December 23, 2009
Since my Saturday column described how Wikipedia editors have been feverishly rewriting climate history over much of the decade, fair-minded Wikipedians have been doing their best to correct the record. No sooner than they remove gross distortions, however, than the distortions are replaced. William Connolley, a Climategate member and Wikipedia’s chief climate change propagandist, remains as active as ever.
How does Wikipedia work and how do Connolley and his co-conspirators exercise control? Take Wikipedia’s page for Medieval Warm Period, as an example. In the three days following my column’s appearance, this page alone was changed some 50 times in battles between Connolley’s crew and those who want a fair presentation of history.
One of the battles concerns the so-called hockey stick graphs, which purport to show that temperatures over the last 2000 years were fairly stable until the last century, when temperatures rose rapidly to today’s supposedly dangerous and unprecedented levels. In these graphs, the Medieval Warm Period – a period of several centuries around the year 1000 – appears to be a modest bump along the way. Before the hockey stick graphs began to be published about a decade ago, scientists everywhere – including those associated with the UN itself – viewed the Medieval Warm Period as much hotter than today. Rather than appearing as a modest bump compared to today’s high temperatures, the Medieval Warm Period looked more like a mountain next to the molehill that is today’s temperature increase.
The hockey stick graphs led to an upheaval in scientific understanding when the UN reversed itself and declared them bona fide. Soon after, the hockey stick graphs were shown to be bogus by a blue-chip panel of experts assembled by the U.S. Congress. The Climategate Emails confirm the blue-chip panel’s assessment – we now know that Climategate scientists themselves doubted the reliability of the hockey stick graphs.
With the hockey stick graphs so thoroughly discredited, you’d think they would become a footnote to a discussion of the Medieval Warm Period, or an object of amusement and curiosity. But no, on the Wikipedia page for the Medieval Warm Period, the hockey stick graph appears prominently at the top, as if it is settled science.
Because the hockey stick graph has become an icon of deceit and in no way an authority worthy of being cited, fair-minded Wikipedians tried to remove the graph from the page, as can be seen here. Exactly two minutes later, one of Connelley’s associates replaced the graph, restoring the page to Connelley’s original version, as seen here.
Battles like this occurred on numerous fronts, until just after midnight on Dec. 22, when Connolley reimposed his version of events and, for good measure, froze the page to prevent others from making changes — and to prevent the public, even in two-minute windows, from realizing that today’s temperatures look modest in comparison to those in the past. In the World of Wikipedia, as seen here, the hockey stick graph, and Connolley’s version of history, still rules.