soooo_ cute.

    Exxon, in fact, did:

    “Dr. Robert Watson, the highly respected leader of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, was blackballed in a memo [ http://www.nrdc.org/media/docs/020403.pdf ] to the White House from the nation’s largest oil company. The memo had its effect last Friday, when Dr. Watson lost his bid for re-election after the administration threw its weight behind the “let’s drag our feet” candidate, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri ….” http://www.slate.com/id/2064611/

  28. #28 Wow
    September 20, 2010

    > You are missing the forest for the trees, toto. It isn’t the plagiarism, per se, that is so egregious

    Though when it comes from a group who is trying to show that groupthink and copying others work without testing is why the IPCC is wrong and should be ignored, the plagiarism is now egregious.

  29. #29 Wow
    September 20, 2010

    > Uh, no I didn’t. You have me confused with someone else.

    Yes you did. Lots of complaints that this was wrong and bad and he should step down.

  30. #30 MapleLeaf
    September 20, 2010

    I encourage everyone here to read the link provided by John @9. Wow, just wow.

    I love the hypocrisy shown by Wegman et al. Falsely accusing others of ‘groupthink’ etc., all the time while engaging in incestuous networking themselves, plagiarizing , misrepresenting other scientists’ findings etc..

    Was it Karl Rove who came up with the strategy of (falsely) accusing others (i.e.., opponents) of engaging in nefarious activities, while he was actually engaging in said nefarious activities?

    John and DC, please don’t hold back on this one,

  31. #31 Jlohn Mashey
    September 20, 2010

    The cyan in DC’s and my stuff = word-for-word *exact* cut-and=paste, DC includes obvious moves, I don’t.
    It is typically about 50%. In any case, there is usually about 80% total of striking similarity, and that is way more than enough for plagiarism and copyright (did people forget copyright?)

    But we will see what happens with academic misconduct complaints, from people who actually know somethign about this. … although the potential felony investigations and funding mis-uses may be more interesting.

  32. #32 PS
    September 20, 2010

    “If Pachauri did not exist, we climate sceptics would have had to literally invent him.”
    To a very large extent the climate skeptics have invented Pachauri! Put another way, the climate skeptics have invented a cartoon bad guy and then claim it describes Pachauri without any convincing, true, evidence.

  33. #33 J Bowers
    September 20, 2010

    Re. 30 MapleLeaf — “while engaging in incestuous networking themselves”

    Funnily enough, the impression I get from Said’s presentation is that the reasons for taking on the hockey stick analysis had a lot to do with the networking opportunities it would present.

  34. #34 ligne
    September 20, 2010

    Steve:

    > At least, that’s my understanding of science from having watched some old B-movies.

    that’s how *i* worked out that Mann isn’t a real scientist. **real** scientists have a hunchback assistant called Igor.

  35. #35 Marion Delgado
    September 20, 2010

    Trrl:

    Do us all a favor:

    Copy and email, to whichever institution you did academic review of plagiarism for, your comment here, unedited. Then post the response as a comment.

    My conviction is if you really did that, assuming you actually ever had actual involvement in a plagiarism review, you’d never do it again. Or not there.

  36. #36 Nexus 6
    September 21, 2010

    This kind of plagiarism has become increasingly common in papers I’ve been reviewing of late. Currently my field is dominated by Chinese groups and though the science is often excellent, the papers’ grammar is generally poor. Interspersed whole paragraphs of perfect English in the introduction is a give away of an offending paper’s dodgyness and, through Google, it’s easy enough to determine the work has been lifted from one of the co-author’s or group’s previous papers and not attributed. When I find this it’s always a rejection from me.

    Thing is,I’ll diligently read the rest of the paper anyway and, without exception, the offending paper would have been rejected on the experimental design, results and conclusion too. People who are lazy enough to plagerise never put sufficient effort into the actual science they do as well, which requires far more effort than just writing papers.

    It seems Wegman and students fit this category perfectly and it is damning.

  37. #37 Donald Oats
    September 21, 2010

    1: Was any of Wegman’s report funded by taxpayer money?
    2: If the answer to Q1 is “Yes”, then are the emails between Wegman and Barton, students, other staff, friends, family, etc, available via FOI?
    3: I’m jus’ sayin’, that’s all… :-)

  38. #38 sunspot
    September 21, 2010

    donald, there is bit of wegman email gossip in here

    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/search.php

  39. #39 frank -- Decoding SwiftHack
    September 21, 2010

    Donald Oats:

    > 3: I’m jus’ sayin’, that’s all… :-)

    Argh! Don’t just say! Do! :)

    * * *

    sunspot:

    Take your irrelevant diversionary linkspam elsewhere, you obnoxious troll.

  40. #40 MarkB
    September 21, 2010

    I love this part.

    “Shakhashiri, paragraph 3:

    Starches from potatoes, corn, wheat, and other plants can also be used in the production of ethanol by fermentation.

    And Said has (at p. 7):

    Starches supplied from corn, potatoes, and other wheat plants including barley can also yield ethanol through fermentation.

    Notice how many of the same words have been used, but have now been split up into single words or two-word phrases. This reworking has even introduced an obvious error as the revised sentence has classified potatoes and corn as forms of a mysterious group called “wheat plants”.”

    Too funny! This sort of thing is something a lazy high school student would do.

  41. #41 Phila
    September 21, 2010

    “If Pachauri did not exist, we climate sceptics would have had to literally invent him.”

    It’s nice to see one of you guys admitting that you have no problem making stuff up when you think it’s politically experdient.

  42. #42 John Mashey
    September 21, 2010

    Re: Said dissertation
    The wheat plants are good.
    Also note how death turned into an impediment.

    It is worth knowing that Said started her PhD Fall 2004 completed Spring 2005.

  43. #43 MapleLeaf
    September 21, 2010

    John@42,

    “It is worth knowing that Said started her PhD Fall 2004 completed Spring 2005.”

    You have got to be kidding!? Did Said upgrade their MSc to a PhD? Even then, < 12 months to complete a PhD!? What about course work? OMG.

  44. #44 chek
    September 21, 2010

    Looks like some of the empire created realities of the era are now being studied judiciously, (unlike, say, a 6 month PhD course) and the chickens are returning home to do what homebound chickens eventually do.

  45. #45 John Mashey
    September 21, 2010

    re: 43 mapleLeaf
    Oops, sorry, hurry on iPhone while getting wife off to ClimateRide. Typo.
    That was Fall 2003 to Spring 2005, i.e., 21 months, not absurd, but still very fast.

  46. #46 MapleLeaf
    September 21, 2010

    Hi John,

    Tks for clarifying. Regardless, I completed my MSc (in the sciences) in about 18 months and that raised some eyebrows….nevermind completing a PhD in 21 months!

  47. #47 Rattus Norvegicus
    September 22, 2010

    Two comments on the McShane and Wyner paper are posted online. Links and comments can be found at DC’s joint. I don’t think there will be much left of this paper when all is said and done.

  48. #48 Arthur Smith
    September 27, 2010

    DeepClimate now has the final report from John Mashey – there are some very very serious accusations there, and a ton of evidence for them.

  49. #49 Amoeba
    October 6, 2010

    Emails regarding misleading Congress; Conspiracy and failure to alert the authorities about it, to DoJ 20101009 and regarding plagiarism to GMU sent 20101010.

  50. #50 Jay
    December 29, 2010

    Are there any comments on the actual conclusions as they relate to the errors in Mann’s work? Just curious. I read Solomon’s “The Deniers…”, and I have to admit, he constructs a pretty convincing argument against the existence of an AGW’ consensus’, against the statistical methods used to construct historical temperature records, against conclusions drawn from ice core samples, against climate modeling, and against the credibility of some of the IPCC’s source material, much less the list of 2500 supporters.

    If anybody has links to counterarguments that would be great.

    Cheers.

  51. #51 frank -- Decoding SwiftHack
    December 29, 2010

    Jay:

    So you want us to focus only on the “actual conclusions” of the plagiarism-filled Wegman Report, while you go around throwing out talking points that don’t directly relate to Mann’s paleoclimate work?

    Oh, and don’t come back to us with that ‘waah boo-hoo-hoo why are you so nasty I’m just a curious open-minded rational individual you just chased me away’ line. If you’re really a curious open-minded rational individual you would Do Your Own Fact Checking.

    frank

  52. #52 Jay
    December 30, 2010

    Y ddn’t ‘scr m w’. t s jst th ntrnt ftr ll. hp yr tbrst stsfd th lttl prt f y tht wshs yr mthr hd pttd y n th hd vr nc n whl whn sh wsn’t bs sckng ccks fr drgs. Y mst ls schw rcps, nn-fctn bks, sr mnls, nd gd bks. f s, kds, y’r n dt. t mks fr mr sns t sk rnd nd gt sns f th dbt thn t ds fr m t g vr th sm grnd ‘m sr mn f y hv lrd cvrd. Chrs.

  53. #53 Jay
    December 30, 2010

    There’s a guy like you on every forum by the way. “Check your own facts…check your own facts”. Invariably he’s the guy who doesn’t seem to have anything else constructive to say.

    I am trying to check my own facts, and I’m asking for your help. There shouldn’t be anything wrong with requesting a little help from the community. I’m certainly not qualified to rebut Mann et al., nor Wegman. Based on your response so far, I’m going to assume that neither are you.

    Flame away Frank. It amuses me.

  54. #54 luminous beauty
    December 30, 2010

    Jay,

    >Are there any comments on the actual conclusions as they relate to the errors in Mann’s work? Just curious.

    Have you been following [Deep Climate](http://deepclimate.org/2010/11/16/replication-and-due-diligence-wegman-style/) on this question?

  55. #55 luminous beauty
    December 30, 2010

    Concerning Lawrence Solomon; [the Deniers is so full of misinformation that it is impossible to list it all.](http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6685/is_4_34/ai_n31505943/)

  56. #56 Chris O'Neill
    December 30, 2010

    your mother had patted you on the head every once in a while when she wasn’t busy sucking cocks for drugs

    Don’t you just love these science denialists?

  57. #57 jakerman
    December 30, 2010

    Chris, particularly the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde routine where Jay then says:

    >*Flame away Frank. It amuses me.*

  58. #58 zoot
    December 30, 2010

    OK Jay, let’s pretend you’re not a troll.

    The intertubes has a marvellous site called Google. Go and play on it for a while.

  59. #59 frank -- Decoding SwiftHack
    December 31, 2010

    Chris O’Neill, jakerman:

    Great, Jay the ‘open-minded skeptic’ shows his true colours. Can I say ‘checkmate in one’? :)

  60. #60 stewart
    December 31, 2010

    Jay, again assuming that the question was honest (I doubt it, but perhas it was), you can look up the report that Gerald North (statistician) chaired for the US National Academy of Sciences, at the same time as the Wegman report, but without the political posturing.
    Conclusion: ‘The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and the retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented during at least the last 2,000 years.’
    Report’s here: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309102251

    As for North’s conclusions about the Wegman report, look here:
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/10/gerald-north-dishes.html

    As for the other, why trust Lawrence Solomon? Yes, he can spin a credible story if you don’t check his facts, but what happens when you check his facts? Follow LB’s links, and you see that Solomon purveys half-facts and spin, with skepticism to scientists and utter credibility to nonsense. What’s his track record on predictions and who he listens to? Don’t forget, that as a journalist, he brings up no new information, just publicizes others.
    What does North have to say about Solomon’s presentation of his work? ‘Your article about the NAS reports is quite misleading — in fact, a shameful misrepresentation.’
    Read more: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/02/13/a-gross-distortion.aspx#ixzz19hVhv6UJhttp://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/02/13/a-gross-distortion.aspx

    Why is it that EVERY SINGLE scientific academy says the evidence is strong, clear, and getting stronger? Why is it a political point ONLY in the US, Canada, and among a few Australian politicians? (I think the Russians are changing their minds).
    Choose your country from this list
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

    As I said, if you’re honest, this should be helpful. If not, this might help someone with honest questions about the topic.
    Cheers from a place that is slightly colder than usual right now, after being slightly warmer than usual last week. Weather, not climate.

  61. #61 MartinM
    December 31, 2010

    Are there any comments on the actual conclusions as they relate to the errors in Mann’s work?

    I suggest reading the Wegman report and identifying those conclusions which actually do relate to “errors in Mann’s work”. Once you’ve done that, post your understanding of them here, and we can discuss them. You might find the first part more difficult than you think, though.

  62. #62 Jay
    December 31, 2010

    I have read the Wegman report. Unfortunately it’s been years since I studied stats, and it was only the bare minimum to get my degree. I don’t yet understand the items he’s taken issue with, so I can’t tell if his criticisms are valid or not. I also can’t assume that he’s credible, thanks to the plagiarism issue, but I recognize that the plagiarism, while important, doesn’t necessarily negate his critique.

    To Frank et al: Gasp! profanity on the internet?! What a shocker. I thought my rejoinder was really quite clever, and insightful, though I’m sorry for insulting your mother, who I’m sure is a wonderful woman, despite her progeny.

    I really am open minded. You imply that I have an agenda. But I really don’t. I never said I was a skeptic. I was firmly in the AGW camp until I read Solomon’s book. Then I started to look up the scientists he cited, starting with the first chapter…Wegman. And that brought me here.

    I still think I’m firmly in the AGW camp. I just don’t understand all of the science, and I’d like to, if possible. I’d like to be able to talk to the guy who gave me Solomon’s book and say “here’s why Solomon’s full of shit…”. I currently can’t do that, and it’s really annoying. Almost as annoying as being immediately flamed for posting a polite, reasonable question.

    Thank you again, most of you, and have a happy new year.

  63. #63 jakerman
    December 31, 2010

    Jay, you’ve been provided with a link exposing Wegman’s poor statistics (relying on an unrepresentative cherry picked sample provided by M&M.)

    You’ve also been linked to a brief critique of Solomon’ book. What troubles you most about the claims Solomon makes? Perhaps no prepackaged demolition of his book exists, after all it takes more work and time to disprove lies than to make a series of them in a Gish Gallop.

    How about, in a similar fashion to that suggested by MartinM, you document the strongest argument Solomon makes.

  64. #64 frank -- Decoding SwiftHack
    December 31, 2010

    Jay:

    > To Frank et al: Gasp! profanity on the internet?! What a shocker. […]

    > Almost as annoying as being immediately flamed for posting a polite, reasonable question.

    You mean posting a “polite, reasonable question” followed by a bunch of “convincing”, factless innuendo, and then insulting people’s moms, um Mr. I-am-open-minded-polite-firmly-in-AGW-camp?

    * * *

    And for the benefit of Jay, and also for lurkers, here’s what “Do Your Own Fact Checking” means:

    For each claim that Lawrence Solomon makes, double-check for yourself, using independent sources, whether the claim is actually true. Hey, it’s so simple,[1] even your mom can do it!

    [1] Granted, it’s rather tedious. But free thought comes at a price.

    frank

  65. #65 frank -- Decoding SwiftHack
    December 31, 2010

    Jay:

    By the way, if you actually have to state “I really am open-minded”, then you’re doing it wrong. It’s just as reassuring as the snake oil salesman who tells people “I really am an honest person”.

    Just saying.

    Happy New Year, and send my regards to your mom.

    frank

  66. #66 Jay
    December 31, 2010

    @jakerman: I was only presented with the links after being subjected to Frank’s temper tantrum. Luckily, Frank doesn’t own the internet, and a couple of people managed some more constructive answers. Thanks to Luminous Beauty for those, btw.

    I did read them. My understanding of statistics is not sufficient to evaluate the first link, so my next step is to go learn more statistics. Specifically I am going to try to understand Principal Component Analysis, and then the flaws in Wegman’s methodology, like the selection of PCs being biased, for instance, now that I know that’s what they’re arguing about.

    The critique of Solomon’s book was also revealing, and I plan to follow up each point, now that I have a better sense of what to examine. It’s amazing how much time one question, followed by two helpful links, saved me…which is why I asked it in the first place.

    @Frank: All of the extra noise was a great deal of fun, but I think I’ll move on now that I have what I came for…a couple of links rebutting some of the claims that Solomon made in his book. Don’t worry, I’m sure that before long, some other curious soul will stumble across your little virtual playground and become fodder for your pointless and asinine bluster.

    Thanks for the entertainment.

    Jay.

  67. #67 zoot
    January 1, 2011

    And when you’ve done the work you will get back to us and let us know your conclusions, won’t you Jay?

    Have a nice day. Mind the door doesn’t hit you in the arse on your way out.

  68. #68 Jay
    January 14, 2011

    @stewart: Thanks for the links. I didn’t see your post the last time I was here for some reason. Much appreciated.

    Jay.

  69. #69 Wow
    January 14, 2011

    > Are there any comments on the actual conclusions as they relate to the errors in Mann’s work?

    Jay, from the work done by others, the answer seems to be “Wegman’s conclusions doesn’t have anything to do with errors in Mann’s work”.

    It’s not even that, mind. It has nothing to do with Mann’s work either, whether there are errors or not.

  70. #70 Wow
    January 14, 2011

    PS if you want a take-home message of what Wegman’s report IS about:

    Wegman tries the wrong statistical method, that nobody else is using, to discern historical temperature trends and gets a bad statistic out.

    This is hardly surprising. Like trying the Poisson distribution to work out the probabilities of rolling a number on two six-sided dice and then stating that because you get the wrong answer, it’s wrong to use combinatorials.

  71. #71 Marco
    January 14, 2011

    Wow, methinks you are confusing Wegman and McShane&Wyner. Wegman just repeated (and apparently rather blindly) McIntyre&McKittrick’s analysis.

  72. #72 Wow
    January 14, 2011

    I don’t think so, Marco. About the only statistical work in there that I can remember is a different use of PCA with settings NOBODY USES because they’re the wrong settings. IIRC, not even M&M used these settings.

  73. #73 Marco
    January 14, 2011

    Wow, what I remember is that the Wegman report did NOTHING new with the data.

Current ye@r *