This is classic literature: raw emotion burst forth on the page, inner demons displayed

Truth is almost always better than fiction, even in literature.  Few writers can equal the letters and speeches of Lincoln and Churchill.  Seldom can fiction match the raw emotions that burst forth in real life, even in the professional worlds of politics, medicine, and science.

We see this today in an article by the famous climate scientist Michael Mann.  Below is the sequence of articles.  It is too difficult to fairly excerpt, so I recommend reading it in full and in sequence.  This is a sad follow-up to Science in action, a confused and often nasty debate that produces real progress, as these largely ad hominem and unsupported attacks by Mann IMO do nothing but muddy the debate. 

Far better would be full disclosure of data and methods in climate science papers (as is done in many other areas of science), the lack of which makes the debate both inconclusive and acrimonious.  As we see in the debate about the Steig 2009 paper in Nature (the subject of the above “Science in action” post).

Vollies in this little firestorm

(1)  Lawrence Solomon wrote a brief op-ed:  “Climate change’s Antarctic ruffle“, National Post, 31 January 2009.

(2)  In reply Mann wrote a reply posted by Google News (first of these I have seen) here on 2 February.

(3)  Solomon’s reply is here.  Note he categorically states that Mann’s statements about him and the EPRF are incorrect:

Mann claims I am funded by the fossil-fuel industry. I am not and neither is Energy Probe Research Foundation, the federally registered charitable organization that I helped found in 1980 and that I have represented continually since. There is a good reason the energy industry does not fund Energy Probe: Over the decades, Energy Probe has been Canada’s chief critic of the energy industry, more responsible than any other organization for stopping ill-advised energy pipelines, coal plants, tar sands projects, nuclear plants and large hydro dams.

Energy Probe is a leading promoter of conservation and alternate energy, and it prides itself on being non-partisan – parties of all stripes in Canada, from the leftist New Democratic Party to the centrist Liberal party to the right-leaning Conservative party, have invited Energy Probe to their gatherings, and adopted its positions.

Note the Wikipedia entry about Solomon.  Wikipedia often tends to have a “pro-warmers” bias, but has nothing to support Mann’s accusations.

I hope Mann has some strong evidence to support his accusations, which to this non-attorney look libelous.  Of course, that is only theoretical issue.  The US legal system is open to all, in the same sense as the law allows both rich and poor to sleep beneath bridges.

As for Mann’s characterization of the Wegman and North reports, see here for some relevant excerpts from the reports (and links to the full texts).   They do not support Mann’s statements, IMO.  I consider disgraceful Mann’s derogatory view of the distinguished experts who provided the analysis for the Wegman Committee.


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For more information

To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar.  Of esp relevance to this topic:

Some of the posts on the FM site about climate change:

  1. A look at the science and politics of global warming, 12 June 2008
  2. An article giving strong evidence of global warming, 30 June 2008
  3. More forecasts of a global cooling cycle, 15 July 2008
  4. President Kennedy speaks to us about global warming and Climate Science, 7 August 2008
  5. Good news about global warming!, 21 October 2008 – More evidence of cooling.
  6. Watching the world change before our eyes, 29 November 2008
  7. The Senate Minority report is out: “More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims”, 12 December 2008
  8. An important new article about climate change, 29 December 2008
  9. My “wish list” for the climate sciences in 2009, 2 January 2009
  10. Peer review of scientific work – another example of a flawed basis for public policy, 22 January 2009
  11. How warm is the Earth? How do we measure it?, 28 January 2009
  12. Obama opens his Administration with a powerful act that will echo for many years, 4 February 2009
  13. Science in action, a confused and often nasty debate among scientists, 5 February 2009

2 thoughts on “This is classic literature: raw emotion burst forth on the page, inner demons displayed”

  1. Mann would do better to keep quiet. He should have learned from his hockey stick incident that the grownups are looking over his shoulder. His vaporous ad hominem accusations against his “correctors” simply make him appear more childish than ever. Sadly, virtually the entire field of mainstream alarmism has adopted the same quasi-political, unscientific approach to criticism.

  2. A triva contest for our readers!

    Does anyone have information about the organization “NPC Intelligence Associates”, or “Non Peer Competitor Intelligence Associates”. I see their comments posted over the Internet, plus the occasional article (one of their articles is discussed in “Cable Cut Fever grips the conspiracy-hungry fringes of the web“)

    I received an email from them {perhaps spam} linking to this post, an amusing little bit of vitriol: “Hack Attack“, by digby, posted at Hullabaloo, 8 February 2009:

    “Apparently the holocaust denying Bishop was unavailable this morning, so Fareed Zakaria had Bjorn Lomborg on his CNN show to ‘debate’ global warming. Of course, they let Republicans on TV to talk about fiscal responsibility and freedom all the time too, so it’s not exactly unprecedented.”

    Taken with Mann’s rant, it suggests that some pro-warming advocates have decided to respond primarily with insults — now that people are becoming more aware about the debate among scientists in climate science.

    This post is odd in several ways. First, I have never seem Lomborg claim to be a “climate scientist”, nor does Zakaria label him as such. However, much of the analytical work in climate science is statistical — so the thoughts of an associate professor of statistics seem relevant.

    Second, Lomborg opens with: “Global warming is happening. It is manmade. It’s a problem that we need to tackle. But we also need to tackle it smartly.” While I think that is an excessively strong statement of the situation, it is hardly out of the mainstream of their public option or that of climate scientists.

    Lomborg is always worth reading, IMO.
    * Here is the transcript to his 15 June 2008 appearance on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS (CNN).
    * Here is the transcript to the 8 February 2009 appearance on GPS.

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