The Mann case is your business too
I know that my ongoing coverage of the Michael Mann/Mark Steyn case is not winning me many friends among skeptics, largely because Steyn takes the straight denialist view – that there is nothing to the idea that increased CO2 means increased temperatures and that means problems – and also because there is a long standing belief that right-wingers have no place in the skeptic/atheist ranks.
However, let me explain why this should matter to you. I have long been saying that left-wing anti-science is far more lethal than right wing anti-science – that the peculiarly religious environmentalism gets a lot of people killed and has an utterly illiberal agenda. Case in point, the recent calls to have deniers arrested.
I know what some of you are thinking, that post-socialist lefties are too big wimps to really mean that sort of thing, that they will content themselves with picking on the world’s poorest, sabotaging their energy supplies etc., but they will never have the stones to push this stuff through in the developed world. It’s not they who will – it is the ones who come after. Unlike the new left, the fascist right really does mean it when it comes to radical environmentalism.
That’s point one. Point two, rather more immediate, is that the crap Mann is pulling will not stop with out and out deniers, and it is foolish to assume that it will. I have recently become aware of Roger Pielke Jr who is being slammed as “anti-science” and a denier.
Except that Pielke isn’t a denialist by any definition of the term:
Humans are significantly altering the global climate, but in a variety of diverse ways beyond the radiative effect of carbon dioxide. The IPCC assessments have been too conservative in recognizing the importance of these human climate forcings as they alter regional and global climate. These assessments have also not communicated the inability of the models to accurately forecast the spread of possibilities of future climate. The forecasts, therefore, do not provide any skill in quantifying the impact of different mitigation strategies on the actual climate response that would occur.
So he accepts climate science, just says that the influence of factors other than CO2 has been understated, and this causes trouble for the models.
Maybe he is right and maybe he is wrong, but the point is that the attempts to howl him down – naturally including Pope Myers - go far beyond attacking simple ‘denialism’.
As I have pointed out, to say that Mann’s work has been endlessly replicated is stretching it to say the least – but would we know that if he gets his way? The effort by people like Michael Mann will be extended to all scientists who accept the basic premises, but differ on the details, or on the ways that it can be addressed. What they are trying to do is create an official doctrine that cannot be questioned or challenged at all – witness the Mau Mauing of journals etc.
Is this what science is supposed to be to these people?