I have just found an update on the story of Professor de Freitas, and the attempts to have him sacked for allowing the publication of a dissenting article on climate change. Wattsupwiththat has recently published a post which details the way in which the Wikipedia entry on the debate about the dissenting article was distorted to paint a negative picture of Professor de Freitas.
Whilst the post argues that there were many problems in the Wikipedia entry on the incident, it focuses on the claim that all of the peer reviewers of the dissenting article rejected the article. This claim was patently false, and relied upon a single Guardian article, which flew in the face of all of the evidence that suggested the opposite.The story does have a (sort of) happy ending, in that the post led to a correction of the article in question:
UPDATE: Following a conversation on Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales’ talk page the error has been removed despite initial resistance from those who perpetrated the misinformation:
Also, I’d like to thank Nona, who tried to correct the error earlier as an anonymous user.
I added ‘sort of’ to the happy ending, as these ongoing attempts to smear the good name of Professor de Freitas should not be occurring in the first place. It just serves to place emphasis on the way in which some people have no qualms about presenting lies in order to preserve their world view, and the hell with the personal impact on a perfectly reputable scientist.
Another point mentioned in the article, of which I was previously unaware, was that Michael Mann (of hockey stick fame, and who also engaged in the conspiracy to have Professor de Freitas sacked) had complained to the New Zealand Press Council about a New Zealand Herald article written by Professor de Freitas:
The grounds of Professor Mann’s complaint are that the two articles were inaccurate, lacked balance and showed excessive advocacy. Under lack of accuracy he said the overall tone of the articles left readers with the false impression that the jury was still out on global warming and climate change where, as far as the vast majority of the world’s climate scientists were concerned, it is not. He gave particular examples of the inaccuracies he observed, along the lines of those cited in his article.
Mann had written a rebuttal of Professor de Freitas’s article, and was essentially demanding that it be published. Unsurprisingly, the complaint was not upheld, and I liked this part of the ruling:
Advocates of a particular standpoint may not find the press always serving their purpose, but then the function of the press is to serve their readers in the broadest terms.
In the context of what I found in the Climategate emails, I found this new information to be quite revealing. It is yet more confirmation that Mann is quite obsessive about protecting his views on climate science from any challenge whatsoever. At least in this case he seeks to address the problem with scientific argument, which is better than attempting to blacken a person’s name ( or something of an improvement on trying to get an individual sacked for allowing dissenting views).
However, it does bring to mind the somewhat obsessive commentary on my Climategate articles by Chris C, who attempted to defend the attacks on Professor de Freitas. It crossed my mind at the time that this might be Mann posting under an alias, and the thought once again crosses my mind. Of course, I will never know, and can only speculate; it could be that Chris C was indeed just posting as ‘himself’.
Update: I just took a look at the debate within Wikipedia on the question of the rejection by the reviewers. It is well worth a quick read….you will need to scroll down the page and will find the section. The attempts to defend the wrong information are somewhat comedic….