Bradley Tries to Deal

At Lucia’s, Steve Mosher asks:

did bradley make the charges to further a different goal?

As indicated in the email sent by Bradley to a third party shown below, Bradley’s actual objective in filing the complaint against Wegman may not have been a concern over alleged plagiarism, but an effort to get Wegman’s criticisms of MBH98-99 (criticisms which North and Bloomfield conceded under oath) removed from the Congressional record. Bradley writes as follows:

I filed a complaint with George Mason University (where Wegman is a Professor) & they have set up a committee to investigate my complaint. I[A] recent letter from their Vice-Chancellor indicates that they expect the committee to report their findings by the end of September.

That’s the long & short of it. I have told the University that I am prepared to drop this matter if Wegman makes a request to have his report withdrawn from the Congressional Record. No response on that.

Thanks
Ray [Bradley]

202 Comments

  1. glacierman
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    I don’t know what the correct term for this is. At the least it is hardball politics. Challenge the conclusions of the Wegman Report. If you can show it is in error, or in some way is incorrect, then try to get it removed from the record. Here he finds an issue that has a potential to cause Wegman problems, then tries to get a deal to voluntarily retract his paper. This is sad. If Wegman did something wrong, I do not see how cutting a deal with Bradley should get him off the hook. Aren’t there rules and standards related to his employment as well as his testomony to congress? How can GM University agree to something like this just because Bradley wants them to? If Wegman violated publishing standards, or copywrite that is not just a matter for Bradley.

  2. mpaul
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    To me, this seems like interference in a Congressional investigation. Essentially, its a form of witness tampering. Any attempt to intimidate witnesses into changing their testimony is, I believe, a felony. Kinda a stupid thing to do given the polititical changes happening as a result of the mid-term elections.

    • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

      This gets ridiculous. Like many posters here, Bradley seems to be under the impression that he’s acting on copyright violation or some other text ownership issue. If so, what he proposes is one of the kinds of remedy that he would be entitled to ask for, even if it’s impractical.

      He’s wrong about that. But it’s not a Federal crime to be wrong.

      • jim edwards
        Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

        We looked into this at Lucia’s – the statute of limitations for copyright is three years. Assuming a copyright violation occured, after sitting on his rights all these years, Bradley doesn’t have remedies he’s entitled to, anymore.

        But even if he had the right to some remedy, altering witness testimony is not the sort of remedy that authors are entitled to.

        And, YES, it often is a federal crime to be wrong.

        Ex:
        If you attempt to shoot the President with an unloaded gun, thinking it’s loaded, you’ve committed a crime.

        If you attempt to solicit sex from a prostitute, but the woman’s a cop, you’ve committed a crime.

        If you make a deal to import 100 kg of heroin, but your supplier doesn’t have any drugs, you’ve committed a crime.

        If you attempt to sneak shampoo onto a plane, thinking it’s nitroglycerine, you’ve committed a crime.

        If you threaten a person’s career unless they change their testimony, even if if it turns out they cannot do so, you just might have committed a federal crime.

      • mpaul
        Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

        I suspect that it would look to any reasonable person that Bradley was using the Plagiarism charge to bully Wegman is some way. We now know why.

        What’s amazing to me is that the Team believes that the standards of conduct that exist in their thugocracy can be used in the real world. The trouble for them is that in the real world there are laws that protect people.

        Here’s the relevant federal statute:

        Title 18, Part I, Chapter 73
        § 1512. Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant
        [...]
        (b) Whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to—
        (1) influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding;
        (2) cause or induce any person to—
        (A) withhold testimony, or withhold a record, document, or other object, from an official proceeding;
        [...]
        shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both

  3. Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

    >I don’t know what the correct term for this is.
    Attempted blackmail?

    • glacierman
      Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

      Well, that is what first came to mind.

      • MikeC
        Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 9:23 PM | Permalink

        Technically it’s a crime against the Congressional process, witness intimidation… a crime that can get you some serious time.

  4. Richard Sharpe
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    What level of confidence can we assign to the providence of that email?

    It seems that an intelligent person would not write such an email.

    • tetris
      Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

      Why the innuendo? Do you have any evidence to suggest that it might be a fake?
      As we know from the Climategate emails, there are plenty presumably intelligent people capable writing such emails.

      • DeWitt Payne
        Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

        Re: tetris (Oct 21 13:29),

        I believe the phrase is intelligent but clueless. Back when I was younger and dinosaurs still walked the earth it was referred to as a lack of common sense.

      • Richard Sharpe
        Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

        The innuendo goes in both directions :-)

        It should be established that the email was actually written by Bradley, because its implications are astounding.

        Steve: Feel free to ask Bradley to confirm that he wrote the email.

        • justbeau
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

          Well educated people can assume that their every step is beyond reproach or that they can explain their way out of any mis-step. As a result, they can write emails that establish evidence of poor judgment and dubious intention. Many examples of this common human frailty took place at the University of East Anglia!

        • Salamano
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

          Don’t forget…

          Scholars and Scientists should be permitted a free range to ‘share ideas’ and ‘discourse’…

          This is just one of those protected ideas.

          If we don’t allow scientists to threaten to blackmail, or blacklist eachother in their fields of study, then seemingly all collaboration and free discussion will come to a standstill. Quelle Dommage!

        • Punksta
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 12:27 AM | Permalink

          Many (myself included) have attempted to ask Jones if he wrote the email with “why should I show you may data when I know you’ll try and find something wrong with it”. As far as I’m aware, he has never given a straight answer, not even in the parliamentary whitewash of Climategate.

          Steve: none of the inquiries asked Jones whether or why he did this. But I’ve seen a copy of the email and Jones admitted it to Hans von Storch – see his NAS 2006 evidence..

  5. Andy
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

    Disgusting.

  6. Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

    How pathetic !!

  7. John Hekman
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    George Mason is not a conservative school, but it is a lot less liberal politically than UVA or Penn State. It will be interesting to see how this complaint and the illiberal request to suppress Wegman’s report will be treated.

  8. Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    Wow,

    We will regulate the truth no matter what it takes. [snip] — got that one for you Steve.

  9. Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    Is getting the report removed from Congress even possible? Any legal beagles out there? Dang… I’m going to write someone…

  10. jim edwards
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

    Steve, are you sure that this e-mail is genuine ?

    That would be amazing because, if so, it may be evidence of an honest-to-goodness crime [not the imagined crimes AGW-debaters are constantly crowing about].

    It looks like Bradley is threatening to ruin Wegman’s career unless he alters his prior Congressional testimony.

    That smacks of post-facto extortion or witness tampering. [both potential felonies]

    I don’t practice criminal law, but it does not look good to me.

    One thing to note is that the standards for indictment / conviction under federal law are ridiculously low, compared to state law. Virtually everybody is guilty of some federal crime that can be activated, when desired. Rudy Giuliani and his buddies were reported to play a game when he was a federal prosecutor. They would pick public figures like Mother Theresa and list all the federal crimes they were guilty of. If that e-mail is real, Bradley is lucky there’s a true believer in the White House.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

      Re: jim edwards (Oct 21 11:57),

      Yes, the email is genuine.

    • jim edwards
      Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

      My God, the stupidity.

      Well, we already knew these guys liked to invent novel statistical techniques without communicating with actual statisticians.

      I guess it would make sense that some might attempt to fiddle with the legal process without communicating with actual lawyers.

      Results appear to be equivalent in either case.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

        Also note that the academic misconduct inquiry is supposed to be confidential and that Bradley’s interview with USA Today breached confidentiality.

        • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

          It wasn’t confidential. USAT produced a letter from GMU dated July 28 stating that the inquiry was proceeding. It contained no suggestion that the letter was in confidence.

        • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

          The letter is here.

        • jim edwards
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

          It MAY not have been confidential. It’s evident from the letter that there have been prior communications. The prior communications may have mentioned confidentiality, and such an hypothetical request for confidentiality would likely cover subsequent communications.

          Also, it may be understood within the academic community that such situations be considered confidential – without asking. This would make sense as a matter of reciprocity between scholars and their respective institutions.

          Academics like to pretend they’re gentlemen, and gentlemen allow the process to proceed to completion before airing the family laundry in public.

          I don’t think we know enough to make a definitive statement one way or the other.

        • jak
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

          This is a foolish comment. Just because one response letter doesn’t specifically mention confidentiality, doesn’t mean that GMU doesn’t expect the inquiry to be confidential. In fact, their policies make it clear that they do, see http://universitypolicy.gmu.edu/4007res.html

          This policy would be standard to nearly all major US universities and Bradley, as a professor, would know that.

          Nick, I have never seen someone trying to sound so authoritative on so many topics without knowing what on earth they are talking about.

      • jim edwards
        Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

        Yes, but the circle of confidentiality likely applies to those within the George Mason community, only.

        Of course, since Bradley is at an institution with a similar gentleman’s code, he might be open to an ethical complaint at his own academic institution for the violation of confidentiality vis-a-vis George Mason.

        I understand your implicit point that, as an additional act of publicly holding Wegman’s feet to the fire, it would appear to make any potential criminal prosecution of Bradley easier to justify / sell to a jury.

        Steve: the UMass code is http://www.umass.edu/provost/admin/policies/misconduct.pdf

        • glacierman
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

          Steve was on that so fast, I suspect he was one step ahead of you Jim.

        • jim edwards
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

          I suppose there could be an actionable breach of the UMass code if GMU administrators ‘confidentially’ informed Bradley that they had begun an investigation, but Bradley was asked to keep that fact to himself until the investigation was completed.

          From your link:
          “B. Scholarly and Research Misconduct
          Scholarly and research misconduct is defined as misrepresentation of the procedures and outcomes of
          research to gain some advantage. Misconduct may often be hard to distinguish from error or poor judgment,
          from which it is marked off by the intentions of the person(s) involved.
          Although there is no definitive and exhaustive list of examples, those outlined below may serve as guides
          in identifying scholarly and research misconduct.

          3. Abuse of confidentiality. Includes the use or release of information given to one under the understanding of confidentiality. Examples include taking ideas from documents to which access was given, under rules of confidentiality, such as in the reviewing of grant proposals, award applications, manuscripts submitted for publication, scholarly prizes or journals.”

          As Wegman’s work undercuts Bradley’s, using confidential knowledge of an ethical investigation to make Wegman look bad could certainly allow Bradley to “gain some advantage.”

        • jak
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

          Jim,

          I think any complaint against Bradley would need to be under the UMASS general conduct policy (http://www.umass.edu/provost/admin/policies/conduct.html). As a UMASS professor, he would be expected to respect the reasonable confidentiality requirements of another institution and not doing so would be a significant breach of professional etiquette.

          This assumes that Bradley was the source of the original leak. If not, subsequent breaches of confidentiality are probably copacetic.

        • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 8:48 PM | Permalink

          “B. Scholarly and Research Misconduct
          Scholarly and research misconduct is defined as misrepresentation of the procedures and outcomes of
          research to gain some advantage. Misconduct may often be hard to distinguish from error or poor judgment,…”

          Anything that isn’t an accidental error can only be poor judgment.

        • Crispin in Waterloo
          Posted Oct 26, 2010 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

          Don’t attribute to poor judgement what might be caused by stupidity. Is it clear to me that Bradley thinks Congress works the way the academic universe does: redacting congressional testimony over copyright threats? Is AGW retreating from the journals to the courts?

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

      Re: jim edwards (Oct 21 11:57),

      I was also thinking Anti SLAPP, not so sure on that, but Bradley may have bitten off more than he can chew. There are other matters and issues as well.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

        Re: Steven Mosher (Oct 21 12:54),

        Oh I see that steve has talked about the confidentiality issue.

        GMU should file a complaint with UMASS

        More precisely, Wegman is supposed to get a confidential hearing. Bradley insured that this was impossible, perhaps because his extortion of Wegman failed. Were I representing Wegman I would demand that GMU file a complaint against Bradley at UMASS.

    • Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

      Re: jim edwards (Oct 21 11:57),

      One thing to note is that the standards for indictment / conviction under federal law are ridiculously low, compared to state law. Virtually everybody is guilty of some federal crime that can be activated, when desired. Rudy Giuliani and his buddies were reported to play a game when he was a federal prosecutor. They would pick public figures like Mother Theresa and list all the federal crimes they were guilty of. If that e-mail is real, Bradley is lucky there’s a true believer in the White House.

      If anyone here does not believe or accept this, I can testify under oath that this is true in the real world.

  11. B. Humphreys
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    Equitably, a withdrawal of Wegman et.al. from the congressional record should be accompanied by Nature’s withdrawal of MBH98 and clones. Wegman is, after all, a direct response requested by a congressional committee to the MBH publications. It becomes irrelevant and/or invalid only when the subject that it addresses ceases to be in the public domain. If there is really anything to the plagiarism charges they should indeed be investigated but, whether true or not, such charges do not invalidate Wegman’s reasoning or conclusions.

    I can just imagine the headlines if Wegman acceded to this blatant blackmail attempt. “Get Rid of Wegman” is almost as important to the AGW crowd as “Get Rid of the MWP”.

  12. John Hekman
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    Wegman could remove the background section that discusses Bradley’s work from the CR. Wegman’s conclusions would still stand, since mainly they relate to the statistical methods.

  13. Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    I wrote someone to ask if removing a report from the congressional record is something that can even be done and I’m waiting for a response. (Based on history, he’ll probably respond.)

    In the meantime, I did find this CRS report to congress (Order Code RL32207 Jan 2004)

    Words Taken Down (Take Down the Words). A Member may demand that the words of another Member be taken down. This typically takes place during debate when one Member believes another Member has violated the rules of decorum in the House. The request requires that the Member’s remarks be read to the House so that the Speaker may determine whether they are offensive or otherwise violate the rules of the House. If the Speaker determines that the words are out of order, the violator is customarily given a chance to withdraw or amend them, and the Member may ask the House for unanimous consent to strike the words from the Congressional Record. If there is objection, a motion may be offered to strike the words from the debate. Upon the demand, the alleged violator must immediately sit down and await the Speaker’s decision. A Member whose words have been ruled out of order may not speak again on the same day without the House’s permission, but the Member can vote. A Member would say: Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order, and ask that the gentleman’s (or gentlelady’s) words be taken down.

    Clearly, this procedure would not apply to a report submitted to Congress years ago.

    I’m now a bit puzzled about exact terminology. The report was submitted to the congressional committe– but is the report literally “in” the “congressional record”? I used the search tool here http://www.gpoaccess.gov/crecord/advanced.html I didn’t find the Wegman report. ( I found a tribute in honor of the death of Robert Wegman “Chairman of Wegmans Food Markets, Inc,” )

    The original link to the report was on a ‘.gov’ site– but that got shifted. Maybe reports are “in” something else? Or not even “in” anything?

  14. Tamara
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    I don’t even understand what Bradley thinks he is asking for. Wegman can’t withdraw anything from the Congressional Record. Members of Congress may edit or extend portions that pertain to them, to an extent. There has been an effort in recent years to ensure that the Record is as close to a verbatim account of Congressional proceedings as possible.
    I suppose Bradley could be asking that Wegman go before Congress and retract his statements/conclusions. But, what reason would Wegman give? Copying Bradley for background info doesn’t negate the conclusions. A couple of pointed questions from a sympathetic Congressman should reveal that.

  15. jak
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

    I don’t understand this. If Wegman did plagiarize Bradley, then my understanding is that GMU has an obligation to investigate. This obligation continues whether or not Bradley withdraws his complaint. Wegman agreeing to withdraw his report would be almost a prima facie admission of the charges. What am I missing?

  16. Steven Mosher
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    see nick. it does get worse.

    Now compare Brdleys Deal with with Anthony’s action.

    • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

      No, it just shows that Bradley can be as muddled as many of the posters here.

      GMU is bound to be concerned, and to investigate, if staff or students seem to be producing plagiarized material. Bradley’s complaint may have prompted action, but his withdrawing it would have no effect on the facts. It’s an issue between GMU and staff. Anyone could complain.

      Likewise, Wegman can’t get his report removed from the Congressional record. As Lucia suggests, it’s likely no-one can, but Wegman has no standing in the matter. It can’t just unexist. Hearings have been held, they can’t be unheld.

      So Bradley is mistaken. But after three posts and much noise, there’s still no evidence of anything wrong with his textbook.

      • Eric
        Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

        So Bradley is simply a mistaken, and aggrieved hard working scientist?

        I think he has, at very least, shown exceeding poor judgement in three instances:
        1. raising the complaint to GMU in light of Bradley’s own referencing standards
        2. dishing in an interview to USA Today in light of potential confidentiality requirements, not to mention common decency
        3. Sending that email above that somehow came into our hosts possession. This last shows not only poor judgment but a serious misunderstanding of his control over the situation (as you rightly point out)

        I wonder what is next. Somebody should talk some sense into Bradley before he makes any more poor decisions.

      • RomanM
        Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

        No, it just shows that Bradley can be as muddled as many of the posters here.

        No, Nick. it actually shows the motivation for Bradley’s actions.

        From your own performance here, I think that most of us would agree that you should be awarded an honorary Spinmeister Doctorate. You certainly have proven your self worthy. :)

        • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

          No, just countering spin. The notion that Bradley’s seeking a common remedy for what he regards as misuse of his text can be spun into extortion or worse has to be answered.

          It’s just a few days since we were praising Anthony W for his willingness to do a deal.

        • John M
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

          Well, Nick, it at least you’ve finally come around to accepting that Bradley’s complaint was actually about his own text book, and not some “greater good” attempt to protect Wikipedia.

          And it seems only yesterday that you were trying a CO2=plant growth but not treering width-like argument that Bradley complained about plagiarism but not against him.

          Wow, that last paragraph makes no sense at all, but I think I pretty much captured it.

        • RomanM
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

          Re: Nick Stokes (Oct 21 17:01),

          No, just countering spin. The notion that Bradley’s seeking a common remedy for what he regards as misuse of his text can be spun into extortion or worse has to be answered.

          Nick, you’re not making any sense! What “misuse” of his text? You would surely admit that if, in your estimation, he had made “proper” attribution to its source, there could be no objection to its inclusion on the document. Surely the “appropriate” remedy would be to include the references to credit Prof. Bradley as the origin(?) of the material. Given the email statement, a request for the withdrawal of the entire document in these circumstances is indicative of a deeper intent which reflects very poorly on Bradley.

          And you continue on

          It’s just a few days since we were praising Anthony W for his willingness to do a deal.

          Are these even comparable? Did Anthony bring charges against someone? Are the circumstances at all similar? Come on!!! It is sad that a bright guy like your self is reduced to such mindless BS in some sort of “defender of the faith role”.

        • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 6:08 PM | Permalink

          “Did Anthony bring charges against someone?”
          No. Neither did Bradley. he complained to the University about misuse of text.

          Anthony asked for a remedy, and one was found.

          So does Bradley. I presume it’s an ambit claim – he didn’t say it’s not negotiable. It’s just addressed to the wrong people.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:36 PM | Permalink

          Re: Nick Stokes (Oct 21 18:08), addressed to the wrong people? sounds to me like he wanted to entice them into a conspiracy and they wisely ignored his illegal request

        • Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

          Re: Nick Stokes (Oct 21 18:08),

          Nick, I appreciate your contributions here and elsewhere in the “skepticsphere”, but I think you should take a break on this one.

          Best wishes, Pete Tillman

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

        Re: Nick Stokes (Oct 21 13:14),

        Since Bradley and wegman essentially did the same thing, cited their source but failed to comply with strict rules about quoting and paraphrasing, then there is nothing wrong with what Wegman did.. in the bradley matter.

        Bradley, however, threatened Wegamn’s career unless Wegman withdrew his testimony.
        I dont think would would have defended Anthony if Anthony had gone after the careers of scientists at NCDC.

        So, practical question. Can wegman do was NCDC did? fix the mistakes and move on?

        Seems there is a precedent.

        Can Bradley move on? Dunno, that’s a question for criminal lawyers.

        • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

          “Bradley, however, threatened Wegamn’s career unless Wegman withdrew his testimony.”
          Wrong on at least two levels. Bradley did not threaten W’s career. He asked GMU to investigate. The facts are public. What actually happens is up to GMU, not Bradley.

          He did not ask W to withdraw his testimony. That was sworn testimony, and he in no way suggested that it should be altered. He seems to have asked that the Report be removed from the Record, presumably because it contained his text. It’s not clear what that means, but it doesn’t affect W’s testimony.

        • jim edwards
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

          Nick Stokes:

          You comment on many threads. Pick another one; get off this one until you’ve completed law school and passed the bar exam [as I have...]. Your statements are absurdly wrong.

          I can threaten you two ways:
          1. “Do what I want or I’ll loose these dogs on you.”

          -or-

          2. [After loosing dogs on you...] “Do what I want and I’ll call off the dogs.”

          Bradley appears to have chosen the latter method. [The fact that Bradley may have been mistaken about whether the dogs would respond to his command to stop chewing on Wegman's nether regions would not create a legal defense for Bradley.]

          There are two general forms verbal testimony can take:
          Oral -or- Written.

          Bradley appears to be attempting to get Bradley to withdraw his written testimony. [Again, the fact that Bradley may have been mistaken about whether Wegman could withdraw his testimony would not create a legal defense for Bradley.]

          You are just wrong, Nick.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

          Re: jim edwards (Oct 21 16:10),

          Don’t confuse Nick with the facts. You can be sure that if Anthony had brought an official complaint against NCDC and then sent a letter explaining that he would withdraw his complaint if NCDC withdrew their publication that people like DC, Lambert, ect would be screaming censorship or blackmail or extortion. And Nick would not descend on those threads to explain how anthony was merely “muddled”

        • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

          You mentioned Anthony. It’s only 11 days since we were being told:
          if Dr. Bradley really had an attribution issue, he could have avoiding the whole stink going on now by simply asking Dr. Wegman to modify the report in a way that satisfies whatever his complaint is.

          Seems that’s what he’s now being excoriated for doing.

        • John M
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

          Here we go again.

          Modify = withdraw?

        • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

          I think from the framing of it you could infer that he would not object to a revised version without his text.

        • John M
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

          Right, he just didn’t actually say that.

          Must have been an oversight.

        • AnyColourYouLike
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 6:05 PM | Permalink

          Nick Stokes:
          “I think from the framing of it you could infer that he would not object to a revised version without his text.”

          Good grief Nick, and you had the cheek recently to label some of Steve’s textual analysis of Bradley as “weak”!

          This isn’t just weak, it’s wriggling of the first order, and you obviously know that.

        • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 6:11 PM | Permalink

          He’s asked for a remedy, and nominated his suggestion. It’s a negotiating position.

          The objection headlined here is “doing a deal” which is exactly what AW recommended.

        • StuartR
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 6:36 PM | Permalink

          Re: Nick Stokes (Oct 21 17:51), “I think from the framing of it you could infer that he would not object to a revised version without his text.”

          I don’t see how anyone can say that unless I’ve mis-inferred what “it” is in your sentence.

        • pat
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 8:35 PM | Permalink

          Nick, I think you are being very silly. Clearly, Bradley is not interested in being properly cited. In fact, I think he is thanking his lucky stars so that he can cast doubt on the Wegmen’s conclusion, which he cannot challenge directly.

        • jim edwards
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:23 PM | Permalink

          Re: “Doing a Deal”

          Deal #1 – Watts:
          Anthony Watts noticed somebody making presentations that substantially affirmed his prior work, and outright stole one of his photos – but did not credit his contribution at all. If he chose, Anthony had a legal right to sue for breach of copyright.

          Anthony Watts directly contacted the party responsible for the objectionable powerpoint presentation within some weeks after Anthony became aware of it.

          Anthony’s photo was in no way the centerpiece of the powerpoint; it was merely illustrative of siting issues. He asked merely that the surfacestations project be given credit for the photo in the future.

          ‘Deal’ #2 – Bradley:
          Prof. Bradley noticed somebody wrote an increasingly influential paper that completely contradicted Bradley’s prior work, and made Bradley’s associates look like buffoons. Bradley was given credit for some text, but, perhaps, inadequately.

          Similar to Anthony Watt’s involuntary “contribution”, the portion of Wegman’s report attributable to Bradley was simple background information that was unrelated to the core of Wegman’s presentation.

          Unlike Anthony, however, it appears that Prof Bradley waited four years after he became aware of Wegman’s publication before he decided to do anything about it. In the interim, by law, Bradley lost all rights to claim a remedy – because he waited more than three years.

          After losing all rights to expect any sort of remedy, rather than contacting Wegman directly, it appears Bradley decided to contact Wegman’s employer to file a formal complaint. Even if found innocent, the complaint could cause significant stress, expense, lost time, loss of prestige or future academic opportunities.

          It appears that Bradley waited to get Wegman in this vulnerable position before springing his “negotiating position” on him. [The legal word is 'duress']

          Rather than asking for a citation on an insignificant portion of Wegman’s work [as Anthony did], Bradley appears to have told Wegman’s employer that he would back down if Wegman withdrew the entire paper. [...The one that made Bradley and his friends look bad, and that had since been relied upon by other academics who, also, found problems with the work of Bradley's buddies.]

          The two situations are hardly analogous.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:59 PM | Permalink

          Re: Nick Stokes (Oct 21 17:51),

          please learn the meaning of the term “fact pattern”

          see jim edwards writing for a good example of explaining the facts that are relevant to the law.

          Your best option at this point is to do the following.

          1. admit that it was misguided to even raise the bradley issue.
          2. argue that wegman should take the NCDC route and offer to ammend the report ( exactly what I suggested for AR4 chapter 6)

          move the conversation back to the science where we are right.

        • jim edwards
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 2:37 AM | Permalink

          Steve Mosher:

          Thanks for the moniker and compliment.

          Jim “Not a Criminal Lawyer” Edwards

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

          Then NCDC should withdraw its presentation and the associated papers? since modify=withdraw

        • John M
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

          “after” “withdraw” “exactly” “complaint” “plagiarism”

          eh…whatever. Who ever said words actually had to have meaning?

        • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

          Loosing dogs is illegal. Complaining about misuse of text is not.

          There’s no suggestion of withdrawing any kind of testimony. He’s complaining that a document containing text that he wrote has been put in the Record without his consent and he wants it withdrawn.

        • jak
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

          Nick,

          When will you learn. You clearly know little about law but try to sound authoritative. “The loosing the dogs” comment is obviously a metaphor, not meant to be taken literally. For something to qualify as blackmail or witness tampering there is no requirement the action underlying the threat be illegal (as opposed to extortion). In many cases of blackmail, the threat is simply to reveal true but embarrassing information. The revelation per se is not illegal, but the threat is. So your comments is rather irrelevant.

          (To be clear, I am not accusing Bradley of any crime. I am just once more correcting Nick which is becoming an amusing but full time job).

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

          heck nick could use wikipedia and see why I used the word blackmail as opposed to extortion. Go figure, I might have even talked to some lawyers about it. I the Anti SLAPP idea was not mine I confess)

        • Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

          So every lawyer who says “If you won’t settle we’ll go to court” is guilty of blackmail?

        • jak
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

          That is one of the most absurd straw-man argument I have yet seen.

        • Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

          Not at all. Bradley is saying “if you don’t withdraw the report, I’ll make my case to GMU”. Very similar. He’s mistaken, because the GMU investigation would proceed anyway. But it’s the same proposition.

        • jak
          Posted Oct 23, 2010 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

          Nick,

          It most certainly is not the same proposition. Threatening to sue if someone doesn’t settle has been addressed a number of times by US courts (and in many states is specifically addressed by statute) and has been found copacetic. It is a special case and is settled law.

          Your implied assertion that the action underlying a threat needs to be unlawful for blackmail / witness tampering is just confused. You conflated this with extortion.

          Again, I should clarify that I am not accusing Bradley of any crime but just pointing out your confusion.

        • jim edwards
          Posted Oct 24, 2010 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

          Details matter.

          Of course, a critical difference Nick is ignoring is that a party generally has a legal right to sue for redress of grievances – while Bradley had zero legal right to expect Wegman to withdraw the report [or receive any remedy in court...].

          The exception exists to encourage settlement of legitimate claims and prevent the courts from getting clogged with litigation. [Is it fair that lawyers developed an exception for themselves ? Maybe not - but that's the law we've got.]

          Parties are allowed to threaten legal action to encourage changed behavior – but only if the party has a good faith belief that he would be justified in filing suit.

          Since the statute of limitations period ended, Bradley lost his right to sue. The law does not favor those who sit on their rights. [translation - by waiting four years to speak up, Bradley no longer gets to threaten anything.]

          Nick also inverted the apparent order of Bradley’s actions. It appears that Bradley FIRST opted to “make his case to GMU”, and only later demanded that Wegman withdraw his report.

          Whoops !

        • Posted Oct 24, 2010 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

          Well, here’s Lord Monckton threatening to sue:

          “The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
          “We, St. Thomas University, Minnesota, and John Abraham of that University, retract, apologize to Lord Monckton for, and undertake never again to repeat all or any part of, the 83-minute talk with 115 slides entitled “But Chris Monckton Said …”, that we prepared without notification to him and then widely disseminated viathe University’s servers and other media.

          “We have agreed that, in token of our good faith, by 30 June 2010 without fail we shall have paid between us US$110,000 to the United States Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta for its charitable work in the reconstruction and relief of Haiti.”

          Sign this or else! That’s what I’d call a threat.

          Bradley saying he’ll seek adjudication from GMU seems to me to be in no way different to threatening to go to court.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 24, 2010 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

          Nick, there are very large legal differences between suing someone civilly and using threats of initiating or continuing disciplinary (or criminal) actions to accomplish an ulterior purpose. Virtually all of your attempts at legal commentary are completely off base.

        • jim edwards
          Posted Oct 25, 2010 at 12:00 AM | Permalink

          Nick said:
          “Bradley saying he’ll seek adjudication from GMU seems to me to be in no way different to threatening to go to court.”

          This reminds me of the “trick to hide the decline” e-mail. Nick’s half-argument is similar to focusing on the non-offensive word “trick”, and completely ignoring the question of why a scientist would need to “hide the decline”.

          “Seeking” to use GMU’s “adjudication” process is fine. Apparently attempting to use duress to get Wegman to eliminate his entire written Congressional testimony is the part Nick keeps leaving out.

          As we have stated to Nick many times in this thread – and he has repeatedly ignored – the American legal system sees a difference between his posited scenarios, where the coercive party initiates a third-party process with serious consequences and then offers to thwart the investigation, for a price.

          As I stated, above, whether it is fair that lawyers developed the law this way is a legitimate question for Nick to ask.

          Should Monkton be allowed to prospectively ask for settlement, to prevent a defamation suit ? It’s fair for Nick to ask. Those legal policies were decided long ago, however.

          One thing to consider is that, when you sue somebody – you have to pay your own attorney and court costs. That means it costs you money to convince an antagonist to settle. Everybody wins if you can convince the other party to settle early.

          When you rely on criminal prosecution, or an employer’s personnel process, with the intent to later thwart the prosecution for a price, you push the costs of your coercion onto the taxpaying public – or onto the employer’s consumers.

          That’s sociopathic behavior. Everybody else pays; only the coercive party benefits. The fact that such behavior is sociopathic is probably why it tends to be illegal.

          Why should the public-at-large subsidize Bradley’s attempt to force an action by Wegman – especially after Bradley slept for four years ?

          If Bradley wants to file a complaint with Wegman’s employer, he is perfectly within his rights to do so. He just shouldn’t later offer to thwart the investigation for a price that Wegman has no obligation to pay, and likely wouldn’t pay – absent duress.

        • Posted Oct 25, 2010 at 1:35 AM | Permalink

          “Virtually all of your attempts at legal commentary are completely off base.”
          Well, I guess the test of that will be whether some prosecutor is prepared to back your theories. Can’t see it myself.

          Steve: Oh puh-leeze. I haven’t presented anything in this post or comment that asks or suggests that a prosecutor “back my theories”. I’ve only made a few comments in this thread. That your commentary was totally off base in failing to understand the distinction of civil litigation is not a “theory”. It’s a fact whether or not you know it. However, I can’t imagine why a prosecutor would take an interest in whether I’ve correctly described your understanding of the situation or not.

        • Posted Oct 25, 2010 at 5:07 AM | Permalink

          Steve, this is a switch where there’s lots of heavy breathing about illegality, eg jim e:
          “Bradley appears to have unsuccessfully attempted to use duress to leverage Wegman into changing his written testimony to a Congressional committee.
          If this is illegal, it would be an inchoate [unfinished] crime.”

          But if I suggest that someone undertaking prosecution might be the test of illegality – “whoever suggested that”?

          There are two possibilities – either jim edwards (to whom my response was part addressed – the horizontal state of the thread forces some conflation), jak and co are implying that it is illegal, in which case all the talk about settled law etc would be relevant to a prosecution, or…

          they aren’t, but merely saying that it’s bad form for Bradley to attempt to negotiate a settlement. In this case all the talk of legal exemptions etc is irrelevant, and my analogy holds. Bradley is doing no more than what is very common in all kinds of hearings – namely, proposing agreed settlement in advance (or instead) of adjudication.

          Steve: Nick, one more time, you’re talking about things that you don’t understand and where your “analogies” don’t hold. For two reasons – this is not a civil suit; and JIm Edwards’ point that the remedy that Bradley is seeking is alteration of testimony made under oath. Legal precedents have been established over the years on many fine points and distinctions. Your “analogies” may seem insightful to you, but, since you have so little knowledge of the legal principles, it comes across as juvenile. The distinctions between civil litigation and threats of disciplinary action are not “theories” – that would be tested by whether or not a prosecutor undertakes the case. At any given time, prosecutors have a choice of things to do and prosecuting Bradley may not be one of their choices. But that doesn’t affect whether or not Bradley’s actions were or were not in breach of US state or federal law. Here’s a suggestion to you: legal arguments use laws, cases and precedents. If you are interested in the topic, please examine actual laws and precedents and refer to them, rather than your own unresponsive “analogies”.

        • Posted Oct 25, 2010 at 7:21 AM | Permalink

          Duress entails an unlawful threat. Is that proved?

          Steve: Jim Edwards provided the following:

          It appears that Bradley waited to get Wegman in this vulnerable position before springing his “negotiating position” on him. [The legal word is 'duress']

          If you look at the academic literature on “blackmail”, you’ll find that it leads to interesting conceptual questions. Blackmail can arise through the combination of two acts each of which is legal in itself. To constitute “blackmail”, the duress need not be illegal. If the duress is itself illegal, the offence is naturally more serious.

        • Posted Oct 25, 2010 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

          Steve,

          Are you saying that Bradley is blackmailing Wegman, or only bringing interesting conceptual questions for argument’s sake?

          Steve: Please do not put words into my mouth. In this particular comment, I responded to the observation about whether duress required illegality. If you read the academic literature on blackmail – see google scholar – you see for example here what legal scholars regard as an interesting question – “why can’t you threaten to do what you have a legal right to do?” It’s an interesting question in an academic sense and the sort of thing that people like Nick Stokes need to understand before making “analogies”.

          I am not familiar enough with applicable US state and federal law to venture an opinion on Bradley’s conduct relative to those laws and obviously will not provide such an opinion without such familiarity. Jim Edwards is a US lawyer and has provided some opinions on the matter and, if this is a topic that concerns you, I’d suggest that you ask him for his opinion.

        • jim edwards
          Posted Oct 25, 2010 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

          Willard:

          None of us knows all the facts. None of us can conclusively say Bradley is either guilty or innocent of anything.

          All I can say as a lawyer is, assuming we have a true statement of Bradley, it looks really, really bad.

        • Posted Oct 25, 2010 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

          Jim Edwards,

          Thank you for your clarification. But why talk “coercion” and “sociopathic behavior”, if you only can say for now, as a lawyer, that Bradley’s statement merely “looks really, really bad”?

          ***

          Steve,

          Thank you for your link and for the clarification. I asked a question to be sure I am not putting words into your mouth. Now, we see that the relevance of your reply only pertains to the theorical relationship between blackmail, duress, and criminality. So when one talks about “putting someone under duress”, it does not necessarily entails any unlawful act.

          Steve: Not “necessarily”. But that doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want. Facts matter. As to your statement against Jim, Jim can answer for himself, but lawyers often use the phrase “looking bad” in terms of the facts and the law, rather than as a term of etiquette, and that was my reading of his expression. Without a full evidentiary record, I doubt that he will provide a stronger opinion nor is it reasonable for you to expect one.

        • jim edwards
          Posted Oct 25, 2010 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

          willard:

          If you look at my comments, I never said that Bradley violated the law, or that he definitely attempted to coerce Wegman. I have a lot of comments here, and I’ve consistently said it LOOKS like a form of coercion ["apparently", "may be evidence", etc.]. Looking like a crime may have been committed is not the same as a crime occurring.

          Nick, on the other hand, has undergone uninformed, mental gymnastics to argue that Bradley has done nothing wrong. That is something he can’t know and Nick is simply 100% wrong in his ignorant assertions. Good people often do bad things or fall afoul of the law – Nick appears to have trouble with this fact.

          The letter, in my opinion, is sufficient cause to investigate further – if one were so inclined. [i.e. - "it looks really, really bad."]

          Nick has trouble accepting there is a difference between threatening a good-faith lawsuit, and threatening to instigate a criminal prosecution or third-party investigation affecting one’s freedom or livelihood. My description of the use of complained, then withdrawn, criminal prosecution to get another to act is correctly described as “coercion” and “sociopathic”.

          I never said that Bradley had acted this way. I don’t know all of the facts. What I explained, in response to Nick’s assertions, was that there is a difference between threatening a lawsuit and threatening a third-party prosecution.

          That difference would likely be compounded if a person was trying to use a third-party process to manipulate Congressional testimony that is inconvenient to the person’s academic publishing record and political beliefs.

        • Posted Oct 25, 2010 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

          Jim Edwards,

          > I never said that Bradley violated the law.

          I never said you said such thing. What I said is that you talked (about) “coercion” and “sociopathic behavior”, which you admit by saying that this would be correctly describing an hypothetical case where:

          > you rely on criminal prosecution, or an employer’s personnel process, with the intent to later thwart the prosecution for a price, you push the costs of your coercion onto the taxpaying public – or onto the employer’s consumers.

          Nor did I say that you said that Bradley had acted that way. We all are aware that you presented this case for illustration sake, to explain the immorality of duress and blackmail, right?

          Steve: as I read JIm’s comments, he wasn’t pontificating about “immorality” as you call it, but discussing legal principles that would be considered if certain fact situations applied. Again, it is unhelpful to put words into other people’s mouths.

        • jim edwards
          Posted Oct 25, 2010 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

          willard:

          I was not attempting to imply you had made any charges; I was attempting to be thorough in preventing confusion.

          I made that particular post to put down a nonsense argument.

        • Posted Oct 25, 2010 at 9:54 PM | Permalink

          Jim,
          There’s no issue of “catching” Bradley. And the facts are in the open. If he doesn’t get prosecuted, then it will be because no prosecutor (eg Cucci) thinks he could establish a breach of the law. And if it’s Cucci, that’s a strong test.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 26, 2010 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

          Nick, I must say that I’m startled by your suggestion that Cuccinnelli examine Bradley’s conduct to determine whether there is evidence of the various elements necessary to constitute an offence as this would be a “strong test” of whether Bradley broke the law. Obviously, I’ve previously spoken out against Cuccinnelli.

          I had thought that most academics and “warmists” (I term I dislike) would oppose any attempt by Cuccinnelli to investigate Bradley’s conduct. In addition, at this point, I have no reason to believe that Cuccinelli is even faintly aware of Bradley’s alleged “offer” to George Mason or that Cuccinnelli has any plans to investigate Bradley’s conduct. If, as you observe, an investigation by Cuccinnelli would be a ‘strong test” of Bradley’s conduct, I may have to reconsider my previous objections to Cuccinnelli’s involvement in these matters. An interesting point that you raise. And from an unexpected quarter.

        • jak
          Posted Oct 26, 2010 at 12:18 AM | Permalink

          Nick,

          You are overreaching again. The facts are by no means in the open. All we have is snippets from a handful of emails. To my knowledge, we don’t even have the original complaint by Bradley. We don’t have nearly enough facts to reach any conclusions.

          You comment about Cuccinelli is also obtuse. Have you ever heard of prosecutorial discretion? There are many reasons why not all alleged crimes are prosecuted. It is hardly even clear if Cuccinelli has jurisdiction. If the issue relates to federal testimony then it would be more likely be under the ambit of the US Attorney’s office.

          One more you try to speak authoritatively without having a clue what you are talking about.

        • jim edwards
          Posted Oct 26, 2010 at 1:02 AM | Permalink

          Nick:

          The “facts” aren’t in the open, yet. There’s just one letter with what looks like a damaging admission. It’s enough to warrant an investigation, but not enough to convict, by itself.

          I’d be surprised if Cuccinelli got involved, even if he wanted to nail Bradley. He’s the Attorney General. The AG often goes after people alleged to have defrauded the state [i.e. - the Mann investigation], corruption cases, and represents the state in suits against other governments [i.e. - fighting Obamacare]. It is rarer for AGs to go after garden-variety crime.

          Assuming a criminal prosecution for blackmail / witness tampering is in order, it should be handled by the local District Attorney, or the US Attorney.

          Only a tiny fraction of crimes ever lead to trials. If the case isn’t prosecuted, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything about the strength of the case. There are many reasons cases don’t make it to trial before a jury.

          DAs are elected, US Attorneys are political appointees. Either might pass on prosecution if they thought it politically detrimental to proceed.

          Some DAs in California are opting not to charge certain crimes, because of current budget problems.

          Some crimes, like elder abuse, are regularly underenforced because there’s nobody in the DAs office who understands the nature of the crimes.

          DAs are used to overcharging crimes and offering plea bargains. A DA may realize this case, if pursued, will not settle – because of the vested interests involved. The DA may decide to spend resources working on a larger number of robberies / assaults, instead.

        • Posted Oct 26, 2010 at 6:23 AM | Permalink

          Here is where Jim Edwards talks about legal principles behind his hypothetical case, which is certainly not to be conflated with Bradley’s case:

          > That’s sociopathic behavior. Everybody else pays; only the coercive party benefits. The fact that such behavior is sociopathic is probably why it tends to be illegal.

          In a series of papers arguing for the criminality of blackmail, James Lindgren (the author linked by Steve above) tries to solve what is called the “blackmail paradox” by explaining (and hopefully not pontificating) why, according to him,

          > Immorality matters.

          Source: http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/lla20&div=11&g_sent=1&coll
          ection=journals#63

          Lindgren talks not about sociopathy, but immorality; his word, not mine. If we’re to believe that one can’t do whatever one wants and that law principles are not to be handwaved to the DSM, my question to Edwards about immorality begs to be asked, without having to put words into anyone’s mouth.

          ***

          Wikipedia’s page for _Duress_ refers to the sixth edition of **Black’s Law Dictionary**’ definition:

          > [A]ny unlawful threat or coercion used [...] to induce another to act [or not act] in a manner [they] otherwise would not [or would].

          It also refers to the eight edition’s:

          > [A] threat of harm made to compel a person to do something against his or her will or judgment; esp., a wrongful threat made by one person to compel a manifestation of seeming assent by another person to a transaction without real volition.

          Notwithstanding philosophy of law, saying that it LOOKS like A’s putting B under duress conveys something to a non-lawyer audience, perhaps even more now we learn that blackmail is a form of duress. Something just LOOKS very, very bad, unlawful or not.

        • Posted Oct 26, 2010 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

          I guess mentioning Cucci is a sort of Godwin thing. To clarify, I’m saying that if a prosecutor in the Cucci environment can’t dream up some cause of action, then it’s not fertile ground. The test is inaction.

          And yes, I know DA’s are Federal etc. I’m just pre-emptively countering the response that the Va legal system is full of folks who’d protect Bradley, so it’s not a test.

        • jak
          Posted Oct 26, 2010 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

          Nick,

          No. DA’s are not federal. You clearly have no understanding of the US legal system and have few reservations about revealing that fact to the world.

        • Posted Oct 26, 2010 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

          Jak,
          Yes, I meant USA’s. However, what I do know, and is not much understood here, is that there are no court proceedings currently in progress, and none likely, that Bradley will be involved in. So all the legal hair-splitting is just talk.

          Steve: of course it’s “just talk”. As is your suggestion that Cuccinnelli’s involvement would test whether or not the elements of an offence existed.

        • jim edwards
          Posted Oct 26, 2010 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

          Willard:

          I can’t make out if you are agreeing with me or criticizing me. Lindgren and I are making similar arguments.

          Sociopathy and immorality are related concepts. Prostitution and illegal drugs are immoral because the majority of society disapproves. Immoral activities are often deemed illegal. [Legal drugs, like caffeine and alcohol, are not just accepted, they're great stock picks !]

          A sociopath is defined as one “whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.” [i.e. - they don't care what the majority expects and do immoral things.]

          Using the most current definition of duress [8th ed.], doesn’t it fit the Bradley-Wegman facts pretty well ?

          The letter states that Bradley attempted to link a stressful, and potentially career-changing, investigation by Wegman’s employer with a demand that Wegman suffer public humiliation and professional injury by asking to retract his entire written testimony to Congress.

          If you feel I’ve misled anybody, I suggest you read the posts I was responding to for context. While one letter by Bradley would never be enough to conclusively establish guilt [without additional oral testimony, for example], I already told you, above, that this letter is bad enough to warrant an investigation. That’s saying a lot.

          “The letter, in my opinion, is sufficient cause to investigate further – if one were so inclined. [i.e. - "it looks really, really bad."]”

          I’ve used enough blog space. Everything’s been said.

        • Posted Oct 27, 2010 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

          Jim Edwards,

          Morality seems a better way to talk about principles of law than sociopathy. It helps to justify legal exceptions like the one fairly raised by Nick Stokes, and for which all we know right now is that it’s the law we got. It helps to explain the relationship between the cost of an action and its morality. It helps explain why an action is moral in one legal context and immoral in another.

          If we’re to abide to Black’s definition, there seems to need wrongfulness in the threat of harm. It would be interesting to clarify the concept of “threat of harm”, to make sure we understand what is the wrongful threat of harm in our case. Since we’re only talking and everything has already been said, I will simply conclude by saying that Nick Stokes’ comments are not to be blamed if you’re misleading anybody.

        • jim edwards
          Posted Oct 27, 2010 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

          willard:

          Is English your second language ?

          I can only make out the meaning of the first of four sentences in your first paragraph.

          You said:
          “Morality seems a better way to talk about principles of law than sociopathy.”

          That’s fine that you have that opinion. Many legal scholars would agree with you; many more would agree with me.

          Morality is a moving line that is determined either by religious orthodoxy, or by the changing mores of the majority of society. Personally, as a freedom-loving individual, I disagree with the notion that immorality should serve as a basis for incarceration – just because the majority of the population object to how one chooses to live their life. Anti-sodomy laws used to incarcerate homosexuals were justified because of the “immorality” of the behavior.

          Sociopathy, on the other hand, expresses a willingness to not only ignore the wishes of the majority by acting without regard to morality – but to act in such a way as to potentially cause harm to occur to innocent third-parties. There is a much stronger case for using the power of the state to limit a party’s freedom, when that party exhibits “sociopathic behavior”.

          Running through a red light, for example, is more accurately described as “sociopathic behavior” than as an “immoral” act. People who engage in “immoral” acts may risk injuring themselves [overdose, HIV, ...]; people who choose “sociopathic behavior” risk injury to others [vehicular manslaughter, defrauded pensioners, ...]. It is plain to me which type of behavior rises to the level of criminality.

          Note that, as I said to you, before, “Good people can do bad things.” A person can habitually practice some level of “sociopathic behavior”, without being a full-blown sociopath.

          I can’t understand what “It” is in your next three sentences. Is it “Morality”, the subject of your first sentence ? Are you really trying to state that:
          “[Morality] would also help explain why an action is moral in one legal context and immoral in another.”

          I haven’t mislead anybody, and I am deeply offended by your implication. I have consistently stated that, if genuine, the letter “may be” evidence of a crime. I have gone so far as to state that I believe that it would provide sufficient cause to investigate the circumstances. That’s pretty strong language, and quite direct.

          In a debate regarding principles of the law [as applied to set of facts] between a licensed practitioner of the law [me], and a ideologue [Nick] who posts strident comments, in which he refuses to concede even the smallest and most obvious points [and who has demonstrated an utter ignorance of American legal principles], I made precise and accurate corrections in response to his misleading assertions.

          If, as many at RealClimate are prone to do, you made an assumption about whether I was one of the ‘good guys’, and then chose to assume what I meant to say – rather than reading what I actually wrote – that’s not my problem.

          If English is not your first language, I can appreciate why you might fail to capture the subtle nuances of a fluent communicator. Don’t defer to your impediment and cast aspersions on me, however.

        • Posted Oct 28, 2010 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

          Jim Edwards,

          1. I did not say that I believe that morality should be a law principle, only that it’s a better concept than sociopathy for your justification task. I thought you welcomed the concept of immorality when you said:

          > Sociopathy and immorality are related concepts.

          and then proceeded to **define** the former by using the latter. It would be interesting to know which scholars believe that sociopathy is a proper candidate for a law principle. It would be even more interesting to find one scholar that defines and rejects concepts the way you just colorfully did.

          Nevermind, my point was that the DSM might not solve some theorical problems mentioned in this thread, like an exception to a law principle (i.e. Nick’s fair question), your argument about cost (“you have to pay for your attorney”), and the context shifts (e.g. why is something ok in a civil lawsuit but not elsewhere?). This kind of problem matters inasmuch as one tries to justify legal judgements by principles of law, which is something you are trying to do by defining a concept by another one you are rejecting.

          2. I did not say that you were misleading anyone, but that IF you are misleading, it has nothing to do with Nick Stokes. Here is your own counterfactual:

          > If you feel I’ve misled anybody, I suggest you read the posts I was responding to for context.

          Choosing between you and Nick Stokes and judging if you’re misleading or not both fail to be relevant here. Perhaps are you asking me to acknowledge your work in this thread. So here it is: I am truly grateful for all the subtle nuances you provided. I am also grateful to Nick Stokes for taking the uncomfortable and underestimated role of the whipping boy. He too helped subtle nuances to be brought to light.

          That said, what matters most now is to clarify the expression “wrongful threat to harm” in Black’s definition of duress. I mentioned that in my previous reply, in the only sentence you did not comment.

        • kuhnkat
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

          Yes.

        • Posted Oct 25, 2010 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

          Steve,
          It’s a pity we’ve lost the reply facility, but you said:
          “legal arguments use laws, cases and precedents”
          But legal arguments arise in legal cases, and for a case to exist, you’d need a prosecutor.

          This argument of illegality has a Heisenberg quality – it’s there, but whenever you try to observe it, it’s somewhere else. But I’ll take jim edwards statement:
          “Nick, on the other hand, has undergone uninformed, mental gymnastics to argue that Bradley has done nothing wrong. That is something he can’t know and Nick is simply 100% wrong in his ignorant assertions. Good people often do bad things or fall afoul of the law – Nick appears to have trouble with this fact.”

          I’m actually not arguing about the law (not that I believe jim e on that). I’m saying:
          1. In the lay view, what Bradley has done is just a very common practice of proposing a settlement and is in no way wrong. Lawyers threatening to sue is just one example.
          2. As far as possible criminality goes, while I privately think it is a nonsense, I simply assert that prosecution is the test.

          And I note that the Wegman Report was not testimony made under oath. Who swore it? Wiki?

          Steve: one more time, there’s a legal difference between threatening to sue and threatening to initiate a disciplinary action to achieve a collateral objective. This is an important legal difference and your “lay” view on this topic is of no relevance or interest. Regardless of your opinion and regardless of what you think, one is legal, one isn’t.
          Please stop saying the same incorrect thing over and over.

        • StuartR
          Posted Oct 25, 2010 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

          Re: Nick Stokes (Oct 25 14:59), Having seen “it” – the email fragment above. I would be sure after reading it, I see someone who wants “Wegman [to make] a request to have his report withdrawn from the Congressional Record.” I would never think anything less would be acceptable to that someone, because nothing less than that is offered or can be known as desirable to them. You are limited by the lowest limit of the demand shown in the fragment.

        • jim edwards
          Posted Oct 25, 2010 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

          Nick said:
          “As far as possible criminality goes, while I privately think it is a nonsense, I simply assert that prosecution is the test.”

          1.) So if I intentionally kill a sleeping child in a premeditated fashion, and don’t get caught, or am not prosecuted for some other reason, does that mean I didn’t commit a crime ?

          [This is a rhetorical question. I already know what my answer is.]

          2.) As I recall, Wegman gave oral testimony in which he certified the written report – preparing it to be entered into evidence as supplemental testimony.

          3.) I know a lot of laymen. I don’t believe I know any who would subscribe to the view that filing a complaint with one’s boss, and then telling one’s boss that it would be OK for the complaint to go away if the employee withdrew prior sworn testimony that made the complainant look bad was a “very common practice of proposing a settlement and is in no way wrong.”

        • stan
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

          Why should Bradley have the ability to have his text “withdrawn”? That’s nuts. At most, he can ask that the report have a footnote appended which explains that his text was the source of the material in question.

          His “complaint” is incredibly small potatoes. All he has is “Someone quoted me in a report. My text is accurate. I should have been cited properly. I want a remedy.” OK, no big deal. The author didn’t try to appropriate the work as his own. The obvious remedy is simply proper citation. That’s all — proper citation.

          But he’s not really interested in merely setting the record straight. He has ulterior motives. So he goes after Wegman professionally. He asks for a remedy which makes no sense. Why should an honest scientist want his material to disappear? Is he not proud of it? A normal remedy is to get his name properly cited. He offers to negotiate a completely different kind of deal which is only about political jockeying.

          Bad motives. period.

        • Punksta
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 12:44 AM | Permalink

          Nick

          [Bradley] seems to have asked that the Report be removed from the Record, presumably because it contained his text.

          Ah come on Nick. The Report shows what a crock the Hockey Stick stats are. Lacking anything resembling a real answer, Bradley just wants some other way to junk the Report.

        • windansea
          Posted Oct 24, 2010 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

          Nick Stokes:

          He seems to have asked that the Report be removed from the Record, presumably because it contained his text.

          can’t blame him for that :)

      • John Whitman
        Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

        Nick – It would show some forethought by Bradley as a minimum. Forethought of what would be conjecture . . . . but interesting conjecture.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

          Re: John Whitman (Oct 21 14:49),

          What it demonstrates is his GOAL. not the protection of his copyright, not rumuneration for lost sales, not correction of the record to reflect the proper provenance, not the truth of C02 fertilization. His Goal was to take down Wegman. Not because he was wrong in his analysis, but because Bradley wants to send a message. If you side with Skeptics, there will be a price to pay.

        • ianl8888
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

          Mosher – it’s actually more pointed than that

          PUBLICALLY side with the sceptics and there will be a price to pay

          The strongest card the AGW-advocacy groups have is the successful propagandising of the various Western populaces over the last 20 years or so. Countless opinion polls confirm this

          So the strongest reaction induced from them is when this seems threatened. It’s utterly shameful that the deepest of silences from advocacy climate scientists occurs when the MSM deliberately exaggerates another “it’s worse than we thought” scare

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

          Re: ianl8888 (Oct 21 17:36),

          What they failed to realize is that the skeptics use the persecution meme.
          playing into that meme by actually doing something this public in USA today does not play well. They are beyond help.

        • dougie
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

          i often wonder if this is part or a lot of the power for silence/no comment/no condemnation within academia on the teams antics, which they play on & try to reinforce at every turn.

          i.e.. they will be coming after you next, so get behind us whatever you really think, were honest just like you, honest (and all these nasty people are deniers/meddlers/cranks with axes to grind) so stick with us & we’ll stick with you when they go after you.

        • John Whitman
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

          Steve Mosher – I agree with you, but I am just trying to be a little bit of a poker player : ) I would keep my next hole card face down, if I was a certain climate auditer until the other player (Bradley?) shows on of his next hole cards first. Take care.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:35 PM | Permalink

          Re: John Whitman (Oct 21 19:21),

          well, On the breaching of university investigations
          eveyone seems to have forgotten that Wang also contemplated action against Keenan for breeching his confidentiality.

          Do people read the mails.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 11:46 PM | Permalink

        Re: Nick Stokes (Oct 21 13:14),

        I think you misunderstand what I mean by worse. column inches.

        if you are going to pick a fight over plagiarism you first war game the possible responses. Looking at the MERE POSSIBILITY of a backfire against Bradley every bone in my PR body says the weggman scalp is not worth the risk. But DC and Mashey cant think that way. one step. they thought e4 won the game. They have no second move. They did not even think about looking at comebacks. A comeback that was apparent to a few of us the second they put the stuff out there. And then to foreground the Mashey mess. and then to leave you on point defending. Sheesh.

        • ianl8888
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 12:26 AM | Permalink

          e5 is generally a reasonable reply :)

          Maybe c5, do you think ?

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

          c5 ALWAYS. najdorf, if I can get it

          in life as in chess.

          the focus on bradley just begs for an attacking defense, because there are targets immediately present.

          if they focused on SNA (d4) what are you going to do? play the dutch defense?

        • jak
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

          If you want an attacking response, why najdorf? Go all the way to the dragon. It bites back.

        • Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

          Yugoslav. Wins every time.

        • jak
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

          Ah, a challenge. Admittedly, it is much easier to be on the white side of the Yugoslav. Some famous player (I don’t recall who) once described the attack as “open the h file, sac , sac, mate.” But it doesn’t win every time. As Anand famously learned to his cost back in the 1995 championship.

          Underestimating the dragon is ill-advised. It can have sharp teeth.

        • Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

          Bobby Fischer – 60 Games. But yes, I gather it’s made a comeback.

        • timheyes
          Posted Oct 23, 2010 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

          OK enough with the Mornington Crescent!!!

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mornington_Crescent_(game)

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

          Re: jak (Oct 22 14:24),

          I played the Najdorf mostly to stay away better known lines. In particular I played the Polugayesky when possible.

        • Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 2:00 AM | Permalink

          I think you mean pixels. But they are cheap. It’s noise machine stuff.

          What are you going to take to UMass? What’s your very best point? Specifically?

          And do you really think the FBI is going to take this -gate up?

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 2:25 PM | Permalink

          Well, what starts as pixels can end up in briefs. Not for me to decide.

          What am I going to take to UMASS? nothing.

          What can others take there? they’ve been provided with the foundational research. Up to them to decide what move to make and I would not put the pieces en prise

          FBI? does it matter what I think. Look, as you explained, it doesnt matter what you think plagiarism is or isnt. That’s why you dont have define your terms. You can just accuse bradley and then when you are asked to define your terms you can say “GMU decides” so, Bradley may well be a felon. not up to me to define terms, say what matters or not.

          In any case, prolly best to smile shake hands and talk about the weather. peace out.

        • Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

          You can just accuse bradley and then when you are asked to define your terms you can say “GMU decides”
          No, you can’t. GMU won’t decide anything about Bradley – their responsibility is Wegman. If you want to make up stuff about Bradley, you’re on your own.

        • AnyColourYouLike
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

          Are you a professional blogger for a living Nick? Incredible the amount of time you spend running all over these skeptic blogs trying to cap little outbreaks of reasonable discussion, like some nuance-obsessed Red Adair.

          Certainly more agile of mind than poor old bumbling Bob Ward, and less of a robotic information-control freak than Wile E Connelley – nevertheless, you’re stretching yourself pretty thin trying to nail every reasonable inference of impropriety by Bradley here.

          Maybe time just to stand up and say “My Name is Nick and I’m addicted to contorting common sense?”

          And they call skeptics the “deniars”…

        • Posted Oct 23, 2010 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

          Re: AnyColourYouLike (Oct 22 16:19),

          hahahaha.

          I’m missing Bender, Mosh does a good job but with Bender it’s a fast high-quality game of squash. Bender?

          Perhaps he’s seen the light.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Oct 23, 2010 at 12:22 AM | Permalink

          Re: Nick Stokes (Oct 22 15:14), sorry meant wegman.

          The only thing GMU has to decide is whether to file a complaint with UMASS.

        • Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

          Re: Steven Mosher (Oct 22 14:25),

          I don’t know about the FBI, but given the fact that in a few months, Republicans will likely be in control of Congress, it might be quite likely the Rep. Barton may want to have a little friendly talk to Bradley about his attempt to coerce Wegman’s report to his hearing, perhaps in front of cameras.

        • mpaul
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

          Witness tampering is a very pernicious crime and is taken very seriously by law enforcement.

  17. Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    jak–
    Maybe Bradley would try to pursue this through some professional statistics body? Maybe The American Statistical Society? Of course, they may not have a committe to do this sort of thing. Their ethic committee page says “The Committee does not have the authority to act on, rule on, or arbitrate ethical matters. ”

    I think you are correct that if there is evidence plagiarism occurred, GMU would be obligated to continue their investigation even if Bradley was satisfied with Wegman getting his report “withdrawn from the Congressional Record.” whatever withdrawing it might mean.

  18. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:53 PM | Permalink

    Perhaps it is not a withdrawal from the Congressional record that Bradley is looking for. Let’s read his words:

    I have told the University that I am prepared to drop this matter if Wegman makes a request to have his report withdrawn from the Congressional Record.

    Bradley wants Wegman to make a request.

    Not to necessarily have the report withdrawn.

    I think this “request” would give the AGW-huckster crowd the little scrap of ammunition they need to discredit Wegman on every blog from here to Kalgoorlie.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

      For now, can we simply stipulate that Bradley is asking that Wegman do something of value to Bradley.

      • nanny_govt_sucks
        Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

        Are you saying that I am assuming too much? That we should only assume (at this point anyway) that Bradley is acting for Bradley alone? Then the request to withdraw doesn’t make much sense. How does that benefit Bradley?

        • oneuniverse
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

          How does that benefit Bradley?

          For a start, he’s a co-author of MBH98/99, papers critically examined by the Wegman report, which upheld the MM05s’ criticisms.

        • nanny_govt_sucks
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 12:08 AM | Permalink

          I just don’t see that whether the Wegman report is included in the Congressional record or not matters at all to science. I think it is a Public Relations victory that Bradley is looking for, and the benefits of that are only partly related to Bradley’s studies.

  19. jim edwards
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    The Wegman Report may not have been in the actual Congressional Record. I recall it was listed on a website of the Republican side of a Congressional Subcommittee. So Bradley may have made a mistake, here.

    From a legal point of view, whether the Report was in the Congressional Record or not is irrelevant. Bradley appears to have unsuccessfully attempted to use duress to leverage Wegman into changing his written testimony to a Congressional committee.

    If this is illegal, it would be an inchoate [unfinished] crime.

    Mistake of fact IS a defense to many completed crimes; mistake of fact IS NOT a defense to inchoate crimes.

    In crimes of attempt, the evil, intended result hasn’t occured. For inchoate crimes, the law is not punishing one for evil results, but for the evil mind [combined with some affirmative steps to accomplish the deed - such as contacting one's employer to leverage an action].

    So the fact that Bradley may have mistaken where the Report was recorded or what is within Wegman’s power to do would not make Bradley’s attempt legal.

    • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

      jim edwards–
      Someone committing an honest to goodness crime by trying to coerce someone into doing something that coudn’t be done would be truly ironic!

      I wonder if anyone would pursue such a crime? (I guess I shouldn’t ask. If anyone can see this as a crime, and the jurisdiction is VA, Cuccinnelli may end up on this like a tick on a hound dog.)

  20. Don B
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

    Has GMU been informed of Bradley’s offer of a deal?

    • Don B
      Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

      Ooops. I just reread Bradley’s email.

      • AnyColourYouLike
        Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 2:55 PM | Permalink

        It would be very interesting to know what their response to this wonderful “offer” was!

        • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

          The email tells you.

        • AnyColourYouLike
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 3:40 PM | Permalink

          Sorry Nick, I wasn’t clear. I didn’t mean GMU’s specific non-response to Bradley, I was talking about their internal response to receiving such an apparently loaded offer from an academic complainant.

          One would have thought (to use your words regarding plagiarism) that “GMU is bound to be concerned, and to investigate”, an offer apparently loaded with possible legal and/or ethical implications.

        • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

          Well, there’s nothing to investigate – it’s just there. And there’s no adjudication they can make on it. They can only say no, or just ignore it, as they seem to have done.

          As I’ve said, once Bradley has drawn their attention to the facts, he has no further role. GMU doesn’t need to negotiate with him.

        • AnyColourYouLike
          Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

          Nick

          Well, they could surely take a view that it was a strange idea at the very least?.. or an unethical attempt to circumvent the due process begun by Bradley himself. The fact that the inquiry must go ahead once it has begun is neither here nor there with respect to Bradley’s motivation. He was clearly willing to terminate the process, had it been within his power to do so.

          In such a case, one would have thought that at least a request for clarification from Bradley should be warranted. More likely would seem to be Steve Mosher’s idea that GMU should write to UMass and officially complain. The idea that it is ok for GMU simply to ignore this seems absurd.

        • Stilgar
          Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 11:02 PM | Permalink

          Nick –
          Or they could send it to UMass along with a possible note regarding the “Abuse of confidentiality”.

  21. Steve Koch
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    Bradley’s desire all along has been to discredit Wegman and his report before the House investigates ClimateGate/etc next year (assuming the Republicans win the House in a couple of weeks).

    While the plagiarism charges have nothing to do with the veracity of Wegman’s report, it will give Democratic congressman/media something to talk about that will superficially reduce the credibility of the Wegman report and also gives them the opportunity to avoid talking about the specifics of the Wegman report.

    The Republicans investigating ClimateGate/etc will use the Wegman report as a point of departure to speed up the process. They are only guaranteed two years to do their investigations and there is a lot of ground to cover.

    The plagiarism charges only occurred once it became clear that it is very probable that the Republicans will win the House in the November elections (and that the Republicans will investigate ClimateGate/etc). Bradley is simply helping out Mann.

    One of the most interesting things about the George Mason investigation will be how long it takes to complete. George Mason owes it to Wegman to complete this investigation in a timely fashion, rather than letting it sit without making progress. I suspect that no matter how long the investigation takes, Wegman will neither be exonerated nor judged severely but will instead get a slap on the wrist for being sloppy in his work. The key question is how long will it take for George Mason to administer justice, justice delayed is justice denied.

  22. StuartR
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    I’m sure Steve must be sure of the provenence of this email but I still find it hard to believe.

    I’m guessing – snip OT

    Steve: yes, I’m sure of the provenance of the email.

    • Fred
      Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

      The email from Bradley suggest that this demand to have the report withdrawn from the congressional library has already been passed to Wegman via the university – the “No response on that” is a giveaway. It seems that this was certainly the intended purpose of the whole Mashey & Bradley scheme. The accusation of plagiarism was the means to this end. How convoluted and risky !

  23. physicsfinanceandflash
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

    The email suggest that the request to have the report withdrawn has already been made to Wegman via his university. I hope he is reading this blog and can see that Bradley’s grenade has just been lobbed back into his pit.

  24. John Whitman
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

    The email excerpt itself as shown by McIntyre has no meta-data. So we are contextless in regard to wider implications. But the author and recipient(s) know the emails meta-data is in possession of an auditor like Steve. The next play by Bradley or GMU should be soon.

  25. David L. Hagen
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    Logically, Bradley is arguing “tu quoque”.

    Tu Quoque is a very common fallacy in which one attempts to defend oneself or another from criticism by turning the critique back against the accuser. This is a classic Red Herring since whether the accuser is guilty of the same, or a similar, wrong is irrelevant to the truth of the original charge.

    Legally, Bradley comes with “unclean hands”.

    The clean hands doctrine is a rule of law that someone bringing a lawsuit or motion and asking the court for equitable relief must be innocent of wrongdoing or unfair conduct relating to the subject matter of his/her claim. It is an affirmative defense that the defendant may claim the plaintiff has “unclean hands”.

    Steve: These examples pertain to civil actions and don’t seem to have much bearing on disciplinary actions, where parties presumably often have axes to grind.

    • Hu McCulloch
      Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

      Although this is not a civil action, I think these concepts are interesting and relevant.

      But isn’t “unclean hands” just an application of “tu quoque” (“so did you”)? It may be a logical fallacy relative to the charge in question, but David’s point that courts will recognize it as a defense means that it is widely accepted as equitable in our culture.

      It seems to me here that Steve is (very effectively and legitimately ) raising a charge of “unclean hands” and therefore using “tu quoque” against Bradley. If Bradley lifted from Fritts without adequate attribution, that does not exonerate Wegman if he did the same, but it does pull the rhetorical rug out from under Bradley’s complaint.

      Bradley, on the other hand, is simply attempting to smear Wegman with a red herring in order to discredit Wegman’s approval of M&M. I don’t know what the Latin is for Red Herring, but this wouldn’t be a case of “tu quoque” per se.

      (In the Section 2.1 passages which apparently are at issue, Wegman does cite Bradley (1999) 3 times in the text and Bradley and Eddy (1991) once, plus additional mentions in the tables, so I don’t think it can be said the Wegman did not appropriately cite Bradley’s text. If there is some wording that should have had quotation marks, he could perhaps be faulted for that, but that is different than not citing his source at all. For his part, Bradley seems to have lifted much more extensively from Fritts, especially in his second edition.)

      • Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 7:59 PM | Permalink

        A red herring is an ignoratio elenchi.

        • Hu McCulloch
          Posted Oct 23, 2010 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

          Thanks, Willard. But while ignoratio elenchi is related to red herring, the examples Wiki gives are more like a non sequitur:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignoratio_elenchi .

          Red herring appears to be a specifically English idiom that wouldn’t have a literal Latin translation. But this doesn’t mean we can’t make one up. How about harenga ruber?

          (I’m not sure what the feminine of ruber is, but it appears to be 3rd declension, in which the M and F forms are the same.)

        • Posted Oct 23, 2010 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

          Re: Hu McCulloch (Oct 23 09:25),

          harenga rubra > red herring, or red(faced?) harangue.

  26. TGSG
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    wheels within wheels. The parable about the shovel and holes seems appropriate.

  27. Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    Worse and worse. First Climategate, then Copygate, now Dealgate.

    snip

  28. R.S.Brown
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

    Steve, Lucia, et alia,

    You folks don’t get “it”. “It” being the primary goal of Ray Bradley and
    associates in the war of words surrounding the scientific foundations for theories
    of global weather change and justifying multi-governmental action to mitigate some
    of the hypothesized ramifications.

    Wegman et al , 2006 was a jus ad bellum embedded in Section 2 of
    McShane and Wyner, 2010.

    “The first major controversy erupted when McIntyre and McKitrick (M&M)
    successfully replicated the Mann et al.(1998) study (McIntyre and McKitrick, 2003,
    2005b,a).”…

    and went on to note:

    “The furor reached such a level that Congress took up the matter in 2006. The
    Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce as well as the Chairman
    of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations formed an ad hoc committee
    of statisticians to review the findings of M&M. Their Congressional report
    (Wegman et al , 2006) confirmed M&M’s finding regarding
    skew-centered principal components (this finding was yet again confirmed by
    the National Research Council (NRC, 2006)).”

    An attack on Wegman et al , 2006 is an around-the-corner attack on the
    opening premise McShane and Wyner, 2010.

    For now, Professor Wegman, the lead author of Wegman et al., 2006, can be
    tagged with the innuendo of “currently the subject of an on-going investigation
    at George Mason University”.

    The “Team” can question, and have media friends like Romm and Deep Climate
    spead the qustioning of both Wegman’s Report and his probable exoneration
    just as the Mann and CRU “investigations” have been decried as blatant
    whitewashes.

    In this instance “they” can’t directly bully Congress or lean on the
    publisherto get the paper withdrawn. There’s no Attorney General to whack
    with politcal brickbats. It’s a variation on the sidewinder procedural
    attack philosophy to silence your critics exposed in the Climategate emails.

    …if you can’t shoot straight, shoot enough bullets and you’re bound to hit
    something.

  29. hunter
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    Bradley is a [snip] and he knows it.

    RomanM: No need to cast aspersions.]

  30. Doug in Seattle
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    The email from Bradly (and the letter from GMU) state that the investigation by GMU will be done by the end of September. If Bradly was quarantined against breaking confidentiality while the matter was under investigation, he might be free of that obligation by now, thus able to publicly comment on it now. We have not heard from Wegman or from Bradly about what the investigation actually found. I wonder why not?

    The witness tampering issue is quite interesting. I suspect that Bradly and his supporters would never stop to think about such a thing.

    They have getting away with this kind of behavior for so long now, that they probably think since what they are doing what is right for the planet, it is all right. Its not like anybody would succeed in taking them to task for it.

  31. tld
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 8:19 PM | Permalink

    Now for some irony:

    1. George Mason University (GMU) was formed from a branch of the University of Virginia. Name a “man” from UVA in the climate business.

    2. George Mason is named after, well, George Mason who wrote:

    “That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural Rights… among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursuing and obtaining Happiness and Safety.” (Virginia Declaration of Rights)

    This was paraphrased (or was it plagiarized?) into another American Document by another Virginian, name him / her.

    3. For extra credit, George Mason’s statue exists downtown in DC. It sits in the shadows of one of the large presidential monuments. Name the monument.

    • Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 9:31 PM | Permalink

      Thomas Jefferson. His home, Monticello, is near UVA, Charlottesville, VA. Good hospital there.

  32. TomRude
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

    This changes the whole affair: motives. Deepclimate may find himself deep in it indeed…

  33. evanmjones
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 10:30 PM | Permalink

    nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Oct 21, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    Bullseye.

  34. Daniel
    Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 12:32 AM | Permalink

    Two points really

    Regarding Bradley’s claim that Wegman should have quoted him more clearly, I’m wondering whether Wegman should rather have quoted Fritts ?

    As to AS Brown : I really agree that the main point is perhaps the future of paleochronology as a proxy for climate analysis. You may not be fully aware, but the French Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society seem no longer to consider the long term climate reconstructions as a key piece of evidence in the frame of climate change.

  35. physicsfinanceandflash
    Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 2:05 AM | Permalink

    My question is who was involved in the decision to make a charge of plagiarism against Wegman ? Was it Bradley acting alone (unlikely), Bradley acting at the instigation of Mashey, or is this a whole hockey team effort ? Given the willingness to go public to USA Today, it would be hard to imagine that this action would not have been discussed within the team. Not that I have seen anything on RC on this.

    • bobdenton
      Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 4:54 AM | Permalink

      Well whether on not Bradley acted alone Wegman certainly wasn’t acting alone.

      He was only one of three co-authors, though the report bears only Wegman’s name all three claim credit for and are responsible all contents of the report. If one is guilty of plagiarism all are guilty of plagiarism. This raises questions of how a multiauthored paper where several institutions are seized with juristiction can determine complaints of plagiarism.

      Since plagiarism proceedings are secret trials we don’t know whether there are investigations in relation to any of the other coauthors at GMU, John Hopkins or Rice, but if Bradley has made a complaint against only one of 3 coauthors that raises questions as to his motivation. If he’s complained to all three, how do they avoid the potential embarrasment of conflicting decisions?

      Since Wegman can’t act on behalf of the other two co-authors his retraction manouvre may have been made without thinking it through.

  36. physicsfinanceandflash
    Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 2:25 AM | Permalink

    Completely agree – I made this point a few days ago. This whole plagiarism charge is a false one to anyone who has any experience with academic publishing. For goodness sake, Bradley was cited numerous times. Wegman’s report was not seminal research but a review. There is no honour with these guys.

    Sure we can analyse the definition of plagiarism and copyright and do as Steve has so expertly done which is to expose their hypocrisy. But at the end of the day the whole basis for the accusation is a sham.

    Their aim is simply to smear the Wegman report so that it loses credibility. It also probably helps them to scare off any statisticians who want to have a look around in the murky world of the statistics of temperature proxies.

    The more of this I see the more it drives me into the sceptic camp. Not because I am convinced that AGW is wrong, it’s just that as an academic, I cannot condone or associate myself with this sort of behaviour.

    • Punksta
      Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 2:35 AM | Permalink

      it’s just that as an academic, I cannot condone or associate myself with this sort of behaviour.

      What then is your take on the deafening silence from the bulk of academia?

      • physicsfinanceandflash
        Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 3:35 AM | Permalink

        I can easily understand the silence from science academics (I am now in finance but I can comment as I used to be an academic theoretical physicist). There are many reasons but you need only consider this one:

        For the better UK scientists, the honour of becoming a member of the Royal Society (RS) is the highlight of their career. But they know that the scientific establishment under the RS has already rowed in behind the AGW bandwagon and so realise that any result or comment which may support a sceptical view will be harder to publish and will damage their chances of becoming a fellow of the Royal Society. So they keep quiet or don’t get involved or talk to colleagues behind the scenes. It’s only human.

        This is why the actions of Rees and co. have been so insidious. They are anti-science and have stifled debate. The RS should never as a body express a view on any scientific matter.

  37. Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 3:37 AM | Permalink

    I wonder why people are so shocked by this.
    This type of action – trying to discredit and destroy the career of anyone whose science disagrees with the agenda – is standard ‘team’ behaviour, as revealed in the climategate emails:

    “I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor. ”

    “Mike’s idea to get the editorial board members to resign will probably not work—we must get rid of von Storch too, otherwise the holes will eventually fill up with people (skeptics) like Legates, Balling, Lindzen, Michaels, Singer, etc.”

    “It seems to me that this “Kinne” character’s words are disingenuous, and probably supports what de Freitas is trying to do. It seems clear we have to go above him. I think that the community should, as Mike Hulme has previously suggested in this eventuality, terminate its involvement with this journal at all levels—reviewing, editing, and submitting, and leave it to wither way into oblivion and disrepute. ”

    “Jim Titus mentioned to me that in the legal profession here people are disbarred for behavior like that of de Freitas (and even John Christy—although this is a more subtle case). We cannot do that of course, but we can alert the community of honest scientists to such behavior and formally discredit these people. ”

    “We need some data on Soon and Baliunas. “. “Are they any good in their own fields? Perhaps we could start referring to them as “astrologers” (excusable as … “oops, just a typo”). ”

    “If you think that Saiers is in the greenhouse skeptics camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official American Geophysical Union channels to get him ousted. ”

    The only surprise is that Bradley seems to have learnt nothing from climategate, and discredits himself by continuing to behave in this way.

    • Bernie
      Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 6:26 AM | Permalink

      Thanks for putting together this nice set of quotations from the emails. As the saying goes, “the best predictor of future behavior, is past behavior.”

    • Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

      “Nature should have pointed out to its readers that Greenberg has served as a round-table speaker and written a report for the Marshall Institute.”
      -Michael Mann and co-authors

    • oneuniverse
      Posted Oct 23, 2010 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

      Once upon a time :

      Bradley in Apr 1999:

      “As for thinking that it is “Better that nothing appear, than something unnacceptable to us” …..as though we are the gatekeepers of all that is acceptable in the world of paleoclimatology seems amazingly arrogant. Science moves forward whether we agree with individiual articles or not….”

      Bradley to Osborne, Oct 2003:

      “If you are willing, a quick and forceful statement from The Distinguished CRU Boys would help quash further arguments [..]“

    • oneuniverse
      Posted Oct 23, 2010 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

      [Resubmitted with hyperlinks removed]

      Bradley in Apr 1999:

      “As for thinking that it is “Better that nothing appear, than something unnacceptable to us” …..as though we are the gatekeepers of all that is acceptable in the world of paleoclimatology seems amazingly arrogant. Science moves forward whether we agree with individiual articles or not….”

      Bradley to Osborne, Oct 2003:

      “If you are willing, a quick and forceful statement from The Distinguished CRU Boys would help quash further arguments [..]“

  38. Punksta
    Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 4:19 AM | Permalink

    No, don’t stop digging Nick – digging is something that should always be encouraged in science. It is what leads both diggers and those en/discouraging them to contradictions and perhaps new insights and changes of position.

    • Scott Basinger
      Posted Oct 25, 2010 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

      Digging is ill-advised if you find yourself in a hole and unable to get out. At this point in time it’s best to accept the inevitable rope extended – refusing it makes you look even sillier.

  39. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

    bobdenton Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 4:54 AM – Wegman was one of 3 authors.

    Spot on. Was about to post the same. It changes the whole dynamics as you point out.

  40. Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

    The point about the Wegman report having multiple authors is interesting. In the Muir Russell report, it was said that Jones was not responsible for the (allegedly) fabricated sentence re McKitrick’s paper on UHI. The reason given was that the IPCC report chapter in question had multiple authors.

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

      YUP.

      The problem with whitewash is it can screw up your witch hunts

      • Nathan
        Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

        How is this a witch hunt? This is perfectly proper process.

  41. P. Solar
    Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

    A very enlightening post. At last the true motive comes to light.

    There is no element of redress of the initial alleged wrong of plagiarism in that resolution so it can hardly be seen as an “out of court settlement” proposal.

    The allegedly copied material was Bradley’s own work so he can hardly say it’s inclusion makes Wegman’s conclusions false.

    So if Bradley’s offer is not resolution of the alleged wrong , does it constitute coercion?

    Here’s a couple of non-legally binding definitions from wikipedia:

    Coercion (pronounced /koʊˈɜrʃən/) is the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner (whether through action or inaction) by use of threats, intimidation or some other form of pressure or force. Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in the desired way

    [tick that box]

    Extortion, outwresting, and/or exaction is a criminal offense which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person(s), entity, or institution, through coercion.

    [In claiming Wegman do him a service in withdrawing his submission this seems to fit too.]

    With the usual disclaimers and caveats about wikipedia content , maybe someone should be looking into criminal proceedings on the basis of email.

  42. kramer
    Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

    Is this move by Bradley ‘unprecedented?’

  43. Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    The part that bugs me is reqardless of climate change (or not) there is still the problem of limited resources with the looming danger of there not being enough of things like oil, water and minerals.

  44. Lewis
    Posted Oct 22, 2010 at 9:21 PM | Permalink

    Steve, I understand why you have to get in the mix of this, so I feel for you. I just have to repeat what I said on Roger Pielke Jnr blog when this first broke:

    You really think that undermining Wegmans reputation or making ridiculous innuendos about his report might resurrect the ‘hockey stick’ or have any affect on Mann or any matter of substance at all? Any more than Cuccinelli’s stupid grandstanding? That Ray Bradley has done this is even more disgusting – that a baffoon of an AG would do this I can understand, if despise, but a fellow academic, that’s pretty low!

    By the way, I live in a pretty ‘low brow’ town. So you cheer me up!

  45. Ritson
    Posted Oct 23, 2010 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

    Steve,
    Your posts your posts on alleged plagiarism by Wegman have been more than exhaustive. Last August I acquainted you with the matter below. Your readers should have been informed by you , but weren’t, that Wegman own conduct is at least as reprehensible as that imputed to the “hockey-team”.It is now over four years since the appearance of the Wegman report. At the time I tried to get some confirmations relative to the numbers he had use. RC had a brief posting on the lack of any response to my requests from Wegman et al. At that time you posted at CA on August 31 2006, “Take a Ritalin Dave” chiding me for my impatience. You pointed out that comparable requests from yourself had not, in may instances, been honored for years. Wegman et al were chided by Congressman Waxman’s Office. Finally Wegman replied on Sept 1, 2006 to Waxman. The key paragraph in Wegman’s reply was

    “I would make the following distinction. The works of Mann et al. we discussed in the report were federally funded, peer-reviewed journal articles. Our report was review of those papers and was not federally funded. Our report called for disclosure of federally funded work. Material based on our report is being prepared for peer review journals at present. It is not clear to me that before the journal peer review process is complete that we have an academic obligation to disclose the details of our methods. Nonetheless, I assure you that as soon as we are functional again, I will create a website that fully discloses all supporting material related to our report to the extent possible. (Some of the code we used was developed by former and current students working at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia and may not be disclosed without approval through the Navy’s public release process.)”

    This is hardly the openness in scientific communication so eloquently called for by the Wegman report. His letter was not communicated directly to me but was forwarded on by Waxman’s office. Congressman Waxman wrote a personal follow-up letter chiding Wegman and again requesting the items of information. The second request was never responded to. It is now four years since Wegman wrote the above. Wegman never took any one of the steps he had so readily promised. namely publication, a website and public disclosure of all information with the exception of classified code. He never provided either to me or to Waxman any reason for his inaction. Waxman at that time was the ranking minority leader of the congressional oversight committee that had requested the report and he is today the chairman of that committee. As regards congressional credibility Wegman has dug his own grave. The question of plagiarism is trivial compared with the above.

    • Spence_UK
      Posted Oct 23, 2010 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

      Dr Ritson,

      This issue was raised again recently and Steve was critical of Wegman’s failure to make code available (CA comment), I doubt his position would have changed any since then.

      We have seen the benefits from making code available already (e.g. Mann 2008, McShane and Wyner 2010) from the rapid turnaround and discussion possible. It is a shame that 20 years on, we still don’t have raw data from Lonnie Thompson, 11 years on, we still don’t know how MBH99 confidence intervals were calculated, and 4 years on we don’t have the code for Wegman’s analysis. (These are as far as I am aware: I apologise if any of these have been recently rectified and I’ve missed them)

      Of course, bad behaviour is never limited to one side of a debate, which we should never forget, and be willing to criticise our own side when they are not up to scratch – as Steve did above (even if it is not as prominent as his criticisms of “the team”).

      Are you willing to equally criticise the failings of your side of the debate, Dr Ritson? Even if not prominently, at least in a comment?

      • Ritson
        Posted Oct 23, 2010 at 8:16 PM | Permalink

        Dr Spence,
        Relative to your comment relative to my Wegman comment: what sets Wegman’s letter to Waxman apart from `hockey-team transgressions’ is the shear dishonesty of promising to submit a report to a refereed journal and to set-up a website that would provide full details, when four years later it is obvious that nothing was done and no attempt was made to provide me with a handful of the basic input numbers needed to confirm his results. The `need for code’ is irrelevant in this context, and in general is no substitute for a mathematical algorithm for what is being calculated. I resent your question as to which side I am on. I am a scientist not a debater and dishonesty is dishonesty whoever it may come from.

    • oneuniverse
      Posted Oct 23, 2010 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

      Your readers should have been informed by you , but weren’t, that Wegman own conduct is at least as reprehensible as that imputed to the “hockey-team”

      That’s your opinion. In mine, the evidence documenting the Team’s deviations from the straight path is far more extensive, substantial and damning.

    • Punksta
      Posted Oct 24, 2010 at 12:50 AM | Permalink

      Ritson – for the nenefit of newcomers to this, would you mind providing a short summary detailing what the missing supporting information relates to?

      And as lax as Wegman might be here, is it not the case that he was not paid for his report, whereas everyting Team dooes in on tax money?

  46. Daniel
    Posted Oct 26, 2010 at 1:22 AM | Permalink

    we should make a link with WUWT recent post on a paleoclimate seminar in Portugal ; MBH, Wahl, Jones attending ; they are trying to design a future for their so-called science of dendrochronology and other climate proxies.

    Make the link as well with Royal Society report, and (French) Academie des Sciences’ recent Communiqué following a full day event : paleo reconstructions are not even mentioned in the key points. MBH, and other hockey team members are now struggling to keep a future for their business / scientific area.

  47. Alex Harvey
    Posted Oct 26, 2010 at 2:11 AM | Permalink

    I thought you all might like to read this article:

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-10-plagiarism-sleuths-tackle-full-text-biomedical.html

    Plagiarism sleuths tackle full-text biomedical articles
    October 25, 2010

    In scientific publishing, how much reuse of text is too much? Researchers at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech and collaborators have shown that a computer-based text-searching tool is capable of unearthing questionable publication practices from thousands of full-text papers in the biomedical literature.

    The first step in the process is to find out what is restated before zeroing in on who may have crossed an ethically unacceptable threshold. The findings, published in PLoS ONE, offer hope for curbing unethical scientific publication practice, a growing problem throughout the world.

    “Building upon our earlier work reported in Science and Nature, which uncovered ethically questionable journal articles by comparing their abstracts, we have now re-tuned our computer program, eTBLAST, to scan thousands of full-text articles in PubMed Central, a freely available repository of full-text biomedical literature,” said Harold “Skip” Garner, author on the paper and executive director of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. “Our goal was to measure how much and where in papers – for example, the introduction, methods or results sections – text is duplicated to establish the ‘norm’ in publishing. This will allow ethicists, which we are not, to begin to develop guidelines as to what is and what is not acceptable publication practice.”

    Although abstract search is an effective approach to detect potential plagiarism, full text analysis is needed to uncover all potential duplicate citations in the scientific literature. The researchers examined 72 011 full-text articles using the eTBLAST computer program, which is only the tip of the iceberg for the number of published biomedical articles in the archives.

    “We found that most papers are novel, as expected in scientific reporting, but even in papers reporting novel results, certain sections, such as the introduction or methods section, frequently have large amounts of content that appear elsewhere,” said Garner. The researchers went on to explain that the re-use of text in certain sections, such as the methods section of papers, where authors provide details on how the work was done, is not a bad thing because it is important to use the accepted and most consistent techniques. “We also expect that other sections like the results section to be very unique just like the abstract. And this is the case in the overwhelming majority of papers,” said Garner.

    The current study revealed that the introduction section tended to be copied the most in similar citations. Also review articles were confirmed as being particularly prone to repetition.

    “We believe this type of research will help us write better, more informative scientific papers, and prepare reviewers and journal editors for interpreting the similarity results that are emerging from the computational analysis of scientific papers. This approach is becoming increasingly commonplace as part of the scientific review process,” added Garner. “Before crossing the line between acceptable and unacceptable writing, it is important to know the location of the line,” concluded Garner.

  48. Posted Oct 26, 2010 at 2:55 AM | Permalink

    “I have told the University that I am prepared to drop this matter if Wegman makes a request to have his report withdrawn from the Congressional Record.”

    To me, this looks like Bradley trying to pressurize the University to get them to pressurize Wegman to request withdrawal of his Congressional testimony.

    Devious.

  49. Punksta
    Posted Nov 4, 2010 at 7:03 PM | Permalink

    Over at Deep Climate, the onslaught on Wegman’s plagiarism has broadened into a claim that the Wegman Report is flawed, Wegman has failed to repond to questions or provide his data, that even though Mann’s short-centering was wrong, McI exaggerated the fault, and others have largely replicated Mann’s results with other (presumably kosher) methdologies. Comments … ?

  50. Posted Nov 21, 2010 at 8:55 PM | Permalink

    Wegman exposed: Experts find “shocking” plagiarism in 2006 climate report requested by Joe Barton (R-TX)

    … a 2006 report, commissioned by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and led by George Mason University statistician Edward Wegman, who is now himself under investigation by GMU. …
    Here’s more from the stunning USA Today piece:

    “It kind of undermines the credibility of your work criticizing others’ integrity when you don’t conform to the basic rules of scholarship,” Virginia Tech plagiarism expert Skip Garner says.

    “The matter is under investigation,” says GMU spokesman Dan Walsch by e-mail. In a phone interview, Wegman said he could not comment at the university’s request. In an earlier e-mail Wegman sent to Joseph Kunc of the University of Southern California, however, he called the plagiarism charges “wild conclusions that have nothing to do with reality.”

    The plagiarism experts queried by USA TODAY disagree after viewing the Wegman report:

    • “Actually fairly shocking,” says Cornell physicist Paul Ginsparg by e-mail. “My own preliminary appraisal would be ‘guilty as charged.’ “

    •”If I was a peer reviewer of this report and I was to observe the paragraphs they have taken, then I would be obligated to report them,” says Garner of Virginia Tech, who heads a copying detection effort. “There are a lot of things in the report that rise to the level of inappropriate.”

    •”The plagiarism is fairly obvious when you compare things side-by-side,” says Ohio State’s Robert Coleman, who chairs OSU’s misconduct committee.

    The report was requested in 2005 by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, then the head of the House energy committee. Barton cited the report in an October letter to The Washington Post when he wrote that Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann’s work was “rooted in fundamental errors of methodology that had been cemented in place as ‘consensus’ by a closed network of friends.”

    The Wegman report criticized 1998 and 1999 reports led by Mann (Bradley was a co-author) that calculated global temperatures over the last dozen centuries. It also contained an analysis of Mann’s co-authors that appears partly cribbed from Wikipedia, Garner says….

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/11/21/wegman-exposed-experts-find-shocking-plagiarism-in-2006-climate-report-requested-by-joe-barton-r-tx/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+climateprogress%2FlCrX+%28Climate+Progress%29

    • Ed Snack
      Posted Nov 21, 2010 at 10:58 PM | Permalink

      That proves the relevance and accuracy of Wegman’s report, they can’t attack the conclusions, so in good ol’ liberal fashion they have attack the person.

      Hey Ford, your name is a rip off, ever acknowledged Douglas Adams ? What, you haven’t ? Can’t believe a word you say then, eh ?

    • sleeper
      Posted Nov 22, 2010 at 6:06 AM | Permalink

      Re: thefordprefect (Nov 21 20:55),
      Forget about TFP and Deep Climate. They’re just shills for the Mann.

5 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Steve McIntyre quotes from Bradely’s mail. “I filed a complaint with George Mason University (where Wegman is a Professor) & they have set up a committee to investigate my complaint. I[A] recent letter from their Vice-Chancellor indicates that they expect the committee to report their findings by the end of September. [...]

  2. By The Blackboard » GMU Documents & Speculation on Oct 22, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    [...] makes a request to have his report withdrawn from the Congressional Record.” (as suggested at Climate Audit, would his dropping the matter end the GMU investigation of the [...]

  3. By Top Posts — WordPress.com on Oct 22, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    [...] Bradley Tries to Deal At Lucia’s, Steve Mosher asks: did bradley make the charges to further a different goal? As indicated in the [...] [...]

  4. [...] [...]

  5. By Ritson speaks out | Deep Climate on Oct 24, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    [...] is Ritson’s complete comment, addressed to McIntyre (slightly edited to fix obvious typos): Ritson Posted Oct 23, 2010 at 5:44 PM Steve, Your posts on [...]

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