John Mashey

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Dr. Mashey is an easy-to-Google and Wikipedia’d semi-retired Bell Labs (1973-1983) / Silicon Valley (1983-)  computer scientist/executive.   He has worked with a wide variety of scientists, many of whom have used software or hardware he helped create.  For the last few years he has been studying climate science & anti-science and energy issues, and for several years has written investigative reports mostly here at DeSmogBlog. He has penned a few articles for Skeptical Inquirer, whose parent Center for Skeptical Inquiry recently added him as a Scientific and Technical Consultant.

In Spring 2011, he lectured several times in British Columbia on climate anti-science. He has also lectured at UCSF in 2013 and Stanford in 2014 on Cigarettes, Climate and Confusion Creators. Lectures in 2015 included Penn State, Woods Hole Research Center (video), and Bristol University (UK). He is an active member of the Advisory Committee for UCSF’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, important for the close connections of tobacco and climate anti-science.  He is a member of AAAS, AGU, APS, ACM, IEEE CS.

Earlier reports were often attached to blog posts written by Richard Littlemore here, summarized in Science article recognizes John Mashey Updated: With complete list of Mashey Papers. One of the most important reports was Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report, which first appeared at Deep Climate, but was later copied here to DeSmogBlog for consolidation. Other related works include a review of James Powell’s The Inquisition of Climate Science at NCSE, July-August 2013, and several articles for Skeptical Inquirer: American Physical Society Rejects Climate Anti-Science March/April 2010 (print-only); Strange Problems in the Wegman Report, March-April 2011; Has Global Warming Stopped?, David Morrison, John Mashey, Mark Boslough, September/October 2013. For Huffpost, he wrote Big Tobacco, Big Fossil Power Machinery of Doubt (December 2015).

Fake science, fakexperts, funny finances, free of tax

Modern anti-science was created by the tobacco industry in the 1950s and then used against climate science, often by the same well-experienced think tanks and individuals.  Tobacco anti-science is strangely entangled with climate anti-science, as the attached report shows in detail involving Fred Singer's SEPP, Joseph Bast's Heartland, and more. (Fakery 2  10/25/12 updates this post with more data.)

Skeptics Prefer Pal Review Over Peer Review: Chris de Freitas, Pat Michaels And Their Pals, 1997-2003

anti-science pot calling science kettle black

Imagine for a moment that climate change skeptics actually submitted their anti-science arguments for publication in a credible peer-reviewed journal. Now imagine that, after thorough examination and debunking by their peers, these skeptics finally admitted their many false claims and assumptions, and perhaps some or all moved on to contribute meaningfully to the vast body of science confirming manmade climate change?

Ok, back to reality.

Instead, the skeptics' greatest and most-often cited (by them) “peer-reviewed studies” appeared in the journal Climate Research between 1997-2003. This journal has been considered credible at certain points in its history, and many fine papers have appeared there.

But according to my new analysis [PDF] of the papers published in Climate Research, there is a very clear gap in credibility during the years 1997-2003 when Chris de Freitas served as one of the journal's editors. During this time, de Freitas oversaw the publication of 14 papers from notorious skeptics - half of them authored by fossil fuel industry pal Pat Michaels - many of which would not have survived rigorous and honest peer review at any other credible journal. 

A few months ago, another journal's editor resigned over a paper that should not have been accepted due to a poor peer review process. It reminded many of us of the more drastic case of Climate Research (CR), where several editors resigned in 2003 in the wake of a colossally poor paper by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, accepted for publication by none other than Chris de Freitas.

It was certainly not the first de Freitas-endorsed paper to pass weak editorial processes at Climate Research, but when incoming Editor-in-Chief Hans von Storch suggested the paper should not have been published, he endeavored to fix editorial processes to prevent such problems.  The publisher did not agree, so von Storch and other editors resigned.

Weird Anti-Science - Donna Bethell, SEPP, and Sandia National Laboratories

Back to school, dunce.

Donna Bethell recently complained to the Washington Post about an article that mentioned human causation of global warming:

It also cited two well-known skeptics of this claim. Were those skeptics allowed to explain why they are skeptics? No, they were only allowed to say that climate change is a political issue. Well, duh.”

The “skeptics” in the article were Rush Limbaugh and Marc Morano.  Lawyer Bethell's husband is political writer Thomas Bethell, whose book, The Politically Incorrect Guide(TM) to Science (2005) promoted intelligent design and AIDS denialism, but scoffed at any dangers from global warming, radiation, dioxins, DDT, loss of biodiversity, etc.  It lauded Fred Singer and fictioneer Michael Crichton.  Donna rated it highly and urged people to buy it:

Curious Coincidences at George Mason University: Ed Wegman, Milton Johns and Ken Cuccinelli

Image of Lady Justice, with scales and sword.

Nearly two years ago, Canadian blogger Deep Climate found the first few pages of plagiarism in the Wegman Report.  Since then, he and others have found many more, whose chronology is graphed in Plagiarism chains involving Edward Wegman and/or students, 10/07/11, going back to 1996.

After 17+ months beyond the first of many formal complaints, and despite exhortation from a Nature editorial in May 2011 to move faster, George Mason University (GMU) is still reviewing the situation.

Dan Vergano of USA Today reported on 05/16/11 that

Neither Dr. Wegman nor Dr. Said has ever engaged in plagiarism,” says their attorney, Milton Johns, by e-mail. In a March 16 e-mail to the journal, Wegman blamed a student who “had basically copied and pasted” from others' work into the 2006 congressional report, and said the text was lifted without acknowledgment and used in the journal study. “We would never knowingly publish plagiarized material” wrote Wegman, a former CSDA journal editor.”

But who is Milton Johns, to be so confident of his firm statement?