Wegman plagiarism case: GMU jury out to permanent lunch

It’s been eighteen months since George Mason University began an investigation into allegations of plagiarism by Edward Wegman and his co-author Yasmin Said. Wegman and Said became famous for writing, at the invitation of anti-science Republican Joe Barton, an attempted takedown of the work of Mann and others on the “hockey stick” increase in global temperatures observed over the 20th century. Along with the statistical “analysis’, the report included a ludicrous foray into network analysis. Unfamilar with the field, Wegman and his co-authors cribbed extensively from Wikipedia, something that has turned out to be common pattern in his work.  They were silly enough to submit it for publication in a journal with a friendly editor, leading to a highly embarrassing retraction.

Now there’s yet another piece of Wikipedia cribbing, reported by Dan Vergano in USA Today, with more from Andrew Gelman and Deep Climate who, along with the redoubtable John Mashey, have done most of the hard work in this case

The big question is how long GMU can keep on getting away with doing nothing. They ignored a critical editoral in Nature in May, and it looks as though they will keep on doing nothing unti some external agency forces them to move (or perhaps Wegman will decide to retire and render the case moot for them).

There’s a broader point. On the evidence here, Wegman has single-handedly made more ludicrous errors and committed more violations of academic ethics than the total of all the allegations made against the climate science profession (the vast majority of which have been proved false). His work has been demolished at all points. Yet this has barely moved the faith of his allies in the  anti-science movement or the Republican party more generally.

At this point, any assumption of good faith on the part of climate “sceptics” is unwarranted.  They  either people who believe what they want to believe, regardless of evidence, or say things they don’t believe because it suits them politically. Either way, there is no point in reasoning with them or seeking compromise. Our only hope is to outvote them.

More from Tim Lambert

36 thoughts on “Wegman plagiarism case: GMU jury out to permanent lunch

  1. Yes, it was not edifying watching Abbott on the news tonight with silly redneck jokes about climate change.
    Switching from wheat to chaff, Steve, do you really want to remembered by future generations as one of the people responsible for the enviro catastrophe they’ll possibly have to live through?
    From you own post, you give the impression you don’t care. Perhaps you are getting older and grumpier, like me- you think the world has put itself in its own mess, why should you care?
    But even in a wasted world a person can find value and meaning, even in expression of a scepticism of an unfounded proposition that day is night, based on experience and later confirmed by reliable people; NOT the likes of Bolt, Lord Haw-Haw and Murdoch.
    Is the only difference between Terje, myself and everyone else here and yourself, that we all, for some reason, can find time to think and care and you can’t?
    If that’s not desolation, I dont know what is.

  2. Which reminds me: on things tribal.
    Am inclined to think with SATP that tribalism is indeed, a rum cove, after Central District, in pursuit of a fifth straight premiership, got rolled by a miserable straight kick in todays SANFL footy final. Apart from Sturt, the only side capable of rolling us in the big one over the last dozen years has been John Quiggin’s old working class battlers, Woodville/West Torrens, now twice.
    So others must forgive me for a moment’s tribal loyalty and reconnection of a slightly different kind in expressing congrats to my footy foe, the prof, for his old Eags win, I know from past communication that he’ll be glad for them, they don’t always get freebies ’round that part of town,
    Adelaide’s western battlers, the community that set him on his intriguing path through life.

  3. Paul Walter: Whoa! I am young, still in the vigour of youth. “Getting older” is very very relative.

    It is those who fell for the scam, or who were adherents of the warmy religion who have their misguided beliefs preserved on the internet. The day will come when they viewed as flat earthers of old are viewed today.

    Yeap, doing my bit to rape the planet. Air conditioner turned on, computer running, lots of unnecessary one-person motor vehicle journeys, & so on.

    I’m hardly a minority (seeing through the bunkum) though that need not be a measure of accuracy. Apart from those on the gravy train, & those who haven’t yet got their feet on the ground (i.e. uni students, greens voters, women in overalls etc) there aren’t many who DO swallow the AGW bunkum, or ever did. It is a religion, nothing more, nothing less.

    Lord Haw-Haw you don’t need to worry about. He got his neck stretched in 1946.

  4. Its ok Steve, I know how its going. Am actually back because my departure from this thread is not conplete without mention of John Mashey and that invaluable and detailed spaghetti diagram re Wegman and co, as to plagiarism.
    RE HawHaw- that’s true. And Mockton (hopefully) will get his stretched in 2011, for the same reasons

  5. Edward “Cut-and-Paste ScissorsHands” must be an expert on Network Analysis. ‘ScissorHands’ and his ever faithful side-kick ‘Enough’ Said are continuing to publish extensively in the field:


    In fact the two “have [just] been awarded a patent titled, ‘Policy Analysis and Action DecisionTool’. The basic idea is to model the distribution of acute outcomes based on a hybrid directed graph/social network. The prototype tool was for acute outcomes associated with alcohol use in Fairfax County.”

    George Mason must be a top university.

  6. So, just to be clear Steve, you really believe that Wegman and Said demolished the “hockey stock” in their report for Barton, and that Lord Monckton is a credible scientific authority. I note you’ve avoided the issue so far.

  7. Freelander: your link includes:
    “Yasmin H. Said, Edward J. Wegman, and Walid K. Sharabati. “Author-coauthor social networks and emerging scientific subfields.” In Data Analysis and Classification, edited by F. Palumbo, C. Lauro and M. Greenacre, 257-268. Studies in Classification, Data Analysis, and Knowledge Organization. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer, 2010.”

    See this, an addendum to SSWR … which includes the plagiarism flow into that, called [SAI2010], or item “s” in chronology.

    BTW, this is another one that Acknowledges government contracts.

    GMU is
    a) A university with some reasonable people (I know some, at least by reputation and friends of friends) doing OK work, getting research grants from Federal government and elsewhere. But this is more like a facade (of reasonable people) in front of the core.

    b) The core is a set of institutes (like Mercatus Center), and key departments (Econ, PoliSci, Public Policy, Law School), heavily funded by the Kochs and friends to dismantle the Federal government, train VA Attorney Generals (Cuccinelli), etc. Fred Singer used to be associated with one of the institutes, Pat Michaels is a Fellow and has taught a course recently, etc.
    The administration certainly understands the key missions, which may have something to do with the absurd process.

  8. Amusing that their crime is ‘recycling’ (although, not their own to recycle); how very green. Very unfortunate that there are billionaire loonies to fund these outfits. If there weren’t, these people would either have to go out and get a real job, or join the ranks of the unemployed.

    Mind you, I might be wrong. Because, some of these loonies have managed to work their way up in bureaucracies and academia, hence there are some of these outfits being generously funded by taxpayer dollars.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s