Earlier today, I went over the gun violence page on 314 Action.org and showed that two paragraphs were copied verbatim from other sources. Little did I realize, that was just the tip of the melting iceberg! (Note: while compiling this post, 314 Action took down their Issues page in a desperate attempt to hide their plagiarism. But I saved everything and will discuss the changes below.)
Two paragraphs on their climate change page were lifted from a 2007 Climate Change and National Security Report by Joshua W. Busby.
They skip around a bit to remove the part where the NSS was quoted and omitted the first sentence of paragraph two, but otherwise the text is exactly the same. (This is from p. 13 of Mr. Busby’s report, should you wish to verify it on your own.)
Next, here’s their page on education.
The first part of this paragraph was copied, albeit with the reference to Sputnik removed, from “How Sputnik Launched Ed-Tech: The National Defense Education Act of 1958” by Audrey Watters, published on June 20 2015:
One year later, in 1958, Eisenhower signed into law the National Defense Education Act, a cornerstone of his administration’s response to Sputnik. The law helped reshape education in the US with a massive influx of federal dollars.
Further down on the page, we find a section on evolution:
The first part and last parts of the first paragraph are lifted verbatim from a page on Berkeley University:
Evolution is essential to our curriculum and to scientific literacy. Imagine teaching social science without teaching history; students would lack perspective on events going on today. Similarly, to understand the big picture of biology, students need to understand life on Earth in terms of its history and its future — the changing life forms and ecosystems that have arisen and changed over billions of years, as well as the mechanisms that have brought about those changes.
The middle of the first paragraph and the second paragraph come from The National Center for Science Education:
First, it is the fundamental, unifying theory that underlies all the life sciences. It has formed the basis of productive and active research for over 140 years and continues to do so.
Critical thinking is an important component of a good education. Critical thinking about evolution must start with a solid understanding of what evolution is and how contemporary scientists understand it.
It’s a shame they didn’t quote the entire paragraph from the NCSE, which ends with a discussion of hucksterism…it would have fit so well here!
The third paragraph again comes from Berkeley:
As is true of any subject, to teach evolution successfully, teachers need to be prepared with a conceptual understanding of the topic and with effective curricular strategies. Teachers that develop a depth of knowledge beyond what is actually expected of students will be able to confidently adjust instruction in response to students’ needs and inquiries.
Finally, here’s an excerpt from the page on energy.
Comparatively speaking, this one isn’t too bad, with only a couple of sentences lifted from Fusion for Energy:
Nearly 2000 scientists and engineers are currently working on a broad range of fusion R&D projects in more than 20 laboratories, including JET. Fusion energy has the potential to provide a sustainable solution to European and global energy needs.
This one isn’t even an exact copy, maybe it would have been OK if they’d included a citation. But of course, they didn’t.
Here’s how the old site looked, with “Issues” across the top:
And here is the new one!
Right down the memory hole! George Orwell would be proud! But that’s OK. Here’s a zip file containing the original climate page so you can verify everything for yourself. (BTW to 314 Action, remember that if you want me to take that file down, you will have to admit it’s your content).
Be sure to read their Board of Advisors page to learn just who is behind this group. They include one Shaughnessy Naughton, a failed political candidate, Michael Mann, who has been involved in plagiarism before, and Joe Trippi, who ran the campaigns of notable failures like Walter Mondale, Howard Dean and John Edwards. The organization also says they will support only Democrat scientists running for office, which leads me to believe that perhaps this group is just another front for the Democrat party.
Whatever the case, there’s no place for plagiarism in science. Above all else, scientists must maintain integrity. 314 Action has shown they have none. Even after I posted two examples of their dishonesty, they have issued no apology, no acknowledgment of their behavior, nothing but quietly removing the plagiarized content without explanation. Scientists deserve better.