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The Wegman and North Reports for Newbies
#1
Climate Audit

Steve McIntyre, posted on Nov 6, 2007

EXCERPT

In recent discussion of the Weblog 2007 Awards, several commenters at other blogs have argued that our criticisms of the Mannian parlor tricks have been “thoroughly refuted and discarded by climatologists, published in a credible journal”; that “other professionals in the field who also have “looked in great detail at the problem at hand” and have come to the conclusion that rather than McIntyre’s findings being “valid and relevant”, they instead have found them to be “without statistical and climatological merit”; that CA “fluffed on the whole hockey stick thing”. See for example here

Omitted in these references are the fact that the people described as “climatologists published in a credible journal” or “professionals in the field” are none other than Wahl and Ammann, serial coauthors with Michael Mann, students of Mann, who are not independent of the controversy. Indeed, they largely use (without citation or attribution or even acknowledgment to Michael Mann) arguments originally published at realclimate (and already responded to in MM 2005b(EE). Aside from their lack of independence, neither Ammann nor Wahl qualify as statistical authorities. Ammann did his undergraduate work in geology; Wahl in divinity. While this does not exclude them from having potential insight in the matter, it is evidence that one should not necessarily expect a sure grasp of mathematical and statistical issues and that their conclusions cannot be relied upon uncritically, even if Stephen Schneider accepted their article.

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It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies.

–William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1952
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