Wegman Paper Retracted, Watts Growls

By Keith Kloor | May 16, 2011 9:44 am

Anthony Watts bites down hard on sour grapes after reading the big news yesterday in USA Today. More on that in a minute.

So Dan Vergano breaks the story and offers this helpful background:

The study, which appeared in 2008 in the journal Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, was headed by statistician Edward Wegman of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Its analysis was an outgrowth of a controversial congressional report that Wegman headed in 2006. The “Wegman Report” suggested climate scientists colluded in their studies and questioned whether global warming was real. The report has since become a touchstone among climate change naysayers.

Vergano cites what and who is responsible for the paper’s undoing:

Computer scientist Ted Kirkpatrick of Canada’s Simon Fraser University, filed a complaint with the journal after reading the climate science website Deep Climate, which first noted plagiarism in the Wegman Report in 2009. “There is something beyond ironic about a study of the conduct of science having ethics problems,” Kirkpatrick says.

There is also something predictable about this reaction from Watts, who plays down the journal retraction and instead focuses on the anonymity of the critic who exposed the paper’s plagiarism:

Well, congratulations to Deep Climate for being able to attack a man in another country without having having to put your name behind it. Such courage. You must be proud.

Fortunately, some WUWT readers exhibit more class and less partisanship than Watts:

I’m sorry, if the paper was sloppy enough to contain plagiarised text, then it is sloppy enough to contain other mistakes. Whether warmist or sceptic, we should be aiming for the highest standards and just because some annoying individual came out the blue and asked annoying questions which the journal properly investigated, we shouldn’t be supporting bad papers.

If Watts is truly offended by someone “being able to attack a man in another country without having having to put your name behind it,” then he might consider putting a stop to anonymous commenters at his site.

UPDATE: Bishop Hill is also not fazed by the journal retraction:

As far as I can tell, nobody is disputing the paper’s findings though.

How do you guys manage to twist yourselves into such contortions and stay upright?

UPDATE: On Monday, In a follow-up piece online, Dan Vergano probes beyond the issue of plagiarism:

But how good was the study? We asked network analysis expert Kathleen Carley of Carnegie Mellon to take a look at whether the CSDA study, a “bibliometric” critique of publishing links between climate scientists, was any good in the first place. “I see this paper as more of an opinion piece,” Carley says, by email.

Carley is a well-established expert in network analysis. She even taught the one-week course that one of Wegman’s students took before 2006, making the student the “most knowledgeable” person about such analyses on Wegman’s team, according to a note that Wegman sent to CSDA in March.

Be sure to read the whole article, which contains a Q & A with Carley.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, climate skeptics
  • Zajko

    To Watts’ credit, he also appears to be defending DC’s right to remain anonymous, despite attempts to “out” him.
    I’m not so confident this paper will be re-written – not for this same journal anyway.

  • Tom Gray

    Are teh facts in the Wegman report disputed?

    Perhaps if we all kept to the level of understanding the facts and left partisanship out of the debate, we would all be better off.

    What the AGW issue needs is a good Marx Brothers comedy to show how ridiculous thai has all become.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Tom, as to your question, see my update in the post.

  • Tom Gray

    KK writes:

    =============
    How do you guys manage to twist yourselves into such contortions and stay upright?
    ======

    Are the findings in dispute?

    Perhaps if we did not show so much glee in the discomposure of others we could end partisanship and concentrate on what could potentially be a grave issue

  • Tom Gray

    From the Marx Brother’s Duck Soup

    ================
    “This means war”
    “And remember while you’re out there risking life and limb through shot and shell, we’ll be in here thinking what a sucker you are.”
    ======================
    I wish the same thing could be applied to this entire AGW debacle

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Tom (4), I don’t get that logic. If a newspaper or magazine story substantially plagiarizes the work of others, and this is discovered, then the story is not credible, the information is not to be trusted.

    Why would you trust a source like that?

  • cynicus

    #2 asks: “Are the facts in the Wegman report disputed?”
    Yes, Sir, they are. Incidentally also by blogger Deep Climate who discovered that the computer code, provided by Canadian skeptic Steve McIntyre, as used by the statisticians Wegman and Said, severely cherry-picks the results from random proxys to support the claim that Mann’s ’89/99 algorithm would produce hockeysticks from red noise.
    See the discussion here: http://deepclimate.org/2010/11/16/replication-and-due-diligence-wegman-style/
    So not only is the first -paleoclimate- section of the Wegman disputed: plagiarism. The second section -supposedly the real substance- is disputed too: cherry-picking,  as is the last -SNA- section: plagiarism again.
    It doesn’t reflect well on a paper itself critical of the behavior of other scholars and intended as political weapon. So, yes, outside science the AGW issue is a real soap.

  • http://skepticalscience.com grypo
  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @ Bishop Hill:
    As far as I can tell, nobody is disputing the paper’s findings though.

    @2 Tom Gray:
    Are teh facts in the Wegman report disputed?

    Yes.

  • Tom Fuller

    Hmm. This is a story and should be covered. I’m a bit unclear on why Anthony Watts is in the headline and prominently featured in your coverage. He had nothing to do with the paper, other than publicizing its existence and findings.

    As for the net effect, anything that keeps this story alive for another few cycles is a net gain for skeptics, as what Wegman found (as opposed to how it ended being written up) is damaging to the consensus. Reviving this will just expose more people to the same errors found by Wegman.

    Choose your undergrads carefully!

  • Tom Gray

    re 6

    This is not a newspaper story. it is a report of a mathematical investigation that can be evaluated. Plagiarism is a collateral issue that does not affect the issues raised by the paper.

    This obsession with supposed plagiarism and other irrelevancies trivializes a grave issue. Where are the Marx Brothers when we need them?

     

  • Tom Gray

    re 6

    I suppose that an outlet that I would not tend to trust would be an outlet that ignored salient findings on a subject and instead concentrated on irrelevancies that are tied to personalities.

    Newton and Beethoven had disgusting personal habits. Fourier was shot by an outraged husband. Who cares?

  • Keith Kloor

    Tom,
    It should be clear by now that I’m interested in how people react to information that challenges their world views, be it the response to the Nisbet report or the response to the journal retraction of the Wegman paper by prominent skeptics, such as Watts and Hill.

    It’s interesting to me how people on both sides of this debate spin/slant news to advance their own agendas or belief. I like pointing it out when it’s patently obvious, as it is now with the reax by skeptics to the Wegman report. it’s like a sport.
     

  • Keith Kloor

    Tom,
    You’re tying yourself in a knot. We’re not talking about grooming habits. It’s about academic dishonesty. How are you able to overlook/rationalize that while still giving credence to the supposed “findings.”

  • Tom Fuller

    I don’t know which Tom you’re castigating here, but I’ll take the bait. The findings of Wegman are fairly clear and were supported by the NAS. The later paper written by Said is what is being withdrawn.

    Lifting a description of the network effect from Wikipedia did not affect the findings of the Wegman report, as it was not an academic paper and Congress didn’t care if they did it or not. The rules for academic publishing are (and should be) different.

    Congress got the truth about what happened. Sloppy work rendered the paper unfit for purpose in academia.

    I don’t see much of a problem here, although it may prove to be the controversy of the week.

  • Lazar

    The analysis in the Wegman report was superficial.
    And they missed things a half decent statistician should pick up on.
    Obvious targets like model selection and validation.
    The report is mostly famous for the talking points it provided.
    Those talking points are mostly iterated by individuals who share a shallow grasp on the methodological intricacies involved in the hockey stick dispute.
    The shoddiness of the Wegman group is reflected in the plagiarism issues.

  • Tom Gray

    re 14

    =============
    You’re tying yourself in a knot. We’re not talking about grooming habits. It’s about academic dishonesty. How are you able to overlook/rationalize that while still giving credence to the supposed “findings.”
    ====================

    Because mathematical findings can be replicated and reproduced.

    This is not an issue of assigning credit or priority. it is an issue of determining the merit of reported findings. This can be divorced from personalities

    Perelman recently completed the proof of the Poincare Conjecture. This has major implications in mathematics, astronomy, cosmology, etc etc. The evaluation of a mathematical proof like Perelman’s does not depend on any examination of the mathematician’s personality or character. Perelman was gravely concerned that he was being given credit for the proof that he did not deserve. He saw himself as completing the work proposed by another mathematician (Hamilton). As a result he refused the academic honours and rewards that were offered to him. Does  this controversy on the credit for the proof in anyway diminish its validity or importance?

    If there are issues with Wegman’s findings then they should be dealt with mathematically and not with irrelevancies. The AGW is just too important for academic and political games

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Tom (17),

    I give up. I guess we’ll have to wait for the paper to be resubmitted. Should be easy enough, right, if it’s just a matter of replicating the mathematical findings?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @15

    It seems like you’re blocking out the technical criticisms of the Wegman work (see the Ritson link).  Funny that.  If it was just the plagiarism that would be one thing.  Now why are you ignoring the other (more important IMO) bit?

    “Congress got the truth about what happened. Sloppy work rendered the paper unfit for purpose in academia. ”

    can you expand on this? it seems to me that congress got no such thing…



    Also, are you asserting that congressional testimony should be held to a lower standard than academic literature?

  • bluegrue

    Some people seem to need to think about, why plagiarism is considered scientific misconduct.

    There are two major areas, where you can plagiarize, the findings and the background section. In the former case, it is obviously theft, as you are appropriating valuable work of others as your own for your own profit. In the latter case you show, that you are either unable to write the background section on your own or can’t be bothered to do so; in either case a reader should ask himself, whether you are able to and could be bothered to put work into the rest of the paper.

    In the case of the Wegman report, DC has made a compelling case that the few alterations that Wegman or his ghostwriter did make betray their ignorance of the subject they were writing about. Judging from the stuff that Wegman et al put into the congress report it seems unlikely that they gave it any more thought than blindly rerunning the script supplied by McIntyre, w/o noticing that the hockey sticks they showcased in the congress report were not representative of general data generated by said script; not something that counts as replication in any scientific sense.

  • D. Robinson

    Keith, I remember reading all the DC posts on Wegman’s plagiarism and CA’s responses.  DC was being incredibly pedantic about the whole thing, much of the plagiarized information was in descriptive background for the reader, definitions and basics on dendrochronology.  Not the meat of the report at all, but references for people that don’t frequent climate blogs.  For example definitions or descriptions from Briffa’s books on the subject of dendrochronology.
    DC’s whole series of posts was every bit as excruciating as reading McIntyre’s most pedantic stuff (rather than his stats work).  DC burned Wegman for not including attribution for textbook / wikipedia references but they had nothing to do with Wegman’s results.
    Now as already mentioned in this thread DC also tried to pick apart the statistical work but DC’s work is no more convincing than the other players.
    I can appreciate the over simplified point of saying that if Wegman’s a plagiarist he can’t be trusted.  However I’m quite sure that those of us who followed this story closely as it unfolded just came down on our usual side of the AGW / skeptic fence.  No doubt there are plenty of improperly referenced points in AGW papers (climate audit has posted some in response to this attack on Wegman) but DC wanted to discredit Wegman so he resorted to attacking minutiae.
    Understandable as it is that the Journal pulled the article, it should not discredit Wegman’s points.
     

  • sharper00

    The symmetry of this issue is intriguing to me.
    With regard to Mann we’re told all that matters is that there’s a flaw. It doesn’t matter whether correcting it changes the conclusion, it doesn’t matter whether the same conclusion was reached by other researchers. The hockey stick is flawed. Flawed flawed flawed.
    With the “Climategate” emails we’re told all that matters is the intent revealed by what the scientists discussed. They said mean things and acted like they didn’t trust sceptics. They’re bad men. Bad bad bad.
    Then we have the Wegman report which has now been shown to be a product of plagiarism on such a remarkable scale which is defended in such a bizarre manner it’s basically impossible to retain a belief in one of the ethics or competence of the authors. The response? Oh none of that matters, hey look over there did you see this is the result of some pesky anonymous blogger? Hey look over there they’re doing this because they can’t attack the conclusions. Oh they are attacking the conclusions too? Oh hey look over there, see it’s a report for Congress why would you apply those crazy rules of “ethics” or “correctness” all that matters is the “truth” and I know it’s the truth because it agrees with me.

     

  • Tom Gray

    re 20
    In regard to Wegman’s findings
    ==============
    DC has made a compelling case
    ==============

    Then publish it as a response to Wegman. It doesn’t matter what Wegman personally did or did not do in deriving his results. They are there and published and, if valid, important. Create a response and stop muddying the issue with political irrelevancies.

  • Tom Fuller

    This is what I mean about reviving the story and its potential to damage the consensus. The true believers and the die hard skeptics will not be affected. But I predict we are going to revisit in excruciating detail, probably here, Wegman’s findings on the statistical analysis choices of Mann, which were clearly wrong, the conclusions Wegman made about the tight-knit community in that branch of science, which were common sensical but probably outside his range of competence, and the sloppiness shown by Said in the academic paper recently withdrawn.

    The fun part to watch will be when people use Said’s sloppiness in referencing a description of the network effect to impugn Wegman’s accurate description of Mann’s poor choices.

    Style points will be awarded.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    again, no comment on Ritson then Tom?

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    As some have noted, such as Stoat, there is an online update by USA Today’s Vergano, that is worth checking out.

  • Zajko

    I would just like to point out that SNA is not purely a matter of mathematics/proofs. The truly interesting part of SNA is the implications or interpretation of such analysis. If it is true the peer-review took six days (and judging by the quality of the writing), the paper may require some rather serious reworking to pass with qualified reviewers.

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub

    KK,
    Why is it not surprising that you seem ready to just swallow any pitiful logic and excuse that is offered as a reason to attack Wegman in this debate? Wegman’s ‘side’ incidentally happens to the same side you attack to shore up your balance, as damages, for attacking Joe Romm day in and day out.

    The Wegman issue was discussed at length in this very blog but as before, your ignorance on this matter is familiarly unsurprising.

    Most of your posts consist of copy-pasted passages from other blogs and news reports – all properly linked to of course, but do you consider yourself a plagiarist as a result?

    But your post clearly betrays your bloodthirsty side: rile up the factions, soak up the responses and watch from the sidelines. One hopes your ratfucking Stalinist Football Club buddies don’t hang you out to dry one day. They already did it a bit, if I am not mistaken, when one of them called you an ‘inactivist’, didn’t they?

  • Tom Fuller

    As for process, Ritson seems to believe that a congressional subcommittee should play by the same rules as an academic journal. I don’t know why.

    Ritson’s complaints about the work are clearly a follow-on to his previous attacks on McIntyre and McKitrick, and M&M have responded, for example, here:

    http://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2005/10/ritson.reply.258826.pdf

    Key quote from that: “Ritson incorrectly claimed to have refuted our demonstration that the biased MBH98 method produced hockey stick shaped PC1s. The tendency of the MBH98 PC algorithm to produce hockey stick shaped PC1s has been independently confirmed by, inter alia, von Storch and Zorita [2005] and Huybers [2005]. Ritson’s failure to replicate this result is due to his confused focus on the mY’s instead of the PCs.
    Ritson incorrectly summarized our GRL article as merely claiming that “shortcentering invalidated the MBH98 results.” This is a fundamental misrepresentation. While we strongly criticized MBH98 short-centering, we emphasized the interrelationship of the flawed methodology and the flawed bristlecone proxies. In fact, we originally identified the unique role of bristlecones in MBH98 by following the flawed methodology to see what it picked out in the controversial North American network. It is the interaction between contaminated proxies and flawed methodology that is essential, not simply the flawed methodology.

    http://climateaudit.org/2006/05/29/the-ritson-coefficient-2/

    http://climateaudit.org/2005/12/04/the-ritson-comment-an-update/

    Ritson is merely extending his target to include Wegman. He has not dealt with the response from M&M.

    Ah, let the games begin…

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Now, now, Shub. Don’t let all that bile get the better of you.

    Hey, weren’t you supposed to swear off this blog, anyway? Don’t you feel so much better hanging out in your own echo chamber?

  • NewYorkJ

    About time!

    The Wegman Report has always been a junk opinion piece.  It was commissioned by a politician, wasn’t independently peer-reviewed, contained plagiarized text (exceeded only by gross misrepresentation of others’ work), and was simply a shoddy piece of work.  The fact that “skeptics” (deniers, luke-warmers, whatever) uncritically rallied around it as the great hockey stick debunking is rather revealing of their cult-like mentality.  McIntyre has a long series of posts praising the Wegman Report, which leads one to question his competency as an independent “auditor”.   It was certainly something he was unable to detach himself from.

  • Dean

    So now we find out that the paper that was retracted due to plagiarism had a full 5 days of review between submission and approval. So do we need to look into problems with peer review?

    Wegman was called on as an expert to review others work, but an expert has now said that he presents no data to support the claim in the retracted paper. This same expert said that if she had been a reviewer, she would have called for a major revision.

    Those who focus on the email thefts have used it to cast aspersions on virtually all of climate science, but apparently all of the above means little to the true nonbelievers, and Wegman still has credibility. The double standard is obvious to most people.

  • Tom Fuller

    Free bag of popcorn to the first observer who notes the difference between ‘dispute’ and ‘refute.’ No fair bringing examples over from Joe Romm’s place of business…

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub

    So you dont have any answers KK, just some more weird efforts at evasion?

    ‘my’ echo chamber?

    Or this echo chamber, when your Stalinist thugs come to hang around and plan your plutocratist energy infrastructure takeovers?

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Shub, you’re hilarious. I can’t tell you how happy I am you returned. I needed some good comic relief today.

  • Tom Fuller

    Ahh, and here we see that the peripheral conclusion regarding the close knit community of those working with proxies for historical temperatures, which was not the purpose or main point of Wegman’s report to Congress, is going to be used to defend Mann’s shoddy analysis.

    Wegman’s report accurately summarized Mann’s deficiencies in analytical techniques.

    Wegman attempted to explain a reason for some of the ongoing problems in proxy studies, offering the very real and very close connections between scientists working in the field serving as co-authors and reviewers on many closely related papers using the same data.

    Wegman’s team incorrectly used language describing this network effect without attribution. This language was later used in Said’s paper, which is now being withdrawn.

    Expect the red and green ink to chart the conspiracy fever dreams any time now.

  • http://skepticalscience.com grypo

    pass the pretzels

  • Zajko

    In terms of the close-knit nature of the community, I think Wegman was onto something fairly commonsensical (which I think can be considered a problem, but is a common problem in science, and doesn’t necessarily stop people from disagreeing with one another). A weak SNA analysis (which is how I read it, although that certainly isn’t my area) however, provides such a claim with an air of science it doesn’t deserve.

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub

    Well, I am glad to cheer you up, KK. I thought that just a while ago, you were bubbling with moral outrage that the deniers’ duplicitousness. Helps keep the blood pressure down.

  • NewYorkJ

    Dean (#32): So now we find out that the paper that was retracted due to plagiarism had a full 5 days of review between submission and approval. So do we need to look into problems with peer review?

    I would hope so.  Obviously this tarnishes the reputation of this particular journal, although the retraction helps mitigate that.  We know that “skeptics” often target specific journals that they are likely to get junk science published in, as was cleary the case with the Soon/Baliunus Climate Research controversy.

    For reference:

    http://deepclimate.org/2011/05/16/retraction-of-said-wegman-et-al-2008-part-2/

    The chief editor Stanley Azen is apparently a good friend of Wegman, and Said was on the advisory board of the same journal.

    Ted Kirkpatrick said it best:

    “There is something beyond ironic about a study of the conduct of science having ethics problems

  • Lazar

    DC’s catch on hockey stick selection is a good one. Wegman et al. unthinkingly ran M&M’s cherry picking code and it seems didn’t even consider obvious methodological differences between what they were claiming (AR1[0.2]) and what M&M did (ARFIMA). Wegman et al. were tasked with…
    “an independent verification of the critiques of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) [MBH98, MBH99] by McIntyre and McKitrick (2003, 2005a, 2005b)”
    The above issue is one of graphical exaggeration. It’s a trick to enhance the incline. Ritson’s criticisms have greater methodological implications, where he’s asking Wegman whether they examined the hockey stick pattern found in the proxy data and tested statistical significance (how unlikely is the observed pattern if the generating process were random noise), and querying their noise model selection process (i.e. what process?).
    Wegman report states
    “Red noise in the paleoclimatology context is modeled by a first-order autoregressive model.”
    M&M2005 used ARFIMA which is not even close to AR1. M&M2005 did not justify their model selection or go through a model selection process, did not test the validity of the model assumptions, did not test whether there was enough data to reasonably constrain the model parameters, and did not validate the model output.
    Wegman et al. did not pick them up for any of the above. And that’s just standard statistical modelling work. Even for someone who isn’t a time-series guy. And if they weren’t up to doing time-series stuff, then they should have said so and passed the buck.
    The central talking point of Wegman report is that using decentered PCA inflates the variance of hockey stick patterns. That’s a trivially true point. What matters for MBH98, as claimed in M&M2005, is the effect size this technique introduces on the results. Wegman et al. didn’t tackle effect sizes, and they didn’t discuss work which did (Huybers reply to M&M2005).
    The SNA stuff is pure fluff.

  • Tom Fuller

    McIntyre wrote in 2006:

    Here’s something amusing.
    Mann has written to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, arguing that we made a fundamental and obvious mistake in how we calculated AR1 coefficients for the North American tree ring network, which exaggerated the HS-ness of the simulated hockey sticks ““ a mistake that Ritson has now supposedly picked up and which supposedly any reviewer would have picked up.
    The irony is that the method that we used to calculate AR1 coefficients is identical to the method used by Mann in his Preisendorfer diagram for the NOAMER network submitted to Nature and posted up at realclimate, as I prove below.
    …”Now we’ve done a variety of calculations to show the artificial hockey stick effect. A calculation that’s received the least attention, but is probably the most pertinent is the discussion in the Reply to VZ in which we talk about the impact of 1-2 “bad apples” in an MBH context. Given the concern over potential nonclimatic effect of bristlecones, this is actually a more important issue than the red noise argument. In our red noise discussions, we did two calculations ““ one with ARFIMA noise and one with AR1 noise. The ARFIMA noise produced pretty hockey sticks but introduced a secondary complication and replications have focused on AR1 examples. To set parameters for the simulation, we calculated AR1 coefficients on the North American AD1400 tree ring network using a simple application of the arima function in R:

    arima.coef = arima(x,order=c(1,0,0))
    This is what Ritson is criticizing, arguing that application of a standard arima function to a tree ring network without previously removing trends is incorrect. Now it seems to me that Ritson has recently argued that VZ’s implementation of MBH made some sort of ghastly error by removing a trend prior to regression ““ so it’s hard to say what Team policy is on when trends should be removed and when trends shouldn’t be removed ““ but that’s a story for another day.
    However here my point is different. Whatever the right method may be, the method that I used simply followed Mann’s own methodology. This can be proven by looking at his Preisendorfer simulations posted up at realclimate here (which were also submitted to Nature). In the SI to Mann’s revised reply to our Nature submission (all unpublished), Mann stated ““ posted up here for the first time : We performed the experiments described by MM04 , producing various realizations of M=70 statistically independent red noise series of length N=581 “˜years’, using an N(0,1) Gaussian innovation forcing and the lag one autocorrelation coefficients of each of the actual M=70 North American ITRDB data for the interval 1902-1980.

    From this calculation, Mann produced the figure shown in the left panel below, which was submitted to Nature and later posted up at realclimate in an identical form. In the right panel, I show my replication of this figure posted up early last yearhere., discussed here at CA. This exact replication of Mann’s diagram was produced using the arima coefficients calculated above ““ if the coefficients had been calculated using Ritson’s method, the diagram would have been much different. So whether this method of calculating AR1 coefficients is right or wrong, it is EXACTLY the method used by Mann himself.”

    http://climateaudit.org/2006/09/03/more-tangled-webs/

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    @40:

    Re the peer review issues raised in this case: I guess you’re not seeing an irony here with respect to some of the same buddy, buddy peer review questions raised in the wake of climategate?

     

  • Tom Fuller

    And gee, why would Ritson be so fired up about all this?

    Oh, yeah. Wahl, E.R., and D.M. Ritson [Ammann], accepted: Reconstruction of century-scale temperature variations. Science. Accepted.

  • Lazar

    Tom Fuller,

    “Ritson is merely extending his target to include Wegman.”

    The issue was what Ritson asked of Wegman, not something else that Ritson said to someone else.

  • Lazar

    why would Ritson be so fired up about all this?”

    … also irrelevant to Ritson’s questions for Wegman.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/stoat William M. Connolley

    Nice piece, and a tasteful ref to me.
    But: it is “fazed” not “phased”, unless you’re talking about some bizarre star-trek style transportation method.

  • Tom Fuller

    Which are also irrelevant to Wegman’s criticism of Mann.

  • RickA

    Wegman’s report still validates the statistical criticisms of the Mann hockey stick paper – correct?

    It is my understanding that the social network stuff which was plagiarized was really Wegman’s explanation as to why Mann and his group-think clique were so wrong on the statistics.

    But the fact that he lifted his group-think analysis from Wikipedia doesn’t change the fundamental statistical flaws in the Mann paper right?

    At least that is my read on this matter.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    @47

    Holy crap. I must be bug-eyed. Thanks.

  • Lazar

    “This is what Ritson is criticizing, arguing that application of a standard arima function to a tree ring network without previously removing trends is incorrect. Now it seems to me that Ritson has recently argued that VZ’s implementation of MBH made some sort of ghastly error by removing a trend prior to regression ““ so it’s hard to say what Team policy is on when trends should be removed and when trends shouldn’t be removed ““ but that’s a story for another day.”


    This response conflates many issues…

    1) estimating the coefficients of a regression model with estimating an autoregressive parameter. One immediate issue with relevance for trend removal, is AR1 and ARIMA class models assume a stationary process.
    2) modelling a signal component with modelling a noise component
    3) requirements for designing an original model with requirements for replicating someone else’s
    And finally, ‘I’m only doing what Mann did’.
    ?!
    Does this mean he has no complaints with decentered PCA?
    It’s not a response to Ritson. It’s a muddle.

  • NewYorkJ

    Wegman’s report still validates the statistical criticisms of the Mann hockey stick paper ““ correct?

    No.  See #8 for example. 

    Also, the plagiarism is beyond simple copy and paste.  In some cases, Wegman changed the words around slightly, which, as DC revealed, modified the meaning of the original text.

  • Lazar

    Tom Fuller,
    “irrelevant to Wegman’s criticism of Mann”
    Wegman et al.’s duty was not to criticize Mann. It was to conduct…
    “an independent verification of the critiques of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) [MBH98, MBH99] by McIntyre and McKitrick (2003, 2005a, 2005b)”
    DC’s and Ritson’s highlight several oversights by Wegman et al. in fulfilling that duty.
    I believe that those oversights show the duty was not fulfilled.
    You may argue otherwise, simply stating they’re irrelevant is not an argument.

  • Lazar

    1) Pal review
    2) Failure to release code
    3) Failure to respond to questions about methodology
    The irony is almost unbelievable.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @51
    McIntyre conflating issues? Surely you jest…

  • http://www.skepticalscience.com Dana

    Frankly the Wegman Report is basically worthless.  Carley’s description of it as “an opinion piece”, and a heavily-plagiarized one at that, is accurate.

    But amusingly, the plagiarism news gets “skeptics” once again obsessing over a 13-year-old paper whose main result (current temps are very likely higher now than at any time over the past 2,000 years) has been replicated by every single subsequent millenial temperature reconstruction – about a dozen in total.

    Sure, Mann et al. ’98 and ’99 showed less variability and a smaller amplitude MWP and LIA than the subsequent reconstructions.  Ironically, the larger variation corresponds to a higher climate sensitivity, thus contradicting the critical “skeptic” argumentclimate sensitivity is low“.

    The “hockey stick” isn’t very important to the anthropogenic warming theory, and had the original hockey stick been correct, it would lend some credibility to the low sensitivity arguments from “skeptics” like Lindzen and Spencer and Christy.  And yet it’s one of the main targets by layman “skeptics”.

    It’s kind of fun to sit back and watch them continually keep scoring own goals.

  • Lazar

    Background from John Mashey.,.
    “2) The July 05, 2007 CS&AD Editors shows (as you note) Wegman as Advisor, Said as Associate Editor. Another Assoc. editor is:
    C. E. Priebe (Johns Hopkins), who did his PhD in 1993 under Wegman, and has coauthored at least 3 papers with him.
    [...]

    3) I’ve already pointed out the [Wegman & Said's] amazing belief that little work has been done in coauthor networks.
    4) Elsevier *has* a journal called Social Networks, with a higher impact factor than CS&DA.
    5) Searching within CS&DA for {social network} or {social networks} yeilds a few hits, and I ahvent’ examined all of them “¦ but the bottom line is:
    CS&DA is *not* where people publish social networks research”

  • D. Robinson

    Re: Lazar “M&M2005 used ARFIMA which is not even close to AR1″
    “M&M’s cherry picking code and it seems didn’t even consider obvious methodological differences between what they were claiming (AR1[0.2]) and what M&M did (ARFIMA).”
    McIntyre “In our red noise discussions, we did two calculations ““ one with ARFIMA noise and one with AR1 noise. The ARFIMA noise produced pretty hockey sticks but introduced a secondary complication and replications have focused on AR1 examples”
    “So whether this method of calculating AR1 coefficients is right or wrong, it is EXACTLY the method used by Mann himself.”
    Lazar – You (&DC) said M&M used ARFIMA, he said they used AR1 and discarded ARFIMA results.  Does his statement not contradict yours?

  • Tom Fuller

    Funny that so many people agree broadly with Wegman. Such as the Oxburgh Investigation into Climategate:
    “The panel did express considerable surprise at the fact that the unit did not collaborate closely with professional statisticians. This is despite the fact that their work was “basically all statistics”, as one member of the panel, David Hand, of Imperial College, London, put it. The report found that the CRU scientists would, had they been more comfortable with statistics, have done some things differently. But the panel doubted that using better methods would have materially changed their results.

    Bloggers and others, mostly outside academia, who criticise CRU’s work and other climate science tend to lay much stress on statistical shortcomings. Dr Hand, who has a particular interest in scientific and financial fraud, has read a lot of this work. Dr Hand admires the meticulous work of Steve Mcintyre, a mining consultant and blogger, who unearthed statistical problems in another climate analysis. This was a 1998 paper, not produced by CRU, that is now known as “the hockey stick”
    Or the National Academy of Sciencies:
    1. The NAS indicated that the hockey stick method systematically underestimated the uncertainties in the data (p. 107).

    2. In subtle wording, the NAS agreed with the M&M assertion that the hockey stick had no statistical significance, and was no more informative about the distant past than a table of random numbers. The NAS found that Mann’s methods had no validation (CE) skill significantly different from zero. In the past, however, it has always been claimed that the method has a significant nonzero validation skill. Methods without a validation skill are usually considered useless. Mann’s data set does not have enough information to verify its “˜skill’ at resolving the past, and has such wide uncertainty bounds as to be no better than the simple mean of the data (p. 91). M&M said that the appearance of significance was created by ignoring all but one type of test score, thereby failing to quantify all the relevant uncertainties. The NAS agreed (p. 110), but, again, did so in subtle wording.

    3. M&M argued that the hockey stick relied for its shape on the inclusion of a small set of invalid proxy data (called bristlecone, or “strip-bark” records). If they are removed, the conclusion that the 20th century is unusually warm compared to the pre-1450 interval is reversed. Hence the conclusion of unique late 20th  century warmth is not robust””in other word it does not hold up under minor variations in data or methods. The NAS panel agreed, saying Mann’s results are “strongly dependent” on the strip-bark data (pp. 106-107), and they went further, warning that strip-bark data should not be used in this type of research (p. 50).

    4. The NAS said ” Mann et al. used a type of principal component analysis that tends to bias the shape of the reconstructions”, i.e. produce hockey sticks from baseball statistics, telephone book numbers, and monte carlo random numbers.

    5. The NAS said Mann downplayed the “uncertainties of the published reconstructions…Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that “˜the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium.’

    CHAIRMAN BARTON: Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman’s report?

    DR. NORTH [Head of the NAS panel]: No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report.”

    Etc., etc.

  • Rattus Norvegicus

    The most damning quote in the whole Vergano piece is this:
    <blockquote>
    “The authors speculate that the entrepreneurial style leads to peer review abuse. No data is provided to support this argument,” Carley says, by email.
    </blockquote>
    Not exactly a glowing review of the results, irrespective of the data quality or lack thereof.

     

  • Tom Fuller

    And if that is the most damning quote, then we can all agree that it is faint damnation indeed.

  • Rattus Norvegicus

    Fuller, what about “No data is provided to support this argument” is not damning to a scientific paper?  Really, you need to take your blinders off.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    We note that Tom Fuller did not mention that North made his testimony “under oath”.  But he did cut the quote in a way that the referent of “Wegman’s conclusions” gets a bit fuzzy.  To see that, let’s take another quote from the North Q&A:
    > Dr. Wegman’s criticisms of the statistical methodology in the papers by Mann et al were consistent with our findings. Our committee did not consider any social network analyses and we did not have access to Dr. Wegman’s report during our deliberations so we did not have an opportunity to discuss his conclusions. Personally, I was not impressed by the social network analysis in the Wegman report, nor did I agree with most of the report’s conclusions on this subject.
    This kind of fuzziness can lead astray.  For instance, it made Joe Barton misrepresent the “central concerns” of his own commission:
    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/1398629308
    Etcetera.  Etcetera.

  • Tom Fuller

    Hey, folks–I’m not impressed with the social networking stuff, either. Nor do I like plagiarizing Wikipedia to describe it. I’m content the paper has been pulled.

    What I think is laughable are the attempts to use this to defend Mann’s hockey stick analysis.

  • Tom Fuller

    Social networking is fuzzy stuff–suitable for Facebook or Groupon. Anybody can (and everybody should) see that the tightly knit group of scientists working in paleoclimatic reconstructions of temperature series was a danger to themselves and the work they put forward.

    Capturing it analytically is probably impossible, but certainly unnecessary.

  • sharper00

    @64 Tom Fuller

    “What I think is laughable are the attempts to use this to defend Mann’s hockey stick analysis.”


    Other than pointing out that Mann’s conclusions have stood the test of time who had done this? Who has defended Mann is a manner incompatible with what you describe as the position given by “so many people agree broadly with Wegman.”?

    Here’s a question I’m also very interested in: Why does criticism of Wegman lead to such frantic finger pointing in every direction? After DC’s Bradley piece we had McIntyre’s insane “Bradley Copies Fritts” posts which convinced of me nothing other than that he could post that up is down and people would applaud. Now you’re here desperate to discuss Mann, or the other bits of Wegman’s paper, or really anything at all except for its serious flaws or poor scholarship.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Tom (64),

    All through this comment thread I’ve been puzzled by your defenses of the Wegman paper. Now I see: you’re conflating two very different things.

    Also, you can’t have it both ways: you can’t admit the wegman paper deserves to be pulled but that it’s findings remain intact. The findings are undermined by the shoddy methodology, plagairiasm and apparent conflicts of interest.

    If you want to make the case against the hockey stick, then why not just abandon the paper and use something else? Don’t skeptics have other ammunition? Why the insistence by you and others to try to salvage some scraps of legitimacy from a discredited paper?

  • NewYorkJ

    #65,

    Sounds like a typical conspiracy nut.  Can’t provide strong evidence that {insert conspiracy theory here, such as “9/11 WTC collapse was a controlled demolition”} but it’s unnecessary, since anyone can (and everybody should) see that it’s obvious!

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Ah, I see that Sharper00 and I have posted similar thoughts. Tom, feel free to combine your answers into one response, because I think Sharper00 is essentially puzzled by the same thing as me.

  • Tom Fuller

    Keith #67, no, it is the opposite of conflating. I am in fact resisting calls to conflate Wegman’s report to Congress and specifically his criticism of Mann’s analytical techniques in that report with the academic paper that properly got pulled because of plagiarism regarding social network analysis.

    Sharperoo, as for those who are conflating the various elements of this, I refer you to Lazar, Dana and New York J. above.

    New York J #68, huh? There’s a real world around here–hope you find it some day.

  • John Mashey

    The Wegman Report was analyzed in purposefully-excruciating detail:

    http://deepclimate.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/strange-scholarship-v1-02.pdf  SSWR

    And it was actually the spark that got Vergano going on this last Fall, so somebody took it seriously.

    The poor quality of SNA was discussed in pp.143-159, and Prof. Carley was the 2nd SNA expert to comment publicly.  I quoted another expert, Garry Robins, on p.151.  I figured the horse was dead and needed no more beating, but I could have gotten a quote from another senior person in this field, which long predated things like Facebook or LinkedIn.  Garry mentions work by Granovetter&Burt that contradicts Wegman’s claims.  Wegman&co were amateurs in this turf, thinking the person most familiar with it was the student who took a short course with Carley. That makes sense for a report to Congress in which SNA was a major thrust J

    People get confused between Wegman Report (2006) and Said, et al(2008). Using SSWR pages:
    pp.118-128 showed plagiarized introductory SNA material, of which the 2008 pieces is a subset of the WR.  This is text DC found.

    pp.143-159 describes the actual “research” done by the Wegman team for the WR and the Reply to Stupak (p.146-147).

     That material was then recast into the CSDA article, obviously to get it into the peer-reviewed literature.  The comments that the SNA experts make about CSDA apply to those parts of the WR: egonets insufficient, data doesn’t support claims.
    p.149 shows the profile of elapsed days from received to acceptance, showing the weirdness of 6-day turnaround, when eavarege is ~200.

    p.148 had Ted Kirkpatrick’s comments from April 2010, and my conjectures on why it was submitted to a statistics journal, not the obvious Elsevier SNA journal. The right answer from E-i-C Azen was “Not this journal.”

    Truly, Said(2008) is a rarity: a self-refuting paper.
    In any case:

    p.1: 2 missions: #1 declare hockey stick broken
    I covered much of that; DC then did it it more detail with McIntyre’s code and the cherry-pick:
    http://deepclimate.org/2010/11/16/replication-and-due-diligence-wegman-style/
    #2 discredit climate science as a whole (the peer review stuff)

    That was covered, too, retraction of Said(2008) is simply a confirmation that took a while, since GMU as been dilly-dallying:

    http://www.desmogblog.com/gmu-still-paralyzed-wegman-and-rapp-still-paranoid
    Elsevier is a credible publisher and cannot afford to do that sort of thing.
     

  • Tom Fuller

    Mashey, your paper spends too much time on auxiliary issues such as McShane Wyner and too little in actually providing evidence for your theses about Wegman. Hence it is of no value in this debate.

    If you have a point, you failed to make it in your paper.

  • sharper00

    @70 Tom Fuller

    Sharperoo, as for those who are conflating the various elements of this, I refer you to Lazar, Dana and New York J. above.

    They’re pointing out not that not all aspects of Wegman’s criticism have merit and they’re entirely correct. Once you go past “broad agreement” (for example the parts where Wegman and the NAS report agree) then you’re on very shaky ground.

    Pointing this out isn’t a defence of Mann and there’s a critical aspect you’re missing: Wegman was supposed be an independent reproduction of McIntyre’s work when in fact he simply copied that too. It’s just that McIntyre and the other skeptics don’t mind because they liked those answers a whole bunch.

    The plagiarism charge is important and relevant because Wegman was supposed to be bringing his independent expertise to the table,instead he copied pre-existing work in pursuit of a predetermined conclusion.

  • Tom Fuller

    Sharperoo, a little evidence would be most useful in support of your accusation.

    Where, first of all, is it written in Wegman’s terms of reference for the investigation that he is not to use McIntyre’s work?

    Second, where is the evidence that he did use McIntyre’s work?

    Third, where is the layout of how he should have independently investigated Mann’s work without reference to McIntyre’s work?

    The plagiarism of an ancillary issue may be important and relevant to you. It is not to me. I am not interested in the academic paper. I am interested in his report to Congress.

  • Dave H

    Tom Fuller @ 72
    A thoroughly disrespectful reply to a lengthy, painstaking and detailed critique.

    Time and again the SNA stuff has been trumpeted as the *main* finding of the Wegman report – indeed the primary distinguishing factor between that and the NAS report (apart from the more partisan tone in the WR). Yet the recent “auditing” and now retraction of plagiarised work casts doubt on the ability of the authors to conduct such an analysis. Indeed, the genesis of the WR and peer-review concerns over the paper leave Wegman et al. on the pointy end of such an analysis.

    In other news – when will Dr Curry comment or apologise for her initial venomous reaction to the accusations made by DC and JM against Wegman et al?

  • sharper00

    @74 Tom Fuller
    Where, first of all, is it written in Wegman’s terms of reference for the investigation that he is not to use McIntyre’s work?

    You have…read the Wegman report haven’t you? I’m quoting directly from it
    Because of the lack of full documentation of their data and computer code, we have not been able to reproduce their research. We did, however, successfully recapture similar results to those of MM. This recreation supports the critique of the MBH98 methods, as the offset of the mean value creates an artificially large deviation from the desired mean value of zero.

    Second, where is the evidence that he did use McIntyre’s work?

    You have…read the critiques everyone is talking about haven’t you? They’ve been linked numerous times in this discussion alone but sure here’s the specific one I’m talking about

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/11/16/replication-and-due-diligence-wegman-style/

    The plagiarism of an ancillary issue may be important and relevant to you. It is not to me. I am not interested in the academic paper. I am interested in his report to Congress.

    Tada! And a different standard magically applies to that!

    You’re again missing the point. People consider the plagiarism charge important not just as an abstract notion of ethics, a ruthless enforcement of academic standards or because they see some random flaw they can use to dismiss the entire work (although obviously some will).

    It’s important because it’s a clear-cut example of the problem with the entire report, which is that it was thrown together to give an answer that was already known. Wegman was there to lend credibility and help the whole song and dance about science correcting itself with proper methodology. It’s increasingly clear the amount of actual work that went into the report was nominal.

    This in itself is all very interesting but even more curious is your reaction as well as that of McIntyre, Watts and others. It’s as if you’re fundamentally incapable of rational thought once the topic of Wegman comes up and I feel like I need to start experimenting with common post-hypnotic keywords to see if I trigger something.

  • Tom Fuller

    Dave H, the SNA stuff has not been trumpeted as the main finding of Wegman in any article or weblog I have read. I admit my reading is not encyclopedic, but references would be of interest to me.

    The Wegman report is primarily concerned with Michael Mann’s choices of analytical tools and procedures. The Wegman report found significant flaws in them. The Wegman report was supported by the NAS and investigators of Climategate.

    The Wegman report offered up as a possible explanation for some of the poor choices the incestuous nature of the subfield of paleoclimatic research and researchers. It was a sidebar.

    Where do you get this? Really. As for Dr. Curry, she has a website–go ask her.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    I find the constant conflation of the Wegman Report and this other paper baffling and annoying.  I really have to wonder why so many people are doing it.

    But since so many people have brought it up, a comment on the report.  Both DeepClimate and John Mashey have made serious claims about the report which were demonstrated to be false on this very blog.  Mashey himself refused to address the issue despite being an active participant in the thread.  There is no denying the fact plagiarism existed in the Wegman Report, but nothing those two have said should be taken at face value.

  • NewYorkJ

    Fuller: What I think is laughable are the attempts to use this to defend Mann’s hockey stick analysis

    Most of us, including Dr. Mann, have moved on from the early groundbreaking multiproxy analysis (MBH 1998).  You might start by noting that Mann has published reconstructions that have improved upon previous analysis, and the many reconstructions over the last decade validate and strengthen the core conclusions.  Yet some hacks are stil obsessing over a past study, as Dana notes in #56.

    We do find it amusing that an “analysis” that alleges (without evidence) some social network biases results, was only reviewed by those within Wegman’s social network.

    We find it amusing that a self-described “auditor”, praised by loyal followers througout the blogosphere, not only failed to find any fault with such a shoddy analysis, but continues to defend it to date, albeit with various red herrings.

    So when you remove the noise, the frothing, and the drooling, all you really have is “NAS has rendered a near-complete vindication for the work of Mann et al.” (the early work) as described accurately by Pielke.

    http://cstpr.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/000859quick_reaction_to_th.html

    Recall, for example, the MBH conclusion of recent temperatures being the warmest of the millenium was only “likely”.  NAS described it as “plausible”.  Stop the presses!  Meanwhile, Mann has improved on previous work, now published in an the PNAS journal (yep, that same NAS).

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/09/02/0805721105.abstract

    Including the recent decade, it’s now described as “very likely” by Juckes.

    “The strongest result relates to the temperature of the last decade, which exceeds anydecade prior to 1850 with 95% certainty. The increased certainty compared to the 66% certainty expressed by IPCC2001 is primarily a consequence of the continuing high temperatures which have made the last decade 0.24 K warmer than the last decade of the 20th century, a warming greater than one standard deviation of the reconstruction uncertainty.”

    http://www.clim-past-discuss.net/5/2631/2009/cpd-5-2631-2009-print.pdf

  • kdk33

    Wow, 73 comments. 

    So, does this mean the HS lives – kinda zombie, land of the living dead, that kind of thing; or rose from the dead like an Easter thing (near blasphemy, I know).

    Was there, or was there not a medievel warm period?  Are todays temperatures unprecedented?  Is temperature rising alarmingly?  Do I have to stop being a skeptic?

    So many questions, so few answers.

  • Sashka

    Gentlemen,

    I thought most of have long agreed that Mann’s work is of tangential scientific (as opposed to symbolic) importance to the larger issue of AGW.

    Those of us who know enough statistics (or know people who know statistics) realize that Mann’s work is crap but it doesn’t really change the big picture.

    Now we are having a debate whether Wegman is also crap or not. Who cares?! Mann is crap irrespective of Wegman. Wegman itself is completely unimportant. Can we move on?

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    @78, kdk33, I assume those questions are rhetorical, but I’ll answer anyway.  Nothing about this issue, or the Wegman Report, affects the fact the hockey stick is dead.  The same is true of global warming itself, though the fact the hockey stick is dead does impact our ability to put constraints on the climate’s sensitivity to various forcings.

  • NewYorkJ

    Dave H.: In other news ““ when will Dr Curry comment or apologise for her initial venomous reaction to the accusations made by DC and JM against Wegman et al?

    Ah yes.  I remember that thread.  I think Judith has since dismissed criticism of her knee-jerk reaction as a “gotcha” moment, which might be interpreted as a back-handed apology.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/2010/04/23/an-inconvenient-provocateur/
    Let me say that this is one of the most reprehensible attacks on a reputable scientist that I have seen, and the so-called tsunami of accusations made in regards to climategate are nothing in compared to the attack on Wegman.

    Except unlike the “ClimateGate” nonsense, the charges against Wegman are demonstrably true.

  • Tom Fuller

    If I may be so bold as to disagree with just about everybody…

    The hockey stick is dead. Global warming is not. Michael Mann was wrong in his approach to analysis of paleoclimatic temperatures. Wegman was wrong to plagiarize Wikipedia. Wegman was right about Mann’s analysis.

    Mashey was wrong to cram ten pounds of potatoes in a 5-lb bag in his paper about Wegman. Deep Climate is a hack site that specializes in hit jobs. Keith Kloor was wrong to drag in Anthony Watts tangentially into this issue.

    Mann’s work was important to the IPCC TAR. Now it can be thrown under the bus. Hiding the decline in the SPR was wrong. But now we know what happened. Phil Jones was wrong to tell his colleagues to delete emails, and even wronger not to fess up to the station histories in China wrt Jones et al 1990.

    And global warming is real, needs to be addressed and should be addressed now.

    But! Global warming is not a threat to humanity, civilization or the planet. It is ‘merely’ one of several very serious issues that humanity needs to deal with.

    Glad to have settled that for you. Did I leave anything out?

  • Lazar

    D. Robinson,
    “Does his statement not contradict yours?”
    I’m afraid not.
    My statement:
    M&M2005 used ARFIMA which is not even close to AR1″
    M&M2005 is:
    McIntyre S. and R. McKitrick (2005), “Hockey sticks, principal components, and spurious significance”, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 32, L03710, doi:10.1029/2004GL021750
    The relevant section describes their noise model thus:
    “We generated the red noise network for Monte Carlo simulations as follows. We downloaded and collated the NOAMER tree ring site chronologies used by MBH98 from M. Mann’s FTP site and selected the 70 sites used in the AD1400 step. We calculated autocorrelation functions for all 70 series for the 1400″“1980 period. For each simulation, we applied the algorithm hosking.sim from the waveslim package version 1.3 downloaded from http://www.cran.r-project.org/doc/packages/waveslim.pdf [Gencay et al., 2001], which applied a method due to Hosking [1984] to simulate trendless red noise based on the complete auto-correlation function.”
    Hosking (1984) is an algorithm for estimating the parameters of an ARFIMA model. I know because I read Hosking (1984), the docs for hosking.sim, and the hosking.sim C code.
    I know that M&M used an ARFIMA model because in their paper that’s what they said they did, that’s what is written in their public code, and when I ran the code I got the same Monte Carlo benchmark levels for the RE statistic as did M&M2005.
    The M&M code also contained an undocumented function which ran the simulations using AR1 (ARIMA[1,0,0]) model. A comment in the code says…
    “##2. SIMULATION FUNCTION
    #two alternative methods provided: arima and arfima; only arfima used in simulations here

    The Stephen McIntyre statement you and Tom reference is from this blog post, which begins…
    “Mann has written to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, arguing that we made a fundamental and obvious mistake in how we calculated AR1 coefficients for the North American tree ring network, which exaggerated the HS-ness of the simulated hockey sticks”
    But Mann’s letter makes no mention of AR1. The relevant passages in the link provided by Steven McIntyre are:
    “Professor David Ritson, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Stanford University, has found error in the way that Dr. Wegman models the “persistence” of climate proxy data. [...] Dr. Ritson has determined that that the calculations that underlie the conclusions that Dr. Wegman advanced in his report are likely flawed. [...] Moreover, the errors that Dr. Ritson has identified in Dr. Wegman’s calculations appear so basic that they would almost certainly have been detected in a standard peer
    review.”

    SM continues…
    “Here’s the “mistake” supposedly identified by Ritson in the calculation of AR1 coefficients. (Now even if Ritson were correct, all this would affect is the HS-ness of our illustration of the biasing effect ““ it doesn’t in any sense disprove the biasing effect.”
    But Ritson’s statement makes no mention of AR1. The relevant passages by Ritson addressed to Wegman and linked by Steven McIntyre:
    “>>2). M&M used ARFIMA persistent red-noise throughout their published
    >>work. You state that your figure 4.4 results from AR(1) .2 red-noise?

    >>To facilitate a reply I attach the Auto-Correlation Function used
    >>by the M&M to generate their persistent red noise simulations for their
    >>figures shown by you in your Section 4 (this was kindly provided me by M&M on
    >>Nov 6 2004 ). The black values are the ones actually used by M&M. They derive
    >>directly from the seventy North American tree proxies, assuming the proxy values
    >>to be TREND-LESS noise.
    >>Surely you realized that the proxies combine the signal components on which is
    >>superimposed the noise? I find it hard to believe that you would take
    >>data with obvious trends, would then directly evaluate ACFs without
    >>removing the trends, and then finally assume you had obtained results for the
    >>proxy specific noise! You will notice that the M&M inputs purport to show
    >>strong persistence out to lag-times of 350 years or beyond.
    >>Your report makes no mention of this quite improper M&M procedure
    >>used to obtain their ACFs. Neither do you provide any specification data for
    >>your own results that you contend confirm the M&M results. Relative to your
    >>Figure 4.4 you state
    >>”One of the most compelling illustrations that M&M have produced
    >>is created by feeding red noise (AR(1) with parameter = .2 into the MBH
    >>algorithm”.
    >>In fact they used and needed the extraordinarily high persistances contained in
    >>the attatched figure to obtain their `compelling’ results.”

    Note the parenthesis by SM, admitting that if Ritson is correct it would reduce their (M&M2005) calculation of the bias size introduced by decentred PCA:
    “(Now even if Ritson were correct, all this would affect is the HS-ness of our illustration of the biasing effect ““ it doesn’t in any sense disprove the biasing effect.”
    SM brushing this off as unimportant effect on an “illustration” does not agree with M&M2005 where the biasing effect size renders MBH98 results for the AD1400 step insignificant, which result is placed by M&M in the title of the paper and as the focus of their abstract.
    Finally, to the (full) paragraph you and Tom quoted from:
    “Now we’ve done a variety of calculations to show the artificial hockey stick effect. A calculation that’s received the least attention, but is probably the most pertinent is the discussion in the Reply to VZ in which we talk about the impact of 1-2 “bad apples” in an MBH context. Given the concern over potential nonclimatic effect of bristlecones, this is actually a more important issue than the red noise argument. In our red noise discussions, we did two calculations ““ one with ARFIMA noise and one with AR1 noise. The ARFIMA noise produced pretty hockey sticks but introduced a secondary complication and replications have focused on AR1 examples. To set parameters for the simulation, we calculated AR1 coefficients on the North American AD1400 tree ring network using a simple application of the arima function in R:arima.coef = arima(x,order=c(1,0,0))”
    The first two sentences reference M&M’s reply to von Storch & Zorita’s comment on M&M2005. But only in relation to the effect on including real bristlecone proxies on the shape of the PC1 (“1-2 bad apples”), which SM claims is a more important issue than red noise simulations. Note that again when SM is pressured on M&M’s noise modelling he attempts to diminish the importance of the modelling work. M&M’s reply to vS&Z contains no simulations and no mention of AR1 and is thus irrelevant.
    Steve then says:
    “In our red noise discussions”
    What does he mean by “discussions”? Where are these alleged discussions?
    “we did two calculations ““ one with ARFIMA noise and one with AR1 noise. The ARFIMA noise produced pretty hockey sticks but introduced a secondary complication”
    What was the “secondary complication”?
    “and replications have focused on AR1 examples.”
    Which “replications” are these and where are they?
    “To set parameters for the simulation, we calculated AR1 coefficients on the North American AD1400 tree ring network”
    What is this “simulation” and where is it?
    “This is what Ritson is criticizing, arguing that application of a standard arima function”
    No he is not!
    Ironically, the blog post is titled “More Tangled Webs”!!!

  • Sashka

    @ Tom Fuller

    Could you explain your logic, please? You and I agree that

    Global warming is not a threat to humanity, civilization or the planet.

    So why do you feel that

    global warming … should be addressed now ?

  • Lazar

    Tom Fuller,
    “Funny that so many people agree”
    Citing people who “agree” is not addressing criticisms of the Wegman report.

  • Lazar

    D. Robinson,
    … I have a reply waiting the comment queue.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Tom (84):

    That’s was an impressive display of statements. Your defensiveness on this strikes me as odd. I also don’t understand why me playing off of Anthony’s dismissive post “was wrong.”

     

  • Lazar

    Tom,
    “Sharperoo, as for those who are conflating the various elements of this, I refer you to Lazar”
    Please be explicit in your reference, what am I alleged to be conflating and where?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    yep, just the part where you can show that Wegman did any of the stats analysis that you seem to think he did. that would be nice.

    p.s. simply running McIntyre’s code and saying ‘hmmm….yes that seems right” doesn’t count.

  • Tom Fuller

    If I sound defensive (don’t feel that way, but maybe something dark and deep is hidden…) it’s because this is the umpteenth time that people have tried to resurrect the hockey stick or bring in through the back door something that got kicked out the front.
    Anthony is not wrong or over the top in criticizing Deep Climate. Not unclassy, either. Deep Climate deserves harsher treatment, IMO. Why’d you pick Anthony? Is he the only one writing about this, or just the first?
     

  • NewYorkJ

    So Fuller/Watts think harsh treatment should be delivered to those exposing plagiarism and academic misconduct.  Nice to know where they stand.

  • Lazar

    Tom,
    “Anthony is not wrong or over the top in criticizing Deep Climate. Not unclassy, either.”

    Deep Climate published true allegations. Anthony insinuated DC is a coward for not using a ‘real’ name. If Wegman wanted to sue DC a pseudonym would be no protection. If the allegations were false, DC would lose. Using a pseudonym prevents the mad, sad, and bad from finding your home address. That is not cowardly, that is good sense. It is unclassy of Watts to accuse DC of being cowardly.
    What is cowardly is publicly accusing scientists of fraud, and when the boneheaded errors behind your charges are explained in simple enough terms that a moderately competent duck and yourself can understand, you send the claims into the memory hole and issue no retraction nor apology to those whose reputations have been smeared by your boneheaded errors.
    Even if you do that in your ‘real’ name, that’s cowardly. It is also wrong and unclassy.

  • Lazar

    And by “you”, I mean Anthony Watts and Joe D’Aleo.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Tom (91)

    I think the problem is that you’ve personalized this. Anthony is a leading climate skeptic with a very large, loyal following. He is representative of a group of people. He made a snarky comment about DC, and his post completely blew off the significance of the journal retraction. Even some of his own readers recognized that (albeit just a handful).

    It seems to be that your comments are influenced by what you think of DC and Mashey.

    The way I see it, this post and this discussion isn’t about whether the hockey stick is legit or not. It’s about the analysis that was done on the hockey stick. There is compelling proof that the analysis suffers from major flaws (both ethical and scholarly).

    But you don’t seem to want to have a debate about that. You want it to be a referendum on the hockey stick.

  • Lazar

    D. Robinson,

    “Does his statement not contradict yours?”

    I’m afraid not.

    My statement:
    M&M2005 used ARFIMA which is not even close to AR1″³

    M&M2005 is:
    McIntyre S. and R. McKitrick (2005), “Hockey sticks, principal components, and spurious significance”, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 32, L03710, doi:10.1029/2004GL021750

    The relevant section describes their noise model thus:
    “We generated the red noise network for Monte Carlo simulations as follows. We downloaded and collated the NOAMER tree ring site chronologies used by MBH98 from M. Mann’s FTP site and selected the 70 sites used in the AD1400 step. We calculated autocorrelation functions for all 70 series for the 1400″“1980 period. For each simulation, we applied the algorithm hosking.sim from the waveslim package version 1.3 downloaded from http://www.cran.r-project.org/doc/packages/waveslim.pdf [Gencay et al., 2001], which applied a method due to Hosking [1984] to simulate trendless red noise based on the complete auto-correlation function.”

    Hosking (1984) is an algorithm for estimating the parameters of an ARFIMA model. I know because I read Hosking (1984), the docs for hosking.sim, and the hosking.sim C code.

    I know that M&M used an ARFIMA model because in their paper that’s what they said they did, that’s what is written in their public code, and when I ran the code I got the same Monte Carlo benchmark levels for the RE statistic as did M&M2005.

    The M&M code also contained an undocumented function which ran the simulations using AR1 (ARIMA[1,0,0]) model. A comment in the code says”¦
    “##2. SIMULATION FUNCTION
    #two alternative methods provided: arima and arfima; only arfima used in simulations here

    The Steven McIntyre statement you and Tom reference is from this blog post, which begins”¦
    “Mann has written to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, arguing that we made a fundamental and obvious mistake in how we calculated AR1 coefficients for the North American tree ring network, which exaggerated the HS-ness of the simulated hockey sticks”

    But Mann’s letter makes no mention of AR1. The relevant passages in the link provided by Steven McIntyre are:
    “Professor David Ritson, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Stanford University, has found error in the way that Dr. Wegman models the “persistence” of climate proxy data. [...] Dr. Ritson has determined that that the calculations that underlie the conclusions that Dr. Wegman advanced in his report are likely flawed. [...] Moreover, the errors that Dr. Ritson has identified in Dr. Wegman’s calculations appear so basic that they would almost certainly have been detected in a standard peer
    review.”

    SM continues”¦
    “Here’s the “mistake” supposedly identified by Ritson in the calculation of AR1 coefficients. (Now even if Ritson were correct, all this would affect is the HS-ness of our illustration of the biasing effect ““ it doesn’t in any sense disprove the biasing effect.”

    But Ritson’s statement makes no mention of AR1. The relevant passages by Ritson addressed to Wegman and linked by Steven McIntyre:
    “>>2). M&M used ARFIMA persistent red-noise throughout their published
    >>work. You state that your figure 4.4 results from AR(1) .2 red-noise?
    [...]
    >>To facilitate a reply I attach the Auto-Correlation Function used
    >>by the M&M to generate their persistent red noise simulations for their
    >>figures shown by you in your Section 4 (this was kindly provided me by M&M on
    >>Nov 6 2004 ). The black values are the ones actually used by M&M. They derive
    >>directly from the seventy North American tree proxies, assuming the proxy values
    >>to be TREND-LESS noise.
    >>Surely you realized that the proxies combine the signal components on which is
    >>superimposed the noise? I find it hard to believe that you would take
    >>data with obvious trends, would then directly evaluate ACFs without
    >>removing the trends, and then finally assume you had obtained results for the
    >>proxy specific noise! You will notice that the M&M inputs purport to show
    >>strong persistence out to lag-times of 350 years or beyond.
    >>Your report makes no mention of this quite improper M&M procedure
    >>used to obtain their ACFs. Neither do you provide any specification data for
    >>your own results that you contend confirm the M&M results. Relative to your
    >>Figure 4.4 you state
    >>”One of the most compelling illustrations that M&M have produced
    >>is created by feeding red noise (AR(1) with parameter = .2 into the MBH
    >>algorithm”.
    >>In fact they used and needed the extraordinarily high persistances contained in
    >>the attatched figure to obtain their `compelling’ results.”

    Note the parenthesis by SM, admitting that if Ritson is correct it would reduce their (M&M2005) calculation of the bias size introduced by decentred PCA:
    “(Now even if Ritson were correct, all this would affect is the HS-ness of our illustration of the biasing effect ““ it doesn’t in any sense disprove the biasing effect.”

    SM brushing this off as unimportant effect on an “illustration” does not agree with M&M2005 where the biasing effect size renders MBH98 results for the AD1400 step insignificant, which result is placed by M&M in the title of the paper and as the focus of their abstract.

    Finally, to the (full) paragraph you and Tom quoted from:
    “Now we’ve done a variety of calculations to show the artificial hockey stick effect. A calculation that’s received the least attention, but is probably the most pertinent is the discussion in the Reply to VZ in which we talk about the impact of 1-2 “bad apples” in an MBH context. Given the concern over potential nonclimatic effect of bristlecones, this is actually a more important issue than the red noise argument. In our red noise discussions, we did two calculations ““ one with ARFIMA noise and one with AR1 noise. The ARFIMA noise produced pretty hockey sticks but introduced a secondary complication and replications have focused on AR1 examples. To set parameters for the simulation, we calculated AR1 coefficients on the North American AD1400 tree ring network using a simple application of the arima function in R:arima.coef = arima(x,order=c(1,0,0))”

    The first two sentences reference M&M’s reply to von Storch & Zorita’s comment on M&M2005. But only in relation to the effect on including real bristlecone proxies on the shape of the PC1 (“1-2 bad apples”), which SM claims is a more important issue than red noise simulations. Note that again when SM is pressured on M&M’s noise modelling he attempts to diminish the importance of the modelling work. M&M’s reply to vS&Z contains no simulations and no mention of AR1 and is thus irrelevant.

    Steve then says:
    “In our red noise discussions”
    What does he mean by “discussions”? Where are these alleged discussions?

    “we did two calculations ““ one with ARFIMA noise and one with AR1 noise. The ARFIMA noise produced pretty hockey sticks but introduced a secondary complication”
    What was the “secondary complication”?

    “and replications have focused on AR1 examples.”
    Which “replications” are these and where are they?

    “To set parameters for the simulation, we calculated AR1 coefficients on the North American AD1400 tree ring network”
    What is this “simulation” and where is it?

    “This is what Ritson is criticizing, arguing that application of a standard arima function”
    No he is not!
    Ironically, the blog post is titled “More Tangled Webs”!!!

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Just saw this over at the Watts thread:

    rpielke says:

    Plagarism by anyone is dishonest. Such a paper must be withdrawn. Also there must be an investigation (and sanction) of anyone who does this.

  • Lazar

    Tom,
    “If I sound defensive (don’t feel that way, but maybe something dark and deep is hidden”¦) it’s because this is the umpteenth time that people have tried to resurrect the hockey stick”
    The problem is not that people are trying to “resurrect the hockey stick”.
    The problem is that the Wegman group did work of poor quality.
    An implication of that realization may be that some individuals will adjust their opinions of MBH98, and/or the certainty with which they hold those opinions, whilst others will try to avoid doing that by distracting attention away from criticisms of the Wegman group’s work.

  • Tom Fuller

    I’ll repeat myself (probably not the first time…) The Wegman paper deserved to be withdrawn. The Wegman report to Congress is not affected. This is true even if it contains plagiarized material. Congress has different needs, different methods and different requirements.

    Wegman should not have written authoritatively on SNA. He should have stuck to his knitting on Mann’s flawed analysis.

    Keith, you do realize we are talking about two different documents, right?

  • steven mosher

    My advice to wegman was that he withdraw the papers. Kudo’s to Dave Clarke (DC) for following this with vigor. I have no clue why he doesnt want to take credit.

  • Tom Fuller

    My co-author has a kinder and gentler disposition than do I.

  • Tom Gray

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2011/05/return-to-fantasy-island-targets-wthout.html

    In AGW, we are faced with issues like those described by Peilke Jr above. We are facing a potentially grave crisis and have no idea how to deal with it. So what do we do. We run around like chickens throwing accusations of plagiarism about.

    Who said that climate science is useless? Peilke Junior’s article is a good approximation to that.

     

  • Artifex

    Keith says:
    Also, you can’t have it both ways: you can’t admit the wegman paper deserves to be pulled but that it’s findings remain intact. The findings are undermined by the shoddy methodology, plagairiasm and apparent conflicts of interest.

    While I may disagree with you, I sense an opportunity to end the AGW debate by making use of your wonderful logic.

    I intend to plagiarize the IPCC report next time a friend asks me what I think of global warming. I could even devote a web page to my fine creative endeavor claiming this fine document as my own. I will no doubt be found out by some mendacious, knee-jerk partizan from WUWT who will note that I am a plagiarist. I will also be accused of spelling errors and misrepresenting glacier loss.

    My short lived academic career over, I will retire in disgrace. It will be a painful sacrifice, but my disgrace will conclusively disprove the IPCC report because according to you, once I have withdrawn my work only a “true believer” could possibly claim it had any relevance.

    I tend to believe that objective reality and corresponding arguments about that reality exist independently of whether they were copied or not, but hey, when among mental titans, I am capable of learning …

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    Artifex, a clever and amusing construction, but not actually parallel to what occurred and quite irrelevant. The problems with the withdrawn paper appear in the congressional testimony as well.

    The paper does not plagiarize any conclusions about MBH 98. Rather, the preamble, which attempts to establish a bona fide understanding of the issues, is apparently lifted wholesale, with some crude alterations, from published texts by others.

    The subsequent flaws are somewhat harder to understand, but there certainly is no acceptance by the relevant communities that Wegman made a compelling case.

    Indeed, the NRC commission report headed by Gerry North should be considered the view of the scientific community, notably, that the statistical shortcomings in the MBH analysis were small in effect, and that it remained likely but not proven that the decade of the 1990s was the warmest of the millennium. (This is still the case today.) According to Roger Pielke Jr., hardly a follower of the herd, the National Research Council publication constituted a “near-complete vindication for the work of Mann et al.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy
     

  • Dean

    The One True Iron Law of Global Warming – a post about the Hockey Stick will always get the most comments.

  • Tom Fuller

    See, Keith–that’s what I am fighting against. What Tobis says is inaccurate, but is the natural and normal spin. He thinks he has the right to dictate what the view of the scientific community is and to assert with zero evidence that the ‘problems appear in the Congressional report (not testimony)’ as well.

    That this comes from Michael Tobis, currently fretting about submerged cities at his weblog and someone who has never produced any evidence for any of his oh, so many assertions, is just what will happen for months now.

    Oh, well. We’ve got thirty years before we have to talk about anything serious like the sensitivity of the atmosphere to a doubling of concentrations of CO2. Guess we can just keep throwing rocks at each other ’til then.

  • steven mosher

    Ya Tom.
    Basically looking at the two pieces wegman et al authored I found  that the piece on Mann suffered from improper indications of the MANNER in which cited material was used. Bradley was cited, but the text did not show the manner in which the source was used. he needed to pull that paper back and use quote marls where they belong. The other paper which borrowed from wikipedia was wrong on two counts. Failure to cite the source and the manner of usage. Neither of these papers matters one whit to the science, its rather like counting coup on the opposing side.
    1. we didnt wegman to explain how the HS is sketchy.
    2. we didnt need wegman to explain that this is a tight knit group of co authors.
    Since I sit in the middle I’m more than happy to toss people from both sides under the bus. Its good sport. has nothing to do with the science.
     

  • steven mosher

    Dean.
    Yes. And the hilarious thing is that  I can say that it is likely that the 1990s were the warmest of the past 1000 years, AND that  adds absolutely NOTHING to our understanding of how the climate works. the HS is a wheel that does not turn. If the HS were proven false tommorrow MT will still call for the measures he calls for. This is the oddest debate. A hypothesis like the HS which has no bearing on the truth of AGW becomes a huge battleground. Actually, its pretty normal for fights like this.

    wegman made a mistake and the HS is unimportant.

  • Dean

    @109

    I have seen many of the “HS is dead” folks claim that AGW falls with it. I’m not sure that it has NO bearing or importance, but it is not central. Nonetheless, I’m not sure why it creates such passions. Has Cuccinelli gone on any fishing expeditions against modelers or ice core drillers?

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    Mosher is essentially correct in #109. Nobody is proposing a millenial temperature record that would substantially change the policy relevant picture.

    The scientific community is defending itself. Specifically it is defending the principle that short of actual crime, the community must provide its own incentives and disincentives. The scientific community believes that science is not to be decided in the courts or the blogs or the press or the congress. That is seen as absolutely crucial, and recent events involving climate science have only reinforced that belief.

    Those opposed to facing the facts at any price have chosen this particular aspect of the science to attack, partly because it is relatively easy to understand (and in fact can be used to implicitly trivialize the whole body of knowledge as a game of thermometers), and partly because of the convenient obsessions of Steve McIntyre. It’s not a bad choice, rhetorically speaking. They can overemphasize the attribution question and then go after a single issue, slinging mud where necessary. This has confused the public quite effectively.

    So we’re stuck in this proxy debate that has nothing at all to do with climate policy and is pretty much peripheral to most of climate science.

    But all of this misdirection has taken place with the explicit and fairly prominent participation of Steven Mosher. I find his professed innocent bewilderment about it hard to credit.
     

  • Tom Fuller

    People are attacking this particular aspect of the science because it was trumpeted as the conclusive icon that made the case. The Team brought this on themselves, helped by the IPCC’s prominent placement of the Hockey Stick in TAR–six times in the report–and their constant flogging of the chart throughout the media for a decade.

    It still is being flogged today. But it is wrong. The shaft is wrong. Temperatures, according to Keith Briffa, were as warm as today 1,000 years ago. The blade is wrong. The proxies went down when the temperatures went up. The analysis is wrong. Feeding any data into Mann’s sausage grinder produces a false hockey stick.

    Most of all the interpretation of what it means for both science and the rest of us is wrong. We do not know if the current warming is unprecedented. We don’t know if the rate of warming is unusual. We don’t know what actions are appropriate at this moment in history.

    Michael Tobis, your team chose the easier and softer path–trying to influence public opinion with bad science. I don’t care what your motives were. You and those on your side chose poorly.

    For those of us who believe global warming is real and needs to be addressed, what you did seems like a betrayal. That you have the balls to criticize Mosher for telling the truth while you hide behind the false front of a discredited hockey stick (and Himalayan glaciers, and polar bears, and the Amazonian rain forest, and the relentless spread of malaria, and African agriculture, and… and… and…) disgusts me.

    It doesn’t disgust Steve. He knows (as do I) that sooner or later we have to make peace in order to move forward. But the sanctimonious preaching that you issue periodically just disgusts me.

    You and your kind made this mess. Now you sit in your sandbox and whine about your broken toys. It’s pathetic.

  • Tom Gray

    If mathematics were like climate science:

    First amthematician: I believe that i have found a flaw in Perelman’s proof of the Poincare Conjecture. it is based on a late result of Gauss.

    Second mathematician – You’re a fossil fuel funded plagiarist denier. You used the same words as Gauss!!!!

  • Lazar

    Steven Mosher,
    “I have no clue why he doesnt want to take credit.”
    I have no clue why at every opportunity you publicize his ‘real’ name.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    I’ll second what Lazar said.

    I’ve let it stand because his identity has already been published elsewhere. But I have also found it a curious thing, to see Mosher deliberately naming him at various venues, seemingly for no apparent reason.

    Why the breach of netiquette?

     

  • Lazar

    Tom Fuller,
    *All* models are wrong but some are useful. We do not reject *all* models though they are *all* flawed. *All* useful work is improved upon by using better data and methods. Reiterating simplistic talking points and promoting a binary accept/reject will not produce a useful discussion.

  • Lazar

    Steven Mosher,
    “1. we didnt wegman to explain how the HS is sketchy.”
    But the more technical criticisms of the Wegman report lead to interesting and unresolved technical criticisms of M&M2005, which might be felt to be dangerous for a number of positions and deeply held beliefs.

  • Lazar

    Tom Fuller,
    “The shaft is wrong. Temperatures, according to Keith Briffa, were as warm as today 1,000 years ago.”
    What scientists and the IPCC do to get an idea of structural uncertainty and possible ranges of temperature variation is display many different reconstructions in the unfairly maligned ‘spaghetti graphs’.
    What you have done is hang your hat on one guesstimate sent in a personal email over a decade ago. A personal opinion (“I believe”, “probably”) which substantially reversed as more, and better, information came in.
    This has been pointed out before.

  • JD Ohio

    My comments are directed to Wegman’s congressional report and not the 08 paper.  During the skepticgate post, I asked Mashey several times to identify in a simple clear manner how the “plagiarism” [to me technical nitpicking because it was obvious Wegman didn't do his own climate science research] substantively affected Wegman’s results.  Mashey never gave an answer.  All he did was link to pages and pages of trivia.  If he can’t point to basic flaws (I believe I asked for the 3 most important flawed aspects of Wegman’s congressional work,) Mashey’s work is meaningless in the context of the statistical adequacy of Mann’s work.

    If the 08 paper does indicate substantial ethical problems with Wegman, I would suggest that another statistical analysis by other statisticians be done.  Having read half of Montford’s book, it is clear that Mann is statistically inept and his 1998 paper was a joke.  Also, the fact that statistical errors were immediately found by bloggers in the 09 paper by Steig & Mann on Antarctica indicates that Mann is at best a 3rd rate scientist.  In what bizarro world should this clearly inept researcher be given government grants and move up the academic ladder to his current position at Penn State.  What the warmists plan on doing is trying to hide the cavernous statistical flaws contained in Mann’s work by saying Wegman is dishonest.  The real issue in the climate arena is whether Mann’s work was substantively correct or not. 

    Those criticizing Wegman should welcome a redo by someone else.  I would add that if Wegman did meaningfully plagiarize others in his 08 report, then he deserves whatever condemnation and penalties that are heaped on him. However, Mashey’s work here merely identified trivia and nothing dealing with the substantive statistical merit of either Wegman’s or Mann’s work.  That is the issue, and I say to Mashey and Dave Clarke, bring it on.
    JD

  • Lazar

    “The real issue in the climate arena is whether Mann’s work was substantively correct or not.
    [...] Mashey’s work here merely identified trivia and nothing dealing with the substantive statistical merit of either Wegman’s or Mann’s work.  That is the issue, and I say to Mashey and [Deep Climate] , bring it on.”
    This in a thread that contains substantial discussion of the statistical inadequacies and shallowness of the analysis in the Wegman report with reference to work by Deep Climate.

  • http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com Bart Verheggen

    mt,

    How I read Mosher in 108, his modus operandi re the hockey stick (and perhaps the wider climate debate) is not so much “professed innocent bewilderment about it” (your words), but rather that he enjoys “toss[ing] people from both sides under the bus. Its good sport. has nothing to do with the science.” (Mosher’s words)

    In other words, he enjoys playing the man and seeing if he can win. It’s a sport. with the earth being the ball.

  • JD Ohio

    Lazar #120

    “This in a thread that contains substantial discussion of the statistical inadequacies and shallowness of the analysis in the Wegman report with reference to work by Deep Climate.”
    Please identify the three worst statistical mistakes made by Wegman in his Congressional report.
    JD

  • Lazar

    Please read the thread.

  • JD Ohio

    #123
    Lazar, I asked a question of you not the thread.  If you have real points to make, make them and assume responsibility for them.  Will not waste my time with people (like Mashey) who hide behind trivia and will not make their real points clearly.
    JD

  • Sashka

    @ MT (111)

    The scientific community is defending itself.

    That it does. By redefining peer review and mutual back slapping.

    Those opposed to facing the facts at any price

    Let’s be concrete hear. What are the facts that Fuller/Mosher or Judy don’t want to face?

  • Lazar

    I’m not repeating myself. There are a number of comments containing “substantial discussion of the statistical inadequacies and shallowness of the analysis in the Wegman report”, starting here and here on down. You can read and pick up the discussion at any point.

  • Lazar

    Skeptics and ‘lukewarmers’: Interested in whether Michael Mann forwarded an email, in whether Phil Jones deleted emails, in whether journal guidelines were followed, in whether Michael Mann trims his toe nails.
    But not interested in plagiarism. Just the facts ma’am. If it doesn’t change published scientific conclusions, we’re not interested.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @117
    Bingo.

  • Sashka

    @ Lasar,

    Why should anyone be interested in plagiarism? There is no controversy about it. Everyone knows it is a bad thing. Nobody disputes it. That’s why it’s not interesting.

    However the fact of copy-pasting the introduction is orthogonal to the validity of the findings. You went on at length addressing those and it’s fine. But plagiarism is really irrelevant.

    I think it is theoretically possible to produce valid science and hide the data, refuse to show  the code, circle the wagons in every way including redefining peer review and deleting emails etc. But it’s not a big confidence builder for us, skeptical types.

  • Lazar

    @128,
    It is funny/weird how much weight and confidence is placed on a single study, M&M2005, in adopting a conclusion that the loosely defined “hockey stick” is loosely defined “broken”.
    Beyond the superficial support of the Wegman group, that paper feels vulnerable.
    When I read the comments on M&M2005, and the somewhat inadequate and missing the point replies by M&M, it is kinda obvious that the foundations of their main conclusion are somewhat shaky.
    So it is weird that ‘skeptics’/'lukewarmers’ place so much confidence in something which could possibly come tumbling down.
    It is their certainty which is troubling.
    There is an obvious guess as to why that is.
    And reactions to the plagiarism issue generally support that guess.

  • Sashka

    @ 130

    If this is addressed to me then scroll up: I never said any of that.

    Did you ever try to discuss your points at CA? Perhaps SM could clarify things for you.

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub

    To the Football Team
    Please go back to the earlier Skepticgate Keith Kloor skeptic-baiting thread and read through to the very end.

    You’ll see questions from Brandon Shollenberger, JD Ohio and me, asking variations of the same question JD points out in his post above, directed at Mashey. Mashey did not come up with any substantive answers.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    Sashka #125 in response to me:



    >> The scientific community is defending itself.
    > That it does. By redefining peer review and mutual back slapping.


    There’s no redefinition here. Some people think themselves competent to contribute to science who are not; this is not particular to climate science. What is unusual is that some of the incompetents have politically motivated backers. This in no way means they should pass peer review.

    The von Storch/Soon/E&E episode is instructive.

    >> Those opposed to facing the facts at any price
    > Let’s be concrete hear. What are the facts that Fuller/Mosher or Judy don’t want to face?

    Those wouldn’t be the names I would choose. Dr. Curry seems intent on keeping every imaginable conversation open, so what she does, while it has the benefit of reducing rancor, has the drawback of avoiding scientific progress. Fuller seems to me well-intentioned but stubborn and confused. Mosher is mysterious to me; I think Bart’s analysis above, that he is basically a troll who is in it for the action, is plausible.

    But there are people who own otherwise enormously valuable interests in fossil fuels who don’t want to hear evidence that most of those fuels must stay in the ground for a very long time. This is blazingly obvious. Some of their connections to certain parts of  the community of soi-disant science skeptics are also quite apparent.

  • Lazar

    Sashka,
    “I think it is theoretically possible to produce valid science and hide the data, refuse to show  the code, circle the wagons in every way [...] But it’s not a big confidence builder for us, skeptical types.”
    I agree that open data and open code is good. Wegman should free the code and details of their methodology. It is five years after the first asking. Ok, we pretty much know what the methodology was thanks to DC, but it would be good to hear it from the horse’s mouth.
    @130 was addressed to Marlowe.

  • Sashka

    @ MT

    Progress? What progress?

    The pronouncements like “fuels must stay in the ground for a very long time” are devoid of any practical meaning. There are much more important “musts” that are nowhere in sight. How about “every child must have sufficient food, potable water and health insurance”? I know it’s not either/or. I’m just saying that some of the must things don’t happen for very real practical reasons, not due to someone’s ignorance, greed or ill will. And it’s not blazingly obvious at all. Not to me and not to anyone outside the tightly-knit alarmist community.

    @ Lazar

    I don’t disagree about Wegman but I meant Jones and Mann. You knew that, right?

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    I am not saying it’s blazingly obvious that the fossil fuels must stay in the ground. That has, for now, effectively been obfuscated.

    I am saying that it’s blazingly obvious that there are interests which do not want this proposition seriously considered. Which is to say it is a fact that there is a tremendous impulse in some circles to avoid, in answer to your #125. I hope this clarifies my intent.

     

  • Lazar

    Sashka,
    Yes. Good.

  • Tom Fuller

    Tobis, you seem to believe you are on the side of science. Your evidence seems to be that there are scientists behaving in a way of which you approve.

    I think you are mistaken. I think the evidence of your mistake is clear in your comments on this thread. You are perfectly happy to make assumptions about character and motive of people who disagree with your position. A fairly normal habit.

    However, I know some of the principals you are criticizing. And I know you are incorrect. (That includes me, but leave that aside for now.)

    The amazing things about the scope of your error are a) that the people you criticize have written so much and their writings are easily available for your inspection, which would refute your lazy assumptions and b) that, like many of your paranoid conspiracist hysterical partners in this crime, you never, ever, ask the targets of your witch hunts any questions.

    It’s all lazy thinking and forcing events and discussion into a third-rate and shoddy frame.

    It’s anti-science.

  • John Mashey



    KK: Back to the actual topic of the post.  I know you understand phyiscal placement in newspapers.

    1) On front page, 1A, Vergano got a Newsline item, just above the fold, visible:
    “Statistics journal retracts climate study over plagiarism
    Study, which questioned global warming, used material lifted from Wikipedia, textbooks. 3A.”

    2) Then 3A, story was in lower-right corner.
    I’d guess there was serious armwrestling for space with the story just above it, opening the Morganza spillway and flooding thousands of people, but the cut material ended up on the blog:, which has a useful update within last hour regarding Denise Reeves, who says it’s not her fault:

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2011/05/retracted-climate-critics-study-panned-by-expert-/1

    3) Then USA Today has opinion piece, today:
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2011-05-16-Report-puts-climate-change-deniers-in-hot-seat_n.htm

    Coincidentally, USA TODAY’s Dan Vergano reported Monday, a statistics journal retracted a federally funded study that had become a touchstone among climate-change deniers. The retraction followed complaints of plagiarism and use of unreliable sources, such as Wikipedia.
    Taken together, these developments ought to leave the deniers in the same position as the “birthers,…
    Too bad the title didn’t stick, but still OK.
    Thank goodness for good old-fashioned investigative journalism, with reporters who follow leads, call people, check facts.  The selection of Kathleen Carley to evaluate the SNA work will be seen to be especially interesting.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    I want to point out I’ve always been dismayed by USA Today’s handling of this topic.  For example, the first time around, I pointed out a couple (mostly non-meaningful) errors in the article.  John Mashey got one fixed, but he refused to attempt to fix the other (and USA Today refused to fix it when I contacted them).  Oddly enough, the error that got fixed was a bad link, but the error that didn’t get fixed was his claim his report analyzed 35 pages of text.  Despite the fact Mashey claimed that number many times, his report actually only covered 30 pages.

    Looking at the recent articles in the USA Today, I was a bit bothered by the lack of objectivity, but it wasn’t until I saw this editorial I was truly bothered.  The most amazing part of it is:

    Coincidentally, USA TODAY’s Dan Vergano reported Monday, a statistics journal retracted a federally funded study that had become a touchstone among climate-change deniers. The retraction followed complaints of plagiarism and use of unreliable sources, such as Wikipedia.
    Taken together, these developments ought to leave the deniers in the same position as the “birthers,” who continue to challenge President Obama’s American citizenship “” a vocal minority that refuses to accept overwhelming evidence.

    Nobody used that paper as a touchstone.  Most people didn’t know it existed, much less care about it.  The only explanation I can think of is this editorial is mixing up the Wegman Report with this other paper.  That’s a horrible mistake, but it’s the only thing that makes sense.

    Regardless of that issue, it’s insane how much exaggeration is used in this piece.  None of the work by Wegman and his colleagues was as vital to any cause as this editorial makes it out to be, much less a paper nobody knew or cared about.  This is a classic way of distorting people’s positions in order to shut them down, and it is pathetic USA Today would publish an editorial using it.

    I think I’d be less bothered, except I cannot find a byline for the piece.  Editorials are normally freer with their opinions, but if they don’t identify an author, that’s no longer true.  If there is no author for the piece identified, USA Today is ascribing the views of the piece to the paper as a whole.

    But hey, we are told how much the press sucks when it comes to global warming issues, so…

  • Sashka

    @ 136

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Be that as it may, I don’t believe for a second that the unwillingness of the industry to listen your side is the problem. At most it’s a symptom. The problem is that the argument is weak and, more importantly, that there are no real alternatives.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    John (139):

    Dan Vergano owns this story (in terms of mainstream journalism). But yes, the physical placement is quite significant, as every business traveler wakes up to USA Today and reads it over coffee.

    But the editorial is pretty amazing, considering that USA Today is pretty much a centrist publication. The equation of “climate deniers” with birthers should make heads explode.

    Brandon (140):

    Newspaper editorials are commonly unsigned. Most regular newspaper readers know this.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    Keith Kloor, I didn’t think about that, but you are right.  I’m not sure it matters though.  The point was by being an unsigned editorial, the view of it is assigned to the paper as a whole, not an individual.  This means USA Today is endorsing that position.  Seeing as the position is complete bunk, that bothers me.  If it was a single individual, the credibility of one person would be hurt.

    But an entire newspaper…

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Brandon, I’ll make things a little easier for you to stomach, if the editorial bothers you that much.

    Why not look at USA Today the way liberals views the WSJ? If you ignore the editorial page, it’s a great paper.

    Same goes for conservatives and the NYT.

    At any rate, there’s an institutional divide between the news and editorial depts, so this notion of an editorial speaking for an entire newspaper is overblown.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    Keith Kloor, I actually do avoid the editorial pages of all papers.  The only time I really read editorials is when people provide a link to them.

    As for being overblown, (unsigned) editorials are supposed to speak for the paper’s official position on topics.  The news reporters are kept out of editorials in order to maintain their (illusion of) objectivity, but that separation doesn’t change the paper’s official view.  It also doesn’t change the fact the editors are in charge of what gets published, so the separation is one-sided.

    Anyway, I don’t mind bias in newspapers that much.  I expect it.  I just hate seeing such stupidity get published on a national level.  It makes me feel cheated on the quality of the product.  My high school newspaper would have done a better job.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Brandon,

    News editors (at the major papers) don’t have anything to do with the editorials.

    RE “I just hate seeing such stupidity get published on a national level”:

    As with all things related to climate change: stupidity is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Stu

    “As with all things related to climate change: stupidity is in the eye of the beholder.”

    Obviously, this is somehow true. I’m feeling more post-normal by the day.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    Keith Kloor, I’ll take your word on the editorial issue.  I’ve never worked in or with and large newspapers, so I wouldn’t know the details.  It is good to hear there is more separation than the names seem to suggest.

    As for stupidity being in the eye of the beholder, do you mean to suggest the section I highlighted isn’t idiotic?  It’s clearly wrong, so what’s the other option?  The only options I see are stupidity or dishonesty.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    Sashka: “The problem is that the argument is weak and, more importantly, that there are no real alternatives.”

    The arguments strike me as compelling, but that isn’t very important. What is important is that every major relevant scientific society and every major national academy agrees. Taking this into account, your position requires an immense conspiracy with inconsistent and implausible motivations. This is why comparison to the “birthers” is entirely reasonable, and is indeed the correct position for the mass media to take, not out of political leanings, and perhaps not directly from the scientific evidence which may be too abstruse for them to evaluate, but on the social and institutional evidence alone.

    As for the existence of “real alternatives”, there may be none that preserve most of the wealth of fossil fuel reserve holders, but there are several that preserve modern civilization. Had there not been a disaster of relatively poor communication confounded by malevolent propaganda, we would be carefully evaluating them and choosing among them, rather than squawking about minutiae.

    There are certainly pipe dreams being promulgated from all quadrants. I don’t deny that. But ignoring the issue is “not a real alternative” either. It’s just another pipe dream.
     

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    John Nielsen-Gammon weighs in, with as the title of his post says, some “surprising reaction.”

  • http://cluebyfour.com PDA

    “Nobody used that paper as a touchstone.  Most people didn’t know it existed, much less care about it. “
    Brandon Shollenberger

    “Readers interested in a third party view of the matter are far better off consulting the North Report, the Wegman report, (particularly) Wegman’s Reply to Questions and Richard Smith’s account of the 2006 American Statistical Association session.”
    – a little-known blogger named Steve McIntyre

  • http://rustneversleeps.wordpress.com rustneversleeps

    Are those reactions really that surprising, Keith?
    Seems to me they are trying to navigate between the reality of real academic transgression and genuine compassion / benefit of the doubt for an individual.

    Reactions seem kinda normal to me, especially since it is probably pretty new to them.
    As to what comes next, who knows? But those reactions don’t seem all that surprising to me. Although they are both seem to be cutting him a lot of slack in their assumptions…

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    @151, PDA, you talk about the Wegman Report, but that isn’t what is being discussed.  You’re conflating two different things.

    This point has been made multiple times on this very page, so I’m not sure how you missed it.

  • Sashka

    @ MT

    Relevance is these academies and organizations is dubious. AFAIC they have no idea what they are talking about.

    They only two that are truly relevant are AMS and APS. Tellingly, AMS has no position on climate change, AFAIK. Last year APS has amended the prior ill-considered position with a commentary:

    http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/07_1.cfm

    While I still disagree with APS position on a couple of counts (which is unimportant) I’ll note that it doesn’t contain even a small fraction of gloom and doom that you are predicting. Even their call to immediate action is qualified as “prudent steps should be taken”. Well, with a properly defined “prudent” I would agree, too. They certainly don’t insist on the fuel staying in the ground. The word “must” doesn’t occur in the commentary at all.

  • Sashka

    P.S. Of course, AMS would be relevant if it weren’t so politically engaged.

  • Sashka

    P.P.S. Sorry, I got lost in acronyms. In 154 I meant Mathematical, in 155 Meteorological.

  • http://cluebyfour.com PDA

    Wow, good point Brandon. “Social Network Analysis of Author-Coauthor Relationships” isn’t the same exact document as the Wegman Report, so the fact that the paper has been discredited has no bearing on the report.

    I can’t imagine what I could have been thinking.

  • steven mosher

    “Skeptics and “˜lukewarmers’: Interested in whether Michael Mann forwarded an email, in whether Phil Jones deleted emails, in whether journal guidelines were followed, in whether Michael Mann trims his toe nails.
    But not interested in plagiarism. Just the facts ma’am. If it doesn’t change published scientific conclusions, we’re not interested.”
    Huh, I think I gave it as much attention as it merited. The case was pretty clear. I suggested that people should focus on the best case which was the borrowing from wikipedia. Suggested that Wegman should withdraw the papers. If I was uninterested i would not have commented at all. Your unhappy with my level of interest. Personally, I’d rather spend my time on the stuff I know better. DC and mashey have that case well covered.
    Look, I dont fault DC or Mashey for not taking more interest in climategate than they do. Both cases show people not living up to the highest of standards. In both cases I’ve made similar suggestions. Admit the error, fix the problem.
     

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    PDA, I made a specific point.  You responded by talking about things which had nothing to do with my point.  I pointed this out, and you now attempt to change the subject away from the point I made.

    For whatever reason, you keep responding to me with sarcasm and snideness.  Do you actually expect anything meaningful to come from this, or are you content to do what is indistinguishable from trolling?

  • http://cluebyfour.com PDA

    Brandon, you are either intentionally or unintentionally parsing so finely as to make one question if dialogue is your real goal.

    If you really, genuinely believe that the “Wegman Report” and Said et. al. 2008 are completely different and unrelared documents, then that’s a perspective to discuss. Just begging the question that they are, though – and responding with high dudgeon when someone notes that they’re not – could be interpreted as “indistinguishable from trolling” if one were so inclined.

  • steven mosher

    MT.
    “Mosher is mysterious to me;”
    What is so mysterious? I try to call them as I see them.  Why would I defend wegman? I don’t find his work interesting or necessary to the views I hold. he doesnt share code. His scholarship ( the team actually) was sloppy. Why wouldnt I toss him under the bus. Its good sport. Lets see what positions he held, survive his demise. I’m for throwing all personality under the bus. See what survives.
    As a lukewarmer I care about sensitivity. The HS is not a critical constraint on the determination of that number. it’s uninteresting to me as a piece of science. It IS interesting as an example of methods and full disclosure.

    Now, the troll charge. From one aspect I can see why you and others think that. I like GOOD arguments. I don’t like bad arguments. I dont like weak arguments. they bore me. Defending Wegman is uninteresting. The very best I could come up with was turning the tables and looking at Bradley. That was not very interesting. I’m attracted to good arguments and hard arguments. places were things are uncertain.
    Trolls typically interject extraneous matters to generate emotional responses.  We’ve all done that. I don’t think I aim at generating emotional responses. I try to aim at generating thoughts in your head that you never had before.
    For example. when I said that mails cant change science, only science can change science. I thought that was brilliant. And its consistent with my view that scientific papers are not science, but advertisments of science.
    I’m really not that mysterious. I only look mysterious because I dont think like the crowd, write like the crowd, or hang with a crowd. That’s not always a good thing, so I’m not suggesting that it’s a better position to be in. Just different.
     

  • steven mosher

    re 130.
    You have a strange view of lukewarmers and our view of the HS and MM work.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    PDA, I’ve never said anything like what you are talking about.  Indeed, I’ve never said anything about how the paper’s retraction reflects on anything else.  The entirety of my position has been the editorial said something that was obviously untrue.  You’ve tried to extrapolate from this some position on the inter-relatedness of the the paper and report, but there is absolutely no basis for that.

    Put bluntly, you’ve completely made this issue up.

  • steven mosher

    re 117.
    “But the more technical criticisms of the Wegman report lead to interesting and unresolved technical criticisms of M&M2005, which might be felt to be dangerous for a number of positions and deeply held beliefs.”
    MM2005. plays no role in the formation of my views.  I believe the HS is scientifically uninteresting. period. The HS is interesting from a standpoint of methods and sociologically interesting to me. But all the HS literature could disappear tommorrow and my views on AGW would not change. GHGs warm the planet, if we do not address this issue, there will be damages and harms.
    I dont think any results using bristlecones or strip bark or yamal are even worth discussing. I dont think any method will salvage suspect data. Put another way, the uncertainty that arises from the mere INCLUSION of that data swamps the uncertainty that the various methods try to establish.
    Put another way, update the proxies. use baysian methods. I like the work being done with forward growth models and GCMs. all the prior work is interesting as a history of bad methods on bad data. get it?

  • http://hro001.wordpress.com Hilary Ostrov

    @13 KK:

    “It’s interesting to me how people on both sides of this debate spin/slant news to advance their own agendas or belief. ”

    But, of course, you would never do such a thing, would you, Keith?!

    Anyway … As others have pointed out (and as you and those whose views you tend to lean towards – whether you realize it or not – fail to acknowledge) the Wegman Report (to Congress) and the CDSA retracted “study” with which Vergano attempts to conflate it, are two different documents – published two years apart, with (even)Vergano claiming that the latter is an “outgrowth” of the former. 

    Furthermore, while I can’t speak to this unnamed study (because I haven’t read it), I would ask Vergano (or anyone else for that matter) to cite the specific paragraphs in the Wegman Report which would support his claim that the “Wegman Report [...] questioned whether global warming was real”.

    As for the alleged plagiarism … what seems to have fallen by the wayside in this latest attempt to smear Wegman, is that it was on the Journal’s legal beagles advice that the “study” was retracted. 

    To the best of my knowledge, publishers’ legal beagles, in the course of exercising their own “precautionary principle”, are typically more concerned with potential”copyright violations” than with still unproven allegations of plagiarism [a greater concern in academia].

    Not to mention that the source of these unproven allegations, if Vergano’s account is to be believed, was material “read” on a far from reputable, anonymous corner of the blogosphere frequented by the complainant.

    Roger Pielke Jr. has an interesting excerpt from a recent NYT op ed in which the authors observe:

    “a large number of the students showed no significant progress on tests of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing”.

    Lack of Quality in University Education
    Not sure where or when Vergano might have received his university education; but I’d sure like to see his results on a test of “critical thinking [and] complex reasoning”.

  • http://cluebyfour.com PDA

    Indeed, I’ve never said anything about how the paper’s retraction reflects on anything else.

    That was exactly my point.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr willard

    Brandon Shollenberger:
    > Nobody used that paper as a touchstone.  Most people didn’t know it existed [...]

    PDA [paraphrasing]:
    > A little-known blogger named Steve McIntyre seemed to have underlined the importance of the matter discussed in the Wegman report.

    Brandon Shollenberger:
    > PDA, you talk about the Wegman Report, but that isn’t what is being discussed.  You’re conflating two different things.

    PDA:
    > “Social Network Analysis of Author-Coauthor Relationships” isn’t the same exact document as the Wegman Report, so the fact that the paper has been discredited has no bearing on the report.

    Brandon Shollenberger:
    > PDA, I made a specific point.  You responded by talking about things which had nothing to do with my point.

    PDA:
    > If you really, genuinely believe that the “Wegman Report” and Said et. al. 2008 are completely different and unrelared documents, then that’s a perspective to discuss.

    Brandon Shollenberger:
    > PDA, I’ve never said anything like what you are talking about.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    @166, PDA, I haven’t the slightest idea what your latest response is supposed to mean, but it really doesn’t matter.  Nothing you’ve said addresses the point I raised about the USA Today article, and that’s sufficient for me.  If you have something to say about that point, or maybe something else I’ve said, I’m happy to discuss it.

    Otherwise, I’m done responding to your irrelevancies.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    willard, one of those quotes (the second PDA one) sounds really strange because you left out the part which shows he was being sarcastic.  Other than that, it looks like a pretty good summary of the exchange.

  • http://cluebyfour.com PDA

    I haven’t the slightest idea what your latest response is supposed to mean
    Nothing you’ve said addresses the point I raised about the USA Today article

    Just a suggestion: it’s probably best to avoid sweeping conclusions about something until you know what it means.

     

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr willard

    Brandon Shollenberger,

    Your answer is utterly unresponsive.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    Uh, was there something I was supposed to respond to?  You didn’t actually say anything so I’m having trouble figuring out how I could have been responsive.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr willard

    Clearly Brandon Shollenberger is horribly biased.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    I would disagree, but I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to be biased about.

    For what it’s worth, I am wiling to admit I’m horribly biased against the Oakland Raiders.  I say they deserved all those bad calls in the 2006 season.

  • Lazar

    Steven Mosher,
    “Your unhappy with my level of interest.”
    I wasn’t thinking of you at all. You’re not the only ‘lukewarmer’ and you’re not a ‘skeptic’. There are specific individuals in the ‘skeptic’ and ‘lukewarmer’ camps I did think of. But I’m not going to name names… that ain’t the point. You can find examples in this post and thread if you want.
    I would be happier with less interest in the plagiarism issues and more interest in the merits of the scientific content. I would be happier with less interest in whether Michael Mann forwarded an email or whether Phil Jones dodged an FOIA request and more interest in the scientific content.
    The point is quite simple… This episode reveals the double standards and the pretence in the claims of unbiasedness by those portraying themselves as genuinely fighting for better ethics and objectivity in climate science. When in fact those concerns are a political football. That’s what pisses me off.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr willard

    Brandon Shollenberger’s attitude is kind of ridiculous.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Willard,

    Try not to channel a Rabbet. Brandon is being Brandon. Sometimes it’s best to let people’s words speak for themselves.

  • Tom Fuller

    Lazar, I addressed your supposed interest in the scientific ramifications of Climategate above, and more than once. See 112, which you answered with some mumbo jumbo cliche about all models being flawed but some being useful.

    If current warming is not unprecedented–and it quite clearly seems not to be–and if the current rate of warming is not unprecedented–and it seems at the moment not even to rise to the level of unusual–then what ‘science’ has communicated to the world needs to be reformulated and restated more accurately.

    If Phil Jones did not accurately check the station histories provided to him by his colleague–and it is pretty clear he did not–and he refused to issue a correction to his paper, which he definitely did not, preferring to wait 15 years and publishing a new and higher calculation for UHI–then what should be done with all papers referencing Jones et al 1990, notably Peterson?

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr willard

    Keith,

    Sorry, but this is too funny.  I thought I was doing exactly that.  <a href=”http://judithcurry.com/2011/05/10/new-research-from-last-week/#comment-68287″>Lulz</a>.

  • Lazar

    Tom Fuller,
    “I addressed your supposed interest in the scientific ramifications of Climategate above”
    I have no interest in scientific ramifications of climategate because there are none. A talking point list is not even an argument.
    “mumbo jumbo”
    That is not a way to get help.

    “cliche”
    Substitute widely understood and accepted by scientists.
    “then what should be done with all papers referencing Jones et al 1990, notably Peterson?”
    How do you suppose I could provide an answer to satisfy the demands for generality imposed by such a generalized and vaguely defined question?
    Tom, what happens to papers that reference other papers when the results of those other papers are surpassed?

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    I didn’t think my position was controversial, but since there’s been so much discussion of it, I have to ask something.  Does anyone actually think the section I highlighted of that editorial is correct?  As far as I can tell, it was a stupid mistake, but I seem to have drawn criticism for calling it that.  On the other hand, nobody has actually said they agree with the contents of the editorial, so I’m not sure what the criticism of me is about.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr willard

    Here’s an example of an uncontroversial position, as expressed in #140:

    > [I]t’s insane how much exaggeration is used in this piece.  None of the work by Wegman and his colleagues was as vital to any cause as this editorial makes it out to be, much less a paper nobody knew or cared about.  This is a classic way of distorting people’s positions in order to shut them down, and it is pathetic USA Today would publish an editorial using it.

    Insane.  Not vital.  Classic way of distorting.  Shutting down people.  Pathetic.

  • kdk33

    Double wow!  182 comments.  Now, have we decided: was there a medieval warm period, a little ice age, are current temperaures unprecedented, are they rising alramingly exponentially.

    Or not.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    willard, you call it uncontroversial, but I get the impression you disagree with it.  Could you clarify for me if your phrasing was sarcastic?

    For the purpose of clarity, it’s worth pointing out that paragraph isn’t what PDA was responding to.  The “position” and “mistake” I referred to in 181 were meant to refer specifically to what the previous exchanges had covered.  That said, I do stand by the whole comment.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr willard

    Compare and contrast:
    > Nobody used that paper as a touchstone.  Most people didn’t know it existed [...]

    > None of the work by Wegman and his colleagues was as vital to any cause as this editorial makes it out to be, much less a paper nobody knew or cared about.
    If we’re to follow Brandon Shollenberger’s clarification, the first quote was what PDA questioned and the second quote “isn’t what PDA was responding to”.  So according to this clarification, a paper “people did not know it existed” is not the same as a paper “nobody knew or cared about”.
    Since the first quote serves as a direct (and perhaps the only one) argument for the uncontroversial position of the second quote, expanded in #182, we can expect more litteralism from Brandon Shollenberger.

  • Tom Fuller

    And if Brandon sold seashells by the seashore you could also accuse him of littoralism. Hey Willard! What do you think of all this Wegman stuff, hey?

    Aside from proving what a great Talmudic scholar you would have made, do you have anything interesting to contribute?

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    Okay willlard, I don’t think I am can respond to you anymore.  Your latest comment is too absurd.  The clarification I offered in no way indicated what you claim.  I explained one paragraph was being discussed, not another.  You’ve now responded by claiming this means portions of the two paragraphs could not have been referring to the same thing.  That is a complete non-sequitur.

    I’m happy to let my words speak for themselves, as Keith Kloor suggests, but it seems my words have little to do with what some people decide to take from my comments.

  • John Mashey

    re: #175 lazar
    “I would be happier with less interest in the plagiarism issues and more interest in the merits of the scientific content.”
    Well, I think I can finish the plagiarism once and for all and then get to the (social) science.  In the retracted paper:
    1) The plagiarism is cut-and-dry, was shown long ago, and pp.118-128 of:
    http://deepclimate.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/strange-scholarship-v1-02.pdf
    shows the side-by-side-by-side of the original antecedents, the WR, and Said, et al(2008) or there SAI2008. It points at DC’s original discoveries plus things found later.
    KK is a journalist: he might comment on whether plagiarism here is marginal or obvious.  Then we can be done with that.
    pp.119-219 show that SAI2008 is more-or-less a subset of the WR, with the usual trivial edits.
    The new information clarifies the uncertainty of p.118: we now know Reeves did the original copying of texts (although  unclear the extent to which it would be used), Wegman|Said integrated  it, perhaps with edits.  At least they ACked Reeves.
    Wegman gave it to Sharabati, who put some in SAI2008 and his PhD, and somehow Rezazad picked it up later, all with zero ACK to Reeves, much less the original sources.
    If that part of SAI2008 is plagiarized, so is the same part of the WR.  DONE
    As for the *science* part of this, that’s pretty easy, also. It’s SNA, Social Network Analysis, this is about social science, not physical science.
    The analysis (of Mann in the WR and Wegman in the reply to Stupak) is pretty much wrong, because egonets don’t really work for that.
    Then, the conclusion (Mann’s network is more likely to lead to peer review problems, especially compared to Wegman’s), is simply not justified by the data.
    So, the social science wouldn’t survive peer review in a serious SNA journal.  But don’t believe me, see what experts say.
    See SSWR pp.143-159, which gives some background for those unfamiliar with this field, shows evidence of Wegmans’ team being unfamiliar with the field, and quotes an expert, Garry Robins, who didn’t think much of it.
    Neither did Kathleen Carley, who hadn’t seen Garry’s analysis.
    Neither another very senior person in this field, who independently reviewed it last Summer. I didn’t ask for a publishable quote, since he said the same sorts of things as Garry: the horse was already dead.  He certainly was pleased yesterday to finally see the retraction confirmed.
    So, it was junk mis-use of social science, not that surprising when they though Reeves was their most knowledgable person … via her short course … from Kathleen Carley, who Wegman lauded as an expert  in his March 16 email.  Good choice of reviewer by Vergano!
    SO: *I* think this chunk of plagiarism is obvious in SAI2008, but then, so did Elsevier.  I think it is more or less a subset of the same text in the WR, which means that’s plagiarism also, whether GMU is willing to admit it or not.
    I thought the social science was junk when I first saw it, but my opinion means less than the 3 experts, which is why I asked the 2 that I did. They certainly didn’t think it would be publishable in a serious journal that did SNA.  I will happily listen to dissenting opinions from people with better SNA research records than these folks … Of course, if the social science is junk in SAI2008, the equivalent material in the WR is junk, too, for the same reasons.
    SAI2008 has no relevance to actual science of climate, but in any case, soon it will be gone, but not forgotten, as it is supposed to stay on the website with a watermark.  See http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/ for a useful tracker of retractions and how they are handled.
    SO, plagiarism, junk social science,  breach of peer review…. is what this thread was about, really.  Too bad for the students involved, abysmal supervision and mis-use of them.  Wegman threw Reeves under the bus, but she refused to stay there.
     

  • steven mosher

    lazar:
    “I would be happier with less interest in the plagiarism issues and more interest in the merits of the scientific content. I would be happier with less interest in whether Michael Mann forwarded an email or whether Phil Jones dodged an FOIA request and more interest in the scientific content.”
    Then we agree on that. My suggestion to both sides on matters like this were really quite simple. Admit the failing, adjust your institutional guidelines to prevent, if possible, similar failings in the future, and get back to the discussion of the science.
    Here is what I expect. I expect people who are passionate about plagarism will continue to hound wegman for an admission. That is what I expect. Go for it. I’m passionate about transparency and open science and FOIA. I’ll continue to hound people to adhere to that. why? because I think its the cleanest path back to the science. Simply, I’m unwilling to sacrifice FOIA for the science, because I dont think we have to. Fess up and move on. CRU, stop collecting confidential data when
    A. you dont need to
    B. you dont have proper document control to handle it.
    And if you continue to deny requests for data expect another climategate.
    learn a frickin lesson and move on.
     

  • steven mosher

    Tom, don’t insult Talmudic scholars. Willard is more like sergio aragones, whose best work is in the margins totally unrelated to the text in chief, but entertaining nonetheless. popcorn for the brain.
     

  • stereo

    At least Anthony had the balls to put it up as a topic.  McIntyre is doing his usual imitation of an ostrich whenever things don’t go his way.  He never even linked to Watts’ magnum opus when it was finally published.
     

  • Lazar

    stereo,
    It’s only a matter of time. The issue has the elements of a classic climate audit post…
    1) academic misconduct
    2) “pal review”
    3) “the dog ate my homework”
    4) close author-coauthor relationships
    5) emails
    6) refusal to share code
    7) refusal to release details of methodology
    8) uncredible excuses for 6) and 7)
    And the recent pickings have been somewhat lean
    “Anthony linked somewhat disapprovingly to a video in which some young climate scientists from a provincial university pretend to be rappers. [...]
    Why should readers of the Climategate emails be surprised that young climate scientists want to act like real thugs, just like the Team? That they too want to sip cristal in the VIPCC? [...]
    the most obvious rap anthem for climate scientists: The mo money we come across, the mo problems we see”
    The only problem is deciding what Team the Wegman group are on?

  • Lazar

    The original Ritson questions were super sharp and prescient…
    “1). Which of the figures derive from M&M work and which were independently derived by you?

    2). M&M used ARFIMA persistent red-noise throughout their published
    work. You state that your figure 4.4 results from AR(1) .2 red-noise?
    If so did you otherwise follow M&M using short-span normalization
    and 70 member Monte Carlo generated ensembles? Did you use the same AR(1) .2 noise to generate all your figures?

    3). If you indeed used similar persistent red-noise to that used by
    M&M do you believe it to be in accord with real-world proxy-specific noise?

    4). Any of my colleagues would have routinely checked their results
    to see if their derived PC1 (etc) derived from a systematic signal or from
    random noise. For example for a 70 member population, all that is required is to use the extracted PC1 vector from the 70 members, and apply it to each member to project out its relative sign (and amplitude). For signal dominated results one sign will predominate and for noise dominated results both signs will be roughly equally present. Needless to say when, a couple of years ago, I checked the M&M work, I did just that.”

    1) we now know the answer thanks to DC.
    M&M2005 is a benchmarking result, modelling choices are the most relevant issues. 2) and 3) get right to the most vulnerable and crucial aspects of that work.
    But the Wegman report refused to address effect sizes (benchmarking results) and instead focussed on one trivial question; does decentered PCA inflate the variance of hockey stick patterns in red noise? All that’s necessary to sink the report’s relevance is to show that the hockey stick pattern in the real proxy data is not an artifact of red noise, and examining signs is a good way to do that. Question 4) has no relevance for M&M2005. but is super sharp in terms of the Wegman report.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    But the Wegman report refused to address effect sizes (benchmarking results) and instead focussed on one trivial question; does decentered PCA inflate the variance of hockey stick patterns in red noise? All that’s necessary to sink the report’s relevance is to show that the hockey stick pattern in the real proxy data is not an artifact of red noise, and examining signs is a good way to do that.

    Lazar, this isn’t really an appropriate place for this discussion, but I feel I somewhat obliged to point out your comment here is nonsense.  The issue of hockey sticks being created out of red noise was never about the size of the hockey sticks created.  It was never that Mann’s hockey stick was an artifact of the red noise.  It was, quite simply, that Mann’s methodology gave undue weight to hockey sticks.

    You claim you can sink the report by showing the hockey stick signal exists in the proxies, but that point is specifically acknowledged in the report.  You’re arguing against a position the report never advanced.

    Nobody doubts the bristlecone proxies have a hockey stick shape.  The question is should bristlecone proxies, on their own, be entirely responsible for the hockey stick shape.  The follow up question is, if so, why even bother having the rest of the proxies?  The bristlecones are all you need.

  • Lazar

    Brandon,
    “The issue of hockey sticks being created out of red noise was never about the size of the hockey sticks created.”
    There are many issues.
    I’m not talking about the size of hockey sticks, I’m not even sure what you mean by “size” here. Size could refer to something like M&M’s hockey stick index, which relates the variance (size) of the blade to the variance (size) of the shaft of an individual hockey stick. Or it could refer to the eigenvalue of a principle component.
    When I talk of “effect sizes”, I’m referring to the impacts on results which formed a main conclusion of M&M2005…
    In the title…
    “Hockey sticks, principal components, and spurious significance
    In the abstract…
    “Through Monte Carlo analysis, we show that MBH98 benchmarks for significance of the Reduction of Error (RE) statistic are substantially
    under-stated and, using a range of cross-validation statistics, we show that the MBH98 15th century reconstruction lacks statistical significance.”

    The above benchmarking findings result from decentred PCA inflating the variance of hockey stick patterns in red noise.
    “It was, quite simply, that Mann’s methodology gave undue weight to hockey sticks.”
    Why do you consider the weighting given to the hockey stick pattern in the MBH98 PC1 to be “undue”? What does “undue” mean in this instance?
    “You claim you can sink the report by showing the hockey stick signal [my bold] exists in the proxies, but that point is specifically acknowledged in the report”
    Then it sinks itself. Could you provide a quote, specifically talking about the hockey stick pattern being a signal?

    “The question is”
    That is a question.
    “The question is should bristlecone proxies, on their own, be entirely responsible for the hockey stick shape”
    The 1400 step reconstruction was heavily dependent on bristlecones. That is a weakness of the study. That MBH98 relied on bristlecones to achieve a skillful reconstruction back to 1400 is a result of limited data. “Should” is hard to interpret here.
    “The follow up question is, if so, why even bother having the rest of the proxies?  The bristlecones are all you need.”
    Why bother? It’s a process. 1) Collect data. 2) Apply the analysis to all the data. Heavy dependence on bristlecones for the 1400 step is a result of 1) and 2). Retrospectively iterating 1) and 2) only using bristlecones would be somewhat unusual and unecessary.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    Lazar, I’m afraid I can’t find the support for your position in your response to me.  As far as I can tell, nothing in it condemns the Wegman report.  The only thing I could find which seems to address it at all is you saying, “Then it sinks itself.”  You didn’t provide any sort of explanation for the comment, so it’s basically just you restating your position.  This is a summary of what I understand our positions to be:

    You claim the fact a hockey stick signal (you can call it whatever you like) existing in proxies sinks the report.  I say that fact is one everyone acknowledges, and it in no way sinks the report.  Indeed, the report depends upon that very fact because it says the signal from the bristlecone proxies is given undue weight.

    I’m happy to let anyone reading this make up their own mind on who is right.  I don’t intend to derail this thread further, so that’s about all I have to say on the issue.  You are, of course, add whatever you’d like, especially if you feel my summary is inaccurate.

    As a final note, your last paragraph makes no sense.  You talk about reiterating steps, but I never suggested either step needs to be repeated.  The conclusion of MBH would be basically the same if you just took the bristlecone proxies and called them a temperature reconstruction.  You wouldn’t need to do any extra work, and you certainly wouldn’t need to collect data as you claim I would require.

    It isn’t much of a stretch to summarize MBH as, “This small amount of tree ring data shows current global temperatures are unprecedented in the last 1,000 years.”  Of course, nobody would have taken it seriously if you put it that way.

  • Lazar

    Brandon,
    There is a communication problem here. Let me try from another angle.
    All research is flawed to varying degrees.
    The fact that flaws exist in a work signifies nothing in itself.
    Only when flaws are demonstrated to impact results to a large degree, for a certain value of ‘large’, do flaws matter in the sense of degrading the value and usefulness of the work.
    Wegman demonstrated that there is a flaw in MBH98.
    The flaw is that decentred PCA inflates the variance of hockey stick patterns.
    That fact signifies nothing in itself of any importance to the results of MBH98.
    M&M2005 attempted to demonstrate that this flaw matters to the results of MBH98. They claimed it changes the significance level of a result in MBH98. They did this by doing calculations. They demonstrated an effect size. The flaw actually can be shown to matter.
    Wegman group restricted themselves to pointing out a flaw.
    “decentred PCA inflates the variance of hockey stick patterns in red noise”
    All that is necessary to say in response to that is  “yeah, but the hockey stick pattern in proxy data is a signal, not a product of red noise, what’s your point?”
    Then the Wegman group would need to say, “yeah, but this flaw impacts your results, see it changes the benchmark significance levels and now your result ain’t significant”.
    As M&M2005 did.
    Then they would have an effect size.
    But then they would also need to look at modelling assumptions used in the generation of red noise and how those effect benchmark results.
    And do a more critical appraisal of M&M2005.
    Remember their task was to conduct…
    “an independent verification of the critiques of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) [MBH98, MBH99] by McIntyre and McKitrick (2003, 2005a, 2005b)”
    And then we would have an interesting and important report instead of pointing out a trivially true and in itself irrelevant matter.
    “You claim the fact a hockey stick signal (you can call it whatever you like) existing in proxies sinks the report.”
    No, I cannot call it whatever I like. Perhaps you do not get what I mean by signal.
    Signal is not noise.
    Signal is a systematic effect, not the chance produce of random variation.
    This is what Ritson was pointing out when he asked Wegman
    “Any of my colleagues would have routinely checked their results
    to see if their derived PC1 (etc) derived from a systematic signal or from
    random noise. For example for a 70 member population, all that is required is to use the extracted PC1 vector from the 70 members, and apply it to each member to project out its relative sign (and amplitude). For signal dominated results one sign will predominate and for noise dominated results both signs will be roughly equally present. Needless to say when, a couple of years ago, I checked the M&M work, I did just that.”

  • Lazar

    Brandon,
    “The conclusion of MBH would be basically the same if you just took the bristlecone proxies and called them a temperature reconstruction.  You wouldn’t need to do any extra work”
    What “extra work” are you talking about?

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    Lazar, I suppose a little further derailment is necessary.  Here is one quote from the report (emphasis added):

    In the MBH98 de-centered principal component calculation, a group of twenty primarily bristlecone pine sites govern the first principal component. Fourteen of these chronologies account for over 93% variance in the PC1 and 38% of the total variance. The effect is that it omits the influence of the other 56 proxies in the network. In a centered version of the data, the influence of the bristlecone pine drops to the fourth principal component, where it accounts for 8% of the total variance. The MM03 results are obtained if the first two NOAMER principal components are used. The MBH98 results can be obtained if the NOAMER network is expanded to five principal components. Subsequently, their conclusion about the climate of the late 20th century is contingent upon including low-order principal components that only account for 8% of the variance of one proxy roster. Furthermore, the MM03 results occur even in a de-centered PC calculation, regardless of the presence of PC4, if the bristlecone pine sites are excluded.

    Despite the report clearly stating the impact of the inappropriate methodology of the paper, you say the authors of the report “restricted themselves to pointing out a flaw.”  It is true the authors choose not to detail the calculations involved, but there was no obligation for them to do so.  They were asked to look at two opposing sides and determine which was right.  That’s exactly what they did.

    As for your last question, it is rather strange.  I said no extra work would need to be done.  That is to say, the product is finished.  Do what I said to do, and you’ll be done.  I’m sorry if my wording caused confusion.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Nothing in Brandon Shollenberger’s response in 187# contradicts anything I said.  It is filled with so many fallacies, I’d be hard pressed to point them all out. In fact, this is a ridiculous response.

    Brandon Shollenberger simply can’t say “look, it is uncontroversial that this article is not well known” to answer PDA’s point that Wegman social-network analysis bears some importance in the contrarian narrative.  He can’t expect his irrelevant claim to fly in any real discussion.

    Brandon Shollenberger can’t simply say “look, the second paragraph was not the same as the first one”, and therefore imply that there is no connection between the two paragraphs.  The first reason is that the second paragraph contains the claim that was in the first one; the second reason is that the ideas expressed in the two paragraphs are logically connected in his argument.

    Quite frankly, Brandon Shollenberger’s response here makes no sense.

  • Lazar

    Brandon,
    “Here is one quote from the report (emphasis added):”
    The quote is a statement of plain fact* and no more.
    The bit you highlighted:
    “their conclusion about the climate of the late 20th century is contingent upon including low-order principal components that only account for 8% of the variance of one proxy roster”
    It is true that the back-to-1400AD reconstruction is strongly dependent on a ‘small’ subset of proxy data.
    Whether that subset is too small to support some conclusions in MBH98 is independent of how that subset was selected.
    It is not necessary to know that MBH98 used decentred PCA to decide this.
    The two are seperate issues.
    The quote from the Wegman report doesn’t determine that the subset is too small.
    When selecting principal components, the common objective is to select for those which represent systematic effects. That  is usually achieved by using a criteria based on the variance represented by each PC.
    The general ‘flaw’ in using decentered PCA is that it can inflate the variance of a pattern generated by a random process beyond that which is expected of a random process.
    An additional flaw peculiar to this case, is that the form of the pattern correlates with global temperature better than expected of patterns generated by random processes subject to conventional PCA.
    MBH98 tested the skill score of their reconstruction against the skill scores expected from random processes. But the skill that should be expected of a random process is higher than MBH98 thought, because of the above.
    MBH98 claimed a significance level for their reconstruction. Whether this claimed level is correct or not depends on whether decentred PCA was used, and if it was used, whether it was corrected for.
    Getting the wrong significance level is a flaw, and deciding that it is wrong depends on the use of decentred PCA.
    Do you see the differences with your quoted example?
    M&M2005 was an attempt to correct for this flaw.
    “As for your last question, it is rather strange.  I said no extra work would need to be done.  That is to say, the product is finished.  Do what I said to do, and you’ll be done.”
    Let’s retrace to your original question…
    “The follow up question is, if so, why even bother having the rest of the proxies?  The bristlecones are all you need.”
    This question didn’t make sense to me.
    Science is as much, no, in fact more about process and methodology than it is about results.
    In empirical statistical work like MBH98, the process is something like:
    1) Decide the criteria for collecting data.
    2) Decide the methodology for the analysis.
    3) Collect the data according to 1)
    4) Conduct the analysis according to 2)
    5) Record results, draw conclusions.
    6) Write up and publish 1-5).
    Your question seems to suggest that MBH at 5) should have decided to change the process based upon the results. It is unclear how you think the process should have been changed and why you think this is a good idea. The suggestion is highly anomalous, and usually strongly advised against.
    If I have misinterpreted the meaning of your question, please iterate.
    * Actually the variance claimed by M&M2005 was effected by additional methodological changes beyond centred PCA, see comment by Huybers which was allegedly read by the Wegman group. It is a shame that the Wegman group spent time stepping beyond their expertise and remit to conduct the SNA fluff, instead of using their expertise to delve deeper into statistical issues and better fulfilling their remit.

  • Lazar

    Brandon,

    “I suppose a little further derailment is necessary”
    I will stop if Keith decides the subject is off topic or in any way inappropriate. Until then I am happy to continue and see little point in raising the issue of appropriatness.

  • Lazar

    … or even appropriatEness, or perhaps propriety.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    I’m sorry Lazar, but this is my last response.  You first claimed the report said nothing about the extent of the effect of bad methodology.  I showed this was untrue.  The report clearly stated the impact of the faulty methodology.

    You now say the report fails to establish the subset was too small.  Even if that were true, so what?  If we accept that small subset as being sufficient (a ridiculous idea), what does that change?  Does that change the fact MBH’s methodology was wrong?  No.  Does that change the fact MBH got spurious correlations due to their faulty methodology?  No.  Does it change the fact MBh’s conclusions depended entirely upon faulty methodology giving undue weight to a small subset of data?  No.  The criticisms of MM are still competely true.

    However, we cannot accept it.  One example in the report (emphasis mine):

    The sensitivity of the 15th century results to slight variations in the data and method of two individual series show a fundamental instability of the results that flatly contradicts the language used in MBH98 and in Mann et al. (2000) where it states “”¦whether we use all data, exclude tree rings, or base a reconstruction only on tree rings, has no significant effect on the form of the reconstruction for the period in question”¦”


    The report states the faulty methodology lead to the paper’s conclusions being false.  It also states elsewhere a reconstruction should be robust to the removal of a small subset of data, but MBH isn’t.  It doesn’t actually establish such, but that’s because it’s common knowledge.

    As for the issue about bristllecones being used on their own, you are reading way more into what I said than is actually there.  I wasn’t talking about what the authors should have done.  I was pointing out you’d get equitable results if a different, much simpler, approach was taken.  As in, why should anyone look to MBH when they could just look at the bristlecone series themselves.  The results would be the same, have the same significance, and it would bypass all the fluff in MBH.

    The ultimate point of the entire MBH saga is extremely simple.  Despite the claims of the authors, a small subset of tree ring data shows a hockey stick, thus modern temperatures were concluded to be unprecedented in 1,000 years.  This was established in the MM papers, and it was established in the Wegman Report.

    That means a handful of trees are the entire basis for what was made into a major PR piece by the IPCC.  If people had known that, the Third Assessment Report would never have been taken seriously.

  • Lazar

    Brandon,
    “You first claimed the report said nothing about the extent of the effect of bad methodology.  I showed this was untrue.”
    No, as pointed out above, you confused two independent issues among other errors in logic.
    “The report clearly stated the impact of the faulty methodology.”
    Nope.
    “You now say the report fails to establish the subset was too small.  Even if that were true”
    Are you disputing that?
    “so what?”
    You raised the size of the subset as an issue. That the subset is ‘small’ we can both agree upon. Whether this size matters is what matters. Effect sizes. Now I can see immediately following this statement you are conflating yet further independent issues with the issue we have just been discussing. Again those issues are posed as inadequately formulated assertions. I am trying to dig down deep and examine issues in detail. Instead I am sent down yet more new trails…
    The sensitivity of the 15th century results to slight variations in the data and method of two individual series show a fundamental instability of the results that flatly contradicts the language used in MBH98″
    No.The language used in MBH98 is…
    “the long-term trend in NH is relatively robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators in the network, suggesting that potential tree growth trend biases are not influential in the multiproxy climate reconstructions”
    Compare…
    1) “the sensitivity” “15th century results” “slight variations” “fundamental instability”
    2) “long-term trend” “relatively robust” “growth trend biases”
    Both statements are trying to paint the results in opposing positive and negative lights.
    Both statements are too vague and unquantitative to be considered as contradictions.
    It is not even clear that they are measuring the sensitivity/robustness of ‘the same’ quantity or to ‘the same’ quantity.
    Yes, this means MBH98 should have been more quantitative, detailed and precise.
    Growth trend biases in terms of dendrochronologies usually imply age growth biases introduced by the increasing diameter of a tree trunk with age, which imparts a negative trend bias in the long run.
    I agree that reconstructions extending back to 1400AD using the MBH98 methodology are sensitive to the inclusion/exclusion of bristlecones. I agree that this changes the shape, the skill, and the significance level of the reconstruction. I agree that more data is better. It is not clear and a case has not been made that the mere existence of this sensitivity should change any conclusion in MBH98.
    I view the sensitivity testing in MBH98 as insufficient. They should have tried publishing somewhere like Journal of Climate where ample page allowances allow examining such issues in detail. More sensitivity tests should have been conducted, and the sensitivity tests should have focussed on the most vulnerable parts where the data is most scarce. This means the paper could have been improved upon. It does not mean the paper is wrong.
    Similarly, M&M2005 should not have published in GRL, and should have done sensitivity testing to modelling choices, and justified their model selection, and tested their assumptions, and validated their model outputs. It is difficult at the best of times to be confident that a process is ARFIMA versus ARMA or ARIMA in any or no combination with deterministic trends or step changes, simply because the tools for testing between them are rather rubbish. The literature is rife with examinations of these difficulties. Using ARFIMA with standard model selection and validation is hairy. Using it blind is just crazy. Then there is the issue of what data is considered noise and what is signal in fitting the noise model. This again means M&M2005 could have been improved upon. It does not mean the paper is wrong.
    Wegman group should have picked up on it. Any time series type would have picked up on it. My strong impression is that all they were interested in was criticizing-MBH98.
    “As for the issue about bristllecones being used on their own, you are reading way more into what I said than is actually there.  I wasn’t talking about what the authors should have done.  I was pointing out you’d get equitable results if a different, much simpler, approach was taken.  As in, why should anyone look to MBH when they could just look at the bristlecone series themselves. The results would be the same, have the same significance, and it would bypass all the fluff in MBH.
    Because, as stated, science is more about process and methodology than results. When I read a paper, I don’t skip to the results section and ignore the methodology. ‘I collected a large sample by these criteria, subjected them to this objective regression modelling process, and these are the results’ is more interesting and convincing than ‘take a look at these bristlecones’… even if the results look similar.

  • Lazar

    I apologize for the harshness of my tone.
    Part of the problem with discussing the hockey stick is that Climate Audit try to spin many issues into a storyline. This narrative approach hinders rather than helps understanding.

  • http://skepticalscience.com grypo

    “Climate Audit try to spin many issues into a storyline. This narrative approach hinders rather than helps understanding.”

    Well put

  • Tom Fuller

    It isn’t ginning up a narrative to say that the shaft of the hockey stick tries to tell us a story–that the current temperature rise is unprecedented in the past 1,000 years. That story is what was pushed by the consensus community. They established a narrative and pushed it as hard as they could.

    It was, however, not true. Saying the story is false is not spinning issues into a storyline. It is the opposite.

  • http://skepticalscience.com grypo

    No, that’s a finding.  A narrative is using a statistical argument to push stories, like, noble cause corruption.

  • Tom Fuller

    No using noble cause corruption as a possible explanation for unethical and illegal behaviour wrt the Climategate emails has nothing to do with statistics. It is an attempt to avoid the demonization of the enemy, to endow those on the other side of the fence with a human face, agency, and respect.

  • http://skepticalscience.com grypo

    You miss the point and you are proving lazar’s line of logic.  It was a statistical argument.  The narrative was produced from that argument.  Emails and all.  That is a narrative.

    Your narrative is that “the consensus” “ginned up” a narrative — and also, that “consensus narrative” is false.  This all stems from that argument.

    So I’ll change my initial line to:

    “No, that’s a finding.  A narrative is using a statistical argument and emails to push stories, like, noble cause corruption.”
     

  • Lazar

    Tom,
    As grypo pointed out, it’s a finding not a narrative.
    I’m talking about trying to weave different, some independent, technical issues into some narrative with motives, purpose, intent, like ‘they had to get the bristlecones in, so they did A, B, C and D, without doing A, B, C and D, there are no bristlecones, bristlecones are bad, so doing A, B, C and D is wrong’.
    And it ends up a confused mess.
    Journals won’t accept that kinda stuff.
    Scientific analyses try to disaggregate issues, factorize problems, isolate outputs and inputs, isolate effects, so that different effects can be compared and better understood.
    Science is complex enough.

  • Tom Fuller

    The Hockey Stick ‘narrative’ is a post-facto attempt at understanding why scientists made serious errors. Are there other possible narratives? Obviously. But given the context of what was happening in the world, many of the alternative narratives are worse.

    Remember that, stripped to its essentials, McIntyre’s narrative (as opposed to many who have based their own storylines on his work, and you can include Mosher and myself in that group I suppose), is actually quite forgiving.

    McIntyre’s bare bones narrative is that Jones and Mann made mistakes that prejudiced their research outcomes–Jones by not verifying station histories and Mann by choosing a biased sample and an incorrect statistical approach to analysis. They refused to admit their errors and most of the rest of the story hinges on their inability to do so.

    Implied but not stated in McIntyre’s narrative (and he’s free to tell me I’m very wrong) is that because their flawed research results were supportive of a political position, his discovery of their errors were blown out of proportion by defenders of the consensus position, leading to (among other actions) the hasty construction of the weblog Real Climate and much more.

    Imagine an alternate history where Jones issues a correction to his 1990 paper quickly and goes to work on reconstructing an estimate of UHI’s effects similar to what he did 15 years later. If he does this, Watt’s surface station work can be welcomed by the consensus and not condemned. The emphasis can be returned quite properly to heat accumulation in the ocean instead of songs and dances about real issues in station siting and measurements.

    Indulge me. In the same alternate history, Mann, Bradley and Hughes accept the broad thrust of McIntyre’s criticisms, are forthcoming with the data and recalculate their work. The Medieval Warming Period and Little Ice Age are restored to the historical record and we get back to work trying to understand anthropogenic contributions to the current warming. We quit calling it unprecedented. We state that it is, at least, unusual, and frame global warming in its proper perspective–as something real that needs to be addressed, and which early action will contribute to the lessening thereof.

    What Jones did wrt his 1990 paper was wrong. It culminated in his call for deletion of emails, which was illegal. What Mann did was wrong. His pig-headed refusal to admit it led to his attempts to bias the publication process and influence editors.

    But global warming since 1880 is real. Even James Inhofe and Marc Morano would admit if pressed that what the human race has done since 1880 has had an effect on climate. Most of us would happily go further.

    The two positions are not contradictory. What you perceive as building narratives is in fact a completely normal response to a decade of withholding data, facts and the truth about a process that got hijacked.

    Jones was wrong. His paper used flawed station histories and understated the extent of UHI–something he would find in a paper written 15 years later. But the current warming period is real and we probably contributed.

    Mann was wrong. Temperatures over the past 1,000 years do not look much like a hockey stick. There was a MWP and a LIA. But there is current warming, and it is quite likely that there is an anthropogenic component to the causes.

    Why does it make so many peoples’ heads hurt to see those simple declarative sentences coming from one source, as opposed to people throwing them as serial accusations at each other?

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    Tom Fuller, I’m not very forgiving of the people you mention, but I agree with your point.  However, I would hope other issues were changed in that alternate history, especially in regards to the IPCC.  As long as things like the hockey stick can happen, it’s hard for me to have much faith in the processes used to form the consensus.

    In other words, it isn’t the existence of problems which bothers me.  It’s the fact those problems can come about so easily and not get handled properly.

  • Sashka

    If it’s only unusual but not unprecedented it’s hard to make a case for immediate action. (In fact, it’s hard enough even if it’s indeed unprecedented.) That’s why the team will never agree.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @Tom Fuller
    [112]: The shaft is wrong. Temperatures, according to Keith Briffa, were as warm as today 1,000 years ago. The blade is wrong.


    [178]:  If current warming is not unprecedented”“and it quite clearly seems not to be

    [208]: the current temperature rise is unprecedented in the past 1,000 years. That story is what was pushed by the consensus community. They established a narrative and pushed it as hard as they could.

    It was, however, not true.

    [213]: The Medieval Warming Period and Little Ice Age are restored to the historical record and we get back to work…
    We quit calling it unprecedented.

    I don’t want to put words in your mouth, so I’ll ask rather than assume I have your position correct.

    Are you under the impression that the MCA is characterized by a hemispheric or global, temporally coherent, warming equivalent to exceeding the warming of the instrumental record?

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub

    Great post, Fuller.

    You must really come back on a WordPress platform.

  • Tom Fuller

    If by MCA you mean the MWP, what evidence I’ve had a chance to look at seems to indicate pretty clearly that it was a rolling event that began and ended at different times in different places. Which doesn’t really seem that surprising to me–once I sat down and thought about it.

    It’s what we’re seeing now that is more surprising, which is why I’m willing to attribute a component of it to anthropogenic influences even before all the evidence is in, and to support mitigation and adaptation to deal with it now.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @218 Tom Fuller

    From my perspective, that’s not really responsive to what I asked. The above claims from you I quoted @216 seem to strongly indicate that your belief is that the MCA was characterized by a hemispheric or global, temporally coherent, warming equivalent to or exceeding the warming of the instrumental record, e.g. your “interpretation” of Briffa, your claims of not unprecedented, etc.

    Your response here seems to be somewhat backtracking from that position, acknowledging temporally and spatially discontinuous warming, and contrasting it to “what we’re seeing now that is more surprising”.

    Further, you state that you’re “willing to attribute a component of it to anthropogenic influences even before all the evidence is in” based on this contrast between the present warming and the MCA, which suggests confusion about attribution issues. If we had zero paleoclimatic evidence from the late Holocene, the impact on attribution would be trivial. Attribution has been achieved by exploring theoretical expectations of enhanced anthropogenic GHGs, aerosols, and ODS changes to the climate system vs. observations.

    Please don’t take these questions as an attack, I am seeking to genuinely follow (what appears from my perspective to be) shifting and possibly incorrect beliefs about these issues. Thanks.

  • Tom Fuller

    Gee, Thingsbreak. Why on earth would I assume that anything you say would be an attack? To be sure, you have been sharply critical of our host here, Bjorn Lomborg, Judith Curry and anyone else who has the temerity to question any element whatsoever of the consensus doctrine.

    But little ol’ me? Why on earth would you attack me? Oh, yeah– in September, that was that little episode… “Previously, Tom Fuller demonstrated why he isn’t a serious journalist by making a fool of himself on the issue of polar bears.” Except I was right about the polar bears. We’re shooting 1,000 of them a year, and that’s the gravest problem they face.

    Or maybe it was when you wrote, “The “most or all” part is obviously where Fuller gets into trouble. This is a claim that he has made and failed to back up over at Michael Tobis’s, because a comprehensive look at the primary literature refutes it.” Except I did back it up with citations to the IPCC, Skeptical Science and Wingham et al. Ron Broberg thought I made cogent points. Even Tobis grudgingly admitted I had found real evidence that supported my claim. But you never walked back from your accusation that I was trying to misdirect people.

    I’m truly sorry you don’t consider my response to be responsive.  I like how you put my ‘interpretation’ of Briffa in quotation marks.  I prefer to put Briffa’s words in quotation marks: “”I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards “˜apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data but in reality the situation is not quite so simple. We don’t have a lot of proxies that come right up to date and those that do (at least a significant number of tree proxies) some unexpected changes in response that do not match the recent warming.

    I do not think it wise that this issue be ignored in the chapter. For the record, I do believe that the proxy data do show unusually warm conditions in recent decades. I am not sure that this unusual warming is so clear in the summer responsive data. I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago. I do not believe that global mean annual temperatures have simply cooled progressively over thousands of years as Mike appears to and I contend that that there is strong evidence for major changes in climate over the Holocene (not Milankovich) that require explanation and that could represent part of the current or future background variability of our climate.”

    So I guess you’ll just have to use your usual creative imagination to genuinely follow shifting and possibly incorrect beliefs about these issues. Your welcome

  • Tom Fuller

    Reposted without the links in order to escape the moderation queue:
     

    Tom Fuller Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    May 19th, 2011 at 9:54 pm
    Gee, Thingsbreak. Why on earth would I assume that anything you say would be an attack? To be sure, you have been sharply critical of our host here, Bjorn Lomborg, Judith Curry and anyone else who has the temerity to question any element whatsoever of the consensus doctrine.

    But little ol’ me? Why on earth would you attack me? Oh, yeah”“ in September, that was that little episode”¦ “Previously, Tom Fuller demonstrated why he isn’t a serious journalist by making a fool of himself on the issue of polar bears.” Except I was right about the polar bears. We’re shooting 1,000 of them a year, and that’s the gravest problem they face.

    Or maybe it was when you wrote, “The “most or all” part is obviously where Fuller gets into trouble. This is a claim that he has made and failed to back up over at Michael Tobis’s, because a comprehensive look at the primary literature refutes it.” Except I did back it up with citations to the IPCC, Skeptical Science and Wingham et al. Ron Broberg thought I made cogent points. Even Tobis grudgingly admitted I had found real evidence that supported my claim. But you never walked back from your accusation that I was trying to misdirect people.

    I’m truly sorry you don’t consider my response to be responsive.  I like how you put my “˜interpretation’ of Briffa in quotation marks.  I prefer to put Briffa’s words in quotation marks: “”I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards “˜apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data but in reality the situation is not quite so simple. We don’t have a lot of proxies that come right up to date and those that do (at least a significant number of tree proxies) some unexpected changes in response that do not match the recent warming.

    I do not think it wise that this issue be ignored in the chapter. For the record, I do believe that the proxy data do show unusually warm conditions in recent decades. I am not sure that this unusual warming is so clear in the summer responsive data. I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago. I do not believe that global mean annual temperatures have simply cooled progressively over thousands of years as Mike appears to and I contend that that there is strong evidence for major changes in climate over the Holocene (not Milankovich) that require explanation and that could represent part of the current or future background variability of our climate.”

    So I guess you’ll just have to use your usual creative imagination to genuinely follow shifting and possibly incorrect beliefs about these issues. Your welcome

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @220 Tom Fuller:

    [I am going to ignore the large chunks of off topic material, but I am more than happy to address them in the comments of the relevant posts at my blog or in an open thread here or some other blog. To be honest, I don't even understand what it is you're trying to say in that section.]

    I like how you put my “˜interpretation’ of Briffa in quotation marks.

    It has been pointed out to you before that your characterization of Briffa’s position is… misleading, intentionally or not. The selective quoting of one email from 1999 is unfortunate, given that after more proxies and more instrumental warming were evident Briffa reached the positive position of “favouring the ‘likely unprecedented recent warmth’ opinion” (4/29/2003).  This took place a full eight years prior to your comments about Briffa in this thread. One might chalk that up to you being unaware of this fact, but it has been pointed out to you repeatedly.

    My use of scare quotes around “interpretation” reflects my perspective that you are unfairly representing Briffa’s opinion on the relative warmth of the MCA vs. the present.

    Moreover, Briffa’s personal beliefs are just those, not data. Citing his opinions rather than the extensive paleoclimatic evidence amassed over the past two decades is a rather odd way of assessing a claim about the evidence rather than the man.

    The evidence itself exits. Presumably you are familiar enough with it to make several claims which appear to say you believe that recent warmth is not unprecedented.

    So I guess you’ll just have to use your usual creative imagination to genuinely follow shifting and possibly incorrect beliefs about these issues. Your welcome

    This is similarly unhelpful.

    Is it your contention that the MCA was characterized by a hemispheric or global, temporally coherent, warming equivalent to or exceeding the warming of the instrumental record? A yes or no is fine. Thanks.

  • tom fuller

    I’m sorry thingsbreak. based on what you have written about me in the past, I prefer not todiscuss matters of substance with you. Perhaps you could have a chat with Anna Haynes.

    Best of luck and all that.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Run Away Brave Sir Roger!

  • tom fuller

    Marlowe, you can join thingsbreak and Anna in whatever conspiratorial cupboard you choose. I don’t really want to talk to you either.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    sorry that would be Robin, not Roger (who of course is a shrubber, not a brave knight).

  • NewYorkJ

    TF continues with the selective quoting of Briffa, long after he was exposed.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/2011/02/24/a-climate-claim-in-tatters/#comment-48083

    I hope for TF’s sake that it’s just a simple matter of gross dishonesty, rather than a serious memory problem.

  • Tom Fuller

    NewYorkJ, my memory is still acute enough to know you belong in the closet with the rest. Off with you! There you can ponder in peace the grand dilemma–is Fuller dishonest or senile? Personally I’d rather look at the box scores of yesterday’s games, but I guess that would depend on whether there’s a light in the closet or not.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @223 Tom Fuller:
    I prefer not todiscuss matters of substance with you.

    Tom Fuller, I am disappointed that you continue to be unable to make a simple declarative statement about your own prior actions or understanding when asked politely. I urge you to reconsider. As I’ve told you previously, there is no upside in you doing this. On some level, I’m sure you understand that.

    Thanks.

  • Tom Fuller

    Gee thingsbreak, I really appreciate your true concern for my well-being.

    Show us how simple declarative statements are really done. Apologise for the untrue statements and insults you have written about me. List them. Say you were wrong. Say you were sorry. Let me know when you’ve finished. Don’t really want or need to hear from you beforehand.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Ok, let’s avoid the grudge matches, please. It’s like watching a car wreck in slow motion.

    Maybe we ought to put a stick in this thread.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @230 Tom Fuller:
    Show us how simple declarative statements are really done.

    As I already mentioned, I am happy to discuss those off-topic things in an appropriate thread, either at my own space, here, or somewhere else.

    Is it your contention that the MCA was characterized by a hemispheric or global, temporally coherent, warming equivalent to or exceeding the warming of the instrumental record? A yes or no is fine. Thanks.

  • http://cluebyfour.com PDA

    Maybe we ought to put a stick in this thread.

    I know what you’re trying to say, Keith, and I have pulled my share of Miss Malaprops… but that’s funny.

    We’ve all had a stick up our thread at one time or another.

  • NewYorkJ

    Cupboard or closet?

    My memory is still acute enough to know you belong in the closet with the rest. Off with you!

    Marlowe, you can join thingsbreak and Anna in whatever conspiratorial cupboard you choose.

    I don’t really want to talk to you either.

    I prefer not todiscuss matters of substance with you.

    We all understand that last point.  It’s a very accurate self-assessment.

  • John Mashey

    For the “rest of the story,” which hopefully to fix the confusion in which many people posted all sorts of ill-informed comments with apparent certainty:
    http://www.desmogblog.com/mashey-report-reveals-wegman-manipulations

  • John Mashey

    Columbia Professor of Statistics Andrew Gelman’s blog post has well-informed discussion:
    http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~cook/movabletype/archives/2011/05/laziness_and_pl.html
    as does his earlier
    http://statisticsforum.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/statistics-in-the-news-but-not-in-a-good-way
    Also worth seeing is one KK commented on:
    http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~cook/movabletype/archives/2011/05/why_no_wegmania.html


    Nature offers an <a href=”http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v473/n7348/full/473419b.html”>Editorial.</a>

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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