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Posts Tagged plagiarism

Lazy old Garth Gareth Renowden Jun 21

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Some things you can rely on: death, taxes and Garth George. Yes, that wondrous old curmudgeon has published another piece that owes a heavy debt to the work of another. In the Otago Daily Times a couple of weeks ago he devoted an entire column to an espousal of a climate sceptic rant by Professor William Happer, recently published at a US right wing Christian web site. Let us not be too distracted by the fact that Happer’s opus is nonsense — that is what we expect of the wilder fringes of climate denial — but let’s look at the treatment Garth gives it: three short introductory sentences, then:

Prof Happer’s dissertation on greenhouse gasses and global warming runs to some 4500 words.

Here are some highlights.

His introduction is 153 words out of the 851 in the column (a mere 18%). The remainder is a thinly paraphrased or directly quoted lift from Happer’s article. Garth’s serial plagiarism of the work of others would be funny if it wasn’t being paid for by respected newspapers. We know that Garth is a fool, because we can read what he writes about climate change. But he is also making fools of some of the leading newspapers in this country. Who is the more foolish: the plagiarist or the people who pay him?

Carterist ’science’: Bob’s self-plagiarism, misrepresentation and misquotations Gareth Renowden Mar 11

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homer.jpgThe crank web is all atwitter with the news that Bob Carter’s been censored by Australia’s public broadcaster, the ABC. But an exclusive Hot Topic investigation reveals that the supposed “censorship” looks a lot more like prudent quality control. Carter’s submission plagiarises his own writings, misquotes and misrepresents James Hansen, and joins the recent baseless attacks on the NZ temperature record.

When the ABC’s Unleashed site turned down Carter’s offering — supposedly a reply or counterbalance to their recent five part series on climate denial by Clive Hamilton — it was quickly picked up by his frequent publisher, Aussie website QuadrantOnline. Titled Lysenkoism and James Hansen – Is Hansenism more dangerous than Lysenkoism?, it’s a crude attack on Hansen, currently visiting Australia. But it’s not only crude, it’s unoriginal.

Carter opens his ABC/Quadrant piece with an account of Hansen’s 1988 testimony to Congress:

On June 23, 1988, a young and previously unknown NASA computer modeller, James Hansen, appeared before a United States Congressional hearing on climate change. On that occasion, Dr. Hansen used a graph to convince his listeners that late 20th century warming was taking place at an accelerated rate, which, it being a scorching summer’s day in Washington, a glance out of the window appeared to confirm.

But back in 2005, in a talk to the Melbourne Rotary Club titled Global Warming Hysteria and the Deadly Disease of Hansenism (and in a paper available on his web site since), he had this to say about Hansen’s testimony:

Why Hansenism? Because James Hansen was the NASA-employed scientist who started the climate alarmism hare running on June 23, 1988, when he appeared before a United States Congressional hearing on climate change. On that occasion, Dr Hansen used a misleading graph to convince his listeners that [words cut here] warming was taking place at an accelerated rate (which, it being a scorching summer’s day in Washington, a glance out of the window appeared to confirm). [My emboldening of identical words.]

Strikingly similar, I think you’ll agree. The next two paragraphs share strong similarities with his 2005 paper, although he attributes a quote from Hansen somewhat differently: Here’s the Quadrant/ABC piece:

Fifteen years later, in the Scientific American in March, 2004, Hansen came to write that “Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue. Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate forcing scenarios consistent with what is realistic”.

This conversion to honesty came too late, however, for in the intervening years thousands of other climate scientists had meanwhile climbed onto the Hansenist funding gravy-train.

Once again, here’s Carter’s original version:

Much later (20032), Hansen came to write “Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue. Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate …. scenarios consistent with what is realistic”. But this astonishing conversion to honesty came too late, for in the intervening years thousands of other climate scientists had meanwhile climbed onto the Hansenist funding gravy-train.

Carter’s use of this quote is intended to show that Hansen had been dishonest. What else can a “conversion to honesty” be taken to mean? But the dishonesty is entirely Carter’s, and the many other climate deniers (Patrick Michaels prominent among them) who have ripped Hansen’s words from their context. Firstly, the quote is not accurate, the relevant sentences as published are:

Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue, and energy sources such as “synfuels,” shale oil and tar sands were receiving strong consideration. Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate forcing scenarios consistent with what is realistic under current conditions. Scenarios that accurately fit recent and near-future observations have the best chance of bringing all of the important players into the discussion, and they also are what is needed for the purpose of providing policy-makers the most effective and efficient options to stop global warming. [Missing words emboldened]

Secondly, as in so many things, context is all important. Hansen is discussing the details of the forcing scenarios put together by the IPCC for use in climate model runs. The standard scenarios assume no actions to reduce emissions. Hansen is arguing that to be useful for policy makers, scenarios that include emissions reductions need to be developed, to provide an idea of what might happen if action were taken. No change of mind, no admission of dishonesty — just a call for policy-relevant emissions trajectories and forcing scenarios. Misquotation and misrepresentation in the same breath — nice one, Bob. [Interesting too to note that the AR5 modelling will be based on new, more realistic scenarios that will include emissions reductions]

Let’s move on to the next par in the Bob’s samizdat article:

Currently, global warming alarmism is fuelled by an estimated worldwide expenditure on related research and greenhouse bureaucracy of more than US$10 billion annually. Scientists and bureaucrats being only too human, the power of such sums of money to corrupt not only the politics of greenhouse, but even the scientific process itself, should not be underestimated.

That’s a lot of money. What did he tell the Rotarians five years ago?

Currently, global warming alarmism is fuelled by an estimated worldwide expenditure on related research and greenhouse bureaucracy of US$3-4 billion annually. Scientists and bureaucrats being only too human, the power of such sums of money to corrupt not only the politics of greenhouse, but even the scientific process itself, must not be underestimated.

Crikey Moses, that’s some climate inflation! Not a Hansenist gravy train, but a Carterist scary ghost train.

The sections on “Lysenkoism” in the two pieces are also more or less identical, but in the more recent article, Bob moves on to deliver his wisdom on the state of climate science and policy advice in Australia, and can’t resist a dig at the NZ temperature record:

And, across the Tasman, NIWAgate is developing apace, as the N.Z. National Institute of Water & Atmosphere battles to provide a parliamentary accounting for its historic temperature archive, which may yet prove to include the ’dog ate my homework’ excuse for the apparent absence of some records.

Bob’s clearly channelling Treadgold and Wishart, and just as clearly out of touch (or perhaps that should be unwilling to be in touch) with reality.
So what are the basic tenets of Carterist science, as revealed by the writings of the great communicator himself? Bob describes them perfectly in his Rotary Club talk:

HansenistCarterist climate hysteria is driven by relentless, ideological, pseudo-scientific drivel, most of which issues from greenright wing political activists and their supporters, and is then promulgated by compliant media commentators who are innocent of knowledge of true scientific method. Opportunistically, and sadly, some scientists, too, contribute to the HansenistCarterist alarmism.

Quite right Bob. I share your sorrow, if not your shame.