UPDATE! My fellow free-speech warrior Down Under, Andrew Bolt, threatens to sue Michael Mann for a characteristically witless and leaden Tweet from a guy with the warm-monger's version of Tourette's. Hey, come on in, Andrew, the more the merrier!
UPPERDATE! Mann has apparently deleted the Tweet, and apologized. He's already in court in Virginia, the District of Columbia and British Columbia. I guess he figured side-trips to Melbourne would play havoc with his schedule. Easier to stick to bullying notorious Koch-funded denialist Diane Rehm.
Steve McIntyre continues his series on self-conferred Nobel Laureate Michael E Mann's equally false claims (in his legal pleadings against me and my co-defendants) to have been "exonerated" by multiple international inquiries. On Lord Oxburgh's panel, the President of the Royal Statistical Society described Mann's methods as "inappropriate" and the results "exaggerated". With the Muir Russell report, Mann and his lawyers doctored a quote to make it appear as if it applied to him rather than merely faculty of the University of East Anglia.
Now Steve turns his attention to the third of the United Kingdom's "official exonerations" of Mann cited in his court pleadings - by the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons. There's no reason why a committee at Westminster would investigate a professor at a university in Pennsylvania, and indeed they don't: the handful of references to Mann in the report are in the recipient lines of emails, plus a reference to "Mike's Nature trick". Nevertheless, on page 20 of his Plaintiff's Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Defendants National Review and Mark Steyn's Motion to Dismiss, Mann and his Big Tobacco lawyer falsely cite the House of Commons report in Paragraph Two of Section C, titled "Dr Mann is Exonerated":
In March 2010, the United Kingdom's House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published a report finding that the skeptics' criticisms of the CRU were misplaced, and that its actions "were in line with common practice in the climate science community."
As Steve McIntyre puts it:
The first sentence is completely untrue: the Committee Report said nothing of the sort. The assertion that "criticisms of the CRU were misplaced" is neither made nor supported in the Committee Report. This phrase originated instead with SKS [Skeptical Science, a Mann-friendly site], who, once again, altered the language, though, in this case, not going so far as to fabricate a quotation.
But the second half of that first sentence is even worse. With the Muir Russell report, the result of doctoring the quote is that it appears inclusive of Mann. With the House of Commons report, the meaning of the quote is entirely inverted. Here's what the Commons report actually says:
As we explained in chapter 2, the practices and methods of climate science are a key issue. If the practices of CRU are found to be in line with the rest of climate science, the question would arise whether climate science methods of operation need to change. In this event we would recommend that the scientific community should consider changing those practices to ensure greater transparency.
In other words: If the Mann-Jones hockey-sticky hanky-panky is indeed normal climate-science behavior, then climate science needs to change. The Commons committee returns to this point:
54. It is not standard practice in climate science and many other fields to publish the raw data and the computer code in academic papers. We think that this is problematic because climate science is a matter of global importance and of public interest, and therefore the quality and transparency of the science should be irreproachable. We therefore consider that climate scientists should take steps to make available all the data used to generate their published work, including raw data; and it should also be made clear and referenced where data has been used but, because of commercial or national security reasons is not available. Scientists are also, under Freedom of Information laws and under the rules of normal scientific conduct, entitled to withhold data which is due to be published under the peer-review process. In addition, scientists should take steps to make available in full their methodological workings, including the computer codes. Data and methodological workings should be provided via the internet.
In other words: all the stuff that Mann has spent the last 15 years obstructing access to - including right now in court in Vancouver and Virginia.
The brazen misrepresentation of these reports, the doctored quotations and inversions of meaning, in Mann's court pleadings is remarkable. I said above that Skeptical Science was a "Mann-friendly site". That's true. It's where he and his lawyers turned to get the bogus quotes they use in their legal pleadings. But, behind the scenes, Skeptical Science operated a private forum in which the "climate community"'s disquiet over Mann's methods and their distaste at feeling obliged to defend them is palpable. Robert Way (co-author of a new, hot-off-the-peer-review paper in The Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society):
I don't mean to be the pessimist of the group here but Mc brought up some very good points about the original hockeystick. The confidence affirmed to it by many on our side of the debate was vastly overstated and as has been shown in the recent literature greater variability on the centennial scale exists than was shown. The statistical methodology used by Mann did rely too much on tree rings which still are in debate over their usefulness to reconstruct temperature and particularly their ability to record low-frequency temperature variations. I've personally seen work that is unpublished that challenges every single one of his reconstructions because they all either understate or overstate low-frequency variations. My personal experience has been that Moberg still has the best reconstruction and his one does show greater variability. That's why I don't like to talk the HS stuff, because I know a lot of people who have doubts about the accuracy of the original HS.
Just like we complain about skeptics like Pielke and Christy etc letting their work be miscontrued, Mann et al stood by after their original HS and let others treat it with the confidence that they themselves couldn't assign to it. They had just as much of a responsability to ensure their work was used to promote properly just as Christy et al do. It is a tight rope we must all walk afterall.
Even his newest reconstruction doesn't validate past 1400 if you don't include disputed series (which I have no idea why he's including them at all).
Principal Component Analysis honcho I T Jolliffe:
'My strong impressive is that the evidence rests on much much more than the hockey stick. It therefore seems crazy that the MBH hockey stick has been given such prominence and that a group of influential climate scientists have doggedly defended a piece of dubious statistics...' [THIS IS THE EPITOME OF HOW I FEEL-Robert Way]
Neal King of UC Berkeley:
The real question is, Why would you believe the tree-ring proxies at earlier times when you KNOW that they didn't work properly in the 1990s? I guess there is a good answer to that, but no one has ever given it to me.
I believe a good 50% of the game is being able to avoid booby traps. Because the science is at the edge of ignorance, mistakes WILL be made. The question is, How do you avoid putting your foot in the traps? I think Mann (and maybe Steig) are examples of how NOT to proceed.
Robert Way again:
MBH98 was not an example of someone using a technique with flaws and then as he learned better techniques he moved onâ€¦ He fought like a dog to discredit and argue with those on the other side that his method was not flawed. And in the end he never admitted that the entire method was a mistake. Saying "I was wrong but when done right it gives close to the same answer" is no excuse. He never even said that but I'm just making a point. What happened was they used a brand new statistical technique that they made up and that there was no rationalization in the literature for using it. They got results which were against the traditional scientific communities view on the matters and instead of re-evaluating and checking whether the traditional statistics were valid (which they weren't), they went on and produced another one a year later. They then let this HS be used in every way possible (including during the Kyoto protocol lead-up that resulted in canadian parliament signing the deal with many people ascribing their final belief in climate change being assured by the HS) despite knowing the stats behind it weren't rock solid.
John Cook of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland:
I have to tell you that you should warn those doing that particular one to stay away from Mann's 2008 paper if they take this topic as it seems it has actually been invalidated by climate audit (as much as I hate to admit it they are right about the issue of the study failing verification statistics past 1500 for one)
This is what the climate community says to each other about Michael Mann in private. Why won't they say it in public?
To reprise Judith Curry's words from yesterday:
For the past decade, scientists have come to the defense of Michael Mann, somehow thinking that defending Michael Mann is fighting against the 'war on science' and is standing up for academic freedom. It's time to let Michael Mann sink or swim on his own. Michael Mann is having all these problems because he chooses to try to muzzle people that are critical of Mann's science, critical of Mann's professional and personal behavior, and critical of Mann's behavior as revealed in the climategate emails. All this has nothing to do with defending climate science or academic freedom.
~If you'd like to support Steyn's pushback against Mann and his enforcers, please see here.