Is Talk of Lawsuit A Trick to Hide His Decline?
George Mason University has confirmed that it is investigating its Professor Edward Wegman, the statistician who was point man in the 2006 political attack on the so-called “hockey stick” graph.
Wegman, who was chair of the National Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics, was tapped in ‘06 by Republican representatives Joe Barton and Ed Whitfield to assemble a so-called “expert panel” to critique the famous hockey stick, a graph illustrating a thousand-year temperature record as reconstructed by climate scientists Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes. But Silicon Valley entrepreneur John Mashey has since demonstrated that, rather than convene a group of experts, Wegman tapped a couple of grad students and together they produced a report that was generously plagiarized from Bradley’s own work and then twisted – or just misrepresented – to appear to undermine the hockey stick and its creators.
Now that the authorities are actually looking into this issue, Wegman himself seems to be suggesting that the charges against him are actionable. He told USA Today that “Some litigation is under way.”
Well, none as it would apply to Mashey, who says he hasn’t heard a peep from Wegman – or from anybody’s lawyers – in response to his devastating critique.
Word is that that this is also just the first of several investigations in the offing. It’s clear enough from Barton and Whitfield’s own positions that they were hoping Wegman could wreck a few scientific reputations. As every new work seems to reaffirm the science behind the Mann, Bradley, Hughes hockey stick, it appears the reputation most at risk now is Wegman’s own.