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Rep. Joe Barton (R., Texas) authorized the report attacking climate change research that was recently found to have been plagiarized.  (Source: Alex Brandon/AP)

Edward Wegman's report attacking the "hockey-stick" model has been shown by several sources to consist substantially of plagiarized passages.  (Source: George Mason University)

Ironically the man whose research the report attacked, Penn State University Professor Michael Mann, was recently implicated in academic misconduct himself. He was shown in leaked emails from the CRU, appearing to suggest subverting the peer review process to push his global warming viewpoint.  (Source: Penn State University)
The climate change debate these days is looking less like intellectual debate and more like dirty politics

These days the climate change debate seems to have devolved into a scene from the movie Dumb and Dumber.  Everyone seeming has an agenda and an axe to grind.  Unfortunately many involved in the debate on both sides seem to see little need to conduct themselves with integrity, commonly resorting to hyperbole and fakery.

The latest controversy is that a leading report touted by climate change skeptics has been found to be partially plagiarized.  Rep. Joe Barton (R., Texas), a leading climate change skeptic in Congress, had requested the report in 2006 to counter assertions that man was causing climate change.  Rep. Barton contracted George Mason University statistician Edward Wegman to produce a report looking at the research for flaws.

The result was a report that attacked leading Paleoclimatologist Michael Mann's so-called "hockey-stick graph" that showed temperatures over the last thousand years.  The "hockey-stick" model was used in the UN International Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 2001 report.

Despite acknowledging that the report by Professor Wegman correctly identified flaws in Professor Mann's study, the National Research Council concluded in 2006 that its criticisms were irrelevant due to the fact that more reliable later studies confirmed its conclusions.

Now Professor Wegman's report has been dealt another setback.

In a report in 
USA Today, three leading plagiarism experts -- Cornell's Paul Ginsparg, Ohio State's Robert Coleman, and Virginia Tech' Skip Garner concluded that significant passages in the "study" were lifted from "textbooks, Wikipedia and the writings of one of the scientists criticized in the report" without proper citation.  They call the academic misconduct, "actually fairly shocking," "inappropriate," and "fairly obvious".

Others have also noticed and complained about the plagiarism.  According to
USA Today:

[I]n March, climate scientist Raymond Bradley of the University of Massachusetts asked GMU, based in Fairfax, Va., to investigate "clear plagiarism" of one of his textbooks.

Bradley says he learned of the copying on the Deep Climate website and through a now year-long analysis of the Wegman report made by retired computer scientist John Mashey of Portola Valley, Calif. Mashey's analysis concludes that 35 of the report's 91 pages "are mostly plagiarized text, but often injected with errors, bias and changes of meaning." Copying others' text or ideas without crediting them violates universities' standards, according to Liz Wager of the London-based Committee on Publication Ethics. 

George Mason University is investigating the charges.  In the past Professor Wegman had responded to rumors that part of the report might have been plagiarized, calling them "wild conclusions that have nothing to do with reality."  Rep. Barton also appears to be standing behind the report.

Of course the plagiarism does not invalidate the report's criticisms, it just showcases the bias and incompetence that's marring the arguments of both sides of the climate debate.  It also represents a major black mark on the record of Professor Wegman.

Proponents of the theory that man is causing climate changes were recently caught up in a similar debacle when emails leaked from the Climate Research Unit in England.  While those emails seemingly implicated CRU director Phil JonesProfessor Mann, and others in clear and blatant academic misconduct and subversion of the peer review process, subsequent investigations largely exonerated those involved.  Professor Jones and Professor Mann were among those chastised, though, by various panels for their indiscretions in the scandal.  And they're lucky they didn't get worse -- given the seemingly damning nature of the emails, one has to wonder whether a bias wasn't involved in those exonerations.

At the end of the day the CRU scandal and the new scandal surrounding the Wegman report show off the embarrassing and disturbing state of climate research today.  

Understanding and reacting to the Earth's climate is absolutely critical and is a worthy topic of research.  However, with impassioned observers on both sides of the climate change debate seemingly willing to compromise their integrity to fallaciously promote their point of view, one has to wonder how this critical, yet broken field of research can be fixed and restored to honor.



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Smears don't change the facts
By Tony Swash on 11/23/2010 10:09:08 AM , Rating: 5
To quote the article
quote:
Of course the plagiarism does not invalidate the report's criticisms,


They key finding of the Wegman was that the statistical methods used to create the so called"Hockey Stick" graph were deeply flawed. The hockey stick graph purported to show that the temperatures of the last portion of the 20th century were hotter than anything seen for a 1000 years and anomalous and hence needed explaining by some special forcing agent i.e. CO2.

The paper that created the hockey stick was precisely and forensically critiqued by Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick who showed in detail that the hockey stick shape was a product of poor statistical methodology and did not exist in the actual data.

If you want background information on this issue and an account of the whole saga go here

http://a-sceptical-mind.com/the-rise-and-fall-of-t...

The Wegman report found that the statistics used in the hockey stick paper were indeed deeply flawed and that the hockey stick graph had no scientific value.

Nothing in the claims about plagiarism alters this conclusion. Its the anniversary of Climategate and the warmist alarmists want to counterattack. Don't believe headlines, look for yourselves, follow the data and trust in good science.




By therealnickdanger on 11/23/2010 11:01:49 AM , Rating: 2
^

Historically known as "argumentum ad hominem". Don't like the results? Attack the validity of the argument based upon the character of the messenger.


RE: Smears don't change the facts
By Nfarce on 11/23/2010 11:35:44 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Nothing in the claims about plagiarism alters this conclusion. Its the anniversary of Climategate and the warmist alarmists want to counterattack.


You hit the nail on the head with that. Never mind that so much of that "data" that was captured for AGW reports was inaccurate. For example, temperature sensors placed in the middle of asphalt parking lots and right next to building air conditioning units.

Someone has done a lot of research on that very topic:

http://www.norcalblogs.com/watts/weather_stations/


RE: Smears don't change the facts
By kattanna on 11/23/2010 11:53:53 AM , Rating: 3
lets not forget these little gems

NOAA 16 satellite degradation

http://climatechangedispatch.com/climate-reports/7...

quote:
readings for June and July 2010 for Lake Michigan showed crazy temperatures off the scale ranging in the low to mid hundreds - with some parts of the Wisconsin area apparently reaching 612 F. With an increasing number of further errors now coming to light the discredited NOAA removed the entire set from public view. But just removing them from sight is not the same as addressing the implications of this gross statistical debacle


or new zealand having to make their temp records unofficial after being taken to court

http://climateresearchnews.com/2010/10/legal-victo...

quote:
New Zealand Government Abandons ‘Official’ Climate Record

The NZCSC story reports that the NZ authorities, “formally stated that, in their opinion, they are not required to use the best available information nor to apply the best scientific practices and techniques available at any given time. They don’t think that forms any part of their statutory obligation to pursue “excellence.” NIWA now denies there was any such thing as an “official” NZ Temperature Record, although there was an official acronym for it (NZTR). However, the position now taken by the NZ government is that all such records are now to be deemed as unofficial and strictly for internal research purposes. The article urges that if the government will not affirm that their temperature reconstruction is official then, “Nobody else should rely on it.”


RE: Smears don't change the facts
By foolsgambit11 on 11/23/2010 4:36:35 PM , Rating: 2
To quote the article,
quote:
[T]he National Research Council concluded in 2006 that its criticisms were irrelevant due to the fact that more reliable later studies confirmed its conclusions.
In other words, while the Wegman report, and its sources, may have cast doubt on (or even invalidated) the Mann study, it didn't disprove the conclusions. It only showed that more research was needed, some of which has been done already.

I read somewhere that Mann himself stated explicitly (in the infamous hockey-stick paper, I think) that more and better data were needed before his conclusions could be validated. So while the report was held up as conclusive politically, it wasn't claimed to be so scientifically. Again, it goes back to politics. The scientific research, taken apart from the politics, is really quite interesting. But in the political realm, it becomes (to paraphrase from Yes, Prime Minister), "your facts are just statistics, but my statistics are facts."


RE: Smears don't change the facts
By tng on 11/25/2010 2:01:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
.....Mann himself stated explicitly (in the infamous hockey-stick paper, I think) that more and better data were needed before his conclusions could be validated. So while the report was held up as conclusive politically, it wasn't claimed to be so scientifically.
All good, if what you say is true, but it was held up as the pinnacle of science on the subject. It was also used to start a global campaign against mainly the Western way of life by everybody out there who may or may not have had an agenda of some kind.

The fact of the matter is that this report was used as scientific fact even though they knew it was deeply flawed. Why would you trust anything from them? Climategate was inevitable.


By Reclaimer77 on 11/23/2010 5:21:36 PM , Rating: 2
The fact that the Hockey Stick even existed, or made it to the position of a final conclusion of a theory, should be alarming enough. If the scientific method had even bothered to be used, that much would have been obvious.

You're being too kind by calling it "flawed". The methodology used to arrive at the Hockey Stick graph was purposely falsified and unethical.

If there really was a "scientific consensus" that the Hockey Stick was valid and factual, then I think it illustrates what a sad state the Scientific Community is in, as well as those who blindly follow them.


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