Wegman, et al: Using Statistics to Mislead Congress?

Mon, 2010-09-27 10:48Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Wegman, et al: Using Statistics to Mislead Congress?

The computer scientist John Mashey has called once again for the Department of Justice to investigate Edward Wegman on a charge of misleading Congress with his 2006 report on the famous and famously resilient “Mann Hockey Stick.”

In a new report now available on the Deep Climate blog, Mashey doesn’t exactly accuse Wegman and his team of lying, cheating and incompetence. Rather, he offers more than 200 pages of evidence: documented examples of Wegman and leading writer Yasmin Said plagiarizing material, padding their references, “crediting” reviewers who either never saw the report or whose comments were ignored, injecting errors into plagiarized text and failing to perform the actual statistical analsysis that the House Committee on Energy and Commerce had requested.

If Wegman hopes to maintain a shred of academic credibility, he must either sue Mashey for libel (and win) or apologize and admit that the 2006 report was a political put-up job. Given the weight of Mashey’s evidence, a lawsuit seems laughably unlikely. A charge of misleading Congress, on the other hand, awaits only the interest of the DOJ.

Comments

1) There are some font problems introduced somewhere in the path from my PDF through DC and WordPress. DC should be back online fairly soon and hopefully we'll get that fixed.

2) To clarify, I don't *know* of any reviewers who *never* saw the report. At least one reviewer only got 3 days to look at a 91-page report covering many topics, and her comments were mostly ignored. Another had seen an earlier version, asked for another week, got a new version, sent comments back a week later ... but the WR had been finalized the day after he got his copy, so they had no impact.

For sure, at least some (maybe all) of the commenters were mis-used.

Getting quick comments from busy associates at the last minute is nothing like the rigorous review process used in a National Research Council report, where reviewers commit to serious reviews on a clear schedule months in advance. In the corresponding NRC effort, reviewers averaged ~5 pages of single-spaced comments/questions, required to be addressed by the report writers. Reviewers are anonymous, until listed as a group on the final report.

Anyway, the real issue is that Reps. Barton & Whitfield, and Wegman, repeatedly tried to liken the WR to an NRC report with similar process, and give an impression that this was somehow requested by the National Academy of Sciences. It wasn't. Barton and Whitfield rejected an offer or a nomral NRC report as not meeting

Wegman needs to be investigated, if Dr Mashey is correct. And I believe he is. Essentially, it looks like Wegman has been caught red handed copy-pasting.

It would likewise also be nice to see Wegman's proteges face-up to the consequences of apparent plagiarism in their dissertations.

After all if it is plagiarism, why should they benefit from deception when everyone else has work hard to to gain a doctorate?

Somehow there seems to be a most unpleasant smell emanating from the Kochs and their funding of GMU / Mercatus Center and Wegman report.

Someone really needs to do one of those 'spider' diagrams which analyses the links in Dr Mashey's study: like the ones on www.dirtyenergymoney.com which shows the links of corrupt politicians to the oil and coal industry.

Mashey has actually done a service here - albeit 4 years late. To the extent Bradley agrees, again 4 years after the fact, he simply needs to call Wegman with his concerns.

And you just can't let go of the oil industry thing, notwithstanding most of the oil industry is funding all sorts of people and programs associated with the AGW industry!