Solomon reports, in an entry on his blog page, that the biographies of global warming skeptics on the Wikipedia Web site are being “dive-bombed” by a cadre of global warming alarmists who trawl the site.
They’re making sure any global warming information is skewed to match the radical predictions of the global computer models and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Educators Noting Falsehoods
The Wikipedia situation is so bad the Scottish Parent-Teacher Council (SPTC) is citing Wikipedia in particular as it demands special training for students so they can distinguish between reality and falsehoods on the Internet.
Eleanor Coner, SPTC’s information officer, said, “It’s dangerous when the Internet is littered with opinion and inaccurate information which could be taken as fact,” she told the Scotsman for a June 21 article.
Recently, a college in Vermont found several students had repeated the same error on exam papers. The misinformation was traced to Wikipedia, and the college outlawed the site for its students’ use.
Why would Wikipedia risk its reputation in this way? Apparently because its “editors” care more about their role in the global warming debate than about the Web site’s future.
Malicious Character Assassination
Solomon cites a particular volunteer editor who goes by the pseudonym of “Tabletop” (real name Kim Dabelstein).
Solomon tried to correct misinformation he found on Wikipedia regarding S. Fred Singer, a preeminent U.S. scientist who taught at the University of Virginia, served in the U.S. Department of Commerce and at the Environmental Protection Agency, and for five years was vice-chair of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Oceans and Atmospheres. Singer has published dozens of papers and several books on atmospheric science and global warming in particular.
Solomon found the Wikipedia site actually accused Dr. Singer of believing in Martian extraterrestrial beings. Singer told Solomon that was nonsense, but that he’d been unable to correct it on the Wikipedia site. Every time he put in the correction, it was immediately reversed by “Tabletop.”
Wikipedia Alarmism Protection
The real problem, Solomon found out, is that Kim Dabelstein is protected by a Wikipedia administrator named William Connolley.
Connolley is a software engineer and sometime-climatologist who used to work for the British Antarctic Survey. He also once ran for office representing England’s Green Party.
Solomon wrote in the July 8 National Review Online, “by virtue of his power at Wikipedia, Connolley, a ruthless enforcer of the doomsday consensus, may be the world’s most influential person in the global warming debate after Al Gore. Connolley routinely uses his editorial clout to tear down scientists of great accomplishment such as Fred Singer, the first director of the U.S. National Weather Satellite Service and a scientist with dazzling achievements.”
Solomon says such problems also afflict other outstanding U.S. scientists such as Richard Lindzen of MIT and malaria expert Dr. Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute in Paris.
False Claim of Concession
Solomon also checked on a science historian named Naomi Oreskes “who had arrived at an absurd finding—that no studies in a major scientific database questioned the UN view of climate change.”
Solomon reports, “For this reason, when visiting Oreskes’ page on Wikipedia several weeks ago, I was surprised to read not only that Oreskes had been vindicated but that Peiser [her critic Benny Peiser of Liverpool John Moores University in the UK] had been discredited. More than that, the page portrayed Peiser himself as having grudgingly conceded Oreskes’ correctness. Upon checking with Peiser, I found he had done no such thing. I then exercised the right that we all have to edit Wikipedia, corrected the Wikipedia entry, and advised Peiser that I had done so.”
Peiser reported back that there had been no Wikipedia change. Solomon tried again, and again the correction disappeared.
“‘Tabletop’ undid my undid,” wrote Solomon in his Amazon blog, “claiming I could not speak for Peiser. Why can ‘Tabletop’ speak for Peiser but not I, who have his permission?”
Newsweek Prints Falsehood
The problem, of course, is not confined to Wikipedia.
A 2007 Newsweek cover story on climate change skeptics reported, “In April 1998, a dozen people from the denial machine—including the Marshall Institute, Fred Singer’s group, and Exxon—met at the American Petroleum Institute’s Washington headquarters. They proposed a $5 million campaign, according to a leaked eight-page memo, to convince the public that the science of global warming is riddled with controversy and uncertainty.”
The plan was aimed at “raising questions about and undercutting the ‘prevailing scientific wisdom'” on climate change, Newsweek claimed. The plan was leaked to the press and as a result was never implemented, according to Newsweek.
The Newsweek allegation was completely untrue. The New York Times had published the original misinformation, and later retracted it when it was shown to be incorrect.
Singer and the Marshall Institute complained to Newsweek editor Jon Meacham and to writer Sharon Begley, but Newsweek has never corrected its story. On the contrary, Sharon Begley has gone on to write other poorly founded stories about global warming and its skeptics.
The only consolation at the moment is that global temperatures have failed to rise for more than a decade now, and have turned sharply downward in the past 18 months.
Both the sunspot index and northern Pacific temperatures (which are known to drive global temperature trends) are now predicting a 25- to 30-year cooling. Pacific Rim tree rings say there have been 10 of these 50- to 60-year cycles since 1623, and recent history indicates the Pacific Decadal Oscillation accurately mirrors global temperature changes.
The thermometers are doing the talking now. Wikipedia and Newsweek will eventually have to confess the reality, but it is likely to come slowly and grudgingly.
Dennis Avery ([email protected]) is senior fellow for climate change issues at The Heartland Institute.
For more information …
Lawrence Solomon’s Amazon Blog: http://www.amazon.com/gp/blog/post/PLNK3RXPPYI6K709I
“Wikipropganda,” by Lawrence Solomon, National Review Online, July 8, 2008: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/224785/wikipropaganda-lawrence-solomon