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Title: Rebuttal to PSU ENGR 408 Class Paper


Andrew - March 18, 2011 01:55 PM (GMT)
Rebuttal to PSU ENGR 408 Class Paper

This is a rebuttal to a class paper from a group of engineering students at Pennsylvania State University (PSU). The paper is for a 2 credit course, ENGR 408 - Leadership Principles, an introductory course to the Engineering Leadership Development Minor (ELDM) in the College of Engineering at Pennsylvania State University (PSU) taught by Assistant Professor Richard J. Schuhmann.

All the criticisms made in their paper about the Popular Technology.net peer-reviewed paper list are false. No attempt was made by the authors to contact the editor of Popular Technology.net prior to writing their paper. This demonstrates a lack of scholarship by the authors as many of their statements and claims are flagrantly incorrect. However I do not hold the students completely responsible as it is up to the professor to make sure scholarship standards are maintained.

If the false claims made in this paper were accepted by Dr. Schuhmann it demonstrates his inability to properly perform his duties as defined in the PSU Faculty Handbook,

"Each faculty member is, however, responsible for the maintenance of appropriate standards of scholarship and teaching." - PSU Faculty Handbook, II. Academic Policies, Academic Freedom

Acceptance of the false claims made in this paper would violate the PSU Ethics Policy,

"They hold before their students the best scholarly standards of their respective disciplines." - PSU Policy AD47 GENERAL STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS


Paper:
ENGR408_JudgmentMemo_FINAL.pdf (October 24, 2010) - [Archive]

Authors:
Carly Seneca, Mechanical Engineering Student, PSU
Andrew Weiner, Energy, Business, and Finance Student, PSU
Matt Steiner, Mechanical Engineering Student, PSU
Janith Samarasinghe, Mechanical Engineering Student, PSU
Grier Wilt, Mechanical Engineering Student, PSU


Note - The list was update on January 14, 2011 from 800 to 850 papers and will be referenced as 850 throughout. This has no affect on the validity of this rebuttal.


1. They fail to demonstrate that the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons is not a peer-reviewed scholarly journal.

They attempt to discredit it based on subjective criteria; including criticisms from non-peer-reviewed environmental activist blogs (RealClimate, Climate Science Watch), the non-peer-reviewed pop-culture magazine Rolling Stone and it not being indexed in certain databases such as PubMed and Web of Science.

Web of Science is a for-profit, commercial product of the multi-billion dollar Thomson Reuters corporation that indexes only 11,000 peer-reviewed journals using a subjective inclusion process. There are thousands of peer-reviewed journals that are not included but are with competitors, Scopus indexes 17,000 peer-reviewed journals. Whether a journal is indexed by them is purely subjective and irrelevant to the peer-review status of the journal.

They have failed to show that no peer-reviewed scholarly journals exist outside of the databases they have subjectively chosen. As other databases clearly index the journal,

Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal (ISSN: 1543-4826)
- EBSCO lists the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons as a peer-reviewed scholarly journal (PDF)
- "Articles are subject to a double-blind peer-review process" - Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons

Only three papers from this journal appear on the Popular Technology.net peer-reviewed paper list,

An updated review paper of one published in 1999 on the environmental effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide,

(1) Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (PDF)
(Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 12, Number 3, pp. 79-90, Fall 2007)
- Arthur B. Robinson, Noah E. Robinson, Willie H. Soon


The reason why this paper was published here is explicitly stated in the Petition Project's FAQ,

"9. Why was the review article published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons?

The authors chose to submit this article for peer-review and publication by the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons because that journal was willing to waive its copyright and permit extensive reproduction and distribution of the article by the Petition Project.
"


And two more papers on fatalities relating to the climate and weather,

(2) Deaths and Death Rates from Extreme Weather Events: 1900-2008 (PDF)
(Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 14, Number 4, pp. 102-109, 2009)
- Indur M. Goklany


(3) Direct Health Effects of Climate Change: an Overview (PDF)
(Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 15, Number 2, pp. 38-41, Summer 2010)
- Howard Maccabee


Peer-Reviewed is defined as, "of or being scientific or scholarly writing or research that has undergone evaluation by other experts in the field to judge if it merits publication." (Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition)

Thus the expertise of the reviewers of these papers would be relevant to the topic of the paper and the scientific field or audience of a peer-reviewed scholarly journal is irrelevant to the experts who will be reviewing a paper published by them.


2. How "recognized" a scientific institution an author of a paper is affiliated with is subjective and irrelevant to the peer-reviewed status or scientific validity of any paper or journal.

The OISM's founder Arthur B. Robinson is a credentialed scientist,

Arthur B. Robinson, B.S. Chemistry, Caltech (1963), Ph.D. BioChemistry, University of California, San Diego (1968), Assistant Professor of Chemistry, University of California, San Diego (1968-1972), Founder, Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine (1973), Research Scientist, Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine (1973-1978), President and Research Scientist, Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (1981-Present)

They criticize the institute for failing to update it's website for two now deceased but prominent scientists who did research there,

(1) Martin D. Kamen who was the discoverer of Carbon 14, received the Enrico Fermi Award in 1995, the highest honor in physics awarded in the United States.

(2) R. Bruce Merrifield who invented and perfected solid-phase peptide synthesis, with which he carried out the first chemical synthesis of an enzyme was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1984.

And they state that the OISM does not have any class rooms or a student body when no claim is made otherwise. The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine is a non-profit research institute not a school.

None of this has anything to do with the reliability of peer-reviewed literature.


3. While arguing the existence of fake peer-reviewed journals they failed to show that any they are criticizing were indeed "fake" and ignored the fact that fraudulent papers have been irrefutably shown to have been published in what they have subjectively chosen to be "valid" journals.

Nature, Science - Jan-Hendrik Schon: Scientific fraud found at Bell Labs (Seattle Post-Intelligencerm, September 26, 2002)
Nature, Science - Luk Van Parijs: MIT Fires Professor Van Parijs for Using Fake Data in Papers (The Tech, MIT, October 28, 2005)
Science - Hwang Woo Suk: For Science's Gatekeepers, a Credibility Gap (The New York Times, May 2, 2006)


4. They searched a for-profit, commercial product of the multi-billion dollar Thomson Reuters corporation, "Web of Science" for various subjectively chosen search phrases between 2005-2010 in a meaningless comparison to the number of papers on the Popular Technology.net peer-reviewed papers list.

They got 34,331 results for the phrase, "Climate Change" and 2127 results for the combine phrases, "Anthropogenic" AND "climate change" OR "global warming". First of all these results cannot be independently verified without paying for access to this database. Secondly, search results that include these phrases does not mean explicit or implicit support for AGW without independently reviewing each result. A paper can include these phrases for reasons that have nothing to do with the debate. Thus without removal of the erroneous results this sort of comparison is meaningless. There also may be various papers in these results that support skepticism of Alarmism.


5. They falsely state that, "The website www.populartechnology.net claims that it has documented 800 peer-reviewed papers alleging to contradict anthropogenic global warming."

The list is explicitly titled, 850 Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of "Man-Made" Global Warming (AGW) Alarm

They were clearly aware of this as it is cited by them as,

"Popular Technology.net. (2010, July 25). 800 Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of "Man-Made" Global Warming (AGW) Alarm."

Alarmism is defined as, "concern relating to a negative environmental or socio-economic effect of AGW, usually exaggerated as catastrophic."

* While this definition was added to the list since they wrote their paper it is irrelevant to the fact that the page has always explicitly stated,

"The following papers support skepticism of AGW or the negative environmental or socio-economic effects of AGW."

This has been updated to,

"The following papers support skepticism of AGW or Alarmism defined as, "concern relating to a negative environmental or socio-economic effect of AGW, usually exaggerated as catastrophic.""

Thus clearly implying that all the papers on the list do not have to contradict anthropogenic global warming.


6. They falsely state, "the website contains many duplicate articles"

No duplicate articles exist on the list. Any that have been found in the past due to errors relating to the merging of multiple lists have been corrected and never affected the peer-reviewed paper count. The number of papers on the list is intentionally kept over the actual stated number as a margin of error for unforeseen circumstances.


7. They falsely state, "the website ...considers "responses" and "comments" as entire separate articles."

It is explicitly stated in the first paragraph,

"Addendums, comments, corrections, erratum, replies, responses, rebuttals and submitted papers are not included in the peer-reviewed paper count. These are included as references in defense of various papers. There are many more listings than just the 850 counted papers."

None of these are considered separate articles and none are counted, they are only listed as a reference in the defense of the preceding paper. If these were counted the actual total would be an additional +50 papers.


8. They falsely claim that, "Articles with many comments disputing its claims are also not valid sources, because the disagreement in the field about that specific topic has yet to settle on an indisputable truth."

The existence of a criticism does make a source invalid. Using this logic all someone would have to due to invalidate a paper would be to publish a criticism on it. Do the authors therefore reject all of these disputed papers as invalid?

Allen & Sherwood (2008) - "Warming maximum in the tropical upper troposphere deduced from thermal winds"

- Assessment of temperature trends in the troposphere deduced from thermal winds
(Submitted to Nature, 2009)
- John R. Christy, Roger A. Pielke Sr., T.N. Chase, B. Herman, J.J. Hnilo



Bengtsson et al. (1996) - "Will greenhouse gas-induced warming over the next 50 years lead to higher frequency and greater intensity of hurricanes?"

- Comments on "Will greenhouse gas-induced warming over the next 50 years lead to higher frequency and greater intensity of hurricanes?" (PDF)
(Tellus A, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp. 622-623, May 1997)
- Christopher W. Landsea



Benestad & Schmidt (2009) - "Solar trends and global warming"

- 'Solar trends and global warming', a reply
(Submitted to Journal of Geophysical Research, 2010)
- Nicola Scafetta, Bruce J. West



Chuine et al. (2004) - "Grape ripening as a past climate indicator"

- Grape harvest dates are poor indicators of summer warmth (PDF)
(Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Volume 87, Numbers 1-4, pp. 255-256, January 2007)
- Douglas J. Keenan



Damon & Laut (2004) - "Pattern of Strange Errors Plagues Solar Activity and Terrestrial Climate Data"

- Comments on the Forum article: "Patterns of Strange Errors Plagues Solar Activity an Terrestrial Climate Data" by P. E. Damon and P. Laut (PDF)
(Danish Space Research Institute, 2005)
- Eigil Friis-Christensen, Henrik Svensmark



Doran & Zimmerman (2009) - "Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change"

- Comment on "Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change" (HTML)
(Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, Volume 90, Number 27, July 2009)
- Roland Granqvist


- Further Comment on “Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change”
(Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, Volume 90, Number 27, July 2009)
- John Helsdon



Duffy et al. (2008) - "Solar variability does not explain late-20th-century warming"

- Interpretations of climate-change data (PDF)
(Physics Today, Volume 62, Issue 11, November 2009)
- Nicola Scafetta, Bruce J. West



Elsner et al. (2000) - "Changes in the rates of North Atlantic major hurricane activity during the 20th century"

- Comment on "Changes in the rates of North Atlantic major hurricane activity during the 20th century" (PDF)
(Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 28, Issue 14, pp. 2871-2872, July 2001)
- Christopher W. Landsea



Emmanuel (2005) - "Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years"

- Are there trends in hurricane destruction? (PDF)
(Nature, Volume 438, Number 7071, pp. E11, December 2005)
- Roger A. Pielke Jr.


- Hurricanes and Global Warming (PDF)
(Nature, Volume 438, Number 7071, pp. E11-E12, December 2005)
- Christopher W. Landsea



Fu et al. (2003) - "Stratospheric influences on MSU-derived tropospheric temperature trends: A direct error analysis."

- Estimation of Tropospheric Temperature Trends from MSU Channels 2 and 4
(Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp. 417–423, March 2006)
- Roy W. Spencer, John R. Christy, William D. Braswell, William B. Norris



Harries et al. (2001) - "Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing longwave radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997"

- Is the additional greenhouse effect already evident in the current climate?
(Fresenius' Journal of Analytical Chemistry, Volume 371, Number 6, pp. 791-797, November 2001)
- E. Raschke



Hofmann et al. (2009) - "A new look at atmospheric carbon dioxide"

- The estimation of historical CO2 trajectories is indeterminate: Comment on "A new look at atmospheric carbon dioxide."
(Atmospheric Environment, Volume 44, Issue 18, pp. 2257-2259, June 2010)
- Craig Loehle



Knutson & Tuleya (2004) - "Impact of CO2-Induced Warming on Simulated Hurricane Intensity and Precipitation: Sensitivity to the Choice of Climate Model and Convective Parameterization"

- Comments on "Impacts of CO2-Induced Warming on Simulated Hurricane Intensity and Precipitation: Sensitivity to the Choice of Climate Model and Convective Scheme"
(Journal of Climate, Volume 18, Issue 23, December 2005)
- Patrick J. Michaels, Paul C. Knappenberger, Christopher Landsea



Laut & Gundermann (2000) - "Solar cycle lengths and climate: A reference revisited"

- Solar cycle lengths and climate: A reference revisited - Reply
(Journal of Geophysical Research, Volume 105, Issue A12, 2000)
- K. Lassen, Eigil Friis-Christensen



Laut (2003) - "Solar activity and terrestrial climate: an analysis of some purported correlations"

- Comments on Peter Laut’s paper: "Solar Activity and terrestrial climate: an analysis of some purported correlations", 2003 (PDF)
(Danish National Space Center, 2003)
- Henrik Svensmark



Lockwood & Frohlich (2007) - "Recent oppositely directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface air temperature"

- Reply to Lockwood and Frohlich – The persistent role of the Sun in climate forcing (PDF)
(Danish National Space Center, March 2007)
- Henrik Svensmark, Eigil Friis-Christensen



Mann et al. (2003) - "On Past Temperatures and Anomalous Late-20th Century Warmth"

- Comment on "On Past Temperatures and Anomalous Late-20th Century Warmth" (PDF)
(Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, Volume 84, Issue 44, pp. 473-476, November 2003)
- Willie Soon, Sallie Baliunas, David Legates



O'Reilly et al. (2003) - "Climate change decreases aquatic ecosystem productivity of Lake Tanganyika, Africa"

- Climate-change effect on Lake Tanganyika? (PDF)
(Nature, Volume 430, Number 6997, July 2004)
- Willis W. Eschenbach



Oreskes et al. (2008) - "From Chicken Little to Dr. Pangloss: William Nierenberg, Global Warming, and the Social Deconstruction of Scientific Knowledge"

- Early Climate Change Consensus at the National Academy: The Origins and Making of Changing Climate (PDF)
(Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, Volume 40, Number 3, pp. 318–349, 2010)
- Nicolas Nierenberg, Walter R. Tschinkel, Victoria J. Tschinkel



Osborn & Briffa (2006) - "The Spatial Extent of 20th-Century Warmth in the Context of the Past 1200 Years"

- Comment on "The Spatial Extent of 20th-Century Warmth in the Context of the Past 1200 Years" (PDF)
(Science, Volume 316, Number 5833, pp. 1844, June 2007)
- Gerd Bürger



Rahmstorf et al. (2004) - "Cosmic Rays, Carbon Dioxide, and Climate"

- Detailed Response to "Cosmic Rays, Carbon Dioxide and Climate" by Rahmstorf et al. (PDF)
(Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 2004)
- Nir J. Shaviv, Jan Veizer


- Further response to "Cosmic Rays, Carbon Dioxide and Climate" by Rahmstorf et al. (PDF)
(Submitted to Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 2004)
- Nir J. Shaviv, Jan Veizer



Rahmstorf (2007) - "A Semi-Empirical Approach to Projecting Future Sea-Level Rise"

- Comment on "A Semi-Empirical Approach to Projecting Future Sea-Level Rise" (PDF)
(Science, Volume 317, Number 5846, pp. 1866, September 2007)
- Torben Schmith, Soren Johansen, Peter Thejll


- Comment on "A Semi-Empirical Approach to Projecting Future Sea-Level Rise" (PDF)
(Science, Volume 317, Number 5846, pp. 1866, September 2007)
- Simon Holgate, Svetlana Jevrejeva, Philip Woodworth, Simon Brewer



Rahmstorf et al. (2007) - "Recent Climate Observations Compared to Projections"

- Recent climate observations disagreement with projections (PDF)
(Energy & Environment, Volume 20, Number 4, pp. 595-596, August 2009)
- David R. B. Stockwell


- Comment to "Recent Climate Observations Compared to Projections" by Rahmstorf et al (PDF)
(arXiv:0801.1870v1, 2008)
- Gerhard Kramm



Royer et al. (2004) - "CO2 as a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate"

- CO2 as a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate: Comment (PDF)
(GSA Today, Volume 14, Issue 7, pp. 18–18, July 2004)
- Nir Shaviv, Jan Veizer



Rypdal & Rypdal (2010) - "Testing Hypotheses about Sun-Climate Complexity Linking"

- Comment on "Testing Hypotheses about Sun-Climate Complexity Linking" (PDF)
(Physical Review Letters, Volume 105, Issue 21, November 2010)
- Nicola Scafetta, Bruce J. West



Santer et al. (1996) - "A search for human influences on the thermal structure of the atmosphere"

- Human effect on global climate? (PDF)
(Nature, Volume 384, Number 6609, pp. 522-523, December 1996)
- Patrick J. Michaels, Paul C. Knappenberger


- Human effect on global climate?
(Nature, Volume 384, Number 6609, pp. 523-524, December 1996)
- Gerd R. Weber



Santer et al. (2003) - "Contributions of Anthropogenic and Natural Forcing to Recent Tropospheric Height Changes"

- Comment on "Contributions of Anthropogenic and Natural Forcing to Recent Tropopause Height Changes"
(Science, Volume 303, Number 5665, pp. 1771, March 2004)
- Roger A. Pielke Sr., Thomas N. Chase


- Scientific Comment by Roger Pielke Sr. and Tom Chase with Input from John Christy and Tony Reale (PDF)
(Pielke Research Group, 2004)
- Roger A. Pielke Sr., Thomas N. Chase



Santer et al. (2008) - "Consistency of modelled and observed temperature trends in the tropical troposphere"

- The Consistency of Modeled and Observed Temperature Trends in the Tropical Troposphere: A Comment on Santer et al (PDF)
(Submitted to the International Journal of Climatology, 2009)
- Stephen McIntyre, Ross McKitrick


- Panel and multivariate methods for tests of trend equivalence in climate data series (PDF)
(Atmospheric Science Letters, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp. 270–277, October/December 2010)
- Ross McKitrick, Stephen McIntyre, Chad Herman



Schmidt (2009) - "Spurious correlations between recent warming and indices of local economic activity"

- Socioeconomic Patterns in Climate Data (PDF)
(Submitted to the Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, 2010)
- Ross McKitrick, Nicolas Nierenberg



Smith (2008) - "Proof of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect"

- Comments on the "Proof of the atmospheric greenhouse effect" by Arthur P. Smith (PDF)
(arXiv:0908.2196v1, 2009)
- Gerhard Kramm, Ralph Dlugi, Michael Zelger



Steig et al. (2009) - "Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year"

- Improved methods for PCA-based reconstructions: case study using the Steig et al. (2009) Antarctic temperature reconstruction
(Journal of Climate, 2010)
- Ryan O’Donnell, Nicholas Lewis, Steve McIntyre, Jeff Condon



Thomas et al. (2003) - "Extinction risk from climate change"

- Forecasting the Effects of Global Warming on Biodiversity (PDF)
(Bioscience, Volume 57, Number 3, pp. 227-236, March 2007)
- Daniel B. Botkin et al.



Thompson et al. (2006) - "Abrupt tropical climate change: Past and present"

- Irreproducible Results in Thompson et al., "Abrupt Tropical Climate Change: Past and Present" (PNAS 2006)
(Energy & Environment, Volume 20, Number 3, pp. 367-373, July 2009)
- J. Huston McCulloch



Wahl & Ammann (2007) - "Robustness of the Mann, Bradley, Hughes reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures: Examination of criticisms based on the nature and processing of proxy climate evidence"

- Auditing Temperature Reconstructions of the Past 1000 Years (PDF)
(International Seminar on Nuclear War and Planetary Emergencies - 40th Session, pp. 69-84, August 2008)
- Stephen McIntyre



9. They arbitrarily rejected peer-reviewed scholarly journals as not "valid" if they did not appear in the Web of Science database.

Web of Science is a for-profit, commercial product of the multi-billion dollar Thomson Reuters corporation that indexes only 11,000 peer-reviewed journals using a subjective inclusion process. There are thousands of peer-reviewed journals that are not included but are with competitors, Scopus indexes 17,000 peer-reviewed journals. Whether a journal is indexed by them is purely subjective and irrelevant to the peer-review status of the journal.

Again, they have failed to show that no peer-reviewed scholarly journals exist outside of the database they have subjectively chosen. Thus they have failed to demonstrate that any of the journals they rejected are not peer-reviewed or not "valid".


Note - This rebuttal is only addressing the criticisms of the Popular Technology.net peer-reviewed paper list and not the many other false statements made throughout the rest of their paper.

Andrew - March 21, 2011 02:41 PM (GMT)
Update: Concerns have been raised that this type of paper might be an isolated incident and not something associate with the Professor and his course. I found supporting evidence that this is not the case,

Student project aims to prove global warming is occurring (The Daily Collegian, November 9, 2010)
QUOTE
Rick Schuhmann, director of engineering leadership development, gave the students several sources for researching, including United States Senator Jim Inhofe, who said in a speech that global warming is a "hoax" and was proven to be a hoax by the nation's top scientists.

Schuhmann wanted his students to make their judgments on facts, not beliefs.

"Science and engineering is not about beliefs - it's about empirical evidence and judgement based upon facts," Schuhmann said.

He offered his students dinner at Cozy Thai, 232 S. Allen Street, if they could find more than 10 valid sources that disproved the existence of global warming. The students found none.


I also found a second class paper,

Judgment_Paper_1_.pdf (March 15, 2010)
QUOTE
We believe that the CRU hackers should be scrutinized and not Dr. Mann and his colleagues. These people have severely invaded privacy and publically distributed private documents. The CRU hackers allow "hacks" like McIntyre to misinterpret, exaggerate, and altar the meaning in negative ways. This is similar to what people were doing with Nostradamus's and the Mayans prediction of 2012.

Andrew - April 6, 2011 04:19 AM (GMT)
Update: The brilliant Theoretical Physicist from the Czech Republic, Lubos Motl weighs in,

Skeptics, TRF stigmatized in a PSU course (The Reference Frame)

Lubos Motl, M.Sc. Theoretical and Mathematical Physics, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic (1997); Ph.D. Theoretical Physics, Rutgers University (2001); Junior Fellow, Physics, Society of Fellows, Harvard University (2001-2004); Assistant Professor of Theoretical Physics, Department of Physics, Harvard University (2004-2007)




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