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.
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