Why Michael Mann’s Defamation Suit Against Climate Denialists Is the Right Move

With the facts on his side, there’s no reason to hide

Dr. Michael Mann, one of the country’s leading climate scientists, has been harassed, threatened, and berated for his views that human actions are contributing to global climate change. But not just from anonymous commenters on websites — from leading publications like the National Review Online. After being compared to Jerry Sandusky and having the credibility of his work questioned, Mann finally has had enough. He is suing Rand Simberg of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) blog and Mark Steyn at National Review Online for defamation.

Defame this, says Dr. Mann.
Can’t defame this membrane, says Dr. Mann.

So what is defamation and how do you prove it? To be sure, this is not my area of legal expertise. But the basics are fairly straightforward. As an overview, defamation means a public attack, based on false facts, on a person’s professional character or standing on an issue of public interest. The attacks have to cause damage to the plaintiff.

You can defend yourself against charges that you defamed someone by proving that you spoke the “truth.” You can also defend yourself by saying it was just an “opinion” as opposed to fact, although some jurisdictions have eliminated that distinction.

In this case:

Mann alleged that four phrases in Simberg’s post were defamatory: “data manipulation,” “academic and scientific misconduct,” “posterboy of the corrupt and disgraced climate science echo chamber,” and accusing the Penn State professor of molesting his data and thus being the “Jerry Sandusky of climate science.” He also cited a subsequent CEI press release that called his research “intellectually bogus.”

Trevor Burris of Forbes penned a full-throated defense of National Review and the other defendants, arguing that their words amounted to nothing more than name-calling:

While some of these phrases might be impolitic and unprofessional, they are not defamatory. Pugnacious rhetoric is still protected by the First Amendment, especially in matters of public debate.

Furthermore, he thinks the lawsuit will hurt the cause of climate change advocacy:

Proponents of the theory of catastrophic climate change should think twice before they support Dr. Mann’s lawsuit. In fact, anyone who engages in vigorous intellectual debate should be afraid that Mann’s lawsuit wasn’t immediately dismissed as a nuisance suit that is attempting to stifle First Amendment-protected speech. If Mann wins this lawsuit, he or his friends could easily find themselves on the other side of a defamation suit. Climate-change catastrophists consistently accuse climate-change “deniers” of intellectual and professional malfeasance.

I disagree. First, the comments against Mann aren’t just name-calling — they are name-calling to further false challenges to Mann’s work. They misleadingly call into question the accuracy of Mann’s research and methodology. In reality, there’s no real scientific debate on the overall facts. Sure, you can debate the scale of the warming and the precise amount of impact that human activity is having, but an astounding 97% of scientists have reached consensus on the overall issue. The courts should rightly investigate how factually plausible the challenges to Mann’s work are.

But should climate advocates be afraid of riding the defamation tiger, in case it turns around and bites them, as Burris suggests? I think there’s nothing to fear from judicial scrutiny if advocates label the fossil fuel-funded campaigns against their work phony and misleading. After all, a court wouldn’t sanction someone for calling people crazy who deny that smoking causes lung cancer or HIV causes AIDS. These are areas of broad scientific consensus with overwhelming supportive evidence. The link between human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and global warming is as equally supported.

Burris also seems to miss the point that this is a debate about science and numbers — not just values or general opinions. He cites Paul Krugman as potentially slanderous for calling Paul Ryan‘s budget a “fraud,” but Krugman has substantial evidence to back up his assertion that the Ryan budget was filled with misleading numbers that contradicted its stated effect. Like the Ryan budget, the dispute over Mann’s work is based on hard numbers, not intangible values or perspectives. Courts should be well-suited to see through these kinds of ideologically motivated, phony attacks.

Most importantly, from a purely strategic perspective, a court victory here would be a major public relations win for climate change advocacy. For climate deniers to lose in court would send the signal to the public that they are not to be trusted. That’s a great headline and PR win for climate change advocates, confirming a narrative that advocates have been emphasizing for years. Of course, a court loss for Mann could have the opposite effect, but given the facts, I think Mann may be on safe ground here.

I’m all in favor of a debate about climate science, but it can’t be a debate where journalists intentionally print misleading and false attacks based on transparently phony evidence. That stenography of lies is precisely the dynamic that sets back climate advocacy — and not this lawsuit.

Reader Comments

122 Replies to “Why Michael Mann’s Defamation Suit Against Climate Denialists Is the Right Move”

    1. Fine article? This is the second time Mann has sued over his incompetence and his belief that he has been defamed. It is okay in his world and his colleagues to slander and libel- defamation against any and all scientists that disagree with him. He is a double standard exponential, a hypocrite and a cry baby and other yet to be determined adjectives.

      1. What “scientists that disagree with him”?
        There are maybe two out of and estimated 28,000 world wide and both of those shil for the fossil fuel misinformation campaign.
        Steyn compared him to a convicted child rapist – fair enough – that’s just the usual filth we have come to expect from the fossil-fuel industry’s PR attack dogs but it is not actionable.
        However, Steyn also directly accused him of “data manipulation,”and “academic and scientific misconduct,” – thats an entirely different ball-game. Especialy as Mann has been investigated numerous times and been totaly and utterly vindicated on each and every occasion.
        The fossil-fuel industry has conducted a concerted, sustained and viscious campaign against climate scientists in general and Micheal Mann in particular for years now. Purely because he has published the results of research that have implications for the profit margins of a couple of hundred mega-rich sociopaths.
        Unlike the author I don’t think he will win against the most powerfull and wealthy corporations that have ever existed on this planet – but for the sake of the future global economy and the priviliged lifestyles of all of us I cerainly hope that Goliath gets what he deserves.
        And shame on you for being so mind-meltingly gullible as to swallow the vacuous and transparant BS that is spewed out by the Denial Industry on a daily basis. You also shame all decent and intelligent Americans who know Exactly what is going on here and what is really at stake,

        1. “shame on you for being so mind-meltingly gullible as to swallow the vacuous and transparant BS” etc.
          You just repeated pretty much every piece of PR and spin put forth by the AGW propagandists, and you’re laughing at everyone else? Essentially everything you said is wrong – and standard fare on popular political websites. You are proving that you don’t know anything about the subject except what someone said on some blog you like.
          1) Denial industry. Peter Gleick already showed that there is very little money available for climate change deniers: see his budget for the Heartland Institute. Compare it with the money available from Greenpeace.
          2) “two out of and estimated 28,000 world wide and both of those shil for the fossil fuel misinformation campaign.” Really? Survey by John Cook at Skeptical Science: http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/survey-confirms-scientific-consensus-on-human-caused-global-warming/ There’s a strong majority, but not even close to what you said. Maybe 85%? There’s a solid minority of climate scientists who disagree on various important points. You are repeating lies of propagandists.
          3) “seventy three ‘hockey sticks’ all from diferent team using different proxies and every single one of them validates, corroborates and verifies Mann’s original” No. Mann’s work has been refuted, by two independent boards, and his methods abandoned. Others have tried to get similar results via other methods. They have been only partially successful; modern Hockey Sticks have a bendier handle, and still don’t have much sensitivity to rapid changes, so it’s hard to be sure that the current temperature rise is unique. And no, there aren’t seventy-three; there are maybe a dozen attempts. All of them without exception, though, use the same data that McIntyre and co. showed to be unreliable. No one has ever gotten a successful hockey stick without using either bristle-cone pines or Tijander sediments.
          You’re just repeating talking points, and sneering at others while you’re doing it. Go study the actual issues – reading criticisms as well as supporters. If you don’t follow McIntyre’s blog, then you don’t know anything about Hockey Sticks, only what its fans tell you. He analyzes every new study that comes out, and tries to see if it fixes the flaws of earlier studies. The blogs you apparently follow are just interested in winning.

    2. When a society does not insist on “Utter Honesty” from it’s scientists, science is doomed.

      Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
      Corbett, Oregon USA

    3. As to the logic and evidence that take down CAGW, one only has to read our amicus briefs to the US Supreme Court (in various v EPA). About a dozen highly qualified scientists showed the high court in two briefs that the EPA’s ‘Three Lines of Evidence’ can be easily refuted using the robust empirical data that always settles matters of science. Here is our merit stage brief:

      http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publications/supreme_court_preview/briefs-v2/12-1146_amicus_pet_scientists.authcheckdam.pdf

      Since the President used the same ’3 LoE’ arguments in his National Climate Assessment – 2014, this more detailed refutation is applicable:

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/224538945/NCA-Rebuttal

      The point is that the government arguments if true would go a long ways to supporting their case against CO2, but because they are manifestly false, they provide three fatal flaws for the official version of AGW. A fatal flaw in science is rather like an Achilles Heel for a particular theory. In this case, the abject failure of the climate models to predict the lack of warming over the last 17 years says that the government does not understand greenhouse warming. The failure of the climate models has even been documented by the National Academy of Sciences in their PNAS (Santer, et al 2012). Santer is a member of the Academy and a rabid warmer.

    4. As to the logic and evidence that take down CAGW, one only has to read our amicus briefs to the US Supreme Court (in various v EPA). About a dozen highly qualified scientists showed the high court in two briefs that the EPA’s ‘Three Lines of Evidence’ can be easily refuted using the robust empirical data that always settles matters of science. Here is our merit stage brief:

      http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publications/supreme_court_preview/briefs-v2/12-1146_amicus_pet_scientists.authcheckdam.pdf

      Since the President used the same ’3 LoE’ arguments in his National Climate Assessment – 2014, this more detailed refutation is applicable:

      (search for “NCA Rebuttal”)

      The point is that the government arguments if true would go a long ways to supporting their case against CO2, but because they are manifestly false, they provide three fatal flaws for the official version of AGW. A fatal flaw in science is rather like an Achilles Heel for a particular theory. In this case, the abject failure of the climate models to predict the lack of warming over the last 17 years says that the government does not understand greenhouse warming. The failure of the climate models has even been documented by the National Academy of Sciences in their PNAS (Santer, et al 2012). Santer is a member of the Academy and a rabid warmer.

      Hence, Michael Mann will never be able to win a lawsuit on the basis of being on the correct scientific side of this issue. And he further risks his already tarnished scientific reputation by trying. Although he thinks that he was exonerated of wrongdoing in the Climategate affair, many realize the inquiries were a whitewash. And his famous Hockeystick graph purporting to show unusual warming in the 20th century has been taken apart many times in many ways. His attempts to “hide the decline” have correctly brought him ridicule, in the opinion of many including me.

      I’m a PhD astrophysicist with a very similar background to the Great Global Warming Guru James Hansen. But unlike him, I have no conflicts of interest on this matter.

      Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
      Corbett, Oregon USA

  1. I slightly disagree, to the extent that Mann’s defense of the alleged defamation (and the basis for his suit) is that he is right. You can be right about something, and have people strongly disagree with you, and their right to be very publicly wrong, maybe even obnoxiously wrong, is protected. But that is not what Mann’s suit is about. It is about the specific allegations of scientific misconduct and fraudulent activity. Indeed, Mann could be wrong about, say, the hockey stick .. tomorrow morning a flurry of papers could be published that show how the hockey stick graph is an artifact of the methods used to generate it … and he would still have a defamation suit because he is being accused of making false scientific claims willfully and of manipulating the data fraudulently.

    I hasten to add that the chance of a flurry of scientific papers coming out proving the Hockey Stick to be an artifact of the method is about the same as the chance of all of the oxygen molecules on the earth moving to one hemisphere.

    1. …. For climate deniers to lose in court would send the signal to the public that they are not to be trusted. That’s a great headline and PR win for climate change advocates, confirming a narrative that advocates have been emphasizing for years….
      ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

      Remember, Galileo lost in court too.

        1. Galileo was not correct. His most widely know theory, the Law of Falling Bodies, is literally wrong. A bowling ball and a marble fall at different rates. And the Sun is not the center of the solar system.

          Galileo was not imprisoned for a theory, but rather because he wrote a dialogue in which a character representing the Pope is portrayed as a complete moron.

          In essence, he was put on trial and imprisoned for slandering a member of a protected class.

          Sound familiar?

          1. ” A bowling ball and a marble fall at different rates. And the Sun is not the center of the solar system.”

            And the Earth is flat, you will tell us next.

          2. “The sun is not the center of the solar system?”

            It’s not … it’s at one of the foci of an ellipse.

      1. Mann is like Galileo – that much is true.
        He was up against the scientificaly ignorant (in the form of the Church) as well.
        But the truth eventualy came out and Galileo is still remembered today.
        I think this case could end up being even more important than that one.
        This time the entire global economy is at stake – climate change is already starting to wreck parts of it – just ask any Californian farmer how he likes the worst drought in recent US history.

        1. If only California had some sort of irrigation system… what’s that? They do, but are pouring most of their fresh water into the ocean to save a bait fish?

    2. Quite. though there are now a total of seventy three ‘hockey sticks’ all from diferent team using different proxies and every single one of them validates, corroborates and verifies Mann’s original so a flurry of papers disproving it is unlikely,
      But you are correct. It is not a question of if the data is correct or not – Mann used to best available information and reported the results with integrity. That much has been established over and over and over again. Whether or not he turns out to have been incorrect is irrelevant to the case.
      He didn’t manipulate data and his conduct was ethical.
      The whole thing is ridiculous really, Anyone with basic intelligenceand acumen can see exactly why the fossil fuel industry has been trying to discredit climate scientists in general and Mann in particular, You would have to be totaly blinded by ideology NOT to see it.

  2. As a lawyer, you should know that when you don’t know the answer, don’t ask the question. Likewise, if it’s not your area of expertise, perhaps you should have kept your fingers off the keyboard and avoiding the embarrassment of showing the world your ignorance and bias. Climate change is real, nobody questions that. However, Mann’s so-called “research” proving anthropogenic global warming has been disproven by many reliable and responsible scientists. The man lies pathologically, see his claim to be a Nobel prize winner. The “transparently phony evidence” you tout is on Mann’s side of the argument, and your hackneyed defence of the indefensible is not going to look good on your CV.

    1. Eric, no it hadn’t, that’s absurd. Numerous studies large and small have verified the hockey stick, none have refuted it. Michael is a very honest and straight forward person.

      Also, he and the others on the IPCC and the organization did in fact win the Nobel Prize, that is a matter of record. There was some confusion for a while as to whether or not the scientists, including Michael, could call themselves Nobel laureates. Interestingly, to clarify, the Novel committee made a rather ambiguous statement, in response, being a very honest and straight forward statement, Michael chose to not use the term.

      So, everything you are saying is both wrong and obnoxious.

      1. Just to be totally accurate, from Wikipedia:

        The IPCC presented Mann, along with all other “scientists that had contributed substantially to the preparation of IPCC reports”, with a personalized certificate “for contributing to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC,” celebrating the joint award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the IPCC and to Al Gore.[

        And the statement from Nobel:

        It would be correct to describe a scientist who was involved with AR4 or earlier IPCC reports in this way: “X contributed to the reports of the IPCC, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.”

        Nobody lied. There was some confusion as it was an unusual circumstances. Everyone involved just tried to do the right thing.

      2. Whether or not there is a Hockey Stick in surface temperatures, Mann’s work has indeed been refuted. That in itself wouldn’t be such a big deal, scientists turn out to be wrong all the time. But:
        “I don’t think these are minor points. I think they get major points correct. MBH98 [Mann et al 1998] was not an example of someone using a technique with flaws and then as he learned better techniques he moved on… 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 [Hockey Stick] 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. Of course someone was going to come along and slam it. In the defense of the HS method they published things on RC like what I showed above where they clearly misrepresented the views of the foremost expert on PCA in atmospheric sciences who basically says that Mann’s stats were dubious.”
        http://climateaudit.org/2013/11/20/behind-the-sks-curtain/
        The quote is from Robert Way of Skeptical Science, from their private forum.

        1. No, it hasn’t been. A climate science denier quoting a climate science denier is not of any interest at all.

          1. Can it be that you are not familiar with Skeptical Science? John Cook? Robert Way is not a denier, he is an well-known scientist supporting AGW (google Cowtan and Way). They recently published an well-publicized paper explaining part of the Pause. That’s why I quoted him, because he is an important supporter of the Consensus, publishes on John Cook’s site Skeptical Science – and believes that Mann’s work is dead wrong, and that Mann (hope I don’t get sued) behaved in a totally unscientific and fraudulent fashion trying to hide its mistakes.

            This would all be true even if later studies validate the Hockey Stick, which is why you are off the subject when you make that claim. It’s irrelevant to judging Mann’s work, which did not have a sound basis.

          2. I don’t mean to get personal, but if you’re not familiar with Robert Way’s work, that isn’t a crime – most people aren’t. But most people would hopefully never think of making authoritative statements about climate science. Really, if you don’t even know that, I don’t understand how you can go around saying things like “Numerous studies large and small have verified the hockey stick, none have refuted it.” You need to learn more about it; taking someone’s word for it on some blog that you happen to like isn’t enough.

            The Hockey Stick remains controversial, even after a number of follow-up studies, all of which share some or all of the issues that dogged the original Hockey Stick. “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 is, the handle part of the Hockey Stick is really bendier than was claimed]” And “I’ve been shown before by even climatology profs in my university time that it might be best to stick clear of Mann’s reconstructions until the dust settles (although this debate has been going on for 10 years)”
            Guess who I’m quoting? Hint: he’s a very well-known climate scientist who supports AGW (see my earlier link).

          3. Wow, the transterrestial fascist hillbillies are out in force on this one. The force is strong here, lol.

          4. “Wow, the transterrestial fascist hillbillies are out in force on this one.” If you’re referring to me, that’s interesting. Who’re the fascists: the one who’s trying to close down political discourse by force (and those who enable him), or those who think that free speech is precious, right or wrong-headed?
            That’s the whole _point_ of this article: we are so right that we don’t even have to let you talk.

            Judging by the comments so far, I may well be the second-most knowledgeable person here about climate science (behind Dr. Appell). Most commenters seem to lack basic knowledge about the very things they are declaiming – and seem to think they know everything. Hillbillies, as you said.

          5. Oh yes, words on the intertubz are so forceful. You must be very weak to be intimidated by such strong forces.

            Get a clue. People with scientific reading skills are laughing at you. Now that’s force.

          6. >> Who’re the fascists: the one who’s trying to close down political discourse by force <<

            Who is trying to do that?

            You're discoursing here… there are a million contrarian blogs. There are several think tanks devoted to a contrarian view…. One of them just had a huge conference in Las Vegas, which no one tried to prevent.

            It seems to me contrarians have plenty of free speech….

          7. “It seems to me contrarians have plenty of free speech….” As I mentioned already, the ACLU and the LA Times disagree with you. They, unlike you, think it’s a problem for free speech if people can be sued for expressing their opinions on politics.
            After all, even if Mann is unlikely to sue me, nothing is stopping him from claiming that my nasty statements about him caused him great harm – after all, if everyone took me seriously, his career would be ruined. And all of you would be right there at his back; after all, I’m WRONG.
            He didn’t decide to sue me, he decide to sue some people who are more influential, in the hopes of making it hard for his political enemies. The LA Times can see that that is a problem. Others only care about winning.

        2. Mann et al has been replicated by Marcott et al in Science magazine, PAGES 2k in Nature, Tingley and Huybers (who used a completely different mathemagtical method), and more,.

          Who has replicated McIntyre and McKitrick?

          1. All irrelevant, as you well know, Dr. Appell. Both the NRC panel and the Wegman commission found that Mann’s methods were wrong, whether or not he got lucky afterward, and he refused to admit it and tried to bury anyone who said so – as Robert Way pointed out. Richard Muller was on the first commission and said the same thing – both commissions agreed on that.
            Maybe you’re more interested in the result, but that isn’t the subject here. The subject here is whether criticism of Mann is justified.

          2. It’s not “irrelevant.” Replicating research is exactly how science progresses.

            I don’t know of anyone who puts much stock in the Wegman report. He was clearly biased, chosen by the committee because of that bias. After his plagarism scandal it had even less credence.

            Mann et al’s “hockey stick” work has been replicated by many different groups, some using independent mathematical techniques:

            http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/mann2008/mann2008.html

            “A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years,” Marcott et al, Science v339 n6124 pp 1198-1201, March 8, 2013
            http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6124/1198.abstract

            “Continental-scale temperature variability during the past two millennia,” PAGES 2k Consortium, Nature Geosciences, April 21, 2013
            http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v6/n5/abs/ngeo1797.html

            A confirmation using a different statistical technique was Tingley and Huybers, reported on here:

            “Novel Analysis Confirms Climate “Hockey Stick” Graph,” Scientific American, November 2009, pp 21-22.
            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=still-hotter-than-ever

          3. Richard Muller was wrong, and he obviously didn’t understand paleoclimate studies. He (purposely?) misconstrued the term “hide the decline,” and his statement about proxies was just wrong:

            “Is this unreliable? No. How do we know? Well, we don’t know.”

            And enormous amount of scientific effort has gone into evaluating proxies. Muller seemed ignorant of it all.

            More at:
            http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2011/10/best-muller-and-issue-of-peer-review.html

          4. Dr. Appell, I don’t understand why you keep repeating this. _You are changing the subject._ It doesn’t matter whether the result turns out to be true, using different data and different methods. We are not discussing the result here, we are discussing Mann’s work. His work was wrong, his ways of defending it were unethical. The reason people use different methods today is because his methods were made up, statistically unsound, and wrong.
            Robert Way and Richard Muller have more knowledge about it than you do; Way is in the field and Muller was part of the actual commission that tried to work through Mann’s statistics. He was not biased; he is in a different field (Physics) and believes in AGW to boot. He just found out, and repeats to this day, that the methods used were unjustified. You cannot find a professional statistician who thinks that you can use Mann’s method. He made it up, and it doesn’t work.
            Repeating statements about _other_ studies using _other_ methods is just changing the subject.

          5. >> The reason people use different methods today is because his methods were made up, statistically unsound, and wrong. <<

            No, it isn't — it's because after Mann's breakthrough, others thought of various other ways to do reconstructions.

            A scientific result doens't have to be perfect to be a breakthrough. Bohr's model of the atom wasn't perfect, but it was a definite breakthrough. Same for Newton's equation for the force of gravity. Einstein's special relativity. The Dirac equation. And on and on. All were superceded by later work that found better ways to explain things.

            Likewise, Mann et al's papers were big breakthroughs (especially in they way the allowed for a calculation of the reconstruction's error bars). It was a quantum jump in paleoclimate studies, which is why his colleagues have given him awards for it, like the 2012 Hans Oeschger Medal from the EGU.

            Being imperfect is one thing. But it doesn't mean fraud.

          6. Muller called himself a “converted skeptic” in is NY Times op-ed:

            http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/the-conversion-of-a-climate-change-skeptic.html

            >> He just found out, and repeats to this day, that the methods used were unjustified. <> Repeating statements about _other_ studies using _other_ methods is just changing the subject. <<

            No — other studies that find the same results are very relevant — it's hard to understand how Mann et al method was wrong if others, using other methods, got the same results. Care to explain that? And why, even if their methodology wasn't perfect, that makes if fraudulent?

          7. ‘”Muller called himself a “converted skeptic”’ Muller is what is known as an _honest man_. He had doubts about the accuracy of modern surface temperature readings, so he set up an team (BEST) to organize the data in a way that everyone can use it and analyze it. Having done so, he came to certain conclusions about the data and attribution. All good – unlike all those who heaped scorn on people who doubted the surface temperature data. On the contrary, Muller still says that the doubters were right to doubt, until the job had been done properly – and that the heapers of scorn were wrong.

            Anyhow, again you are changing the subject. This is the same Muller who on a different subject – the one we are actually supposed to be discussing – continues to say that Mann’s reconstructions are wrong and disgraceful and that he can’t be trusted. He didn’t change his mind on that, it has nothing to do with his BEST project.

            Remind me why you brought this link? Muller agrees with me, not with you.

          8. Marcott et al were thoroughly refuted too. Yet Science magazine never retracted the article.

            Mann was originally taken down by the Wegman report to the US National Academy of Sciences.

            Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
            Corbett, Oregon USA

        3. It has NOT “been refuted”. That is just a pitifull denierblog myth that ignorant dupes parrot endlessly in every comments thread in every article on climate science they can find. Doesn’t make it true.
          An ignorant and utterly discredited mathamatician who hosts his own sordid little denierblog on which he attacks climate scientists does not count as a ‘refutation’. It counts as BS.
          If you want to refute a peer-reviewed scientific paper you do your research, present your evidence, submit it to peer-review and get it published in a respected science journal – you don’t spew unsubstaniated and deeply flawed nonsense on your own pet denierblog – not if you want to be taken seriously by anyone other than haples dupes.
          In fact Mann’s original hockey stick has been replicated and verified SEVENTY THREE TIMES now.
          It is, in laymans terms, what non-scientists call a ‘scientific fact’.

          1. “That is just a pitifull denierblog myth that ignorant dupes parrot endlessly in every comments thread in every article on climate science they can find. Doesn’t make it true.” Yes, that is what you are doing. You haven’t studied the issues yourself, you’re just quoting stuff that some partisan said. Wrong stuff.

        4. “Robert Way holds a BA in Geography, Minor Geomatics and Spatial Analysis and an M.Sc. in Physical Geography. He is currently a PHD student at the University of Ottawa.”

          Not a climate scientist.

      1. So where is the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age that the Hockey Stick so obviously ignores?

        Perhaps tree ring proxies aren’t so damn good after all. If Mann really loved them so much, he wouldn’t have cherry-picked and stopped using them in the 60’s when he switched to measured readings because continued use of the proxies didn’t give them the result he was looking for.

        A model is no better than garbage if you only feed it garbage data.

        1. Lost in the regional noise. Neither the MWP nor the LIA appear to be global phenomena. And there is such a thing as multiple lines of evidence (your obsession with tree rings notwithstanding) and even such a thing as a first principles model (of which GCMs are an example) and ab initio (look it up) models, but I have yet to hear of scientists using garbage models to calibrate anything, much less another model. Maybe to test the hardware.

          You need to face facts, Mike, you don’t write models, you don’t use models, and you don’t read the literature.

          Others do these things. And when you chip in your uniformed opinions, I just laugh, and occasionally respond.

          1. And I am an actual geophysicst, so I can easily point out that if you look at the various 2000 yr temperature reconstructions, many of them do show nonlinear nonmonotonic fluctuations in temperatuires that vaguely outline the MWP and LIA, especially when you look at the uncertainty spreads. So your esteemed MWP and LIA are accounted for. Even less certain is the cooling after the holocene climactic optimum where large inflows of glacial and ice sheet meltwaters mucked up the atmospheric trade winds and oceanic currents, and where the models at this time mostly indicate there should have been uniform warming. However, if you read the most current literature, already the ice sheet models coupled with GCMs,are already capturing the bipolar seesaw effect, and that is being validated ever so slowly by the nuclear proxies from the ocean cores.

            You are good at citing denier websites that cite various bits of the literature, but not so good at reading it. Even less competent at synthesizing it into an unbiased perspective on reality untainted by your worldview.

            http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/08/07/1407229111.short?rss=1

            http://www.news.wisc.edu/23050

            This has already elevated itself to faux controversy levels, but anyone can be reminded that even after the Younger Dryas and the Holocene optimum, we are left with very large, very cold, ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctic, and a very large, very deep, very cold ocean. That’s a lot of anti-heat, Mikey.

            So show me your mechanism and your model. Put up or keep digging, I care not.

          2. “And I am an actual geophysicst” Sure you are Tommy, you are a geophysicist and an aeronautical engineer and a brain surgeon, whatever you want to BS us with today.

            Hows that corn-silo SSTO of yours workin’ out?

          3. So you have no cogent comments on Liu, et al. Who knew!

            Hows that corn-silo SSTO of yours workin’ out?

            Great! Thanks for asking, 2001 was a long time ago. It’s now an SSTO capable reusable hydrocarbon first stage capable of landing on a dime. With more engines that the Saturn V. I’m extremely happy with the result. I’m kinda waiting on what Tony Henson of Dynetics conjures up, though. Although I am skeptical of the F1-X it seems a shame to waste the SSMEs like that. I know he’s at least aware of the Delta V and the Delta 9, since I used to see his personal IP on my blog routinely. I still like the dual fuel concept but it’s starting to look a little obsolete. The sticking point is the vast $ sums wasted on the Orion and the SLS.

            Maybe Hillary can come up with something to save all those wasted sunk costs. Or somebody else, not me. I’ve already come up with a dozen or so alternatives, but it seems to me that new engines are the trick. All I have in my rolodex under that topic are Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk right now. I’d like to see a few more ideas.

          4. “You are good at citing denier websites that cite various bits of the literature, but not so good at reading it.”
            You have already admitted elsewhere that you have not bothered to read the literature that explains the problems with these studies. Presumably you don’t even know what the problems are. All you have read are the awesome posts on the blogs you like that thoughtfully tell you their version of the problems, absolutely prove that none of that is a problem and that the bad guys are deniers and frauds and stuff.

            So your views are completely irrelevant.

    2. There is so much ridiculous in your comment, but this actually made me laugh.

      “Climate change is real, nobody questions that.”

      That may be one of the stupidest statements made on the subject of climate change.

  3. The author quoted Forbes, but not the ACLU, Village Voice, Washington Post, LA Times, and about 25 national publications in their amici brief
    http://www.steynonline.com/documents/6515.pdf
    They all say he’s wrong. This is protected speech.
    This is how public political discourse looks. Mann is not a retiring private scientist; he is a well-known media figure. Mark Steyn is not a fellow scientist, he is a shock jock. Is there a human being who thinks that Mann’s scientific standing is in any way affected because Mark Steyn doesn’t approve of him?
    Using the courts to suppress your political opposition is not a tactic for a free society.

    This article has a number of factual errors; I’ll just point out one. Here is the original article that started it:
    http://cei.org/blog/other-scandal-unhappy-valley
    Mann was not compared with Sandusky. The investigation of Mann by Penn State was compared to the investigation of Sandusky, i.e., it said that both were whitewashes.

    1. If you went on a public forum and started claiming, not just that Mark Steyn is an idiot, but that every single word he had ever published was plagiarized verbaitim from someone else, and you continued to spread these rumors to the point that they became widely believed, you can bet Mark Steyn would sue you. You would not be merely making a general claim that he is bad at his job in your opinion, but that he has acted fraudulently in very specific ways that are proveable and, which would reduce future employment opportunities if they were true.

    2. Miker: “Mann was not compared with Sandusky. The investigation of Mann by Penn State was compared to the investigation of Sandusky, i.e., it said that both were whitewashes.”

      So in addition to the accusations that Michael Mann’s work is fradulent (false), his university is accused of collusion by virtue of having exonerated him.

      If there is any valid reason to doubt Michael Mann’s honesty, it has yet to appear.

      If there is any valid evidence against the accuracy of his scientific work, I am not aware of it. Robert May’s paper has been cited as such. If this is correct, May will eventually carry the day. But after 16 years of failed challenges to the Hockey Stick, this is not very likely.

  4. “After all, a court wouldn’t sanction someone for calling people crazy who deny that smoking causes lung cancer or HIV causes AIDS.”

    Well, yes, and the court, historically Flynt v Fallwell, protects publishers from sanctions for calling a pastor a mother-rapist. The court, probably, wouldn’t sanction a journalist for calling an actress “retarded” for campaigning against childhood vaccination. I suspect you’d be right to suppose the court would not punish those who fought against the “false memory syndrome” and the expert testimony in those old Satan-worshiping daycare trials; even though juries and judges, at the time, thought the psychiartrists and well-credentialed social workers were right and the red-neck full time babysitters were, in fact, anal-penetrating devil worshipers. The courts would no doubt decline to side with either the proponents or opponents of fluoridation. And I’m sure you can generally call a chiroprator a charletan and fraud even though he has been accredited by a state board after earning a degree from a state-accredited institution.

    Clearly climate science, like the CDC’s statistical approach to second-hand tobacco smoke, is different.

    Still, it was perhaps unfortunate that Dr Mann referred to himself in his complaint as a Nobel Prize winner. That pleading seems to have distracted a number of people from the more technical issues of principle-component analysis in dendro-climatological proxy samples.

    1. “And I’m sure you can generally call a chiroprator a charletan and fraud even though he has been accredited by a state board after earning a degree from a state-accredited institution.”

      Yes. And in a political article you can call a _doctor_ a fraud too, even though he has been accredited by his medical school and the AMA. As the ACLU said in their amici brief, “The fact that certain official panels backed Mann’s methodology…cannot allow him to silence his critics in a defamation claim. Under the First Amendment, the government is not the final arbiter of truth with the power to foreclose further challenge to its policies.”

  5. The earth’s climate really does not care what Dr. Mann said nor whether he is right or wrong. His silly little lawsuit reminds us of California’s cap’n trade scam because it will have no effect whatsoever on the climate, At this time, the best solution for Dr. Mann and all of us would be curtailment of the Obama administration’s proposed Greenhouse Gas regulations.

    Our highest and best aspiration lies in a favorable outcome of the upcoming elections. If all goes well, our great Nation may achieve a righteous resolution to all this nagging and tiresome speculation. The signs are hopeful, there are good indications which encourage us to anticipate a good outcome. Hurry November and help us solve the climate problem.

    1. Mann et al’s hockey stick reconstructed past temperatures. It said nothing about why temperatures increased in the 20th century. It said nothing about carbon dioxide. It did not attribute temperature changes to anything.

      Read the papers.

      1. Reconstructed some of them right out of the historic record, like the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period.

      2. David:

        You know perfectly well that Michael Mann subscribes to the theory of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming theory. His ‘Hockeystick’ graph is a pillar of that theory.

    2. At this time, the best solution for Dr. Mann and all of us would be

      And of course you speak for Dr. Mann and all of us too! And you expect nobody to call you on that?

      This is hilarious. Keep up the good work!

  6. Mark Steyn is anxious to move the lawsuit forward to discovery. All the information that Mann has prevented from being disseminated via FOI requests are now fair game in discovery. It is rare that a judge limits discovery.

    Mann acts like an immature adolescent with all the putdowns he tweets out about scientists that question his work. Science is all about questioning other scientists’ work and theories. Why do immature adolescents put down others, because they don’t feel good or confident about themselves. Obviously Mann is not confident in his professional work or he wouldn’t resort to immature and childish behavior on twitter. If he was confident in his work, he would debate reasonable professionals that disagree with his positions just like scientist in all other fields, besides climate science, debate.

    1. Mark Steyn is anxious to move the lawsuit forward to discovery.

      Which explains why he moved to have Mann’s lawsuit dismissed. Could you possibly try to sound even more disinformed and outright wrong? Thanks. I’m not laughing hard enough.

      1. “Could you possibly try to sound even more disinformed and outright wrong?” You do. Mark Steyn has dropped out of the request for dismissal and is pushing for an immediate trial.
        Why do those who know the least sneer the most?

        1. http://www.steynonline.com/documents/6109.pdf

          which says:

          “WHEREFORE, Defendant Mark Steyn demands judgement as follows: a. Dismissing Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint in its entirety….”

          Dated Februrary 20, 2014.

          So tell me, what has changed since June 1? (Barry Bickmore’s blog post).

          Steyn ranted some more on his blog?

          1. “Mark Steyn is anxious to move the lawsuit forward to discovery.” This is the quote you were disagreeing with. Steyn has filed asking for discovery, Mann has tried to prevent it. Steyn has also filed for immediate dismissal, but not the appeal of the anti-SLAPP motion; he has withdrawn from that. He wants to go to immediate trial – unless, of course, Mann concedes and drops his case. In that case, Steyn would still proceed with his counter-suit, which also involves discovery.

          1. I answered this above. Obviously, when you are the defendant, dismissal means winning. But he is proceeding toward trial (unless the other side concedes) instead of with the anti-SLAPP appeal.
            Steyn already fought through one of these, in Canada, and the law there was changed because of him. He cares a lot more about free speech than he does about climate change, and I imagine Mann made a mistake in getting him started. He doesn’t intimidate easily; I see the offending article remains prominently posted on his website.

            Come, folks, step up: would anyone bet me a quatloo on the outcome of the trial? I would give odds that Steyn will not have to pay Mann a nickel. I would give longer odds that he will not settle unless he doesn’t have to pay a nickel. I’m not sure if he’ll settle even then; he wants to make an example of Mann as he did with the Canadian fascists.

          2. He is proceeding to trial because now he has no other choice. Can you guys ever admit you were wrong? I guess that’s just not in your nature, and that’s why you are not employed or even unemployed scientists.

          3. “He is proceeding to trial because now he has no other choice. ” You are aware that Mann sued him, not the other way round? The way you win as a defendant is in court, or if the case is dismissed, or if the other person drops the case. All those are victories for the defendant. In any event, Steyn filed a counter-suit, which would involve discovery as well.

            Not that I think discovery is that big a deal in this case, but anyhow you’re not making sense.

          4. You forgot he could have settled, and Rand could have as well. It was a very simple request, apologize and print a retraction. I guess that out didn’t seem attractive enough for the true believers. They could still settle. But I suspect that would require a bit more than a simple apology and retraction now for Simberg and Steyn.

            Maybe Mann will decide to pay them to quit drooling all over the internet. Weirder things have happened.

          5. “You forgot he could have settled, and Rand could have as well. It was a very simple request, apologize and print a retraction.” What would make you think I forgot that? Why would they apologize? They think Mann is a villain. Are you abandoning your earlier position that they are anxious to escape? Steyn at least is trying to make Mann pay for doing this.

        2. All lawsuits involve discovery, filing for it is just a procedure. He filed for it because he lost his request for dismissal. So if by eager to proceed you mean he has no other choice, then you would indeed be correct.

          I have a bit of experience in this area as well, having been sued myself and using discovery to my advantage.

    2. “Mark Steyn is anxious to move the lawsuit forward to discovery. ”

      Yet another silly stupid lie from ignorant right wing denier ideologues. The truth is that Steyn is anxious that there *will* be discovery, as it will completely destroy his position.

      1. Yes, when in the history of the world has a defendant, who has just failed to have their suit dismissed, declared, “we are really reluctant to move towards discovery, because our case is going to collapse at that point.”

        It is pretty common to hear people declare how eager they are to face their accusers in court and clear their name, only to plead guilty once they are facing a judge.

  7. Some clarification is required…

    The opinion/fact distinction is rooted in the First Amendment, and cannot vary among jurisdictions. See Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co., 497 US 1, 19-20 (1990) (“a statement on matters of public concern must be provable as false before there can be liability under state defamation law … a statement of opinion relating to matters of public concern which does not contain a provably false factual connotation will receive full constitutional protection”).

    Also, the “falsity must be ‘material’ … ‘[m]inor inaccuracies do not amount to falsity so long as `the substance, the gist, the sting, of the libelous charge be justified.'” Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp. v. Hoeper, 134 S. Ct. 852, 861 (2014). And where the plaintiff is a public figure, even if the statement is false there can be no liability unless the defendant acted with “knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” Id.

    These protections serve a vital purpose. It’s one thing to say in the abstract that one’s position — whatever it is — is supported by overwhelming evidence, to the point where it is beyond reasonable debate. It’s very different when you’re actually in court in a defamation action, regardless of which side you’re on. Will the judge see the truth of the matter as clearly as you? What about a different judge, appointed by a politician from a different political party, whom you could just as easily draw? What about a jury? What about a court in a different part of the country?

    The First Amendment requirements built into defamation law provide some insulation against these uncertainties, and the self-censorship they inevitably spawn. Do they also enable plenty of ugly, idiotic speech, and even some “stenography of lies”? Undoubtedly. But the alternative is to ask judges and juries to be the arbiters of truth in each case.

    Anyway, sorry to cite the preachiest First Amendment quote of all time, but it really is tailor-made for this post: “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.” Whitney v. California, 274 US 357, 377 (1927) (Brandeis, J., concurring).

    1. Outstanding comment. The hysterics forget that limiting speech based on political correctness can turn around and bite them on the ass the next time.

    1. Roy Spencer is a Christian scientist nut. You don’t seem to get it. I’m laughing at you, not with you. And yes, I am a rocket scientist.

      1. http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/survey-confirms-scientific-consensus-on-human-caused-global-warming/
        Actual survey. Nowhere near 97%. Maybe 85% – a very solid majority, with a solid group of dissenting scientists. Also, an even bigger minority, maybe 30%, says there that climate sensitivity is on the lowest side of the IPCC estimates – which would make climate change not as much of a problem.
        Note also that this survey is only on the issue of attribution. No telling what percentage think that the damage will be severe, or that mitigation might have even greater costs. No one knows the numbers on that.
        You are the victim of a propaganda campaign, and you are laughing at the ones who didn’t get fooled.

        1. Dude, I read the peer reviewed scientific literature. Maybe you’ve heard of it, they’re called academic journals, and you can find them in your local world class university research library. That might require you to actually drive into town, find a convenient parking space and walk to a big building and then use a nearby elevator.

          I also read the gray literature and the technical blogs. Really technical blogs, not crank denier blogs.

          Get a clue. I don’t give a rats ars what other scientists think unless they publish original thoughts.

          Yes, in my spare time I really am a rocket scientist, mostly retired from that nonsense now.

          1. “Really technical blogs, not crank denier blogs.” Do you read McIntyre’s blog? It’s really technical. It matters naught if you can read scientific journals, if you don’t actually do it. Either you have worked through the science and the math on this subject, which includes McIntyre’s published articles and his up-to-date information on his blog, or you haven’t. If the latter, then you are taking someone’s word for it, and that someone may not care to give you a balanced picture.

            Did you read PAGES 2K that Dr. Appell mentioned? If you did, did you go through the actual data and figure out if you agree with their conclusions, or with McIntyre’s problems with them?
            If you didn’t do all that, and most of us can’t, then where are you drawing your certainty? Did you just decide to believe someone who said that the other side is all clowns and hillbillies? Here I’m bringing you a top expert in the field who says “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 [that’s McIntyre] (as much as I hate to admit it they are right about the issue of the study failing verification statistics past 1500 for one).” [see my link above for the source]
            You can play pretend all you like, but all you will succeed in doing is convince the rest of us that you aren’t really interested in getting a true picture.

          2. Do you read McIntyre’s blog? It’s really technical.

            No, that would be unproductive. What I did find productive is reading the blogs which picked McIntyre’s objections to the proxy selections and their manipulaiton into a carcass of bones drying out in the sun. And even more revealing was the dissection of Wegman’s malfeasance. I’m surprised you still cite that crap here.

            The fact that you still cite this stuff reveals that not only do you not understand the algebra, but that you haven’t even read through all of the gray literature criticisms of it. And then, of course, there is Mashey.

          3. “No, that would be unproductive. ” As I said. You only read what agrees with you, and only know one side. You have no idea what the other side really says. The rest of us will understand that your point of view is going to be irrelevant.

            If you really have anything to say, McIntyre’s blog rarely censors. I see plenty of real climate scientists on both sides posting there, and they have lively discussions. Sometimes McIntyre wins, sometimes the other side. But they come to real truth.

            Or – just stick to the blogs you like, and never see the real issues beyond what the partisans there want you to see. Continue to think that you know all about McIntyre, when you actually know nothing at all.

          4. You only read what agrees with you, and only know one side. You have no idea what the other side really says.

            No, I assure you I listen to both sides, country AND western! Anybody who speaks about ‘two sides’ just doesn’t understand science enough for me to try and engage them on a technical level. It’s too naive.

            I read the peer reviewed journals, and blogs where original science and original science discussion occurs. That would not be any of the crank crap that has been listed here as if they represented valid science cites.

          5. Here I’m bringing you a top expert in the field

            That’s called an appeal to authority. When I read journal papers I hardly glance at the author list unless I’m looking for somebody I know, have heard of, have read before or that I respect. And even then I rarely remember any names. I’m not interested in authors,names, institutions, their credentials, etc, or even their credibility, as I can discern that from their results, and from checking the math myself and then double checking on the blog feedback of the work. Why should I limit myself to one self proclaimed ‘expert; when the internet now brings to me the totality of all human knowledge and thousands of demonstrable expert opinions. If only the legal system could get on the electronic bandwagon. Video the cops every move from now on I say.

          6. “That’s called an appeal to authority.” You’re forgetting that while Appeal to Authority may be a fallacy if you use it as proof, it is nevertheless the way that most of us make most of our decisions on what to believe. Most of us are not capable of the kind of research you claim to be doing. And even if you are doing that, you don’t claim to be examining all the actual data proxies, or studying the theory of the nonstandard statistics that were used. You certainly aren’t comparing the data proxies that were rejected, as the majority of those have never been published at all.
            There are only a few people in the world who have done all those things (McIntyre is one of them, though not the only one.) The rest of us are always going to be taking someone’s word for it. I happen to have decided that Robert Way is a good one to testify, since he is a fierce opponent of McIntyre who says that he was right.

      2. I am a Geo Scientist. I have actually studied the Earth and been paid for it. Perhaps you should stick to flying pipes and bent metal Garp. I think Geology is a little more relevant to climate than turbomachinery so stay in your lane!

        1. That’s so weird, I thought you were a paranoid hillbilly with a shack in the hills full of guns to protect your TV.

          In my spare time when I’m not doing rocket science (which is all the time since I’ve accomplished what I set out to do in rocket science), I’m a condensed matter physicist. And a planetary astrophysicist. And an astrobiologist. And a field geologist. So feel free to explain to me what you do not understand about the microscopic physics of radiative transfer and statistical thermodynamics and then tell us all why a planetary energy inbalance of the magnitude that we are both observing and have calculated from first principles does not represent a problem.

          1. Tell me more about what credentials, degrees and appeals to authority have to do with evidence, science, mathematics, engineering and technology, and even civil law and civil legal proceedings again? Even if I don’t know something specific, I have enough (decades actually) experience in the pre-internet research world to know where to find out what I need to know, made even easier by the instant availability of all human knowledge – a point in human technological finesse that I worked very hard over the decades to get to. Meanwhile, you seem safe enough in your knowledge that you already have all the answers you need.

            Here is a prediction. We will be able to watch these civil proceedings as they proceed.

            Then we will know. But that will have nothing to do with the reality of the problems.

  8. I’m not going to respond to the specific an generally pretty obnoxious comments about how the “Hockey Stick” is discredited, as we are just seeing a Gish Gallop happening. I’ll just point to this post at Skeptical Science about the Hockey Stick for those looking on and wondering what the heck we are talking about:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm

    Also, I just heard that Michael Mann’s book on the Climate Wars is now available as an audio book! For many of the denialists this may be good because they can hear his perspective and don’t have to read much.

    1. Perfect. By all means, I recommend to anyone to read it, if they also read “The Hockey Stick Illusion” by Montford.
      http://www.amazon.com/The-Hockey-Stick-Illusion-Climategate/dp/1906768358
      You will come away awed at Mann’s duplicity, in writing a book years later that avoids all the important issues and pretends they never were – assuming that his friends will only see the other side as he presents it.
      Or, you can just read Mann’s book and think that you know all about it.

      1. Or you can just read McIntyre’s blog and think that you know everything you need to about mann’s ’98 paper and about pale-reconstructions.
        But, as someone said blogs are not really the source of tested information. they are just the views of the bloggers. since McIntyre and McKittrick have absolutely shown Mann’s methodology to be disastrously wrong, could you please link to their published peer reviewed papers that indicate this? and can you tell me when Mann’s paper was retracted?
        Yes I know it is hard to have a paper retracted, but clearly this is of such great importance that any honest expert in this area would insist it be retracted.
        who are the other experts that have analyzed Mann’s Paper. I ail give you a hint. there are LOTS of them. there is certainly controversy about MBh, and McIntyre did bring up issues with the methodology. I don;t even doubt that Mann was overly defensive about their approach. but there re many many critiques of Mcintyres analysis and many objections to his conclusions about a whole variety of issues. HAve your read all of them and can you give a reasonable assessment of whether McIntyre or his critics have a more nuanced and accurate understanding of the real issues?
        This is all besides the point as not even McIntyre contends that Mann was involved in blatant fraud.
        and as has been pointed out, all subsequent reconstructions are consistent with Mann’s original work. quite impressive for that paper being the first one to really attempt a systematic study of global temps.
        and of course the most recent Pages2K and Marcott both show the MWP to be not a constant temporal global warming, but a series of regional effects over a few centuries.
        Steyn’s article is unquestionable a lie in his characterization of Mann’s research Mann asked him to remove the lie,and Steyn an dNR refused. There is no issue here of “chilling effect on free speech”.Just the removal of completely unsubstantiated accusation of fraud. not an “opinion” that there was fraud, but a statement of objective fact.
        I fail to see how forcing people not to print unsupported factual allegations that on examination are verifiably false can be stifling free speech.
        Steyn and NR can lie all they want as long as they keep it general

  9. The funniest thing about all this is that, if Mann et al (and all the followups) are wrong, our current situation is MORE dire, not less.

    Because a strong, global Medieval Warm Period would mean that such natural fluctuations are MORE probable than we thought, one having occurred just 1000 years ago.

    Another MWP like that would add to our greehouse warming — another degree or two — increasing the AGW warming still further. It makes the impact of AGW even worse.

    1. Not necessarily; it makes the problem of attribution harder. It makes lower climate sensitivities more likely, since much of the temperature rise recently could be because of naturality variability, and much of the Pause could be because that variability came to an end. Lower climate sensitivities would mean that the Two Degree goal may be met without any mitigation at all.
      It also means that a lot of the concern about temperature change happening _faster than it ever happened before_ may not be true; ecosystems may have dealt with this before.

    2. >>”The funniest thing about all this is that, if Mann et al (and all the followups) are wrong, our current situation is MORE dire, not less.”

      That may be true, but it does not excuse Mann’s behavior.

      1. “but it does not excuse Mann’s behavior.”

        What behaviour is that? Producing his research honestly and then suing when he is publicly accused of fraudulent professional conduct?

        1. How about not releasing his code or exact methods, which included a never before seen modification to PCA? How about not disclosing R squared results?

  10. Great, now we can get all of this put under the microscope of the law and see how the data and models hold up to legal scrutiny. This should be interesting considering we keep finding errors in the modeling and data..

    1. What would be more interesting is if you could find data and models of natural phenomona that do not continue to yield errors and improvements. But I guess those kinds of subtle technical arguments do not sway the mind of the absolutist.

  11. >>”First, the comments against Mann aren’t just name-calling — they are name-calling to further false challenges to Mann’s work. They misleadingly call into question the accuracy of Mann’s research and methodology.”

    Actually McIntyre and McKitrick published papers in peer reviewed journals that “call into question the accuracy of Mann’s research and methodology”.

    1. But they did not call into doubt the fundamental result, and in retrospect, after outside dissection, most of McIntryre’s stuff turned out to be fluff, although some minor valid methodological points are illuminated. On the other hand, you continue to fail to come to grips with either the robustness of the 2000 year temperature reconstructions when compared to the recent dramatic anthropological warming (the hockey stick) or the concept of multiple lines of evidence, replication and verification, which has been demonstrated over and over again with these recent temperature reconstructions.

      The 11K reconstructions (Liu et al.) will produce an equal amount of commentary and dissection, no doubt. But they certainly will not refute the current warming nor its causes, but should add to the models some necessary components or tweaks to existing components, such as insolation inhomogeneity, seasonal variations and deep ocean and ice reservoirs.

      1. Given that you haven’t read what he wrote, I’d rather go with a real expert opponent who did: Robert Way says that Mann’s work has been invalidated (not minor flaws). And says that the studies that followed are not independent; they use mostly the same data, have mostly the same authors, and share many of the same flaws. But you aren’t going to know about that, because, as you said, you are only reading the part you like. You also aren’t examining the actual data, aren’t redoing the numbers, aren’t looking for problems.

        I imagine it’s obvious to the rest of us why others don’t take such claims as yours seriously. But why would _you_ take it seriously? If you haven’t done a serious job of trying to understand all sides of the issue, why would you think you understand it?

      2. McIntyre’s work is not minor fluff! He found major errors and omissions in Mann’s hockey stick. When McIntyre tried to reproduce it, Mann would not provide all the data or any of the code, which included his incorrect modification of principle component analysis, that mined hockey sticks! Andrew Montford’s ‘Hockey Stick Illusion’ presents the details of this and a whole lot more. I think it’s appalling that people who get all pious about science want to sweep this under the rug and then insist that we trust them.

        1. If you understood how science works then you would not be littering up this legal forum with crank dialog but rather supplying cites, if even to the gray literature. For instance, M&M was dealt with fairly succinctly way back in 2010 by Deep Climate after the Wegman report fiasco (Wegman’s fiasco entirely, but McIntyre certainly deserves some of the credit), but it has recently been taken up again, and this would provide further confirmation you have no idea what you are talking about. Truely, you are regurgitatig nonsense.

          http://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/debunking-the-hockey-stick/

          http://deepclimate.org/2010/10/25/the-wegman-report-sees-red-noise/

          So one can see (maybe not you) that at least in the case of M&M 2005 what they did was not only an improvement, but it was entirely wrong. Wegman then regurgitated much of this nonsense to congress. The fact that it took five years for some blog scientists to get around to debunking McIntyre et al. only indicates the relative lack of interest in a paper and protocol that has been replicated ad nauseum by a variety of different statistical techniques over multiple data sets spanning a variety of historical temperature proxiies. But it was much easier for a bunch of innumerate deniers to pick up on a flawed analysis as it it actually meant anything.

          Now next time you want to discuss science, do give me some cites so I have some context. Yes, I watched Wegman testify before congress in 2005, and I’ve read and understood all the relevant papers. But I too didn’t give much thought to McIntyre because I don’t let my opinion rest on a single source, but on all the sources.

          1. “I don’t let my opinion rest on a single source, but on all the sources.” “All the sources, as long as they agree. I don’t actually know what McIntyre would say to any of this. I didn’t read his rebuttals, or know that they exist.”

            On the other hand, those of us who’ve been following this from both sides watched clear rebuttals after every post that “dealt” with McIntyre. We waited to see counters to the rebuttals. But generally there was no point to one, as the readers of those other sites never heard about them. We waited for the authors of those posts to post on climateaudit, which never censors anything on topic – waited in vain.

            One reason I have a lot of respect for Robert Way is that when McIntyre discussed some of his work in Cowtan and Way (and Lucia, and Judith Curry) he posted detailed comments on those sites explaining his work, and very effectively. Michael Mann could have done the same, or any of the authors you mentioned. They posted their shots and ran.

          2. Again, since you have provided me with no cites for such discussions and analyses, I can never know. The cites I provided you, in particular the Deep Climate analysis, are pretty clear, from statistics professionals. The upshot is, not that it will matter in this court case since this is about libel, not science, is that McIntryre’s criticisms of Mann are not only baseless, but demonstrably flawed and possibly even outright wrong, and Wegman’s report very nearly borders on, if not malfeasance, gross incompetence and/or decidedly apathetic.

            Yet you still cite them as if they were relevant. Weird. I can’t wait for discovery in this case. It will not go well.

          3. I’m familiar with your two links. They expend a lot of energy trying to show that McIntyre somehow tweaked his random red noise to yield bigger hockey sticks from the mannomatic. However big they are, it still mines for them and in the case of Mann’s paper, it mined them from a small number of suspect bristlecone pines.

            The alleged cherry picking involves illustrative examples that are noted as such.

          4. “Again, since you have provided me with no cites for such discussions and analyses, I can never know.” Oh, but you can. By following both sides of the discussion. You could have checked climateaudit when those posts came up, or even posted a question there about them. But you’re right, if you refuse to read climateaudit’s side, you can never know.
            This has been going on for more than a decade; even now, you can find multiple posts there on every new proxy study, on many other types of climate studies, on many other topics. If you disagree with them, you could post your points; many others do.

          5. I would add that though anyone can post there, people who post there without enough knowledge tend to get their heads handed to them.

          6. By following both sides of the discussion.

            I would prefer to follow the multifaced nuances of the evidence and the science.

          7. I’m familiar with your two links.

            Sure you are. Then you should be able to provide me with links and cites to current works refuting what was done in these complete disassemblies of McIntyre’s work.

            You can’t. And guess what, nobody cares much anymore. The volume of evidence is heavily against you. This has been replicated even throwing out the suspect data and with a variety of different proxies. Most people have moved on to the 11K stuff.

          8. “Then you should be able to provide me with links and cites to current works refuting what was done in these complete disassemblies of McIntyre’s work.” Huh. Do your own research. You claimed to be good at that. As I said, there is more than a decade of material available there, and good search facilities.
            And if, as is possible, no one there noticed your links enough to respond , so post a question there on a related post, hopefully a little more civilly than you’ve been here. When I post questions there, I generally get answers, often very quickly.

          9. You were complaining that nobody here is commenting on the Steyn’s right to free speech. Nobody is muzziling Steyn, he has been continually running off at the mouth since litigation was initiated. Nobody is stopping him from running off at the mouth. But with freedom of speech come the right to sue in civil court. Mann is exercising that right. That’s not going to prevent him from continuing to run off at the mouth, it’s just possibly going to penalize him for lying in an effort to besmirch someone’s personal reputation. The reason I bring up Deep Climate and the associated links is that Steyn (and you and a bunch of other denialists and libertarian conspiracy theorists) happen to believe that McIntyre and Wegman somehow refutes Mann’s work, which it clearly does not if you are able to follow the math, and statistical procedures and methodologies and the data. Not understanding or believing math or science is not a valid excuse.

            Steyn and Simberg et al. have no defense. If they are smart they will settle. If they were really smart they would have settled right at the outset, when the cost of settlement would have been much less expensive.

            Freedon of speech comes with a cost and a price. Often it is a good deal more harsh than a public apology and a printed retraction. You should keep that in mind when you wave the flag of free speech in public.

  12. Ethan, I´d like to comment on the following….

    “Sure, you can debate the scale of the warming and the precise amount of impact that human activity is having, but an astounding 97% of scientists have reached consensus on the overall issue.

    If you check the source paper for the 97 % figure you will see the figure is highly questionable. Furthermore, what you do is suggest the public must bow to a self appointed authority (that is, the papers´authors defined themselves as the proper judges as to what amounted to support for a, b, or c position on the debate).

    Also, a court of law isn´t really the place to decide a science debate. The legal issue, as pointed out by the ACLU in their Amicus brief to the court is whether ” the challenged statements are protected opinion on an important scientific and public debate”.

    I support the ACLU´s statement in this case. Opinion is opinion, and not a statement of fact.

  13. The author of this article doesn’t understand scientific method, but that is typical of most lawyers (I am a lawyer, but I also have scientific training).

    Of course Michael Mann has manipulated data, that is what researchers do. They accept certain data, they reject certain data. They make assumptions that some things are important and that other things are not. Those into self promotion tout their confidence and hide or minimize their doubts.

    Anyone interested in science, however, should be wary of asking a court to determine scientific truth. Judges are notoriously incompetent in dealing with technical matters. But they render judgments as if they were omniscient. People who value their freedom don’t ask the government to determine any truth.

    Michael Mann may not like the criticism he has received, but he has no right to silence it. And he won’t, regardless of what any court decides. Mann may intimidate some of his critics, but this world has too many channels available for communication for the critics of Michael Mann to be stifled. His lawsuit won’t succeed in that regard, but it has revealed much about his character: he is a bully, as well as a pretentious scientist.

    Reality will ultimately determine the climate change debate – and yes, it is a debate. The number of people who accept an hypothesis does not determine its validity, and anyone who argues that consensus establishes truth is not an independent thinker.

    Honest scientists are always skeptics and will think for themselves, regardless of what others think, even their peers. When you see the incredible hostility expressed by global warming true believers towards climate change skeptics, you know there is something wrong.

    What is intellectually wrong – and climate change advocates know this – is the pretense at the ability to predict the long-term future of climate change, and the pretense at being able to control long-term climate change on earth. What is wrong is claiming to comprehend the causal factors involved in climate change. Climate change processes are too complex to comprehend, or to mathematically model.

    No matter how cleverly one attempts to determine past temperature records, atmospheric conditions, etc., all of those attempts rest on unproven and largely untestable assumptions. It is interesting work, but it will remain incomplete and it won’t – because it can’t – establish causation for climate change.

    Causation cannot be proven because the factors involved are too complex. Michael Mann thinks that causation has been proven because certain models work to show outcomes which correspond to his estimates of past climate conditions. Creating a model which matches your assumptions proves nothing about reality. Models that show human action as the main cause for climate change are convenient to those who would like to be in charge of coping with climate change, and that convenience presents an obvious conflict of interest for people like Michael Mann.

    Michael Mann is dangerous – not because of his ideas, but because of his tactics. His tactics in using courts and government coercion to impose his views on humanity.

    Pretenders claim to be able to predict the future; scientists don’t. Snow in the Midwest this week won’t disprove global warming, but it should cause some discomfort to those who have predicted imminent global warming catastrophes. And global warmers do have a 50% chance of being right about the direction of climate change, despite the fact that neither they or anyone else understands the causes. What is scary about Michael Mann and too many of his allies, is that they are willing to use any means possible to silence their critics, including professional bullying and government coercion. Courtrooms are no place to discuss science.

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About Ethan

Ethan Elkind

Ethan Elkind is the Director of the Climate Change and Business Program, with a joint appointment at UC Berkeley School of Law and UCLA School of Law. In this capacity, h…

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