days the climate change debate seems to have devolved into a scene
from the movie Dumb
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
"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
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
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.
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 Jones, Professor
Mann, and others in clear and blatant academic misconduct and
subversion of the peer review process, subsequent
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.
quote: I am a degreed meteorologist and worked as a weather forecaster and climatologist for nearly 30 years, and I find some of the stuff out there from both sides to be utterly laughable.
quote: Yes and you can't even tell me with certainty if it will rain or not tomorrow.
quote: ...but they're convinced President Obama is Muslim (he isn't)....
quote: ...wasn't born in US (he was)...