Scientific American blogging network launches

Check out all the awesome blogs at the new Scientific American blogging network!

More like this

As for blogs, people may want to check out thus one at Chronicle of Higher Education.
I've been too busy to comment yet, but if you go over, please be polite and factual.

I do believe the fine Oz phrase "dogwhistle politics" may apply, except I already knew about Latour, so I could hear the whistle.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 05 Jul 2011 #permalink

Given the rather significant decline in the quality of stuff published by SciAm recently, I don't have high hopes for this.

Although at least nearly all of them to be by actual scientists, or proto-scientists.

PeterWood "..point of Dr. Hashey's crusade is.." ..Dr. Hashey.. - this bloke is a child

I echo what V.infernalis@5 said.

By DaveMcRae (not verified) on 05 Jul 2011 #permalink

Looks great! Are any of the SciAm ones ex-ScienceBloggers?

By James Haughton (not verified) on 05 Jul 2011 #permalink

At least Peter Wood is clued in enough to know that Mann's reputation is dead in the scientific community, by which he means the special scientific community that is outside the scientific community and also that the scientific community can't accurately judge the quality of the work of its own members.

So there.

BTW, he makes a crack about pseudonymous commenters (pseudonyms on the Internet? inconceivable!) which makes me think that maybe "Peter Wood" isn't a pseudonym.

The National Association of Scholars (Pres Peter Wood) has an [interesting wikipedia entry](

[NAS] opposes multiculturalism and affirmative action and seeks to counter what it considers a "liberal bias" in academia [...] The group's stance on race and gender issues has been controversial; in 1990, the opening of an NAS chapter at Duke University led to a major dispute in which 93 faculty members wrote a letter criticizing NAS for its stance on multiculturalism [...] NAS has been funded extensively by politically conservative foundations, including the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, the Castle Rock Foundation, and the Smith Richardson Foundation.

Dear John Mashey;
I hope I wasn't too impolite in my Chronicle comments. Here's what I wrote, in case it doesn't make it through.

"It would seem that "a few minutes of googling", presumably at climateaudit is indeed all the effort that Peter Wood has put into researching this piece.

The one factual claim in the original article, that Mann's work "shows exponentially increasing global temperatures in the near term." is incorrect - Mann's work was about reconstructing the temperature record from 1400 to ~1900, the exponential increase is in the instrumental record from multiple, independent other sources.

Mr Wood then claims that Professor Mann indulged in "statistical trickery", "data suppression", "special pleading" and "academic dishonesty". He provides no evidence for any of these assertions, despite repeated requests and pointers towards the numerous enquiries, reexaminations, etc, all of which have cleared Professor Mann. This leads one to conclude that he is unable to produce the evidence, that he doesn't understand the issues, and that he wouldn't know a Principal Component Analysis if he fell over it.

As someone who claims to be president of the "National Association of Scholars", he is stunningly silent on the repeatedly demonstrated plagiarism of Prof Wegman and his associates. One would think that plagiarism is something a "National Association of Scholars" would oppose. Apparently not - Mr Wood is far more concerned with opposing "green tyranny" and claiming that there are too many blacks and women getting money to go into science (direct quote: "Cut every program that is designed to advance women and minorities in the social sciences. Women and minorities are seldom disadvantaged in these fields").

But then, what would you expect from a man who gave a medal to George W Bush for "upholding the noblest traditions of higher education" (presumably including lying, dissembling rhetoric, and a reliance on faith rather than reason, as these also seem to characterise Wood and Wegman's work) and whose organisation is "funded extensively by politically conservative foundations, including the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, the Castle Rock Foundation, and the Smith Richardson Foundation"?"

By James Haughton (not verified) on 05 Jul 2011 #permalink

1) Peter Wood runs NAS*, which was originally funded by folks like Richard Mellon Scaife and others listed on pp.93-95 of CCC. For some reason, there is a long gap in their 990-form funding records.

2) If you rummage n the NAS* website, you may get as sense of its viewpoints. Look for Mann, climategate or sustainability and you will be rewarded.

It happens that (well-respected) climate scientist, NAS* member Kerry Emmanuel, has different views, although apparently Wood was not convinced.

3) Wood got his PhD in anthropology in 1987, his history includes a stint at Boston University, apparently spending most of his time as Assoc. Provost for Pres. John Silber.

Here is a 2001 BU Faculty page, which points at his page, which says:

"Peter Wood graduated from the University of Rochester, earning his doctorate with field research on American religious movements. He is an Associate Professor of Anthropology while also serving as Associate Provost of the University. His interests are in religion, art and aesthetics, Catholicism, and the culture of the United States. While administrative duties limit his teaching in the Department, he is responsible for the graduate pro-seminar in theory."

Now, of course, he may have studied substantial physics, math, statistics, climate science sometime, but this is not instantly apparent. He certainly is certain.
From simple descriptions, it is easy to miss strong, bu non-obvious background. Better to ask.

4) From there, he became Provost of this ~500(?) person college in NYC.

5) After a few years, he started at NAS*, rising to become President, see 2009 990 Form. Interesting information may be found therein.

Other interesting information will emerge, I'm certain.

6) A useful bio is here, and on last page of recent testimony for Congress.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 05 Jul 2011 #permalink

Back to the original topic: a huge number of ScienceBloggers appear to be jumping ship for Scientific American; is Deltoid staying here?

By James Haughton (not verified) on 06 Jul 2011 #permalink

I have no plans to leave.

By Tim Lambert (not verified) on 06 Jul 2011 #permalink

> Who is Dr. Peter Wood, why is he so clueless, and what genius gave him this soapbox?

For the record, for future folk who might be confused by the comments here - Peter Wood is blogging at the Chronicle of Higher(oops) Education; not at the SciAm blogs.

...about which, like Bill W, I recognize the potential for problems, given some SciAm actions after John Rennie's departure.

What criteria will SciAm be using for selecting blogs, to protect their readers against blurring via "balance"? What disclosures must their bloggers provide?
(e.g. Can SciAm bloggers also run a consulting business, and write about an issue where it's to a client's interest that the public have a particular view, while *not* disclosing that the business *does* pose a conflict?
(as opposed to waving it off with "Yes I have this business, but pay no mind, nothing influences what I write"))

By Anna Haynes (not verified) on 06 Jul 2011 #permalink

A separate thread for Peter Wood please? I hate to hijack this one.

By Anna Haynes (not verified) on 06 Jul 2011 #permalink

re my
> "What criteria will SciAm be using for selecting blogs...?"

Bora on how selection criteria:
"We are trying to eliminate the artificial line between âbloggingâ and âjournalismâ and focus on good, accurate writing, no matter what form it comes in or what software is used to produce it. Our bloggers are a part of our team,...I invited bloggers whose expertise, quality of writing, and professionalism fit well with the mission and general tenor of our organization."

(note to self: when all else fails, RTFP... )

OK, there's a thread for Peter Wood now.

By Tim Lambert (not verified) on 06 Jul 2011 #permalink