• What is Mann that thou art mindful of him?

    [Thanks again to Mark Steyn for the linkage!   Reading his description of how the Mighty Mann is now trying to get his own case dismissed, I realized that this isn’t ‘The Scopes Trial of the Twenty-First Century’.  What it is, is the Lipstadt Trial of the twenty-first century.  You may recall – David Irving sued Deborah Lipstadt for calling him a fraud, and worse.  He lost that case spectacularly, and what was left of his reputation was shredded beyond any hope of recall.  Sound familiar?]

     

    Some radio silence due to a new job and a number of projects coming down the pipeline.

    Whenever I think that Michael Mann can’t sink any lower, he manages to do so.  I was reading the following on Mark Steyn’s website where the Mann and his lawyers claim that he is being wrongly associated with a hockey stick published in the IPCC report that is just an ‘overly simplified and artistic’ depiction of the stick.  I.e. made up.

    That’s funny.  I thought that the IPCC was the gold standard and we were supposed to take everything in it seriously.  Makes one wonder what else is ‘overly simplified and artistic’.

    But once again, Mann’s lying.  His name is on the list of authors for that particular stick, and, more importantly, please go and compare that stick with this one:

    Hockey Stick from the original paper in 1999
    Hockey Stick from the original paper in 1999

    This is the original hockey stick graph which made Mann’s name.  You know what’s interesting?  This shows a temperature increase from the late 1800s to 2000 of about 0.8, 0.9 degrees.  The one Mann is now trying to frantically distance himself from shows an increase of 0.5 degrees.  0.6  At the most.

    I’m keep reposting these, because they matter.  Here’s the hockey stick graph that Mann was hawking when he was trying to get people to do what he wants (i.e. in another part of the IPCC):

    IPCC hockey stick graph
    IPCC hockey stick graph

    And here’s the one that Mann produces when he has to work with competent scientists who can check his work:

     

    PAGES 2K hockey stick
    Consensus hockey stick

     

    You get the picture?

    Now to the bit that makes me really quite angry.

     

    For thou hast made him a little lower than the jackasses, and crowned him with vainglory 

    It’s this post by Aaron Huertas.  Oh, I’m not angry at Mr Huertas.  I mean, I disagree with him when he says:

    What’s missing, of course, from all their briefs, are legitimate scientific citations rejecting or refuting Dr. Mann’s work. That’s because those don’t exist.

    Oh really?  What’s all this then?

    The claim that Mann’s work has been repeatedly replicated is simply not true.  His work pitches the damn graph up into the stratosphere, above and beyond what other scientists think is kosher.  Oh, don’t take it from me.  Take it from Dr John Christy, leading author of the IPCC and  pioneer of the satellite temperature record.

    I also have to sigh a little when I see this graph again:

    NH Temperature reconstruction
    NH Temperature reconstruction

    Firstly, this looks a leedle different to Mann’s standard image, as it always does when competent people force him to toe the line.  Second, take a careful look at that sudden blade at the end, where everything goes up.  It’s composed of two, that is, exactly two lines.  And whaddaya know, they are instrumental records, not proxy ones.

    Surprise me.

    But that doesn’t upset me.  This is all good, knockabout stuff – the meat of serious scientific discussion and debate.

    What upsets me is when Mr Huertas starts writing like this:

    Scientists take fraud and retractions very seriously […] Unlike Dr. Mann’s detractors, I’m not so convinced of my own righteousness that I claim to have expertise on topics that are well outside my wheelhouse. I’m just a guy who loves science and appreciates everything scientists do to inform us about our world.

    I get upset because I know exactly where he’s coming from.  I would have written like this not that long ago.  I still get into raging argument where I say it is outrageous to casually attack the scientific integrity of climatologists…. other than Mann.

    Because Mann’s conduct has been an utter and complete disgrace.  He’s lied about being a Nobel laureate, he’s lied about being multiply exonerated, he’s lied about other scientists, and tried to bully and smear and intimidate anyone who refuses to defer to him.

    And the only reason he gets away with this is because of the respect that good people, like Mr Huertas, rightly and properly have for science and the scientific method.  Science is hard, tough, poorly paid, and often thankless work.  It’s also the thing that actually advances our species from the savannah to the skyscraper.  It’s quite right and proper to have a healthy respect for this.

    And Mann’s abusing it.  He is trying to cash in on that respect for his own ends.

    Slate Star Codex has a term for the stunts he and his acolytes pull: getting Eulered.  It refers to making a reference to something so abstruse and specialized that it’s hard for just about any layperson to answer.  The term comes from an argument between Diderot and Euler about the existence of God.

    Euler said, in a tone of absolute conviction: “Monsieur, (a+b^n)/n = x, therefore, God exists! What is your response to that?” and Diderot, “for whom algebra was like Chinese”, had no response. Thus was he publicly humiliated, all the Russian Christians got an excuse to believe what they had wanted to believe anyway, and Diderot left in a huff.

    This is transparent poppycock, naturally.  You see the method used.  You make a reference to something that your opponent is highly unlikely to know about, and refuse to explain it, and then smirk triumphantly when he can’t come up with a response.  One of the worst offenders of this kind of thing is the Mannling David Appel.  His modus operandi is to yell at laypeople “What about all the independent replications?  What about PAGES 2K?” and to smirk triumphantly when the layman who doesn’t have access to all the journals in which this is discussed, since access costs thousands of dollar cannot come up with an answer.

    Oddly enough, he doesn’t seem too keen on tangling with me anymore, ever since he realized that I do in fact have access to those journals and can see that his line is even more transparrent poppycock.

    It reminds me a great deal of my encounters with the racialists who will go ‘Well, what about MAO-A?  Where’s your respect for science?’  And when I respond, they go mysteriously quiet...

     

     The Wisdom of Crowds and the foolishness of the Eggheads

    There’s a certain strand of exasperation at conservative anti-intellectualism that seems superficially plausible.  “Come on,” it runs, “you don’t have decades of experience in that subject, you don’t have a PhD in the relevant field, why can’t you just leave it to the experts, to the smart set?  Astronomers don’t tell plumbers how to run their work.”

    Sound superficially plausible, right?  Except for one thing, which is the kinds of ideas the smart set have been known to defend.

    In the late nineteenth century, all the Smart Set just knew that Eugenics was vitally necessary.

    Then the Smart Set just knew that democracy and capitalism were over, and a centralized, collectivized economy was the way forward.

    Then the Smart Set just knew that overpopulation was going to destroy the world and it was essential to cut off all food aid to the poorest parts of the world, and curb the birth rates of all those, y’know, brown people.

    Then the Smart Set just knew that GM foods were wicked and needed to be stopped

    Then the Smart Set just knew that climate change was so serious that the ‘temporary’ suspension of democracy was necessary…

     

    People have an incredibly well founded fear of intellectuals run amok.  The record of just delegating things to the Smart Set and letting them run and organize society is horrific beyond words.  In the same way that you don’t need to be a biologist to smell danger when someone says “Black Africans have a higher proportion of short form MAO-A, therefore they will always be more violent and crime ridden”, you don’t need to be a trained climatologist to smell danger when someone says “Anthropogenic greenhouse gasses are warming the planet, so we need to ramp up taxes, institute a command-and-control economy, stop industrial development in the developing world, and, y’know, just maybe, suspend democracy and jail people who object”.  People can sense a threat and they will fight back with everything to hand.

    Notice was all of the previous example have in common?  They are all about power.  About using government power to coerce people.  It is not at all like saying “The nuclear engineers know what they are talking about when it comes to this new reactor, so let them get on with it” or “Biologists know what they are talking about when they investigate evolution, so let them get on with it.”  If Greens were simply raising money to support research into clean energy and carbon capture and the rest of it, there would be no problem and no objections.  If they were to simply try to fix the problem, instead of trying to bully the rest of the world, if they were donating 100 million to solar panel research rather than pissing it down the drain of elections and ‘awareness raising’, then there would be no problem whatsoever.

    I’ve seen even hardened denialists come around to this position.  I’ll say things like ‘I don’t want all these big government programs; what I’m saying is we could switch over to nuclear power, and maybe ask the rich and famous to donate to some good R & D projects, and so we could all get cheap energy and clean things up.  Plus, we end our dependence on oil, we drain away the funds supporting the jihadis”.  You’d be amazed how quickly people come around to that point of view.

    After Mann, whither Climate?

    I hope that Mann loses not just his case, but also Steyn’s counter-sue.  I hope he’s taken for the whole $20 million.  Further, I think that’s a real possibility.

    There’s a question that should concern all of us who realize that rising greenhouse gas levels could be really bad in the future.  The question is: what then?  There are many good, serious scientists who have shown that man-made global warming is real, and they do not deserve to be tarred with the same brush as Mann.  Yes, they should have spoken out earlier – but I imagine, like most of my ivory towered brethren, they prefer to get one with real work rather than political mudwrestling.  They are good people, good scientists, and do deserve that respect.

    But if and when Mann does go down in flames, what will be the state of climate science in the public eye?

    I do think that if anything will be done on this issue, it’ll only be possible through private subscription and individual hard word.  The farce of ‘big government climate solutions’ has to come to an end.

     

    Category: APGW

    Article by: The Prussian

    7 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

    • MikeN

      One of your links is broken.

      • ThePrussian

        Thanks. Fixed it.

    • MikeN

      http://hiizuru.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/michael-mann-committed-fraud/

      You have written that you don’t see fraud definitively in Mann’s work. What do you think of these specific charges?

    • jayhdavis

      Mann and his cohorts have made a laughingstock of “climate science”. If there were any real “climate scientists” out there, they should have registered their objections to Mann and friends when all this first started. By their silence they have condoned this fraud.

      • gamut

        He did address this:
        “.. they should have spoken out earlier – but I imagine, like most of my ivory towered brethren, they prefer to get one with real work rather than political mudwrestling.”

        But.. I think he’s being overly charitable. My recollection of arguments way back then was that it’s ok to be a little dishonest in the face of such dishonesty on the other side. This was/is an abhorrent argument, and those who made it ought to be shamed and, if they have any sense, apologise for having made it.

        • bigmaq1980

          Does one always speak up and challenge their colleagues at work? Probably not.

          Same dynamic here.

          The problem is likely that most shared the political sentiment (for “solutions to the problem”) and the tangible incentives (to promote “climate science”), so were not prepared to call to question or to accountability a “strong voice” in their camp.

          @The Prussian…This is one of the best write-ups on the politics with “climate science” I’ve come across for some time.

          • jayhdavis

            For many years I was a CPA. And as a CPA, it was very advisable to challenge a colleague when he/she was doing something questionable, i.e. not according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or other accounting guidelines and rules. When you go along with a colleagues dodgy work, you get painted with the same brush when that work is exposed.

            • Guest

              That’s what professional partnerships are all about. I have a former colleague who is in the process of claiming bankruptcy because of the flawed work of an audit team in the same national partnership but in another city 25 years ago.

            • bigmaq1980

              Not sure what exactly the “climate scientists” knew or actually understood at the time, but it seems it went without much questioning for some time. Just looking for an explanation why here.

              Yours is a good point, but not quite a parallel to my analogy.

              The motivations and threats for such behavior are somewhat different in important ways…

              – CPA vs University funded and tenured Professor (or graduate students looking to become one). Note: in the context of climate science.

              – Legal threat exists for CPA (and to the company/partnership itself) for poor performance/judgement and for being an accessory to misconduct, but generally does not exist for Professor (outside of outright fraud, and even then…), nor to the University. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Andersen

              – Legal threat is also tied to formal standards and principles (FASB, tax law, etc.), while the peer review process for scientific study has no legal standing and is less formally organized (some might say it is more who you know). http://www.psmag.com/navigation/nature-and-technology/scientific-publishing-killing-science-75694/

              – That there seems to be a bias already in the political points of view of many climate researchers (e.g. “man is causing harm to the environment and therefore government must do something about it”) might be enough to put a chill in their will to question their colleagues too hard or too much. It might well have been a self-reinforcing cycle to continue to receive or grow funding for their research. Hard to parallel this for CPAs across external organizations.

              There is certainly room to argue that people too often forgo challenging their peers, especially on important things. However, I don’t see evidence that our culture values personal confrontation, even if the confronter is “correct”. We like to see others do it, but push comes to shove, we don’t always behave that way. Throw in incentives or motivators to avoid it altogether and no wonder we see this happen.

            • jayhdavis

              Of course you are correct. That’s why “scientists”, especially those that are tenured professors, should not be given any credibility unless their raw data and methodology have been put out there for all to examine and replicate. And all negative findings by other scientists should also be put out there for examination. If a scientist refuses to cooperate, his/her findings are scrapped. And if a tenured professor is found to have played fast and loose with the processes, that professor should lose his/her tenure and job.

          • ThePrussian

            Thank you. :-) Comments like that keep me pounding the keyboard.

          • gamut

            My statement about past condoning of `a little dishonesty in the name of the common good` isn’t just speculation. I participated in a lively debate about exactly this point around 2005/6. I was as angry abou it then as I am now.

            So, what we had was not the absence of a challenge, but something quite appreciably worse.

            “Does one always speak up and challenge their colleagues at work?”

            YES! Those who don’t are either spineless, clueless or immoral. I’m not sure which of those is worse.

            • bigmaq1980

              I think you miss the point…in rebuttal…

              First, about the assertion of being “spineless”, etc… Who really speaks up… every… single… time… they see/hear something they may disagree with in a work environment?

              The only people who actually live that way, in my observation, are those with supreme egos (who feel they are right about everything) or have an issue (e.g. asperger syndrome – read about how John Elder Robinson – brilliant man – couldn’t keep a job for this very reason).

              Second, what appears to you, now with the benefit of hindsight, is “dishonesty”. Was it so clear at the time? Did all these peers have the same level of understanding about the data? Did they have the same incentive to see things as objectively as they should have? Should they have been able to see the problem if the perpetrator was clever enough and a bully enough to push his own agenda?

              Third, now with the politics around the situation so bound to a single viewpoint, how many people are really willing to stick their necks out?

              It appears that Mann’s specific actions and that of his acolytes, or others who have a stake to gain (e.g. Al Gore) have created an environment that exacts a price on any dissenter or skeptic.

              Can we blame those people? Yes, just like we can blame people who vote for corrupt politicians, just like we can blame people who make poor life choices for their own health, and a thousand other things.

              All the others outside of the core group of manipulators could well have been unwitting, or witting pawns in this whole scheme. Hard to sort through all the individuals and render judgement.

              Bottom line, I agree with you, but not in such a broad brush of casting blame on all. I also think the blame game approach is less productive.

              The lesson I hope folks take away from all this is that we are better off being skeptical, and not be lulled into being sold on a message that fits what we like to hear, especially coming from so called “experts”.

              I think with the help of the internet, with blogs like this, it allows for a healthy level of skepticism and debate, beyond the reach of politics and incentives for the leaders of any given viewpoint.

            • gamut

              Holy crap, I think I have mild asperger syndrome. Thanks for the diagnosis. I wasn’t even aware there was a name for my particular kind of social .. erm.. oddities. But it does put my argument here into a different light. It could be that we don’t disagree on the content, so much as on how we interpret intentions.

              Also, I completely agree with the rest of your response. I do tend to cast judgment rather easily, and you’re definitely right that people can get caught up no matter what side of a debate they’re on.

              My impression of the behaviour of those individuals is that they were merely ok with the “means justify the ends” approach. Not necessarily employing those means themselves. I am probably guilty of the same, in some instances, but less so with age.

              This isn’t like being overweight — that’s just a lack of control, and I think most overweight people disapprove of their own lack of motivation, but fail to act on that disapproval. In this case it was kind of the opposite: observing distasteful action, and withholding disapproval in service to a more important end.

              Your conclusion is spot on.

            • bigmaq1980

              Thanks. I’ve long forgotten this discussion, but it was refreshing to review.

              I’ve managed too many people where I have seen this in action.

              Getting people to say, or support, what they really think, even on perceived “small things”, can be a challenge – non-confrontation is so engrained in our culture (or is it DNA?).

              I’ve also seen the opposite in some individuals who were technically “correct”, but were so strident that they ended up “losing the argument” with the rest of the folks. This also provides a challenge, when supporting what they are saying, to get people back on side.

              People do fall on a spectrum between the extremes of these two, and often it is situational, depends on the “trigger” issue, and incentives.

              Then, there are the “bullies” who intentionally take advantage of this dynamic. Mann seems to be one of these.

              This has all made me more skeptical over time, especially on larger scale issues.

              Most “big” arguments nowadays are less about the objective facts and more about “winning”, as there is usually a power dynamic at play for someone or some group.

    • jim z

      David Appel, in his posts on an old thread at Climate Etc, demonstrated that he did not understand the difference between empirical data and computer model output. And he showed that he did not know the meaning of the word “population” as it is used in the field of statistics.

      David Appel is not as clever as you suggest that he is.

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    • MikeN

      To clarify, that was not from an IPCC report, thought TAR also contains a variation of hide the decline. The chart that Mann is disowning is one from the WMO, parent of IPCC. This was their 50th anniversary report, for which they published twice as many copies. ClimateGate2 e-mails shows a back and forth in which Mann is discussing the chart and what it should look like. I think it is fair to say that without Mike’s Nature Trick …to hide the decline they would have gone the alternative chart mentioned in the e-mails that had nothing to do with Mann and his treerings.

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    • woodnfish

      “… if they were donating 100 million to solar panel research…”

      Solar cells have been around for 40 years and many billions have been spent on their development and yet they are still terribly inefficient and ridiculously expensive. A few 100 million won’t make a lick of difference. They are just more feelgood nonsense for eco-facscists.

    • hro001

      “You may recall – David Irving sued Deborah Lipstadt for calling him a fraud, and worse. He lost that case spectacularly, and what was left of his reputation was shredded beyond any hope of recall. Sound familiar?”

      Very :-) In fact, for some time, it has been my “thesis” that Mann is the David ‘I see you, I sue you’ Irving of climate science.

      As I had noted, over two years ago, when Mann launched the book he’s still doggedly flogging [ http://hro001.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/sunday-shocker-michael-mann-misrepresents-again/ ]:

      “just as the German publisher of Irving’s Dresden opus had added the subtitle, “A Novel”, to their publication – perhaps, in the interest of truth in publishing, this work of the “wily Cub Scout” wannabe should be re-titled Portrait of the Artist as an Aggrieved Mann: A Novel.

      And, somewhat more recently, noting the relevant part of historian David Evans’ assessment of Irving’s work [ http://hro001.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/the-many-misrepresentations-of-mann/ ]:

      “IMHO, there is evidence galore which would suggest that Mann has not only adopted – to the letter – Irving’s “techniques”, but also wrongly and repeatedly made exactly such allegations against those who have the temerity to question his pronouncements of the so-called “scientific” kind (where he might have some expertise), or of any other kind – particularly the “policy” kind and the “statistical” kind – where he demonstrably has none.”

      Notwithstanding Steyn’s (to date somewhat uncharacteristic!) reticence on the heels of CEI’s and The National Review’s respective – and eminently readable – Appellate Reply Briefs, published yesterday, the mileage of some may vary, but I don’t think that my “assessments” have been too far off the mark;-) [ http://cei.org/michaelmann ]

      I think it’s also worth noting that in the last few years, Mann has been reduced to teaming up with the likes of Stephan Lewandowski and his sidekicks at the U.K. Guardian, John Cook and Dana Nuccitelli. None of whom are what I would call “top tier” in their fields, nor do their academic qualifications have any relationship to “climate science”. Although they have certainly hitched their respective voices to the ever-growing (and increasingly mediocre!) PR bandwagon. [ http://hro001.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/frontears-of-mediocrity-lewandowsky-mann-on-the-march/ ]

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    • ColoBob

      It’s a little simpler than most commentators are making it out to be:

      Who is a climate scientist? Someone (presumably) doing work modeling (or otherwise trying to explain) changes in the climate.

      Who pays you if you’re a climate scientist? Most are on “soft money” (e.g., grants) from government funding agencies. (A minority are tenured professors.)

      Which group is the most vocal about AGW being a serious problem requiring government control to solve? The scientists on government grants. The skeptical climate scientists are virtually entirely from the minority group whose livelihood doesn’t depend on getting government grants.

      The reason is easy to explain: Any scientist on soft (government) grant money who is skeptical of the need for government intervention to ‘solve’ the problem of AGW stops getting government grants — he or she ceases to be a “climate scientist”.

      The government is getting what it is paying for.

      There is a reason that the “sky is falling” crowd won’t (any longer) publicly debate the “no big deal” crowd — they always lose a real argument where facts are important. Hence they try to win in a propaganda war where they try to villainize the opposition.

      Mann is just an extreme (if incompetent) example — if you read the Climategate emails, you find he is far from alone.

      As The Prussian said: It’s all about power. (Science has been shoved to the back of the bus.)