• Mann overboard

    At the outset of all of this – the Mann-Steyn argument – I was clear to specify that while I have suspicions about Mann’s accuracy, I do not have grounds to charge him with scientific fraud – with wilful dishonesty, in other words.  This has annoyed some people in the dextrosphere, but I stand by that – I don’t get to choose when to apply the basic rules of scientific ethics, and I have to defend him from that charge until I have good evidence…

    …but there is no reason for me to defend him on absolutely anything else.  I had a bad impression of the guy from the start, but really, what has come to light is that we are dealing with a fabricating, megalomanical, bullying windbag.  Beginning with his very peculiar insistence that he is a Nobel Laureate (as I pointed out, even if he had got the peace prize, it wouldn’t be anything to be proud of), the digging done by Mark Steyn and Stephen McIntyre has revealed that this guy plays fast and loose when it comes to his publicity.  

    In the original Nature report, I mentioned that the panel had grave concerns about Mann’s graph, but didn’t think it was fraudulent – and reporting that the report was an endorsement of the stick is disingenuous.  It gets much, much worse.  It turns out that almost all of the time when Mann is claiming to have been exonerated by a given investigative body, nothing of the sort has taken place.

    Example 1: He claims to have been exonerated by the Oxburgh panel; actually the President of the Royal Statistical Society slammed  slammed Mann for exaggerating the effects he found.  The panel only investigated and exonerated the CRU – not Michael Mann.

    Example 2:  The Muir Russell inquiry, again, looked only at the CRU scientist and Mann cooked the quote and pretended that he was exonerated.

    Example 3:  The UK’s House of Commons did not say that ‘criticisms of the CRU ‘ were misplaced, nor did they exonerate Mann, and specifically upbraided him for not providing his data.

    On that note, let me say that Mann’s willful hiding of his data and calculations is an absolute disgrace.  I have every scrap of data I have ever used on a couple of external hard drives, and in a set of laboratory books.  If anyone ever wants any of it, they just need to ask.  That is why it is called “evidence”.  You are supposed to be able to show it.

    There is more, a lot more.

    Given all this, Mann’s  his Mau-Mauing of journals, his repeated sliming and smearing of other scientists, such as Lomborg and Judith Curry, and even the aforementioned President of the Royal Statistical Society – it really is quite astounding.  And, as I have also pointed out, Lomborg isn’t guilty of any sort of misrepresentation like this.  As I said, if Mann likes to dish it out, he should learn to take it.

    So, while I am obliged to defend him from the charge of fraud, I don’t have to defend this case.  There is no way that any layperson, looking at a record like this, could not have reasonable grounds to think that Mann’s distortions extended into his scientific work.  I also am not obliged to hope that Steyn’s countersue fails; indeed, I hope that Mann is taken for the full $20 million, given the sort of stunts he has been pulling on fellow scientists.

    And, yes, it is fellow scientists.  Climate science watch is desperately trying to polish this turd:

    The obsession among contrarians and denialists with trying to overthrow climate science by discrediting seminal early paleoclimate research by Mann and his colleagues in the 1990s is about politics, not science.

    Sorry, that won’t fly.  First of all, you can be a legitimate scientists, who thinks AGW is real, who cares about the fact, and go so far as to organize round tables on how to deal with it and still be slimed by Mann.  Second, for a chap as political as Mann to start complaining about politics is really too much.  Third, you can accept global warming and work to stop it and still think Mann is sloppy and unethical.


    There is one final thing that has come to light – the concern of the CRU that Mann was pushing their conclusions well beyond what they knew was right. That is a very telling comment.

    But let me stress that none of this disproves the idea of man made global warming. 

    Why do I say this?  Because there are many other temperature reconstructions that show an uptick in temperature in our age.  I haven’t found any that are as dramatic as Mann’s – telling in combination with the above quote – but they still show this.  Mann may be proved to be full of shit, but that doesn’t say anything about the work of Darrell Kaufman, Gabriel Hegerl, Anders Moberg, Ming Tan, A.E. Bjune, Frederik Charpentier, or J. Overpeck, just to grab some random top-notch first authors together.

    Perhaps Mann being tossed overboard is just the thing that climate science needs.

    Category: APGW

    Article by: The Prussian

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    • Spence

      Congrats on the link from Mark Steyn:


      I studied Mann’s work in some depth between around 2004 and 2006 and can confirm it is extremely poor quality scientific research – often lacking proper objective methods in sampling and analysis, controls against spurious / nonsense results and often bodging “good” methods in ways which have unknown consequences (or known consequences that are “bad”).

      Of course on top of that his aggressive and bullying methods towards anyone who disagreed with him made him rather notorious – a rather unpleasant combination. Unfortunately putting ones head above the parapet and criticising him meant a swarm of activists (think a whole group of Greg Ladens, frothing at the mouth) would immediately make your life as difficult as they possibly could. There are other curiousities, such as Phil Plait’s devoted support of Mann.

      On the wider issue of AGW, yes man does have an influence on climate but that does not mean a disaster looms around the corner… but that discussion is perhaps for another day :-)

      • ThePrussian

        Thanks for the nice comments. :-) I agree with you that what the science says AGW is likely to cause and the stuff presented in the media has only a minimal overlap.

      • DavidAppell

        Mann et al’s work has, by now, been replicated many times. See my post above for links.

    • Terry O’Neal

      In 1974 my Physical Geography prof taught that increased CO2 levels were actually GOOD for those thingies that breathe CO2…oh yes, plants. So more CO2 means more plant growth which means they produce more oxygen. I think. He said Ole’ Mother Earth has been doing this for a long time so why the hystrionics!! Also the AVERAGE winter temp in most of Greenland is -15° F give or take. So how does a 1 or 2 or even 10° increase cause all the ice to melt?? It does still melt at 32°, correct?? If the Earth is warming then how is the Antarctic ice at an all-time high (7.53 million square miles according to NSIDC in September 2013)??? And of course there is the grossly inconvenient truth (Al) that the warming paused in 1997. I’m just an uneducated layman (albeit with an IQ around 170, just sayin’) but none of this jibes worth a damn with anything Mann or his minions are preaching. Little help here, Prussian???

      • DavidAppell

        CO2 per se might be good for plants, but the accompanying changes in temperature, precipitation, soil moisture and plant tissue structure aren’t. There is already evidence that warming is counteracting the CO2-fertilization effect for some major crops:

        “Global scale climate–crop yield relationships and the impacts of recent warming,” David B Lobell and Christopher B Field, Environ. Res. Lett. 2 (2007) 014002 (7pp)

        • Terry O’Neal

          OK. So explain the “pause” since 1997 despite growing CO2 emissions from China, India etc. I’m sure you revere the “hockey stick” of Mann but it is a complete fraud. If you are so confident of your position why is there such a continuing effort to stifle dissent?? Why the huge e-mail scandal detailing the efforts to suppress data which contradicts your stand?? The warming during the Middle Ages??? Move along, nothing to see. Climate has ALWAYS changed. No argument there but people like you will never manage to steal trillions of dollars for schemes that will only serve to enrich phonies like Al Gore. You have lost credibility on the issue and there are great scientists who are denouncing this hoax more every day.

          • DavidAppell

            Why is the hockey stick a “fraud?”
            What evidence shows that?
            What about all the studies that have essentially replicated Mann et al’s results, some using completely different mathematics? Are you ignoring those? Are they all frauds too? By what evidence?

            • Terry O’Neal

              Even the UN backed away from the hockey stick. It is a MYTH. Mann totally ignored the Medieval warm so your saying it was regional is just silly. And of course you are unaware of the pause. Google “Climate scientists try to explain lack of warming since 1997”. NONE of them can explain it. Instead of these self-serving studies you dredge up walk outside and take a look around. And you can trot out all the phony computer models you want. Global warming caused the Great Lakes to freeze almost completely over. Just face it: people like you are crisis mongers. Overpopulation, acid rain, smog, blah blah blah. Please just live your life and try being a useful and productive person. Stop whining over something that even if it were true (and it’s not) there is virtually nothing we can do except for most of us to die.

            • DavidAppell

              Bull. The hockey stick has been replicated by about a dozen studies since Mann et al’s original paper. it is firm, established science — and not really surprising, either, given the hockey sticks in population, energy use, CO2 emissions and the other GHGs.

            • Terry O’Neal

              Have a great life in Fantasyland. You’re just like the other fanatics who won’t answer 1 simple question. If you are so smug and proud of your phony and manipulated “studies” then why did your hero Mann go to such great lengths to suppress dissent?? This is the only scientific field where people are demonized for simply disagreeing. Anything that contradicts your perverted view is “localized” or “isolated”. It is pathetic that people like you get such a thrill out of scaremongering. And duh I know the difference in various calamities’ I was merely pointing out how you drones just move from one hoax to the next. Get a life.

            • DavidAppell

              Mann didn’t ignore any medieval warm period — there was never data to support it being global. Herbert Lamb wrote about it being in Europe, and that was all. The data (PAGES 2k in Nature Geoscience last year) show it was not global.

            • DavidAppell

              The Great Lakes are a tiny portion of the globe. There will always be regional flucuations. They hardly mean global warming has gone — the globe continues to warm. Ice is melthing, the seas are riising.

            • DavidAppell

              If you don’t understand why global warming is more serious than smog or acid rain, then you clearly don”t understand the science and the issue. But I’m not surprised.

          • DavidAppell
          • DavidAppell

            Warming during the middle ages was regional, not global:

            “A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years,” Marcott et al, Science v339 n6124 pp 1198-1201, March 8, 2013

            “Continental-scale temperature variability during the past two millennia,” PAGES 2k Consortium, Nature Geosciences, April 21, 2013

    • freddouglass2009

      Stuart Kauffmann, a well known complexity theorist, recounts a story, unrelated to climate, that shows Albert Gore’s propensity to “anti-science” [Kauffman (2000) Investigations. Oxford Univ. Press pp 9-10].

      First, the background. In 1996, NASA scientists found evidence in a meteorite from Mars for Martian life. Gore chaired a conference to figure out what to do next. Gore had evidently read Kauffman’s book “At Home in the Universe”, where Kauffman presented his theory that “in complex chemical reaction systems, self-reproducing molecular systems form with high probability.” Kauffman reports:

      “The vice president looked across the table at me and asked: ‘Dr. Kauffman, don’t you have a theory that in complex chemical reaction systems life arises more or less spontaneously?’
      ‘Well, isn’t that just sensible?'” the Vice President declared.
      Kauffman reported that he was “rather thrilled, but somewhat embarrassed.
      ‘The theory has been tested computationally,'” he told Gore,”‘but there are no molecular experiments to support it.”
      “‘But isn’t it just sensible? The vice president persisted.”
      “I couldn’t help the response”, Kauffman writes. “Mr. Vice President, I have waited a long time for such confirmation. With your permission, sir, I will use it to bludgeon my enemies.’ I’m glad to say that there was warm laughter around the table.”

      Of course, Kauffman, a real scientist, knows that “what is sensible” need not be “what is true”. Gore, apparently, did not.

      As we all know, Gore later went on to endorse Mann’s hockey stick. Now, Mann is doing what Kauffman did not do (and what real scientists would never do), use a political endorsement to “bludgeon his enemies.” Even though it is clear to us in the community that Mann certainly was sloppy with his data, if he did not consciously adjust them to get the answer he wanted.

      No scientists do what David Appell finds entirely acceptable, do “data
      adjustments … [to] get the right answer”.
      [http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2014/02/steyn-outsou…]. Nor would scientists write ad hominem abuse of Judith Curry, try to get journal editors fired, suppress contradictory evidence, censor people posting on their web pages, and other things that Mann and his defenders (including Appell) do frequently.

      UNLESS they are both bad scientist, AND if they were convinced that the political power will protect them.

      This was certainly true in the age of Trofim Lysenko, who managed challenges to his theories much as Mann has. It is an interesting to learn whether it is still true.

    • Noblesse Oblige

      Prussy, you come tantalizingly close to the key question but don’t quite get there. For anyone who hasn’t got the training or inclination to actually look into the science, the question is, “What are the odds that a process as flawed as climate science with its IPCC oversight will actually get the science right?.” Yes, none of this disproves the idea of man made global warming, but it ought to be prima facie against catastrophe alarms and all the proposed uprooting of the world’s economy that goes with them .

    • SkepticGoneWild

      You stated, “I do not have grounds to charge him with scientific fraud..”. Maybe you have not connected all the dots yet? Might I suggest a methodology whereby that conclusion could be forcefully made?

      Reproducibility is regarded as one of the foundations of the entire
      scientific method, a benchmark upon which the reliability of an
      experiment can be tested. One could argue in the case of Mann and his hockey stick that since he has not provided ALL the data, metadata, codes, etc. necessary to reproduce his study, that therefor the study does not meet the strict definition of science. Mann’s claim that his study is scientific would therefore be fraudulent.

      The scientific method is a wonderful methodology that guards against fraud. It requires that a hypothesis be tested. It requires that others are able to repeat the experiment to verify its conclusions. As Steve McIntyre can testify, it’s like pulling teeth to get Mann to release anything. In my opinion Mann is lying and committing fraud by claiming his MBH98 study is scientific. No one can reproduce his study because he still refuses to release all the data and codes. That is not conducting science.

      • DavidAppell

        Re: reproducibility — see the comment I just put above, with contains links to several studies that replicate MBH….

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    • DavidAppell

      The anonymous author wrote:

      I haven’t found any that are as dramatic as Mann’s

      Mann et al’s “hockey stick” work has been replicated now by many different groups, some using independent mathematical techniques:

      “A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years,” Marcott et al, Science v339 n6124 pp 1198-1201, March 8, 2013

      “Continental-scale temperature variability during the past two millennia,” PAGES 2k Consortium, Nature Geosciences, April 21, 2013

      A confirmation using a different statistical technique was Tingley and Huybers, reported on here:

      “Novel Analysis Confirms Climate “Hockey Stick” Graph,” Scientific American, November 2009, pp 21-22.

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