Wegman under investigation by George Mason University

By Deep Climate

[Update, Oct. 11: George Mason University spokesperson Doug Walsch has clarified that the complaint against Wegman has moved past the preliminary “inquiry” phase and is now under formal investigation. ]

[Update, Oct. 15, 19: I have added pointers to my previous discussions and updated side-by-side comparisons relevant to allegations of plagiarism forwarded to George Mason University last March and April. The allegations concern not only the Wegman report, but also the federally-funded  Said et al 2008  (published in Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, with Wegman and two other Wegman proteges as co-authors). ]

George Mason University has acknowledged that statistics professor Edward Wegman is under investigation for plagiarism. As related in USA Today, the investigation followed a formal complaint by paleoclimatologist Raymond Bradley, co-author of the seminal (and controversial) 1998 and 1999 “hockey stick” temperature reconstructions.

But a letter from Roger Stough, GMU’s vice-president responsible for research, indicates that the pace of the initial inquiry has been slow. And it appears that a promised date for resolution of the inquiry phase of the proceeding has been missed.

Citing John Mashey’s Strange Scholarship magnum opus in the opening paragraph, Dan Vergano at USA Today writes:

Officials at George Mason University confirmed Thursday that they are investigating plagiarism and misconduct charges made against a noted climate science critic.

The article goes on to link to my previous discussion and analysis of the Wegman Report’s background section on paleoclimatology, which indicated that passages had been apparently lifted nearly verbatim from Bradley’s Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary, and then edited in a manner that introduced distortions and errors.

USA Today also has a letter to Bradley sent by Roger Stough, Vice-president  for Research and Economic Development,  on July 28, 2010. In the letter, Stough promised a resolution of the inquiry phase by September 30, apparently more than six months after the initial complaint was brought by Bradley. The purpose of the inquiry phase is to determine if a full-blown proceeding is warranted. Yet even that intermediate deadline has apparently been missed, though it was already well beyond GMU’s own established timelines.

The Washington Post has also covered this development, noting that Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinnelli’s legal pursuit of Michael Mann relies heavily on the Wegman Report. That report concludes:

We’ve asked Cuccinelli’s office for reaction to news of the GMU investigation and we’ll bring you any response we receive.

[Update, Oct. 11: USA Today has added the following clarification of the status of the misconduct complaint:

[GMU spokesperson] Walsch clarified on Sunday that Bradley’s complaint is under a formal investigation by the university, and has moved past a preliminary “inquiry” to a committee investigation.

“An investigation is warranted if there is a reasonable basis for concluding that the alleged conduct falls within the definition of research misconduct under this policy and preliminary information-gathering and preliminary fact-finding from the inquiry indicates that the allegation may have substance,” according to the university’s misconduct policy.

The GMU misconduct policy also calls for the investigation committee to use “its best efforts to complete the investigation within 120 days of the date on which it began.” Thus, the final report of the committee should be completed by early 2011.

However, it is worth noting that the inquiry phase, which began in April, was supposed to take 60 days and apparently dragged on for five months or more. Presumably, scrutiny by the media and the public at large will provide sufficient impetus for the new investigation committee  to complete its work within the prescribed timelines. ]

[Update, Oct. 15: Here are pointers to material most relevant to the allegations of plagiarism that were sent to George Mason University by Raymond Bradley last March and April.

Wegman et al 2.1 Tree Rings:
Discussion Comparison

Wegman et al 2.1 Ice cores and corals:
Discussion Comparison

Wegman et al 2.3 Social Networks:
Discussion Comparison

Said et al 2008 (Computational Statistics & Data Analysis):
Discussion Comparison (Same discussion as Social Networks above)

As noted in the comments and in my original discussion, the latter allegation regards federally-funded scholarly work. It is thus subject to oversight by the Office of Research Integrity, with potential serious consequences. ]

Here are pointers to material most relevant to the allegations of plagiarism that were sent to George Mason University last March and April.

Wegman et al 2.1 Tree Rings:
Discussion Comparison

Wegman et al 2.1 Ice cores and corals:
Discussion Comparison

Wegman et al 2.3 Social Networks:
Discussion Comparison

Said et al 2008 (Computational Statistics & Data Analysis):
Discussion Comparison (Same discussion as Social Networks above)

As Sam notes, the latter allegation regards federally-funded scholarly work, and is thus subject to oversight by the Office of Research Integrity, with potential serious consequences.


280 responses to “Wegman under investigation by George Mason University

  1. Well done! John Mashey & this blog.
    Justice may yet be seen to be done.

  2. Pingback: The Climate Change Debate Thread - Page 288

  3. Good to hear.

    Kudos to yourself and John for digging into this. One can only hope that with plagiarism being such a scourge at undergraduate level, GMU might feel the need to make an example of Wegman et al..

  4. Thanks for the work you’ve done in reviewing the Wegman Report (which never had an independent review). It’s something I would never have the patience for, even if I wanted to.

    Reports that this has reached the investigation phase isn’t really accurate? So the question is why this has taken so long. Reaching the investigation phase regarding other climate scientists obviously happened much more quickly. What are they waiting for?

  5. Doug Bostrom

    Ok, so at last we’ve got an actual Climategate worthy of the name. Centered in D.C., featuring politicians in the middle, persecution of people named on an enemies list, using state power; this is a much better analogy to Watergate than ever was the TomskTwaddle/CRU affair.

  6. Pingback: Wegman investigated for plagiarism, “skepticgate” looms

  7. Big pat on the back for DC.

  8. Oh, and as Wegman is lawyering up, are you expecting attack as the best form of defence?

    • Wegman may try to go after John or DC, but it is quite telling that the official complaint that triggered the investigation came from Bradley. Rest assured Bradley checked the allegations DC has made, and strongly believes he has a case. So far he’s been free from the attacks Mike Mann has had to endure (quite telling in itself), so he must believe he has a case when he exposes himself like that.

  9. Rattus Norvegicus

    Oh, fun! The battle of the Virginias. Smackdown in Richmond! Quien es most fraudulent! My bet is on GMU, Wegman may well be toast.

  10. Thanks for staying on top of this, DC. It may have emboldened Mike Mann and Ken Caldeira to speak with a little more bite than previously.

    The Wegman Report is clearly a fraud, as you have shown. Let’s take the next step, and expose the journalists who swallowed it. They are probably the same ones who gave podia to Singer, Lindzen, and Lomborg.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      I have to disagree with you here. No need to toast the journos. You can’t expect someone on a deadline to do the sort of investigation the John and DC have done.

      You could however fry the moguls who run major media in this country. They have fallen down on the job by cutting specialist staff who might have been able to look into this stuff, as well as understand it. To criticize the press, you must criticize their corporate masters.

  11. MarkB:
    This is GMU policy.

    Precisely, there is an *inquiry* phase, just to see if this is something worth investigating. In this case, looking at DC’s original side-by-sides for 10 minutes should suffice. With the colored ones, about 5 minutes.

    Then, there is an investigation phase.

    To the best of my knowledge, as of a few days ago, the *inquiry* step had not been completed and Bradley informed.

    However, confusion occurs because in common speech, investigation might mean either stage, so one really has to ask whether they are using a term in the precise or general ways.

    I will say, that if I imagined the stupidest way I could think of for a university to handle this, GMU has exceed my wildest ideas. Good research schools would have been on this in days, especially with the government contract issues. Those are bad.

    • So GMU still is in the inquiry phase, and hasn’t decided whether or not to conduct an investigation?

      Do you think the delay is evidence that they won’t conduct an honest investigation?

    • MarkB,

      As long as there was no public scrutiny, the pace was glacial. Now that it’s out in the open, there presumably will be pressure on GMU to resolve the inquiry phase soon.

      For now, I’ll reserve judgment on the GMU process. But GMU needs to clarify the exact status of the investigation and give the result of the inquiry as soon as possible.

  12. Tom Fuller eats his hat at WUWT…

    • “Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick will not be resurrected–there is enough criticism of it from his own colleagues in the leaked emails of Climategate to insure that. But Wegman’s report may sink under the weight of plagiarized material and while that would be a pity, that’s sometimes the way things work.” – Tom Fuller
      Hardly eating his hat. More like taking an honest and logical position of wait-and-see.

    • Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick will not be resurrected–there is enough criticism of it from his own colleagues in the leaked emails of Climategate to insure that.

      Honest? Logical? Try b****it … I don’t think I’ve ever seen Tom Fuller write an honest sentence.

    • The usual incoherence of the “climate skeptic” is on full display here. Paraphrasing Fuller, “While I’m prepared to believe the Wegman report was substantially based on plagiarism and stands as an example of poor scholarship, we should still rely on it. It’s just a darn shame we had to know the ugly truth.”

      Compare that to the summary judgement rendered on Jones et al; a few ambiguous email remarks were quite sufficient to throw enormous swathes of climate research into the dustbin of history.

  13. I’m really rooting for my Alma Mater here to get this out in the open.
    Good job Andrew and John Mashey

  14. The Wegman report exposed the deliberate deception and mickey-mouse stats used by Mann and Bradley to propping up their Hockey Stick. That he may have plagiarised some uncontroversial basic text in the process does not alter that.

    [DC: As you have been told over and over again, the problems in the Wegman Report go way beyond plagiarism of “uncontroversial basic text”. All of the climate science and social network analysis is deeply flawed, and even the analysis of Mann’s use of PCA in reducing the North American data set avoids the substantive issue of PC retention.

    Even in the passages clearly derived from Bradley (but not attributed), Wegman et al introduced errors and distortions. See the original discussion from last December. ]

    • The social networking issue is clearly right on the money; it links to the gatekeeping issue, as we clearly see in Climategate. The isolation from the stats community is very real, and helps explain why Mann’s stats are such rubbish. What proper statistician ahs backed Mann’s methods?

      Even his Climategate buddies don’t buy into it much (in private (ie Climategate) , that is; in public they’re as politically correct as anyone).
      It is only political correctness that keeps the Hockey Stick alive.

    • Punksta, check out the links for a fairly comprehensive list of reconstructions up till about 07,08 at NOAA Paleoclimatology program.

      Also check out the list of statisticians at the Paleoclimate Working Group at samsi.

      Also check out SUPRA-net, which is a network of mainly statisticians working on paleoclimate.

      Even if Mann’s methods are rubbish, even if Mann is stonewalling statisticians, can’t we just move on?

  15. Just to remind everyone of Mosher’s recent (pre-emptive) reassessment on the Wegman Report,

  16. I recall reading an instruction to provide an accurate CV listing all publications.

    I wonder if this is boilerplatre and if it is used by UV . If so, can following such an instruction be an attempt to manipulate the process?

  17. First comment since your last snip.


    I have no idea why anyone is making anything of this. Please take a moment to explain why my post is wrong.

    [DC: You wrote:

    Is it correct to insist that he can’t cite the book and insert changes to the text where appropriate for a congressional report?

    You claim to have read the side-by-side comparison I provided. So you know, or should know, that none of the paragraphs in question cited Bradley, but some of the the slight departures and distortions did contain citations to other authors. Or do you not understand the difference between a reference and a citation?]

  18. May reading this explanation would help Jeff:

    [DC: Sorry for the delay – this got caught in the spam filter. ]

  19. DC and John,

    Congrats. Good to hear that this story is getting legs– it has also been covered at Nature.

    Intriguing to see the likes of JeffId and Fuller blindly defending scientific misconduct, plagiarism and dishonesty, all the while making the similar accusations against others. I thought their strategy was try and claim that while the Wegman report is a “mess” that the maths is allegedly solid. Seems they are jumping in defending Wegman with both feet.

    Anyhow, I saw this comment at RC and was wondering what your thoughts are?

    “Do you happen to know if Wegman had federal or Virginia state funding for the work in question?

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 8 October 2010 @ 3:16 PM”

    The one link to the Wegman report that the media thus far, IMHO, has failed to pick up on is the role of McIntyre and McKitrick.

  20. What are you talking about. The side by side linked from here and in my post is Bradly, is there something else I should look at? Forgive me if I missed the ‘main point’, I’m not a regular reader after our last adventures.

    [DC: Wegman failed to attribute those paragraphs to Bradley. There was no citation – that’s a big problem. Also, in the slight editing, Wegman et al introduced distortions and errors that contradicted and misrepresented Bradley. As well, there are numerous other instances of apparent plagiarism, in both the Wegman report and the subsequent journal article on author-coauthor patterns. ]

  21. JeffId,

    “Forgive me if I missed the ‘main point’, I’m not a regular reader after our last adventures.”

    Well if you elect to opine on this complex issue might I suggest that you first read the pertinent facts. And making allusions to prior encounters between you and DC does not further your argument.

  22. Hi DC,

    Thoughts? From Keith Kloor’s place.

    “Stu Says:
    October 9th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    NewYorkJ says:
    “I understand your point, Lazar. Plagiarism by itself doesn’t have much meaning from a science standpoint, and focusing only on that would detract from how bad the Wegman Report is. Use (or misuse) of the Lamb 1966 sketch is worse.”

    From the poster ‘ZT’ just now at Bishop Hill-
    ”Just to prove to myself that looking for plagiarism is a sad activity (!) I went to Bradley’s publication page:
    (Bradly helpfully posts PDFs of all his publications – no need to deal with those pesky pay walls for his disciples) and …clicked on….the first paper posted).

    Click to access mann2008.pdf

    I took the first sentence “Knowledge of climate during past centuries can both improve our understanding of natural climate variability and help address the question of whether modern climate change is unprecedented in a long-term context”
    …and Googled…
    I observe among the hits:

    Click to access Luterbacheretal_Springer_2010.pdf

    (Phil Jones is a coauthor) which begins…
    “The knowledge of climate and its variability during the past centuries can improve our understanding of natural climate variability and also help to address the question of whether modern climate change is unprecedented in a long-term context”
    The similarities/coincidences continue – e.g.the second sentence in both papers begins “The lack of widespread instrumental climate records before the mid 19th century…” Mann et al; “The lack of widespread instrumental climate records” Luterbacher et al
    So, I’m inclined to suspect that cutting and pasting is quite common in climatology, if not science. But, no doubt some cutting and pasting is more equal than other cutting and pasting.”
    Yep, will probably be best to focus on the other stuff. Wouldn’t want to get everyone in trouble now, would we?”

    • Funny one. Let’s take that first sentence, and what reference do we see?
      (Folland et al. 2001; Jansen et al. 2007; Hegerl et al. 2007; Mann et al.
      2008 and references therein).

      The second sentence is not referenced in Luterbacher, and that’s just plain shoddy scholarship by Luterbacher. Still quite different from copying large paragraphs from a book without proper attribution…

  23. I was read the USA TODAY blog Science Fair story on this and amid the usual froth in the comments section I found none other than Donal Rapp threatening to sue . Below is a partial excerpt of his comments:

    It is possible that in a few places, I may have slipped up and used words from a paper and forgot to give attribution. Let’s suppose I did this 10 times, or 20; big deal.

    I am warning you now that if you persist in spreading the idea that I committed plagiarism, I will sue you for all you are worth. If I ever find out who the jerk is who put this on deepclimate.org, I will sue him for all it is worth.

    I also plan to contact Wegman in case he feels that he should sue Ray Bradley who is clearly at fault here.

    By the way, this is what Wegman had to say in a recent email: “It is my opinion that Dr. Rapp has not plagiarized anything and I hold him harmless” and claims that these are “wild conclusions that have nothing to do with reality”.

    Donald Rapp

    • Rapp’s an idiot if he believes Wegman’s opinion matters. It’s the copyright holder’s opinion whose opinion matters.

  24. Tom Fuller (WUWT) wrote: “I don’t like the weblog Deep Climate, and I very much respect the report Edward Wegman put out. I understand what the report said and I agree with its conclusions. So I’m hoping this investigation is thorough, quick and that Wegman’s work stands.

    But there’s no way we can ignore this and complain about a lack of vigor in finding out what went wrong with CRU, Climategate and the Hockey Stick. This is bad news (for me). But it is news.”

    Hat. Eaten.

    • I see no “hat eating” in evidence here.
      Typical use of the idiom : “If Joe really joins the Army, I’ll eat my hat”.
      So what did Fuller wrongly say would not come to pass?

  25. ” Wegman failed to attribute those paragraphs to Bradley.”

    The citation was in the bibliography, how can you say that there was none??

    The editing prevented the use of direct quotes. I know you don’ t like the editing but others can reasonably disagree. I really don’t see how he must absolutely copy the book word for word if he uses it. Especially since the book was referenced.

    • Jeff:
      Just as an example.

      Moreover, the *changes* that are made indicate the person involved knew he/she was copying stuff, and that it was inappropriate to do so. Why else make the changes?
      Add to that that the changes introduced errors and distortions in the meaning. Plagiarism AND bad science.

      Referencing the book may look OK, but if you copy THAT much, and only refer to it a few times, you imply that only the information in the few prior sentences contain material/information taken from that book.

      I also wonder what you think of the other plagiarism case by Said et al: in the article on social networks whole sections in the introduction have been directly copied from a book that was NOT references, while another book (also heavily copied) *was* referenced, but in the wrong place.

      Finally, I think many are ‘surprisingly’ focusing solely on the plagiarism issue. There are quite a few others problems with the Wegman report that John Mashey has discussed that indicate shoddy scientific standards of Wegman. Such as the “right method, wrong conclusion” about social networks…

    • You put things in a bibliography when you read them, are using ideas from them, are perhaps planning to mention in your own words something that was said in them. It is not a substitute for specific citation. Mentioning a piece in your bibliography doesn’t give you a license to lift big chunks of it and drop them in your paper without saying where they were from.
      Really, how hard is this?

  26. Have you seen Steve McIntyre (Comment#53769), Steve McIntyre (Comment#53770), Steve McIntyre (Comment#53771) at http://rankexploits.com/musings/2010/copygate-vs-skepticgate-new-words-coined/ ?

    • I’d be interested to hear DC’s and John’s thoughts on McIntyre’s take on this. Seems he is defiant and trying to detract attention away from Wegman by attacking others.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      He also conveniently elides the citations in his examples. And he gets the publishing order wrong in Oxford case, the Bradley text is in it’s 2nd edition, first one being published (apparently) in 1999. Of course the Oxford text cites Bradley (that should have been a hint to him…).

    • Here’s the best one yet:

      Steve McIntyre (Comment#53777) October 9th, 2010 at 11:38 pm

      Wegman did not hold out his potted summary as original. On the other hand, Wahl and Ammann 2007 did hold itself out as original, even though it plagiarized its key ideas from Mann’s reply to our 2004 Nature submission and Mann’s realclimate posts attempting to preempt our 2005 articles. There’s a far better plagiarism case against Wahl and Ammann.

      McIntyre has tried this one before, but nobody else seems to be biting.

      By the way, McIntyre did bring a research misconduct complaint against Caspar Ammann at UCAR (which was rejected, of course).

      As a reviewer of Ammann and Wahl, I asked them to include the verification r2 stat; they refused and I was terminated as a reviewer. I met personally with Ammann and urged him to include the adverse verification r2 results. He still refused. So I filed an academic misconduct complaint and, lo and behold, the verification r2 results were reported in the revised Ammann and Wahl.

  27. Desperation-gate anyone?

  28. Jeff,

    You clearly have no idea of the proper process of academic referencing…….but then, apparently neither does Edward Wegman.

    Actually, I’m joking (I hope) about Wegman. There’s no way you can be a prof and not know what you should do. Which means he knew exactly what he was doing, the silly little changes (and introduced errors) being a demonstration of that.

    In academia, Ctrl C and Ctrl V are not your friends.

  29. Interesting.
    McIntyre points out a passage from the Oxford Companion to Global Change

    Rabett points out a letter posted to the USA Today written to (and posted by) Dr Rapp. It suggests that the ‘litigation’ mentioned by Dr Wegman is a copyright violation claim by Elsevier which owns Academic Press, the publisher of Bradley’s Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary.


    • “Others did it, too!” (and I can’t check whether the Oxford Companion to Global Change perhaps references Bradley. Would still be too much copy-paste to my taste, in that case, but then more acceptable).

      McIntyre and co are also not seeing that there are *many* problems with the Wegman report, not just the plagiarism.

  30. Interesting stuff, but let’s refrain from concluding anything just yet, although we are pretty certain there are a host of critical issues with the WR. Let the investigation run its course and the evidence be presented and concluded upon.

    Remember, our community is an evidence-based, not prejudice-based one. Whatever smears our scientists have had to endure have been because they interpret the evidence and make straight, evidence-based conclusions that are unappealing to certain political prejudices who then play Twist & Spin. That’s their game. I look forward with considerable interest to the outcome!

    Cheers – John

    • You of course have it back-to-front. The low and decreasing reputation of state-funded climate scientists is because they misinterpret, select or suppress evidence so as to appeal to totalitarian political prejudices, and to climb on the fundwagon.

      Based on the official university whitewashes of Climategate thus far in support of such corruption of science for political ends, the odds must be that they will surely find something, somewhere to pin on Wegman, to punish him for failing to validate the Hockey Stick, the poster child of alarmism.

      [DC: That’s enough. Unlike your ideologically fuelled and baseless smears against climate scientists, Wegman’s case involves clear and compelling evidence of misconduct. You seem incapable of discussing that evidence in a rational manner, and prefer the regurgitation of previously debunked and discredited memes. Under the circumstances, it would be better if you did not continue to waste other readers’ time. Thanks! ]

  31. The passage in the Oxford Companion that was taken from Bradley is on page 131. Bradley is referenced on page 132.


    • Good Gravy! I can see why you didn’t provide a direct link to page 132. That is not the kind of thing one wants to see pop up full screen on a quiet Sunday morning! 😀

  32. Pingback: Scientific misconduct and skepticgate | Open Parachute

  33. Hi DC,

    Sorry if I was not clear yesterday in my post concerning Stu– I meant to say that what he posted is the kind of squirming and detraction that the “skeptics” are engaging in. Quite remarkable how they can rationalize and defend what Wegman has done. Actually in the example he gave he failed to note that a) they did not misrepresent the science and b) citations were provided.

    I see that, not surprisingly, the daggers are out for you and Mashey. Stay strong; you also have a lot of support on this from good people.

    No need to post this.

  34. It is interesting to see that Watts and Fuller had to decide whether to dump Wegman or keep him. In their first post, Watts was cautious with the Wegman report, saying that bad things happen on ‘both’ sides.

    The discussion at wuwt was then diverted to ‘it’s just plagiarism, not important’ and that the Wegman Report was a report, not a ‘PhD thesis’, in an effort to lower the standards and allow it to pass.

    Fuller took this mood in the wuwt comments and wrote his diatribe fully defending the Wegman Report and burying himself deeper in the ground. At the same time he makes Watts look like an idiot.
    Fuller went on to say that the Mashey’s document is long and uninteresting (probably he ‘tl;dr’), and he picked a few lines out of context in an attempt to discredit.

    The problem is that Wegman’s Report suffers in the science, and is something he did not pay attention to. Wuwt and Watts are silly, and they can only dump more and more irrelevant news items in order to bury the Wegman embarrassment.

  35. Gavin's Pussycat

    Hmmm, perhaps this is the opportunity for investigators to ask again for the data that Dave Ritson asked for, but never got… obviously because it doesn’t exist, contrary to Wegman et al.’s claim. A clear case of fabrication if you ask me.

  36. Gavin’s pusseycat:
    I hope you are not saying that Wegman did no work but just parroted M&M drivel as instructed by the brothers grimm.

    Pusseycat’s aren’t usually that catty.

    John McManus

  37. Some thoughts…

    It’s inconceivable that a university professor like Wegman would not know that what he was doing was wrong. My guess was that he probably felt that since he was asked by a politician to put this together, and that it required no independent expert review, he could take large liberties with the scholarship, twisting words in key places to sell it better, similar to what anything from a denialist organization like CEI. He probably thought he could get away with it since the target audience was mainly Congress, and he figured real scientists wouldn’t look too closely (which was probably true at the time).

  38. Wegman probably was not aware that what he was doing was wrong. My guess is that he thought that nobody would pay much attention to the background material and he left that work to his trusted post-doc lackey, Said. He was nearly correct in this, since years passed before DC and JM started examining this stuff in detail.

  39. DC, this is great news! People need now to concentrate on complaints to the Federal Government agencies (NIH, DOE, DOD, etc.) who funded Wegman’s work. It doesn’t matter if GMU has already received allegations. The federal agencies will not let GMU off the hook with a less-than-thorough investigation. The initial inquiry by GMU will only determine whether the charges have “substance.” Once that happens, assuming it does, then a full investigation by GMU will necessarily take place. They will have no choice, assuming that the appropriate agencies have received the same allegation.

    Mark B: this is not totally about the Wegman report; it concerns peer-reviewed publications and doctoral theses. In other words, the bread-and-butter of an academic institution.

    • As I noted above, GMU did promise a resolution of the inquiry phase by September 30. It’s not clear if this phase has been completed or not, but I believe a full investigation is inevitable.

  40. Gavin's Pussycat

    John, john, john (#35)… where did you get that idea 😉

  41. Pingback: Academical Freedom

  42. [Update, Oct. 11: George Mason University spokesperson Doug Walsch has clarified that the complaint against Wegman has moved past the preliminary “inquiry” phase and is now under formal investigation.]

    [Update, Oct. 11: USA Today has added the following clarification of the status of the misconduct complaint:

    [GMU spokesperson] Walsch clarified on Sunday that Bradley’s complaint is under a formal investigation by the university, and has moved past a preliminary “inquiry” to a committee investigation.

    “An investigation is warranted if there is a reasonable basis for concluding that the alleged conduct falls within the definition of research misconduct under this policy and preliminary information-gathering and preliminary fact-finding from the inquiry indicates that the allegation may have substance,” according to the university’s misconduct policy.

    The GMU misconduct policy also calls for the investigation committee to use “its best efforts to complete the investigation within 120 days of the date on which it began.” Thus, the final report of the committee should be completed by early 2011.

    However, it is worth noting that the inquiry phase, which began in April, was supposed to take 60 days and apparently dragged on for five months or more. Presumably, scrutiny by the media and the public at large will provide sufficient impetus for the new investigation committee to complete its work within the prescribed timelines. ]

  43. Shocking, worse than they thought: Will Eschenbach actually agrees with us about Cuccinelli’s approach, and they’re failing miserably to deconstruct Mann. A stunning triumph for the good guys! Could not get any better!

  44. I am glad you scientists are trying to keep us informed since our politicians are trying to fool us. I voted for Cuccinelli, but I didn’t know he was attacking climate scientists. Now that I have read a bit about climate science and the denialist propaganda, I am really against him!
    Dr. Mashey’s report is very interesting, but complicated.
    I have found out that Cuccinelli’s dad was a lobbyist for the American Gas Association. He was subsequently associated with advertising companies that tout his expertise in the gas industry and his “European” clients.
    I am wondering if these “European” clients are Russian gas companies.
    One of the elder Cuccinelli’s firms gave the Attorney General over 96,000 dollars for his campaign.
    Here are the details.
    Cuccinelli is always talking about the American Revolution, but I think Virginians revolted because of European tyrants, not because the EPA was trying to protect us from global warming.
    I often write Cuccinelli’s deputy W. Russell and ask him about those “European” clients, but he won’t answer any questions.

  45. The American Statistical Association should appoint a true top notch statistical panel. I expect that this would demolish this report and McIntyre’s pretensions to “auditing” so that the BS about climate statistics is gone for good. It is the least they could do for society.

  46. The heart of Joe Barton’s congressional district is College Station, TX. Otherwords, Texas A&M University. When I attended there in the mid-1980’s the school was dominated by the very conservative Corps of Cadets (a military service program) and most of the student body and many of the faculty were very conservative as A&M was the state school alternative to the “liberal” Univ. of Texas. The school was a shocking throwback to the cultural norms of the 1950’s. Joe Barton spoke on campus quite a bit and received wide support.

    Things are different today. Way different. I mean there are women there and the Corps of Cadets is a very minor player.

    I think it would really put Joe Barton on the hot seat if the faculty made it a point to attack his anti-science views; especially if he were linked to the efforts of the VA AG (Cuchinelli). I think the GMU investigation provides the firm link between Cuchinelli and Barton’s attack on Mann and science in general. The participation of the students in elections is poor, but the faculty at A&M is massive and they could really make Barton eat his words or at least quietly withdraw his overt attacks.

    I was a lowly grad student at A&M, now removed to that wild and crazy guy Ron Paul’s district. But perhaps there are some current faculty reading the blog who could comment?

  47. FYI, “Smokey” Joe Barton has responded to Michael Mann’s WP column — link here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/11/AR2010101105679.html

    Comments are open there (hint, hint).

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      caerbannog, you used the word “responded”. Surely a mistake?

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Hmm, no mention of the report he himself commissioned in lieu of the NRC report. I guess Wegman has been thrown under the bus!

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      BTW caerbannog, your comment over there summed it up.

    • Joe Barton, Washington, stated that:

      > The reality is that the two-day hearing made it clear that Mr. Mann’s global warming projections were rooted in fundamental errors of methodology that had been cemented in place as “consensus” by a closed network of friends. The hearing strengthened science because it was informed by various expert work, including that of the National Research Council, which corroborated our central concerns.

      It appears that these central concerns did not include the social-network analysis of his students. As Dr. Gerald North stated:

      > Dr. Wegman’s criticisms of the statistical methodology in the
      papers by Mann et al were consistent with our findings. Our
      committee did not consider any social network analyses and we
      did not have access to Dr. Wegman’s report during our
      deliberations so we did not have an opportunity to discuss his
      conclusions. Personally, I was not impressed by the social
      network analysis in the Wegman report, nor did I agree with most
      of the report’s conclusions on this subject.

      Source: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_house_hearings&docid=f:31362.wais

      I would suggest that Joe Barton is misrepresenting the “central concerns” of his commission.

      [DC: Sorry for the delay – I had to fish this out of the spam filter.]

  48. Dr. Wegman,

    Oh what a tangled web you weave when you try and deceive.


  49. DC and John,


    “I know a former discipline officer who worked at a reputable university. I talked to them about the Wegman case, and advanced the same arguments being made by the ‘skeptics’. They simply shook their head for each argument……they were not convinced– plagiarism, pure and simple.

    Now to be honest, that was based on my account of matters. I’m emailing them the PDFs now and they’ll have a closer look. I’ll let you know what they conclude. But I think that we both know what their answer will be after seeing the evidence;)”

    [Cross posted from Deltoid]

    • MapleLeaf: many of the arguments of the ‘skeptics’ simply don’t hold in connection with GMU’s own definition of plagiarism:
      This is from the undergraduate chapter, and note:
      “Writers give credit through accepted documentation styles, such as parenthetical citation, footnotes, or endnotes; a simple listing of books and articles is not sufficient.”

      Fuller’s arguments (he’s tried to get the “bibliography!” argument to stick) refuted in one simple sentence.

  50. Gavin’s Pussycat | October 11, 2010 at 11:51 pm |

    caerbannog, you used the word “responded”. Surely a mistake?

    My bad — Barton’s “reply” (for lack of a better word — it’s late and past my bedtime) was quite obviously non-responsive. “Responded” was certainly a not the appropriate term to use.

  51. Nice letters in the Washington Post, people. John Mashey, your “I allege” almost sounds like “J’accuse.”

  52. FYI: Huffington Post has re-posted comments from Desmogblog about Wegman being investigated for plagiarism. This story needs to get more media exposure!

  53. Pinko Punko: yes, his new district must be one of the many “gifts” Tom Delay handed out before his demise. The State redistricted after the 2000 census giving safe seats to most of the congressional reps when the republicans took over the state house with lots of help from Tom’s campaign $$. Bummer. No way those Ft. Worth folks will vote against a republican.

  54. Joe Barton writes in his letter commenting on Michael Mann’s Washington Post piece:

    The reality is that the two-day hearing made it clear that Mr. Mann’s global warming projections were rooted in fundamental errors of methodology that had been cemented in place as “consensus” by a closed network of friends. The hearing strengthened science because it was informed by various expert work, including that of the National Research Council, which corroborated our central concerns. …

    I think Mr. Mann is entitled to make up his own mind, but not his own truth.

    But it is Barton who seems to think he is entitled to “his own truth”. Not one of his assertions stands up to scrutiny, starting with his characterization of Mann’s paleoclimatology work as “global warming projections”. And his assertion that the NRC “corroborated” his “central concerns” is an outrageous falsehood.

    This would be laughable, were it not for the sad fact that Barton may well be in a position to continue his politically-motivated vendetta against climate scientists after the next election.

  55. Here are the comments on Barton’s letter:

    John Mashey writes (at 10/12/2010 11:01:26 AM) [typos edited]:

    I allege that Joe Barton organized an effort to mislead Congress, 18USC1001, 18USC371 in manufacturing the Wegman Report.
    It was claimed to be “independent, impartial, expert” work by a team of “eminent statisticians.”

    It was managed by Barton Staffer Peter Spencer, it has numerous cases of bias, 35 of the 91 pages are mostly plagiarism filled with errors. More than half of it was put together by someone less than one year past PhD (Yasmin Said) plus help from grad students. The 2nd author, David Scott, wrote only a 3-page mathematical appendix, was barely involved. Basically, this “eminent” team was Wegman plus his students. This was represented as being “like” an NRC report.

    See http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/10/wegman-plagiarism-investigation-/1

    George Mason University, despite every attempt to foot-drag, is finally starting to investigate the first of many problems for Wegman.

    Registration is easy if you want to comment.

  56. Steve M must be so pissed that the Barton staff didn’t instruct Wegman properly when they handed over MM05. Now the team of eminent statisticians copypasted the beginning and the end and elevated an irrelevant flaw in a 7-year old and widely cited paper to hockeystick broken-status.

    Anyway, he’s trying hard to frame the title of this -Gate.

  57. Donald Rapp is coming apart at the seams even faster than Tom Fuller who seems to have overcome his fit of hysteria.

    “leading paleoclimatologists, Al Gore and U. N. have perpetrated misinformation on the world at large, which may in the end cost all of us trillions of dollars. And while you at climatreaudit.org and Wegman have shown that the hockey stick is false, they continue to purvey it to our schoolchildren and the public at large.”

    Oh, my.

  58. I posted the following comment at ClimateAudit a couple of hours ago, but is still in moderation:

    Posted Oct 12, 2010 at 5:30 PM | Permalink | Reply
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Your readers might have a better idea of what really happened here if you pointed to my detailed comparison of Wegman and Bradley on tree-rings:


    The updated side-by-side comparison is here:

    Click to access wegman-bradley-tree-rings-v20.pdf

    There is no indication whatsoever that this very long passage, clearly copied for the most part from Bradley, comes from that source. Also note the underlined portions; these denote errors where slight changes have introduced errors, due to incompetence or bias.

    The sections on ice cores and corals are also largely copied from Bradley.


    Click to access wegman-bradley-ice-cores-corals-v2.pdf

    Once again, there was no attribution.

    It turned out that the first link had been posted by McIntyre, so I posted the following correction (that one did get through – presumably because there are no links).

    I see now that you did point to the detailed discussion. However, the other three references are no doubt useful.

  59. I suppose I should address this statement from McIntyre:

    Although Deep Climate had accused Wegman of not attributing his comments on tree rings as follows:

    No attribution is given for this passage, although Bradley is cited for another section two pages earlier.

    this is untrue or misleading on several counts. As noted above, the subsection on Tree Rings closes with an explicit reference to Bradley 1999, a style of reference that, as shown below, is not dissimilar to the corresponding reference in IPCC AR4 section 6.2. In addition, DC implies that Bradley is cited only once and in “another section”. In fact, as noted above, Bradley is cited not once and not in “another section”, but six times all in section 2.1 “Background on Paleoclimate Temperature Reconstruction”, as well as in the bibliography.

    As usual, it’s McIntyre who is being misleading here. First, let’s look at the six citations. It turns out that Wegman’s Table 1 is attributed to Bradley (1999) and Table 2 to Bradley and Eddy (1990). Each table is attributed both in the text and in the table caption. But in the text, Table 2 is attributed to Bradley and Eddy as reproduced in Bradley. Thus two citations have become five in McIntyre’s fevered imagination, and the second one is really to Bradley and Eddy, not the Bradley text book that is the focus here.

    The so-called “sixth” citation occurs at the end of the analyzed section, not before, and I mentioned it specifically in my original exposition (a fact conveniently omitted by McIntyre). That citation refers the reader to Bradley for further information specifically on “fitting and calibration”. Thus at best it applies only to the last half of the third paragraph of the tree-ring section and explicitly *not* to the vast majority of the tree-ring section.

    As for McIntyre’s nitpicking about “another section”, the term is ambiguous. I was using the term in the same way as Wegman et al – that is a passage with its own bold face heading. In fact, Wegman et al open the following section on ice cores with the remark: “We shall refer to ice cores in this section … “.

    McIntyre also appears to be unaware that the same issue of apparent plagiarism of Bradley affects the immediately following sections on ice core and coral proxies. There is no attribution whatsoever in these two sections.

    That grating sound you hear is McIntyre scraping the bottom of the barrel.

  60. DC, I wouldn’t allow McI to draw you into an extended argument about what is and isn’t plagiarism. By their metrics, the folks at CA always win by turning a valid argument into a “he said/she said” debate. They can sling fabrications, misattributions, and lies faster than anyone can debunk them. The Wegman “report” being a classic case-in-point: it has taken you and John Mashey (and others, including the NRC) nearly 3 years of hard work to deconstruct and debunk this shoddy piece of “research” that was specifically conceived, authored, cherry-picked, and executed as a means to mislead Congress and the public. It’s a very worthwhile effort on your and John Mashey’s part, but arguing directly with people like McI who’ve demonstrated that their minds are impenetrable by science or facts generally only encourages them to greater heights of dishonesty.

    The plagiarism is a damning enough indictment of their methods, but I think it’s better to focus on the errors in the science in the Wegman report that you and John Mashey have also documented extensively.

    I beg everyone’s forgiveness for rambling, but I visited Donald Rapp’s website following Neven’s comment above, and found a lot of frothing and nasty language, including the following quote, which is a typical example:

    “Evidently, he [DC] has no scientific arguments to put forward. DC is a mean, vicious a**hole. He not only falsely accused me of plagiarism, but sent his s**t to my employer in an attempt to get me fired.”

    Apparently, Mr. Rapp hasn’t bothered to read your postings on the science very carefully. Keep your eye on the ball, which is the science, and Rapp, Wegman, and Joe Barton don’t have a single leg to stand on.

    Rapp closes his diatribe with the following rather surprising and self-contradictory paragraph:

    “Yet, I am not hard over in opposition to their orthodoxy. I believe that greenhouse gases probably contributed to the warming of the past 120 years, but sufficient technical proof does not exist as to how much. 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. However, I do not subscribe to an orthodoxy with religious fervor. But the heel nippers on deepclimate.org are the Taliban of climate change – and just as dangerous. The cost of pursuing the policies that derive from their belief system will be measured in the trillions.”

    Which of course doesn’t count the real trillions in costs of not pursuing the policies that derive from the well-established science that Donald Rapp has devoted so much time to misunderstanding. I find it interesting that when skeptics cite the costs of addressing climate change, they fail to recognize that a lot of these costs represent economic activities that generate jobs and benefit people. Costs are a way of putting a value on priorities. Not all costs are harmful, especially those that prevent greater harms.

    [DC: I’ve edited Rapp’s comments to conform to my blog policy. For the record, I have never sent anything to USC or GMU, although perhaps I should. ]

    • TaylorB,

      I really enjoyed your message. IMHO, you make some important points.

      It seems to me that Rapp et al. are trying to incite John and DC, in the hopes that John and/or DC will stumble or inadvertently provide them with some ammunition. I’m confident that DC and John, being the professionals they are, will not let that happen.

      Anyhow, this is in the hands of GMU and others now, and no amount of obfuscation or ad hominem attacks on John or DC are going to change the very inconvenient evidence against the people implicated in creating/manufacturing this mess. The people and authorities officially investigating this case do not care one iota about McIntyre’s ramblings or Rapp’s rants. The facts speak clearly for themselves.

    • [DC: I’ve edited Rapp’s comments to conform to my blog policy. For the record, I have never sent anything to USC or GMU, although perhaps I should. ]

      Yeah, maybe you should, just to, ummm, set the record straight, right? Wouldn’t want to add to Rapp’s falsehoods when you’re in a good position to fix it for him!

  61. Taylor B,

    I’m sure you’re right. I may do a post on the likely scope of GMU’s investigation (raising a couple of issues that I haven’t seen covered). But for the most part, I don’t intend to spend too much more time on plagiarism issues, much less Steve McIntyre’s weird and wonderful ideas about it. That’s why I’m only responding in comments and not putting a lot of energy into a full-blown rebuttal.

    But I do have to point out the final three paragraphs, where after attempting to exonerate Wegman, McIntyre equates what Wegman has done with a host of grievances regarding Gavin Schmidt, James Hansen and others, for not giving ClimateAudit “appropriate credit”. And then, he repeats for the umpteenth time, his charge of plagiarism against Wahl and Ammann, urging “someone to file a plagiarism complaint” against them. McIntyre’s been saying this for years now – maybe he’ll have to do it himself and bear the humiliation of being rejected a second time (he’s already had a previous frivolous misconduct complaint against Ammann dismissed out of hand).

  62. Wow, someone to compete with Hal Lewis for the most wacky commentary this week. Some statistics on the Rapp rant…

    Number of the times the following word/phrase is mentioned.

    ***hole: 2
    Alarmism: 1 (surprisingly only one mention!)
    Asinine: 1
    Donkey: 1
    Fanatic: 1
    Fervor: 2
    Idiotic: 1
    Janitors, trash collectors and hash slingers: 2 (yes, that phrase is in there twice, and what’s with the elitism?)
    Moron/Moronic: 3
    Orthodoxy: 5
    Religious/Religion: 6
    Satan: 1
    Taliban: 1
    Venom: 1
    Worship: 1
    Zealous/Zealot: 4


    This is a guy who wrote a textbook on climate science that college students read. I suggest someone might want to forward these comments to his publisher and perhaps to some of the universities that “recommend” the book (VA Tech is one). His tirade is very revealing. I guess this is the kind of thing science is up against.

    His most unbelievable statement in the commentary is the following:

    “My mind is open.”

    As if.

  63. [DC, you may post or withhold the following at your discretion:]

    I failed to follow my own advice, and bothered to post my first (and hopefully last) comment at Climate Audit, as follows:

    “It’s worth remarking that outside of the folks who follow Climate Audit and Watts Up With That, Joe Barton, James Inhofe and a few hundred oil industry lobbyists, very few people have heard of or care about Wegman’s “report,” “summary,” “book review,” “plagiarized propaganda,” or whatever you choose to call it. It’s interesting that, on the one hand, skeptics praise Wegman as the undoing of all peer-reviewed science on anthropogenic warming (nothing of the sort). On the other hand, to Climate Audit fans Wegman is merely a report to Congress intended to “educate the public,” and thus can’t be held to the same standards as academic papers that have passed through peer review. So which is it? Solid research or trivial fluff? You seem to want it both ways.

    Plagiarism is now an arcane medieval concept that can be safely ignored when considering matters of little scientific import, depending on the circumstance (I hear echoes of Alberto Gonzalez calling the provisions of the Geneva Conventions “quaint”). Never mind that Wegman’s report was very carefully and deliberately contrived to avoid academic standards of peer review; never mind the obvious overt and covert political influence that was brought to bear on its conclusions from inception through execution. Never mind the flaws in Wegman’s analysis and conclusions that have been extensively critiqued by numerous peer-reviewed and reputable scientific bodies. Even Wegman’s vast ignorance of climate science is touted as evidence of his pristine lack of taint.

    Wegman’s report gets cited by VA AG Cuccinelli (to his detriment and ridicule, and to any sane person’s embarrassment) and by no one else in the field of peer-reviewed climate science who hopes to be taken seriously. MBH’s paleoclimate reconstructions have remained intact and confirmed by subsequent independent studies. They are not the Achilles’ heel of climate science that Wegman’s fans fervently wish to believe they are.”

  64. Gavin's Pussycat

    > raising a couple of issues that I haven’t seen covered

    One of these could be the material requested from Wegman by David Ritson. Their non-provision by Wegman strongly suggests that they did not actually do the test computations they implied they did — which would classify as fabrication.

    I could imagine John knowing Ritson already as a fellow Californian, and it could be worthwhile contacting him.

  65. So what’s next DC? You won this round.

  66. Dr. Donald Duck

    I am aghast, yes aghast, that someone would question the scholarship of the eminent Dr. Donald Rapp. Please give him the courtesy of addressing him as Doctor, as he does himself. It is important that you honor his distinguished degree. Don’t you know Dr. Rapp has published several books? Yes, real books, published books, words printed on paper, some of which he wrote himself, now available at Amazon.com. I am aghast that anyone, yes anyone, let alone the janitors, trash collectors, and hash slingers who haunt this sewer that is deepclimate.org, would question the ethics of someone who has published so many books. He is an expert on the climate in outer space, as his blog so clearly notes, and he knows the difference between the weather and climate in this realm. He can tell you, nay actually predict the weather in outer space.


    • Dr. Quack – good one!

    • Look at Rapp’s website and his ‘get-off-my-lawn’-style reply to DC.
      He makes a fool of himself.

      Talking about titles (‘Dr’), go back to WTFUWT and see the level of debate there. Not only they do not address Mann as ‘Dr Mann’, they create and host caricatures. In addition, for the produces of the No Pressure video they are stalking them, publicizing personal contact details, in an effort to incite their followers to harass.

      (In general, in informal talk it is OK to omit the title.)

  67. gavinspussycat:
    I have spent a bit of spare time the past couple of days looking for references to Ritson’s questions. Being cryptic they are all the more interesting. I reread the Wiggy report but it didn’t explain much. It’s low information content may be the reason it went quiet.

    Perhaps others with better math and statistic skills than I will look in this direction.

  68. John: have you searched SWSR for Ritson and checked the various comments?

    GP: note, I don’t know him, and he is elderly, so I haven’t bothered him except to send him a pointer to SWSR and thank him for his efforts.

  69. McIntyre doesn’t appear to be doing an adequate auditing job, like Arthur Andersen auditing Enron.

    Good thing we have genuine auditors here.

  70. Original Mike

    Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Wegman lifted text from a textbook without proper attribution. How does this invalidate the scientific point he was making?

    • Steve Metzler

      Because if you don’t use your own words to explain the ideas you are trying to convey, it does not prove that you understand the science *one single bit*. That simple, and that is why this obvious and extensive plagiarism, though it may seem trivial to a layperson on the sidelines, is an extremely serious issue in the scientific sphere.

    • How does this invalidate the scientific point he was making?

      He didn’t simply lift it, he introduced errors into his quotes that caused it to appear to say things it did not say.

      So, here he is, trying to prove MBH is false.

      He plagiarises B writing in another context, but alters the text to alter the meaning.

      Thereby adding ammunition to his argument that (partially rests upon his misquotes of) B helps disprove MBH.

      If you don’t understand how vile this is … God love you. No one else will …

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Original Mike, as John elaborately explains, Wegman’s plagiarism shouldn’t be likened to scientific plagiarism so much as to student paper plagiarism, something also completely missed by McIntyre. The purpose is to create a fraudulent inpression of having done your homework.
      The changes Wegman made do not so much invalidate the scientific point that he was making as they invalidate the underlying premise that he even remotely knew what he was writing about. Pretty damning.

    • dhogaza seems to be suggesting that Wegman (or a co-author) intentionally altered the original meaning of Bradley’s text .

      Gavin’s Pussycat is perhaps suggesting that Wegman (or a co-author) was seeking to paraphrase the original text i.e. retain the original meaning but unintentionally altered the original meaning due to ignorance.

      I suspect the latter is the more likely i.e. cock-up rather than conspiracy. If so, then perhaps Wegman et al would have been better directly quoting large chunks of Bradley text.

    • Steve Metzler

      Looks like RichieRich didn’t bother to read any of John Mashey’s report, wherein it is obvious that most of the changes made to the text lifted from Bradley’s work were intentional. The purpose of the Wegman Report was to discredit MBH98/99 in any way they could.

    • Looks like Steve Metzler missed the passage on page 4 of the ES noting that “some errors might be attributed to incompetence”.

    • RichieRich says:

      Looks like Steve Metzler missed the passage on page 4 of the ES noting that “some errors might be attributed to incompetence”.

      But I didn’t say *all* the errors were deliberate. What I said was:

      …wherein it is obvious that most of the changes made to the text lifted from Bradley’s work were intentional.

      (my emphasis added) I suppose you shouldn’t always attribute to malice what can also be attributed to stupidity, especially in the amateurish stitch-up that is the Wegman Report.

  71. Dr. Donald Duck

    desmong, you are nothing less than a cad who has no sense of propriety. Those select few of us who have been awarded the doctorate, as has Dr. Donald Rapp, deserve, nay demand that etiquette be followed. We are only to be addressed as Doctor.

    I shall beat you senseless with my cane should you be so crude.

    Dr. Donald Duck

  72. Original Mike:
    Did you bother to look at SSWR? even the ToC?
    About 130 pages is in effect, an annotated Wegman Report, noting the complex morass of errors, meaning changes,biases, absurd science, ignored standard science, repetition of anti-science memes, etc.
    See p.22 for a partial tally of all this – problems are pervasive, and if you look carefully at the columns and compare them with the plagiarism column, many problems are in unplagiarized text.

    The plagiarism is simply the easiest to recognize, as it is clear even to someone with no knowledge of the topic. But it is only the tip of the iceberg … and there is more generally) worse that I did not write, but it will come out, sooner or later.

    This was widely promoted as “expert” work by a team of “eminent statisticians.

  73. Gavin's Pussycat


    Wegman was doing both, in different places. I referred to the unintentional changes of meaning.

  74. So, lemme get this straight.
    He sets out to disprove MBH;
    He can’t do it with his own scholarship;
    He plagiarizes another person’s work, and falsifies some of that other work to support his hypothesis and conclusion;
    Thereby failing to disprove MBH, and effectively verifying the results and conclusions of MBH.
    Is that about it? Good one, Weggie–own goals make for great blooper reels. I rather wonder if the footdragging by GMU wasn’t designed to give cover to Coochie’s suit against UVA, since Coochie relied on Weggie’s work . The judge in that current case should disallow all claims and evidence based on Weggie’s wedgie. Hmmm, I wonder if there’s a suit for a copyright infringement clanking around in there somewhere, and what juicy discovery that would involve. Psst, Kochheads: aiding copyright infringement is an actionable offense.

  75. Meaning changes:

    1) Some changes are unintentional, clearly.
    2) Some are arguable.
    3) Some are clearly intentional.

    these are easiest to see in the Summariees, W.11, although one of the clearest is the tree-rings inversion DC found very early.

    “Thus tree ring proxy data alone is not sufficient to determine past climate variables.”

    [Now, in the last few days, the blogosphere has generated an amazing variety of bizarre non-reasons for why this can’t possibly be plagiarism. One of the lines of reasoning is that there is a vague cite to Bradley at the end of this section. This is amusing, because if one accepts that citation as covering that section, then there is another issue, AND IT IS WORSE THAN PLAGIARISM, one of the varieties of FABRICATION, because it cannot even be argued to be merely sloppiness. This is one of the most obvious in that section, but but there are more.]

    If you check the Summaries issue tally, W.11. 4, I *think* the “c” issues are more inadvertent than not, like changing “irradiance” to “irradiation”. That is almost certainly someone changing that to beat plagiarism checkers.

    The items coded “cB” are more likely and those coded “CB” almost certain to be purposeful changes.

    On the other hand, the hilarious “statuses” => “statues” gaffe is not conceivably purposeful.

    Many of the meaning changes show no obvious Bias, but simply imply that the writer simply does not understand the topic. But many are purposeful, and if you look at the cB and CB items there, since every one is a part of a summary of an identified source, every one should be evaluated to see if its’ a fabrication…

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Sharp observation.

      Note that in the case of the Summaries, it isn’t even as if you can choose between Plagiarism and Fabrication: any intentional change of meaning is a fabrication, period. A Summary is supposed to, well, summarise the paper, not distort it. Compared to that, the copy-pasting is almost hilarious.

    • Now, in the last few days, the blogosphere has generated an amazing variety of bizarre non-reasons for why this can’t possibly be plagiarism.

      Storied incoherence of the “climate skeptics,” migrated to another domain. Not surprising, since after all it’s exactly the same crowd. What’s truly astounding is how elastic the standards of probity are for these folks; it’s only slightly hyperbolic to say that a misplaced semicolon in a climate researcher’s writeup is grounds for resignation or dismissal, whereas the minimums of acceptable behavior for the “skeptic” case side so far have not been plumbed. Even Monckton has not been overtly rejected so much as quietly and gently moved toward the attic for a discrete retirement.

  76. Hey DC:

    Your old friend of science Tim Ball mentions the plagiarism charges in the Canada Free Press story “Climate Science Corruption: Practiced And Perpetuated By Scientific Societies”. This means that small town Canada will be getting the story (from him) in their free daily newspaper…


    • I’ll pull a “Monckton” and reveal that Ball and Lewis et al are “Non compos mentis”.

      They have completely lost it and/or are just plain dishonest.

  77. Up thread, I was asked “What’s next”?

    I’d like to finish posts on the following two topics:
    – Likely scope of the GMU investigation
    – Detailed analysis of errors and distortions in Wegman 2.1 section on tree-rings.

    Obviously, the tree-ring example John Mashey raises will figure in both. But a brief comment now might be appropriate. The quotes below can be found in the side-by-side comparison.

    Here is the last half paragraph from Wegman 2.1 (tree-ring section):

    Once there is reasonable confidence that the tree ring signal reflects a temperature signal, and then a calibration is performed using the derived tree ring data and instrumented temperature data. 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.

    The corresponding passage in Bradley 10.2.4:

    Once a master chronology of standardized ring-width indices has been obtained, the next step is to develop a model relating variations in these indices to variations in climatic data. This process is known as calibration, whereby a statistical procedure is used to find the optimum solution for converting growth measurements into climatic estimates. If an equation can be developed that accurately describes instrumentally observed climatic variability in terms of tree growth over the same interval, then paleoclimatic reconstructions can be made using only the tree-ring data. In this section, a brief summary of the methods used in tree-ring calibration is given.

    As I’ve noted previously, the citation of Bradley could be read as applying to this passage on calibration (but obviously not to the preceding discussion), and indeed Wegman et al follow the structure of the Bradley passage quite closely. (By the way, this passage is clearly marked as a paraphrase, and so is not considered part of the apparent plagiarism, at least in my analysis).

    The most natural interpretation of this statement is that tree-ring proxies must be combined with other proxies to produce a temperature reconstruction. Thus, there appears to be an obvious contradiction and misrepresentation of Bradley here, which is clearly unacceptable. However a determination as to whether this was (a) deliberate misrepresentation, (b) extreme incompetence and bias, or (c) something in between, necessarily rests on a detailed examination of the provenance of this sentence.

    For example, it is possible that this sentence was inserted or changed following the feedback from so-called climate experts that Wegman has claimed were consulted. Or perhaps it is based on some other uncited “grey literature” source provided by Barton staffer Peter Spencer. Clearly the GMU investigation has to examine this issue very carefully.

    And make no mistake – this is not a minor point. It’s bad enough that Wegman et al’s statement that “tree ring proxy data alone is not sufficient to determine past climate variables” contradicts Bradley (the apparently cited source). It also sweeps away the entire corpus of tree-ring based temperature reconstructions without any substantiation or justification whatsoever.

  78. Yes to all that DC says above.

    In fact, this is one of the delicious ironies.

    1) In the last week or so have sprung up an amazing number of people who have suddenly become experts on academic misconduct, but share characteristics:

    a) They are 100% sure that there is no plagiarisim, or at least any plagiarism that matters in the Wegman Report.
    b) They have a wide variety of reasons, sometimes contradictory.
    c) They apparently have not studied the relevant academic and agency policies (the DHHS ORI one is actually the deadliest, which in most schools would cause expedited response), talked to numerous academic experts, publishers, editors, and people who do expert witnessing for copyright litigation … unlike me. Nevertheless, they are sure there is no problem. Many are sure, without even studying thre relevant pieces of SSWR or DC’s side-by-sides. One thinks SSWR is wrong because it only linked to DC’s description of 10 pages, and did not copy everything there into SSWR.

    But back to the most delicious argument.
    One common argument is the that the citation of Bradley at the end of the tree-rings covers the whole thing. That is clearly nonsense, by GMU’s own comments (and many others).

    But suppose it somehow were true and that whole section should be taken as citing Bradley. THEN, the Bradley inversion sure looks to me like FABRICATION, especially given the constant weakenings of Bradley inserted elsewhere. FABRICATION is probably worse than plagiarism, which sometimes be written off to sloppiness.

    I wrote on p.3 of SSWR:

    “• Of 91 pages, 35 are mostly plagiarized, but injected with biases, errors or changed meanings that often weaken or invert original results. Some might thus also be called fabrication. DC found 10 pages that plagiarize uncredited sources. Then 25 pages summarize papers, but with extensive plagiarism. Text of “striking similarity” to the originals totals 81% of the words, but 50% is word-for-word identical, cut-and-paste.
    • Obvious plagiarism needs so little explanation that fabrications are not generally enumerated, especially as some errors might be attributed to incompetence. Either issue is taken seriously in academe.”

    A related argument is that it is *impossible* for summaries of cited sources to be plagiarized … also nonsense …
    but if so, then there’s W.11.4 Summaries issue tally
    and at the very least the 4 categorized “B” and “C” (in caps), and in Bold seem especially obvious candidates for fabrication, as they all make explicit change to the text to change meaning significantly.

    • John,

      The vast majority of people who are paying attention don’t have the first clue about academic misconduct. As DC knows, and he is free to verify this with you, I do. What we see with Wegman, the report, the publications, and the doctoral theses, are without a doubt potential violations of the standards of academic scholarship sufficient to warrant allegations of research misconduct. Note I said allegations, as that is all that matters. Once the federal agencies are brought into the picture, the entire scenario changes, and no longer can there be a coverup or white-wash. Federal agencies communicate research misconduct allegations with each other, when a PI is funded from more than one agency. As you note, a simple perusal of the ORI website will clearly show the consequences of research misconduct findings. It isn’t pretty, and it is publicized widely.

      At any University with academic standards, plagiarism is not simply written off. For a compare and contrast example, see Ohio University versus Ohio State University. The first did nothing when dozens of theses were plagiarized; they allowed rewrites and even when the rewrites contained plagiarism, then refuse to address the matter. Compare that to the recent example from Ohio State, where a doctoral degree was revoked by the Board of Trustees for plagiarism of the same magnitude as that alleged against Wegman, including removal of the dissertation from libraries and return of the diploma. There can be enormous consequences to simple plagiarism, especially when it concerns peer-reviewed publications and doctoral dissertations.


    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Gawd, I ran into a more extreme version at WUWT.

      Someone (well, two someones, namely ZT and Glenn) feel that a coauthor of Bradley used the same paragraph that he himself wrote in a report to the World Bank and a paper, both written around the same time. They claimed that this was somehow sinful. I checked the Wiki entry of plagiarism, and although reworking an accepted paper and resubmitting it, using small chunks of text which you wrote in another context is not considered to be unethical.

      But they have become so insanely fixated on finding problems in other places (including forgetting to mention references and the order in which stuff was published) that it has become pretty entertaining…

  79. Rattus Norvegicus

    I messed that up. What I meant was that reworking an accepted paper and resubmitting to another journal is considered unethical, the sort of thing which they discovered was not.

  80. Sam:
    1) re: people not having the first clue: this is certainly true. it has been most fascinating to see the novel ideas being claimed as clear truth…

    2) I’m familiar with the ORI website (I cited 3 URLs on SSWR p.189) and for example: ‘AskORI (atsign) hhs.gov’
    Summary: big funder, not good to mess with, teeth.

    3) Now, the far more interesting question:

    a) Suppose Said, et al (2008) is found to contain plagiarism.

    b) it cited a NIAAA (part of DHHS) contract and two Army contracts.

    c) I am unable to understand why NIAAA (alcoholism) should pay for poor-quality social network analysis that leaps to unwarranted conclusions about paleoclimate peer review. The Army contracts aren’t easy either.
    That also feels like mis-use of funds, although I am less familiar with that. Wegman&Said have a number of papers whose Ack’d funding I don’t know, but would love to see.

    Do you know any examples like that?

    4) Finally, we have the big issue.
    The Ohio U issue: that was for theses, but presumably without the external funding issues.
    a) What does it take for ORI to decide a university can’t properly
    investigate research misconduct?
    b) What does ORI do then? Know any cases?

    5) People may find
    note from GMU provost interesting.

    • John,

      Investigation of academic misconduct such as plagiarism in a graduate thesis is completely unrelated to funding, if any. The Ohio State case was a Ph.D. in Anthropology. There was no federal funding. These such matters are internal to the university, even if funded. I will check with the ORI, but I do not think they would be interested in doctoral dissertations.

      If ORI is not satisfied with an investigation, they will refuse to accept it and make the university do it again. Furthermore, the Complainant has the right to appeal any decision, and his/her appeal must be considered by the investigating body, under the supervision of ORI. I know of cases where an initial investigation was found unacceptable by ORI, and they made the university reconvene the committee to consider additional evidence. The committee changed its verdict as a result.

      People do research not directly related to grants all the time. That is how you get preliminary studies for another grant. Obviously you need to do the proposed work, or else you won’t get your grant renewed. Misuse of funds would be very hard to prove, and is far more a matter of opinion than research misconduct.

      If you have specific papers in mind, and you can’t get them, I can try and get them for you. Let me know the references. DC can tell you where to send them.

      Rattus, reusing one’s own work is called self-plagiarism, and is NOT considered research misconduct. It is a copyright issue that is rarely, if ever and issue. Many scientists republish figures without attribution to earlier publications, and while this is not kosher, it isn’t considered a big deal. I know this for a fact, because I have sat on a Committee of Initial Inquiry where this issue was relevant. We did not find this to constitute research misconduct, but gently chastised the author for being sloppy.

  81. Sam: thanks.
    Life has been busy, mabye I wasn’t clear enough. I had written:
    “4) Finally, we have the big issue.
    The Ohio U issue: that was for theses, but presumably without the external funding issues.”
    I.e., we agree 100% that (unless externally-funded), theses are university-internal.

    The problem here is the Ack in the SAid, et al(2008) article:
    ““The work of Dr. Yasmin Said was supported in part by the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism under grant 1 F32 AA015876-01A1. The work of Dr. Edward Wegman was supported in part by the Army Research Office under contract W911NF-04-1-0447. The work of Dr. Said and Dr. Wegman was also supported in part by the Army Research Laboratory under contract W911NF-07-1-0059. ”
    [see SSWR Appendix A.7.]
    There is a clear plagiarism issue.
    There is also no obvious reason why any of these 3 should be supporting this particular research.

    Finally,in light of everything else, this is pretty minor, but Yasmin Said got a Ruth L. Kirschstein post-doc fellowship from NIH, 2006-2009, I think.
    Possibly, this was in some part based on her PhD work, which of course had the alcohol plagiarism. I don’t know if that’s an issue for NIH or not.

  82. John,
    I think you are in “violent agreement” with Sam. He is merely pointing out that ORI is only interested in federally-funded work. That obviously includes Said et al 2008 – no one is disputing that.

  83. An NIH funded postdoc (Said’s F32 grant) would be responsible to ORI for any allegations of research misconduct. The host institution (GMU) would be responsible for adjudicating any allegation. Her postdoctoral work led to the Said, et al. (2008) publication. If the NIH ORI receives an allegation of research misconduct that involves other federal agencies (i.e., DoD), then the ORI will communicate such allegations to that agency. Generally, the ORI handles the details, sort of by default, but will work with these other agencies in the case that the PI is found to have committed research misconduct with respect to sanctions.

    If the Wegman report did not cite or use federal funding, it is an internal affair for the VP for Research at GMU. If a publication by Wegman, et al. lists federal support for that research, then it is both the federal government’s and GMU’s affair, regardless of which co-author received the funding. A doctoral thesis at GMU would be an internal affair for the Graduate School or Provost.

  84. Sam & DC:
    Yes, we are in violent agreement.

    The WR itself Ack’d no Federal funding, although I did raise the subtle issue that the Said, et al(2008) paper re-used a chunk of work from the WR & surrounding effort (i.e., reply to Stupak that had Sharabati’s work.)

    So, it was pro bono at the time, but perhaps the work was used later to have another paper to show, Acking contracts that really had nothing to do with this. I think I quoted some of Wegman’s citations for his Army contract. I had trouble matching them up.

    Of course, no one ever gets a grant for work already done 🙂

  85. To summarize, there are three separate cases of alleged plagiarism:

    (1) Wegman Report – this has been reported in the Bradley complaint but is not of concern to the federal agencies. GMU has completed their Initial Inquiry and found the charges to have substance. Consequently, GMU is proceeding to a full investigation;

    (2) Said, et al. (2008) – reported to NIH ORI, who will forward it to DoD and GMU. This will require another (or the same) Committee of Initial Inquiry, which must decide whether the charge is substantive and consequently whether the allegations should go forward into a full investigation. This process will be monitored by the NIH ORI and DoD and any decision made by and/or sanctions imposed by GMU must be acceptable to these agencies and/or will be imposed by these agencies;

    (3) Said doctoral dissertation – reported to GMU Provost but is not of concern to the federal agencies. This will require a separate investigation by either the Dean of the relevant Graduate School or the Provost at GMU. This is purely an academic issue.

    To date, it has been publicly acknowledged by GMU that (1) has occurred. There is no public information available on (2) and (3), although information on (2) will likely be forthcoming shortly. It is unclear at this point whether (3) has been reported to GMU.

  86. Regarding (2), USA Today reported:

    “In response to earlier concerns raised by the Deep Climate website, Bradley says he wrote a letter in April (letter dated March 5, 2010, see Update below) to GMU, noting the possibility of plagiarism and demanding an investigation of both the 2006 report and a subsequent, federally-funded study published by some of Wegman’s students.”

    So we know that GMU has known about Said et al 2008 since April. (Slight corrections to the quote: a) Wegman was also a co-author of this paper and b) The allegations concerning plagiarism of SNA material in Wegman report and Said et al must have been sent separately in April, not March, as I only published the post last April 22.)

    As far as I can tell, GMU has not explicitly said whether or not any action has been taken on Said et al 2008, or whether it was part of the same inquiry as the Wegman report. Since the inquiry started so late, there would be little excuse not to have added Said et al to the inquiry scope.

    Be that as it may, they definitely have known about it for almost six months.

    • DC,

      As you know, my concern here is that too much attention is focused on the Wegman report. It isn’t a scholarly work (in more ways than one). Said, et al. (2008) and Said’s dissertation are. The consequences are far greater for research misconduct in papers and dissertations. The Wegman report is nothing but a piece of political propaganda, and since all politicians lie, and Wegman produced this at the request of a politician, then the Wegman report is _________ (fill in the blank).

      This is getting boring. Where’s Donald Rapp when you need him?

    • Sam,
      I take your point. But there are many who see the Wegman report as part of the scholarly literature, even though it clearly isn’t. For example, McShane and Wyner used the Wegman Report as their primary source for their overview of the “academic literature” on the “hockey stick” controversy. And that was deemed acceptable, apparently, by the responsible editor at Annals of Applied Statistics.

      Also the CS&DA article was an extension of the bogus analysis in the Wegman report, and so can only be fully understood in that context.

      But I have a feeling the focus will shift, as the various implications become more widely understood.

  87. Well, there are 2 more PhD dissertations, Sharabati(2008) and Rezazad (2009), again, internal.

    In addition, I always remind people that in the GMU procedures, there is:

    a) Quick look, should there be an inquiry?
    b) Inquiry, which just says “enough to investigate” (small committee)
    c) investigation

    The problem is that it’s hard to tell, when someone talks to press, that when “investigation” is siad, does it mean (c) or does it more colloquailly mean (b) or (c)?

    Anyway, be careful of over-interpreting the words.

  88. Better late than never:

    Here are pointers to material most relevant to the allegations of plagiarism that were sent to George Mason University last March and April.

    Wegman et al 2.1 Tree Rings:
    Discussion Comparison

    Wegman et al 2.1 Ice cores and corals:
    Discussion Comparison

    Wegman et al 2.3 Social Networks:
    Discussion Comparison

    Said et al 2008 (Computational Statistics & Data Analysis):
    Discussion Comparison (Same discussion as Social Networks above)

    As Sam notes, the latter allegation regards federally-funded scholarly work, and is thus subject to oversight by the Office of Research Integrity, with potential serious consequences.

  89. Rattus Norvegicus


    Congrats, you made it onto Bill Maher!

  90. Rattus Norvegicus

    For an example of plagiarism which parallels the incidences found by John Mashey:


    h/t to CapitalClimate at the Eli’s joint.

    • Rattus,

      I agree, that Chronicle article has distinct parallels to the current case. One of the striking aspects is that–in hindsight–Prof. Fischer seemed to risk a lot by this (seeming) plagiarism, for little gain. Yet he did what he did. Likewise for the Wegman Report authors. In the latter case, extensive citing and quoting of explanatory material would have seemed quite ordinary, given that expectations for “original scholarly work” in that report were lower than for an academic monograph or article.

      Prof. Sokal participates in the later part of that comments thread, and responds to some criticisms.

      [DC: But the apparent plagiarism, and numerous errors introduced, also demonstrate clearly that Wegman et al did not understand the background material on paleoclimatology and social networks, thus undermining the credibility of the entire report. And, by the way, that pattern of introducing errors whenever source material has been altered is present throughout the report.

      Wegman et al did not even describe the Mann reconstruction technique properly, nor the MM 2003 paper. How can we have any confidence in their analysis of these papers? We can’t. ]

  91. Steve McIntyre has a new piece up at CA that is pertinent to this thread.

    [DC: McIntyre appears to be nitpicking about several figures that were attributed by Bradley to Fritts and where Bradley used the same captions.

    Does he seriously think this is going to fly? ]

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      He can’t be serious?! The man has lost it.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      The good news is that McIntyre has placed his credibility in the same basket as Wegman, and will take a serious hit when Wegman goes down.

      BTW the Wabett is calling for the Wegman report to be formally retracted. Elegant proposal… could be part of an out-of-court deal.

  92. DC,

    Bart Verheggen is asking about the scope of the GMU investigation. There also seem to be some common misconceptions by people posting there trying to defend Wegman.

    Your (and John’s insight) and knowledge on this matter are needed over there…

  93. “BTW the Wabett is calling for the Wegman report to be formally retracted. ”

    Bradley wants it pulled from the Congressional Archives; if so, he will not prosecute. I assume this is the same thing.

    As for McI, the new post is c**p, and I wonder if Bradley could take legal action.

  94. Gavin's Pussycat

    BCL, thanks. I think you mean ‘he will not sue’ 😉 I’m not convinced that this is wise of Bradley. The meek inherit nothing.

  95. Here is the relevant quote from Rapp given at CA (H/t via BCL):

    Bradley is now accusing Wegman of plagiarism (as you know). Bradley says in an email that he will not prosecute Wegman if Wegman removes his report [the Wegman Report] from the Congressional Archives.

    It’s not clear what “prosecute” means in that context. It could refer to a hypothetical law suit, but it could also refer to the plagiarism complaint itself.

  96. PolyisTCOandbanned

    There’s a pattern of plagiarism, with the Said papers being most troubling. While you can make arguments about where to draw the line in terms of methods and background summaries, I think when you put Wegman report in the context of that, it’s pretty good evaluation of plagiarism.

    I don’t think Bradley should push for having the report withdrawn from the ARchives. Not in favor of McCarthyism from any direction. Whether the evaluations of Mann are right or wrong, it is good for different views to be expressed. Would be really bad for Bradley to use this kerfuffle as a wedge in a different dispute. Plus, really, Wegman has no control of what is in the archive now.

    I think a reasonable resolution would be for Wegman to rewrite the report properly, changing the plagiarism by proper rewrites and citations. Probablyt would be pretty easy, especially with some heading sentences like “summary drawn heavily from ref A”. And penning an apology for the areas where he plagiarized.

    The attempts by McI and the like to justify this sort of thing with very weak examples of “Team” doing the like are just silly. Really depressed that my side tends to [edit] shoot itself in the foot so much [end -edit]. It’s been a several year silliness and is just getting lame.

    • TCO,
      Your solution won’t work for several reasons.

      The alleged plagiarism is massive – up to about ~35 pages. Each and every one of those pages has also had errors introduced in the process of copying. All of those errors would have to be corrected, and all of those pages would have to be substantially reworked.

      The actual problems of attribution depend on which section we are discussing. In the tree-ring section, there is one long quote that should have been block-quoted. But then the additional unattributed material within that block would be lost (probably a good thing). Other parts have unclear or inadequate attribution and would either need to be amended and properly sourced, or else removed (example: comments concerning carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide). The paraphrased sections, besides improper attribution, also contain many errors and unsubstantiated distortions (e.g. concerning low frequency and supposed impossibility of reconstructions based on “tree-ring proxy data alone”).

      Perhaps worse, is the focus on irrelevant detail, while omitting key points. The authors don’t even understand the difference between a single tree-ring sample series and a site chronology. Their understanding of this important distinction is so poor that Wegman actually thought the 1400 North American tree-ring network at the centre of the PCA controversy consisted of 70 trees, not a network of ~70 site chronologies. See this comment (and read it very, very carefully).

      The social networks background section essentially consists of extremely long lightly edited verbatim extractions from three different sources. “Fixing” it would essentially turn it into a bunch of long blockquotes strung together. But that brings us to another problem. The whole report is riddled with errors and questionable analysis. In particular, the bogus co-authorship analysis and its conclusions concerning peer-review were highly speculative with no whatsoever basis in the extensive SNA literature on the issue. And it was not even in the stated mandate of the report, although it certainly addressed the unstated but clear mandate of Barton and Whitfield: to discredit climate scientists by any means possible.

      Even the sections discussing MBH and MM contain numerous errors and omissions, which I have discussed before and will again. The exclusion of any substantive discussion of Wahl and Ammann 2006, or indeed any discussion of PC retention/selection rules, was particularly egregious.

      Face it: The Wegman report is irretrievably broken and can’t be fixed. If it is to be retained on the record, perhaps an independent panel of climate scientists, SNA experts and statisticians could be mandated to produce an annotated version of the report, detailing each and every problem in it.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      I don’t think Bradley should push for having the report withdrawn from the ARchives. Not in favor of McCarthyism from any direction. Whether the evaluations of Mann are right or wrong, it is good for different views to be expressed. Would be really bad for Bradley to use this kerfuffle as a wedge in a different dispute. Plus, really, Wegman has no control of what is in the archive now.

      TCO, I think you are missing precisely what is meant with ‘retraction’. It isn’t Fahrenheit 451, hunting down and burning every copy… it is what happens also with a scientific paper when the authors realize that it has fatal flaws affecting the central conclusions, flaws that cannot be addressed with a corrigendum. The paper remains on the record, with the added understanding of its flawedness.

      A recent example is this:


    • The attempts by McI and the like to justify this sort of thing with very weak examples of “Team” doing the like are just silly. Really depressed that my side tends to [edit] shoot itself in the foot so much [end -edit]. It’s been a several year silliness and is just getting lame.

      Well, at least, for me personally, I see some wheat being separated from the chaff. I have definitely given up on Lucia Liljegren and the commenters on her blog. Except for AMac they all have their heads stuck firmly in the sand. If this issue can’t make them see how they are being played, nothing else ever will.

  97. Anyone noticed that the media is strangely quiet on this topic? You would have thought that the destruction of the sceptics’ major weapon against Mann would warrent some interest from them.

  98. It seems you have underestimated McIntyre DC. Your attempt to use plagiarism to undermine Wegman has backfired spectacularly. Strange how there is no mention of how you and Bradley have been eviscerated by CA on these pages.

    On second thoughts it’s not so strange – is it?

    [DC: Actually, itMcIntyre’s new false accusations against Bradley were mentioned yesterday, and again today. You simply haven’t been paying attention. By the way, McIntyre has made many accusations of plagiarism and other misconduct before, with no apparent basis. Now he’s accusing Bradley of plagiarism, but it should be noted that McIntyre’s previous accusations of misconduct and plagiarism against Wahl and Ammann have gone absolutely nowhere. And neither will this smear of Bradley. For good reason.

    I also note that McIntyre has yet to discuss the other substantial and documented allegations of plagiarism in the Wegman report as promised. He hasn’t even looked at all of the copying from Bradley! Nor has he bothered with the allegation of plagiarism in the federally-funded Said et al 2008 (including Wegman as co-author), a matter which will be under the oversight of the NIH Office of Research Integrity.

    Not to mention all the other issues unearthed, like the evident pattern of errors and bias, or the control of the “independent” Wegman panel by Peter Spencer, who apparently chose the research and “grey literature” examined by Wegman et al. Or the lack of peer review, in contradiction to Barton’s and Whitfield’s claims.

    As you say: McIntyre’s silence on all of these topics is strange, isn’t it? Or not. ]

    • This is sooooo going to backfire on McIntyre. One has to wonder what the CA audience will do when Wegman gets a slap on his hands for poor scholarship (let’s be honest, a plagiarism complaint won’t get more, I doubt even the Said et al article will result in more than a slap), and a period with increased oversight by the administrative office of his university.

  99. “Eviscerated.” I like that word.

    Another word I like is “bombastic.” Look it up, Maqfly.

  100. Actually, withdrawal can be a vague term. Retraction is more precise.
    For example, Elsevier says this.

    “Article Retraction
    The retraction of an article by its authors or the editor under the advice of members of the scholarly community has long been an occasional feature of the learned world. Standards for dealing with retractions have been developed by a number of library and scholarly bodies, and this best practice is adopted for article retraction by Elsevier:
    * A retraction note titled “Retraction: [article title]” signed by the authors and/or the editor is published in the paginated part of a subsequent issue of the journal and listed in the contents list.
    * In the electronic version, a link is made to the original article.
    * The online article is preceded by a screen containing the retraction note. It is to this screen that the link resolves; the reader can then proceed to the article itself.
    * The original article is retained unchanged save for a watermark on the .pdf indicating on each page that it is “retracted.”
    * The HTML version of the document is removed.”

    So, perhaps a WR watermark saying “Not safe for children, enter here only if you know it is junk.”

  101. DC
    You accuse CA of a smear but move smoothly on and ignore his well documented and referenced argument.
    Either CA is making false accusations or not. Presumably you can demonstrate the errors. Mere allegations mean precisely nothing without evidence and are not worthy.

    [DC: I answered already with respect to McIntyre’s “analysis”. Figures in Bradley 1985 (!) were attributed to Fritts 1976, but McIntyre suggests that the captions should also have been attributed to … Fritts. Yes, I fail to see a coherent argument.

    In fact, McIntyre has made many accusations of plagiarism and misconduct against climate scientists over the years. All McIntyre has proven is that he has no idea what research or academic misconduct actually is. ]

    Meanwhile what is the difference between what Wegman is accused of and what Bradley did?

    [DC: That has already been answered, and at great length too. As I said before, you aren’t paying attention. If you can’t focus on the real issues, may I suggest you choose another venue. Thanks! ]

    • but McIntyre suggests that the captions should also have been attributed

      That’s his accusation? That the figure has been properly attributed, but not the caption, that it somehow needs double-attribution?

      That’s insane.

      What’s next, that the attributed author’s name needs to be separately attributed somehow?

      And each letter in the author’s name needs to be properly referenced, too?


      And, yes, I’ve written professionally (as in the sense of “being published and paid for it”).

  102. I’m sorry DC but it is you who is not keeping up.

    [DC: You appear to be referring to my statements that you “weren’t paying attention”. The fact is that not once, but twice, you accused me of not mentioning issues that I had addressed. ]

    Your assertions that Bradley attributed correctly are demonstrated to be abundantly incorrect. CA is many things but his forensic skills are undeniable. There can be no doubt that Bradley has been caught with his trousers down. Shouting liar liar pants on fire won’t pull them up again.

    [DC: McIntyre has been demonstrated to be wrong time and time again, notably in his specious “hide the decline” accusations.

    Regular readers know that the bold face indicates that my patience with your misrepresentations is wearing out, and the cheerful denouement of your presence here is at hand. So here’s my (unilateral) deal. I will address McIntyre’s latest false accusation in considerably more detail than it merits (in a following comment), and in return you will never post here again. Thanks!]

  103. Let’s go over the first McIntyre accusation in the Bradley Copies Fritts post in much more detail than it merits.

    Here is the start of McIntyre’s exposition:

    Bradley 1985 Figure 10.2
    Bradley 1985 Figure 10.2 is identical to Fritts 1976 Figure 1.5 and Fritts 1971 Figure 3.

    (Fritts 1971 is “Dendroclimatology and dendroecology” in Quaternary Research, while Fritts 1976 is the text book Tree Rings and Climate).

    The “accusation” is that Bradley attributed (correctly, apparently, since that is the original source) a figure to Fritts 1971, but that the caption used was from the same figure in Fritts 1976. This, according to McIntyre, is evidence of … well, in true McIntyre fashion he doesn’t say precisely. But it’s copying “WITHOUT CITATION”, which is what Wegman did, so Bradley is thus open to the same allegations of plagiarism. Or something like that.

    Over at A Few Things Ill Considered, Coby Beck argues that McIntyre’s suggestion of equivalent misconduct is “slander” and that at worst “Bradley mistakenly cited Fritts 1971 when he meant Fritts 1976.” (Coby has more patience than I; I’m glad he’s taken this on).

    That’s a possible interpretation of what Bradley did, but even that is probably overstating it. I’m guessing that McIntyre also omitted the citation of the figure in Fritts 1976, which I’m virtually certain was to Fritts 1971 where the figure originally appeared. And the figure is identical in any case as even McIntyre admits. Bradley (or his editor) may have assumed that the figure caption had not changed.

    So what is the correct attribution in such a case? “Fritts 1971, 1976”? “Fritts 1971, updated Fritts 1976”? We’re probably not even talking about a mistaken attribution, but perhaps – at the very, very most – an incomplete citation. This is supposed to be compelling evidence of plagiarism? What a crock.

  104. The ringing endorsements for McIntyre’s latest false accusations are pouring in … not. But here’s Marc Morano on – wait for it – BradleyGate. Yeah, that’ll catch on.

    BradleyGate: RealClimate.org Propagandist Raymond Bradley Accused of Copying 1976 Book — ‘Bradley’s copying is not just incidental’ — Accused of failing to use citations ([email deleted])

    (Perhaps Bradley spent too much time with slippery pal Michael Mann) He (Prof. Bradley) who accuses others of copying, now accused of copying without attribution

    Propagandist and professional slimeball Morano must be really excited about this one – he almost wrote two more or less complete sentences (sans periods, however).

    There’s even a BradleyGate website – oops, no, that’s about alleged local corruption in Wolverhampton, wherever that is (and, no, I don’t care).

    Being called a “propagandist” by Morano is surely a badge of honour. Other scientists so labelled (or perhaps that should be “libelled”) by Morano include Stephen Schneider, Gavin Schmidt and Gerald North.

    McIntyre and Morano … the new M&M.

  105. Pingback: One of these things is not like the other… « The Policy Lass

  106. Nope. Bradley threw some stones. Shouldn’t have. Dumb move. Opened up a Pandora’s box. Gonna swallow up a bunch of climate “scientists”. The ghost of Fritts haunts the blogs. And he’s p***ed.

    [DC: By the way, Harold Fritts is very much alive. And he may very well be “p***ed”. But not at Bradley. ]

  107. Policy Lass has good comments for a useful perspective, having done work for government. Also has good graphics.

    Meanwhile, I keep reminding people that plagiarism is merely the obvious tip of the iceberg, which all by itself exposes claims of expertise. It’s only a small fraction of the problems with the Wegman Report. Wikipedia on types of lies is actually fairly useful.

    There is certainly fabrication, but I think on can find several others in the WR, including “careful speaking,” exaggeration”, “misleading” either in the WR itself or in testimony.

  108. “McIntyre and Morano … the new M&M.”

    I like that.

    I think I can see what is happening here. Stephen McInyre is furious and panicking– his beloved Wegman report has been compromised and he might be implicated/caught in the fall out. He made a huge strategic error by tying himself to the WR and now he risks going down with Wegman. So to try and distract people from the failings in Wegman (and his possible role in it), he is resorting to attacking and defaming Bradley. And the uncritical CA zombies are eating up like candy, no surprises there. But does McI really think that another witch hunt is going to serve him well in the long run? People get uncomfortable talking about motives, but either McIntyre is completely obsessed and blinded by his vendetta against “The Team”, or someone is making it worth his while to stoop so low and go to all this trouble. IMHO, some more in-depth

    I sincerely hope that someone comes down on McIntyre et al. like a tonne of bricks for this irresponsible, malicious and juvenile behavior. And some people are trying to nominate McIntyre to be awarded the order of Canada?

    Again, let me state what McIntyre is on the public record saying:
    ““Everything that I’ve done in this, I’ve done in good faith,”

  109. bfjcricklewood

    Being on government money, Policy Lass will invariably come down on the side that favours the interests of government, ie man-made warming requiring political interference to correct it. Given the huge political implications, we are probably best off dismissing the views of anyone on political money who takes a view likely to advance the the role of politics in society.

    [DC: If you want to put forward tin-foil hat “AGW is a socialist big government plot” theories, you’ll have to do it somewhere else. Not here. Thanks! ]

  110. CA has made much of a claim that Fritts listed CO2 among factors affecting tree ring width, and that Bradley removed it (and Wegman reinstated it). This is based on a misleading quote from fritts. In the context, Fritts is talking about factors affecting plant growth, not tree ring width. And given the context, in no way could Bradley said to be copying, following, or in any other way relating to Fritts on this point. CO2 was well known to affect plant growth. Fritts did not assert as fact that it affects tree-ring width.

    • Let’s look at the Bradley quote and the changes made in the Wegman report:

      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 throughout the year even carbon dioxide availability in the atmosphere.

      The first point to notice is that Bradley is discussing the factors that affect mean ring width *in a particular* tree, as compared to trees in general. Obviously atmospheric composition can be considered a constant in this context. And Fritts mentioned oxygen *and* carbon dioxide, but you don’t see anyone complaining about Bradley’s omission of oxygen.

      But it gets worse. Bradley lists various “climatic factors”, including “their distribution throughout the year”. Obviously “carbon dioxide” is not a climatic factor. And it certainly does not have a “distribution throughout the year”. The removal of the phrase does have the effect of making the inclusion of carbon dioxide as a “climatic factor” slightly less nonsensical on its face. Of course, without a clear detailed explanation of the provenance of these changes, it’s impossible to say how deliberate this was, or if it was only (!) gross incompetence and bias.

      I suppose I should get to my detailed enumeration and discussion of all the errors in Wegman’s tree-ring section soon, as it looks like the self-appointed auditors aren’t up to the job.

  111. Truly a laugh a day here. Here’s DC’s latest joke:

    ‘Bradley lists various “climatic factors”, including “their distribution throughout the year”. Obviously “carbon dioxide” is not a climatic factor.’

    So at last the truth is out, and the IPCC can be closed down, while governments everywhere should demand retraction of every journal paper claiming, falsely, that carbon dioxide is a climatic factor.

    [DC: There is of course a difference between climatic factors and factors which *affect* climate. The climatic factors listed by Bradley (and Wegman) that affect individual tree-ring growth include sunlight, precipitation, temperature, wind speed and humidity. Clearly carbon dioxide does not belong on this list. ]

    It gets better:

    DC: ‘And it [CO2] certainly does not have a “distribution throughout the year”. ‘

    DC: do check out the annual data series on [CO2] at Mauna Loa (CDIAC) to see the very clear changes in distribution throughout the year, with [CO2] down in the NH summer EVERY year, when trees are growing but without doing anything to their tree rings (according to Nick Stokes).

    [DC: The annual cycle of CO2 is such that it varies by about +/-1% over the course of the year. Perhaps I should have been more precise and referred to an annual distribution characterized by extremely small variation throughout the year, and broadly speaking, uniform spatially. Unlike the real climatic factors that affect individual tree-ring growth.

    Even in the limited cases where the anthropogenic increase in CO2 (a non-climatic factor, albeit affecting climate) is held to cause tree-ring growth via fertilization, there is no suggestion that the “distribution” through the year could possibly have an effect. Which is no doubt why the phrase was removed in Wegman. I suppose you are suggesting that it should have been left in. ]

    There is however one true statement…”gross incompetence and bias [of DC]”.

    [DC: So you say. Others may beg to differ. ]

  112. DC, “there is no suggestion that the “distribution” [of CO2] through the year could possibly have an effect.”

    The impacts of the marked seasonal variability of factors such as net radiation and/or temperature at high latitude sites are of far more importance for tree growth than the small seasonal variation in CO2 (a well-mixed gas). For example,


    No mention of any impact of seasonal variability of CO2 on tree growth in the above paper.

    Thanks for dropping by to entertain us Curtin. You lot are really grasping at straws, and it seems are willing to any lengths to try and distract from the gross incompetence and poor scholarship of which the WR has now become an icon.

  113. [DC: The annual cycle of CO2 is such that it varies by about +/-1% over the course of the year….

    And of course, CO2 variation is much less than that over the brief growing season of the high-altitude/high-latitude trees in question…

  114. DC – I stand by all my comments.

    [Rest of comment, including repetition of previous points and accusations of lying about the CO2 annual cycle deleted.]

    [DC: Fine. Readers can read the exchange and decide for themselves. I’m really not interested in discussing further. Further information, including Tim Curtin’s presentations and recent papers in Energy and Environment, are available at his website. ]

    • Tim,

      You are presented with facts (i.e., the Nature paper) and your blase reply is simply “I stand by all my comments”. Well you convinced me (sarc). Stand by them and look the fool, no skin of our backs.

      The inability of “skeptics” to concede any point, no matter how trial, is truly astounding.

  115. Any comment on the apparent largescale “replication” of previously published work by Bradley (1999), which you claim is the “seminal” work in this field?

  116. Well, Donald Rapp continues to inform, albeit perhaps inadvertently, as at WUWT, he tells us:
    “Tim Curtin is a distinguished climatologist. I have profited from his papers and reports from his website.”

    I am sure the University of Southern California must be pleased.

    Bernard J made fine efforts to elicit real information, but this was at least amusing.

  117. Also note, Bradley’s topic was paleoclimate – i.e. records for the past few thousand years. During which (except for the past 100 years and a bit) CO2 was remarkably constant. So CO2 is very unlikely to be a factor in tree rings before the present century. It may be an issue in calibration of course…

    • Not only that, but the CO2 record had little accurate data in 1985. In fact, this Nature paper seems to be about the first – goes back about 200 years, and appeared in May 1985, the same year as Bradley’s book. As they say, there was really only a tiny window of data from 1958-1985 at that time.

  118. I actually think Bradley paraphrasing Fritts as shown on CA (the running text-bit, not the preposterous BS about images and captions) is a bit like Rapp paraphrasing Wegman. One paleoclimatologist citing another paleoclimatologist, and an ideology-trumps-reality pseudo-skeptic citing another ideology-trumps-reality pseudo-skeptic. The real trouble starts when the ideology-trumps-reality pseudo-skeptic starts citing the paleoclimatologist, twists his words and uses that to mislead Congress and the public into thinking AGW is a scam perpetrated by climate science.

    • Neven,
      You refer to Bradley Copies Fritts #2.

      Appearances can be deceiving. There are a couple of points that should be made about McIntyre’s second, longer example. First, we should be clear that these paragraphs are discussing the same figure, as noted in the respective opening sentences. In Bradley’s version of the figure there are three panels from the five shown in the Fritts figure; Bradley cites the figure as “after Fritts”. Second, there is substantial difference in the wording and even actual points made, although there are some words in common. Placing the sentences side by side is quite revealing. In the first three sentences, besides substantially different wording, Bradley also emphasizes different aspects. Compare these openers:

      Bradley: In the case of Figure 10.11a, the regression equation with only one variable (amplitudes of eigenvector 1) accounts for 36% (R2 x 100) of the variance of ring-width indices during the period of instrumental records. [Emphasis added]

      Fritts: The regression coefficient is multiplied by the weights of eigenvector 1 to obtain a response function that accounts for 36% of the growth variance (Fig 7.13).

      This reads like each author describing the figure in his own words. The evidence that Bradley copied Fritts is far from compelling.

      As for Rapp, his claim is that he inadvertantly neglected to blockquote certain sections. His own estimate is that this may have happened 10-20 times (presumably many of these were already found by whoever complained to “his employer”). I documented two of these “lapses”; each ran for at least a page. So the extent of the problem in Rapp is remarkable.

      But not only that, references to Bradley were carefully removed in at least two cases. The most egregious was the long blockquote of Soon and Baliuanas summary of Bradley on tree-rings, in which the original started, “As Bradley points out …”. That was carefully excised, as were the ensuing citations to Bradley (all four of them if I recall correctly).

    • Appearances can be deceiving.

      Yes, I see what you mean. Tiresome that you never can take what people like McIntyre say at face value. They’ll go at any lengths to win the game. Their end justifies the means.

      Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that even if what McIntyre is trying to conjure up, is correct, Bradley would be more like Rapp than Wegman. Contextually speaking, that is.

  119. If anyone wants to know what “ad hominem ” really means they have only to read the rubbish posted by Donald Rapp. What an insult to science he is.

    How did he manage to get the positions he claims with such an attitude?

  120. Tom:
    Amazon has some reviews.
    “seminal” means influential, it doesn’t mean the first time anyone has ever mentioned something. A book can easily be seminal … and still have 80 pages of references to past work. It is a seminal *integration* across a wide variety of research. Do you own a copy? It is worth having.

  121. Ian: it is quite possible fir someone to do productive work for decades , even get a Nobel in physics, or be a member if NAS, and then go off the edge in emeritus times. Most don’t: I know plenty who are terrifically productive after they gave “retired,” like Burt Richter, whose idea if retirement would wear out most people. But a small fraction do, especially if in a group at USC with Gruntman and Kunc (the latter was Willie Soon’s PhD advisor). In particular, it us very relevant to know Robert Jastrow resided in Los Angeles for a decade or so, and many in the aerospace community would have known him. When I did the APS petition study last year, SoCal aerospace was a noticeable minor theme.
    Given the Jastrow George Marshall connection, and Rapp’s long JPL tnure, it is interesting to note that Naomi’s coauthor for Merchants of Doubt, Erik Conway, is at JPL.

    • And then there are those who are wacky to begin with. One of my former colleagues comes to mind. Filled his research group with Rush Limbaugh ditto-heads, invited junior faculty to tent-revivals, and put bible quotes on his exams. He was the most self-serving (not the same as self-centered, which we all are a bit of) individual I’ve ever met. And a devout “christian” to boot.

  122. DC Why did you delete these facts? – they have NOT been stated previously here.

    “The “only” 1% annual variation in [CO2] that you claim was actually MINUS 1.56% between May and September this year, while from December 2008 to December 2009 the increase was only plus 0.45%.

    So now I know even more than before not to trust anything you say.

    [DC: I stated very clearly:

    The *annual cycle* of CO2 is such that it varies by about +/-1% over the course of the year

    Now look at this graph of recent CO2 monthly means from NOAA.

    The black line shows the monthly means with the annual cycle removed. Notice that the distance from the unadjusted peak or trough to the corresponding monthly mean adjusted for the annual cycle is about 3.5 ppm, which is +/-1% as I stated.

    That’s enough from you, and I mean it this time. Thanks!]

  123. Has anyone besides me looked at Wegman’s FB page?

    • Timothy Chase

      Derocho64 wrote, “Has anyone besides me looked at Wegman’s FB page?”

      Well, let’s see. There is Ed Wegman, there is Edward Wegman, and then there is an Edward J. Wegmann. Which Wegman do you mean?

    • I didn’t notice DC or JM on his list of friends…..

      The comment on his Wall from August 21 painful to read:

      Edward J. Wegman Want to know a bad week? All in the same week. 1) accused of plagarism, felony, anti-science, misleading Congress because of your climate science testimony, 2) have a rule made up, which only applied to you, that blocks you from mentoring graduate students, 3) have a friend tell you he was not happy with you because you were awarded a patent.
      August 21 at 4:17pm

    • So GMU has already moved to block him from mentoring grad students (the wall post was on August 21)? Sounds like they are taking this seriously.

    • Andy S

      That is interesting, very interesting.

      /Sgt. Schultz

  124. Timothy Chase

    The Ed’s FaceBook has a link to his website, the homepage of which offers what I believe may be some revealing personal insights:

    The Wegman Name: One of the interesting things to me are other Wegmans and the origin of the name…

    “Weg” is the German word for “way” or “away” and of course “Mann” is “man”. The kind interpretation of the name is “someone who lives down the road or way,” usually meaning a farmer who lives out of town. The unkind interpretation, to which I give little credence, is “highwayman”, i.e. a thief or a robber…

    … I like the Muslim interpretation best, which is “man of the Path.” The first Surah of the Quran asks God to guide us to the “straight path.” Thus, “Wegman” = “Man of the Path” would be a righteous man.

    http://www.edwardwegman.com [archive]

  125. DC,

    some advice: Don’t allow Tim Curtin to post here. Possibly you could treat him the same as Deltoid and leave a ‘Tim Curtin Open Thread’ so that he can babble away to his heart’s content. And if people want some fun they can engage him in his entertaining theories.

    He’s proven himself stupid and incapable of understanding simple concepts in many different forums and he won”t add anything at all to any conversations you have here.

    [DC: If you read my last remark on Curtin’s last comment, you’ll see I’ve made myself clear on that point. ]

  126. The thing about Rapp’s book is that he was fairly careful to cite most things in Chapter 1 EXCEPT Wegman (with small lapses) but the copy and paste from Wegman is extensive and uncited which is why Eli is not completely abandoning the idea that Wegman copied from Rapp with permission.

    [DC: I don’t see it myself. And there were other copy-and-paste examples such as the Oak Ridge/Adams stuff. ]

  127. I saw some strange comments about the role of CO2 in tree rings growth above. Here’s the Abstract of a paper against the flow at the Mann-Bradley-Hughes-Jones jamboree in Portugal last month.

    “The Medieval climate of Europe: results of the Millennium Project
    Danny McCarroll Department of Geography, University of Wales Swansea, Singleton Park Swansea, SA2 8PP, UK

    Within the EU-funded ‘Millennium’ project, new multi-proxy palaeoclimate data covering at least the last one thousand years have been collected from the North Icelandic Shelf, the northern Boreal zone and the Alpine and Mediterranean regions. The offshore evidence suggests relative warmth prior to a rather abrupt decline around AD
    1300. In the northern Boreal zone, tree growth indicators (ring width, maximum density, annual height increment, minimum blue reflectance) suggest that growth during the 11th Century was almost as high as, and statistically indistinguishable from, tree growth during the 20th Century. Stable carbon isotope ratios from tree rings record changes in the internal concentration of carbon dioxide and, in the northern Boreal zone, are regarded as a proxy for photosynthetic rate, and therefore summer sunshine. Low values during the 11th Century suggest that it was warm but cloudy, in contrast to the Little Ice Age, centred on the 17th Century, which was cool but sunny. Preliminary results of oxygen isotope analysis of tree rings suggests anomalously low values during the 11th Century, perhaps indicating large-scale changes in circulation. In the first half of the 12th Century there is a marked growth decline across northern Fennoscandia. This is the only major growth decline in the last Millennium that is not associated with known volcanic forcing. Data on the Mediaeval climate of other parts of Europe are still being collated.”

    [DC: The use of carbon isotopes in tree-rings as proxies is covered by Bradley. I’m not sure how this relates to CO2 as a so-called “climatic” factor in tree-ring growth over the last millenium, however. ]

  128. An Analysis of Wegman’s Homepage…

    I had previously quoted bits from Wegman’s homepage here. Anyway, it may be a little obvious for some, but I might like to give an analysis of what I found. I will begin with a recap.

    On his homepage Wegman investigates the origin of his name Wegman=way+man. He considers three different interpretations of the name, one being that of someone who lives down the way from a town, possibly as a farmer, another being a thief, bandit or highway man, and a third as someone who is walking the path, that is, a righteous man.

    The two interpretations that I find most relevant are those of the righteous man and that of the thief. Near opposites. The archetypal righteous man would be a judge, someone who could stand in judgment of others. This is the interpretation that Wegman prefers and undoubtedly is how he would like to see himself.

    But then again, there is also the thief. The interpretation that he rejects. In both mythological and psychological terms, this is the other, that self or part of oneself that one rejects. Think of Oedipus the King. The king is the embodiment of justice, someone who is fit to sit in judgment of others — like King Solomon. However, Oedipus unknowingly killed his father who was also king and then took the thrown. He is guilty of patricide, regicide and he is usurper of the thrown.

    In Oedipus the King, Oedipus has already taken the thrown and he is trying to discover who murdered the former king. He is in search of what is essentially his opposite — but he discovers that he is his opposite.

    Or if you prefer something a bit more recent, you have something similar in The Empire Strikes Back. Recall the semi-hallucinatory scene in the cave where Darth Vader steps out of the shadows and proceeds to attack Luke Skywalker. Luke defends himself and strikes Darth Vader down. Darth Vader’s mask comes off revealing the face of Luke Skywalker.

    Later we learn that Luke is of his father, Darth Vader, the individual who Luke had largely regarded as the very embodiment of evil and who he initially rejects as his father. Luke is able to heal and move on to the next stage only by coming to terms with Darth Vader being his father and then finally seeking his father’s redemption.

    Wegman is neither Oedipus nor Luke Skywalker. But putting this information out on his webpage — when he has sat in judgment of Mann, Bradley and Hughes, and when is guilty of such extensive plagiarism of Bradley’s work — is extremely revealing. At some level I believe he wants to be caught. And at that level he is sitting in judgment of himself — as Oedipus must at the end of Oedipus the King. Personally I think it highly unlikely that this is the first time that Wegman engaged in plagiarism.

    [DC: First of all, these are still allegations of plagiarism. As compelling as the evidence may be, the accusations have not yet been proven in a competent forum. Second, I think the available evidence points to Yasmin Said as the main perpetrator of most, if not all, of the alleged plagiarism, although as lead author, Wegman must bear some responsibility. But I don’t see the evidence of a pattern of this on his part, whereas in the case of Said there is such evidence, starting from the PhD dissertation. There is additional evidence with regard to Said that I have not made public yet. ]

  129. Congratulations on the firm and decisive way you dealt with Curtin. He is incapable of dealing honestly and objectively with any issue, and just cannot be trusted to get the facts straight. A couple of years ago, in the Australian Financial Review, he made an order-of-magnitude mistake in the data for world oil consumption, underestimating the actual rate of consumption by this factor. It is highly amusing that Curtin and his website are praised by Rapp.

  130. Timothy Chase

    DeepClimate wrote:

    First of all, these are still allegations of plagiarism. As compelling as the evidence may be, the accusations have not yet been proven in a competent forum. Second, I think the available evidence points to Yasmin Said as the main perpetrator of most, if not all, of the alleged plagiarism, although as lead author, Wegman must bear some responsibility.

    I appreciate the correction — and thank you for correcting me so promptly.

  131. [Personal insult deleted] Nick Stokes | October 20, 2010 at 8:12 am | said
    “CA has made much of a claim that Fritts listed CO2 among factors affecting tree ring width, and that Bradley removed it (and Wegman reinstated it). This is based on a misleading quote from fritts [sic, perhaps you meant pom frites?] . In the context, Fritts is talking about factors affecting plant growth, not tree ring width. And given the context, in no way could Bradley said to be copying, following, or in any other way relating to Fritts on this point. CO2 was well known to affect plant growth. Fritts did not assert as fact that it affects tree-ring width.”

    How can CO2 affect plant [=tree] growth without impacting on tree ring widths?

    Truly, this Blog is the Carnival of the Animals, except that my dog knows which trees are dead and thereby attract fewer birds, and those that are not.

    [DC: As has already been explained, Bradley was discussing factors affecting variations in tree-ring growth over the last millenium or so. Since CO2 is well-mixed and hardly varied over the last millenium until significant anthropogenic increases beginning in the 19th century, it can hardly be a factor in variation in tree-rings during the several centuries before that time. If you or McIntyre think Fritts asserts the contrary, it is up to you to find the actual evidence.

    Moreover, the available evidence of a CO2 effect on tree-ring growth during the instrumental period appears to be limited to “strip bark” forms of a very few species, as noted in the NAS report. The Wegman report severely exaggerates the generality of the effect. ]

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      DC, in fact when a systematic study of factors affecting the growth of P. Longevea was done (see Salzer, et. al. PNAS 2009) it was found that CO2 fertilization did not appear to be playing a role in the increased ring width of either growth form. This result shows the hypothesis of LaMarche (and Graybill and Idso) to be of doubtful utility in explaining the unusual growth of this species in the 20th century.

      No matter how you slice it, the Wegman report was wrong on this point. He should have just stuck to the statistics, instead of venturing into areas where he had no knowledge.

    • The NRC 2006 report did give some credence to the CO2 fertilization hypothesis for “strip-bark” bristlecones, and cited studies for a couple of other species.

      But the effect was far from general or widespread.

      On the other hand, no convincing evidence for such effect was found in conifer tree ring records from the Sierra Nevada in California (Graumlich (1991) or the Rocky Mountains in Colorado (Kienast and Luxmoore 1988). Further evidence comes from a recent review of data for mature trees in four climatic zones, which concluded that pine growth at the treeline is limited by factors other than carbon (Körner 2003).

      So this is yet another case where Wegman and Said grossly overgeneralized.

  132. DC: I note your double standards, libelling Wegman & McIntyre, and censoring me.

    Be that as it may, the role of CO2 in dendrochronology is of interest and importance. The definitive author in this area is Graham Farquhar FRS (plus Jon Lloyd). Here is their abstract in Phil.Trans.Roy.Soc (Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B doi:10.1098/rstb.2007.0032):

    “Using a mixture of observations and climate model outputs and a simple parametrization of leaf-level photosynthesis incorporating known temperature sensitivities, we find no evidence for tropical forests
    currently existing ‘dangerously close’ to their optimum temperature range. Our model suggests that although reductions in photosynthetic rate at leaf temperatures (TL) above 30 oC may occur, these are almost entirely accountable for in terms of reductions in stomatal conductance in response to higher leaf-to-air vapour pressure deficits D. This is as opposed to direct effects of TL on photosynthetic metabolism.

    We also find that increases in photosynthetic rates associated with increases in ambient [CO2] over forthcoming decades should more than offset any decline in photosynthetic productivity due to higher D
    or TL or increased autotrophic respiration rates as a consequence of higher tissue temperatures.We also find little direct evidence that tropical forests should not be able to respond to increases in [CO2] and argue that the magnitude and pattern of increases in forest dynamics acrossAmazonia observed over the last few decades are consistent with a [CO2]-induced stimulation of tree growth.”

    I still find it amazing that you DC seemingly believe the growth rate of trees relative to CO2 has no bearing on tree ring widths.


    a) I am not interested in discussing any further “censorship” (a.k.a. reasonable moderation) or your unsubstantiated vague accusations.

    b) The discussion in Bradley (and Wegman) concerns trees in the *boreal* forest, the ones that actually have tree rings and are actually used in paleoclimatology. Forest dynamics in the Amazon are clearly irrelevant.

    c) You continue to misrepresent my position on this issue.

    However, I’ve decided to let through this comment so that other readers will understand why further comments from you are unlikely to appear. I thank readers for their indulgence of my patience. ]

  133. 1) A common argument in the real world of academic research is to say:
    W says X (quoted or accurately paraphrased), but Y disagrees, saying Z.

    2) Total amateurs in a field don’t get to causally ignore/invert/change experts.
    Recall that Wegman, in testimony (SSWR A.2):
    “Again, it is the connection between carbon dioxide and temperature increase. Now, Mr. Inslee pointed out that he thinks there is a physical explanation based on a blanket of carbon dioxide in the reflection. Carbon dioxide is heavier than air. Where it sits in the atmospheric profile, I don’t know. I am not an atmospheric scientist to know that but presumably if the atmospheric–if the carbon dioxide is close to the surface of the Earth, it is not reflecting a lot of infrared back.”

    CO2 effects on plant growth are 8way* more complicated than that.

    3) CO2 isn’t appropriate where it was inserted, but suppose it had been, via Fritts. They didn’t cite Fritts, and I very doubt they ever read that. Imagine that someone reads accounts of returning from moon, and inserts a note that the moon was made of cheese (because they had seen it in Wallaace & Gromit). Sure, why not.

    4) Put another way, a bunch of people are trying to write off the plgarisim of Bradley tee-rings as sloppy citation, but unlike Bradley on ice ores or corals, or the SNA work, the various distortions (I think there are 11 in jsut a page and half of text) are either misrepresentation or fabrication … and those are *worse* in academe, because they are not just sloppiness or laziness.

  134. Interesting?

    [Copy and paste deleted.]

    [DC: Oh, so now we’re cutting and pasting huge swathes from Idso’s CO2Science website. Interesting, all right. ]

  135. One aspect of the Wegman investigation that may not be fully appreciated is that many other universities are paying attention to this issue. Consequently, not only is this matter public, it is also of interest to academic officials and faculty members in other universities, and therefore, the manner in which GMU handles this investigation will be under scrutiny by these officials and faculty. Not only will ORI act as a watchdog to ensure the investigation proceeds appropriately, in addition, the outcome of GMU’s investigation will be of general interest in the academic community. Should GMU botch this, and let demonstrated plagiarism slip through the cracks, the reputation of the university will take a huge hit within the academic community.

    Sobering, to say the least.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      There is another aspect to this, which is that all these other universities have their own ‘wegmans’, including mine, a fellow calling himself a Christian and denying both evolution and climatology, and accusing what are supposed to be his colleagues of the most awful things.

      Something has changed with DC’s and John Mashey’s investigation: we scientists used to think of denialism as a science problem, something that could be set right with more science; the WR was obvious nonsense and not even peer reviewed, so the scientific response was to so argue this and ignore the report. Big error.

      Same with the wegmans at other universities: ignored, laughed at, shouted at, but not really addressed.

      What is novel in DC/Mashey is research, not within the paradigm of science, but that of criminal detection. It is a remarkably fertile perspective to look at science denialism not as pathological science, but as a form of organized crime — which it is really, political couplings and all just like the regular mob.

      With Wegman, DC/Mashey struck paydirt, as he acted sloppily like a criminal who thinks he is untouchable, enjoying protection from high up. But if you engage in legally actionable behaviour, protection only goes so far… as he is finding out.

      The question other universities should ask themselves now is, do we have our own wegmans, and to what extent are they a liability? Not only in terms of obvious scientific misconduct, but also the ‘greyer’ stuff, like publishing papers well known to be flawed in the hope of bamboozling the reviewers (what, e.g., Tom Wigley termed fraudulent in the Douglass et al. case); fixing the review process to let such papers through (the “de Freitas effect”), and also “outreach fraud”, misrepresenting the science in public (Plimer, e.g.). None of these things are currently found in most science ethics codes, but perhaps they should, as they and the more unambiguously fraudulent behaviours belong together; like do organized crime, gambling, drugs and whores. It’s an attitude thing.

      These things universities should be pondering about now.

  136. Sam’s comment is good and actually raises another useful point.

    About 20 years ago, I cofounded the SPEC benchmarking group, formed by a group of computer vendors to improve the usefulness and honesty of benchmarks, as there was a lot of gimmickry.

    Some asked, but isn’t that like having the foxes watch the henhouse?
    I said: when it comes to making no fox raids the henhouse, *nobody* is better than the other foxes.

    “Taking a huge hit within the academic community” is somewhat similar. Most universities take academic misconduct quite seriously, and do not do whitewash, first because they are honest, and second, because if they don’t, the “huge hit” has real consequences.

  137. Rapp seems to have replaced one rant with another. The post containing “Janitors, trash collectors and hash slingers” seems to be removed and replaced with another only marginally less silly. Maybe some of his contrarian buddies asked him to tone it down, lest his textbook be pulled from some recommended lists.

    Following up on…


    are some stats from his recent rant…most of the bad words have been replaced with “warmista”:

    asinine: 2
    cabal: 2
    donkey: 1
    Al Gore: 1
    ignorant: 3
    warmista: 15

    There was one line that perked my interest. Perhaps I’ve missed this, but is this true?

    “In addition, Ray Bradley is now charging Wegman with plagiarism. Ray will rescind the charge if Wegman will remove his report from the Congressional Record.”

    [DC: It does seem there was some sort of offer, although I have no idea what the exact circumstances or details may have been. But it seems to be moot anyway. I don’t think Bradley has the power can “rescind” or “withdraw” a complaint, once the evidence has been forwarded. And I doubt that Wegman can have his report removed just on his say so. ]

    • Once a complaint has been made, the complainant cannot withdraw the allegation, unless he/she subsequently discovers that it was made without good cause or without understanding the broader situation. In the present situation, what is being subsequently discovered is that the plagiarism is worse than the complaint alleges.

    • The offer though does speak volumes about Bradley’s true motivation.

    • DerekP,

      Exactly. To get a falsified report removed from the public record. Sort of like getting a publication retracted.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Yes, trying to be humane with denialists is a lost cause. Better not even try. Always wanted to see Wegman in orange anyway…

  138. Pingback: The Wegman report sees red (noise) | Deep Climate

  139. As I posted on WTFIUWT:
    Donald Rapp has connections with the libertarian think tanks GMI, CATO, Heartland which probably explains his problem as being more of a belief system one.

    It is very hard to argue with someone who is entrenched in their belief system whether religious, environmental, econonmic etc. as they will rationalize away any facts that contradict their deeply held convictions.

    The continuing gathering of a preponderance of facts and research will hopefully convince people that maybe they should be worried a bit, and moderate their belief systems.
    I think this is the real problem with those who disbelieve the facts of global warming. Thus it is very hard to convince them of the truth. It would involve literally a religious conversion. The important point then is to convince the non fanatics, and to focus on them

  140. As an example of the meaning of “withdrawal” in academe, see: ,a href=”http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/intro.cws_home/Article%20Withdrawal”>Elsevier’s policy. I had occasion to look this up a while ago, as [SAI2008] appeared in CSDA, an Elsevier journal.

    The terms covers various actions, of which “retraction” is likely the closest, although of course the House is not a learned journal.

    Now, Bradley sent a collegial complaint to another university.
    He kept it quiet for* 6 months*, while GMU made one excuse after another, broke all of its own timeline guidelines and engaged in absurd footdragging that makes experienced academics shudder, especially with ORI involved.

    The first complaint was for plagiarism, and not pursuing the complaint doesn’t mean that is cancelled (i.e., GMU would still whatever it would do regarding plagiarism), but that Bradley wouldn’t push it … and pushing involves copyright. Had GMU acted quickly, I doubt that Elsevier would have gotten involved.

    So, under the circumstances, this is about as low-key and collegial as you can get. He *could* have gone public with this in March. He was giving GMU a chance to handle it relatively quietly.

    So: does DerekP have special knowledge he can share with us about Ray’s motivations, or is he just one of these clueless folks who babble insinuations against an honorable, distinguished scientist?

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      So: does DerekP have special knowledge he can share with us about Ray’s motivations, or is he just one of these clueless folks who babble insinuations against an honorable, distinguished scientist?

      That’s a trick question, right?

    • What this honorable, distinguished scientist said was :

      I am prepared to drop this matter if Wegman makes a request to have his report withdrawn from the Congressional Record

      Call me cynical, but if it was really about the plagiarism, he’d surely have asked for the appropriate citations to be added. He didn’t. So seems pretty clear the plagiarism complaint was just a front, and what he really wants is a way to impugn the report that criticised him, without having to deal with the actual arguments.

    • DerekP,

      You cannot add citations to paragraphs of stolen text. The citation is irrelevant, and adding it does not change the plagiarism. You have simply told everyone where you plagiarized from.

      You can’t take other’s words or ideas and call them your own. You cite relevant literature to provide additional resources for interested readers.

    • Eh….?
      If you fail to properly cite, you can rectify this by adding in the due citations.

    • DerekP:
      Even *with* proper citations, it *still* is plagiarism, unless you identify each section of literally copied text as literally copied text (note that this is less strict for short sentences that have become standard ‘memes’).
      Of course, Wegman would then have the problem of having to identify the literal copy-paste as well as the words he (read: Wegman+Said and anyone else involved) altered. Which would be quite embarrassing in itself.

    • Bottom line : whatever plagiarism is identified can be rectified.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      DerekP, if you think it is possible, I suggest you undertake such a re-writing, with proper attention to keeping it consistent. At least you could amuse us then with the very different report that would result 😉

    • Bottom line: whatever Goldman Sach gained through fraud, it can be rectified.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      > Bottom line: whatever Goldman Sach gained through fraud, it can be rectified.

      Willard, yeah, but would cost a lot more money… jest aside, of course you cannot “uncommit” a massive, intentional fraud. What was I thinking.

      What Bradley really should do to win DerekP’s heart, would be making an offer to retroactively become a co-author 😉

    • I’m inclined to agree with DerekP that the deficiencies in the Wegman Report can be rectified. However, not with a few additional footnotes or citations but with a written acknowledgement from Wegman that it was a shoddy piece of work.

      The only penalty necessary for this affair, I think, is a loss of reputation for the report’s authors; along with the loss of any respect we might once have had for those commentators who saw fit to deny the clear evidence that much of the report was an amateurish cut-and-paste job.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Andy, you get points for being very charitable. You lose points for naivete… the latest DerekP ventilation suggests that for some, not even prison time will drive home the message.

  141. Gavin's Pussycat

    … while GMU made one excuse after another, broke all of its own timeline guidelines and engaged in absurd footdragging that makes experienced academics shudder …

    Another thing that I noticed: Wegman himself on his Facebook “wall” notes that the plagiarism thing dropped in his neck during that week, i.e., late August (also the week some docs were disappeared, so I assume this is truthful). Now, GMU tells us that a committee was formed in April — in a letter to Bradley dated July 13.

    Hmm. So Wegman didn’t find out he was being looked into for more than a month after GMU said explicitly that they were doing so, and for four months after their retroactively claimed date of starting to do so?

    At some point GMU will have to decide which is the lesser sin to confess to: telling porkies, or leaving someone under investigation/inquiry in the dark about being under investigation/inquiry.

  142. GP:
    They *appointed* a inquiry committee in April, although that does not mean they committee actually *met* in April.
    GMU Policy 4007 describes how the process works (well, supposed to work).

    “Initiation of inquiry
    The purpose of an inquiry is to conduct an initial review of the evidence to determine whether to recommend that an investigation be conducted. Within 14 days of receiving a determination that an inquiry is warranted (or as soon as possible if this time limit cannot be met), the Provost appoints an inquiry committee and a chair of that committee from among individuals who do not have real or apparent conflicts of interest in the case, are unbiased, and have the necessary expertise to evaluate the evidence and issues related to the allegation. The Dean or Institute Director then makes a good faith effort to provide notice to the presumed respondent, if any. This notice includes a statement of the allegation, a description of the inquiry process, the identities of the members of the inquiry committee, and all applicable university policies.
    The respondent may challenge a member of the inquiry committee on the basis of conflict of interest or bias by submitting the challenge in writing to the Provost within five days of receiving the notification. The Provost determines whether and with whom a challenged member is replaced. The respondent may challenge the replacement in the same manner. If the inquiry subsequently identifies additional respondents, the Dean or Director promptly provides notice to them in the same manner.
    Inquiry process
    At the inquiry committee’s first meeting, the Dean or Institute Director reviews …”

    To save people time going through the policy and adding up nominal intervals, it happens that I did that a while back, although I’m not sure how it will look here. I labeled events A-J, and there are all sorts of possibilities for challenges, “as soon as possible”, etc.

    Nominal GMU timeline, approximate, given
    Elapse Interval (as soon as possible) everywhere, challenges.

    0 0 A Allegation
    14 14 B See if inquiry warranted
    28 14 C If so Provost appoints committee
    Respondent may challenge
    28 D First meeting of inquiry committee
    88 60 E Inq. Com. completes report. Investigate? (Y/N)
    102 14 F Dean/Director determines. Investigate? (Y/N)
    132 30 G VP convenes investigation committee
    132 Respondent may challenge
    132 Respondent comments, etc.
    252 120 H Invest. Comm reports, best efforts 120 days
    252 VP reviews report, sees if university accepts
    282 30 I Possible appeal
    382 100 J President writes decision on appeal

    Of course, for a straightforward thing like this (given side-by-side comparisons showing obvious cut-and-paste),:

    A+B: A VP Research ought to take 5 minutes to see if an inquiry is warranted.

    Given allegations, *already public*, against staff members, for a high-profile case, most VP Research would have an inquiry committee formed within a few days, either to clear the respondents quickly or show serious diligence in following up.

    All an inquiry committee has to do is look at side-by-sides, say “yes, looks like plagiarism”, write “Yes, an investigation is warranted.” It’s hard to see how that takes more than 1 short meeting.
    This is one of the simplest academic misconduct cases I can imagine. I think Bradley avoided getting into the possible fabrication/misrepresentation (see my 2 p posts here and here), as it takes more understanding to Bradley(1999), whereas obvious plagiarism is obvious, even in the black-and-white versions.

  143. Note an odd inconsistency:

    1) Letter from GMU 07/28/10 was the first time they told Bradley they had formed an inquiry committee in April.

    2) GMU policy says they tell the respondent when they form an inquiry committee, and they get to challenge.

    3) But Wegman’s Facebook entry 08/21, and the sudden disappearance of his C.V. and other files that week, seem to indicate either:

    a) He had been told in April, but hadn’t taken it seriously OR

    b) He hadn’t been told in April OR

    c) GMU really had not formed the committee in April, but that was really in mid-August.

    • PolyisTCOandbanned

      Is it just me or does the Facebook stalking seem a little creepy? Don’t really have a formed thought here just soemthing about it seeems a little prurient or a little mean.

    • Perhaps if TCO thinks it through he will find that Facebook itself is a little creepy.

  144. Well, I actually don’t have a Facebook account, I had to use my wife’s to check out Derecho64’s comment.
    I might be tempted to agree with you, slightly … but:

    Wegman&co mis-used social network analysis to attack not only Mann but paleoclimate as a whole. I can’t think of a better reminder to look at social network sites. I admit I hadn’t thought to look at FB, especially when Wgeman has several recent publications on cyber-security (possibly charging the govt ).

    If you haven’t read SSWR A.6.4, you might want to.
    Here’s a session chaired by Wegman, including:
    “―Climate Change Policy and the Climategate Scandal
    Yasmin H. Said, George Mason University
    The release of emails from the East Anglia University Climate Research Unit just before the Copenhagen Climate summit has had a damaging effect on public support for action on global warming. The lack of transparency by some climate researchers, the willingness to bend the peer review process, and the willingness to destroy data rather than share it with researchers of a different perspective all raise fundamental issues of climate change policy. Perhaps the best thing to come from the climategate scandal is the formal recommendation of engaging statisticians. In this talk I will discuss some of the implications of climategate on climate change policy.”

  145. PolyisTCOandbanned

    Did you at least write something on his wall? Or water his crops?

  146. No writing on wall; I usually stay as far away from FB as possible, having done computer security work long and being quite well aware of FB & Zuckerberg’s general mindset about security & privacy.

  147. Marco, GP, Willard:
    You should know by now that it is a waste of time to argue with someone severely afflicted by Dunning-Kruger; I have not once seen any such person change their mind. Maybe this will be a first.

    DerekP *knows* that a few cites will fix the problem.
    He *knows* Bradley was nefarious, based on a secondhand comment with zero context of communications and immedaite context.

    Perhaps DerekP can give the dates of the relevant letters to that point and quote the relevant paragraph of Bradley’s letter in its entirety.

  148. More seriously, DerekP, if Bradley has indeed offered to withdraw his plagiarism complaint if, in essence, Wegman will withdraw his so-called destruction of MBH and his b******t testimony to Congress, then some people would call this “playing nice”. After all, it’s not just plagiarism, but flat-out misrepresenting Bradley’s stuff that’s been plagiarized. Building a case on essentially lies (misrepresentation of plagiarized text) seems reason enough to withdraw the conclusions made based on that case.

    Others might label it … “playing naive” because Wegman can’t withdraw his testimony from the Congressional Record, and once the plagiarism charge has been made, the University can’t very well ignore it.

    Only clowns like McIntyre would label it “nefarious”, and only his readers would label it “extortion” (literally, as in the prosecutable criminal definition).

    • If Bradley had a credible answer to Wegman, he would surely just produce it. That he is reduced to playing by trying to have the argument ‘removed’ without having to confront it, strongly suggests he hasn’t got an answer worth anything.

    • DerekP,

      You seem to forget that Bradley’s complaint is not the only complaint of research misconduct filed against Wegman. What about the alleged plagiarism in the peer-reviewed publication Said (2008)? What about the three Wegman students alleged to have plagiarized portions of their doctoral theses? This isn’t just about Bradley; in fact, Bradley is irrelevant at this point. What he says or does will not change the investigation nor will it change the outcome. The instances of alleged plagiarism by Wegman and his co-workers are numerous and extensive.

  149. Can you point out to me exactly what question Wegman is asking that Bradley needs to answer ? Because I honestly don’t see any. Thanks in advance.

  150. Gavin's Pussycat

    Just for fun, I looked at the Appendix A writen by David W. Scott. Incredible! A piece of textbook lost in the desert. And the only piece of the Report containing math! Correct math, even 😉
    Also the writing style is quite different. It’s the style I also adopt when writing science for scientists; a different style requires effort.

    Looking at Scott’s CV, he does list the Report in his publication list, but to his credit, not under refereed publications. Scott¤’s interests range from theoretical statistical subjects to visualization and fast computer graphics. No clear climate link. If he has any regrets about the WR, I haven’t found any evidence. But that could mean many things of course. Scott and Wegman go back some while, and I could imagine him not wanting to embarrass an old friend.

    What’s this island of sanity doing in the WR? My take is that it wasn’t meant to be actually read by the intended audience — let alone understood –, just noticed with reverence. The spice of science for a dish of anti-science.

    • Perhaps you could coach Bradley with a credible response to Wegman then.

    • To paraphrase Pauli: “it is not even wrong”. You cannot come with a credible response to nonsense and distortions other than point out it is nonsense and contains distortions. Which will then lead DerekP to claim Bradley has no credible response…

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      DerekP, it’s you that needs coaching…

    • Briefly, Wegman confrimed that the Hockey Stick reconstruciton stats are a crock. And neither Bradley or anyone has a coherent answer to Wegman. That’s why Bradley, having no answer but unwilling to change his position, is reduced to making the plagiarism complaint.

      [DC: On top of all the other problems identified (shoddy scholarship, bias, lack of peer review and lack of independence), Wegman made an egregious error in his analysis, a mistake pointed out to him by David Ritson four years ago. Yet Wegman still hasn’t supplied an answer, or provided promised backup material, much less submitted his analysis to a peer review journal, as he promised to do. The reason is obvious – it’s Wegman who has no answers and can not justify his “compelling” analysis.

      Look it up – it’s currently my lead post.

      As for answers to M&M (and by extension Wegman), they are in the peer-reviewed literature. If they don’t like the answers they should rebut them in the same venue. The fact that they haven’t speaks volumes.

      Meanwhile, please don’t comment until you have something more interesting than repeated, unsubstantiated assertions. Thanks!]

  151. Appendix A:
    1) Yes, this is a bit odd sort of thing to give to Congress, unless a surprising fondness for equations has been discovered.

    2) Rereads WR 2.2 on PCA, noise which DC covered a while ago. Perhaps that was not deemed convincing enough.

  152. Gavin's Pussycat

    John, by ‘intended audience’ I don’t mean Congress. You know who I really mean 😉

  153. GP: oh, I think some of it was intended for a few people in Congress to be able to point to and say “real math.” Really, Joe Barton was the primary customer for this.

  154. Again, Derek, I know this is getting old, but can you point us with a link perhaps of what specifically Wegman has ‘asked’ Bradley, because quite honestly, Wegman has been accused of some very serious malfeasance, and I can find no instance of him ‘asking a question’ of Bradley anywhere. Do you have access to private emails from Dr. Wegman to Dr. Bradley, or are you just making this stuff up? All I see is a second hand report of private correspondence between Dr. Wegman and Dr. Rapp, and nowhere in there do I see a question asked directly to Dr. Bradley. Surely you must have something? What am I missing here, because the only thing that fits the evidence is that you are simply regurgitating a rumor you heard somewhere.

  155. I mean ‘asked’ in the sense of showing the stats analysis in the MBH papers to be fatally flawed – essentially confirming what MsIntyre had said.. Bradley has come up with nothing in response. Ritson does have has some unanswered questions of Wegman – as mentioned on ClimateAudit – did he follow McIntyre? etc, nothing resembling an ‘agregious mistake’.
    In summary, when the errors on which the Hockey Stick depends are corrected, the MWP is back.

    [DC: Once again, you exaggerate what has been claimed, let alone what has actually been demonstrated. For example, the MM “correction” of the MBH reconstruction showed clearly spurious warmth in the early 15th century. That’s not even part of the medieval period, which was not actually analyzed by M&M!

    WA 2007, a paper deliberately excluded by Wegman, clearly showed that the biasing effect of MBH short-centered PCA was minimal. Where is M&M’s answer to that? It’s certainly not in the peer-reviwed literature. Not only that, but the essential features of the original MBH have been confirmed by several other researchers, using a variety of methodological variations, although most show a *lower* MWP than MBH did.

    If you read my posts and comments on Ritson’s letters to Wegman, you will see that the mistake Ritson pointed out – and yes it’s a fatal flaw in Wegman’s analysis – was never actually mentioned on ClimateAudit. McIntyre left out those parts of the emails. I hope you are not surprised at that.

    Now I’m putting you on time out for 24 hours, so you can read the posts and catch up. Then, if you can make a more coherent argument, you’re welcome to post comments. But only at the appropriate thread – and be sure to stay focused on the topic and points raised, instead of recycling the same old tired debating points. Good luck! ]

    • PolyisTCOandbanned

      DC (I wish you would write normal responses instead of Voice of god):

      “For example, the MM “correction” of the MBH reconstruction showed clearly spurious warmth in the early 15th century. ”

      It’s not an accurate observation of McI that he was attemptoing to correctg MBH or asserting that temps rose in the 1400s. McI’s point was that the recon was sensitive to a method choice and differfent answers resulted with different choices. Not, that the new recon istelf was “good”. (and how can you say 14th century wolrdwide warming is “clearly spurious”. Remember this is a proxy recon for a period that we lakc clear instreument or even worldwide document history for.)

      “That’s not even part of the medieval period, which was not actually analyzed by M&M!”


      “WA 2007, a paper deliberately excluded by Wegman, clearly showed that the biasing effect of MBH short-centered PCA was minimal.”

      For the overall recon, using rule N PC retention, agreed. However the PC1 is significantly affected and the comments in the MBH about PC1 shoiwing a hockey stick dominant mode would need to be amended. But I actually agree with something inside what you are saying. Again, although short centering was dramatic, it is not what drives MBH. Probaably more of the debate should center on the regression and the amplification of small amounts of series that have essentiually matches to the 20th century rise (thye carry the weight of the recon. And you can argue different aspects of this, but iut is a subject with some aspects to it.)

      ” Where is M&M’s answer to that?”

      You’re kind of shifting from Wegman to MnM here. 😉 Can’t expect MnM to answer WA withing Wegman (When eventual publication came out aftr Weggie, in 2007, and when theorietically, MnM were not allied with Weggie.)

      ” It’s certainly not in the peer-reviwed literature.”

      No. It sure isn’t. NOr is it even at a white paper. There are some analyses and arguments against WA in the Neverending Audit (nog sure the value of them, and it is a pain to try to dig for them within the Mandelbrrotblog and deal with the snark).

      “Not only that, but the essential features of the original MBH have been confirmed by several other researchers, using a variety of methodological variations, although most show a *lower* MWP than MBH did.”

      What are “the essential features”? I hate how Mann defenders have to try to defend his metastory and MnM defenders the oppositite. I just want to chip away at false and leave non-false (or even true). You know like a normal physical scientist. Oh…and Esper and Moburg both had very mainstream recons with significantly higher MWPs than MBH. But then again, McI didnt; asses Mann’s MWP since he worked on MBH98 which started at 1400, as your emarked before!

      P.s. Be a sport and let it through. I spent time on it and it has thought proidcut. Even if you disagree, even if wrong. And I know me some Neverending Audit. am very aware I don’t know it all. But don’t dismiss me immediately (I was right on telling Tammy he was misreading Jolliffe…)

    • TCO,

      WA 2007 was actually in press and online in early2006. And it would have been sooner except for McIntyre’s obstructionism as reviewer. (The correspondence with Stephen Schneider is scary stuff). It was specifically excluded from substantive discussion in Wegman.

      MM 2003 was specifically supposed to be an emulation of MBH, but done right. So the “corrected” reconstruction was supposedly what MBH “should” have gotten. McKitrick even claimed that they had demonstrated that late 20th century temperatures were not unique in the millennium (in a Fraser Institute publication).

      I’m not saying MBH had the highest MWP, but it (and Mann et al 2008 EIV) have it relatively high compared to most others, if one goes by the AR4 spaghetti graph.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      and how can you say 14th century wolrdwide warming is “clearly spurious”. Remember this is a proxy recon for a period that we lakc clear instreument or even worldwide document history for.

      Eh, like in, only shows for reconstructions lacking skill, and goes away when the recon achieves skill?

      Esper and Moburg both had very mainstream recons with significantly higher MWPs than MBH

      Again, “significant” has a specific meaning. Were these (Moberg BTW) indeed significantly higher? I remember Moberg’s was a bit of an odd-man-out.

      Same for “essential features”: I would say, a blade that cannot realistically be produced by red noise, and a shaft that later recons lie largely within the uncertainty band of.

      I spot a “teacher knows” fallacy common in schoolchildren: if teacher says so, it must be true. We have no teacher to tell us what is true here 😉

      BTW I like some of what you’re writing. You’ve grown a lot… try not to ramble, too much of that already (…suppressing a grumble on spelling)

    • TCO:

      “the essential features”- AFAIK every single comparable paleoreconstruction (except the blog science ones) is within the MBH error range.

      Also, could you please drop the “both sides do it but im a special snowflake” stuff?

    • I hate how Mann defenders have to try to defend his metastory

      It’s no longer “his metastory”, as many independent researchers have gotten virtually the same results using different proxies and methodologies. It’s now the *mainstream* metastory (it was not, when the first MBH paper was published) and the odds of it being significantly wrong diminish with each new bit of supporting research.

      This statement shows you’re just as caught in the past as is McIntyre and the like.

      It’s like … boring.

      Yes, I’m aware that the new Republican House will be holding hearings trying to “prove” that Mann’s work and that of all of mainstream climate science is “fraudulent” leading to global warming being a “hoax”, but I’m ever hopeful that you at least one foot in the real world and aren’t supportive of that la-la-land crew.

  156. Briefly, Wegman confrimed that the Hockey Stick reconstruciton stats are a crock.

    That’s a scientific opinion, not a question. And somehow I don’t think he phrased it quite in the manner that you suggest.

    And neither Bradley or anyone has a coherent answer to Wegman.

    As DC pointed out, the published literature and the blogosphere have already responded, more than adequately in most people’s minds who have actually read the various white and grey literature responses to his critiques, and then subsequently understood them. That is not to say that further understanding of the methods and techniques applied to, and learned from these exercises are not beneficial, and that further progress is not possible. That is indeed the reason that we have peer reviewed scientific literature, and an active and fertile blogosphere with which to oversee and extend its purview.

  157. Gavin's Pussycat

    > That’s a scientific opinion,

    It’s an… opinion. Being charitable now are we?

  158. It’s somebody’s opinion. I wouldn’t assume it was -his- opinion, rather than just copypasted without understanding, until he shows signs he understood some of the material.

  159. Sorry, I was referring to the Wegman report as being a scientific opinion, solicited by Joe Barton. the esteemed congressman of Texas. I guess we’re right back where we started. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Not pretty, but interesting. Anyways, thanks everybody, for your hard work.

  160. Literature says “X”.

    Wegman says “not X” in a partisan report to Congress intended to validate a specific political view. Wegman promises to publish his data supporting “not X.”

    Literature subsequently confirms “X”.

    In the absence of data supporting “not X,” “X” is valid.

  161. It’s worse than that, Wegman’s work, the Wegman Report, was also subsequently revealed to be fraudulent plagiarism, and wrong to boot.

    What will be interesting to see is how GMU and the new teabagger McCarthy squad handles that in their respective administrative domains of authority.

    Meanwhile, the onslaught of irrationality and denial in America continues.

  162. [DC: Please focus your comments on the specific issues being discussed and avoid unfounded blanket accusations of dishonesty and bias on a whole group of scientists. And please read the comment policy. Thanks! ]

  163. Meanwhile, the onslaught of irrationality and denial in America continues.

    I’m an old guy. I’ve watched irrationality in America since the John Birch days of the ’60s. In all that time, I’ve not seen outright loons achieve popularity and power on the scale they have today. In the late ’60s, Barry Goldwater was considered an extremist. Compared to Sarah Palin, he now seems a model of calm reason.

    The prospect of McCarthy-style harassment of scientists by arrogant, ignorant clowns in Congress frightens me. I cannot imagine what light will lead us out of this wilderness. Perhaps I’m simply suffering from the typical codger’s syndrome of imagining things have gone to hell since back in my day. If so, I would appreciate it if someone could talk me back from the edge.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      > If so, I would appreciate it if someone could talk me back from the edge.

      Lemme try… imagine someone back in Goldwater’s day telling you would live to see someone like Barack Obama making it to the Whitehouse.

      Yes it’s bad, but America is a complex and often surprising country.

      On a Canadian blog it is suitable to note that Leonard Cohen tells it best:


    • Thx, GP.

      I suppose it’s not too late for a new progressive movement to arise. One need not believe in miracles to hope, I guess.

  164. [DC: Nice try. ]

  165. In the late ’60s, Barry Goldwater was considered an extremist. Compared to Sarah Palin, he now seems a model of calm reason.

    Barry Goldwater, in retirement, said his greatest regret was having supported and voted for the Glenn Canyon dam.

    You’re right, compared to today’s pack of Republican whackos, Goldwater seems almost rational. And Reagan seems like a centrist. And Nixon leftist.

    We’re far, far to the right of where we were when I voted in my first presidential election (Nixon’s second term, though I didn’t vote for him).

  166. Dan L wrote:

    The prospect of McCarthy-style harassment of scientists by arrogant, ignorant clowns in Congress frightens me.

    Speaking of a change in climate, Over at Dot Earth Andrew Revkin quotes Mike Roddy regarding putting climatologists on trial:

    Bring it on, baby. I can’t wait to see televised hearings, showing people like Michael Mann and James Hansen pitted against Issa and Inhofe. Even the average American will be able to figure out who actually knows what he’s talking about if this happens.

    Roddy welcomes such hearings — and assumes that they will be televised. But there has been such a shift in television news that I haven’t much reason to think that hearings will be televised — but for brief snippets. Of course C-Span might do better. They might even show the whole thing. But not everyone has access to C-Span and among those who do I suspect the good majority never turn to it.

    Furthermore, fewer and fewer people are ever turning on their televisions nowadays. I saw an article recently to the effect that large numbers are unsubscribing. Under these circumstances about the only people that might tune in may be a few diehards and reporters. And under those circumstances I suspect that hearings will do more damage than good — even if one simply omits any consideration for the climatologists involved — as it will provide fodder for denialist blogs.

    • I guess what Roddy might be expecting in having climatologists put on trial is a moment similar to when on June 9, 1954 Joseph Welch said to Senator Joe McCarthy:

      Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

      Something like that might happen today — particularly if someone were to deliberately harken back to that day — but there is no reason to think that it would be televised or that enough context would be provided for the average american to make sense of it.

  167. That speech by Welch was exceptional.

    • And was a long time coming. Even the Eisenhower administration was cowed by McCarthy – much like Republican politicians are cowed by Rush Limbaugh.

      Of course Nature gets just one vote – but it’s the only vote that counts.

  168. Pingback: Replication and due diligence, Wegman style | Deep Climate

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  170. Pingback: George Mason University “Climate Change Communicator of the Year” – where only one viewpoint is allowed « Wott's Up With That?

  171. It’s now one year + 2 months into this case, and it seems that GMU is dragging it’s feet (and that is an understatement) in this case.

    USA Today added a note (on May 26, 2011) to the original post on Oct 8, 2010, that :

    GMU spokesman Dan Walsch clarified in the May 26, 2011, Nature journal that the year-old investigation is still in its preliminary “inquiry” stage, rather than a full investigation.

    Now, even that note is 7 months old now, and still no results from GMU.
    Isn’t this dragging of feet in this inquiry/investigation a violation of the GMU policy :

    which clearly states that inquiry should not take longer that :

    The inquiry committee completes the inquiry, including the preparation of a final inquiry report that includes any comments received from the respondent, within 60 days of the committee’s first meeting unless the Dean or Director determines, and documents in the inquiry record, that the circumstances warrant a longer period

    So question is : Did the Dean or Director at GMU determine that the cicumstances warrant a longer period ? If so, what was the reason and what will be the new timeline for completing the inquiry ?
    And if not, what on Earth is holding up GMU to investigate misconduct in the Wegman report, which after all, has been a pivotal piece of “evidence” quoted by Senators and House Representatives alike, as evidence that climate science is a “hoax” and regulation against greenhouse gas emissions is not warranted.