Mike Mann Responds

Mike Mann has responded to the Richard Muller interview in Scientific American.

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50 responses to “Mike Mann Responds

  1. Rattus Norvegicus

    So it was Muller who was responsible for the Nemesis hypothesis? What a dope.

  2. And the predictable dumb-as-a-sack-full-of-hammers mouth-breathers are out in force in the comments.

  3. Tamino, If I recall correctly, one of your swallowed posts asked “which hockey stick?” and presented multiple examples of different hockey sticks using different climate data sets.

    That post doesn’t seem to be one that was rescued from the cache. As it was very effective, could you perhaps revisit that theme?

  4. Ugh. That comment thread hurts the brain.

    • I don’t know, Comment 81 did make me laugh.

      “We have proof that cooling not warming is still occurring. The hockey stick is fake. Sea level is rising. Rising sea level means that global cooling is occurring, not global warming. Earth’s poles are heated by moisture not sunlight. Since oceans are rising and less ice is forming at the poles, this indicates less heat transporting towards the poles, which occurs as the Earth cools.”

    • The comment system hurts mine. You do a reply to a comment and your comment is automatically stuck at the bottom of the long list so that it is entirely disconnected from what you are replying to. Plus twice it seems I have lost text in going from where I am typing in Notepad to their comment form. I actually looked at Notepad afterwards and the text that was missing was still selected.

    • On top of that, with the comment system, you do a reload to see if there have been any new responses to respond to and it bumps you back to the beginning. You have to click the link again at the top or bottom of the first page of comments to get back to the last page.

  5. The Nemesis hypothesis was quite valid in those times when astrometrical data wasn’t yet so accurate one could have discounted the possibility, it still isn’t totally impossible for a [[brown dwarf]] to be found lurking somewhere way beyond Kuiper belt. a fusing star (red dwarf) orbiting sun should’ve been observed by now, and a <> should’ve been discovered for the gravitational effect.

  6. John Mashey

    RN: see this and following comments.
    Amazing how some people can find cycles anywhere, whether really there or not. Shades of Scafetta.

  7. Gavin's Pussycat

    Richard Cowen butchers the Rohde and Muller 2005 Nature paper here:

    http://mygeologypage.ucdavis.edu/cowen/HistoryofLife/muller2005.html

    BTW another funny thing about this paper that Cowen didn’t notice, was that, e.g., the K-T event has with reasonable confidence been identified as as an asteroid impact, while the end-Permian event (250 Myrs ago) with fair certainty was caused by volcanic activity causing a “super-greenhouse”. So according to RM05, those are different minima on the same sine curve?!

    I feel almost sorry for Rohde, he seems a good guy

  8. OK, speaking faintly on Muller’s behalf, at least he has gone where the data pointed and avoided outright denial. This puts him a small, but important step beyond Lindzen and Spencer, and in a different Universe than the average denialist.

  9. Horatio Algeranon

    When it comes to “going where the BEST (R, TM, Patent Pending, Copyright, Keep your paws off, it’s my claim to scientific fame and glory) data has led him”, does Muller really have a viable alternative? (one that doesn’t put him in the class with Watts*)

    Maybe this one would work?

    *Though Jim Morrison did once say that “The Watts is the BEST”.

    • arch stanton

      Now, uhm, wott was the name of that song? Something about my only friend…

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        “The End”.

      • arch stanton

        Oh yeah-

        “…
        Can you picture what will be
        So limitless and free
        Desperately in need…of some…stranger’s hand
        In a…desperate land

        Lost in a Roman…wilderness of pain
        And all the children are insane
        All the children are insane
        Waiting for the summer rain, yeah

        The Watts is the best
        …”

        That one.

      • arch stanton

        Opps I left out:
        “…
        Weird scenes inside the gold mine
        …”

  10. Wish Mann and other scientists would give deniers a taste of their own medicine and respond more forcibly to denier blog attacks on their work, accusing the blog authors of incompetence.

    Given the scientists understand the details of the subject more than anyone else it should be easier for them than any. I am not proposing they waste time debating them in a scientific manner, only that they occasionally pick some obvious errors denier bloggers make attack the credibility of the accusers, turning it into such an issue that judith curry has to create a thread about it for example!

    If there was a regularly reinforced message of denier bloggers making incompetent errors coming from the scientists themselves it would simultaneously harm the credibility of their future claims and force them to be more cautious about their accusations.

    What current happens instead is that scientists largely ignore the babblers as if they are irrelevant, thus leaving them to get away with countless errors as they hypocritically accuse climate scientists of incompetence. Perhaps the babblers are irrelevant, but it would still be nice to watch a climate scientist force a mistake by a denier blogger into a big issue.

    When non-climate scientists attack denier blog errors the deniers usually just ignore it and move on to different posts and accusations.

    But I suspect if a well known climate scientist attacked them strongly for an error they would be unable to ignore it, they would have to report it, and somehow defensively spin it. All the blogs would end up talking about it. If the error is dumb enough they will be damaged whatever they do. Ultimately if such stories happened even as infrequently as a month it would do immense damage to the denier blog’s freedom to accuse that denier blogs have found themselves in.

    • Ian Forrester

      mrnkalon said:

      Wish Mann and other scientists would give deniers a taste of their own medicine and respond more forcibly to denier blog attacks on their work, accusing the blog authors of incompetence.

      This is not the only problem. Various blogs which claim to support the science of AGW allow un-moderated comments on their blogs. Since these dishonest denier shills get moderated on the good science blogs they tend to move onto the un-moderated blogs. These pro-AGW sites then become echo-chambers for the AGW deniers. It gets so time consuming trying to respond to all the denier nonsense that most people just give up on these blogs and allow the deniers to have a far greater influence than they should have.

      It always amazes me that honest bloggers allow such dishonest nonsense to be posted under their name.

      Two blogs which have allowed this are DeSmogBlog and Coby Beck’s blog.


  11. Wish Mann and other scientists would give deniers a taste of their own medicine and respond more forcibly to denier blog attacks on their work, accusing the blog authors of incompetence.

    Yes — something along the lines of, “I have failed undergraduate students who were more competent than (insert denier-blogger name here).”

    • Andrew Dodds

      You can blame philosophy departments for that..

      One of the central tenets of the post-modernism that swept through humanities departments from the 1970s onwards was a general denial of any sort of objective reality – reality was held to be an individual construct based on circumstances and beliefs. A true postmodernist would happily walk out of a 10th floor window with no idea what the consequences might be, gravity itself being merely a narrative construct.

      Elements of these arguments are present in all forms of denialism – the general portrayal of a group of scientists all following their own ‘narrative’, the cavalier disregard for re-world evidence, the disregard to authorial intent (cf quote mining emails) and the whole arguments-about-arguments problem – something probably more present in creationism, to be fair.

      The fact that many of the original postmodernists called themselves marxists, whilst the style of argument has been taken up enthusiastically by those very much of the right is itself amusing, or would be if it were not for the consequences..

      • Andrew: “A true postmodernist would happily walk out of a 10th floor window with no idea what the consequences might be, gravity itself being merely a narrative construct.”

        No–actually, it’s even worse. Theorists and philosophy majors only embraced (well, some still do) postmodernity to the extent that they could exchange it for social and academic value: theory-as-commodity. That epistemology (or anti-epistemology), though, is now widespread. It is the ideal individualist philosophical approach.

        As for the example, gravity, in this case, is the reality that we’re causing the globe to warm rapidly. I’ll wager that, like gravity and our good philosophy majors, a capitalist like David Koch fully understands that global warming is a reality. It serves his economic interests to appear otherwise, though. Indeed, he encourages a libertarian philosophy which says, “be responsible for your own understanding,” and then encourages people to misinform those who are trying to perform that responsibility. Endless contradictions.

      • John Mashey

        DSL: eek, postmodernism again. I long ago read “A House Built on Sand”,” including chapter on Bruno Latour.

        Much to my astonishment, I found myself compared to Latour, on a Chronicles of Higher Education blog by anthropologist Peter Wood, perhaps even worse than being likened to PT Barnum, perhaps.

      • (Commenting on the Chronicle of Higher Education article). The problem with articles such as this is that they are based on the premise that the work done by scientists is false. Instead of addressing the science, the authors of pieces like this try to discredit scientists and their supporters, not by finding specific errors, but by employing broad generalizations and stretching tenuous analogies. Is this really the best they’ve got?

  12. Philippe Chantreau

    “(insert denier-blogger name here).”
    Gee, how many characters are we allowed in that zone?

  13. arch stanton

    OT but related.

    Congratulations to John Mashey for the due recognition he received in his recent interview in Science.

    -Mashey’s Mastiff

  14. John Mashey

    arch: Thanks for the kind words, but I wouldn’t call it recognition as much as Eli Kintisch following this turf, interviewing me about what was going on and then deciding to turn it into a profile of one person of a group . I.e., the group {not climate scientists, but try to help) is a harder group to profile, especially given that some key people are (somewhat) pseudononymous. (or whatever you call it), and mainstream press tends to want to interview named people.

    Just as climate anti-science actors tend to pick a few people on whom to focus, the press generally likes to pick somebody to talk to. Eli has read most of my reports, so he knows how they often cite others’ work. It probably did help that a bunch of (non-obvious) people know me that Eli might have asked, and he does know about some of the things in progress that have not yet come to public attention.
    Needless to say, I’m glad he mentioned DC, as did Nature.

    So, it is nice to be profiled in Science :-), but more important, I suspect it may help open a door or two in the future. And it was delightful to see comments from Will Happer (Chairman of George Marshall Institute affiliation is far more relevant than Princeton).

    • John, the most important thing is that when people draw attention to you it draws attention to your reporting and your writings, and it draws attention to your subjects who, more often than not, would prefer not to have that kind of attention. It makes your work far more effective. And Science is pretty high profile. But yes, you are probably right. Science itself won’t have that much of an effect politically, but it should make it easier to make the connections that will begin to shift some of the balance. Then again, you are already having quite an effect, at least as far as Wegman is concerned.

      In any case, congratulations to you and Deep Climate!

      • Horatio Algeranon

        Most of the people who comment here undoubtedly greatly appreciate the work of people like John Mashey, Deep Climate, Tamino, Eli Rabett, Michael Tobis, Mike Mann, Gavin Schmidt and others (nothing intended by the ordering)

        ..and regarding the paywall:

        Interesting that lies are usually (a) free for all but one often has to pay for the truth.

        Mike Mann, Phil Jones, Naomi Oreskes, Ben Santer, John Mashey, Deep Climate, Tamino and countless others have certainly paid (in hours and indignities suffered) for their pursuit of the truth.

      • Horatio, I certainly consider the other individuals on your list heroic. But the reason why I specifically referred to Deep Climate is because John Mashey and DeepClimate have both been working on revealing the nature of the denialist machine, its participants and their methods. They have worked together on much of this, although to the best of my knowledge their has been no actual co-authorship. So it makes sense at this point to honor DeepClimate as well, here at least, since being pseudonymous a biographical piece on him probably won’t be showing up in the scientific journals any time soon. But this is in no way meant to detract from Mashey’s considerable accomplishments.

    • Phillip Shaw

      John,

      I’d like to echo Arch’s congratulations. Your hard work and dedication have earned the respect and admiration of many of us. Please keep on fighting the yahoos.

      I would like to read the interview but it’s behind the Science paywall. Is there any way you can provide a link?

      Thanks – Phillip

      • John Mashey

        Horatio: Again, thanks for the kind words, but I’m nowhere close to most of the others mentioned in either attribute – really, this is relatively recent semi-retirement activity, and I have spent some time … but it’s nowhere as all-consuming as in Silicon Valley startups.

        Phillip: also thanks, but its copyrighted and there is no link I know of. You can read some at DeSmogBlog

        I will pass alongone quote from the Science article:
        TWill Happer (Princeton prof, but more relevant, Chairman of George Marshall Institute;was quoted a few years ago:

        ‘Physics professor William Happer GS ’64 has some tough words for scientists who believe that carbon dioxide is causing global warming.

        “This is George Orwell. This is the ‘Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.’ It’s that kind of propaganda,” Happer, the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, said in an interview. “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that’s a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult.”’

        Then, Eli Kintisch writes in Science and I quote with no further comment:

        “Will Happer, a physicist at Princeton University who questions the consensus view on climate, thinks Mashey is a destructive force who uses “totalitarian tactics”—publishing damaging documents online, without peer review—to carry out personal vendettas. Whereas Mann lauds Mashey for “exploring the underbelly of climate denial,” Happer says Mashey’s tactics are “contrary to open inquiry.”

      • arch stanton

        “…This month he scored a prominent victory when the journal Computational Statistics & Data Analysis (CSDA) retracted a 2008 paper co-authored by economist and climate skeptic Edward Wegman…”

      • Ray Ladbury

        Sounds like Happer is now a few lettuce leaves shy of a salad.

      • arch stanton

        > a shy salad.
        Ray, I respectfully disagree.
        I don’t see evidence to invoke Hanlon’s razor.
        Happer’s words are crafted for impact.
        Oreskes gets it right.

      • Horatio Algeranon

        IHHO, Happer knows exactly what he is doing when he engages in kitschcraft.

      • arch stanton

        (Clarification: lettuce heads). Oreskes makes the point that many of the folks at the at the George C Marshall institute, the Heartland, etc. are motivated by a their experiences prior too and during the Cold War and they subscribe to a belief that anything short of libertarianism smacks of communism and is therefore to be avoided at all costs.

        “This is George Orwell. This is the ‘Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.’ It’s that kind of propaganda,” Happer, the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, said in an interview. “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that’s a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult.”’

        I think it is too charitable to dismiss Happer or his words as crazy because they are carefully crafted to deceive and sell doubt. They are clever words. If Happer wants to discuss politics that is one thing, but we are not doing that here. He is choosing to misrepresent science (dare I say lie?) in a propaganda web to support his political perspective.

        This is worse than merely being short a few leaves IMHO.


  15. Gee, how many characters are we allowed in that zone?

    Unfortunately lots …. but it would be nice to see a couple of prominent climate-scientists train their fire on one particular low-wattage dim-bulb…

  16. The Conversation has been running a series of articles by Australian climate scientists. Deniers are taking a pasting.

    The Conversation: Clearing up the climate debate

    Fact of the matter is that when uninvolved members of the public are clearly shown that there is a scientific consensus on AGW they realise that the deniers are talking a crock.

  17. Jeffrey Davis

    Happer’s words remind me of the 3 simple rules of Rovian politics:

    1) Accuse your opponents of doing what you’re doing.
    2) Attack your opponent’s strength from your weakness.
    3) Be worse than anyone can imagine.

  18. John Mashey

    One might first read the email from Austin,Happer, et al, possibly mis-using APS directory. It includes:
    “By now everyone has heard of what has come to be known as ClimateGate, which was and is an international scientific fraud, the worst any of us have seen in our cumulative 223 years of APS membership. For those who have missed the news we recommend the excellent summary article by Richard Lindzen in the November 30 edition of the Wall Street journal, entitled “The Climate Science isn’t Settled,” for a balanced account of the situation. It was written by a scientist of unquestioned authority and integrity. A copy can be found among the items at http://tinyurl.com/lg266u, and a visit to http://www.ClimateDepot.com can fill in the details of the scandal, while adding spice. ”

    But consider Happer’s several quotes, their placement in the Daily Princetonian article and in Eli Kintisch’s article in Science (for those who don’t have it, the article starts:

    The Happer quote starts the 2nd paragraph of the 1.5-page article.

    Now, as an exercise in understanding journalism, one might ask:
    1) For both articles, did Happer choose his words carefully?
    2) For both articles, were the writers displaying false balance, taking Happer’s words seriously?
    3) if not, what *were* they doing?

    for which I have suggested answers, plus one I can certainly answer:
    4) On seeing Happer’s words in Science, where was my reaction on the scale from:
    0: grave disappointment, Happer got his carefully-crafted message through.
    to
    10: Great glee! Wow! Eli is even better than I thought, to get that quote and handle it perfectly. (And I’m not surprised at Happer’s worldview, but truly wonder even more about his judgement. )

  19. John Mashey

    BTW, one reaction to the Science article was in a blog at Chronicle of Higher Education, Bottling Up Global Warming Skepticism, by Peter Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars, NAS*

    Kerry Emmanuel is a NAS* member, but seems ,a href=”http://www.nas.org/polArticles.cfm?doc_id=1444″>not to agree with NAS on some issues.

  20. Peter Wood needs his ass sued off for libel. There is no excuse for his ignorant remarks about Mann.

  21. I’d strongly encourage everyone here to follow John Mashey’s link to the “Bottling Up Global Warming Skepticism” hit-piece and vote up the many substantive responses there (or even post something of your own, if you have the time).

    The denier/pro-science comment ratio is definitely not running in Wood’s favor over there; any action (by voting up good posts or adding one of your own) that might increase the discomfort that Wood feels when he looks at the comments section would be most helpful!

  22. Quiet Waters

    Peter Wood sez “tedkirkpatrick, EliRabett, taylor_b, and darkmountain seem pretty certain that all is well with Professor Mann’s reputation. This is a pretty good illustration of academic cocooning. Even if one were totally unacquainted with the controversies, It takes no more than a few minutes of googling to acquaint oneself with the situation”

    Now, I’m not sure about ted, taylor & dark but to accuse Eli of being unacquainted with the situation smacks of, well, being unacquainted with the situation.

    Oh dear.

  23. “A true test of NAS’s commitment to reason and scholarship is whether it is prepared to take on an attack that this time is mounted largely from the Right.” — Kerry Emanuel, at NAS, July 19, 2010

  24. Hank:
    I have some ties to the current president of the NAS in Alaska and i’ll try to get a query to her on what she thinks of this very issue. The NAS is an evil quasi-McCarthyite joke but her own work on gender stuff isn’t terrible.

  25. John Mashey

    For more, including a Monckton/Wood connection, see Deltoid.