Alarmist admits: “it was wrong to do it” (plagiarism)Richard Treadgold | October 31, 2009
Well, this is complete vindication.
Yesterday, I sent “Carbon Dave” Hampton a private email in which I complained about his plagiarism of comments I had posted on his web site. I sent it because he was ignoring my first complaint. I admonished him to admit he had stolen my writing and presented it as his own. Quite unexpectedly, Mr Hampton has just replied and even publicly posted my email on his site. In that post, Mr Hampton admits with much bluster that “it was wrong to do it”. He’s certainly referring to my email but one cannot decipher exactly what “it” is (his writing is not at all lucid). However he does surrender with a “HANDS UP!” and talks about posting my comment so he admits he’s guilty of something and it’s related to my writing.
There’s more tedious detail following, but first I’d like to draw attention to the most important feature of Hampton’s reply to me. When I accused him of stealing my comments, there was no concrete evidence of it. That was because I could not show that my comments were created earlier than his. I hadn’t anticipated the need.
Poirot, we need a confession
What evidence did I have? There was only the date-time stamp on the file containing a copy of my comment and, of course, my clear knowledge of what had transpired. Thin evidence, though, in anybody’s book, because those stamps can be changed and my recollection proves nothing to others. I needed a confession. Perhaps I could shame him into apologising.
I first made the allegation in the three sentences quoted below that I posted on his site (but which he deleted). A day went by without response. Then I sent the longer email. He has just replied, accusing me of being “nasty”, but also confessing that what he did was wrong! This provides complete vindication of my accusation against him of plagiarism, for he has confessed it. He’s done something wrong and he ought to apologise. He hasn’t gone as far as apologising, but confessing gives some sense of satisfaction.
Round two: he said, I said
He can’t stop abusing me, however. He refers to my “nasty comments” to him, but here is the post where he uses my comments; I challenge him to name a single nasty word in it, or in the original. Although he mounts a furious complaint against the “nasty” features of my post, a notable feature of his diatribe is no comment on the climate information I mentioned, which was the whole point of the exercise.
Subject: Bully for you!
You try and bully me, you misrepresent me, and you turn up the nastiness dial. You show yourself up.
It won’t deter me from speaking my truth.
And it might back-fire on you.
I will be monitoring your site, and I may seek legal advice later.
I will not be responding to you and I will not be posting more of your comments on my site after today.
You have helped me write a new blog story.
There is an apology for paraphrasing your words without also publishing your comment.
And a retraction.
the carbon coach
But in his post he actually gives only an insincere, sarcastic apology. No matter what he says, I offered no nastiness and never will. Here’s the short note I sent after he subverted my comments; it states the simple truth without abuse:
Dave: Don’t plagiarise my comments. Don’t claim you’ve posted all comments when you haven’t. I’m still waiting for you to “debunk” the assertion that the climate is not warming dangerously.
But he neither posted that nor responded to it.
A dead parody
In his latest post, he offers the explanation: “I paraphrased and parodied him and mirrored his arrogance and bullying right back at him—he didn’t like it. He called it plagiarising.” Which sounds rather clever until you realise that he was the only one who perceived any parody or mirroring, because he didn’t identify what he was doing, he didn’t paraphrase and he didn’t name his target. It was a complete waste of a parody, an empty attempt at parody, a dead parody, a parody entirely extinct. It wasn’t at all clever, just copied. He mentions my arrogance and bullying; I’m sorry he sees it like that but I don’t believe it’s that strong. Remember that he’d accused “me” in his original article, of complicity in “mass suicide” and “the future deaths of billions”. That’s way beyond arrogance and bullying. He hands it out, but he can’t take a mild version coming back at him. He seems disconnected from what he’s saying about other people, as though they shouldn’t take offence.
A large scientist
But then he mentions “being admonished by you and a rather large looking ‘scientist’ in a suit, carrying a large black brief case.” What’s that about? For those who believe what he says about the large scientist, please know that he’s lying. It’s impossible to know what he’s talking about. He is not describing a world we share.
For those who don’t know, Hampton lives in England and I live in New Zealand, and there’s no way I just popped over there yesterday for any reason, much less to “admonish” this nincompoop, and I wouldn’t be back home by now if I had—it’s a 24-hour flight, one way.
The more Hampton writes, the more ridiculous the story becomes, for next he launches into a sarcastic recanting of his belief that CO2 is responsible for ruining the world. This is no apology of course, it’s blatant misdirection: my complaint against him had nothing to do with climate change.
A sordid affair
I wonder if he detects the beautiful irony in his sarcastic apology: “I apologise unreservedly for ever thinking CO2 was anything other than wonderful pure and life-giving.” For, of course, wonderful, pure and life-giving are indeed the qualities of the magical, invisible gas that enables all plants, both terrestrial and marine, to convert the energy of the sun into life-giving sugars, thus providing the food that enables us all to live, vegetarian and carnivore alike. A gas that stands at its lowest levels for the last 300 million years.
Too hard to refute
But the more I consider this sordid little affair, the more convinced I am that the reason for the heat, the drama and the bad blood boils down to a simple thing: I challenged him and he just waved his hands around and gave up. He doesn’t refer to it, but it makes sense because it’s the only bit he completely ignores. I said “I’m waiting; debunk away. It will be especially good to see how you paper over the satellite temperature record; it shows no undue warming since 1979, a kind of plateau since 2001 and even a little cooling since 2005. Surely you cannot claim dangerous warming from that?”
And that was too hard to refute. Facts are like that.