What A Piece Of Work Is Mann

Online journalist and all-around gadfly Scott Ott (a Nittany Lion himself) focused his attention recently upon Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann, of “hockey stick” fame.

His account begins:

Shortly after climate scientist Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann got word that a panel of his Penn State colleagues had cleared him of misconduct in the so-called “climategate” scandal, Prof. Mann was quoted in the British media as saying he believed that his little graph had gained undue attention.

The “hockey stick” graph, which purports to show a sudden uptick in global temperatures during the industrial age, should not have become a “central icon of the climate change debate”, Mann told the BBC. And yet it did, thanks to its appearance in Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” as well as in the U.N. report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — both of which employ it to advance the theory of anthropogenic [man-made] global warming.

With the pressure of Penn State’s internal ethics investigation removed, it seemed like a good time to ask Mann what he meant by the remark. My attempt to give him an opportunity to explain his comments, however, wound up reinforcing the public perception that climate scientists, like Mann, don’t see their tax-funded grants, or public university employment, as making them accountable to the public. It paints a picture of an ivory tower academic slinging mud on the little people down below, even as the tower sinks into the mire.

Read the rest here.

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2 Comments

  1. bob koepp says

    This is characteristic for Mann (i.e., it reveals something about his character). Maybe he is more direct and responsive to colleagues he knows, but I’ve never heard anything from him except defensive dismissivness when asked to actually substantiate his soundbites. This does not help the cause of public acceptance of science.

    BTW, it’s my impression that the main reason the hockey stick was questioned in the first place is that it seemed to eliminate the Medieval Warm Period, which was the main reason for thinking that maybe, just maybe, the warming seen in the last couple decades of the previous century were within the bounds of natural variation. Of course, that’s a proposition alarmists cannot abide.

    Posted July 26, 2010 at 8:53 am | Permalink
  2. Science became corrupt when Sputnik went up and the US Government decided to pour money into it. When I was doing my research, I could always see in the journals a watershed in the late fifties. The quality of the articles went down and the quantity vastly increased. What would have been part of a paper a few years earlier became several to tens of papers.

    Posted July 26, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Permalink