Contrarian scholarship: Revisiting the Wegman report

[Update, Dec. 19: This post has been substantially revised to remove speculation about Donald Rapp's possible role in the Wegman report. I apologize for any embarrassment caused to Donald Rapp or Edward Wegman by that speculation.

The post has also been updated to reflect new information about the provenance of Wegman et al's section on tree ring proxies, as well as more background detail on some of the events leading up to the Wegman report. There are also  more details about  large swathes of unattributed material found in the Wegman report and in Donald Rapp's book Assessing Climate Change.

It is clear that the circumstances and contents of both the Wegman report and Rapp's text book deserve closer scrutiny.

Dec. 20: Comments are now open again.]

As Climategate devolves into a rerun of old battles about the “hockey stick” graph, I thought I would revisit the roots of that benighted controversy and take a look at the chaotic events of a few years back when the politicization of science (also known as the Republican war on science) really took hold.

I was planning to write another installment of the  “In the beginning” series on Steve McIntyre.  So I decided to take a look at the infamous Wegman report that Republican congressman Joe Barton relied on to ensure that the “numbers added up” (or not, as he was sure was more likely). The 2006 report was the work of a mysterious “ad hoc” committee led by George Mason University statistics professor  Edward Wegman,  along with David Scott and Yasmin Said. With its near-veneration for putative hockey-stick destroyers Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, and its scornful denunciation of Michael Mann and his “social network” of like-minded researchers, the report has been a touchstone for contrarians.

But then I started thinking about something that had always bothered me. How could a trio of statistical experts, all on their own,  hope to write a  report on a field, climate science, of which they had no previous knowledge or experience?

Part of the answer lies in the close examination of  the Wegman report. Surprsingly, extensive passages from Wegman et al on proxies have turned up in a skeptic text book by contrarian author Donald Rapp.  And at least one of these common passages on tree ring proxies closely follows a classic text by noted paleoclimatologist Raymond Bradley, but with a key alteration not found in the original. Moreover, Wegman’s section on social networks appears to contain some unattributed material from Wikipedia and from a classic sociology text.

As I browsed through the Wegman report, my first inkling of something amiss came in the readable section 2.1 (p. 13) on tree-ring proxies, an interesting blend of mostly reasonable explication spiced with faintly derogatory comments. And very few specific references to speak of. Hmmm …

The average width of a tree ring is a function of many variables including the tree species, tree age, stored carbohydrates in the tree, nutrients in the soil, and climatic factors including sunlight, precipitation, temperature, wind speed, humidity, and even carbon dioxide availability in the atmosphere. Obviously there are many confounding factors so the problem is to extract the temperature signal and to distinguish the temperature signal from the noise caused by the many confounding factors.

I entered a large swathe of text into Google. And sure enough there were two sources: the Wegman report itself, and a chapter on paleclimatology from a text book called Assessing Climate Change. I downloaded the chapter and began comparing. Here’s the corresponding passage (with differences in bold or crossout):

The average width of a tree ring is a function of many variables including the tree species, tree age, stored carbohydrates in the tree, nutrients in the soil, and climatic factors including sunlight, precipitation, temperature, wind speed, humidity, and even carbon dioxide availability in the atmosphere. Obviously there are many confounding factors so the problem challenge is to extract the temperature signal and to thus distinguish the temperature signal from the noise caused by the many confounding factors.

It didn’t take long to verify that Wegman’s entire section on proxies (covering tree-rings, ice cores and corals) was to be found almost word for word in the  book chapter, although the latter was in much expanded form. The book version proxy sub-sections contain more detail and references, and there are six proxy types in all. And the additional references included such exotic ones  as Robinson, Robinson and Soon (2007), in addition to the  more expected names like Bradley and Schweingruber found in Wegman.

In all two and half pages of text from Wegman (p. 13-15) are found almost verbatim in the corresponding sections in Rapp, starting at page 2:  Section 1.1.1.1 (tree rings), section 1.1.1.2 (ice cores) and section 1.1.1.6 (coral).

Naturally I assumed that this was an apparent case of plagiarism, something I’d run across before with the so-called suppressed report from rogue EPA economist Alan Carlin. So my next step was to look at the book’s publication details, and set about further research.

Assessing Climate Change

Temperatures, Solar Radiation and Heat Balance
Series: Springer Praxis Books
Subseries: Environmental Sciences
Rapp, Donald

2008, XXX, 374 p. 130 illus., Hardcover

The textbook author’s name was vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t focus on that. For I was staring at a date of publication that was surely impossible –   2008, two full years after the release of the Wegman report.

The Wegman report section was an early version of the text book chapter, not the other way around. So I had not found the source (despite my earlier speculation to that effect). But I had found an important new voice among contrarian authors.

Meet Donald Rapp, physicist-engineer and newly minted “climate expert”.

I first read about Rapp in a comment by John Mashey at Tamino’s Open Mind last summer; apparently, Rapp was one of three USC physicists to sign Fred Singer’s open letter to the American Physical Society. So I’ll let John give a bit of the background (excerpts have been re-formatted):

In one amusing corner, we find 3 senior faculty associated with astronautics at University of Southern California, none of whom who’ve ever published peer-reviewed work on cliamte science that I can find:

  • have signed the petition, essentially declaring the last 30 years of climate science non-existent.
  • but are part of a USC effort seeking research funding from California and the Federal government for … climate research, because they can do it better than traditional climate science departments.

The three were Mike Grintman, Joseph Kunc – and Donald Rapp, whose thumbnail resume on the open letter read as follows:

  • Chief Technologist, Mechanical and Chemical Systems, Jet Propulsion Laboratory [at NASA] (retired)
  • Professor of Physics and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas (1973-1979)
  • Author, “Assessing Climate Change” and “Ice Ages and Interglacials” Springer-Verlag)
  • Fellow APS

Mashey goes into more detail about Rapp and the USC research group:

Donald Rapp. He retired from JP in 2002, and is now a Research Professor @ USC. See especially his comment:

“I have surveyed the wide field of global climate change energy and I am familiar with the entire literature of climatology.” …

Now, see: USC Climate Change Research Group (CCRG), which says:

“Traditional oceanographic or atmospheric programs are not necessarily well-equipped for such a challenge. USC is, however, well positioned to take a lead in this evolving science by building upon its existing strengths in cyber infrastructure and programs in climate research, physics and engineering.”

“We propose to formalize our interdisciplinary program in climate change research at USC into the USC Climate Change Institute. The framework of the Institute will revolve around national and California climate change research programs (see Appendix), which are the expected sources of funding.”

So perhaps the opening of Rapp’s weighty tome (374 p.!) should be no surprise:

Global-warming alarmists believe that human production of greenhouse gases, particularly cubon dioxide with its concomitant water vapor feedback mechanism, has begun to add to the natural greenhouse effect, thereby raising global temperatures inordinately during the 20th century, with predictions or further increases in the 21st century that could be catastrophic.

Skipping over paragraphs about James Hansen and Al Gore, we get to:

Naysayers have maintained blogs and circulated reports, but generally have not penetrated the scientific literature that is dominated by alarmist publications. While the alarmists provide the impression of scientific integrity through peer-reviewed publications, the naysayers often lack the credentials of alamarists but the important thing is data, not credentials.

Is your head spinning in this hall of mirrors yet? Well, wait until you see Chapter Two, Temperatures in the past millennium. (To follow along go to the Amazon reader and punch in “wegman” in the search box).

The table of contents tells the tale; a large portion of the chapter is given over to a discussion of the “hockey stick” and its critics. The so-called MBH model is presented in four short pages, and then a long fifteen-page section is given over to Criticisms of the MBH Model, including sub-sections on McIntyre and McKitrick, The Wegman Report, Soon and Baliunas, and Zorita and Von Storch. But even the so-called  MBH model is largely described by quoting directly from the Wegman report:

The papers of Mann et al. in themselves are written in a confusing manner, making it difficult for the reader to discern the actual methodology and what uncertainty is actually associated with these reconstructions. Vague terms such as “moderate certainty” (Mann et al. 1999) give no guidance to the reader as to how such conclusions should be weighed.  [p. 70]

Nor will you want to miss the six-page section on blogs. Of course, McIntyre’s  “anti-establishment” Climateaudit.org goes up against the “establishment” RealClimate.org, “which presents the viewpoints of the global-warming alarmists”.

But McIntyre has a special advantage:

Although the tilt of  McIntyre’s blog is decidedly antithetical to the global·warming alarmists, unlike other anti-warming blogs,  Mclntyre has penetrated in to the data and details in most cases and speaks authoritatively on most subjects.

And McIntyre’s outstanding achievement (among many others)?

… he showed that the IPCC Report (IPCC, 2001) cut off the data in Figure 2.32 to emphasize recent warming. Such data truncation is certainly improper and may teeter on the hazy borderline of science fraud.

Oh, yes, it’s back to the future. Rapp had identified the main “hide the decline” talking point of ClimateGate a year before it happened. Then again, the hockey stick, and the supposed destruction thereof, is always the main talking point.

The chapter concludes with three annotated conclusions, cited from a reference given simply as Anon (N) (and, yes, there’s also Anon A through M). Here’s the second:

Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600. Presently available proxy evidence indicates that temperatures at many, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than during any period of comparable length since A.D. 900.

Rapp’s annotations include the following unsubstantiated dismissals of this finding:

This author cannot find any substantial evidence that temperatures were (as claimed) generally higher in the past 25 years than they were in 900.

This author has very little confidence in estimates of temperature prior to 1600.

Of course, I recognized Anon. (N) immediately as the following reference, as given in McKitrick and McIntyre’s PNAS comment:

National Research Council (2006) Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years (Natl Acad Press, Washington, DC).

Presumably A through M are also not quite as anonymous as supposed.

Here’s one last telling quote from the book’s “brief summary” of Wegman (never mind that all the points had already been made repeatedly):

1.  In general they found the writing of MBH somewhat obscure and incomplete. (This writer found the same).  [p. 83]

Wow. Just wow.

Words fail me, almost literally. Not only did Rapp rely so extensively on Wegman in Chapter 2 (whle summarily dismissing the peer-reviewed scientifc literature on the subject), but, as seen above,  he also appears to have three unattributed background sections on proxies nearly verbatim from Wegman et al. This extreme reliance on a single, dubious source certainly makes the publisher’s blurb even more disturbing:

[Nay-sayers] place little faith in climate models, and claim that the “hockey stick” picture of global temperature history is a “fraud” approaching the dimensions of cold fusion.

… In this book Donald Rapp attempts to assess the evidence in an objective way. Although he is not a climate scientist by profession, very few climate scientists have taken a broad systems view of the problem of global warming. Donald Rapp is a professional systems engineer, having taught in universities for 14 years and with over 25 years’ experience managing various programs for NASA. His experience has required the ability to move into a highly technical field, assimilate the content, organize the knowledge base and succinctly describe the field, its content, its unresolved issues and achievements.

Clearly, someone at Springer, the largest publisher of scientific and technical books in the world, has a lot of explaining to do.

A natural question at this point would be: does the Wegman et al passage quoted above have an antecedent in the literature? Yes it does. Here is the opening of section 10.2, entitled Fundamentals of Dendroclimatology from Raymond Bradley’s seminal Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary.

A cross section of most temperate forest trees will show an alternation of lighter and darker bands, each of which is usually continuous around the tree circumference. These are seasonal growth increments produced by meristematic tissues in the tree’s cambium. When viewed in detail (Fig. 10.1) it is clear that they are made up of sequences of large, thin-walled cells (earlywood) and more densely packed, thick-walled cells (latewood). Collectively, each couplet of earlywood and latewood comprises an annual growth increment, more commonly called a tree ring. The mean width of a ring in any one tree is a function of many variables, including the tree species, tree age, availability of stored food within the tree and of important nutrients in the soil, and a whole complex of climatic factors (sunshine, precipitation, temperature, wind speed, humidity, and their distribution througnout the year).

Here is the opening of Wegman’s section on tree ring proxies (p. 13). Bold words indicate common wording with bold italics for added words and crossouts for removed words or punctuation. Regular italics indicate intermediate paraphrasing:

A cross section of   most a temperate forest trees tree shows variation of lighter and darker bands each of which is that are usually continuous around the circumference of the tree. These bands are the so-called tree rings and are due to seasonal effects. Each tree ring is composed of large thin-walled cells called (early wood) and smaller more densely packed thick walled cells called (late wood). The mean average width of a tree ring in any one tree is a function of many variables including the tree species, tree age, availability of stored food carbohydrates in the tree, nutrients in the soil, and climatic factors including sunlight, precipitation, temperature, wind speed, humidity, and their distribution througnout the year even carbon dioxide availability in the atmosphere.

No attribution is given for this passage, although Bradley is cited for another section two pages earlier. The authors have gratuitously added “carbon dioxide availability in the atmosphere” as the last in a list of “climatic factors”. But in the context of the centennial or millennial time scale of interest, carbon dioxide is an anthropogenic factor, like other forms of pollution, not a natural “climatic” factor. To say the least, this change compounds the problem of lack of attribution and bespeaks shoddy scholarship, not to mention poor domain knowledge.

After all that, the discovery in Wegman of more prosaic reliance on lightly edited excerpts from Wikipedia seems almost anti-climatic anticlimactic. Nevertheless here’s the opener of the Wikipedia article on social networks, as it appeared in early 2006:

A social network is a social structure made of nodes which are generally individuals or organizations.

And here is the Wegman et al version, slightly transformed to give a bit more scholarly gravitas:

A social network is a mathematical structure made of nodes, which are generally taken to represent individuals or organizations. [p. 17]

The section goes on to quote most of the article section Introduction to Social Networks pretty well verbatim.

But there’s more. Ensuing detail appears to draw heavily, without attribution, from the Wasserman and Faust classic, Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications (1994, Cambridge University Press). This is but one sample from Wasserman and Faust:

Dyad: At the most basic level, a linkage or relationship establishes a tie between a pair of actors. The tie is an inherent property of the pair and therefore is not thought of as pertaining simply to the individual actor. Many kinds of network analysis are concerned with understanding ties among pairs. All of these  approaches take the dyad as the unit of analysis.

And Wegman’s rearranged, slightly edited form:

Dyad: A linkage or relationship establishes a tie at the most basic level between a pair of actors. The tie is an inherent property of the pair. Many kinds of network analysis are concerned with understanding ties among pairs and are based on the dyad as the unit of analysis. [p. 18]

I think I’ve seen enough.

No doubt it would be an understatement to say that we have here, as with Alan Carlin, a case of highly questionable scholarship.

But in the end, of course, the larger issues may well have to do with the formation of the Wegman committee, of which Joe Barton has told us very little:

Following receipt of the letter responses [from Michael Mann], committee staff informally sought advice from independent statisticians to determine how best to assess the statistical information submitted. Dr. Edward Wegman, a prominent statistics professor at George Mason University who is chair of the National Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics, agreed to independently assess the data on a pro bono basis.

So far no one has asked the right questions. For instance:

  • Who were the unnamed Barton staffers who had “discussions” with Wegman?
  • What was the exact timeline of the various discussions and exactly who else was involved?
  • Were Ross McKitrick or Steve McIntyre ever involved in discussions with Barton staffers? What is the full extent over the years of their co-operation with industry-funded PR firms, think tanks and politicians implacably opposed to the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?

As a start on the last question, it should be noted that McIntyre and McKitrick played a starring role in the APCO Worldwide/Friends of Science  2005 film, Climate Catastrophe Cancelled. As confirmed by a University of Calgary internal audit, APCO Worldwide received $170,000 to “produce, promote and distribute” the film from a “research” fund (since closed down) set up by University of Calgary political science Professor  Barry Cooper. Cooper has admitted to “some” contributions from oil and gas companies for his fund, and Friends of Science has admitted that Talisman Oil CEO James Buckee made an early contribution to the video project.

APCO Worldwide even tried to mispresent the film as an official University of Calgary joint project, noting in the official press release:

Today, researchers at the University of Calgary, in cooperation with the Friends of Science Society, released a video entitled: Climate Catastrophe Cancelled.

While there is no evidence of direct remuneration to McIntyre and McKitrick, their co-operation with a deceptive industry-funded propaganda campaign is extremely disturbing.

As I write this, Ben Santer has delivered an emotional plea at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Here is the conclusion of his personal statement:

Sadly, climate scientists now see and feel interference from political and economic interests. This interference is pervasive. Powerful forces are using a criminal act – the theft of over a thousand emails from the U.K.’s Climatic Research Unit – to advance their own agendas.

These “forces of unreason” seek to constrain our ability to speak truth to power. They seek to skew and distort what we know about the nature and causes of climate change. Having failed to undermine climate science itself, they seek to destroy the reputations of individual climate scientists. They seek to destroy men like Phil Jones and Mike Mann, who have devoted their entire careers to the pursuit of scientific knowledge and understanding.

We must not let this stand.

We no longer have the luxury of remaining silent on these issues. We all have voices. We need to use them.

It’s high time those “forces of unreason” received the scrutiny reserved thus far for the victims of their attacks. I will not rest until that happens.

For I’m not sure there is even a name for this nadir of scholarship, whereby an author relies so completely on work that included his own unattributed contribution, while professing to give a balanced overview.
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226 responses to “Contrarian scholarship: Revisiting the Wegman report

  1. That’s some very nice detective work and dot connecting you have put together there, DC. My compliments.

  2. “Social networking,” indeed!

    Of course, it only counts as a sin if you’ve constructed some kind of hockey stick.

    Thanks for an ingenious investigation.

  3. DC, you continue to amaze. This is some brilliant work, and you need to make sure that it gets legs.

    This raises some very troubling questions as to the true intention of Wegman when he embarked on this, and his actions are clear evidence of him being impartial. Actually there appears enough here to have the report’s conclusions declared null and void.

    It would not surprise me in the least if McIntyre and/or McKitrick had private conversations by phone or email with Wegman et al. as to what to do, strategy etc.

    McIntyre et al. should be very worried right now, as these findings surely give grounds to have their emails and phone calls investigated during the time the report was being worked on?

    Have you noticed how CA is starting to do way less “science” and is focussing more on propaganda? In fact, their site is not much different from WUWT nowadays.

  4. Wow. Excellent stuff.

    Seems to me that the real conspiracy and secrecy is on the denialists’ side…

  5. Great gassy knoll-style read.

  6. I hear a FOIA request for the data and code and e-mails coming down the pike…

    And a CEI-like lawsuit for something…

    What else would they do…

    A HuffPo flashing light and crawler on Democracy Now!…

    What else is in CEI’s standard bag of tricks…

    Interesting, thank you for the legwork.

    Best,

    D

  7. Great sleuthing.

  8. Former Skeptic

    Brilliant. Now THIS is skeptical thinking and investigation!

    If I could suggest an improvement – you missed saying something like:

    “The second passage of text below is, in my opinion, one of the most disquieting passages ever presented at DC.

    “I hardly know where to begin in terms of commentary on this difference”

    Adding that would have been perfect.

  9. Good stuff; how on earth did you figure out the paraphrase of the sociology text? Googling phrases, as you did with the Rapp part?

    My criticism would be the bit at the end; I’d have been more circumspect with the allegations implicit in your questions.

    [DC: The following are facts, not allegations:
    – McKitrick and McIntyre appeared in the APCO produced film Climate Catastrophe Cancelled (Friends of Science), produced by Tom Harris
    – CEI/Cooler Head Coalition presented the pair twice in Washington
    – Both worked on the Fraser Institute’s Independent Summary for Policy Makers

    There’s more but that’ll do for starters.

    As for Rapp, at the very least, he relied on a work which contained a key unattributed passage from him. And I wouldn’t want to be in the editor’s shoes. [Edited: Dec. 18]

    Which implicit allegation do you object to? It’s obvious that Wegman in particular did not give the whole story. I have no idea where this will end up, but there clearly was prima facie malfeasance here that should be investigated. However, I’m willing to rethink specific questions that you or others feel go too far. But I believe most of them are the right ones. These folks have gotten way too much of a free pass.

    Different Googling techniques, yes. The text book was not a paraphrase, it’s pretty much the same words rearranged. You have to try with quotes or without. Long and short phrases etc. It didn’t take long.

    With Wikipedia, I also went into the history to look at the article as it was back then, once I’d guessed that that was the source. It’s changed quite a bit.]

    • If I can find out your name I will sue you for defamation of character. I never met Wegman, I never corresponded with him, I know nothing about him. I just found his report on the internet. This entire thing is bogus.

  10. To paraphrase M. Python:
    Nobody expects the Google Inquisition!

  11. Derecho64, See; you all have great questions about a conspiracy. Please let both sides get answers to all of our questions. Stop COP15. We have waited 17 years according to Kerry. What is the rush now?

    [DC: You can call it a conspiracy if you want to. I just call it old-fashioned greed and ignorance.

    Read all of Santer's statement. He tells it like it is.]

  12. So what was Wegman’s motivation for not citing the individual he was copying ideas from? Is it that he was afraid of being seen as associated with a nut? Doesn’t make much sense, since his “report” was commissioned by the Joe Barton clan, which already taints it. He also acknowledged to Congress that his report was not independently peer-reviewed. It was “reviewed” he said, but only by those he chose – his “social network” which apparently includes Rapp.

    [DC: Dec. 20 - edited. I withdraw any suggestion that Rapp was involved in the Wegman report.]

  13. Well done, Deep!

    GMU does seem to have a nexus-of-denial whiff to it. Does Wegman have a Koch-funded position?

    (and is there any way to peer under the covers of GMU, to see what the bedfellows have been up to?)

    hmm. that imagery might not be wise.

    It is public, but a lot of public universities seem to be into donation laundering, so I don’t know how you could tell who was funding what, for sure.

  14. Pingback: Deep Climate on Wegman « Witness

  15. Oh, by the way, Wegman signed Tom Harris’s 2007 open letter to the U.N.

  16. Rattus Norvegicus

    Wegman worked pro-bono? I don’t think congress got their money’s worth.

  17. Has anyone directed any of these questions to Mr. McI yet? He has this blog…

    Nice work, DC.

  18. I guess my question would be “What is the basis of your supposition that Rapp was a co-author of the Wegman report?”. Certainly you have demonstrated a section of Rapp’s work that is effectively identical to Wegman, but how do you get from there to “Rapp was a ghost-writer on Wegman”?

    Beyond that, you found two unattributed definitions. The rest of the post is primarily a rather scathing critique of Rapp’s book, but has almost nothing to do with the Wegman report.

    [DC: Dec. 20 - edited. I withdraw any suggestion that Rapp was involved in the Wegman report.

    You've missed the point of the other passages - those were just samples. There are large swathes taken without attribution from both sources. I just showed a small part of it to prove the point.]

  19. Wow.

    Beauty, DC.

  20. Well, Shinything, it’s either ghostwriting or plagiarism. Neither option is especially inviting.

    [DC: Dec. 20 - edited. I withdraw any suggestion that Rapp was involved in the Wegman report.]

  21. Sockpuppet of the Great Satan

    DC, are you sure you don’t have the plagiarism backwards? Rapp author was ripping off Wegman, rather than Wegman ripping off/collaborating with Rapp?

    [DC: Dec. 20 - edited. I withdraw any suggestion that Rapp was involved in the Wegman report.]

    • I’m not convinced the causatlity is that way round either, ie Rapp -> wegmnan. But I can’t think of how to test it, I’ll have a think about it.

      On the other hand, plagiarism isn’t very well thought of either…
      [DC: Dec. 20 - moderator comment removed.]

  22. Daniel J. Andrews

    Hats off to you, Deep Climate. How will you go about giving this “legs”? If possible, share it with us and perhaps we can help in some way? I’m getting a bit tired of responding to the same old idiotic talking points–ice is growing, globe cooling, volancoes its the volcanoes, Al Goooorreeeeee….so let’s take the battle to them and expose them for the liars they are.

    They’ve published enough falsehoods and lies and slander we should be able to sue into bankruptcy yet we concentrate on our work, believing reason and science will win them over. sighhhh.

    Sorry, a frustrating few days dealing with the same myths on other sites and at work, plus I’m really annoyed at our Canadian government for Copenhagen and emission standards as well as some provincial medical-woo nonsense…

  23. A few random other items:

    1) John W. Mason was the editor for Rapp’s book. he seems to have done a book on astrophysics, but of course, that’s nontrivial to disambiguate.
    But I think ,this is he,. It is difficult to see why he’d be editing a climate book.

    2) Here are their categories, which clearly emphasize space (and recall that Rapp was at JPL at long time.)

    3) He seems have gotten an
    MBE in 2008:
    “Dr John William Mason, For serv the South Downs Planetarium and Science Centre, Chichester.”
    =====

    [DC: Are you sure? I was given an editorial contact in Germany by Springer. But I want to make sure I have that fact right. I should have more on this tomorrow.]

  24. I think academic charges can be brought up on plagiarists. At least at my university they can.

  25. Perceptive observation of real issues, logically followed, ordered, and elegant.

    Beautifully constructed DC.

    What a contrast to McIntyre’s and Watts’ use of criminally-obtained data and correspondence to find… nothing. You, on the other hand, have used the documented record to unpick the very inconsistencies and out-right malfeasance that the denialists and contrarians have yet to find in the real scientific discourse.

    Here is a real basis for FoI exploration of correspondence and data, and surprise, surprise, it isn’t the AGW proponents who are caught in the glare of the headlights.

    Watch them squirm and wiggle to escape.

    I really, really hope that an enterprising investigative journalist with that rare contemproary quality – integrity – considers the production of a documentary of the history and the scientific implications underlying the CRU theft, and compares that with the actions (such as this) of the flat-earth/Creationist style ideologues who seek to deny the reality of human-induced planetary warming.

    I know whom I would recommend as a researcher for such an endeavour.

  26. So there is no evidence as to whether the section was ghost written or plagiarized. So where’s the smoking gun?

    This “sleuthing” is about as compelling as the nonsense posted over on ExxonSecrets.org.

    [DC: Dec. 20 - It's one or the other, I suppose. And I have withdrawn ghostwriting explanation.]

  27. What should you be shooting for? Censure for Barton.

  28. LateToTheParty

    Not to diminish the seriousness of your quite worthy article, but I loved the typo (last word of this phrase):

    “the discovery in Wegman of more prosaic reliance on lightly edited excerpts from Wikipedia seems almost anti-climatic”

    Sort of a pun.

    [DC: It seems a shame to correct it. But I must.]

  29. So there is no evidence as to whether the section was ghost written or plagiarized. So where’s the smoking gun?

    You don’t understand that *both* are smoking guns?

    Wegman’s report was placed into the record as being written by himself and a couple of other stats folks. He has stood by it as being his unbiased, objective, opinion. Not reporting a co-author (if that’s the case) who is a known denialist means he testified “short of the truth” to the Senate committee that sponsored him.

    The other possibility is that Rapp simply plagiarized the Wegman report. No better …

    Damn, you people have *no ethics* at all.

    • I see little here to prove that Rapp either Ghost-wrote or colloborated on Wegman’s report.

      It looks to me that Rapp plagiarised Wegman’s work which is not surprising as it is well-known in the sceptic community.

      The argument that Wegman was incapable of putting together the comments on proxies is wishful thinking … Wegman had been involved in organizing climate studies before and this is hardly high level stuff. And why would an astro-physicist (Rapp) have more expertise in the proxy field?


      [DC: Mod comment removed - Dec. 20]

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      GC73,

      Judging from Wegman’s testimony in front of Barton’s committee he has zero domain knowledge in climate science.

      Although his CV says he has a research interest in paleoclimate reconstructions, his publishing record shows that he has not published, as opponsed to giving talks based on the infamous report, on this subject at all. Subsequent to the release of the Barton Committee report he has published several papers with Said on social networks. I see nothing in his CV to indicate that he has done anything with climate except to be on the organizing committee for a single conference in 1983.

  30. Ethics? Claiming plagiarism absent hard evidence comes up short in that regard.

    As for “smoking guns”, your type sees them everywhere. There’s a medical name for that condition.

    [DC: The charge of apparent plagiarism is based on two long passages, one taken from Wikipedia, the other from Wasserman and Faust (I've shown brief samples only as I mentioned before). That is "hard evidence".]

  31. Great stuff DC. Da Google is a wonder when it comes to uncovering plagiarism

  32. Darn it DC

    Wasserman and Faust is sitting within an arm’s stretch on my shelf, and Wegman is on my hard drive.

    Indeed, kudos to you for forming the dyad!

  33. Brilliant Deep, you’ve outdone yourself by going back in time and re-writing history. I’m sure National Enquiry has a job for you.

    [DC: The facts are the facts, inconvenient though they may be for some.]

  34. Are you saying a ghostwriter invalidates Wegmans conclusion and if so, how do you draw that conclusion?

    [DC: Dec. 20 - edited. I withdraw any suggestion that Rapp was involved in the Wegman report.There are a lot of other problems with Wegman besides shoddy scholarship shown here. I'll go into that another time.]

  35. Thank you DC, thank you. I mean that sincerely. In Australia we have felt the impact of the much more stealthy, nasty activism from a well coordinated group of phonies – to call them denialists is to be too generous. A bit over a year ago it seemed to me that they suddenly got organised with their international counterparts. Canada and USA mainly, but also NZ believe it or not.

    After the recent who-hah over CRU and the like, it is good to see some real detective work, an exemplary display of superior analytic skills.

    Looks like the rabbit hole goes deeper though…

  36. Pretty nice demolition derby, but is it convincing?

  37. Pingback: Climategate « Mitigated Frenzy

  38. [Dear DC, would you remove my previous posting and keep this revised version?]

    It is interesting that Rapp (2008, p. 295) strongly discredits the book of Singer and Avery (2007), even though he categorizes it as a “typical naysayer document” which should have a good connotation in his context. He points out that “no evidence for the 1,500-year cycle is actually presented”, neither in their book nor the related web site. He also says: “But this is not too surprising since Singer and Avery (2007) are associated with the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-wing, reactionary, quasi-evangelist organization that puts belief ahead of data.”

    But did he cooperate with Singer concerning APS? Strange. Maybe he thinks Singer untrustworthy as a scientist but trustworthy as a propagandist.

  39. An interesting exposé, but I think you overshoot your target and, thus, end up shooting your leg a bit. If it looks like plagiarism, it probably is. Assuming there is some sinister motives and plots at work instead of plain laziness doesn’t sound too convincing. Not to me, anyhow.

    Reading this post and other posts here, it seems to me that you’re missing a very important point here.

    I feel that ad hominem attacks are distasteful, and under this bracket I would put some of what is written here, Santer’s comments and the silly bit about “social networking” in the Wegman report and a myriad of other ad-hominem attacks on sceptics blogs.

    That said, where the sides stand does matter. Those who hold the position of power (writing and editing the IPCC reports and making policy recommendations) are and should be held to a much higher ethical (scientifically speaking) standard. Santer or you can make ad-hominem attacks on sceptics and deliver all the information you wish to deliver on their suspicious ethics (if and when), but this information and those attacks simply don’t count. They certainly cannot be used to excuse one from combating with to-the-point questions. What’s allowed to the bull is certainly not allowed for Jupiter.

    [DC: The sceptics have powerful interests promoting them. Think about it. How did you even come to hear of McIntyre or Michaels or Tim Ball? It's because the ground work was laid through clever public relations. That's a largely undiscussed aspect of the skeptic juggernaut. It has very little to do with actual science.

    Bring forth hard evidence of plagiarism is hardly ad hominem.]

  40. DC:

    Which medication are you taking for your gross delusion syndrome?

    I’m not kidding here. A simple case of what appears to be good old fashioned lifting has now become a reverse form of plagiarism in your eyes?

    Are you nuts or do you think this is just the silly season and you’ve been on the booze.

    OMG.

  41. I’m at a loss for words. A ghostwriter? Really?

    A rather fine example of tortured logic and spurious accusations. Are you really that desperate to change the current narrative? Well, if anyone ever asks me what the opposite of Occam’s Razor is, I can simply point them to this post.

  42. dhogaza writes: “You don’t understand that *both* are smoking guns?”

    Well, Wegman putting his name on a report that was secretly ghost-written by a prominent denialist would be a smoking gun (against Wegman and the report itself).

    Rapp plagiarizing a section of the Wegman report would be a problem for Rapp, but not for the report itself.

    So it does actually matter what happened here. Obviously, the first hypothesis makes a lot more sense than the second, but one would need to confirm it before citing this as the nail in the coffin of the Wegman report.

    Whatever congressional committee it was that originally commissioned the Wegman report should summon both Wegman and Rapp to answer some pointed questions, ASAP.

    [DC: Dec. 20 - I agree that both should be scrutinized. But there is no evidence of a connection between the two at the time of interest. See update above.]

  43. This whole thing sounds like a Dick Cheney …. on a Sunday talk show he makes a statement such as: “Iran is working toward nuclear weapons.”

    The press picks it up and runs with “… VP claims Iran working on nuclear weapons.”

    When on Wednesday someone asks him for some evidence and he scornfully answers: “It is all over the newspapers – Iran is working on nuclear weapons” …..

  44. Indeed you do seem to have found a case of plagiarism. Rapp (2008) plagiarised Wegman (2006).

    [DC: Dec. 20 - Mod comment withdrawn.]

  45. There are many quotations in my book, clearly delineated by quote signs with attribution to the authors. As to plagiarism, here are my references to Wegman, lifted directly out of my book as it was printed:

    Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006) said:
    ‘‘The papers of Mann et al. in themselves are written in a confusing manner, …

    Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006) also said: ‘‘The description of the work in Mann, Bradley, and Hughes (1998) is both somewhat obscure …

    A team led by Professor Edward J. Wegman performed an independent examination of the hockey stick controversy (Wegman, Scott, and Said, 2006). They produced a lengthy report, full of details.
    According to Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006):
    ‘‘The controversy of Mann’s methods lies in that the proxies are centered …

    Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006) went on to say:
    ‘‘The centering of the proxy series …

    The findings of Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006) are quite lengthy and only a very brief summary is given here.

    Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006) said:
    ‘‘If there is a tight relationship among the authors, and there are not a large number of individuals engaged in a particular topic …

    At no point did I use their text without proper attribution to the authors. There is no plagiarism in my book.

    Almost all climatologists work within a narrow slice of the total climatology pie: solar variations, the oceans, atmospheric circulation, heat transfer, cloud formation, proxies for past variability, climate models, … but very few if any, have a synoptic view of the entire field. In judging my book, the issue is not who I am or what my background is, but rather, what is in the book – Is it complete? Is it correct? Is it understandable?

    The debate on climate has degenerated down to claims about who is on our side vs. who is on your side, and the real issues of data and analysis get lost. In this blog, there is not one claim that anything in my book is erroneous, incomplete or difficult to understand. The only claims are that I plagiarized Wegman and that I am not qualified to write such a book. Let the book speak for itself.

    [DC:Edited Dec. 20 to remove suggestion of collaboration between Rapp and Wegman.

    However, you have not explained how a large swathe of commentary about proxies appeared in both section 2.1 of the Wegman et al report and Section 1.1.1 of your book. Since you are very familiar with the report you must have been aware of that fact. Certainly after reading this post you are.

    Thanks!]

    • DC:

      I don’t owe you any explanations. Its none of your business.

      [DC: This comment answers a question concerning Rapp's possible contact with Wegman that has since been withdrawn.]

    • Donald Rapp:

      Since you’re apparently reading this, would it be possible for you to give your own account of how the middle paragraph on page 2 of your book (which is not surrounded by quotation marks or any other indication that it is a quotation) displays an extraordinary similarity to that in the Wegman report.

      Similarly the early passages in section 1.1.1.2 are very similar to the Wegman report (bottom of page 4, top of page 5).

      [DC: These are the same passages (on proxies) that I discuss. Edited Dec. 20]

  46. Comment removed by moderator – passage quoted has been withdrawn.

  47. @Rapp
    looked into your book p277:

    did you really write that somebody is claiming that CO2 is the only factor in the change between glacial and inter-glacial times?

    The text in the box is totally wrong and a strawman. Why do you say it in this way? I cannot understand that. Many say, CO2 acted as feedback during deglaciation because of the change of the Earth’s axis etc. In your book you presented CO2 as main forcing and claimed GCM are wrong because CO2 could not be the main forcing. This strawman is quite old.

    Okay, just a little remark.

  48. DC: Comment removed by moderator.

  49. Did you happen to cross check the references from both the Wegman Report and the Rapp book? It seems that would be a necessary first step. What is your source for the chapter you downloaded. I’d like to take a look at his sources.

    • Refs are thin for the generic stuff.

      The chapter is behind a paywall. But I can list some of the sources here, and you can look up the references in Amazon reader (or Google Scholar). Here they are:

      Tree ring proxy
      Para. 1

      Wegman has:

      Maximum density values are strongly correlated with April to August mean temperatures in trees across the boreal forest from Alaska to Labrador, Schweingruber et al., (1993).

      No ref in Rapp for same sentence

      Para. 2
      Wegman has:

      Photosynthetic processes are accelerated with the increased availability of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and, hence, it is conjectured that ring growth would also be correlated with atmospheric carbon dioxide; see Graybill and Idso (1993).

      Rapp has the same sentence but without Graybill. Following this, Rapp departs from Wegman and has these refs:

      Robinson, Robinson and Soon (2007)
      Idso and Idso (2007)

      Para. 3
      Wegman has :

      The assumption in this inference is that when tree ring structure observed during the instrumented period that is similar to tree ring structure observed in the past, both will have correspondingly similar temperature profiles. As pointed out earlier, many different sets of climatic conditions can and do yield similar tree ring profiles. Thus tree ring proxy data alone is not sufficient to determine past climate variables. See Bradley (1999) for a discussion of the fitting and calibration process for dendritic-based temperature reconstruction.

      Rapp (picking up, but still in para 2, then starts new para)

      The assumption in this inference is that when the tree ring structure observed during the instrumented period that is similar to tree ring structure observed in the past, both will have correspondingly similar temperature profiles (Beckman and Mahoney, 1998).

      However, as pointed out earlier, many different sets of climatic conditions can (and do) yield similar tree ring profiles. Thus, tree ring proxy data alone are unlikely to be sufficient to determine past climate variables (Mann, Bradley and Hughes, 1998).

      I guess there’s no need to look up the last one.

    • Other references that come up a couple of times are Soon and Baliunas 2003a,b.

  50. ” For I’m not sure there is even a name for this nadir of scholarship, whereby an author relies so completely on his own undeclared previous work, while professing to give a balanced overview”

    Ah, that is because you are looking for a term in “scholarship”. Rather what we have here is a good ol’ case of disinformation, as practiced by intelligence agencies for centuries. If you want to spread a scurrilous rumor but don’t want your name associated with it, you first get it printed in a less well known source. Then you get other sources to cite the original source, and finally, you cite the fact that all these other sources are saying what you wanted said all along. The fun part comes when the original intelligence organization forgets they planted the rumor and starts believing the rumor they started has a basis in reality.

    Sock puppetry works too.

  51. USC, huh? Any connection between Rapp and George Chilingar?

  52. Ray,

    Yes, but should there not be a term that could appear in a code of conduct? Other forms of misconduct, such as conflict of interest or plagiarism are well defined.

  53. Have you considered making your analysis into a more detailed report and sending it to the USC Provost? ghostwriting for another and citing back to oneself is what got Ward Churchill in trouble.

    [DC: Dec. 20: It appears the problems are more conventional, but they are legion.]

  54. re” various comments:
    1) When I was doing Science Bypass, APS Petition, I looked for connections between Chilingar , but didn’t see any.

    Recall that Kunc was Willie Soon’s PhD advisor.

    2) Also, recall that SoCal aerospace is quite well represented among the APS petition signers, at least some of which I ascribe to Jastrow’s presence in Los Angeles for a decade. liviing not far from JPL & USC when he was Director of Mt. Wilson.

    3) DC: you might send me email so I can pass along a few things.

  55. So Dr Rapp has stuck his head in to dispute the plagiarism choice. He is really only guilty of excessive modesty in not appending his name to the Wegman report.
    And probably a good thing, given its quality —

    // the Wegman report failed to accomplish its primary objective, which was “to reproduce the results of [McIntyre & McKitrick] in order to determine whether their criticisms are valid and have merit” (p. 7). Although the panel reproduced MM’s work—verbatim—it only partially assessed the validity, and did not at all assess the merits, of the criticisms directed toward the MBH reconstructions. [...] This critique only has merit if, after correcting for the errors pointed out by MM, the resulting reconstruction yields results significantly different from the original result that can no longer support the claim of unusual late 20th century warmth. However, the Wegman Report takes no steps to make such a determination.

    Fortunately, a different group, one well qualified both statistically and climatologically to tackle this question of merit, had already performed the task several months before the Wegman Report was released. The study by Wahl & Ammann [...] //

    House Committee on Energy and Commerce Testimony July 27, 2006
    TESTIMONY JAY GULLEDGE, Ph.D., SENIOR FELLOW
    PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

    http://www.pewclimate.org/what_s_being_done/in_the_congress/7_27_06.cfm

    [DC: Edited - Dec. 20

    Of course, you've touched on the central problem in Wegman (and MM for that matter). As I understand it, there is no hard and fast stopping condition for PCA. When correcting Mann's PCA (and I do accept that MM's was the more accepted procedure), they stopped at two proncipal components even though the statistical properties (variance explained) and validity tests indicated that more PCs should be retained. I tried to engage Ian Jollife on this issue at Tamino's Open Mind, and he did not respond at the time. But I believe that Wahl and Ammann demonstrate this clearly. ]

  56. DC,

    [DC:Edited by moderator - Dec. 20]

    Why the reluctance to ask McIntyre and McKitrick questions about their involvement in the Wegman report, especially regarding

    a) Anon A-M and,
    b) As you asked above “Were Ross McKitrick or Steve McIntyre ever involved in discussions with Barton staffers?”.

    [DC: Point (a) is applies to Rapp's work. It's a style issue in a way, but I've never seen synthesis or other group reports referred to as simply Anon before. If authors must be cited, usually there is a lead or co-ordinating author that can be mentioned. In this case, Rapp is leaning on Wegman throughout and quoting the NAS/NRC report as an "Anon" report and then only very briefly in order to disparage it. This is supposed to be balanced?

    Besides, Wegman wasn't properly peer-reviewed. It shouldn't be in a text book at all.

    On point (b) - yes, there are questions that I would like someone to ask them, preferably the media. However, you should'nt assume that I have never asked such questions before. Let's leave it at that.]

    Where does one go from here?

    [DC: This has to percolate up into the mainstream media. Then who knows what will happen.]

    PS: I’m pretty sure that Mann was at AGU.

    [DC: I think you're right - one way or another, I'm sure someone will tell him about it soon enough, if they haven't already.]

  57. I personally don’t think such new information DC has uncovered is all that profound. Wegman’s ties to Joe Barton and the fact that his report wasn’t independently reviewed is enough reason to question his credibility.

    It would be interesting if he and his social network could reveal their personal emails for us. If the personal emails of Rapp, Wegman, McIntyre, McKitrick over the last decade were revealed, I’m fairly certain it would indicate orders of magnitude more “dirt” than all the stolen CRU emails have – actual dirt – not just things taken out of context (although there would be plenty of opportunities for that too). But such things have kind of a fleeting appeal to it for me. I tend to support what Gavin Schmidt has said:

    “Private communications picked over by a hostile audience can make a saint look like a sinner, and so while there might be some karmic justice to that, I would not wish it on my worst enemy”

  58. This is truly breathtaking!”

    P.S. Nice work again, DC. You are the #1 anti-climate auditor in the blogosphere. :)

  59. I do not think that the reference to the report of National Research Council as “Anon (N)” a bad thing. I think that we should logically mention a certain commitee, rather than the whole NRC (or National Academy of Sciences), as the “author” of the book, but the full name is too long. Another choice is assume the chair of the commitee (G.R. North in this case) as the “editor”, but it is not bibiliographically correct. I hope that National Academy Press shows a recommended way of citation in their future publictions.

    • I should add that Rapp (2008) uses “Anon (N)” generally affirmatively, and he does not dismiss it as another product of the closely-knit (and alleged as biased) “paleo-climate group”.

  60. My guess is that someone wrote a text and both Wegman and Rapp used it. The writer seems to respect Willie Soon as an authoritative paleoclimatologist. If the text is in public domain, there is no problem of plagiarism legally, though the issue of scientific credibility remains.

    [DC: If it's in the public domain, it seems very hard to find. Don't think that makes sense.]

    • >The writer seems to respect Willie Soon as an authoritative paleoclimatologist.

      Sorry. This part was bogus (my mistake). Texts based on Soon and Balinuas (2003) which appeared in Rapp (2008) are not common with the Wegman report, but brand new.

      >My guess is that someone wrote a text and both Wegman and Rapp used it.

      Dr. Rapp, did you mean that this part is bogus as well?

      >[DC: If it's in the public domain, it seems very hard to find. ...]

      I meant public domain in legal sense, so it does not necessarily mean that available freely on the web. (It is difficult to locate, I think so.)

  61. Denise Reeves was a PhD student of Wegman’s:

    http://volgenau.gmu.edu/graduates/graduate_news.php?start_from=10&ucat=&archive=&subaction=&id=&

    and
    John T. Rigsby, III, Naval Surface Warfare Center

    http://www.galaxy.gmu.edu/stats/colloquia/ColloquiaFall2004.html

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-rigsby/6/4b1/917 says he was doing MS Statistics @ George Mason 2001-2005 [obviously part-time while at NSWC.

  62. I have yet to see a more moronic set of comments on any topic in my life.

  63. I think I’m missing the point a bit here.

    It may be that Wegman used Rapp as an unstated co-author, or Rapp may have used Wegman’s text without attribution. It would be a bit embarrasing for those concerned but isn’t really important is it?

    Does this honestly have any impact on the value of either Wegman’s analysis or Rapp’s book?

    The answer in my opinion is no.

    This smacks of an attempt to point out that the sceptics also have cliques and “inappropriate” relationships just as those ‘implied’ by the CRU emails. And I say that as a ‘warmer’.

    Just as the CRU emails do not necessarily mean that the work based on CRU data should instantly be dismissed neither should the work of Wegman or Rapp be judged on this. ALL work should be judged on its merits.

    I’d be in favour of introducing total anonymity into peer review (i.e. the identity of the authors is also with-held for a period of time to reduce as much as possible natural personal prejudice)

    [DC: I agree that Wegman's and Rapp's work falls far short, even when judged at face value. This has been touched upon, but is not the main subject of the thread.

    However the lapses in scholarship I have discussed cast further doubt on these authors' credibility.

    Dec. 20 - I have withdrawn the claim that Wegman relied on Rapp.]

  64. DC Wrote:

    The sceptics have powerful interests promoting them. Think about it. How did you even come to hear of McIntyre or Michaels or Tim Ball? It’s because the ground work was laid through clever public relations. That’s a largely undiscussed aspect of the skeptic juggernaut. It has very little to do with actual science.

    Actually, I did not hear about any of the three before climategate exploded and, in fact, seeing that the McIntyre blog was down for days because of an overflow of visitors (and looking at the rather haphazard way it is organised) I’m not at all convinced about the “powerful interests promoting them.”

    Reading the blogs and cruising the sites, it seemed to me that the sceptics are a rather scruffy bunch of pensioners — not a powerhouse of well-oiled “juggernaut.” The fat cats seem to purr in Copenhagen.

    I see now in your “About” that the site has as its mission to “follow the money” flowing “from special interests opposed to regulation or taxation of greenhouse gas emissions.” It seems to me that the argument works in reverse as well and one can “follow the money” flowing “from special interests in favour of regulation or taxation of greenhouse gas emissions.” It seems to me that the big money and the big political machinery are more in favour than agaist it.

    Bring forth hard evidence of plagiarism is hardly ad hominem.

    To be sure. But you repeatedly insist that it is NOT a case of plagiarism. Anyway, your comment above is an ad-hominem comment (guilt by association).

    [DC: If you go back four years, you'll see that McIntyre had very little traffic. Over time the following has grown. That growth was helped by press coverage, which came through the efforts of PR professionals, especially in 2005-2006. Tom Harris and Marc Morano are still at it and good at getting skeptic spin into the press. One ClimateGate story I read used the Fraser Institute as their primary source, hardly a valid source for interpretaion of science.

    The science is the science. If you notice, almost all climate scientists agree that the problem should be addressed, but may not agree on how to address it.]

  65. Rapp says, “I have yet to see a more moronic set of comments on any topic in my life.”

    Try here and here.

    Those two sites are the benchmark for absurd comments.

    I assume the comments here would end if you just answered DC’s two simple questions.

  66. Donald Rapp writes:

    “I have yet to see a more moronic set of comments on any topic in my life.”

    One can only conclude that you haven’t read your own textbook.

    From what I’ve read in the limited material online…I was particularly amused by section 7.1, entitled “Global Warming Alarmists” (sounds quite objective!) in which the growing scientific consensus on the human impact on climate change is characterized as folks just following social trends, or that the IPCC position on global warming is based on the “hockey stick”. The citation to Gerlich and Tscheuschner (who have written “Falsifiation Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects within the Frame Of Physics” as a primary source for section 5.1 “The Greenhouse Effect” (the key experts on the topic in your mind I’m sure) is perhaps even more amusing.

    Then there’s the characterization of those noting that MWP was not likely to be as warm or as warmer than today globally as being “global warming alarmists with a vested interest in the hocky-stick model” in secton 2.1. Imagine how much “skeptics” would trip if a textbook for students contained the term “global warming denier”.

    The book appears to be $179. If you give me twice that amount, I’ll read the rest of it. I’m sure it’s as riveting as the previews.

  67. DC –

    I think it’s pretty clear that Donald Rapp was sloppy with attribution of a few paragraphs here. But I can’t see more than that.

    Maybe you could make a claim of plagiarism, but even this seems strong. Several paragraphs of Rapp’s book are very similar to several paragraphs of the report and not clearly shown to be quotations. Possibly there’s been some plagiarism, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was inadvertent sloppiness and misediting of a draft. A mistake, sure, but I can’t see evidence of wholesale (page after page) lifting of material.

    But the “ghostwriting” claim seems to be absurd on face value. There’s an innocent explanation – something like Rapp deleting quote marks by accident in an early draft, and not noticing a couple of paragraphs of material in later drafts. Sloppy yes, but no “smoking gun” of bizzaro-world conspiracy.

    Where’s the conspiracy?

    (Incidentally, on the book itself I wasn’t terribly impressed – “Ruminations of Bob Foster” indeed! As a little example Rapp quotes him saying the context of satellite tropospheric temps: “if the influence of the prominent El-Nino of 1998 were ignored, the globally averaged temperature of the atmosphere would display a cooling trend”. What bollocks! )

    [DC: Dec. 20 I have withdrawn the ghostwriting claim.

    Two and a half pages of unattributed material is not trivial. As well, attribution problems in the original in Wegman have been propagated, so even proper attribution will not fix the problem.]

  68. [DC: The facts are the facts, inconvenient though they may be for some.]

    And what are the facts, Deep? Not what you make of it, just plain FACTS.

    Fact: there’s a very simular text in Rapp’s book that appears to be also in Wegman’s report, 2 years before.

    Fact: there’s NO evidence that Rapp contributed in anyway to the Wegman Report, no matter how hard you try to link Rapp to the Wegman team, without having any shred of evidence (heck, if you had you didn’t had to ask Rapp for it, you just proved it).

    Fact: “And when are you going to explain how a large chunk of text you wrote ended up in section 2.1 of the Wegman report?” How can he explain this silly question? It’s like: when are you going to explain that my daddy is not my mother?

    Fact: This thread is a travesty.

    [DC: Facts:
    - There are two long passages in Wegman that appear to be from other sources but unattributed, one from Wikipedia, and one from Wasserman and Faust. That would appear to be at least prima facie evidence of plagiarism on the part of Wegman et al.

    Edited Dec. 20 - I now agree that the correct question is how Wegman's material ended up in Rapp.
    ]

  69. I just exploded, DC. I like you, but….

    …..smile…….

    …your piece on Wegman was over-the-top. You have an agenda. I do not understand it, know why you are fronting for these thugs, but, every day, they are becoming more pathetic and sad, in my mind.
    [Edited]
    Again, liking you, gently, as I have, I wonder, wonder, wonder, what – in God’s name – your motivation is. It is not truth. Or science.
    ……….Lady in Red
    PS: This comment is for attribution, on your site.

    [DC: I'm sorry, but I can not allow you to characterize scientists the way you have, and most of what you wrote is way off topic anyway. I suppose I'll allow the attack on me, but I disagree with it of course.

    Clearly, we'll have to agree to disagree.]

  70. I’ve only skimmed, but how do you exclude the possibility that Rapp plagiarized?

    [DC: Ediitd Dec. 20 - I no longer do. ]

  71. Quote: DC – Rapp is a fluid articulate writer and has greater knowledge of paleoclimatology than Wegman et al.

    That’s pretty weak in my opinion.

    [DC: Dec. 20 - Mod comment removed.]

    • In my time, I wrote and published books on quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, solar energy, human missions to Mars, climate change, ice ages and financial bubbles. It may seem strange and impossible to you but I can assimilate a new field in a couple of years, read hundreds of papers and dozens of books, and pull together a synoptic view of the whole field – something that no climate specialist has yet done to any degree of success. I also published about 100 papers in refereed journals and I was a full professor before I was 40. In short, I think I am a lot smarter than the bloggers. The opinions expressed on this blog reveal a preoccupation with trivia and a lack of comprehension of anything significant. Mostly it is the braying of donkeys and heel nippers. The claim that I ever contributed to the Wegman Report is such nonsense that it is hardly worth denying. However, the Wegman Report is such a fine piece of work that had I been given the chance, I would gladly have contributed to it. If you bloggers insist on making me a coauthor, I would gladly accept that honor even though I have never had a communication with Wegman.

    • Donald Rapp wrote:
      It may seem strange and impossible to you but I can assimilate a new field in a couple of years, read hundreds of papers and dozens of books, and pull together a synoptic view of the whole field – something that no climate specialist has yet done to any degree of success.

      Gee people, leave the poor man alone – not only is he a true Renaissance Man, he quite obviously is the only true climate expert on the face of the earth, if not above it.

  72. Doanld Rapp, just answer the reasonable, straightforward questions that have been placed before you. Me thinks you protest too much! Your hands certainly seem to be dirty. Fess up, or explain yourself.

    • I owe you nothing. Keep promoting my book however. The second edition is due out in early 2010 with 150 new references, 100 new pages of text and 40 new graphs.

  73. Moderator comment removed.

    • You’ve got it all wrong. The Wegman Report preceded my work and I contributed nothing to Wegman. This entire blog is a pile of baloney.

    • So does that mean you were a bit sloppy with your citations? I mean, it happens. Kind of embarrassing, I guess. I don’t know if I’d get all “sue”y if people bring it up, however.

  74. GC173:

    1) Technical details of Wegman report have been hashed over many times. Rapp’s book not so much.

    2) I’ve done peer review on occasion. In many cases authors are fairly obvious even when the names are redacted. In any case, reputation matters. In the real world, people acquire reputations for credibility or lack thereof, and that is a relevant input, especially when there is not time to check every detail.

    3) In normal science publishing, affiliations are (mostly) fairly clear, and coauthorships well-known. In anti-science, sometimes relationships matter, but are not obvious, and often not highlighted.

    For example, in the APS Petition, Will Happer is (correctly) identified as a Princeton Professor, Member of the National Academy of Sciences, etc …. but oddly, is *not* identified as the Chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute, although that affiliation is far more relevant, especially if you are familiar with its history, funding,, and personnel.

    4) In the case of the Wegman Report, we have:
    a) Wegman: George Mason U
    b) David W. Scott: Rice
    c) Yasmin Said: Johns Hopkins
    with thanks to:
    d) John T. Rigsby, III, Naval Surface Warfare Center, and
    e) Denise M. Reeves, MITRE Corporation.

    So, that looks like a nice mix of folks, and I think the affiliations are correct, but it doesn’t quite tell all the story:
    a) and b) Are quite senior statisticians, and Scott has consulted for a number of interesting organizations, although I have no idea if that is relevant.
    c) Got her PhD in 2005 from GMU, dissertation advisor = Wegman.
    d) Did his MS Statistics @ GMU, 2001-2005 (obviously while at NSWC), has coauthored a paper or two with Wegman.)
    e) Did her PhD defense @ GMU earlier this yer, again PhD advisor = Wegman.

    So, we have two senior statisticians and 3 of Wegman’s students. Without knowing the specific dynamics, I can say nothing for sure, but being somewhat familiar with academe, I might guess that a recent PhD, a PhD candidate, and a recent MS-grad are likely to listen *very* hard to a senior person in their field, especially if he was their dissertation advisor.

    Now, none of that is *hidden*, but it does add information, especially given the amount of space the Wegman report gave to social networks… Put another way, the authorship of the report was a very tight network.

  75. Former Skeptic

    @Donald Rapp:

    When the CRU server was hacked and its illegal contents spilled all over the internet, the scientists took vast amounts of time, effort and pain to successfully clear things up and nullify baseless accusations of fraud and conspiracy.

    You, on the other hand, seem to think that calling people “morons”, threatening people with litigation, and shouting “ITS ALL BOGUS!!!111″ repeatedly would clear your name of what appears to be justified accusations.

    Apart from being extremely laughable and showing that you have the mentality of a 6 year old, let along a Ph.D., your intransigence won’t convince anyone of innocence of wrongdoing.

    Grow up, or grow a pair, and answer DC’s questions. The folks at RC, CRU etc. did so with a much more bloodthirsty and ignorant crowd baying at their keyboards. You have only two questions to answer instead – what’s so difficult about that?

  76. Former Skeptic

    Also, if what Rapp says is true” and we take it at face value:

    <i<"I never met Wegman, I never corresponded with him, I know nothing about him. I just found his report on the internet. This entire thing is bogus."

    Then can we call a spade a spade and use the p-word? I find it incredible that a supposed scholar would not properly attribute this almost verbatim passage. It’s Carlin all over again.

  77. DC – First, let me applaud you for allowing critical comments. This, to me, is the most important factor for a blog’s credibility, every since I discovered that RealClimate regularly deletes strong or pointed criticism from their own site.

    I’m in kind of a weird position, personally. AGW proponents tend to be Democrats (in the US) while skeptics tend to be Republican. However, I am a lifelong Democrat, a research scientist, and a skeptic of the AGW position. As such, I sometimes try to engage AGW proponents – such as yourself – when they seem open to engagement. Just so you know where I’m coming from, so you can take what I say with a grain of salt.

    In regards to charges of plagiarism, one should distinguish between the two forms of plagiarism: lifting of style and lifting of substance (or ideas).

    Generally speaking, one cannot plagiarize a definition, which is a fact rather than an idea. For example, “Social network” is defined in a certain way … that is, the definition of this concept must contain certain unalterable elements. Similarly, there is a distinct definition for dyads, and for factors pertinent in proxy studies.

    Since these three passages pertain to definitions of fact rather than novel ideas, they could only possibly indicate plagiarism of style. It would still be plagiarism, if proven. But note that this form of plagiarism is often the less egregious of the two.

    Consider a plagiarizing scientist, presenting another’s work as his own. Typically, the aggrieved party is more concerned that his discovery was stolen, rather than how this discovery was presented. This is true even though it is the wording and style that is often used as final proof of theft.

    However, I believe the case for plagiarism of style between Wegman and Rapp, or Wegman and Wikipedia, is weak. This is because the case for plagiarism must rest only on the unnecessary word choices, rather than the necessary elements of each definition.

    Your main evidence that Wegman copied Rapp is that Rapp is “a fluid articulate writer” and knows more about paleoclimatology than Wegman. On the first point, based on the examples you have provided, I agree: Rapp’s passages are an improvement (slight as they are) over Wegman’s.

    However, to suppose that Wegman collaborated or stole from Rapp, you have to bend over backwards, and say that Wegman was not capable of producing these passages on his own. Moreover, since Wegman readily states that he solicited help, you have to affirm that this help came from Rapp’s ‘secret collaboration’ of some sort, rather than a third (or fourth, or fifth) party. These are not, in my mind, reasonable assertions, based on this evidence.

    Clearly, when defining terms, Wegman would look to outside sources and references, and take care to define these things in the standard way, due to his unfamiliarity of the subject. For example, in social theory, the word “nodes” is used, and this is how Wegman describes them. The same construct in graph theory may use the term “vertices” instead. They mean essentially the same thing, yet one term is more common to sociologists. Such particular word choice based on the domain might have led Wegman (or one of his co-authors) to err on the side of caution, and take even more phrasing from the literature than strictly necessary.

    In regards to Wegman not properly citing these definitions, or copying too liberally from the word choice, consider this: in a technical paper prepared for publication it is not usually necessary for one to cite definitions. This is particularly true when the same work that is the source of these definitions has already been cited in other context.

    Furthermore, Wegman’s work was not prepared for publication. It’s not a paper or a book. Rather, it is a report, prepared for Congress, intended to reference the paleoclimate literature and standard definitions found in that literature. As such, there is even less need for citing definitions that are well-known in the field.

    Finally, if one wants to assert – as many of your commenters do – that Rapp plagiarized Wegman, then you still have to consider: not only are the passages in question definitions, but also the Wegman report was previously cited in many, many places in Rapp’s book.

    The only complaint that Wegman could possibly make is that a few words or turns-of-phrase are not altered enough, and therefore not “original” to Rapp. But Rapp does change the wording, to a degree. Also, he does cite Wegman in other context. So this complaint simply wouldn’t hold water. Anyone is free to note that the word choice was originally Wegman’s by – as you did – comparing the two works, as they are commonly available and conspicuously cited.

    I hope this proves helpful. Apologies for the length.

    • Ted,

      See my comment below. The material in common between Rapp and Wegman does not consist of definitions. It is several paragraphs of description of three different proxies. The wording is nearly identical. Also, Wegman is not cited in this chapter at all.

      As for the uanattributed material in Wegman from Wikipedia and Wasserman and Faust, again we have nearly identical wording for several paragraphs. And, again these sources were not cited at all.

    • Ted:

      There’s no “definition exclusion” for plagiarism or copyright infringement. Copyright protects the particular form of expression of an idea, not the idea itself. Plagiarism is broader than copyright and covers the use of unattributed borrowing of ideas, information, or language–even if it’s a definition. See student handbooks on academic honesty from just about any university.

  78. Rapp: “I think I am a lot smarter than the bloggers. The opinions expressed on this blog reveal a preoccupation with trivia and a lack of comprehension of anything significant. Mostly it is the braying of donkeys and heel nippers.”

    So the denialist camp gets a taste of its own medicine. How wonderful!

  79. Let’s review exactly what material we are talking about:

    P. 13-15 of Wegman section 2.1 (sections on tree-ring proxies, ice cores and corals) are also found in entirety, albeit somewhat expanded and slightly edited in Chapter 1.1.1 of Assessing Climate Change.

    The corresponding sections are Chapter 1.1.1 are 1.1.1.1 (tree-rings, p. 2-3), 1.1.1.2 (ice cores, p. 3-4) and 1.1.1.6 (corals, p. 5).

    So almost virtually identical two-and-a-half pages from Wegman are found in Rapp (or vice versa).

    There are two possibilities:

    1) Rapp started his work on Chapter 1 after finding Wegman’s report and incorporated p. 13-15 into the three referenced sections.

    2) Rapp started his work on Chapter 1 beforehand, before Wegman et al wrote section 2.1 and an early draft somehow found its way into Wegman et al’s hands, with or without Rapp’s knowledge.

    Either way we are talking about a large swathe of unattributed material and a finding of plagiarism would appear to be unavoidable.

    If Dr. Rapp did not write an early version of the material (in whatever form or outlet) before the release of Wegman, then #1 is the only possibility.

    On the other hand if there is an earlier draft version, then #2 is the only possibility.

    The timeline of the book or its antecedent becomes key in this situation.

    • Possibility (2) seems to be drawing a very long bow indeed, and possibility (1) could occur through an inadvertent mistake and a bit of sloppy editing.

      Imagine the following:
      – Dr Rapp decides to write a book on AGW, and decides the Wegman report is a good precis for some introductory material
      – He puts in a piece of the report at the beginning of his book as a placeholder, thinking that this is the material he’s got to cover
      – He forgets that’s what he’s done, and when he comes to write the book he takes the report’s material for his own, edits it a bit, and expands on it substantially.
      – The book is published with a few paragraphs of the Wegman report inside it.

      Sloppy – yes. Plagiarism – not in substance. And a hell of a lot more likely than secret ghostwriting.

      If you were accusing Rapp of being sloppy with his editing, that would be fine. But you don’t need text comparisons to see that, the book’s just a collection of disjointed “naysayer” blog postings without any coherence.

      Hint to Rapp – in the next edition, if it is coming out, try to give a coherent account of atmospheric physics at the start. The paleo stuff is a sideshow. And stop quoting bloody blogs everywhere, the book reads like one man’s personal obsession with the evils of realclimate and the heroism of the auditors or something. If you want a coherent account of how AGW works why not read a couple of textbooks and then some papers or something? Build your own EBM and see what comes out.

    • DC – I have just reviewed the Wegman report (page 13 and 14 on tree ring methodology) and the the two pages from Assessing Climate Change (section 1.1.1.1 on tree rings). I limited my review to just these pages, as I don’t have the book (I relied on Amazon’s “Look Inside!” function).

      The passages – about two pages of text – are, indeed, remarkably similar. Much more than I expected based on the short passages you originally posted.

      Hell, it’s almost word for word. 700 words of text, nearly verbatim. Unbelievable. I cannot defend this.

      I won’t speculate that it was done on purpose rather than in error … one could come up with any number of likely scenarios that explain an error. For example, perhaps there was a question as to how to cite Wegmen, and – once determined – such a citation was inadvertently not put on these pages.

      In line with my previous post, one could also say that this process is an algorithm – even a very long algorithm – for assessing tree rings, and is thus more in line with a “fact” rather than a novel idea.

      Nevertheless, the wording – large swaths of the wording – was simply lifted from Wegman, well beyond what is acceptable. Dr. Rapp should have put his description of this process in his own words, or properly quoted and cited the Wegman report.

      It doesn’t affect the scholarship of the passages, the Wegman report, or even Dr. Rapp’s book, of course. That is to be judged on separate merits. But this post wasn’t about the scholarship. Dr. Rapp and his publisher need to address and correct this. Inadvertent or not, it is in my view plagiarism.

      I still don’t believe one could make a case that the Wegman report followed, even in part, Dr. Rapp’s book. I think that unfairly slights Dr. Wegman for no reason. Plus, it seems likely that Dr. Rapp was finishing his Mars book (Oct., 2007) when the Wegman report came out (July, 2006).

      Even if in error, this rises, I think, to sloppy negligence. Dr. Rapp should accept and correct this error as soon as possible.

  80. I saw this blog post earlier today. I come back late in the day and find you have backpedaled completely from your earlier primary assertion. Interesting.

    • Sensible people following scientific practises can change their mind on new evidence and discussion.

      Unfortunately the same is not apparent with climate change denialists and politicians.

  81. I looked at some of the Google Books text of Rapp’s book and it’s clear that he doesn’t use proper citations. I picked the section on temperature measurements, singled out a sentence and Google pointed me in the right direction. i.e. “Data collected and recorded by thousands of individuals with equipment and procedures subject to change over time inevitably contain many errors and inconsistencies, some of which will be impossible to identifiy and correct.” (page 100) Word for word from Hansen et. al. 1999.

    The sources are cited, but verbatim and near verbatim quotes are not identified as quotes.

    I think its pretty clear that Rapp took his text from Wegman and not the other way around.

  82. “You (Donald Rapp), on the other hand, seem to think that calling people “morons”, threatening people with litigation, and shouting “ITS ALL BOGUS!!!111″ repeatedly would clear your name of what appears to be justified accusations.”

    If the complaints are justified, why haven’t you or anyone else filed a proper, formal complaint? Go for it.

    Absent a complaint filed through proper channels, one has no requirement, legally or ethically, to respond to any questions. The allegations are yours; make a formal complaint.

    But, I suspect the reason no formal, legitimate complaint will ever be filed is because of the following:

    “I would appreciate it if you made a signed, formal complaint to USC in writing. It will provide me with all I need to sue you.” – Donald Rapp

    Remember, when you impugn someone without evidence, you leave yourself legally exposed.

    [DC: I have listened to you and others as you can see from the revised post.]

  83. As you can see comments are now open again. The comment section was inadvertently closed for longer than necessary.

    I will be posting on both Rapp and Wegman in due course. In the mean time, comments on references or improperly attributed (or unattributed) material in both texts can be placed on this thread.

    I am reviewing previous comments (especially my responses to same) and may be making dated updates to those.

  84. I would still love to hear from Mr Rapp what he thinks the reason is that the texts in his book and in the Wegman Report are so similar. But will he give an honest and transparent answer, I wonder…

  85. Anyone else have problems seeing text on Dr. Rapp’s website?

    With Firefox, I see lots of overlapping paragraphs, making much of it unreadable.

    http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spaceclimate.net

    [DC: Looks fine to me. Here are my Firefox details - fairly up to date (but perhaps not latest).

    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9.0.16) Gecko/2009120208 Firefox/3.0.16 GTB6 ]

  86. George Barwood

    You need to understand that citations are not required for facts that are not the result of unique individual research.

    http://www.plagiarism.org/plag_article_plagiarism_faq.html

    The wiki and the introduction to tree rings ( which in any case has major differences ) therefore do not need citations. Definitions and introductions can only be expressed in a finite number of different ways.

    Plagiarism means attempting to pass off somebody else’s original work as your own, and that is not the case here.

    [DC: Plagiarism can apply to wording, as well as ideas. I also should point out that many codes of conduct distinguish between intentional and unintentional plagiarism. For the record, I would assume the apparent plagiarism discussed here is of the unintentional variety, and would not rise to the level of misconduct under many of codes of conduct. But at the very least, it does bespeak shoddy scholarship.

    As far as I can tell, Wegman et al contains not one reference to a source on social networks, certainly not the two I would have expected given the material covered. More on this in due course.

    As for the tree-ring section, there are numerous problems with the attribution, or lack thereof. Again, more on this in due course.]

    • But at the very least, it does bespeak shoddy scholarship.

      I think it is important to not conflate the quality of the research with issues regarding plagiarism of style. I think I understand your meaning and, if I’m correct, I agree with you: these passages need proper citation.

      But the use of the phrase “shoddy scholarship” could also be read as an indictment of the ideas themselves. That is a separate issue. I don’t think you, DC, have made the charge that the ideas are crap merely because paragraphs of text were mis-appropriated. But other commenters seem to be making this claim.

      The passages in question have to do with standard definitions, and I think we are in agreement that they should be cited, due to word choice. But these passages are clearly not novel ideas. In fact, the stated purpose of Dr. Rapp’s book is to present a synthesis of research in the field. Therefore, one should not expect to find any novel ideas or novel research by Dr. Rapp himself.

      I think there is an argument to be made that Dr. Rapp’s “sloppy scholarship” – as it is presented here – could indicate “sloppy scholarship” in terms of not reading enough of the literature in this field. The argument would be: If he is careless enough to not cite Wegman, perhaps he is also careless in his research.

      But consider this: is Dr. Rapp more or less likely to be careless in citing material if he has done a tremendous amount of reading on global warming?

      His time is finite. As such, I would say: more time spent on research could easily indicate less time spent on being careful in regards to attribution. It’s still possible, of course, that he has left out key pieces of research that refute the claims of his synthesis textbook. But in order to draw that conclusion, one would have to look to the content itself. With a finite amount of time to review the vast literature of this scope, failure to properly attribute Wegman actually indicates that he was probably too busy with his research to take proper care in citing references.

      I’m not defending the inadvertent plagiarism, of course. Dr. Rapp and his publisher need to correct this for the next edition. I’m merely pointing out that this error says nothing of the quality of the work itself, or the quality of its conclusions. That would be a separate post and a separate debate. (And almost certainly a debate worth having.)

      In regards to the Wegman report, others seem to think because he copied text from Wikipedia on standard definitions that he knows nothing of statistical science. This is a silly red-herring … one has nothing to do with the other. If I were in Congress, I would much rather Wegman and his co-authors spend their time analyzing the new science rather than worrying about word-choice on a few definitions or standard methods.

      [DC: The common text between Rapp and Wegman is another case all together. It's clear that there is improper attribution within the text itself, no matter who wrote it. This makes it impossible to distinguish who is responsible for the factual information, and who for the parts that are merely editorializing. I'll have more on this soon. So the problems here go beyond plagiarism, inadvertant or not.

      I'm also baffled by your contention that researchers must trade off between depth of research and proper citation. This is frankly a highly novel concept in my experience.

      As for Wegman's social network background material, yes, there is improper citation. The material from Wasserman and Faust is so close to the original it probably should have been block quoted and cited. So this is shoddy scholarship that probably also speaks to a lack of domain knowledge in sociology.]

  87. George Barwood

    None of the material in Chapter 2 needs citations or references, since it is all well known, and the material can be found in many sources. This is not a textbook or a literature review, it is a report to congress, prepared on a pro bono basis, and the authors need not chase around looking for references for well known facts.

    We should be grateful to them for doing this work FOR FREE.

  88. This is not a textbook

    Uh, but Rapp’s textbook *is* a textbook, which is why it’s called a textbook.

  89. Daniel J. Andrews

    Shoddy scholarship is still wrong even if you do it for free.

    It may seem strange and impossible to you but I can assimilate a new field in a couple of years, read hundreds of papers and dozens of books, and pull together a synoptic view of the whole field – something that no climate specialist has yet done to any degree of success.

    And from some of the debunked sources you think are valid, it doesn’t appear you have had any degree of success either.

  90. “…and the authors need not chase around looking for references for well known facts.”

    Obviously if it was copied from a particular source there would be no “chasing around” involved.

  91. And from some of the debunked sources you think are valid, it doesn’t appear you have had any degree of success either.

    Apparently he assimilates but doesn’t discriminate fact from fiction.

  92. I’m still not sure one way or another if Rapp copied text from Wegman or the other way around, but clearly there is unattributed text in one or both sources.

    Of much greater concern is that Rapp’s textbook (at least from the online previews) appears to be garbage, suitable for the fireplace at best. Complaints to the publisher (Springer) with specific excerpts from the book couldn’t hurt. Maybe Rapp knows someone there who is part of his “social circle”. Imagine the uproar if the phrase “global warming denier” made its way into a textbook for students, as the term “global warming alarmist”, used to describe rather mainstream scientific views, is prevalent in Rapp’s silly book.

  93. There has been so much backpedalling from the original post that I expect the next revision to be an apology to Dr. Wegman and Dr. Rapp.

    Keep up the good work. :O

    [DC: There willbe no more revisions. There will, however, be new post tomorrow. Stay tuned.]

  94. Of much greater concern is that Rapp’s textbook (at least from the online previews) appears to be garbage, suitable for the fireplace at best.

    Is there any information as to where it’s being used?

    “Of Pandas and People” ran up against the first amendment, and that’s the only way such pseudoscience can be kept out of schools (after lawsuits).

    But Genesis doesn’t mention CO2 or much of anything else relevant to climate science, so getting Rapp’s textbook kicked out on first amendment grounds isn’t going to be possible.

    So, what’s the story? What level of penetration, and where? How many kids are growing up being taught that climate science is a fraud?

    And, Rapp, why, as a scientist, do you want to nourish the anti-science seeds planted by right wing ideologues in our country?

    Will you be happy when they reject all of physics, too, ban the field, claiming it violates religious and political beliefs?

    Do you really know what you’re feeding when you feed anti-science?

    You aren’t as smart as you think.

  95. Craig Goodrich

    If this is intended as some sort of defense of MBH98, or indeed any of the dendroclimatology on which the IPCC has depended since TAR, I’m afraid it fails, since Rapp’s semi-plagiarism or whatever is irrelevant to the actual criticisms by M&M, Wegman, and the NAS report — the latter two endorsing the M&M analysis, which was based on statistical methodology. The warning against bristlecone pines, recall, came from the IPCC’s own earlier report.

    Mann himself keeps repeating that the NAS endorsed MBH98. It did not; it said that while its conclusion may be (independently) plausible, the paper itself offered no support for it — i.e. that it was scientifically useless and misleading.

    • And Wegmman e al’s critiscism was n fact irrelevant with regard to the actual end result – Wahl and Amman ran the numbers and got somethign so similar as to be nearly indistinguishable. A hockey stick shape still remains, no matter what you do.

  96. This sort of sloppy scholarship (Rapp’s) would be sufficient to see a student charged with academic misconduct at my institution. Indeed, it has in the recent past.

  97. It did not; it said that while its conclusion may be (independently) plausible, the paper itself offered no support for it — i.e. that it was scientifically useless and misleading.

    Source? I have never seen the NAS conclude anything closely resembling your statement.

    At any rate, Mann et al. (2008) is the standard and arguing about MBH98 is like complaining about the quality of a 1998 television when one can easily go out and buy a superior one from 2008.

  98. Mann himself keeps repeating that the NAS endorsed MBH98. It did not; it said that while its conclusion may be (independently) plausible, the paper itself offered no support for it — i.e. that it was scientifically useless and misleading.

    Please give us an exact quote from the NAS report that says MBH98 was “scientifically useless”.

    I’ve read the NAS report myself, and Mann’s characterization of it is just fine. Denialists read black as white, and white as black.

    The warning against bristlecone pines, recall, came from the IPCC’s own earlier report.

    And yet recent research shows that they are, indeed, responding to recent increases in temperature, including so-called stripbark specimens.

  99. In Deep Climate’s response to Andy on Dec 18, DC gives several examples including the one below. The first sentence is wrong; I think the word “that” which follows the word “period” should be deleted to make the sentence a proper one. As DC pointed out, in Rapp’s work “the” has been added before “tree ring structure”; however, that extra “that” is still in the sentence after “period”. So the mistake in the sentence is replicated. (Or they could alternatively have inserted “is” before “observed during the instrumented period”)

    “…Para. 3
    Wegman has :

    The assumption in this inference is that when tree ring structure observed during the instrumented period that is similar to tree ring structure observed in the past, both will have correspondingly similar temperature profiles. As pointed out earlier, many different sets of climatic conditions can and do yield similar tree ring profiles. Thus tree ring proxy data alone is not sufficient to determine past climate variables. See Bradley (1999) for a discussion of the fitting and calibration process for dendritic-based temperature reconstruction.

    Rapp (picking up, but still in para 2, then starts new para)

    The assumption in this inference is that when the tree ring structure observed during the instrumented period that is similar to tree ring structure observed in the past, both will have correspondingly similar temperature profiles (Beckman and Mahoney, 1998)…”

  100. DC said: I’m also baffled by your contention that researchers must trade off between depth of research and proper citation. This is frankly a highly novel concept in my experience.

    Well, given a constraint on time, some sort of trade-off would be necessary, wouldn’t it? But the larger point was simply: mistakes in attribution (paragraphs without proper citation) have no bearing on the quality of the research itself. That should be looked at and judged independently.

    @Scott Mandia and @dhogaza: the NAS review concluded – by looking at paleo-reconstructions other than MBH98 – that some of the claims made could be supported, but that the methodology was flawed. In other words: right answer, wrong method.

    But McIntyre and McKitrick criticisms at that time were specific to MBH98. They simply showed how the conclusions of that paper could not be made by the methods of that paper. Thus, both the Wegman Report and the NAS review upheld their criticisms.

    Mann keeps trying to spin this as the NAS panel vindicating him, which is clearly untrue. The NAS panel may have bent over backwards to keep from directly criticizing Mann, et. al., but they did refute the same methods that M&M pointed out as being flawed.

  101. Here’s a gem of novel climate physics. Have a look at Rapp’s section 6.1.4 (page 273) of “Assessing Climate Change”. According to Rapp, the proper way to represent the logarithmic dependence of temperature change on CO2 mixing ratio is:

    deltaT = X * CO2_final / CO2_initial

    where the coefficient X is predicted by climate models to be roughly 1.5.

    Ouch. And no, leaving out the binary logarithm is not a typo, as subsequent calculations show. In addition, Rapp conflates transient warming response and equilibrium sensitivity.

    [DC: Yikes.]

    • Just read that. Unbelievable.

      Given that Rapp is not lacking in ability, what does this tell us?

    • Hardly a surprise. Rapp’s primary reference for his Section 5.1 “The Greenhouse Effect” is Gerlich and Tscheuschner.

  102. Correction: It’s on page 276, not 273; the link goes to the correct page.

  103. the NAS review concluded – by looking at paleo-reconstructions other than MBH98 – that some of the claims made could be supported, but that the methodology was flawed. In other words: right answer, wrong method.

    Not exactly:

    Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium.

    They reached their conclusion based on a suite of papers, including MBH98. They in no way suggested that MBH98 was “scientifically useless” (as claimed above):

    The reconstruction produced by Dr. Mann and his colleagues was just one step in a long process of research, and it is not (as sometimes presented) a clinching argument for anthropogenic global warming, but rather one of many independent lines of research on global climate change.

    You can describe the methodology of a paper as having flaws without dismissing it as having no value. That’s the essence of the NAS report – an early, seminal paper shown later to have had some problems due to a non-standard PCA treatment but when it comes right down to it, fundamentally correct. Of course using standard PCA on the same data makes no significant difference, and the paper showing this was cited by the report, though in Mann’s opinion they didn’t highlight this sufficiently.

  104. Well, given a constraint on time, some sort of trade-off would be necessary, wouldn’t it?

    Well, certainly Wegman didn’t have time to test whether or not his criticisms of Mann’s uncentered PCA approach are significant, in the sense of affecting the conclusions of the paper.

    It’s a pity he didn’t, because then he’d have shown that it didn’t, that reanalysis using standard PCA – which apparently he has no problem with – made no difference.

    But he didn’t bother, deciding instead to concentrate on the incestuous “social network” of climate science to insinuate that there was a small cabal of workers controlling the field.

  105. You seem to confuse Malcolm Hughes and Ray Bradley when you write of Malcolm Bradley’s book, no?

    [DC: Fixed now - thanks.]

  106. George Barwood // December 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm | Reply

    You need to understand that citations are not required for facts that are not the result of unique individual research.

    http://www.plagiarism.org/plag_article_plagiarism_faq.html

    The wiki and the introduction to tree rings ( which in any case has major differences ) therefore do not need citations. Definitions and introductions can only be expressed in a finite number of different ways.

    Plagiarism means attempting to pass off somebody else’s original work as your own, and that is not the case here.

    [DC: Plagiarism can apply to wording, as well as ideas. I also should point out that many codes of conduct distinguish between intentional and unintentional plagiarism. For the record, I would assume the apparent plagiarism discussed here is of the unintentional variety, and would not rise to the level of misconduct under many of codes of conduct. But at the very least, it does bespeak shoddy scholarship.

    As far as I can tell, Wegman et al contains not one reference to a source on social networks, certainly not the two I would have expected given the material covered. More on this in due course.

    As for the tree-ring section, there are numerous problems with the attribution, or lack thereof. Again, more on this in due course.]

    I’d like to point out that work of this nature in an undergraduate paper at my university would result in the author being subject to a hearing before the Committee on Discipline. It would almost certainly result in suspension for a year or possible expulsion from the university.
    By the way DC ‘Turnitin’ is very good software for an investigation like this, used by many in academia.

  107. In fact USC defines plagiarism as:
    “A. The submission of material authored by another person but represented as the student’s own work, whether that material is paraphrased or copied in verbatim or near-verbatim form.

    B. The submission of material subjected to editorial revision by another person that results in substantive changes in content or major alteration of writing style.

    C. Improper acknowledgement of sources in essays or papers.

    (Source: http://www.usc.edu/student-affairs/SJACS/nonacademicreview.html )

    Essentially, any ideas that are not yours or any expression of common knowledge that is not yours should be attributed to the original source.”

    http://viterbi.usc.edu/academics/integrity/students/what-is-plagiarism-at-usc.htm

  108. Can’t speak for other institutions, but where I am doesn’t matter so much about intention – always hard to prove.

    If the plagiarism is intentional, then academic dishonesty. If you can’t show intention, then academic misconduct.

    A recent well-known case was Raj Persaud’s plagiarising of Richard Bentall’s work (and others). Led to Persaud being suspended by the GMC.

  109. Rob:
    See USC SERC, from 2008, USC Climate Change Research Group, also from 2008. The latter touts his climate expertise (oddly mentioned with Lowell Stott (who is a a serious climate researcher).

    Maybe this didn’t turn into anything much, perhaps unsurprising of the USC signers of the APS Petition, with other signers Rapp and Gruntman included.

    So, maybe Rapp’s Webpage is out-of-date, a not-unheard-of condition, and maybe had only a short affiliation with USC, and no current one. I couldn’t find mention of USC in any of his books.

  110. Donald Rapp wrote: “I have yet to see a more moronic set of comments on any topic in my life.”

    You might take a look at the thread that developed on WUWT in response to the passage of Waxman-Markey.

  111. [Comment and name removed by request.]

  112. [Comment removed by request.]

  113. “Given that clear evidence, it can be concluded that Rapp plagiarized the Wegman report.” – [Edit]

    A strong accusation. Would it stand up in a court of law?

    A wiser person would be a little more circumspect about making such an accusation in public, particularly since your claimed “evidence” is so thin.

    “And just for the record, Rapp can’t sue you for doing so. That’s called retaliation, and it’s against the rules.

    It’s not “against the rules”, it’s because the USC keeps the identification of the person making the allegations private.

    But, in this case, you would not be sued for filling out a form. You would be sued for making a public claim of libellous conduct on forums such as this one.

    • Former Skeptic

      A strong accusation. Would it stand up in a court of law?

      Why not? A former Beatle was found guilty of “subconscious plagiarism” with much less clear-cut evidence. A Harvard undergrad had her book contract canceled and future reprints of her book canned under threat of litigation, but also with much less evidence.

      BTW, defamation under CA law requires “a verifiable false statement of fact” — based on DC’s evidence, are you saying that the claim of Rapp “copying vast swathes of Wegman text without any attribution” is false beyond reasonable doubt?

      So who made you the legal scholar here? :-)

  114. [Comment removed by request.]

  115. I’ve read Wegman and was unimpressed and like you, I was concerned with the ability of statisticians to judge paleoclimate — sure they might be able to check whether stats were used properly, but seriously — why not have a few experts on paleo as well as statisticians? I was also very unimpressed with the social network analysis. It seemed quite suspicious to me that Wegman criticized the insular nature of paleo and yet who did he use to do the work on his report? His students and associates. I also note that his student applied for a patent on the social network analysis. Sheesh. What bunk.

    So I was eager to see someone take on Wegman. It doesn’t surprise me that it was found to be lacking. The Rapp connection is just so strange. It appears that Rapp copied whole chunks of Wegman without attribution, which at my university would be considered plagiarism and any student caught doing it would likely fail the course and have some larger consequences. That a professor is found to do it and that it got published in a textbook is amazing. One wonders what else one would find if the entire work (if one can call it that) were subject to searches on Google… In fact, I think it behooves someone to do just that.

    Mr. Rapp may have more brains in his left pinky toe than I, but his actions on this thread and in his textbook call into question his wisdom.

  116. This looks like bog-standard plagiarism to me, I’m tempted to take it further myself if DC wishes to remain anonymous (private email welcome, although the one linked to this comment is actually dead but I’m easy enough to find).

  117. Of course DC wishes to remain anonymous. He is a mild-mannered Canadian wishing to avoid the litigious wrath of an American. ;)

    Good on you James for the offer.

  118. “Get a clue. Note the word “can,” as in the possibility exists.” [edited]

    Uh, but that’s not what you said, now is it?

    “Given that clear evidence, it can be concluded that Rapp plagiarized the Wegman report.” [edited]

    The idea is not considered, you said “it can be concluded.” Legally, and in regards to libel law, that is a world of difference.

    This is a public forum and the legal ramifications of defamation absent solid evidence are far more severe then the filing of an anonymous complaint at a university.

    But obviously, too many years in an ivory tower have left you unaware of the real reach of our libel laws.

  119. Maybe it’s just standard text-book quality – poorly attributed, with lots of errors.

  120. I have read the book of Rapp (2008) and wrote comments at the URL shown with my name of this post. (Excuse me, that is in Japanese, and probably I cannot afford to write it in English.)

    I still have the book that I can lend to James.

    Perhaps it is interesting to James that Rapp (2008, section 5.2.8) checked the algebraic logic of Schwartz (2007) and said that climate sensitivity might be larger. Nevertheless Rapp somehow accept Schwartz’s results.

  121. It astounds me how many people don’t have a freshmen comp level understanding of plagiarism.

  122. Wow, this thread has gone from accusation, to capitualtion, to an “I dare you to contact the vice provost” discussion about plagerism. And you DC who recanted through your update are now allowing the likes of James “part of the Wegaman web” Annan to egg you on. You are the one that is in the legal connundrum should you let this non-debate continue.

    • Former Skeptic

      DC bothered to apologize to Rapp for associating him to Wegman, and has done the rightful thing in amending this post to account for that. I don’t see anything wrong or immoral with that. In fact, it’s a heck of a lot better than McIntyre and his goons refusing to apologize for their smears on Briffa.

      OTOH, since Rapp claims that he has nothing to do with ghostwriting Wegman’s report, it now appears the good doctor copied a substantial chunk of Wegman without proper attribution for his textbook. Tsk Tsk.

      Non-debate? Hardly.

  123. DC,

    This is OT but I was wondering if you had a place for this to be posted. If so, please post where you think it is appropriate:

    I need your help. I am working on a blog post called How to Talk to a Conservative about Climate Change and would enjoy your comments to make this a better tool to use when faced with a conservative-leaning skeptic. The goal is to end up with something that we can all use. I need no credit – I want this to be a goup effort.

    http://profmandia.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/how-to-talk-to-a-conservative-about-climate-change/

  124. He puts in a piece of the report at the beginning of his book as a placeholder, thinking that this is the material he’s got to cover
    – He forgets that’s what he’s done, and when he comes to write the book he takes the report’s material for his own, edits it a bit, and expands on it substantially.

    Sorry, but that sounds all too much like the kind of excuse a student would use in an essay or research paper. If we don’t allow it for students, surely we can’t allow it for professors or book publishers.

  125. [Comment removed by request.]

  126. Something about this Wegman-Rapp fiasco is bugging me.

    Why would someone who has no background in dendrology (Rapp) seek out the obscure Wegman report (which was written by people who are not specialists in that field) as a reputable source for information on dendrology? Why did Rapp not consult and cite an appropriate academic text? If I am writing a paper which includes some aspect which is not my forte, I do not dig up some obscure report written by wanna-be experts in the field in question, I either go to the appropriate text (written by experts in said field), or I seek out a seminal paper in the scientific literature.

    This raises suspicion in my mind that Rapp was indeed familiar with what Wegman was doing before the report was completed and that he may have even been involved in some way in the Wegman report.

    Can Dr. Rapp tell us how he came to know of the Wegman report, and why he chose to use it as his source for dendrology information?

    Darrly B, would you be defending Michael Mann had the same serious evidence of plagiarism been presented against him? Doubtful. Denialists would be frothing at the mouth and screaming from the hills making allegations of “fraud” and “lies” without any legitimate evidence to support their claims….oh hang on, they have already done that with the CRU emails.

    I know of grad students who have been disciplined, even suspended, for far less serious cases of plagiarism than demonstrated here. Dr. Rapp is not a naive and perhaps over zealous grad student, and as such he needs to be held to an appropriately higher standard. The unfortunate truth is that he knows better.

    And where is Dr. Rapp anyhow and why won’t he answer a few simple questions which could clear this all up and perhaps even vindicate him?

    • The simplest explanation is I think that rather than posit a connection to Wegman et al before/ during the report being written, Rapp, being a good unscientific denialist (Apparently he refers approvingly to Gerlich and Tsauschner) uses only official non-science sources for his magnum opus. Such as the Wegman report. I am certain that a social network analysis of deniers would demonstrate that they have apretty small pool of common information sources and interpersonal contacts, exactly as they have slagged off others for having.

      [DC: I came around to your way of thinking after Rapp's vehement denial, and the discovery of the Bradley antecedent.]

  127. [Comment removed by request.]

  128. Pingback: Wegman and Rapp on tree rings: A divergence problem (part 1) « Deep Climate

  129. Rapp is associated with the Space Engineering Research Center at USC which is amusingly located in teh Rapp Research Building on the USC main campus (different Rapp, Eli thinks:)

  130. “The dictionary defines the verb “can” as “to have the possibility.” – [edit]

    And the dictionary defines “conclude” as “to form a final judgement”. Which is the complete and proper meaning of what you’ve said.

    [DC: I'd like to move on, so I'm giving myself the last word on this particular issue between you two. Here in Canada, new Supreme Court rulings have clarified some of these issues. See:

    "New libel defence allowed: Supreme Court"

    Richard Dearden, lawyer for the Ottawa Citizen, said the ruling is a win for all types of journalists.

    "This is a defence that you as journalists never had before and also bloggers or anybody using Twitter — whatever."

    Frankly, I don't think he has much to worry about. But Donald Rapp sure does.]

  131. Thanks Eli.
    Note that @ USC’s SERC, signers of the APS petition included Gruntman, Kunc, and Rapp, and ofcoruse Kunc was Willie Soon’s PhD advisor, and the Director of SERC.

  132. The book of Rapp (2008) does not have a page introducing the author. The only information about the author is “Independent Contractor, South Pasadena, California, USA”. There is no mention of USC. There is no mention either of JPL as far as I could recognize.

  133. The book of Rapp (2008) shows the author as “Independent Contractor, South Pasadena, California, USA”. There is no mention of USC. There is no mention of JPL either as far as I could recognize.

    [DC: I noticed that as well. I beliece Rapp retired from JPL in 2002. The USC affiliation is quite recent, and so maybe listed in the second edition, due in February 2010.]

  134. I noticed that as well. I believe Rapp retired from JPL in 2002. The USC affiliation is quite recent, and so maybe listed in the second edition, due in February 2010

    Can the university ding him for prior plagiarism?

    Probably not …

  135. This is my final input to your idiotic blog.
    Anyone who would like to discuss with me the facts revealed by the Wegman report that there is a paleoclimate mafia controlling what gets published, that they have systematically published erroneous interpretations of paleoclimatic data, and that almost any paleoclimatic temperature profile can be obtained depending on how you manipulate the proxies, just email me at drdrapp [at] earthlink.net and tell me your name, address, professional affiliation, and recent work you have done climate science. If you are legit, I will respond. As I said in my book: “The findings of Wegman, Scott and Said (2006) are quite lengthy and only a very brief summary is given here.” I gave proper attribution to them but I may have slipped up in some places. You will find about a hundred quotes in the book from various authors with attribution. If I slipped in a few cases and did not give attribution and that worries you, please be worried. Its OK with me. And thanks for reading my book.

    Donald Rapp

    [DC: I have obfuscated the email address slightly to prevent spambots.]

    • Sir, you might want to remove or rephrase that mail address, as there are spambots scouring the Internet for such mail addresses to send spam to.

      It’s too bad you could not have said right at the beginning that you might have slipped up in some places. You would have won much more sympathy, especially if you would have reduced the ‘100% bogus’ and ‘moronic/idiotic’ phrases to ‘I’m indignant at the way I am being portrayed here. I might have slipped up here or there, but there’s not much more to it.’

      You really did protest too much, too vehemently.

      As an aside: Are you sure your ideology is not obscuring your perspective on AGW. Or is it perhaps the old eminent scientist who doesn’t like how the new generation is handling things? When you were young I’m sure there were many eminent retired scientists who thought the same thing.

      [DC: I'll adjust the email.]

    • Dr Rapp,

      You have made accusations. If they are of any substance, make them formally to the appropriate place. There should be no need for any individuals to provide email addresses and evidence of work in climate science. Where is the evidence of your experience?

      You have published a “text book” containing obvious misrepresentations of established climate science. Why should anyone take your views as anything other than those of a politically motivated propagandist?

      Your behaviour here has been to make threats of legal action when you could have made simple corrective statements of fact.

      Why so nasty? I suspect I’m not the only one who knows the answer.

  136. Donald Rapp, I’d love to read your book. Can I find it in my local library? In the fiction section between Crichton’s book and Plimer’s travesty, no doubt.

  137. [Removed by request]

  138. Rapp’s a real bonafide crank … amazing.

  139. Man, an email with Dr. In the name. Got to ensure everyone knows you have a Ph.D. Degree, huh? I am surprised it isn’t drdrappphd@earthlink.net.

  140. …professional affiliation, and recent work you have done climate science. If you are legit, I will respond.

    Hey — Mr. P-H-D, why should you demand credentials just for folks to see your work? Are you so high and mighty in your ivory academic tower that us proles are not worth your time?

    Why, over at CA and other skeptic places, folks like me expect and demand access to a scientist’s work regardless of our credentials or ability to understand. Me, I’m just an ordinary Joe and I demand to see your data, code and for you to explain everything you did in your book and if it doesn’t meet my own profession’s exacting specifications, if there’d too much [edit], or any leaks, I’ll call it fraud, demand that you explain it to me again, and if you don’t, I’ll launch an FOI to get it. And again and again.

    Credentials.

    [DC: OK, I've let you make your point. But let's calm down a bit.]

    • DC,

      I don’t see what’s wrong with Joe’s comment. IMO it hits the spot.

      [DC: I wasn't clear enough, so I'll try again.

      I agree with Joe's point. I just didn't want comments to go too far in the direction of angry rhetoric and tone. I do understand that's hard to resist, given Donald Rapp's provocations.]

  141. [DC: The following comment has been edited to reduce its excessive length and to remove abusive, rambling portions that compare this blog's writer and readers to "braying donkeys" and even characterize them as "zealots" who constitute the "Taliban of climate change".

    The complete unedited comment may be read in a separate PDF.]

    [T]hey accused me of having plagiarized the Wegman Report … They ignored the fact that in a hundred places in the book, I quoted the comments of various investigators with proper attribution, and more specifically, in half a dozen places I quoted the words of Wegman and gave proper attribution to him. It may well be that in one or two places I used paragraphs from Wegman without attribution, and if so, it was clearly an inadvertency – an oversight. There could be nothing for me to gain by not attributing these passages to him since I had already stated in the book that I had based my discussion on his work and I gave him full credit in half a dozen places. Hence, to accuse me of plagiarism was clearly a vituperative aggressive act having no basis whatsoever. …

    The deepclimate.blog also cast aspersions at my qualifications for writing a technical review of climate change, pointing out that I had not published in the field – which is true. This might have been a legitimate issue to bring up, had it not been done in such nasty aggressive tone, in which it deprecated the many accomplishments in my life. When I first submitted this book manuscript to the publisher for consideration for publishing, they sent it out for review. The first reviews came back negative. The reviewers said: “Who is this guy? He has no right to write a book on climate.” They did not attack the writing; only the writer. So, I asked the publisher to send out the book to other reviewers keeping my name out of it and not revealing who wrote it. The reviews came back glowing. There is a widespread belief that only someone who has published papers in climatology for a decade or two is qualified to write a book on climate change. I dispute that. Most researchers in climatology spend their lives within one narrow niche of the subject, but climatology consists of a very diverse range of subtopics. Climate researchers are typically not qualified to write a synoptic book covering all of these various topics. By contrast, I, being both a scientist and an accomplished system engineer, have demonstrated a rare talent to move into a field, read hundreds of papers and dozens of books, and assimilate them into a synoptic, comprehensive overview of the entire field. I have done this in a number of areas….

    Yet, I am not hard over in opposition to their orthodoxy. I am ready and willing to examine the possibility that greenhouse gases produced the warming of the past 130 years, and that the future of the world is in jeopardy with further CO2 emissions – provided that sufficient technical proof is provided. So far, I do not see that proof in the data. There is plenty of counter evidence in the data. At this point, I don’t see how a rational person can draw definitive conclusions. But I continue to study the matter. I agree that rising CO2 is a source of concern, that it may be contributing somewhat to climate change, and that we should continue to study the matter. My mind is open…

    • The PDF is interesting. My views on Dr Rapp have changed.

      [DC: Dare I ask in what way?]

    • You would have to edit my comment as you don’t like that sort of language on your blog. ;)

      [DC: Thought so - but I had to ask. Thanks to you and other readers for showing admirable restraint.]

    • From the reply by Donald Rapp
      There are 300 pages of technical detail in the book and none of this was attacked;

      I guess, the gross errors in his section 6.1.4 pointed out above don’t count for him. To repeat:

      1) the formula needs to read
      deltaT = X * lb(CO2_final/CO2_initial)
      not
      deltaT = X * CO2_final/CO2_initial
      The application of the erroneous formula in the remainder of the section makes it obvious that this is not a simple typo.

      2) The formula covers the equilibrium response of the climate system, not the transient response Rapp plugs into it in the remainder of the section.

      P.S.: To see “janitors, trash collectors and hash slingers” being used as a denigration in Rapp’s reply was a first for me. I for one have great respect for these people doing their jobs.

  142. Donald Rapp says …

    The deepclimate.blog also cast aspersions at my qualifications for writing a technical review of climate change, pointing out that I had not published in the field – which is true. This might have been a legitimate issue to bring up, had it not been done in such nasty aggressive tone, in which it deprecated the many accomplishments in my life

    Oh my God, the old Creationist canard that “people are mean to us, therefore their arguments are false!”

    Donald Rapp – think hard. Nasty or nice does not affect the legitimacy of the argument.

    Your saying “This might have been a legitimate issue to bring up, had it not been done in such nasty aggressive tone” is, in essence, an admission of defeat.

    Tch tch.

    • Deep Climate

      Actually, Rapp was a lot nastier than anyone commenting here. Not that that changes the basic issue, which remains the shoddy scholarship of his book and reliance on dubious sources outside the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

  143. Also …

    By contrast, I, being both a scientist and an accomplished system engineer, have demonstrated a rare talent to move into a field, read hundreds of papers and dozens of books, and assimilate them into a synoptic, comprehensive overview of the entire field. I have done this in a number of areas….

    Oh, gosh, arguing from personal authority …

    Actually, DC, publishing the entire PDF might’ve been entertaining :)

    • Is the PDF what Rapp expected to appear on this blog, i.e., no part of it was a private message to DC and we can quote it freely?

      [DC: It is the exact copy of Rapp's comment before editing. There was no private message. I was torn between observing my comment policy and letting Rapp express himself freely. Publishing the edited comment and placing the full comment in a separate PDF was my compromise.]

  144. Oh, gosh, I read the first couple of paragraph’s of the PDF and Donald Rapp has lost any chance of respect from me …

    The names and backgrounds of the followers and participants in deepclimate.org are unknown, and it seems likely that they may be mainly janitors, trash collectors and hash slingers, based on the idiotic comments that they send in.

    In my case, BS mathematics, co-founder of a software engineering company that lasted from 1977-1991 (we went down with Digital), software engineering consultant since then. Many gigs as a field biologist and I’m an internationally published photographer and non-fiction writer.

    They subscribe to a belief system like a religion, and like all religious zealots, strike out at anyone with differing views. Their belief system is the orthodoxy that global warming in the 20th century was entirely due to greenhouse gases

    Oops, that’s not the orthodoxy at all. Gosh, if you’re going to overturn orthodoxy, shouldn’t you at least *understand WTF orthodoxy is* ?

    I’m not going to try to educate you here … that’s your job. Educate yourself so you don’t look so friggin’ stupid.

    • Deep Climate

      The statement that the “orthodoxy” is that “global warming in the 20th century was entirely due to greenhouse gases” is a dead giveaway, of course.

      But, for what it’s worth, I would say it bespeaks ignorance rather than stupidity.

      I’m still trying to figure out whether Rapp is “more to be pitied than scorned”, as the song goes.

  145. Did bus tables to work my way through college – so janitor/trash collector/hash slinger may cover this. Otherwise, AB in bology, PhD in toxicology and peer-reviewed publications in cellular immunology, vaccine development, radiation biology and pharmacokinetics. No climate-related research, but enough experience “assimilating a [new] field”* to know how to get reliable information and when to be humble.

    * Rapp, DC 2010

  146. What a beaut.

    Accidental or not, plagiarism is plagiarism. At the minimum unacceptable sloppy scholarship.

  147. Do I detect a janus faced monster here? First I hear that scientists are not to be trusted as they ‘use tricks’ to force their data to accommodate their preset conclusions – as evidenced by some stolen personal emails that may or may not be salient to the point. This is supposed to call into question the work of thousands of scientists all over the world –

    Then I read someone loudly trumpeting: “I, being both a scientist and an accomplished system engineer, have demonstrated a rare talent..” – apparently untouched by the habits they claim are the SOP for the rest of the scientific community.

    Either you am, or you am not …. you cannot call into question the methods, practices and reputations of a huge segment of environmental researchers/scientists/technicians of the world and not be tarred by the same brush.

    Like the mother at the parade who notices that “everybody is out of step but my Johnny”; any defence from authority has just been sullied unless some dual judgmental regimen is at work. One that casts aside this dichotomy of vision. Wrapping yourself in the cloak of ‘a maverick’ (what a dreadful work these days), soldering on while everyone else derides you does not work without substantial quality output.

    Either your work stands alone, as in viewed and reviewed by the scientific community in journals and publications or it falls.

    The dialectic of: environmental scientists are biased; I am an environmental scientist; therefore I am reputable – does not make sense.

  148. I’m still trying to figure out whether Rapp is “more to be pitied than scorned”, as the song goes.

    He’s too educated for pity … with his level of education, willful ignorance requires a very strong will.

  149. Gavin's Pussycat

    > more to be pitied than scorned

    Deep Climate, folks like you tend to end up nailed to a wooden cross :-(

  150. Gavin's Pussycat

    BTW count one university professor with a Ph D in geophysics.

  151. [Removed by request]

  152. Given the initial accusations and the tone of subsequent comments, I’m not in the least surprised Dr Rapp lost his rag (nor that he threatened to sue)

    Posters on here seem to have a collective age of say about 19. You also demonstrate the usual AGW supporters’ propensity for ad hominem attacks, intemperate language, undergraduate-level insults and a desire to shut down criticism of your agenda and methods by any means possible. I wonder if you hnave any idea how thoroughly nasty and petty-minded you all sound? – though I have to admit this place doesn’t reach the dizzy heights of RC, which positively curdles itself with its own sense of entitlement, superiority and vitriol

    More to the point here, you clearly also have no experience of publishing whatever. Most College level ‘textbooks’ and overviews of this sort have mistakes and oversights in them due to the insane deadlines set by publishers. And missing a deadline has grave financial implications since printing time has to be block booked months in advance. The magins for publishers on such books are very small, so everything is done on a shoestring and given the minimum time for correction, and in any book in multiple authorship (or where an academic is helped in some of the donkey-work by his students) the problems are exacerbated. There is NEVER enough time permitted, simply because of the publicati0ons cycle and the need to sell co-editons at the various international bookfairs, to do a good job.

    I’m not in the least surprised that a few attributions in a book covering such a complex field might have inadvertently been ommitted. Dr Rapp is probably too honourable to say so, but I doubt this was his fault (simply from my own 30 year experience in publishing, much of which included work on college level textbooks for the US market – and the problems were getting worse the longer I was in the profession)

    You people need to grow up and learn about the real world and its financial imperatives.

    [DC: The problems with this text book go well beyond a few "inadvertantly missing" attributions. The book relies primarily on grey publications outside the peer-reviewed scientific literature and contains fundamental errors and distortions. More to come soon ...]

  153. Not 19 Years Old

    I guess I am way outside of “Scouts” average. Fifty years old, 22 years experience as a faculty at a MRU, administrative experience, extensive experience reviewing grants at NIH and NSF, more than 100 publications in peer reviewed journals, more than $5M in funding over my career.

    Anyone else here who is older than 19?

    How about you, little Scout boy? Tell us about the real world of academics and the financial aspects of research at a MRU. What are your qualifications to comment on the scientific literature?

  154. Dear DC:

    From the beginning, when you accused me of ghost writing Wegman’s Report, you have been full of [deleted]. Your allegation that my book relies primarily on gray publications is [deleted]. There are several hundred peer reviewed references, and they constitute more than 90% of the references. Besides, in some areas, particularly proxies, the peer reviewed literature is controlled by an in-group of alarmists. The only errors and distortions are on the idiotic deepclimate.org website.

    [DC: Some of your preferred "peer reviewed" literature includes Energy and Environment and the like. I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree on just what is proper scientific literature and what is "gray".]

    • Dear DC:
      For your information: The 2nd edition of my book includes the following 272 references. In addition, there are about 30 peer reviewed references from less popular peer reviewed journals (e.g. journals such as Geojournal). I don’t have data handy from 1st ed. I have read all these articles, and more.

      So once again, you are the one making distortions regarding references.

      Science 57
      Nature 37
      Climate Research 4
      Tellus 2
      Solar Physics 3
      Geophysical Research Letters 59
      Journal of Geophysical Research 27
      Journal of Climate 4
      Proc. Natl. Acad. 6
      Bulletin of Amer. Met. Soc. 7
      EOS Trans. Am. Geo. Union 5
      Quaternary Science Reviews 12
      Int. J. Climatology 5
      Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. 4
      Energy and Environment 7
      Phys Rev. Letters 2
      J. Astrophys. Astron. 1
      Astronomy and Astrophysics 3
      Astrophysical J. 3
      Geology 2
      The Holocene 4
      Clim. Past Discussions 8
      Climatic Change 10

      [DC: There are no doubt many valid peer-reviewed references. However, the dubious sources have the lion's saher of pace an attention in your book as far as I can see. For more, see my latest post on the subject.]

      Once again, I repeat that my book is not a rendition of my own work. It is a compendium of the work of others. It says “A did this,” “B found that,” “C concluded this,” etc. It integrates all that into an assessment of what is known in each area. Because it relies on the work of others, I tried to attribute direct quotations to the original authors in most instances. There are more than 100 quotations in my book. I don’t see how you had the time and interest to do it, but through your sleuthing, you located a few “gotchas” where apparently I inadvertently did not attribute a passage or two to the authors, even though it was abundantly clear that I derived the material from them. Big (expletive deleted) deal!

      [DC: We'll have to agree to disagree on that one.]

      The fact is that what is far more important, and far more interesting, is not protecting the interests of Professor Wegman, who I am sure does not give a damn one way or the other, but rather, is the Wegman Report correct? I believe it is. You apparently differ.

      [DC: Correctness is not a matter of opinion. Many of Wegman's findings are based on an incorrect understanding of climate science. ]

      Indeed, going beyond the Wegman Report, much of the field of climatology is a house of cards. A dollar’s worth of conclusions from a penny’s worth of data. Solar models stink (please read my chapter 4). The whole MBH treatment of proxies is a disgrace to science. Climate models leave a lot to be desired. The thing that I have learned the most from reading 400+ published articles and over twenty books is how fragile our understanding of climate really is.

      [DC:Again, that's your opinion. I think there's a much stonger case that the only "disgrace" here is the politically motivated attacks on climate scientists by the think tanks, PR disinformation specialists and retrograde politicians.]

  155. Dear DC:

    [DC: Abusive comments deleted. ]

    By the way, in my experience, climatology seems to be a field in which scientists operate on a penny’s worth of data and draw a dollar’s worth of conclusions. Talking about “fundamental errors and distortions” the whole field is full of them and most especially in regard to processing proxies. In a book with the broad scope of my book, I suppose there must be a few errors. Nobody is perfect. But I see no attempt to find the good with the bad and make an objective appraisal.

    • Ian Forrester

      Donald Rapp, you were writing a text book. There should be no “bad with the good” in a text book.

      Methinks a lot of the errors were probably deliberate since you have shown yourself to be firmly in the denier camp. Remember, deniers only arguments are based on lies, distortion and misinterpretation.

      I suspect your book will be a good text for deniers but, unfortunately, not so good for honest scholars.


      [DC: I doubt the errors were deliberate (i.e. made with full awareness). Many contrarians appear to be convinced of their own arguments, even though to most of us they are obviously fallacious.]

  156. Dear DC:
    My book is not a “skeptic textbook.” Apparently, you did not read it or understand it. My book is a synoptic broad review of the best work done within the various fields of climatology related to climate change. It provides data, graphs, ananlysis and quotations from climatologists in proxy analysis, temperature measurement, solar variability, heat and energy balances, environmental measurements, and a variety of other related topics. It just so happens that in the section on proxy analysis I side with Wegman and I agree with him that the hockey stick is about as credible as cold fusion. If you believe in the hockey stick as part of your global warming religion, I guess that makes me a “contrarian” relative to you, but you are not the center of th universe. You are a contrarian relative to me.

    I suspect that most of the braying donkeys on deepclimate.org have never read my book, and are merely braying in unison with your ridiculous claims and charges, having been incited by you.

    [DC: I have read chapter 1, and perused other sections. If I have time, I may read chapter 5 in its entirety.

    Your claim that your book is a "synoptic broad review of the best work" is nonsense. For example, on climate sensitivity you cover Shwartz extensively, and yet don't even mention James Annan's groundbreaking work. Your opening section on the Greenhouse Effect relies on Gerlich and Tscheuschner. Enough said.]

  157. “Posters on here seem to have a collective age of say about 19. You also demonstrate the usual AGW supporters’ propensity for ad hominem attacks, intemperate language, undergraduate-level insults and a desire to shut down criticism of your agenda and methods by any means possible.”

    What was that about ad hominem attacks?

    and thanks for the reference about being 19 – something I passed about 40 some years ago.

  158. Dr. Rapp says “I agree that rising CO2 is a source of concern, that it may be contributing somewhat to climate change, and that we should continue to study the matter. My mind is open…”

    What an odd statement to be made by an alleged eminent scientist. First he states that rising CO2 is a “source” for concern, then he states that it might be contributing “somewhat” to global warming. If it is only contributing “somewhat” to AGW why on earth would he be concerned? Can he quantify what he means by “somewhat”? Just what is the climate sensitivity to doubling CO2 Dr. Rapp? Oh, and based on his diatribe, he has only succeeded in convincingly demonstrating that his mind is far from open on this subject.

    “At this point, I don’t see how a rational person can draw definitive conclusions.”
    Definitive? Oh, now he is invoking binary thinking. Has he never heard of risk, probability, the precautionary principle? We cannot prove that tobacco causes cancer, does that mean we should all continue smoking indefinitely?

    He seems to also have conveniently ignored all those error bars/uncertainty ranges provided in the IPCC AR4 for SATs, sea-level etc. In fact, denialists frequently cite those uncertainties as reason for inaction. And Rapp has the audacity to demand of anyone wishing to correspond with him to be a legitimate scientist in the field of climate science? OMG.

    Rapp “By contrast, I, being both a scientist and an accomplished system engineer, have demonstrated a rare talent to move into a field, read hundreds of papers and dozens of books, and assimilate them into a synoptic, comprehensive overview of the entire field. I have done this in a number of areas….”

    Some advice for Rapp, he needs to get over himself. Nobody likes a braggart. He has clearly demonstrated for all here that he is egocentric. Further, he has shown that even after allegedly reading all those texts is still not qualified to speak to the science of climate change. Maybe that is the problem with cut and pasting, it is not a good way to learn and gain insight.

    Rapp ” provided that sufficient technical proof is provided. So far, I do not see that proof in the data. There is plenty of counter evidence in the data. ”

    Alas, we cannot prove anything in science. Rapp should know that. The evidence to the contrary, while extensive, is almost entirely based on bogus pseudo science. In contrast, the evidence in support for AGW is overwhelming and based on reputable science going back to 1896 (Arrhenius). If Rapp wishes to refute AGW, then he needs to provide definitive proof to the contrary.

    A thorough dissection of Rapp’s diatribe would be fun, but addressing the nonsensical content therein would take way too much time than I (and others) have to spare.

    Perhaps Rapp should apply his brilliant and omniscient mind to determining the climate sensitivity for doubling or trebling of CO2. Humanity would be truly grateful if you could assure us that there is definitely no reason for concern– I for one would be very happy knowing that my children were not going to inherit a huge problem.

    I do hope it is not the last we here from the eminent Rapp, his diatribes are actually quite entertaining, devoid of scientific reasoning, but entertaining.

    PS: Scout I’m almost 40. And Scout, would you be jumping to, say, Michael Mann’s defense had he done the same as Rapp? I doubt it.

    PPS: Rapp, please read Giere’s “Understanding Scientific Reasoning”

  159. Well, I am 63, which I think is also older than 19, and since I have a real name, “Scout” can look.

    Although not an academic per se,
    (a) When doing my PhD in early 1970s, I was an instructor (i.e., junior faculty member), did curriculum development, grant work, and wrote software that got used at ~300 colleges, not so easy pre-Internet.

    (b) Then I was at Bell Labs, not academe, but actually with *more* stringent peer-review than most journals. It’s too bad John Tukey isn’t still around. I suspect he might have had interesting opinions.

    (c) And was a manager/Director/VP (& Chief Scientist) at various computer companies, When doing line management (10 years) I’ve typically managed 20-40 professionals, i.e., yearly budgets in the few-$M range, although I have certainly been involved in deals worth many 10s of $Ms, and often evaluating and recommending project expenditures in that ballpark.

    I’ve done about 500 invited public talks around the world, of which more than half were at universities (plus some fraction of the ~1,000 sales pitches). It’s been a while since I’ve done NSF reviews, but I’ve run Program Committees for various conferences, and Guest Edited IEEE Micro issues. I’ve done book reviews for publishers, reviewed drafts of books for friends, and helped with one chapter of one of the most well-known texts in computer science. So, while no expert, I’m not completely unfamiliar with this turf.

    I used to visit R&D labs quite often, and work with senior scientists on their computing needs and futures. These included (relevant-to-this-discussion) places like NCAR, GFDL, NASA, all of whom used supercomputers of whose architecture I was one of the main designers, to do climate modeling.

    Not being academic, I haven’t published so much, but I am easy to find in Google Scholar, and some of those papers were rather more influential than indicated by moderate citation counts. [GS also gets confused sometimes.]

    Most publishers prefer authors who have track records of expertise in a field, and many have serious review processes. I do not understand what is going on with Springer, although I have a guess or two.

    • Dear John Mashey:

      It seems evident that you have had a distinguished career and I congratulate you. But I see no signs of specific expertise in climatology in your resume. Indeed you admit you are “no expert.” It appears that you just joined DC’s lynch mob without really knowing what you were doing. Apparently you did not see my point that what counts is not the “track record” of the writer in a field, but the quality of his product. I pointed out that Springer did send this out for review and got five glowing responses. Most of the specialists in climatology publish in narrow niches and are not qualified to write a synoptic overview of the whole field. And as it turns out, from what I have seen, none have written a book anywhere as comprehensive as mine. Do you have a copy of my book? Have you read it? If not, I think you ought to stay out of this discussion.

  160. John M., thanks for sharing. Perhaps I’ll be as brave and open as you when I’m 63. Right now, as a relatively young scientists, it is easy to burn bridges especially if the feds (Canadian) perceive one to be too outspoken on contentious issues such as AGW. They won’t/can’t fire you, but they can choose not hire you and or make your life a dead end in the civil service, hence the moniker ” MapleLeaf”.

    You stated that “I do not understand what is going on with Springer, although I have a guess or two.”

    I’m intrigued. Please do share some of your thoughts on this matter; I have they feeling that your intuition and insight might be valuable to DC.

  161. Mapleleaf:
    re: Springer
    Springer is big.

    Sringer-Praxis is a division in the UK, and an astronomer John Mason was the (plausible) advisory editor for Rapp’s (plausible) book on Mars.
    But see:

    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=2586#comment-150505

    I’d add that Leroux references an adequate supply of dodgey articles, including 3 by John Daly, including a “report to the Greening Earth Society”.

    The Springer-Praxis Editorial board looks to have some reasonable people:

    http://www.praxis-publishing.co.uk/editorial.htm

    but is pretty heavy on astro, and light on environmental.

  162. Thanks John.

  163. Taylor Bennett

    Implausible as it may be, I can’t help thinking that had they but met in different circumstances, perhaps Dr. Rapp, DC, and other contributors to this forum might have had much to gain from the exchange of ideas. I wish Dr. Rapp had been a regular reader of this informative site before he had submitted the manuscript for his book; perhaps then there would have been opportunities for an enriching debate on the issues raised in the Wegman paper and other topics of interest. No doubt Dr. Rapp has made many worthy contributions in other fields and it would be unfair to judge him solely on the basis of his recent book. It’s unfortunate, but understandable that emotions on both sides run high, which tends to generate more heat than light.

    What I find particularly insidious in the largely manufactured debates over hockey sticks, Climategate, and similar red herrings, is the attempt to portray the real scientific issues as merely matters of opinion, as though choosing to believe Wegman vs. Mann, or Hansen vs. Lindzen, has no more objective validity than one’s choice of favorite sports teams (I was going to use political parties, but that’s another argument). Of course, most scientific papers have flaws and errors, whether large or small, but I’m often reminded of the “teach the controversy” mantra of the Intelligent Design movement, which really amounts to creating a false perception of controversy and promoting doubt instead of enlightenment.

    As has been stated by others, debating the merits (or lack thereof) of Wegman’s analysis of MBH98 is going over old ground and isn’t crucial to the understanding of AGW. More important, as DC’s analysis has illuminated, is to understand the methods by which the science has been attacked and politicized. Those who have made a fetish of attacking the various iterations of the “hockey stick” graph developed by Mann et al. (and confirmed independently by many others) reveal a certain bias in their approach to the subject. Dr. Rapp’s statement that “it just so happens that in the section on proxy analysis I side with Wegman and I agree with him that the hockey stick is about as credible as cold fusion. If you believe in the hockey stick as part of your global warming religion, I guess that makes me a ‘contrarian’ relative to you,” sounds a lot like the braying of which he accuses many of the commenters here. However, Nature doesn’t let us pick and choose which of her processes and laws we wish to believe in, and go merrily along, ignoring the force of gravity when it doesn’t suit us. The NAS and others (including DC) have clearly stated the flaws and limitations of Wegman’s paper, so choosing to believe it it is rather like choosing to believe in the tooth fairy, or perhaps like choosing which parts of the tooth fairy myth to believe.

    Dr. Rapp is understandably aggrieved about DC’s speculation about his putative involvement with the Wegman paper, for which DC has apologized and retracted his earlier statements. Yet, there are substantive questions regarding Dr. Rapp’s selection of non-peer reviewed or discredited sources and the lack of proper attribution for sections of his book. Dr. Rapp has stated that he is open-minded on the subject of AGW, and I’m sure that with his wide knowledge and experience, he could contribute to a better understanding of the areas of scientific uncertainty, if he wants to do so. However, railing against scientists as “alarmists” or religious fanatics merely for pointing out the consequences of their research hardly seems like the attitude of an open mind.

  164. “John M., thanks for sharing. Perhaps I’ll be as brave and open as you when I’m 63. Right now, as a relatively young scientists, it is easy to burn bridges especially if the feds (Canadian) perceive one to be too outspoken on contentious issues such as AGW. They won’t/can’t fire you, but they can choose not hire you and or make your life a dead end in the civil service, hence the moniker ” MapleLeaf”.”

    Beware! beware Maple leaf – Harper is a jealous tyrant and he will happily Linda Keen you for anything.

  165. Deep Climate

    Comments are now closed. However new posts on Wegman and Rapp will be available soon.

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