Guest post by Thomas Fuller
Regular readers will remember that the fuss generated by Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick chart caused an investigation. A U.S. Congressional committee, led by Congressman Joe Barton, asked Edward Wegman to investigate the methods and findings of Michael Mann. (See the Wegman report titled “AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE ‘HOCKEY STICK’ GLOBAL CLIMATE RECONSTRUCTION” here)
Now Wegman’s work is being investigated in much the same manner by people alleging that Wegman’s work contains plagiarized material.
The investigating institution, George Mason University, is responding to a formal complaint by Raymond Bradley, who was a co-author with Michael Mann of the work Wegman looked into.
One of the anonymous weblogs specializing in climate hysteria, Deep Climate, has been trumpeting charges about Wegman’s work for quite some time, alleging among other heinous crimes that some of the post grads working with Wegman had plagiarized work. Given the source, I had not paid much attention to it.
But if there is a formal complaint, we need to look at it seriously. Wegman’s criticism of Mann’s work is widely cited–his famous claim that ‘right answer, wrong method equals bad science’ is certainly and obviously correct–but it will have to apply to him, too.
I should also note that this is being handled better than Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s investigation of the University of Virginia’s grants for Michael Mann–basically because it’s being handled by the institution involved, as it should be.
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.
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.
Let’s watch this and see, and report on the results in a clear-eyed fashion. Just because we have policy preferences and have opinions doesn’t mean we can ignore the facts.
Thomas Fuller http://www.redbubble.com/people/hfuller