Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wegmania: Xmas Edition

As my readers will likely know, GMU (George Mason University) statistician Edward Wegman has been accused of plagiarism and other more serious offenses in the preparation of his Wegman Report, a document commissioned by U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) back in 2006, that questioned some of the scientific evidence behind AGW. This piece is the latest I've found on the topic, and the first to mention some of the other irregularities in the report that blogger Deep Climate and John Mashey were able to uncover. A few highlights:

1) It gives a brief account of Wegman's "social network analysis', which concluded that Mann and his collaborators operated as an illicit gang of rogue scientists. This analysis was mostly plagiarized but, as the story points out, the rest of it was crap:

...Camille Parmesan, a biology professor at the University of Texas and a lead author of the Third Assessment Report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says this academic network is simply a function of a scientific career.

“It’s very clear that of course Mann is well-connected,” said Parmesan, who has not co-authored with Mann. “I mean, he’s a top researcher in the field.”

2) It makes the case that the Wegman report conclusions were shaped by Joe Barton and his staff:

Mashey...lays out a series of communications with think tanks and others -– events preceding Barton’s commission of the Wegman panel — that Mashey claims demonstrate active political interference in the findings.

The Mashey report says that the Wegman findings, which criticized evidence for climate change, could amount to materially false information presented in a report commissioned by a congressional committee, an act prohibited by federal law.

“I think these questions need asking, although it is not my role to judge the results, and some questions would likely only ever get answered by congressional or [Department of Justice (DOJ)] investigations,” Mashey said in the report.

The article goes on to note that, in the current political climate (Republicans rule The House), even if Wegman did commit a crime, he will probably not be called to account for it.

3) It updates us on the latest in the GMU investigation of the charges against Wegman:

GMU spokesperson Daniel Walsch said the university is reviewing the allegations against Wegman. But he was not authorized to say whether that review is narrowly tailored to the allegations of plagiarism or is examining the more-serious allegations of bias and intentional misinformation.

So there you have it. More bakcgorund on Wegman here.


Gerrard787 said...

Michael Mann is using the anonymous Deep Climate blogger to support his work? All I can say is "wow".

John Mashey said...

To be precise, I think that most of the Wegman Report's references originated with {McIntyre&McKitrick, Washington thinktanks}, although some c. Of and of course, the Jerry Coffey was likely used to recruit somebody who would give "the right answer" since Barton & Whitfield had already turned down an expert, objective panel. I explained the evidence for all this in great detail in SSWR.

Wegman claims that Said was wrong in saying Spencer had sent a daunting amount of material. See my comments there on combinations of ways the material might have gotten to Wegman's team. It is especially indicative that Spencer sent Wegman a PPT file that one would expect only McI, McK or George Marshall people to have....