Sunday, June 05, 2005

Benny Peiser and Ward Churchill

I've been wondering how serious are Benny Peiser's dishonest actions as an academic, when he falsely claimed to have analyzed the same set of abstracts as a previous study on global warming.

Ward Churchill might be an interesting test case. Churchill is the well-known idiot professor from Colorado University who praised the World Trade Center bombings (he later said it was bad that working-class people had died there too). He's now in trouble for various misdeeds, including a false claim in his work that the US Army deliberately sent smallpox-infected blankets to the Mandan Indians in 1837. He has no basis for this claim, and the sources he cites directly contradict the claim.

What Peiser has done is worse than this, in my opinion - he has made a dishonest claim about his own scholarship in order to damage the reputation of another scientist and promote his own reputation, something worse than a false historical claim. Colorado University is now investigating Churchill for this and other problems (plagiarism, the worst thing you can do as an academic). How CU treats Churchill over this particular issue should set the minimum standard for how Peiser should be treated.

(hat tip: Volokh Conspiracy)

keywords: science, global warming, Peiser

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