I am a fierce critic of Michael Mann, a scientist made (in)famous for creating what is known as the "hockey stick." I have repeatedly said his "hockey stick" was fraudulent as he intentionally deceived people by doing things like hiding unfavorable results of statistical tests while publishing those which were favorable.
There's a lot of information and detail involved in the controversy around Mann's work. To help people understand it, I've written two short eBooks discussing it. The first deals with Mann's original hockey stick (a free PDF draft version can be found here), the second with Mann's follow-up efforts to disprove his critics (free draft version here). They demonstrate Mann intentionally deceived people by knowingly misrepresenting "scientific" findings. More bluntly, Mann committed fraud.
I am not the only person to say things like this. Many have. Mann is in the process of suing a few of them. You might think I would oppose this. I don't. Or at least, I don't oppose it completely. You see, the remark which caused this particular lawsuit was this disgusting remark:
Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except for instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in service of politicized science that could have dire consequences for the nation and planet
That is not the basis of the lawsuit, but it is what made Mann decide to file one. He was, quite understandably, upset at being compared to a child molester. I have no sympathy for people who get sued because they say things like this. There are consequences to being a despicable person.
That wouldn't be enough to make me support a lawsuit though. People say vile things all the time. Freedom of speech means they can. The reason this lawsuit happened is people accused Michael Mann of committing fraud. While I believe these accusations are true, I do not believe some of the people making them have behaved in a manner which should or would exempt them from legal scrutiny. In this post, I will discuss a recent court ruling allowing a lawsuit Mann filed to continue and explain why I believe that ruling is correct.
As you may know from a few recent posts, I had some problems arise due to PayPal decided to take money for a couple purchases out of my bank account instead of my PayPal account. They've all been cleared up thanks to PayPal's Twitter customer service team (which solved the problem quickly when the phone line people couldn't accomplish anything), and in a few days money transfers will go through and everything will be back to normal.
In the meantime, a reader kindly purchased a copy of Mark Steyn's new book, A Disgrace to the Profession, a response of sorts to a lawsuit Michael Mann filed against him. I had been wanting to read this book, but I couldn't buy it when it was released due to my online accounts having issues, and that's when the reader contacted me to offer to purchase it for me.
Anyway, I got it in the mail yesterday, and I started reading it. If you saw my last post, you know I was not happy with what I saw. Because of that, I've decided to do something I haven't done in half a year. I'm going to do a "live" book review. That is, as I read the book, I will write my thoughts and reactions in the comments below. That'll give me a place to post all my thoughts so I don't have to keep making new post after new post.
The last post in this series showed Michael Mann's 2008 paper depended entirely upon the use of two things: tree ring data and the Tiljander series. It also showed those Tiljander series were suspect. Today I'll show they are worse than suspect. Michael Mann's use of them was absurd.
After some debate, I've decided to jump this series ahead to Michael Mann's 2008 paper. This means skipping a lot of material, but it should keep us better focused on the big picture.
We'll begin examining this paper by looking at its central conclusion:
Recent warmth appears anomalous for at least the past 1,300 years whether or not tree-ring data are used. If tree-ring data are used, the conclusion can be extended to at least the past 1,700 years, but with additional strong caveats.
You'll recall Mann's original results were dependent entirely upon a small amount of tree ring data (which was inappropriate for a temperature reconstruction). Mann placed this new conclusion, that tree ring data wasn't necessary, front and center to address that issue. It was incredibly important as a way of rebutting criticisms of his work.
It was also greatly overstated. Continue reading
So far this series has focused on Michael Mann's original hockey stick. In 2003, Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas published a paper disagreeing with it. Mann's response is... worth examining:
This is crap of the worst kind–it was written explicitly for political purposes; there is no science there at all
Most people hate discussing semantics. Unfortunately, it's necessary when people try to abuse semantics to win an argument. Michael Mann's defense of his "trick" is one of those cases.
There has been a lot of focus on "Mike's Nature trick." Unfortunately, the focus has mostly been on the word "trick." It doesn't matter what you call what Michael Mann did. It was dishonest.
The last post in this series highlighted the remarkable fact Michael Mann felt it necessary to adjust data from 1000-1400 AD to "fix" a problem he says existed only in ~1800-1900 AD. Today's post is going to show the word "fix" is incredibly appropriate.
Before I begin, I want to congratulate everyone who has made it through the series thus far. We didn't cover all the problems in Michael Mann's 1998 paper, but we made it through. Congratulations!
I'm afraid we're not done though. Now we have to move onto Mann's 1999 paper. This paper is a fun one. Its results depend entirely upon Michael Mann adjusting data from 1000-1400 AD to fix a problem he says exists in 1800-1900 AD.
Nobody believes I support Michael Mann in his lawsuit against Mark Steyn. I've been writing a series of posts with a stated intention of showing Steyn's remarks were justifiable, if not correct. However, unlike Steyn and most of his supporters, I believe this case ought to go to trial.