Posted by: Barry Bickmore | February 13, 2014

The Free Speech Brigade Suppresses Free Speech

The Mann v. National Review et al. case (which I have previously written about here, here, and here) has the Free Speech Brigade out in force.  These people have, or at least pretend to have, such extreme views about “free speech” that they will spout reams of dissembling nonsense to convince unsuspecting readers that they should be up in arms about the most pedestrian defamation case imaginable.  The irony is that if they succeed at convincing their target audiences, but not at convincing judges and others who aren’t too lazy to read a couple legal documents, they might actually persuade some people to suppress their own Constitutionally protected speech.

EXHIBIT A is Professor Stephen L. Carter, of the Yale Law School, who recently wrote an opinion piece on Bloomberg entitled, “Climate-Change Skeptics Have a Right To Free Speech, Too“.  First, he gives a fairly competent rundown of what the case is all about, correctly noting that it really isn’t about the right for climate-change “skeptics” to criticize consensus scientific positions.  Rather it’s about whether they can falsely accuse a scientist of fraudulently manipulating data.  Oh, there’s more to it than that, but instead of filling in his readers on a few more pertinent details, Prof. Carter decided to launch into an impassioned Defense of Free Speech.

My sympathies as a fellow academic lie with Mann. And yet, as a believer in the First Amendment, I am troubled. I would rather that name-calling weren’t a regular part of our public debate, but it is. Indeed, I should note for the uninitiated that “molested and tortured data” is the sort of molested and tortured prose that academics commonly inflict on each other (and the great unwashed beyond the campus) in this unenlightened era of discourse.

I myself have been accused from time to time of lying about the evidence or reasons for my views on a variety of subjects. Ad-hominem charges have no legitimate place in the academy — always be wary of the scholar who attributes motive to another! — but I’m uneasy at the thought that even so scurrilous a claim should be actionable.

Of course we need defamation law. But our constitutional tradition correctly makes it difficult for public figures to prevail. Close cases should go to the critic, no matter how nasty or uninformed. The preservation of robust dissent allows no other result, and robust dissent is at the heart of what it means to be America.

I am old-fashioned enough to believe that the cure for bad speech is good speech. Yes, it’s a cliche. But it’s also a useful reminder. Nobody is forced to enter public debate. Once you’re there, it’s rough and tumble. Unfair attacks are as common as dew and sunshine, and everybody’s reputation takes a beating. That’s the price of freedom.

So, wait–Prof. Carter said that “we need defamation law,” but that when “public figures” like Mike Mann are defamed, “close cases” should go to the critic, “no matter how nasty or uninformed.”  Ok, does that mean Mann v. National Review et al. is a “close case” that Mann should lose?  From what I knew about the case, such a conclusion seemed absurd, so I fired off the following in an e-mail to Prof. Carter.

Dear Prof. Carter,

I thought your article on Bloomberg today left out critical information about the case.  The defendants didn’t just accuse Mann of “molesting and torturing data,” which might be interpreted in multiple ways.  They said Mann did it to further certain political goals, so it was clear that they were accusing Prof. Mann of fudging the data with criminal intent.  And this after the CEI and NR were among the principal players instigating the umpteen official investigations of Mann’s work that all concluded there was no evidence of any wrongdoing.  What’s more, the defendants could have thrown in a couple weasel words when Mann threatened action, and he would have had no grounds to sue, but they chose to hold fast to their “right” to make bold-faced false accusations.

If public figures can’t bring a libel case when someone directly accuses them of a crime, of which they have been exonerated by multiple official inquiries, then on what grounds could a public figure possibly ever sue for libel?  I find your analysis astonishing, and I question whether you actually read the primary documents before writing your column.

My understanding, lawyer though I am not, is that Mann merely needs to show 1) that the accusation of criminal activity is false (and if the umpteen inquiries don’t do that, then what ever would?) and 2) prove that the defendants made the accusation knowing it was false, or with reckless disregard for whether it was true [or] false.  The lower standard shouldn’t be hard to prove.  At least in Mark Steyn’s case, he recently wrote a column for his minions in which he explained that the Hockey Stick is a “climate model” whose predictions have failed to pan out.  If accusing Mann of fraudulently cooking the Hockey Stick data, without even bothering to find out what the Hockey Stick is, doesn’t qualify as reckless disregard for whether the accusation is true or false, I can’t imagine what ever would.

Please tell me… under what conditions might a public figure have grounds to sue for libel, in your view?  Should they have any protection at all?  I would love to hear some examples of behavior that would rise to your high standard.

Prof. Carter was kind enough to reply, as follows.

Dear Professor Bickmore:

Thanks for your very thoughtful note.  I do agree that the accusations at issue were heinous, and I am most certainly aware of the details of the charges, at least as alleged in the complaint.  I am not suggesting that Dr. Mann can’t win;  I am suggesting that this sort of lawsuit makes me uneasy.

Here’s an analogy:  Presidents Obama and Bush have each been accused by political opponents of lying — Obama about the Affordable Care Act, Bush about weapons of mass destruction.  Should they sue their critics?  Of course not.  The hard knocks come with the job.

You’ll object that the analogy isn’t an identity, and of course you’re right.  The difference in Dr. Mann’s case is that although he might be a public figure, he isn’t in the same vicinity as a President.  Sometimes the courts follow a sort of sliding scale — the more prominent you are, the narrower your protection.  This intuitively makes sense.

The trouble is (to put on my lawyer’s hat), the judge didn’t hold that the charges against Dr. Mann were libelous per se.  He ruled that a jury could reasonably find them to be so.  That’s where the danger arises.  The exceptions the Supreme Court has carved out for commentary about public figures is intended to keep such questions from the jury in cases touching the public interest.

None of this means that Dr. Mann shouldn’t prevail.  I think the court’s ruling is defensible.  It nevertheless leaves me uneasy.  Lawsuits over charges made in public debate have an effect (as we’ve seen in some other countries) of stifling public debate.  There is a chilling effect beyond the particular charges at issue.  For me as perhaps the closest thing to a First Amendment absolutist you will find on an American law faculty today, that’s a risk I’m uneasy about taking.

You asked what else Dr. Mann is supposed to do to protect his reputation.  There precisely you have hit on the problem of debate today.  Destroying reputations is what much of politics today revolves around.  I find it every bit as hateful as you do, and I would rather we lived in a world in which a different mood suffused our politics.  But we live where we live, and I am skeptical that lawsuits will improve it.

Thanks so much for writing, even if we don’t agree on every jot and tittle;  and thanks for reading the piece.

Now, wait a second.  Now he was saying that the court’s ruling to let the lawsuit proceed was defensible?  And nothing he said “means that Dr. Mann shouldn’t prevail”?  I thought it sure would have been nice if Prof. Carter had bothered to say that in his original article, because it sure sounded like he was saying Mann shouldn’t prevail.  Note also that he didn’t really answer my request for examples of the kind of defamation case involving a public figure that would NOT leave him “uneasy.”  Instead, he gave me another example (involving the President) of a case that he thought should not go against the critics.  I shot off another e-mail.

Dear Prof. Carter,

Thanks for writing back.  If you don’t mind, I still would like to press a couple points, however.

I noted before that the word “fraud” can be construed multiple ways.  One dictionary definition, for example, is “something false or spurious,” which does not necessarily imply nefarious intent.  The example you presented was an accusation that the President lied, but once again, there are dictionary definitions of “lie” such as “To convey a false image or impression.”  So really, the example you gave is of the same type you gave before.  People fling about accusations of “lying” and “fraud” all the time, but there usually isn’t any way to prove that they meant to imply intent to deceive.

In this case, there is a way to prove the defendants meant to imply intent to deceive on Mann’s part.  I understand that you said that you didn’t think the judges’ rulings were indefensible, although I think you should have stated that more clearly in your article.  However, I don’t really think you answered my original question.  That is, if a public figure shouldn’t be able to sue for libel when they’ve clearly been accused of committing a crime with intent, multiple official inquiries (some instigated by the defendants) have exonerated them, and at least some of the defendants clearly didn’t even know what it was they were talking about, is there any circumstance in which you think he ought to be able to win a libel case?  Do you think we should get rid of the “reckless disregard for the truth/falsity of the accusation” clause, or what?

I really would like to hear about such a hypothetical case.  For me, there is a large grey area that smart people avoid, but then there is a steep cliff.  The defendants in this case have moved out of the grey area and right over the edge of the cliff.  If your standard is so high that the plaintiff can’t even use the “reckless disregard” clause, then that opens the door to the defense that one is, as the Catholics say, “invincibly ignorant”.  I’m curious whether you think that’s a reasonable defense.

Once again, Prof. Carter was kind enough to reply, although I got the impression he was tiring of my legal naiveté.

Dear Professor Bickmore:

Thanks for continuing to share your very thoughtful commentary.  It may be that I am trying too hard to be nuanced.  I don’t see a problem with the law — I don’t think the judge is wrong — and I thought I made that clear in the piece.  I’m worried more about the implications.  The accusations made by Dr. Mann’s critics in this case seem to me ridiculous, and perhaps they are actionable, but I don’t like cluttering public debate with defamation suits, even if the law is on the side of the plaintiff.  You ask how it is possible to protect one’s reputation.  The answer is, it isn’t.  Horrific, but true.  That’s the great problem with political debate today:  smearing and trashing is pretty much what we’re reduced to.

That’s the difficulty I don’t think the law can fix.  Even if Dr. Mann wins the case (and I’m quite confident it will be settled;  nobody wants to put it in front of a jury), the tenor of debate won’t change.(By the way, the irony of such a lawsuit is that even harsher views than those expressed here are often protected as long as the critic begins with “In my opinion” or similar language.  So it’s easy to see why the lawsuit can’t possibly solve the problem.)

This reply seemed the oddest of the bunch to me, but finally I felt I had achieved clarity.  He doesn’t think the judge was necessarily wrong about whether Mann has a legitimate case, and he predicts the defendants will eventually settle.  But he doesn’t like “cluttering public debate with defamation suits,” because doing so won’t change “the tenor of debate.”  (Civility in public debate seems to be one of his major concerns.  He once wrote a book called Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy.)  So really, Prof. Carter’s Bloomberg piece wasn’t so much about whether Mann’s case is legitimate under current case law, or whether Mann is likely to prevail, or even whether Carter’s interpretation of the Constitution demands that this specific case should go to the defendants.  No, the piece was REALLY about how if Mike Mann wants to improve “the tenor of debate” about climate change, he should voluntarily give up his right to protect his reputation through legal means against blatantly false accusations of criminal activities.  Because “that’s the price of freedom.”

Did you get that out of his Bloomberg piece?  Neither did I, so I quickly fired off a couple more e-mails, because I thought Prof. Carter owed it to his readers to clarify, as he had done with me.  Alas, he did not reply to these, but here are a couple excerpts from my e-mails that I think make clear the main problems with Carter’s reasoning.

But if the lawsuit won’t solve the problem of nastiness in the public debate, is it fair to ask what other kind of problem it might help?  It seems to me that if you clearly label some awful accusation as an opinion, your audience is duly notified that the charges have not necessarily been proven.  If you instead make a clear, specific accusation of criminal acts committed with intent, the audience is not duly notified.  Therefore, don’t you think a lawsuit like this might help the public debate by discouraging people to make such accusations without having the goods to back them up?  What’s wrong with that outcome?…

From my point of view, it seems unlikely that a case like this would stifle free debate, UNLESS people misunderstand the true nature of the case.  If Yale law professors are going about saying this is a case about the right to vigorously dissent from particular scientific views, maybe a win by Mann **would** deter people who don’t know any better from dissenting publicly from consensus scientific views.

I’m actually serious about this.  If people were to really understand this case, they would realize (as Prof. Carter mentioned to me) that all they have to do to avoid such a lawsuit is a) put an “I think,” or an “in my opinion,” or an “allegedly,” or whatever, in front of their accusations, or b) change the wording in such a way after they have been threatened with lawsuit, and then they can make their accusations as patently false and vile as they want.

But the problem is that many, many people don’t know enough to understand this distinction without a little help, and Prof. Carter certainly didn’t help.  Mark Steyn and the other defendants in the Mann case are feverishly trying to convince anyone who will listen that this is some monumental Attack On Free Speech… and so people should give them money to pay their legal bills.  The rubes are lining up.

Which brings me to EXHIBIT B, one Robert Tracinski, who wrote an article called “Mann vs. Steyn:  The Trial of the Century” on Real Clear Politics.  Really?  It’s “The Trial of the Century” when Mark Steyn and the other defendants are fighting for their right to make obviously false accusations without putting so much as an “in our opinion” in front of them?  Well actually, Tracinski apparently didn’t bother to read much about the case before going on another Free Speech Crusade, as evidenced by the following quotations.

But along the way, the global warming campaign is already wrecking our science and politics by seeking to establish a dogma that cannot legally be questioned….

Steyn and the others are being sued for criticizing Mann’s scientific arguments….

Here is the point at which we need a little primer on libel laws, which hinge on the differentiation between facts and opinion. It is libel to maliciously fabricate facts about someone. (It is not libel to erroneously report a false fact, so long as you did so with good faith reason to believe that it was true, though you are required to issue a correction.) But you are free to give whatever evaluation of the facts you like, including a negative evaluation of another person’s ideas, thinking method, and character. It is legal for me, for example, to say that Michael Mann is a liar, if I don’t believe that his erroneous scientific conclusions are the product of honest error. It is also legal for me to say that he is a coward and a liar, for hiding behind libel laws in an attempt to suppress criticism….

In other words, Steyn’s evaluation of Mann’s scientific claims can be legally suppressed because Steyn dares to question the conclusions of established scientific institutions connected to the government….

Nowhere in his stump speech did Tracinski acknowledge that the case was brought because the defendants refused to retract statements that directly accused Mann of specific criminal activities committed with the intent to further certain political goals.  It’s all about suppressing any dissenting opinions for Tracinski.

And his bit about daring “to question the conclusions of established scientific institutions connected to the government” is sheer lunacy.  Consider this analogy.  Suppose someone, even a “public figure,” is accused of a crime, and is exonerated by the courts–not on some technicality, but on the basis that there is no evidence for the charge.  Then a newspaper prints an article in which they say this person is guilty of the crime, without giving any indication that this is the author’s opinion?  Should the newspaper be protected from having to issue a retraction in which they make clear that they were expressing an opinion?  I think not.  Otherwise, nobody has any protection from being subjected to baseless public accusations.

What will the result of all this be?  Mann will very likely win in court, and it’s even more likely that the defendants will settle out of court.  The Steyns and Tracinskis, and even the Prof. Carters, of the world will convince some of their readers that this case is really some Free Speech “Trial of the Century,” and so when Mann wins, these people might be afraid to voice their ignorant opinions about climate change or climate scientists.  Ok, maybe that’s not all bad, but for people who actually do care about preserving free speech and unhampered debate, this is not a good outcome.  What’s certain is that it won’t be Mike Mann’s fault.  The fault will lie squarely on the shoulders of the Free Speech Brigade.



  1. Well, I don’t normally pander to the blogger, but this was awesome…well written and cogent.

    • I just laugh at the whole situation. You have a man who fraudulently claimed he was a Nobel winner whining that another man accused him of fraud. Somehow the man accusing him of fraud will hurt his reputation but lying about the Nobel…I guess not. That claim by Mr. Mann is enough for me. He appears to be nothing more than a self absorbed ass.

      • Fred Singer claimed the same thing:

      • Steve, Barry has really provided a very detailed account of what has been said by all parties,and very clearly established that people who should know better are stilling missing the point.

        Address the article.

        • My comment is not intended to dispute the science or to say who is right or wrong. It is an evaluation of the man, no pun intended. And from what I have read on him and by him (I follow him on twitter), I think I am spot on. As far as Mr. Singer is concerned, self absorbed asses come in many flavors. Mr. Mann is a weak person. Hence, the lawsuit. A strong man need not attempt to silence dissent. My point is: one mans behavior effects their reputation far more than words from a stranger. Whether or not he wins his suit will not effect what I think of him. Which, you gathered, is not very much.

          • Steve,

            You are once again missing the point. Mann’s suit is not aimed at “silencing dissent”. It is aimed at making those who throw out constant accusations of criminal behavior after multiple exonerations couch their accusations as opinions. They can “dissent” as much as they want, as long as they steer clear of breaking libel laws.

            Why is that so hard to understand? Because people who hate Mann, anyway, have to have their sour grapes.

            • Please, Barry. “Silencing dissent” is exactly why the lawsuit is being filed, and you know it. But again, that’s not the point I am trying to make. It is ultimately his behavior and his statements that forge his reputation. To say he is being damaged by some hack, with no scientific experience, writing an opinion piece, is laughable. And please don’t lecture me on how this was not an opinion piece (as far as Steyn goes). It was. Furthermore, I don’t know Mr. Mann and I certainly don’t hate him. But I do have an opinion of him, and I admit, it isn’t a good one. In a nutshell, the whole situation seems petty to me.

            • If Mann wanted to silence dissent, why didn’t he sue McIntyre, McKitrick, Watts, or any of the other commenters and bloggers who have hounded him for years?

            • What I “know” is that if Mann is doing this to silence dissent, he’s either stupid, or counting on the stupidity of people who believe this is some landmark Freedom of Speech case. Because a lawsuit like this can’t silence “dissent”.

              And all he has to do to prove “damages” is point to the constant calls for more and more investigations of his work, and all the hate mail he gets from wing nuts. Just because most of the scientists don’t listen to the wing nuts doesn’t mean there have been no “damages”.

            • P.S. I don’t care if you think the whole thing is petty. You haven’t had to put up with the constant hounding like Mann has.

            • Exactly, Mr. Appell. Why now? I suspect it is because a suit against those individuals would be a much fairer fight in regards to their scientific knowledge and ability to dispute issues that layman do not grasp. I’m sure he thinks Steyn and the others present an easier foe. Congrats to MM for the recent gig on MSNBC. He really has been damaged. By the way, I have enjoyed the back and forth the last few days. And not just mine. It’s a good website. We’ll done, Mr. Bickmore. However, you must remove that I heart Michael Mann t-shirt immediately. There is never only one side of an issue.

            • “Why is that so hard to understand?”

              Steve doesn’t wish to understand.

          • “There is never only one side of an issue.”

            Really? Does that mean that the flat earthers, being on “one side of an issue”, have some validity?

            No, your claim here is simplistic thinking by someone who does not wish to think.

  2. That woman on the street wearing the short skirt was just asking for it.

    • I don’t understand your point, if you have one.

      • The usual when a woman is attacked, it was her fault. Maps to this situation because Mann was a simple post doc trying to build a career. That the jackels (hi Steve) went after Mann rather than Hughes or Bradley tells you a lot about them.

        • Judging by previous comments, I don’t think Joe meant that. 😉

  3. I’ll add a few cents. This is partly informed by the fact that my wife is a lawyer and I’ve been asking her about this case and other science in the public issues. But mostly my own thoughts, and I may have garbled what my lawyer said.

    I don’t know if Mann should, much less will, win the case. And if he does win, what he’ll get for his troubles. The court, court+jury, or settlement will decide that.

    I find it more than passing strange, however, for a lawyer to essentially be arguing that a law that’s been on the books for ages (by way of common law, defamation long predates our first amendment) should not be enforced. If it shouldn’t be enforced, it shouldn’t be on the books period. My observation is, laws that are almost never enforced are invitations for corruption and abuse.

    The old comment (from the supreme court) about freedom of speech needing ‘room to breathe’ is part of where the ‘public figure’ standard comes from — one must be able to talk about public figures. And indeed a higher barrier for something to be deemed defamatory when it is a public figure who is the subject. But a higher barrier doesn’t mean impossible, nor should it be (imnsho).

    Defamation laws exist because defamation is (has very long been) considered inimical to society. One of the more inimical circumstances, imho, being when a media outlet publicly broadcasts defamatory statements about an individual. This is a very abusive, lopsided, arrangement. If allowed, then any media outlet (say NRO) can defame (ultimately destroy) any individual.

    But there’s a peculiarity which I think argues against, or at least puts on a lower standard, Mann’s ‘public figure’ status. An aspect of the status is, I believe (haven’t run it by my wife), the thought that by the time one is a ‘public figure’ for the purposes of defamation law, you are also a person with considerable resources and ability to protect yourself. Presidents and governors, chairs of major corporations, etc., have enormous powers to protect themselves and respond to attacks. University scientists … very different situation.

    The other aspect which should argue for lesser ‘public figure’ status is essentially the industry crying fraud wanting a ‘heckler’s veto’. If it weren’t for the years of the fraud industry complaining about Mann’s work, he’d be no more a public figure than I am. (I’m pretty sure that I don’t count as one.) A scientist doing some interesting work. Within the professional community on climate he’s better known and should be, but outside that, we’d have comparable near-zero public name recognition. (Heckler’s veto being ‘You should not put that person on stage, because if you do I will disrupt the proceedings.’ Either way, you’re letting the heckler decide who gets to be on stage.)

    Handing biased media sources an unlimited ability to first make someone a ‘public figure’ (making defamatory statements for years, or building off other defamers doing so), and then to defame without limit this person they made ‘public’ does not strike me as a good idea.

    Even between two private individuals, defamation is difficult to win. It’s even harder when the plaintiff is a public figure (of any grade). And should be in both cases. But to give up on even trying to apply the law? No.

    All the more so as what’s at hand is not ‘criticizing the work’, nor was it much like ‘expressing opinion’. Not hard to express an opinion — “In my opinion …” But you have to think you’re expressing an opinion, rather than stating facts. And the defendants don’t seem to think they were expressing opinion. Hence their early glee at getting to discovery.

    • “But there’s a peculiarity which I think argues against, or at least puts on a lower standard, Mann’s ‘public figure’ status”

      Caused by his hockey stick being picked up as far too dangerous and easy to grasp for the inimical denier taskmasters, therefore attacked.

      So Mann’s crime here is to answer questions set to him by reporters who are reporting on the claims MADE BY OTHERS on his work. And for that, he is to be disallowed any defence.

      Tell me, is there ANYWHERE in your post that indicates you read the ATL comment. Admittedly it’s long and you already HAVE a story in your head that “feels right”, so at best all that effort could do is confirm it, worst case being to show you are shallow and wrong.

      PS their glee was they thought that since Mann was going to court, he’d have to prove in court (in front of people who would be weeded out of any scientist by the defence lawyer) his hockey stick.

      Reality was never their strong point, so the fact that the accusations were around THEM, not MANN never crossed their mind until they were in deep enough to be told they have to build their defence. They thought that they’d just have to say “prove it!”. But their lawyer said “No, you have to prove it.”

      • Steyn’s point will be, to prove Mann wrong we need all of Mann’s data, which, Steyn argues, hasn’t been made public before. If Steyn can show that Mann manipulated the data, it may prove very difficult for Mann to prevail.

        • Specifically, what data do you think is still missing?

        • And by the way, Mann doesn’t seem to worried that the defense will find anything too horrible in discovery. HE isn’t the one trying to get the case dismissed.

          • That’s kind of a silly remark. He is the one suing. Why would he file a suit and then turn around and seek to get it dismissed? You seem to think Steyn and the magazine began all this. They did not. Mann did. He is not the defendant in this case. As a rule, I believe all defendants try to get the cases against them dismissed.

            • It’s not a silly remark. Why would Mann sue if he was afraid of discovery, as so many deniers seem to think he must be?

            • “Why would he file a suit and then turn around and seek to get it dismissed?”

              Why would Steyn gleefully rub their hands at the discovery and suit and then turn around and seek to get it dismissed?

              But while you avoid answering this, I’ll answer yours: if Mann had to prove the statements false by proving his work, AND if he had actually committed fraud, then he would not want discovery to go ahead.

      • I believe you have hit on the reason there is so much emotion on the denier side about the “hockey stick” plot: it is a very effective graphic. One does not need to be any sort of an expert to recognize from that plot that, oops, we have a problem. Equations, models,even numbers (who cares about a couple of degrees?) simply don’t have the effect of this picture. That is why the deniers have to attack this image so strongly.

        • Note also how some of the contrarian crowd here is adamant that there can be no excuse for any statistical mistakes Mann made, because BAD METHOD = BAD SCIENCE. There is no grey area, where a non-optimal technique still gets you in the ballpark. (Which is why these people generally are not working scientists. They wouldn’t survive.)

          When others bring up the multiple studies using different techniques and proxies that have gotten about the same answer (i.e., within Mann’s error bars), they dismiss all that as irrelevant. Why? Because all they need to do is pick one prominent scientist and pillory him for any minor mistakes, blowing them out of proportion. That’s what will stick in people’s minds, even though the important thing from a public policy perspective should be the correct answer, not some mistake that an individual scientist has made.

          And then, of course, come in the conspiracy theories about how any mistake a grad student made must have been a sinister fraud.

          • The hockey stick plot hides the failure of the proxy data. A high school science project would be allowed to get away with that.

            • The “decline” had already been discussed in the literature. Whether you agree with it or not, it was clearly not “fraudulent” for Mann to do what Keith Briffa had recommended. Also, when other proxies tended to agree with the tree rings before the instrumental period, there was no reason to believe tree rings were such a terrible proxy pre-1960. Unless you’re a conspiracy theorist wacko. Then it all looks like “fraud”.

  4. You might add the caveat that “under normal circumstances” parties would likely settle out of court.

    Steyn has shown himself to be, shall we say, nothing resembling normal. I wouldn’t be surprised if he demands the case go to trial.

    • Yes, he’s been promising his minions that he won’t settle after begging them to finance him.

  5. Mr. Bickmore,

    If you want to be informed of Mann’s many transgressions, you can visit this thread at Lucia’s. To avoid being placed in moderation, I won’t use some of the more pungent terms that accurately describe Mann. However, you may want to inform yourself about Mann’s handling of a dispute over an Excel file and his handling of Tiljander. You may also want to visit

    In addition to those incidents, Mann called McIntyre and Mcktrick’s paper a fraud in an email to Andy Revkin and he accused Judith Curry of being unscientific in a tweet, but then has kept silent about documenting his claim, when Ms. Curry requested it.

    Mann certainly has many huge faults and can be legitimately accused of manipulating data. I personally wouldn’t use the term “fraud” because I don’t know whether he in reality knowingly used false data (as opposed to grossly incompetent data), but there are legitimate constitutional reasons to protect what Steyn said. Would also note that Mann routinely flings out the term “denier”, which is simply using innuendo to accuse others of Nazi affiliations.


    • Oh dear, JD. You claim they are accurate descriptions but haven’t managed a single piece of evidence that you or others used to discern that is the case.

      And the other link merely has unbacked assertion from someone who has no clue what the information is but only searched for enough to support their pre-assigned requirements.

      Of course, such fraudulent and idiotic caterwauling is entirely 100% safe for deniers because NOT ONE of the intended audience will bother to check anything.

      Rather like Chris Monckton who claims “Don’t take my word for it, check it for yourself!” KNOWING that those who he relies upon to get him his gigs will never bother, unless it doesn’t conform to the message they “know” is real.

      • Wow, the post of mine JD Ohio links to does not include evidence for its claims. It says evidence for them will be forthcoming. Had you written your comment several days earlier, you might have had some semblance of an argument. However, by the time you wrote this comment, two posts had gone up discussing the evidence for criticisms of Michael Mann.

        Having completely failed to observe those fairly detailed discussions, you accuse me of having “no clue” what I’m talking about. You also accuse me “fraudulent and idiotic caterwauling.” Neither of these is remotely supportable.

        If you have something to contribute, I invite you to come to my blog and join the discussion. If all you have to offer is insults and close-mindedness, I advise you to stay where you are.

        • How is your list relevant to this piece, Brandon? You have opinions about Mann…what is your opinion of Professor Carters argument?

          • Nick, I’m primarily interested in Barry Bickmore claiming it is obvious Mark Steyn’s accusations are false when nobody has offered any coherent counterargument to the detailed explanations I’ve provided suggesting they are true. I have given such explanations multiple times in the past, always offering to provide as much information as one might request. Nobody has even taken me up on my attempts to resolve the points I raise.

            I don’t need to have an opinion, much less state one, about Professor Carter’s argument in order to respond to a point raised by our host. I can say he is wrong about one point without commenting on every other point he has made.

            • Nobody has even taken me up on my attempts to resolve the points I raise.

              Because your primary intent seems to be to show how smart you are, not to clearly and succintly make your points.

              Pretend your audience is a jury. They’ve never heard of PCA. They don’t read the scientific literature. Tell they why you think fraud is so obvious.

            • David Appell, it’s fascinating you think you can speak of the mindsets of everyone else. It’s more fascinating you’re aware I’m writing a series of posts detailing why one could reasonably believe Mann’s work to be fraudulent, yet you demand I provide that here.

              You are suggesting I don’t “clearly and succinctly make [my] points” while ignoring the fact I’ve already written two posts in a series (that looks to run about ten posts), each clearly and succinctly detailing a separate reason. Or at least, attempting to clearly and succinctly detail them.

              If we were to adopt your approach, we’d now have to conclude your primary intent seems to be to obfuscate and mislead rather than address simple and direct criticisms people raise.

            • Brandon: Nothing at all that I’ve seen from you comes anywhere close to showing fraud of any sort. But then, much of what you’re written strikes me as (sorry to have to say it) bloviating.

              If you think this trial, or this issue, is going to resolve around issues of R^2 or the like, you are sadly mistaken. These are questions of methods on the forefront of science, and if you know anything at all about the history of science you’d know that scientists get beyond the forefront as best they can, being as creative as they can, and certainly never perfectly the very first time.

              By your standards any theoretical physicist in the world is guilty of fraud because their calcuations give infinity for particle interactions, yet they manage to eck out a finite result by one trick or another.

              It’s extremely disrespectful not just to the scientists who make the advances, but to the very spirit of scientific enterprise.

            • David Appell, either you’re intentionally misrepresenting me, or you’ve basically never read anything I’ve written about Michael Mann. What you claim my standards are are nothing remotely close to anything I’ve ever suggested, much less said.

              Had you even read the post of mine linked to at the start of this fork, you’d know that. Had you read either of the two posts I’ve written in my series thus far, you’d know that. Had you read any of my responses to you on other blogs, you’d know that.

              I must ask, if you’re going to tell untruths about me in the future, would you please not do so blatantly? It’s incredibly difficult to know how to respond to what appear to be delusions.

            • Brandon, all I see on your blog are a bunch of random and unclear accusations, not documented in the least, and no proof of anything, let alone fraud.

              In other words, just more of the same crap that has been heaped on Mann for almost a decade.

            • David Appell, I suggest you try looking a little harder. For instance, rather than looking at the post which says, “I’ll try to write posts discussing each item in the list (with references) over the next few weeks,” and complaining it doesn’t have documentation, you could try looking at the posts it mentions will contain that documentation.

              What you’re doing is like reading the introduction of a book and throwing it away because it didn’t have all the material you think it should have had. And then complaining you didn’t “see” any of that material.

              It takes a level of willful ignorance to be that blind. Or something worse.

            • Brandon, if you want to compile evidence, then COMPILE EVIDENCE. All I see is another vague list of vague claims, just like what’s been going around for years and years. I’m not going to become a student of your blog just because you claim it’s all there somewhere.

              I look forward to your peer-reviewed treatise laying it all out in detail. Should make you famous.

            • So, to be clear, you’re not going to even do something as simple as look at the bottom of the post you refer to, see a link to the next post titled, “Mann’s Screw Up #1, ‘Excelgate,'” and click on it? How about if I provide you a link:


              It’s a minor example, but I wanted to start with something small and simple. That post shows Michael Mann told lies about Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick in order to falsely condemn their criticisms of his work. He has repeated this lie on multiple occasions, including in his book which was intended to inform lay audiences about various issues in the global warming debate.

              That doesn’t directly show Mann’s work was fraudulent, but a person could reasonably believe it was if its author lies about his critics. If you want more direct evidence, you can look at the next post in my series which shows actions one can reasonably call fraudulent, done in the creation of the hockey stick.

              Or you could just complain you don’t “see” things because you refuse to look at them.

            • >> That post shows Michael Mann told lies about Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick

              Keep something in mind.

              (from Mann’s book) “resulting from their misunderstanding of the format of a spreadsheet version of the dataset they had specifically requested from my associate”

              I don’t find this to be inconsistent with (Penn State inquiry) “Dr. Rutherford, early on, had unintentionally sent an incorrectly formatted spreadsheet.”

              “Format” refers to the organization of something. Something “misformatted” can still be considered to be formatted (a different format, perhaps an unknown format).

              As an example, I can misformat what is a series of entries (last name, comma, first name) by flipping the order of the names around the separating comma (first name, comma, last name). That file would both be “misformatted” (from the expected organization) and also “have a different format” (a new organization). So it could be true and consistent to say that *you misunderstood the (new) format, such formatting being undocumented or unknown and not the expected or correct format*.

              I have not read the entire first posting, so you might have a case, but I would reconsider rewriting the argument if you are basing your case of that posting significantly on those two excerpts and their alleged inconsistency.

            • Jose_X, I addressed that exact issue in the comments section of that post when someone else raised it. Simply put, if you claim your data is first name – last name but it actually is last name – first name, nobody is misunderstanding your format. They understand it just fine. You’re simply not using it. You cannot blame them (as Mann blamed McIntyre) for not understanding something because you didn’t use it.

              Anyway, even if someone feels semantic nitpicking makes those two statements technically compatible, the intended implications in them are contradictory. Additionally, the view you suggest is directly contradicted by the third quote from Mann I provided in that piece which says the data sent to McIntyre “was a complete distortion” and “was essentially useless.”

              And of course, that issue says nothing about the fact McIntyre never asked for data in a spreadsheet format as Mann claimed, and as such, any errors in the data could not be due to him.

              So forth and so on. The point you discuss is pretty much the least important point in the post. If people have to resort to suspect semantics on the weakest point, I’d say that’s a good sign 😛

            • >> You’re simply not using it. You cannot blame them (as Mann blamed McIntyre) for not understanding something because you didn’t use it.

              I didn’t see any quote near that section of your piece to support the view that Mann was blaming McIntyre in that regards (for the misformatting).

              For example, best I can tell from the quoting from the book (a book I didn’t read), “were false, resulting from their misunderstanding of the format of a spreadsheet version of the dataset they had specifically requested from my associate,..” could have been followed by something along the lines of: “..who unfortunately gave them the data in the wrong format.”

              Why would it be impolite or illogical to state the (presumed) factual point that McIntyre came to the wrong conclusion at least in part because he did not receive the correct format? Must one add “cherry please and 1000 apologies”?

              Anyway, you might be right (or not), but the quoting doesn’t support that Mann was blaming McIntyre for something that was the fault of Mann’s side. Mann made it very clear according to what you quoted that the fault lied with his side on that particular.

            • From the #1 posting:

              > Tim Osborn, e-mailed Michael Mann (and several others) saying:

              > > The mention of ftp sites and excel files is contradicted by their email record on their website, which shows no mention of excel files (they say an ASCII file was sent) and also no record that they knew the ftp address.

              Wanted to point out first that a spreadsheet format need not be anything more than a text file with lines of text, each with some similar data.. or even less than that. There is no “spreadsheet format” requirements.

              In general, Excel can lose some visual formatting information and save a file to a simple text file format (eg, csv). If the Excel file is very simple, many people would not be referring to anything more than a text file (perhaps suggesting table entries) when talking about the spreadsheet (or even when talking about an “Excel” format). Excel gives .csv as one of the format save options. This is a very portable format.

              Eg, I can add this comment I just wrote to a series of vertical cells in a new Excel spreadsheet (one paragraph per cell) and then get back the same comment when I save it in the “csv format”. It is pure ascii text. Osborn may not have realized this if in fact it were true that he was assuming a spreadsheet format had to be one of Microsoft’s proprietary formats or anything more complex than simple columns and rows of ascii.. if that.

              Although I’d have to read it more carefully, I didn’t find support in your posting that Mann tried to give McIntyre a format inconsistent with McIntyre’s request (of ascii).

            • cont:

              In posting #1, Mann is quoted:

              >> They claim that the matrix versions of the data files were posted on the ftp site before their request for the data. I’m really confused by this.

              This suggests “matrix” (aka table format), a general category of data arrangement, is perhaps what Mann and company are referring to when they talk about a spreadsheet format. Most simple spreadsheets contain nothing more than numbers and some headings and a trivial amount of metadata (author, etc), material that can be categorized as “matrix” and can easily be printed out as a text file (eg, .csv, potentially renamed .txt) from Excel or from most any other spreadsheet program.

              A second point to note from that quote is that Mann apparently is not the “secretary” or “grad student” providing the material to McIntyre or running the website andin charge of producing all of the data. It’s more than possible that his statements in general are based on what he believes others have done and apparently is finding out he may have been wrong here or there.

              > Yet despite all that, Michael Mann has, for years, repeated his false claims about an Excel spreadsheet requested by Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick being the reason they got different results. He even told this fabricated story to one of the “investigations” which cleared him, and they made no effort to check his story.

              You have not supported this. If Mann did somewhere get specific about a non ascii text file (I didn’t see that quote), it also does not support that Mann was blaming M & M for them not having good data, except to the extent that Mann might think M & M should have gone on to the public ftp data before publishing a critique.

              > That means when Mann now expects people to take that “investigation” as proof of his innocence, he’s basically asking them to believe his story which has no connection to reality. In reality, people should take this as proof that “investigation” was not an investigation in any meaningful sense, and its conclusions are untrustworthy, at best.

              Not supported. I don’t see inconsistency in what he told the investigators. The connection to reality is there since I didn’t see any clear evidence of fabrication of anything and can come up with a very legitimate explanation for the issues you raised and which I chose to cover above.

              I don’t see fabrication, at least not purposeful one. Mann may have made statements that were false (it’s not clear to me what though).

              For example, concerning the email line: “I do wish Mike had not rushed around sending out preliminary and incorrect early responses – the waters are really muddied now.”

              It’s not clear what this refers to or that the author of that statement even really knows what Mann has said and how it might be incorrect or correct. That line came in an email to colleagues (not in an official response) apparently upon seeing some allegations McIntyre made (whether accurate depictions or not).

              Based on what I read in #1, I think there is more than a little room to place some blame on miscommunication and misunderstandings across these two adversarial groups rather than on (or, in addition to) purposeful deception or dishonesty. I don’t think the main conclusions of the posting follow.

              And may I note. If we assume the the observations I have made are mostly correct yet that the conclusions happen to be correct as well (but for different reasons or reasons argued differently and with further supporting quotes), then would it be justified in calling its author (ie, you) as a cheat who got to the right answer but deserves no credit at all and only scorn for being a cheat?

            • From posting #2:

              > This raises all sorts of questions. Why did he only test his claim of robustness after he published a paper saying his results were robust?

              > Why didn’t Mann correct his paper? Most importantly, why did Mann keep silent about this when he published another paper (MBH99) the next year extending his results back to 1000 AD?

              Can you clarify when exactly Mann knew of those tests?

              Also, besides potentially not having enough time to back out of the paper, it’s not clear that he trusted those results enough to change a paper that was coming up soon and was largely (I’m assuming) a straightforward extension of a recent paper. 98 and 99 are very close to each other and the second paper was closely related to the first. “Glitches” sometimes demand more time for careful study and can sometimes be addressed more properly later on. I’m sure you have written a composition of some sort yet not backed out of it due to some potential surprises at the 11th hour.

              You may have a case eventually, but I would want to see more than what I saw on #2 in order to believe you have made a case.

              As for why only tested the claim of robustness later, it’s more than possible that he thought he did test it. It would not be the first or last time a person has made an error in insufficiently mathematically proving a result. In fact, it is notable in my experience that many “denier” papers fall short in this area. And even a paper like G & T’s of a few years back, it’s hard to believe they had never at any point come across (this is climate science — greenhouse effect specifically!) the idea that gases absorb and emit radiation. That issue was not at all considered in the supposed disproof of the greenhouse effect. I think that oversight is much more negligent or something than to not fully test robustness while claiming something was robust.

              Remember, proofs convince. Claims of robust are taken more lightly just because we frequently believe things that we later find we cannot prove. Again, “denier” papers I have read are full of claims without proper mathematical/physical proofs. Perhaps that is so common it is not newsworthy.

            • Jose_X, I do not believe this is an appropriate forum for discussing my posts in detail. If you wish to do so, I invite you to post your concerns on my blog where they are more topical and available for anyone reading the posts to see.

              That said, if you take me up on that offer, it may help if you read my posts more carefully. This is most important in the first post. Semantic torturing aside, the thing you discussed the most is file formats. You act as though the distinction between a spreadsheet and otherwise formatted data is the key to the post, but you’re actually ignoring the central point.

              Michael Mann claimed a file was created in response to a request for data in a particular format. Steve McIntyre never requested a file of any format. He requested the FTP address Mann said the data was available at. Instead of being provided with this address, he was sent a file he never requested. Similarly, you say “Mann might think M & M should have gone to the public ftp data,” completely ignoring the fact McIntyre asked for the FTP address and wasn’t given it.

            • Nobody has taken you up on the “points” you raise because without evidence for your claims, you HAVE no point.

        • As Nick says, what point was your post, given that EVEN YOU do not believe you have any evidence for your claims?

          Can I go to the IRS and claim tax fraud on your part?

    • Hi JD,

      And yet, numerous subsequent studies have shown that any mistakes Mann may have made didn’t affect his results much. In my opinion, people like McIntyre and Wegman, who focus on minor mistakes that don’t make much difference in the end and clamp on like a bulldog on a bone, are unbalanced. And why should Mann reinvent the wheel when others (like John N-G and Tamino) have done a very nice job of taking down Curry’s congressional testimony?

      In any case, do any of the things you mentioned rise to the level of actionable defamation? No. So quit complaining about Mann’s perceived failings and focus on the topic at hand. Does Mann have a legitimate libel case? The answer is yes.

      • Of course, M&M’s paper was much much lower quality, where they used a version of PCA that left THREE locations to “reconstruct” global temperatures.

        Meanwhile, Wegman’s “paper” used a PCA NOBODY ELSE USES, showed that it was wrong (which would be why nobody else used it) and then says Mann used it, just so he could exclaim that “ergo, Mann is wrong!”.

        But whilst Mann has been vindicated of any malfeasance, Wegman has been found guilty of plagiarism in his work.

        And deniers think pointing to Wegman *helps* their case?!?

        • Wow, your comment here shows you have no idea what you’re talking about. Your first two paragraphs are so wrong it’s impossible to even guess what you’re thinking. As best I can tell, both parts you emphasized by using all caps are figments of your imagination.

          If you believe otherwise, please tell us what “PCA NOBODY ELSE USES” Wegman, an experience and respected statistician, used and what Mann used that was different.

          • Brandon, like your other “points” you have zero evidence, only a brazen claim that is brazenly wrong.

            Sorry, please try again.

      • Barry Bickmore, your response to JD Ohio is wrong. You say “numerous subsequent studies” prove Mann’s “mistakes” don’t affect his results much. It’s unclear what studies you’re referring to. Rather than worry about that, I’ll ask you a simple question.

        In the Mann’s original hockey stick paper, he stated his temperature reconstruction was “relatively robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators.” Do you believe that statement is true?

        Before you answer that, you may wish to look at my most recent post which shows even Michael Mann admits it isn’t:

        In reality, Mann’s hockey stick disappears if you remove ~15 of his ~400 data series.

        • Barry is referring to studies by Ammann and Wahl, Marcott et al Science (2013), PAGES 2k in Nature Geosciences (2013), Tingley and Huybers (about 2009), etc.

          There are by now many studies essentially replicating MBH, some using completely different mathematical techniques.

          • David Appell, this response is silly. Barry Bickmore claimed there are numerous studies showing any mistakes Mann made “didn’t affect his results much.” Three of the four sources you linked don’t say anything about how much effect any mistakes Mann might have made have on his results.

            Getting “similar” results does not mean Mann’s work was done properly. There are all sorts of bad ways to get a “right” answer. Somebody getting an A on a test doesn’t mean another person’s cheating was okay. Also, those reconstructions aren’t very similar to Mann’s original hockey stick.

            By the way, listing “Tingley and Huybers (about 2009)” as a reference is not helpful as there was more than one T&H reconstruction around 2009. Oddly enough, neither commented on the effect of any errors Mann might have made, but one of them did use output from Mann’s hockey stick.

            In any event, if Barry Bickmore meant what you say, he’s silly. One could choose to believe the general conclusions of the paleoclimatology field and still say Mann’s work is fraudulent. One could choose to believe Mann’s conclusions were correct but gotten via cheating.

            The failure of your defense is like that in a college math class where you turn in a test with all the right answers yet fail because you didn’t show your work. Or you fail because the work you showed didn’t support your answers. If you complain, the teacher tells you answers aren’t the important part; the process is.

            • Of course other methods that give Mann’s results say his results are trustworthy. Replication is the hallmark of science. Other eyes that look at the same problem and give essentially the same result give credence to the original study. = Science 101.

            • I assumed big boys could find Tingley & Huyber’s papers on their own. My bad.

            • One could choose to believe Mann’s conclusions were correct but gotten via cheating.

              Then prove cheating, or shut up. Prove it, in detail. Nebulous comments don’t count. Allusions don’t count. Prove it rigorously, finally, just this once, with details, that make your case, that would convince a jury. PROVE SOMETHING. Or shut up and go away already.

            • David Appell, your responses make you appear unhinged. You begin tamely, saying other people getting the same results means Mann’s results are trustworthy. In saying this, you completely ignore what I said about this argument in my comment. The reality is it is a silly claim. If I falsified data to “prove” a point, my results would be bogus no matter what. They wouldn’t become okay if other people after me actually proved that point.

              Building from this tame comment, you rudely say you “assumed big boys could find Tingley & Huyber’s papers on their own,” but the reality is nobody could possibly know you were referring to two papers. There is nothing in your comment to indicate that. I am quite capable of finding either paper, but there was no way for me to know which you were referring to.

              You finally go off the deep end when you start yelling at me to prove something over what I said about a logical construction. Explaining different beliefs people may hold in no way obligates me to defend any of those beliefs. One can discuss hypothetical situations without having to make a case for each of them.

              All you’ve done here is ignore what I said, yell at me and practically demand I not participate in the discussion. Short of throwing in some profanities, I’m not sure how you could be a worse poster.

            • Brandon,
              I have asked a number of people to explain to me WHY Mann would result to fraudulently falsifying data and using suspect techniques to get a result that he could have gotten by using accurate data and acceptable techniques. After all, the overwhelmingly important part of his reconstruction was the temps after 1850 or 1900. Whether the MWP was as warm as current temps is really just a propaganda issue on either side as it has nothing whatsoever to do with whether CO2 has an impact on global temps.
              As has been pointed out to you numerous studies have replicated the “blade” of the stick in no uncertain terms Cerainly, Marcott, Pages2k and BEST are all in agreement as are all the modern temperature records. I could see that there might be a case for fraud if Mann had then proceeded to make reconstructions showing the Roman warming and the Holocene optimum did not exist. That would indicate some perverse neurotic desire to have HIS graph make the handle of the stick as straight as possible. Of course that would have been scientific suicide, but it would at least indicate a motive for fraud
              but I don;t see how Mann would seriously consider fraud when this issue was already politicized at the time of the publication and he knew it would certainly be scrutinized.
              So it seems that your premise is much “sillier” than your assertion that replication of results form vastly different approaches has no bearing on the likelihood of fraud.
              if someone fraudulently sells a house to someone at the market price, and we know it is the market price, because other comparable houses sold for that price, WHY would they go to the extra work of lying to the buyer about some aspect that will not lead to the seller acquiring some nefarious benefit.
              now of course if you can show that the title doesn’t belong to the seller, then you have a VERY good reason to claim fraud. but they were wrong about the extent of the property because it actually is one foot more than the fence that surrounds it, well, you have to show that they KNEW the property was larger and they purposefully told them it was smaller, and that they thought that would give them some gain. Why lie and commit fraud and put your career in danger, when telling the truth even if you are inaccurate about something results in no penalty?

            • Tony Duncan, your claim “the overwhelming important part of” reconstructions is “the temps after 1850 or 1900” is the exact opposite of the truth. These paleoclimate reconstructions were all calibrated against the modern temperature record (Marcott et al via Mann 2008). The “blade” is built into their results. That’s why Mann et al didn’t promote their “blade” as showing anything. In fact, their paper focuses almost entirely upon what their reconstruction (supposedly) says about the past.

              Your defense of Mann rests on saying things I suspect even he would tell you are wrong. I know Gavin Schmidt would. I can find him acknowleding the point in thirty seconds with Google. And Marcott et al? They’ve out-right stated their “blade” isn’t usable due to a lack of data resolution.

              I don’t know how you can be that confident of something that is completely wrong. If all that had mattered was the “blade,” Mann’s work wouldn’t have been important. There were plenty of reconstructions before his showing the same. The thing which made his special was the conclusions he drew about past temperatures.

            • Michael Mann claimed a file was created in response to a request for data in a particular format. Steve McIntyre never requested a file of any format.

              How do you know McIntyre is telling the truth?

            • David Appell, Steve McIntyre provided the correspondence between the two. Michael Mann has never disputed the accuracy of what was provided. He has not even done so when his colleague, Tim Osborn, specifically pointed out that posted correspondence to him.

              It is, of course, theoretically possible McIntyre posted a fabricated exchange. That’d be incredibly stupid since it would be easy to prove, but it is possible. However, we’d have to wonder why Michael Mann and his co-author Steve Rutherford never said the correspondence he posted was fabricated when it completely undermine everything McIntyre ever posted about their work. We’d especially have to wonder why they would keep silent on this after their colleague, Tim Osborn, specifically pointed out that correspondence.

              If you wish to believe McIntyre lied about the correspondence, you can. I suspect you’ll be about the only person who does.

            • How do you know McIntyre provided all of the relevant correspondence?

              You’re setting yourself up as an arbiter here, yet you seem very biased.

            • David Appell, the primary answer is the same. If Steve McIntyre lied about the correspondence, it would be easy to prove, and doing so would undermine every criticism he has ever made. It seems impossible to believe Michael Mann and his co-authors would simply choose not to point out such a lie.

              The secondary answer is there is no part of the correspondence McIntyre posted which would seem to allow for a request for data in a particular format. The correspondence he posted shows he asked for the FTP address to where the data was stored. He sent two more e-mails following up on that request. It is difficult to imagine he sent three e-mails requesting one thing then inexplicably requested something else entirely, especially given the amount of time between responses.

              You may claim I “seem very biased,” but your questions here rely entirely upon the possibility of Steve McIntyre lying in easily proven ways and nobody having ever pointed it out despite having every reason to do so. I’d suggest if anyone appears “very biased” here, it is you.

            • So you don’t know whether McIntyre released all relevant emails. And you don’t know whether Mann et al did or not. You don’t have a full picture at all, but mostly what one side claims.

              Your bias is very obvious. You assume some kind of fraud over what more reasonably look like communications errors or misunderstandings, or understandable responses to McIntyre’s particular personal of brusque pedantry.

              Who knew the case for manmade global warming depended on the format of an Excel spreadsheet?

            • And why, if he wanted to check the results, didn’t McIntyre go to the original data sources, instead of asking Mann for his data? If you want to “audit” someone, go all the way. That kind of replication (or not) would have been truly meaningful.

              I think the answer is clear: McIntyre (& McKitrick) were looking for any way they could find to smear Mann et al and try to delegitimize their result, no matter how picayune or trivial they had to get. That’s been McIntyre’s modus operandi from the start, and after Mann he turned it on the IPCC and Briffa and others, seeking to smear them too.

              Unfortunately for him, he’s been left in the dustbin of science history, as too many other groups have by now essentially replicated and expanded Mann et al’s results, using a variety of different mathematical techniques. That is by far the strongest audit of Mann et al’s work, and it has come through very well — which is why Mann has been so highly honored by his peers.

            • David Appell, I think the time has come for us to stop communicating. I tolerated unhinged responses like those you made earlier, but this is a breaking point.

              You suggest we should seriously consider the possibility Steve McIntyre lied about the correspondence, he had with Mann et al, even though nobody has ever done anything to indicate that’s true. You call me biased based upon this view.

              At the same time, you promote Michael Mann’s description of McIntyre and McKitrick as perfectly accurate, criticizing them for not going to the original sources. In reality, McIntyre asked for the data as used by Mann et al and compared what he was given to data archived by the original sources. His papers explicitly discuss this, highlighting problems they found in the process.

              You appear to accept Mann’s statements without any question but accuse people of being incredibly biased because they don’t assume McIntyre lied about things even Mann doesn’t say were lies. That’s silly.

              It’s also pointless. Everyone watching this exchange can judge us by what we’ve written thus far, and we obviously won’t change each other’s minds.

            • I didn’t say McIntyre lied. I said you accept everything he says at face value, and usually assume the worst about Mann’s actions and motivations. That’s why it’s obvious you’re heavily biased.

            • Brandon,I am not sure which one of us is misunderstanding the other.
              When I said the overwhelmingly important part of the pale reconstructions is the recent warming. I was not saying that that was the reason for the reconstructions. I was saying that the fact that CO2 is correlated with recent warming is the most important part. That is what this whole argument is about. Are increases in CO2 now and over the next century going to cause significant warming? It makes no difference if the MWP, Roman or Holocene Optimum are similar or even slightly warmer, current ACC theory suggests that the next century will be way beyond anything in the holocene. those who support that position think there should be policy to drastically reduce CO2 emission quickly. those who do NOT support hat position thinks should either have no policy or that the policy should be very minimal.
              The attacks on Mann and Best and Marcott are all based on trying to argue that this future temp increase will not happen. That is why Watts and others have tried so hard to undermine the temperature record. It has become an obvious losing battle, but current temps and the future are what this is all about.
              As far as I know there is nothing in the reconstructions that indicate anything to contradict the consensus view. Was there some scientific reason for falsely making the MWP appear small? Have there been scientific arguments that the earlier warmer parts of the holocene cause problems with the theory, and that it would be convenient to get rid of any of them? Is there something special about the MWP that would provide support for a theory that invalidates ACC while leaving the other warmer periods intact?
              I am not sure what you mean by being so confident about something that is wrong.
              And you did not really respond to what I wrote about the motivations for Mann in case he WAs guilty of fraud. If his reconstruction had shown a warmer MWP over a very specific time period ( my understanding is that it has rather fuzzy undefined parameters) would that has caused scientists to question ACC? Had he made strong pronouncements before his research that there absolutely was no MWP? I don’t see that a higher bump there would have had any effect on the science. WHY would Mann purposefully commit fraud and jeopardize his career for something that only has political importance AFTER it has been made poster child for fraud? If he did not know it was going to be famous why would he commit fraud when he would know that other research would almost surely invalidate his findings
              yes the reconstructions are about determining past temps through proxies, I never contended otherwise. But I have seen no explanation for any possible upside to fraudulently distorting them. the only way I could see that is if MWP and other holocone warm periods were actually 2-3°C higher than current temps. THAT would mean that the effect of CO2 would result in a situation no worse than during this times,and a scientist who accepted ACC theory might be compelled to throw away his career out of some suicidal attempt to delay the inevitable research that would confirm fraud.
              I DO however see a political upside to taking a study that has an aspect that is incorrect, and trumpeting that as proof of fraud among climate scientists and then using that as propaganda to say this somehow proves that the entire sincere of ACC is based on “tortured data”

            • Gosh, Brandon. You give out wild accusations of fraud from Mann but when David gives out something that can read as “McIntyre lied” you go all ballistic and demand proof or retraction.

              As David says: your bias is obvious and extreme.

            • Brandon Shollenberger, your responses make you appear unhinged. Your blog post, detailing some minor dispute about the format of some file a colleague of Mann’s pulled off his hard drive, makes both you and McIntyre appear unhinged. Your insistence that studies replicating Mann’s trend within the error bars using different data and mathematical techniques do not provide any evidence that Mann’s technique wasn’t horrifically wrong makes you appear unhinged. Your constant nitpicking of Mann, despite the studies (e.g., NAS and Ammann and Wahl ) that actually DID look at the effects of his technique, makes you appear unhinged.

              And finally, your constant accusations that David “appears unhinged” when he gives you very cogent replies, make you appear to be a pansy. Buck up, buttercup. This is the Internet.

            • Barry Bickmore, it’s clear the two of us will not resolve our differences. As such, I won’t even try. I will, however, point out the humor of making things up about the paper you’re defending. Misrepresenting me is one thing, but anyone who looks at more recent temperature reconstructions would know they do not fit within MBH’s error margins. Even Mann’s 2008 paper falls well outside of them.

              And since you’re encouraging hostile exchanges, I’ll go that route with a final thought.

              Maybe you should buck up and actually read something for once.

            • anyone who looks at more recent temperature reconstructions would know they do not fit within MBH’s error margins. Even Mann’s 2008 paper falls well outside of them.

              Define “well outside.”

              Even if true, IT DOESN’T PROVE ANYTHING. If you know anything about science, you know that new advance are always done at the forefront, sometimes by methods that are imperfect or not rigorous. No calculation is ever perfect the first time.

              A classic example is something like the Lamb shift in the hydrogen atom. It took over 30 years to get that right, from Bohr’s model of the atom, to Dirac’s theory that corrected it to include special relativity, to Bethe explanation & Dyson’s estimation of its value, to full-fledged quantum electrodynamics that finally allowed a precise calculation that exactly matched experiment.

              Only the QED result was “correct,” but that doesn’t make any of what Bohr, Dirac, Bethe or Dyson did “fraud.” They all made important advances, and were necessary steps in getting to the full fundamental theory.

              It’s exactly the same here. Mann et al brought in techniques that allowed a new type of calculation to be done, that, importantly, also gave estimates for the uncertainties. Later groups used even more data and more precise methods to give more precise answers. That hardly makes anything Mann et al did “fraud” — it was a very important advance that painted a new, easily understood picture of 20th century climate change, which is the reason and only reason so many people have tried to destroy him.

        • Reporting on Tingley and Huybers:

    • Your comment is really irrelevant to the issues in the actual case, and to the discussion of the exchange between our host and Prof. Stephen Carter.

  6. Re: Use of term “opinion”

    Mr. Carter apparently misled you about using the word “opinion” to avoid defamation liability. The case of Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co., 497 U.S. 1 (1990) held that merely couching a statement in the form of an opinion did not automatically protect a defendant from liability. The court stated: “simply couching the statement “Jones is a liar” in terms of opinion–“In my opinion Jones is a liar”–does not dispel the factual implications contained in the statement”


    • Thanks. I had not heard about that case. However, to be defamatory, such a statement would still have to be obviously false.

    • But Prof. Carter actually said that statements clearly labeled as opinion are “often protected,” so if I was misled, it wasn’t his fault.

  7. Minions? That’s kind of harsh. I bet you’d show us more respect if we were helping fight off a big tobacco company trying to bully a reporter for calling their study fraudulent – which we are. Here’s a link to a Steyn article where he said the exact same thing, pun and all, in 2009. Odd that Mann didn’t take him to trial over that one. I guess he didn’t want to draw attention to it for some reason.

    • Steyn isn’t being sued for the pun, lcs. And he did NOT say the “exact same thing” in the article you linked. Steyn said Mann had suggested trashing some journal to their colleagues. Well, the journal still exists and is cited, so the Evil Empire obviously didn’t succeed. And well, if you would bother to look up the backstory on the quote, you might find that Mann was complaining about some really, really stupid articles that got published in Climate Research. But Steyn is perfectly free to complain about something Mann obviously did say. THAT is “protected speech”.

      In the article Steyn IS being sued over, he accused Mann of a specific criminal act, committed with intent, for which MANN HAD ALREADY BEEN INVESTIGATED AND COMPLETELY EXONERATED multiple times. Was any of that the case in the 2009 article? No. And THAT is NOT “protected speech”.

      Incidentally, I remember reading where Mark Steyn had made the exact same point you just repeated. It’s a ridiculous point. It has nothing to do with what the case is actually about. And yet, without stopping to even consider what the definition of “libel” is, you just jumped right on that bandwagon. Was I being too harsh?

      • Weird.

        Mann (or any AGW accepting scientist) cannot complain of poor content of a paper or how it should never have seen the light of day, yet deniers will claim that Mann’s paper is a work of fiction at best and should never have passed peer review, and complain that the IPCC prints any old rubbish that “supports AGW” and this is not only fine, but to be lauded as brave and honest!

      • exact same thing. Called Mann’s hockey stick a fraud and a tree ring circus. You have to scroll past the part about Mann bullying scientific journal editors to page 2.

        • Nope, not “exact same thing”. You may think they are analogous, but they’re DEFINITELY NOT exactly the same. So you need to explain where they are, in your opinion, analogous, and why that is so, and how that analogy holds to make your claim, which *appears* to be “Steyn said bad things about Tobacco, and THEY didn’t take him to court!”.

          Which, by the way, begs the question: so what? When I pick litter up off my street, I’m not obliged to pick up EVERYONE’S litter.

          • I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one. Big tobacco using their money to silence the little guy is the same as Mann using his sugar daddy (whoever it is) to silence the little guy with lawsuits he has no intention seeing through (hope I’m wrong on that – can’t wait to see him take the stand). You seem to like people killing contrary science in back room cabals. Fine by me. I’d rather see the journal editors keep their jobs, have Mann defend his work out in the open and knock off all the bullying. I can imagine some scientist in 10 years sitting in front of his fireplace trying to keep warm while his solar panel fails to keep up reading that paper Mann found so offensive and thinking, this guy’s paper is obviously wrong, but he has a good idea in there that I’d like to explore. As for “exactly the same thing,” Steyn quoted Simberg in an off the cuff blog post, repeated his tree-ring circus pun, repeated his belief that Mann committed fraud and suggested Mann would continue to be hounded by the sceptics until he submitted to a credible open investigation. Steyn’s being sued for using the word ‘fraudulent’. That’s it. Same thing he said in the 2009 article that Mann ignored probably because he couldn’t get his ‘minions’ all worked up into a lather defending his bullying of the journals. You don’t and never will agree with me. Oh well. ciao

            • Whatever “agree to disagree” means, it DOESN’T mean “well, maybe Ics is right”.

              Claims require evidence.

              You claim it’s exactly the same thing and this cannot be literally the case, so you have to explain WHERE the analogies are.

        • Also note that, unlike Mann, the claims of fraudulent research was found to be nominally true for Tobacco. Whilst several attempts to discover any malfeasance have found no such problem with Mann’s work.

        • Sorry I missed the second page. It’s still not a good argument, though. The differences are as follows. 1) In this case, the defendants had already pushed for multiple investigations of Mann’s work, which they got, but none of them concluded there was any evidence of intentional wrongdoing. So there’s a lot more reason now to say that the defendants have had a reckless disregard for the truth/falsity of their accusations. 2) In the 2009 article, Steyn just said the Hockey Stick was a “fraud,” but he didn’t say anything else to indicate whether he meant it was the result of an intentional criminal act, or just bogus. As Rich Lowry kindly explained, just saying something or someone is a “fraud” does not necessarily imply criminal mischief.

          In any case, what kind of argument are you (and Steyn) trying to make, anyway? If someone didn’t sue you before for the same thing, they can’t sue you now? That’s ridiculous. Supposing Mann had a legitimate case back then (and I don’t think he did), couldn’t he have decided against a lawsuit because 1) he wasn’t mad enough, yet, or 2) he didn’t think he had the money to carry it all the way to trial if he had to?

          Do you see what Steyn has done to you? He propped up a straw man argument that left out crucial details of the case, and then knocked it down. It looks really impressive until you are reminded of those missing details.

  8. Re: “MANN HAD ALREADY BEEN INVESTIGATED AND COMPLETELY EXONERATED multiple times” [For background, I should mention that I am a lawyer and have had 150 civil jury trials.]

    You obviously have not examined the “investigations.” (hereinafter referred to as whitewashes) Steve McIntyre summarized them this way: Bob a commenter stated: “He [Mann] mentioned that sceptical voices had contributed to the inquiries. Technically they were able to make submissions (as was anyone). However, since the most well informed sceptics were not invited to interview they were effectively excluded.”

    SteveMc stated: In my opinion, it should have been possible to achieve far more resolution than the inquiries accomplished. One obstacle to resolution was the lack of representation of critics on any of the panels – not necessarily a critic but someone trusted by critics. Penn State didn’t take submissions, nor did Oxburgh. Muir Russell didn’t interview critics; indeed, it barely interviewed CRU scientists. Although I was the critic who was most knowledgeable of CRU issues, I wasn’t interviewed by Muir Russell, Oxburgh, the UK SciTech or Penn State. My submission to Muir Russell was almost totally ignored. Inquiries seeking to settle matters (and most legal proceedings) call for rebuttal evidence. None was called by any of the inquiries.” See

    Good luck trying to defend these whitewashes in court. I should add that the actual reports are hearsay and should not be admissible. The people who participated in the whitewashes will have to come to court and be cross-examined for their findings to be admissible. It is actually helpful to Steyn for Mann to try to interject the so-call investigations into evidence. Anyone delving into them can easily see how laughable they are. The chief justice of New York’s highest court once commented on the one-sided grand jury process, saying that he could “indict a ham sandwich” if he wished.

    You also asked why Mann should support his opinion that Curry’s testimony was unscientific when, according to you, others have rebutted it. The simple answer is that a fair-minded human being who attacks the professional reputation of a colleague should have the decency to stand up and support his attacks. Mann apparently lacks that decency.


    • I follow Mike Mann’s twitter account, and I believe he tweeted links to the rebuttals, which are devastating, in my opinion. (And I teach a graduate course in data analysis for the geosciences, so I at least have some basis for my opinion.) Judy Curry blows a lot of smoke, but she was clearly wrong on a number of points.

      You seem to think that Mann should reinvent that wheel himself to be a decent guy. Please pass that advice on to your clients when they are wondering whether they should testify at their own trials. 😉

    • And well, I don’t think YOU have looked into those inquiries, or would have the expertise to look into it even if you wanted to. The NAS panel DID have the expertise, so they did the data analysis themselves. They found some errors in Mann’s work, but said it didn’t affect the results much. Wegman had the expertise, but DID NOT do the data analysis himself, but just relied on M&M. M&M keep whining about the “whitewash,” but a number of other studies, using different statistical techniques and different kinds of data, have now confirmed that Mann’s Hockey Stick was right within the error bars he provided.

      So to me, it is absolutely preposterous to say Mann intentionally committed fraud to produce results that would only change slightly, and in ways not significant to his main conclusions, if he had done everything perfectly right. It’s weird. It’s the kind of thing some unbalanced stalker would do.

      But as weird and unbalanced as I think McIntyre is, it is significant that he refuses to say that Mann’s work was intentionally fraudulent. What’s Steyn’s excuse?

      • Mr. Bickford,
        You make numerous mistakes.

        1. “I don’t think YOU have looked into those inquiries or would have the expertise to look into it even if you wanted to” Wrong. As a hobby, I have been commenting on blogs for about 6 years, and I have read them. Some of them, such as the NAS, Oxburgh report and the Penn State Report are actually on my hard drive. The Oxburgh and the Penn State Reports are so simplistic that I can’t believe you actually read them and would comment that they would be difficult to understand. I don’t claim to be an expert on statistics, but I can detect lying and dishonesty, which is relevant to the Mann case. SteveMc has accused Mann of multiple lies with respect to the Excel file and backs up his statements with emails. I mentioned it before. You have yet to address my comments on the Excel issue. Or Tiljander for that matter.

        2. You keep on evading the issue of whether Mann has manipulated data. If you manipulate data, and are lucky in that others arrive at the same conclusion through correct procedures, you have still manipulated data. Stating that others have reached the same conclusions as Mann does not validate his data procedures – which is the nub of the case where Steyn accused Mann of manipulating data.

        3. I practiced workers compensation law for 18 years and have deposed and cross-examined neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, pulmonary specialists and many different kinds of medical specialists. So, I feel quite confident of my ability to evaluate science. I am particularly competent to evaluate gross bias, and anyone with a similar background to mine could see the gross bias in Hansenite “science”, including Mann’s “research” in about 2 hours.

        4. Also, you sloppily assumed that I practiced criminal law and that I had clients taking the Fifth. I stated that I practiced civil law. All of my clients testified in the jury trials that I had. It would be stupid to ask for benefits (I represented plaintiffs) and not have your client show up for trial. It is interesting that you make this speculative and inaccurate dig and yet evade the specific Excel and Tiljander issues that I raised.

        Am probably done commenting here because you don’t appear to be knowledgeable enough to raise issues that I haven’t considered before. Follow up however you wish.


        • Sorry should be Bickmore not Bickford.

        • This is classic. You can look at a complex statistical problem and tell who is right about it, without knowing any statistics. I suggest that your highly developed BS detector is merely the product of your legal background, in which there is always a strong pull to believe your client is right. (Otherwise your job kind of sucks.)

          If you had any knowledge about how to handle data, you would realize that scientists always “manipulate” data. There are reasonable ways to do that, less reasonable (but not horrifically wrong) ways, and absolutely meaningless ways. Mann’s critics succeeded in showing that he employed a less reasonable (but not horrifically wrong) way. And if you had actually done this kind of thing yourself, and read a lot of scientific literature, you would realize that this kind of mistake is astoundingly common, because… (wait for it)… scientists generally aren’t statisticians. They may have taken a class or two.

          You claim the “nub of the case” is whether Mann’s data handling procedures were correct, but how can that be? Everyone involved admits they could have been improved. The “nub of the case” is, in fact, whether there was the tiniest bit of evidence to convince a reasonable person that Mann had committed academic fraud. And there wasn’t.

          Which is why your demands that I personally refute McIntyre’s allegations about an Excel file and the Tijlander proxy are falling on deaf ears. They really aren’t that relevant to the subject of this post. In any case, I have personally looked into one or two of McIntyre’s statistical claims, and they were absurd. He’s a dog with a bone. So now I have to personally redo all of McIntyre’s work to see whether Mann’s work had some problems, when multiple other studies show that his answer was right? I think not. If the problems McIntyre has supposedly identified are real, then how could Mann have possibly gotten anywhere near the right answer if the problems were as severe as you would have us believe? It’s statistically quite improbable. And even if I did perform the trick for you, you don’t do statistics, so you would likely just refuse to believe me.

          • Physicists aren’t statisticians, but more importantly, they don’t usually get every last detail right when breaking new ground.

            That is the essence of creativity. Bohr’s model of the atom was a major advance, but it became clear there was a lot it didn’t explain. Dirac’s theory explained more, and was again a major advance, but it had holes in it too (sorry for the pun). It took quantum electrodynamics — a half-century after Bohr — to get the atom right, at least, as long as you don’t ask about radioactivity and the finest structure of the atom.

            Was Bohr wrong? A fraud? Was Dirac? Ridiculous. The forefront of science advances in whatever way it can, often by the seat of the pants, and details are often cleaned up later.

            Mann’s method was a major advance. Not perfect in every respect, but still a major advance. And he has been suitably honored by his peers for it — that’s the real judgement of the science.

            It’s not surprising the attacks on him have come from the anti-science right. More than not understanding the science, they don’t respect it. That’s the real tragedy here. Steyn is an anti-intellectual of the highest order.

          • Barry, I happen to agree with the description of “whitewash” here. As a fellow academic, you should be unsurprised that these happen.

            While there are statistical issues to be addressed, they aren’t particularly complex, and the toughest one regarding uncentered PCAs has been addressed one of the expert on it, Jolliffe himself:


            Not that PCAs is a particularly complicated topic for anybody with an advanced degree in science, in any case. Most of us have dealt with eigenvalues and eigenvectors since our second year in college.

            I also keenly understand the problems with mistakes is that while projects are often robust against single errors, combinations of errors often lead to erroneous outcomes.

            The results of MBH 98 are almost certainly erroneous in the sense of not being representative of what really happened with global mean temperature before 1820, the point before which, MBH fails to validate using R2. The results post 1850 or so are uninteresting, because they are driven by the temperature data (calibration method) and so don’t serve as external validation of the method.

            I also disagree with the so-called replications really being replications. Seriously, they are just wiggly curves that have no resemblance with each other prior to say 1820.

            However, I don’t think what Mann did was fraud, not even close, but I don’t think Steyn has the expertise to make that distinction.

            Oddly if I were to accuse Mann of fraud, I think it would more likely be actionable than if Steyn did it, because I should have known better. But perhaps Steyn showed reckless in making a judgement he wasn’t competent to make? I’m not a lawyer, and I’m glad I’m not a lawyer.

            My gut instinct is Mann was angry over the comparison with a child molester and that it was the “molesting of data” phrase that triggered the suit. And frankly, I sympathize with him on that.

            [Nonetheless, as reprehensible as it is, this is “name calling” and it appears to be a protected part of free speech. ]

            • Carrick,

              I characterized Mann’s statistical technique as less reasonable, but not horrifically wrong, and I think that is correct. Your link to Ian Joliffe’s comment only says he doesn’t really endorse non-centered PCA, but there may be reasons to use it. Does he say that Mann’s technique resulted in a wildly fanciful reconstruction? No.

              I understand what you are saying about the tree rings being calibrated on modern data, but there are a couple problems with your argument. 1) In the calibration period, did the tree-ring proxy just follow the major trend, or did it also reproduce a lot of the wiggles? Actually, it did ok on the wiggles, indicating that the calibration isn’t mandating some totally artificial response. 2) What about the other proxies that have been used? Some of them don’t have the same issues as tree rings (although they have others), and can be calibrated in the modern era over areas with widely different temperatures, so again, the hockey stick response in the reconstructions cannot be simply mandated by the technique.

              Finally, I haven’t looked into the R^2 issue you are talking about, but I do know that McIntyre has, in the past, said some stupid things about R^2. For example, when Andy Dessler published a paper on quantifying cloud feedbacks from satellite data, he performed a linear regression to find a slope (which indicated something about the cloud feedback), and reported the 95% confidence interval on the slope. Since the data were pretty scattered, the confidence interval was pretty broad (indicating something in between slightly negative and strongly positive feedback). Then McIntyre stepped in and was complaining that R^2 was low, and somebody asked me to comment. I replied that a low R^2 value could be the result of either a low slope, a lot of scatter, or both. Both were the case in Dessler’s data. But the important point is that Dessler calculated the confidence interval, which is much, much more informative than R^2. In other words, his comment was utterly stupid.

              In Mann’s case, I haven’t looked into the R^2 issue there, but I do know Mann calculated error bars for his reconstruction. They were very broad at the earlier dates, which seems consistent with a low R^2. But if that’s all it is, then Mann did what he was supposed to. The NAS panel agreed that he could have done better on the PCA, but said it didn’t affect his results all that much.

              And whether I’m right or wrong about this, is there any indication of intentional fraud? I can’t see any.

            • Barry, let me start by saying I’ve looked at this in some detail in the past, and agree with you that whatever Mann did, and gain, I do not believe fraud is a correct description of how MBH arrived at results that we now can clearly see as erroneous.

              For me really the question is, could a person like Mark Steyn come to this conclusion erroneously without his disclosure of that opinion being a defamatory act?

              To your other points, Wahl and Ammann 2007 also give R2 and demonstrate it fails to verify before 1820 (they actually do a more comprehensive job than McIntyre and McKirtrick 2003). W&A also concluded that MBH98 passes the RE-score test, but it took them some major contortions to do so.

              Nonetheless, the bar is that both tests pass, not just one. The purpose of multiple statistical tests isn’t to “go shopping” for a test that allows your result to verify, but to increase your confidence that the result is correct by having it pass multiple verification tests.

              It’s pretty certain that Mann et al calculated R2 scores, since this calculation (and storing of the result) is contained in part of the Fortran code that Mann released to the Barton committee. MBH even reported R2 scores, even back to the earliest measurement period, in supplemental information for the ENSO comparison.

              It seems that R2 was only reported in places where we know the test verified. This falls under the rubric “failure to disclose adverse results”, something that junior people often do, then get better as they become more experienced.

              The hockey stick shape can arise spuriously if you have a “sifter” that looks preferably for hockey stick shapes. The decentered PCA doe this. You still need proxies that have a hockey stick character, but you don’t need legitimate proxies to do this, e.g., the number of greyhounds in San Francisco would work. In Mann’s case, it was strip bark bristlecones.

              This is a example of the common happenstance of being a result robust against single errors (single failure modes), but not against multiple simultaneous ones. I don’t know many academics that would agree that it’s okay to be sloppy and indifferent to errors that you make, because we’re all aware of the effects of compounding of errors.

              My point though is that the period post 1850 isn’t telling you anything new, so it’s irrelevant that a method has the skill to “reconstruct what is known already”. You can argue for example that a researcher, even if he’s not using CPS for example to screen for proxies, might well screen for hockey shapes, without looking at whether plausibly the proxy might be a good temperature proxy.

              Obviously the reconstruction needs to pass this basic validity test, or a paper wouldn’t have been written. But unless you have an objective method for selecting proxies that doesn’t allow for screening, you shouldn’t put any additional weight on the fact you recovered something that you already knew was true.

            • I didn’t say it was bogus to calculate R^2. I said that calculating a confidence interval is much more informative. All statistical “tests” are arbitrary to some degree. Why pick 95% confidence as the standard interval, for instance? So if you go “shopping” for statistical tests, you pick one that is most apropos to the question you are asking. To reach Mann’s conclusions (i.e., that it is probably hotter now than in the past 600 years), a confidence interval is clearly the way to go.

            • You bring up some good points. Let’s start here:

              Mann set up the standards for verification in his manuscript, and used both RE and R^2 and used the 95% CL cutoff, so the questions you are raising are more associated with whether his verification methodology is correct or not.

              I would say that neither myself, nor even Steve McIntyre, are actually advocates for the use of R^2. He and I agree on this one point (an exact quote from McIntyre) “Mann had an obligation to disclose the adverse information and let readers decide.” That’s pretty much it.

              He should have disclosed the adverse information and given an argument for why that didn’t matter. I think he got himself convinced he was doing it correctly, and choose to paper over certain problems (and made a number of other substantive methodological errors to boot).

              Of course again, none of this is fraud, but would a layperson be able to recognize this as such?

              I think if you looked at the confidence level for how unprecedented the current warming is coming from this paper, it would be a much tighter limit than newer reconstructions, including Mann 2008 EIV, which show much larger unforced variations. I agree absolutely with you that is the more interesting way to turn the around question around.

              There are several things I don’t like about the methodology that could have been improved for example. He used 1852-1901 for his verification period. I personally think the temperature record is too unreliable for that.

              Regarding the failure of MBH 98 to validate against newer reconstructions, that really is pretty common in practice. (Though a layperson might again misread this as some form of deliberate salesmanship on Mann’s part. I don’t think this is the case.)

              In the field of metrology, they get differences between measurements of the same fundamental constants by many standard deviations (up to 10 sigmas sometimes in Newton’s Constant of Gravity). So this does happen. It’s a very hard problem to accurately determine your real uncertainty, especially with messy problems like climate proxy reconstructions.

            • Would a layperson recognize this as fraud? Are you kidding?? A layperson wouldn’t have the foggiest idea about any of this. Nor would a jury. Nor could Steyn present it to a jury. Nor could his lawyers. And Mann would eat them alive if he were on the stand and such a topic came up.

              This case is certainly not going to turn on obscure mathematical issues like this, about which experts disagree. About all a jury (or judge) will understand is that Mann’s results have been replicated by many other groups using similar and different methods.

            • I think you completely missed my point. But I can live with that. Comments about too much testosterone apply here too.

          • Heck, if they don’t account for an effect (like Urban Heat Island), then it’s crowed “GIGO!!!”. If they do account for an effect, then it’s crowed “MANIPULATION OF DATA!!!”.

            Because the point isn’t to make a case, but to win at any cost for the deniers.

        • JD, have you come across the following observation(s) that I took from my brief time looking at McIntyre’s red noise point?

          Many attacking Mann seem to take it for granted that there was a clear global MWP comparable to today and likely warmer than today. The same group implicitly seems to believe on the one hand that the light (scarce) and very imperfect proxy data available going back hundreds of years is sufficient to acclaim a definitive and warmer-than-today MWP yet also appear to attack Mann because his much more recent and extensive data (eg, tree-ring) has some issues and does not represent temperature as reasonably as does a thermometer (ie, with a very high r^2 if I am understanding that issue). This seems inconsistent.

          It also means many assume that since most of Mann’s older proxies can be replaced with red noise and still give a similar hockey stick, that clearly Mann wrote a problematic and likely dishonest paper.

          These folks seem to be low on science but high on gut thought (unfortunately, gut thought based on an inconsistent view of proxies biased towards one’s dog).

          Instead, to me, the suggestion that you can replace old proxy data en masse with red noise and get a similar result suggests that perhaps the proxy data is either problematic as a whole or at least just doesn’t strongly support the idea of a global MWP at least in comparison to the high precision used in modern times to derive modern temperature readings. This view makes sense because not only is proxy data going back hundreds of years “intuitively” a horrible measure of temp compared to modern calibrated and carefully protocol-ed temp measurements, but perhaps as a result of this in accuracy, the WMP suggested by individual sets/papers vary from each other (a local WMP or wet period or whatever). Intuitively, if I see temp values that vary across years from paper to paper, I see noise that tends to cancel towards zero.

          As an example of what I mean, let’s say one proxy says WMP was likely from 900 to 1100. Another says from 600 to 700 and another from 1250 to 1400. These have humps in different places. These imply “dips” where the humps don’t exist. So all of these say that for the periods where the other two sets imply their own local WMP, the set at hand implies cooler temps. Eg, set one implies a cooler period from say 600-900 and from 1100 to 1400. Set 2 implies cooler period from 700-1400. Set 3 implies cooler period from 600-1250. Thus each of the “warm” periods according to any given set is matched up against cooler periods from the other sets. So, while one might see the 3 sets individually and believe that a WMP may have existed some time in the medieval ages, a mathematical averaging of sorts on those 3 sets would suggest that the overall temp was not that different across the period globally. Ie, a local MWP is matched by cooler zones elsewhere around the world at almost any given point in time. In truth the time before say 600 and after 1400 might be cooler, but that still leaves a very muted warmer period in the middle since there is no definitive murder weapon linked to any time much more than to any other… at least until you get to the modern era and a strong link points to the last few decades as each being warmer than the prior and with the last couple being warmer than most any other decade in recorded history. .. Mann tried to find proxies to tie the past with the present so you want the best proxies possible that cover that wide region in a way that we have fair confidence in. Keep in mind most old proxies are useless at predicting modern temps although they might be useful.. in a few hundred years.

          So you see what I mean in these two main points above, (a) that many of Mann’s attackers have an inconsistent regard of the quality of proxy data, depending on what belief they are trying to support ((i) that old yet trustworthy-able proxies say a MWP exists and goes against Mann’s conclusion so Mann must be wrong or (ii) else that the newer key proxy data used by Mann is unreliable compared to say thermometers so Mann must be wrong); and (b) that old proxies being replaceable by red noise suggests, not that Mann must obviously be corrupt or incompetent, but that old proxies just may not do a good job of supporting a unique MWP (as say modern thermometers support that the past few decades have been hotter than average)?

          • Jose_X, I think this is all outside the issue of the dispute with Mann and Steyn. I believe the external validity of MBH98 & 99 are not on trial, but the question of whether the results were arrived at fraudulently is.

            Nonetheless, I have little question at this point that the MBH results are invalid: See this ensemble of newer results.

            This doesn’t say that the newer results are necessary physically valid, namely if you could actually obtain a real global mean temperature for the Earth that they would past validation tests, but even Mann’s newer work are clearly inconsistent with his older ones.

            Science moves on, there does now appear to be a MWP. Certainly not a MWP that is as warm as suggested in original FAR report, but these reconstructions still lack skill in replicating high-frequency information. You could perhaps have a 40-year spike in temperature to current levels, and the newer reconstructions might miss it.

            So I suggest (c) there is a MWP, and it was missed in MBH 98. The problem is with the method, not the data.

            [This is getting dangerously into Barry’s territory now.]

            • MBH 98 only extends back to 1400. It really has nothing to offer on a MWP..

              Yes the Mann v Steyn issue is quite specifically to do with the issues Barry discusses at the top.

            • MBH99 does, it goes back to 1000. Note I said MBH98 & 99. (I haven’t gotten around to putting MBH 99 on my graph, but it’s more of the same, just a flat line with red-noise like excursions around. it.

              MBH 98/99 also gets wrong the progression of temperatures during the LIA too, so it’s still apropos to discuss the problems with MBH98.

            • Certainly not a MWP that is as warm as suggested in original FAR report, but these reconstructions still lack skill in replicating high-frequency information. You could perhaps have a 40-year spike in temperature to current levels, and the newer reconstructions might miss it.

              I don’t understand this statement. PAGES 2k found “…no globally synchronous multi-decadal warm or cold intervals that define a worldwide Medieval Warm Period…,” and, except for North America, their resolution is annual.

              “Continental-scale temperature variability during the past two millennia,” PAGES 2k Consortium, Nature Geosciences, April 21, 2013

            • If you look at the modern temperature reconstructions, which are meant to be global, there is indisputably a MWP associated with it. The argument isn’t about how regionalized the area that is affected by it, but how large the effect is that this event had on global mean temperature.

              The issue at hand is how unique or “unprecedented” the 20th century warming is. The question of how global the MWP period was, is an interesting one, but not related to this question.

              It would be better to describe the proxies as having an annual sampling period. Resolution refers to the minimum resolvable period. I’ve looked at this by computing the spectral periodograms of the published reconstructions, and see typically a roll-off or “knee-point” at circa a100-year period.

              This is also borne out by the failure of the global reconstructions to reproduce the roughly 60-year period seen in individual proxies or in the more recent surface temperature record. (If the reconstructions did not lose coherency at a 60-year interval, the so-called 60-yearish AMO peak should be resolvable.)

              I am pretty sure this is a known and heavily debated problem in paleo-climatology, since as long ago as MBH 99, this point has been discussed.

              Anyway if the resolution is about 100-years, then a 40-year spike wouldn’t be resolvable in the global mean temperature. I think the the individual proxies are way to noisy to see a feature of this magnitude, though I admit I haven’t tried Monte Carloing it to see.

            • The trouble with numbers like “15x faster” is that if you don’t have the same frequency resolution in both series, e.g., say the actual frequency resolution of the proxy reconstructions is really something around 100-years, then “15x faster” probably is a consequence of the difference in resolution.

              No one’s trying to prove a mathematical theorem here, just comparing two gross trends.

            • If the 100-yr trends are 15x smaller than a 40-yr trend, but really there were comparable 40-yr periods hidden within the poor resolution, it must have been a pretty wild ride!

          • PAGES 2k *did not* find evidence for a global MWP.

            • Again there is evidence in the global mean temperature for a MWP. That’s the point being discussed here. Other studies have certainly argued different than PAGES, so I’ll leave the dispute over global versus regionalized nature of the event to others to debate.

              I do think Gerghis is demonstrably flawed, and to the extend that PAGES relied on this for their conclusions, this becomes a useless result. (But again, even finding certain data unpersuasive, I don’t have any position on the question of the regional versus global nature of the MWP.)

            • Which studies have evidence of a global MWP?

            • Pretty much anybody besides Mann and his allies actually. J/K. Partially. Mann’s had a burr in his butt about the non-global nature of the MWP since practically forever.

              As I said, I’m not really a participant in this debate (it’s too far aside from issues that I find relevant to pursue, and too much testosterone in the room for me), but here’s one:


            • I agree, this is an important and interesting paper.

              Note that it finds “the rate of change over the last 60 years is roughly 15 times faster than any other period, the authors conclude.”


              And Mann argues that this study likely underestimates present-day warming:


              I don’t understand this obsession with the MWP. We aren’t today in a similar period. We aren’t warming today from any known natural factors, but from aGHGs. So the added possibility of a natural upward fluctuation like another global MWP only means we are at even greater risk from warming than we would be otherwise.

            • The trouble with numbers like “15x faster” is that if you don’t have the same frequency resolution in both series, e.g., say the actual frequency resolution of the proxy reconstructions is really something around 100-years, then “15x faster” probably is a consequence of the difference in resolution.

              Imagine you had a step function change, and low passed it. The spike is gone and you end up with much slower moving ramp with a bit of ringing at both ends (“Gibbs phenomenon”) instead.

              Probably a better comparison is 1910-1950 to 1980-2010. The AR4 was saying that anthropogenic forcing was not necessary to explain the observed warming for that period, and yet the slope for the newer warming period, which the AR4 says was dominantly anthropogenic forcing, was only about 25% to 50% larger than the previous one.

              Clearly the factor of 15x is nonsense almost regardless of how you look at it.

              The MWP is important of course for what it tells us about societies failure to adapt to change, not so important to the AGW debate (radiative physics still has the dominant role to play there). I think the disservice that MBH98 and 99 did was to underplay the role of natural variability.

              You are right that larger natural variability does mean you can get larger swings than you might otherwise have, and this part is key, you don’t necessarily have the ability to predict when another 1930s weather period comes along, but this time on CO2 steroids. Not a pretty image.

        • No, JD, the only “mistake” Barry is making is not agreeing with denier spoil.

    • JD, why did you ignore that the OIG did what McIntyre complained Penn State did not do? That is, ask McIntyre!

      End result:
      “case closed”, no evidence of any misconduct.

  9. From Barry, “so when Mann wins, these people might be afraid to voice their ignorant opinions about climate change or climate scientists.” Will you hold the same opinion against Mann voicing ignorant opinions if Steyn wins? One problem I see with all this is the ability to dissent. It isn’t one side is ignorant if the other side wins, which is how both sides are presenting the debate.

    • No, one side is ignorant no matter who wins. Libel cases are notoriously hard to win, so Mann may actually lose if it goes to trial. But when Steyn recently wrote that the Hockey Stick is a “climate model” whose predictions have failed (it isn’t a model, and makes no predictions), there is no question that he was opining about a subject about which he is stunningly ignorant.

  10. […] Bickmore takes issue with the RealClearPolitics article in a piece entitled The Free Speech Brigade Suppresses Free Speech. Concluding statements from this lengthy […]

  11. I have two questions for Prof. Bickmore

    1) “Fraud” isn’t necessarily a tort or criminal fraud. Several times you’ve said Steyn accused man of a criminal act. What leads you to believe Steyn meant criminal fraud and not simply a non-criminal deceit?

    refer here:

    1 b: an act of deceiving or misrepresenting : trick

    The UFO picture was proved to be a fraud.

    2) Speaking of fraud as a trick… what do you think a jury will make of “Mike’s Nature trick to hide the decline”?

    Personally I think Mann is going to lose a jury decision because his own colleagues referred to the construction of the hockey stick as a “trick” to “hide” a “decline” in temperature that would have otherwise ruined the image of a rapid recent rise in temperature. Given his colleagues called it a trick and Merriam Webster has a definition of fraud as a trick it seems like a slam dunk win for Steyn.

    • Steyn and the others said that Mann fraudulently manipulated the data ***to further certain political goals***. So it’s clear they meant it was intentional.

      • There’s always a goal of some sort, Prof. Bickmore. Criminal fraud requires specific kinds of goals:

        Fraud is a deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain (adjectival form fraudulent; to defraud is the verb).[1] As a legal construct, fraud is both a civil wrong (i.e., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud and/or recover monetary compensation) and a criminal wrong (i.e., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities). Defrauding people or organizations of money or valuables is the usual purpose of fraud, but it sometimes instead involves obtaining benefits without actually depriving anyone of money or valuables, such as obtaining a drivers license by way of false statements made in an application for the same.

        I submit to you that vague “political goals” don’t rise to the standard constituting criminal fraud. I suppose it’s arguable but your surety that Steyn meant criminal fraud I think is unwarranted at best.

        • Some of the defendants were heavily involved in precipitating all those official probes Mann was subjected to. Further evidence that they meant he committed a crime.

          • Some of the defendants might have shot JFK. That has no bearing on what Steyn did or did not do.

            • But what Steyn did is relevant to what Steyn did or did not do.

              Yet somehow you wish to pretend that he did nothing wrong. The judges that have looked at the case in detail with years of experience believe otherwise.

              Why should we think you are right?

              Some of the defendants are close friends with Steyn. He cannot conceivably show that these people never talked with him about this. And all proving this would do is indicate that Steyn and these others were in reckless disregard for the truth, and now not only Steyn is in the dock, but all these others.

      • You didn’t answer my second question. What do you think a jury will make of “Mike’s Nature trick to hide the decline”?

        • David Springer, One of the definitions of trick is a quick or artful way of getting a result. IOW a trick of the trade. That’s the context in which trick was used in this case. Since Mann explained when he did it what he did and what was “hidden” I don’t think a jury will make anything of it.

          • Sure. In this case the trick got the result of hiding a decline in temperature indicated by tree ring data after 1981. That is highly misleading. Mann is sunk if and when this goes before a jury IMO.

            Do we all share the hope that a jury hears the evidence?

            • In this case the trick got the result of hiding a decline in temperature indicated by tree ring data after 1981.

              Are you suggesting diverging tree rings should have been included in any reconstruction, when they obviously did not agree with thermometer measurements?

            • Yes of course its need to be included if the same proxy data is used in the previous portion of the series. It brings into question the reliability of tree rings as temperature proxies. Mann didn’t want the reliability questioned so he just clipped the divergent tree ring data. That’s wholly unethical. If it were a drug trial and that trick was used to hide contrary data in order to receive FDA approval there’d be all kinds of hell to pay.

            • Yes of course its need to be included if the same proxy data is used in the previous portion of the series.

              Why would you include proxies that are obviously inconsistent with the instrumental record?

              And why would you exclude proxies that do work over a large training interval?

              Mann et al didn’t “clip” anything — they made decisions about what proxies to include and which to exclude, and were very clear about their criteria. Those who conduct drug clinical trials do much the same thing when they decide which patients to include and which to exclude, and it does not constitute “hiding contrary data.”

          • Dave is right. Anyone who has formally studied any physics knows that the word “trick” is often employed in that circumstance. But I can see how it’s convenient for deniers to pretend otherwise.

        • Well, that statement has an explanation behind it, and it isn’t nefarious.

          So are you saying Steyn’s comments too have an explanation behind them that makes the statements rather harmless to the party claiming injury? If so and he shares it, I think that would help end the lawsuit. I think. Right?

          • I asked Prof. Bickmore for his opinon. If I want the opinion of anonymous cowards I’ll specifically ask, Jose_X, whoever you are.

            • Oh, OK. I’ll try to remember you don’t like me to talk to you and will try to address my observations and opinions about your comments to someone else.

              Prof Bickmore, do you think the jury will have problems understanding the intentions and allegations of the Mann “hide the decline” once an explanation is given? Also, do you think the jury will understand when Steyn doesn’t provide an alternative explanation for his claims of fraud? No need to answer. This question was not really for you. BTW, I think that other person commenting above me had an interesting perspective about criminal fraud (or not criminal fraud) that may have legs with a jury, but I wouldn’t compare it to the “hide the decline” beaten horse.

        • BTW, I am not in a position currently to be affected much by that sort of lawsuit and generally have not worried much about such things, so I have not given a lot of thought to its reasonableness (motivation, chance of success, etc).

          • I’m quite sure I couldn’t care less about your position.

            • Then what point was your query?

            • I asked Prof. Bickmore not cowardly anonymous members of the peanut gallery. He at least has the stones to not hide behind an anonymous handle.

            • David, lots of people don’t use their real names on the Internet, because there are stalking weirdos out there. None of us have any idea if you are using your real name, either. If you don’t want to interact with the other posters, then go away. Jose has been posting here a long time, and always tries to say something substantive, rather than just insulting people.

            • Barry, I agree that your reponse to David Springer was warranted as he was unfairly curt with Jose.

              But please be consistent and moderate other contributors here that too readily resort to juvenile insults.

            • Ah, I see. Do you have any reason to proffer cowardice as reason?

              Do you have any reason to proffer cowardice, even if in fact present, to be a reason why the query is to be ignored?

              I proffer that the reason has nothing to do with anyone else other than your incapability to answer any of these queries and your desire to insist that Barry waste time with an arrogant and ignorant moron as punishment for daring to take a stance that does not salve your ego and placate your rage.

            • Col, Barry does.

              We have yet to see if you are able to restrain from purposeless fluffery to hide your incapability to offer argument that promotes enlightenment rather than merely tail-chasing rhetorical trickery.

            • Colin,

              Achieving complete consistency in my moderation policies would require too much mental effort, to be honest. If David had said what he did only once, I would have ignored it. But he keeps repeating it, over and over, browbeating commenters who are obviously trying to say substantive things. I won’t put up with commenters who are simply trolls and nothing else.

            • And for the record, Wow, I like having Colin around here. He seems like a nice guy, who isn’t totally incapable of considering someone else’s point of view.

            • Oh, Col is better than many, Barry, sure enough.

              But he does love his tail chasing rhetoric and JAQing off on blogs.

            • Just asking a lazy question isn’t necessarily wrong, but it doesn’t indicate anything, but as Springer shows, questions not answered will be taken by rhetoriticians as “some evidence” of their conspiracy being correct.

              It’s made a bad thing because it’s used by people, such as Glenn Beck, to smear others without consequence (until much later when so many advertisers stayed away from the toxic little oik’s programmes that Fox started to lose money over it).

            • Careful Wow, that was nearly a compliment. (:

        • Fast Fourier Transforms use a mathematical trick to make calculations of waves into a fourier series quicker. Every image (and audio) compression algorithm uses it.

          Does this mean that all of your MP3s and DVDs are fraudulent examples because they were produced with a TRICK?

        • I have no idea what a jury will make of it. In my experience, lawyers use the jury selection process to make sure juries aren’t the most educated people, in the hopes of manipulating them. I know what I make of it, however. It’s absurd.

      • Barry wants to live in a world where questions are no longer asked. He is free to live in that world and I am glad for him.

        • In which world is “x committed fraud” a question?

        • When I see such a statement from someone named “Hayseed,” the only possible response is, “How apt.”

          • When I see you continue to dodge my question of what you think a jury might make of Mann’s colleagues labelling the replacement of contrary proxy data with instrument data a trick to hide the decline in temperature indicated by the proxy it makes me think worse than Hayseed. Silence is not always golden Prof. Bickmore. Speak up.

            • David, I have a life. I can’t always immediately reply to every message here. See above for my reply.

            • Moreover, nobody has a right to demand only Barry can answer questions if you proffer one and that you can dodge questions or ignore answers merely by insisting that only the one you decide must answer MUST answer.

              And that if an answer comes up, you may ignore it because “you were too late”.

              Your intent is merely to punish Barry by wasting his time and effort.

          • Again, it is not “contrary proxy data.” In fact, those data aren’t proxies at all, since they do not correlate with temperatures. They are only proxies before the time of the divergence problem, not after.

            Of all the complexities in this story, this would be one of the easiest to explain to a jury.

  12. I would like to submit this into evidence. Ironically its creators were threatened with lawsuit by Michael Mann but they’re just kids and they rolled over.

    [Clip removed by moderator for being stupid.]

    • And the censorship starts. That clip inspired Michael Mann to threaten its makers with a lawsuit just like the suit against CEI, NRO, and Steyn. Its relevance is certainly well established by that metric.

      Maybe a link to an article about it will survive moderation.

      • Being told to shut up isn’t censorship.

        Lying is wrong and is told to stop, but that isn’t censorship. If it is, then all your whines about Mann are themselves censorship.

        • Telling someone to shut up is a request. Having your words deleted certainly is censorship. Is english not your first language or what?

          • Your link contributed nothing to the discussion. Say something that isn’t solely juvenile insults, and it won’t get “censored”.

          • Telling someone to shut up from the person who owns the place is not censorship.

            Don’t like it? Go to North Korea or Saudi Arabia and find out what censorship feels like.

  13. I find it mind boggling that many climate “skeptics” are arguing that Steyn will win in court based upon their belief that his accusations of Mann are accurate. If they are accurate, then WHY IN THE WORLD would Mann be bringing the issue forward in such an expensive and public manner? My BS detector tells me this skeptical argument is insane.

    My personal opinion is that Mann has a very good chance of winning if this goes to court, and Barry has done an excellent job of presenting the reasons why. Our society needs to draw a line somewhere, or there is no point to having libel laws. I am also very worried about what would happen if Steyn were to win. Think about it… your pissed off neighbor could make public statements about you committing crimes, and you would have no legal means to make him stop(?)

    • First of all Steyn didn’t accuse anyone of criminal fraud. Mann didn’t do anything to deprive anyone of money or anything of tangible value. Secondly Mann’s own colleagues in climategate emails called dropping contrary tree ring data since 1981, because it showed a decline, and replacing it with modern instrument data “a trick” to “hide the decline”. They so liked the trick that Mann did in his nature article they emulated it in other temperature series and when necessary took it back to 1961 to hide the decline.

      Mann’s lawyers will have to convince a jury that a trick is not a fraud. Merriam-Webster has one definition of fraud as follows:

      1 b: an act of deceiving or misrepresenting : trick

      The UFO picture was proved to be a fraud

      Average people who will sit in a jury trial will decide whether Mike’s colleagues calling what he did “a trick” can reasonably construe that to be “a fraud” under the definition above. Mann’s gonna lose if this goes to a jury trial. Count on it.

      • They so liked the trick that Mann did in his nature article they emulated it in other temperature series and when necessary took it back to 1961 to hide the decline.

        The proxies were dropped because after around 1960 they failed to correlate with temperature. Should they have been included in reconstructions regardless?

        “On the ‘Divergence Problem’ in Northern Forests: A review of the
        tree-ring evidence and possible causes,” Rosanne D’Arrigo et al, Global and Planetary Change 60 (2008) 289–305.

        Click to access DArrigo_etal.pdf

        • Seriously David?

          Yes. If you are presenting a proxy as reliable then it is unethical to withhold data that makes it appear unreliable. If this were a drug trial and those shenanigans were used to obtain FDA approval there’d be hell to pay.

          • Are you kidding? A fair chunk of both MBH98 (including its Supplementary Information) and MBH99 are spent explaining their criteria for including or excluding proxies — in effect, what your word “reliable” means.

            This from MBH99 (pg 760) directly relates to the “divergence problem” of northern tree rings:

            “For our purposes, however, it suffices that we consider the residual to be non-climatic in nature, and consider the ITRDB PC#1 series “corrected” by removing from it this residual, forcing it to align with the NT series at low frequencies throughout their mutual interval of overlap.”

            • David the divergence problem paper you cite is from 2007. Mike’s Nature Trick to hide the decline was done in 1999. It wasn’t available to the team for TAR. It’s a post hoc rationalization. Way post hoc.

            • Judith Curry and Richard Muller (the former certainly no lightweight in climate science and the latter arguably is no slouch either) roundly condemn Mann’s “hide the decline”.


              Even if they’re wrong Steyn can hold all these expert opinions up in his defense. Mann’s ass is grass I’m afraid and the number of people like Curry and Muller he offended with his hijinks are all lawnmowers.

            • The 2007 paper is a review paper. I cited it to explain the problem. It didn’t discovery the divergence problem.

            • Brent Fieser wrote:
              His data for MBH98 came from the north atlantic region….

              False. MBH98 gives a map of their data sources in their Figure 1a. They encompass far more than the North Atlantic region.

              Click to access mbh98.pdf

            • Brent: See MBH98 Figure 1A. It includes far more than proxies from the north Atlantic.

              This is the second time today you’ve been caught lying.

          • Keith Briffa had previously discussed the divergence problem in the literature, and recommended not using the tree ring proxy in certain places after 1960. Yep. It was a giant conspiracy.

            • Actually it was a conspiracy and it’s documented in climategate emails. The problematic Briffa data was discussed and quickly truncated. Lead IPCC author of the chapter said “it greatly dilutes the message”. Various means of undiluting it were discussed. After a brief twinge of conscience and brief protest by Briffa he redid the data truncating the problematic portion. The discussion, the archived pre-deletion proxy data, and post-deletion proxy data, all matters of record and documented in excrutiating by McIntyre who will undoubtedly be an expert witness for Steyn.


              Read it and weep, boys. Mann is going to lose. Get used to it.

            • Muller condemning the hockeystick beginning at 29:50.

              He and others like Curry were hopping mad because they were deceived for years until the climategate emails exposed the deception.

            • Muller condemning the hockey stick has zero traction here.

              Since BEST indicates that MBH98 was correct and that there is a hockey stick in the data that Muller himself collected, filtered, qualified and processed indicates that no matter what he may have said before he himself looked, afterwards, he too agrees with it.

            • But Muller has too big of an ego to apologize for his stupid remarks that he made before he checked the data himself.

            • But others believe Briffa does have a duty to explain himself. In October last year, Briffa’s old boss at CRU, Tom Wigley, said in an email to Briffa’s current boss Phil Jones: “Keith does seem to have got himself into a mess.” Wigley felt Briffa had not answered McIntyre’s charges fully. “How does Keith explain the McIntyre plot that compares Yamal-12 with Yamal-all? And how does he explain the apparent ‘selection’ of the less well-replicated chronology rather than the later (better replicated) chronology?… The trouble is that withholding data looks like hiding something, and hiding something means (in some eyes) that it is bogus science that is being hidden.”

            • Oh dear, David Springer has not even noticed that McIntyre originally had selectively quoted the e-mail, where the non-quoted part actually made it clear the discussion was NOT about the divergence problem, and that there was no truncation by Mann.

              This was quite clearly exposed by Deepclimate:

              McIntyre was even forced to acknowledge his original interpretation was wrong, even though he did so by just changing the accusation, rather than acknowledging that his original interpretation required selective quotation from e-mails.

              For me this was clear evidence that McIntyre was not worth listening to. It was too obvious “narrative creation” with a reckless disregard of the facts.

            • Brent: If you’re going to cut-and-paste from a Guardian article from 2010, ethically you ought to put it in quotes and cite it to indicate the words aren’t your own:

            • “But others believe Briffa does have a duty to explain himself.”

              Yes, meanwhile Scientologists believe they are the only true humans trapped here by an alien race that sent them here in 1960’s era jets. And others believe that the House of Windsor are reptilian aliens trying to take over the world.

              What is lacking is any evidence that their beliefs have any traction.

            • I apologize David. I thought I had cited the source.

            • And note McIntyre’s quote from the same Guardian article by Fred Pearce:

              “Even McIntyre denounces the more vocal sceptics with their conspiracy theories. In an apparent response to a challenge from the climate scientists’ website RealClimate, he wrote to the American Spectator last October, saying that: “While there is much to criticise in the handling of this [Yamal] data, the results do not in any way show that AGW [anthropogenic global warming] is a ‘fraud’, nor that this particular study was a ‘fraud’. There are many serious scientists who are honestly concerned about AGW and your commentary… is unfair to them.” Sadly, when checked last week, there was no sign of this comment on the magazine website, though the magazine had found room for another feature on “The great hoax” of climate change.”


              Briffa’s statements are here:

              and an expanded statement here:

              Put it all together and what do you get? Another instance of manufactured doubt intended to obfuscate, confuse, accuse and so deny the science, because the critics can’t win the debate on legitimate scientific grounds.

            • Dear all, the commenter most of you know as David Springer seems to think that a he-said she-said “analysis” by McIntyre (based on a link DS provided) is going to convince a jury that Mann et company were trying to twist the science. I agree with the others here and would echo to David Springer that he get in contact with McIntyre urging him to make sure he has done the scientific analysis on the hidden decline. When the day comes, Mann is going to have 32 1/3 experts who have collectively done the scientific analysis testifying on his side for every McIntyre on the other side talking gossip — who said what and with what tone of voice in those emails and meetings.

            • In MBH98 there is no MWP or LIA that was in the 1990 IPCC report. In Dr. Mann’s paper “Medieval Climate Optimum” he cites: “The Medieval Climatic Optimum appears to have been in large part a feature of the North Atlantic and neighboring regions (Wigley et al.1981)”. His data for MBH98 came from the north atlantic region but found no MWP or LIA. How can he cite the region he claims the “MWP” happened and then not show it in the hockey stick graph that is the poster for CAGW?

            • Brent: See MBH98 Figure 1A. It includes far more than proxies from the north Atlantic.

              This is the second time today you’ve been caught lying.

            • Lying? When I do a google image search of MBH98 some kook keeps putting a header of “northern hemisphere” on the hockey stick graph I am referencing.

            • Yes, Brent. Lying.

              Tell you what, instead of googlesearching then claiming what you found in the googlesearch is what you found in the paper, how about reading the paper and then claiming what you find in it?

            • Brent Fieser, keep in mind (as has already been mentioned yet also criticized) that Mann’s error range allows for a MWP. The hockey stick has a fuzz around it that is rather wide to cover the uncertainties. You can say that his approach was crude enough to hide the MWP.

  14. […] 2014/02/13: BBickmore: The Free Speech Brigade Suppresses Free Speech […]

  15. BB has finally caught the attention of the bad man himself:
    where the BS is cut to near zero–rather the opposite of the proliferation of sources which, however well intended, serve mainly to obfuscate. –AGF

    • Sorry, though you’re capable of spewing BS, you have to become blind to it so that you may continue to prattle it about without a twinge of your conscience.

      Therefore, despite your prowess in emitting it, your ability to identify it is nonexistent. Your claims of BS are untrustworthy and require no rebuttal or refutation.

      • Says the anonymous “Wow” while offering absolutely nothing of substance. I would remain anonymous too. –AGF

        • You DO know what ad hom means, right? The refutation of argument by the attributes of who made it, not the content of the argument itself.

          You DO know it’s a logical fallacy, right?

          And it is yet another datapoint in evidence of your inability to spot BS as a method of ensuring you can produce copious amounts of it.

          • What the hell are you talking about? Gibberish as always, which is why anonymous trolls who have never had an intelligent thought in their lives must remain anonymous and cowardly, and resort to such tactics as Marco on February 19, 2014
            at 9:08 am, who links one more BS website which spouts intentional obfuscation and lies and links to sites that don’t work or mean nothing. This is what counts for argument among the mindless believers: so so says your guy is an idiot.

            Of course McIntyre is a thousand times as honest and intelligent as Mann, as is perfectly obvious to any with the slightest shred of intelligence: at the very least we see he provides links for every assertion, while “Deep Climate” never does under the excuse that it would be unethical to reproduce private emails. So thy lie habitually and you can never check on their lies because they provide no sources. They’re just like you. –AGF

            • “What the hell are you talking about? Gibberish as always”

              I call Hitchen’s Razor.

            • “Of course McIntyre is a thousand times as honest and intelligent as Man”

              Hitchen’s razor again.

        • Oh, and ROFLCopter on the “agfosterjr” poster proclaiming anonymity is wrong, somehow. I guess Jefferson et al’s anonymising themselves for the Federalist Papers indicate that the founders of the constitution were all lacking anything relevant to say, right?

          • Why don’t you explain the parallels between the Federalist authors’ situation (and Jefferson is not one of them) and yours? Come on, an intelligent thought, please. –AGF

            • They used false names when posting the stuff that would become the federalist papers.

              You claim that anonymity is a priory proof of a lack of anything important to say.

              sic ergo propter hoc

  16. Wow. Always fun to check in on this blog every couple of days. I will go out on a limb here and venture to say that nobody (and I do mean nobody on the planet) actually has a clue how a jury of random citizens will decide on this case if it goes all the way to trial.

    • The judge does.

      The law as written does.

      It’s not a certainty, but that doesn’t mean absolute uncertainty.

  17. By: Wow on February 20, 2014
    at 5:30 am

    “You claim that anonymity is a priory proof of a lack of anything important to say.”
    Of course I never claimed any such thing. I said:

    “Why don’t you explain the parallels between the Federalist authors’ situation (and Jefferson is not one of them) and yours?”

    (By: agfosterjr on February 19, 2014
    at 11:48 am)

    To which he responds with:

    “They used false names when posting the stuff that would become the federalist papers.”
    …which of course doesn’t go an inch beyond his previous comment, and of course fails completely to address the request, which I will repeat:

    “Why don’t you explain the parallels between the Federalist authors’ situation (and Jefferson is not one of them) and yours?”

    And we see for the millionth time how intellectually defective are those who defend the likes of Mann and his junk science. –AGF

    • Of course, I never claimed you never claimed that.

      how about dealing with the claims actually made?

      • Should read: I never claimed you said that.

  18. Look, retard, I quoted you, by copying and pasting–misspellings and all– and adding quotations marks, from:

    “Wow on February 20, 2014
    at 5:30 am”

    “You claim that anonymity is a priory [sic] proof of a lack of anything important to say.”

    Now you deny you said what I copied and pasted. You are an exemplary poster boy for the GW zealot mentality. Your dishonesty borders on insanity–denying reality for all to see is second nature to you. –AGF

    • Look if your post on February 19, 2014
      at 11:48 am didn’t mean anything, then why did you post it?

      • I’ll ignore Wow at this point, who couldn’t put a coherent argument together to save his life, and go to David Appell’s dead end thread on February 19, 2014 at 11:13 am, where he says:

        “Put it all together and what do you get? Another instance of manufactured doubt intended to obfuscate, confuse, accuse and so deny the science, because the critics can’t win the debate on legitimate scientific grounds.”

        David Appell, you live in a fairy tale world, like all believers. I might first point out the leaked CRU emails show that even the insiders considered Mann to be out on a limb and irrationally dedicated to his hockey stick monstrosity. I might add that BB here must resort to the huge error estimates allowed by Mann’s graph to defend its significance–or rather insignificance.

        But most of all I want to repeat here what I have brought up in other threads of this blog, and which nobody has responded to, the huge qualitative debunking of the Hockey Stick that has been provided by many glaciers in the northern hemisphere and now by Jorge Montt Glacier in Patagonia. This last named glacier was touted internationally as proof of dangerous, radical, unprecedented global warming as it receded at phenomenal rates, captured in time lapse video, viewed ’round the globe. But as a few papers mentioned, this extraordinary melt rate was governed by fjord bathymetry, not abnormal heat, beyond the gradual and predictable recovery from the LIA.

        And how do we know this? Because a just a few years back Jorge Montt joined the ranks of the likes of Exit Glacier in Alaska in uncovering remnants of a Medieval forest that grew before the Little Ice Age. So the MWP and LIA, which don’t even show up on Mann’s fraudulent Hockey Stick, are seen to have been global and pronounced. The MWP has hardly been approached based on this tree ring evidence, and by the same token, a repeat of the as yet unexplained LIA remains remains something to be feared.

        So not only is the current warming exaggerated beyond all reliable evidence, but it is desirable. To the limited extent that CO2 and other GHG’s really can warm land or sea, these should be appreciated as a buffer against the ever present danger of global cooling. There is nothing rational about climate zealotry, never has been, never will be, never can be. It was conceived in ignorance, born in scientific infancy, brought up in ideological zealotry, and is now maintained only by fraudulent propaganda. There is not an honest and intelligent scientist or layman on the planet who takes it seriously.

        And as for Kerry and Obama, the executive branch has never labored under such delusion. –AGF

        • AGF: One glacier in Patagonia proves the MWP was global? How does that work, exactly? And where are the scientific papers proving this, on, say, the level of last year’s PAGES 2k paper in Nature Geosciences?

          P.S.: If you want any future replies, you’ll have to stop the ad homs.

          • It doesn’t, but asgodaf or whatever he is isn’t here for the fishing, they’re on a crusade to ensure their view is heard everywhere.

            However, tiresome it may be.

            Isn’t it odd how asgodaf wishes to bring in ostracism to silence others in a thread about The Free Speech Brigade.

            And hasn’t yet once managed to bring up why their attack on free speech is justified.

          • Do I give a damn if you reply? You can’t even google a glacier. Plenty of glaciers in Alaska have uncovered forests, but Jorge Montt is the first in South America–apparently the others haven’t melted back far enough. Of course some are growing, some are too high, some may have destroyed the evidence, and some may have had no evidence to destroy. Who knows? Snow in the Patagonian ice field is only a few centuries old, meaning it has rapid turnover. One 50m core proved to be 6 years old. That’s a hell of a lot of precipitation.

            Now I know the current PC condones rudeness to skeptics and not the reverse, and it’s a very convenient excuse to never answer good skeptical arguments by whining “ad hominen,” but the fact remains, you can’t use receding glaciers as evidence of unprecedented warming when the glaciers reveal Medieval forests. This doesn’t need to be explained to honest intelligent people. Yeah, yeah, ad hominem, but I never have had an intelligent argument with a believer. Honestly. –AGF

            • Hi AG,

              Glacier dynamics is governed by both temperature and precipitation. Both change when climate changes, and they dont respond instantaneously. So you can’t just point to some glacier somewhere and use the glacier extent as a thermometer. You can do an ice core and measure the H and O isotopes to estimate that, however.

              In any case, a warming world would have more precipitation overall, so the fact that most of the glaciers are melting back does indicate warming.

            • AGF: I have not been rude to you, and I don’t deserve it back in turn. Ciao.

            • agfosterjr:

              1. I googled and learned of forests being revealed in Alaska that were over 2000 years old. This case then would not be of a medieval forest. Can you give me info/evidence showing these are not forests that were covered also prior to last ice age before the ascent of man? I don’t really care for a forest that was around bearing fruits we were picking off trees alongside monkeys.

              2. Do you have evidence of what land masses around the equator were like (in terms of sea level height, drought/wet conditions, and thriving organisms) during the time those forests were thriving up north? This is relevant to the quality of life for many descendents of people living in those regions today.

              3. You are obviously very smart (at least relatively) if what you keep repeating about deniers being smart and “believers” being stupid is true. Besides answering the above, can you give me an extrapolation of life near the equator in 100 years if we keep going at the current pace? I know “believers” have done these things, so I expect much more from the very intelligent deniers. It should be easy for someone smart as yourself to whip up a little google magic to get us many relevant links.

              4. Can you provide few or many examples of deniers estimating scientifically the temperature in 100 years and also give examples of their few or many rebuttals of the IPCC consensus of what the “believer” computer mathematical-physical models generate? I assume deniers have much more sophisticated studies and mathematical algorithms for estimating temp and other characteristics for 2100.

            • 5. I am curious of what you see mankind doing and on what time scale to seamlessly transition from fossil fuels to alternatives? Can you comment say for 100 and 200 years into the future? And if you don’t think it will be seamless, do you expect your grandkids or their grandkids to make the sacrifices you won’t make? I will likely have follow-up questions.

            • Concerning 1 (and to a lesser extent 2), I see that there have been more glaciers than the limited amount I originally googled. Do you have a link to a paper that looks at the newer forests and discusses MWP or in general historical average global temps from that time period?

              I’m asking questions to learn. It seems skeptics of AGW know a great lot.

            • >> but the fact remains, you can’t use receding glaciers as evidence of unprecedented warming when the glaciers reveal Medieval forests.

              Who was using receding glaciers showing medieval forests as evidence of unprecedented warming?

              Did Mann? Did anyone here commenting?

            • AGF, BB said in a nearby subthread: >> and they dont respond instantaneously. So you can’t just point to some glacier somewhere and use the glacier extent as a thermometer.

              Intuition tells me that the current melting and underlying revelations we are seeing are not a result of this year’s or last year’s temp. The forests revealed might be more indicative of a forest around at temps similar to those years back or even decades back. In other words, because the rate of warming is unprecedented (at least in modern times), the current melting and what it exposes might be the same as seen at the equilibrium of a much lower temperature (rather than as an early transient response to our current fast warming).

              I am sure you will point out the grievous logical flaw above or perhaps show me how “deniers/skeptics” have known this for a long time and ahead of the “believers”.

              6. I don’t understand why you would think that revealing a medieval forest means the current temps are like those around when that forest was around (never mind that this can still be purely a local phenomenon, especially since wind patterns and ocean currents have something to do with weather and can cause some places to get colder even as the average global temp rises).

            • No, you don’t give a damn if anyone replies asgofd, because you’ve already made up your mind and are merely here to tell everyone about it, nothing more.

        • If you had a point, ever, dearie, you could ignore me from this point.

          But you’ve already claimed that there’s a place where your BS detector is not being assaulted. Why not trot off to there?

          You aren’t actually able to bring any substance to the table here.

  19. By: Barry Bickmore on February 21, 2014
    at 9:37 pm

    Yes it is warming, enough to offset any warmth induced extra precipitation in the case of most glaciers. And it has been warming since the LIA, with ups and downs. But yes, over the long term you certainly can use a glacier as a thermometer. If a forest grew at Jorge Montt 500 years ago we can be fairly confident it was warmer for longer there than it has been in the last century. Don’t you agree? –AGF

    • As I said, it also depends on precipitation changes. In some cases it has actually made some glaciers go in the opposite direction than the temperature dictates.

      • Reviewing Rivera’s report I see that Bernardo and Tempano glaciers had long before uncovered forest debris, joining a host of NH LIA and MWP evidence, the majority of it cotemporaneous. Mercer reported the other two in 1970, before he worried about West Antarctica. It seems that among glaciologists the imminent melting of the western ice sheet has always been a minority view; early own because it was so speculative and unquantifiable, and later on because SLR never performed as expected.

        Yes, warmth brings more precipitation, especially in Antarctica. Sea level plods along at 2 or 3mm/year in a very unworrysome fashion. Mann and peers just hate it when nature refuses to cooperate. –AGF

        • Actually sea level and sea level rate of change are just slightly ahead of model projections.

          See IPCC 5AR Ch13 Figures 13.7a-d pg 1158.

          Click to access WG1AR5_Chapter13_FINAL.pdf

          • Your link is from 2013. Are you saying last year’s SLR agreed with last year’s projections?

            • Are you saying you think models make yearly projections?

  20. Mr. Appell, I’m talking about exaggerated, erroneous forecasts, such as have always been made for SLR. In fact the latest IPCC SLR forecasts have toned down the hype to match reality. Don’t confuse models, which attempt to describe past (and maybe future) behavior, with dire predictions, which have always been shown wrong by observation. Don’t show us a 2013 projection and tell us it has accurately predicted current SLR. And don’t brag about a 2013 projection which is slightly high on 2013. This is pretty basic stuff I’m telling you. –AGF

    • AGF: What “exaggerated, erroneous forecasts?” Link to three of them.

  21. Maybe a new thread is in order to discuss Steyn v. Mann, the countersuit.

    As many people as Mann has defamed it could become a class action.

    Pass the popcorn.

    • Lest I injure someone’s feelings, let me address this comment to

      To Whom It May Concern:

      Is there an example of one person (with accompanying quote and context) that Mann has defamed? Maybe if we can jot down a dozen(?) clear cases, we can start to ponder class action, yes.

      • If I ask a specific person like I did Prof. Bickmore earlier then I’m only interested in an answer from that person. Is that too complicated for you or what?

        Judith Curry feels she’s been defamed by Mann. It only takes two to make a class.


          Mann calls Bjorn Lomborg a “career fossil-fuel industry apologist” which I’m pretty sure is false.

          • “Bjorn Lomborg a “career fossil-fuel industry apologist””

            Which I’m pretty sure is true.


          In climategate email he slags the journal “Climate Research”.

          • The journal “Climate Research” completely deserved that slagging. If you’re not familiar with its history that prompted the mass resignation of about a half dozen of its edtitors, you ought to read about it.

            • “Science,” “Nature,” “National Geographic,” “Scientific American,” and just about any big time scientific journal you can name has disgraced itself by coming under the influence of Mann, Jones, East Anglia, the CRU, and the unprecedented perversion of science they have foisted on the globe. The only reason this blog exists and you are here arguing on the side of junk science, is the undue influence they and other radical environmentalists have exerted on the peer review process. Conspiracy theories? Just start with Wikipedia. We know just who the people are who are so dedicated to keeping good climate science out of it.

              In a rational world we would recognize that asteroids pose a more clear and present danger to civilization than CO2, but that hardly means we should devote a trillion dollars to defending the earth from stray rocks. –AGF

            • Michael Mann influences Scientific American?

              Please tell us how he does that, exactly.

              I have written a few dozen articles for Scientific American, so I’m very curious to learn about this influence.

            • AGF: Why do you think so many editors resigned from the editorial board of Climate Research?

              And why do you think they were wrong to do so?

          • Yes. But what criminal law says it’s illegal to slag someone off?

            • Yeah, good question. I’m trying to figure out how Steyn repeating that Mann is the Jerry Sandusky of Climate Science except he tortures and molests children is illegal. I guess that’s what judges and juries are for, huh?

            • Sorry. That should read “tortures and molests data”.

            • Sorry, you should say what Steyn actually said and set forth in the complaint by Mann and upheld as having enough merit for guilt to be assessed to proceed to court by two judges.

              I would suggest that the judges know more about the laws of libel than you do, especially since you claim you don’t understand them.

        • Mann calls Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore, PhD, a “garden variety troll with nothing serious to offer”.

          • Patrick Moore sold out, dear.

        • Mann calls Stephen McIntyre, Mark Morano, Steve Milloy, and Roy Spencer “Most Heinous Climate Villians”.

          • David, can you explain why any
            of these quotations, which indicate that Mann doesn’t like, doesn’t respect, or disagrees with certain people, are libelous? If not, what is your point? That only unfailingly polite people should be protected from libel?

            • I can’t quite figure out how Steyn libeled Mann either so I’m just bringing up examples of Mann’s trash talking about others.

              Here’s a more clear cut example. Mann tweeted that Rupert Murdoch was paying Andrew Bolt to lie. Funny as hell. Mann retreated like a little bitch when Bolt threatened to sue. What goes around comes around, eh, Prof. Bickmore?


            • Now hopefully you can see why Steyn et al. are so stupid. If someone libels you, you threaten to sue, and then the person issues a retraction, you have no grounds to sue, at least in the USA. So if there was any chance that Andrew Bolt had a case against Mann, either here or in Australia, Mike Mann did what lawyers like to call “what you do if you are not a moron.”

              But Steyn and co. can’t do that. Why? Because their bread and butter comes from people like you, who talk about “retreat[ing] like a little bitch when Bolt threatened to sue.” Note how Steyn, amidst his many appeals to his followers to support his legal battle by buying merchandise, is constantly having to reassure the minions that he won’t settle. In his case, at least, his only option seems to be to keep begging for money and hope it covers a judgement against him if it comes to that. Otherwise, the mob of slavering zealots he’s cultivated will turn on him and leave him bleeding in the dirt.

            • “I can’t quite figure out how Steyn libeled Mann either”

              Then you ought to have read





              just as the topic Barry wrote out at the top there pointed you to, but you didn’t bother to read.

              However, despite your avowed incapacity to understand libel, you continue to prattle on about it as if you were expert, AS LONG AS IT MAKES MANN OUT TO BE BAD.

              Own up, your problem isn’t understanding libel, is it.

            • PS if Mann has “libelled” Bolt as you claim, how come you on;y have a blogroll about it, not any actual authoritative source (remember: that dude is neither a bishop nor a hill, so he’s quite happy lying).

            • Follow the link to Bolt’s column from the blog.

            • Barry, that was a message to David Springer, it’s just that there’s no “Reply” option to it.

            • The “reply” option only goes down 4 levels, I think.

            • Oh, and it was a reply to you, Wow. If you follow the link, you will see that Mann did say something that might have caused him some legal trouble. (Probably not so much in the US as in Australia.) Therefore, he did what smart people do and reworded to remove any tenuous legal grounds for action.

            • Aye, barry, but you’re not saying you don’t know what libel is.

              David says he doesn’t understand it.

              Yet insists in claiming he knows where it is as long as Mann’s doing it…

              So I’m asking for David to show why HE thinks it.

        • Jose, unlike you, is willing to hear from anyone who answers.

          You, meanwhile, were petulantly demanding answers only from “approved sources”.

      • Come on, Jose, Mann has never even admitted that he got some of the Tiljander proxies upside down, thus implying–living the accusation–that all who accept McIntyre’s accurate criticism on this point are defaming him. Mann does not make mistakes, and those who claim he does are quacks. That’s his permanent position. Like “Wow” on this blog, he lives in a state of denial that borders on insanity: all who find fault with his work are outside the realm of good peer reviewed science. They should not be provided data, they should not be allowed to publish, they should not be allowed to review papers, they should not be recognized as legitimate scientists. They should be recognized only as lying tools of Big Oil.

        Seriously, do you think Mann would object to Kerry’s slander of skeptical science in its entirety? –AGF

        • If Mann et al made so many egregious mistakes, how is it that so many studies since then have essentially replicated their results, some using completely independent mathenmatical methods?

          • As it turns out the upside down data didn’t matter because the algorithms were rigged to get a hockey stick no matter the garbage they were fed. As for the hockey stick itself, it was shown to be a farce by Soon and Balliunas, and every subsequent compilation of proxies. And I repeat, as shown by Exit, Jorge Montt, and lots of other glaciers that have revealed Medieval forests covered by the Little Ice Age. The LIA and MWP were real, and they don’t even show up on Mann’s hockey stick. Any study which pretends to support the HS generally is simply white washing junk science. We have not come close to repeating the warmth of the MWP, back when Vikings mapped the northern coasts of Siberia as well as Arctic flowing rivers. –AGF

            • AGF: If you want to convince anyone here, you’ll have to provide a source better than WUWT. That blog exists only to construct an alternative reality so that people like you can link to it in situations just like this. But that blog or Anthony Watts has no credibility at all among serious people.

            • In what way were the algorithms “rigged?”

              And if they were “rigged,” why have so many studies since MBH found essentially the same result, including those using completely different mathematical techniques?

            • The paper by Soon and Baliunas contained clear and obvious errors in logic, as I reported for Scientific American:


              Most deniers don’t cite that paper anymore, it was so bad.

            • The LIA and MWP were real, and they don’t even show up on Mann’s hockey stick.

              Again, please provide scientific studies that support this claim (especially for the MWP). Merely repeating your assertion doesn’t cut it on blogs like this.

            • >> the algorithms were rigged to get a hockey stick no matter the garbage they were fed

              Forget Mann’s algorithm for a second. The “rigging” is baked right inside ordinary mathematical averaging simply because proxy data for past centuries is much like red noise, so these average to a near flat curve inside a large error envelope (right side up or upside down, it’s still much like red noise). Meanwhile, the upward edge is almost errorless and pointedly rising to match late 20th century precision thermometer and satellite measurements.

              If we simply take a regular old vanilla average of a list of red noise time series that each have similar characteristics (“amplitude”, etc) we get a time series that wiggles but very slowly. So the straight stick part of the hockey stick is largely due to Law of Large Numbers.

              To get a feel for this, look at this javascript of a simple averaging of red noise. [You can copy this to a blank page; change the open and closed curly braces respectively to open and closed angle brackets; name the text file xxx.html; open it in a browser through the “open” menu entry under “File”.]


              /*amax=0; … do this later maybe and maybe allow sorting the series by the max entry of a series*/
              for (i=0; i<howmanyseries; i++) {
              for (i=0; i<howlongseries; i++) {
              for (i=0; i<howmanyseries; i++) {
              str+=s+": ";
              for (j=1; j<howlongseries; j++) {
              xx[j]=Math.random()-.5; /*random number between -0.5 and 0.5 will be used as next red noise step*/
              str+=yy[i][j].toFixed(4)+" ";
              str+="Average of this red noise series: "+ave.toFixed(4)+"\n\n";
              str+="\n\nAverage series of the above red noise series: ";
              for (i=1; i<howlongseries; i++) {
              str+=ave2[i].toFixed(4)+" ";
              alert (str);


            • BTW, skimming over the javascript code just submitted, I see that it won’t run unless the first quotation marks are cleaned up (I only used double quotes, but the website publishing modifies this sort of thing perhaps to prevent comment code attacks). There may be other issues. You can try to debug it by starting with a small page that will run and keep adding more lines until it fails. Then troubleshoot that line. To run, minimally, it must have the outside part set up like an html page (just open any webpage in a text editor and look), so you must at a minimum change the curly braces to less than and greater than signs. Also you must include the alert(..) line at the end to see anything.

            • >> The LIA and MWP were real, and they don’t even show up on Mann’s hockey stick.

              I don’t think there is agreement over how global these were.

              In any case, Mann leaves room for them because of the error envelope. His answer is not just the straight line people call the hockeystick but also the calculated uncertainty around each point in that hockeystick.

              Again, red noise (or any type of similar characteristic data) tends to average to a flat curve. Look up the law of large numbers. Mann may have used a funky averaging, but it likely shares this sort of behavior.

              If you add more series than 50 to the javascript I gave, you will tend to get an overall average that is flatter and closer to zero in general. And if you add more entries to each series than 20, you will see that any given series will tend to average higher or lower (away from zero). In any case, adding enough series will lead to an overall average approaching zero and flat. [I used random numbers averaged around 0.]

              Look up also random walk. On Wikipedia, for example, you will see a picture of diverging saw-tooth lines near the top of the page. Even though any given random walk may grow away from zero for a long time, if you average many such series point for point, you get something much closer to a flat zero sloped line.

        • If he’s never admitted that, then why do you claim he did so?

          Because someone said he did? That’s not evidence. Hell, it’s barely hearsay.

        • ” Like “Wow” on this blog, he lives in a state of denial that borders on insanity”

          Sorry, darling, projecting your problems on everyone else if they don’t knuckle down and obey your whim doesn’t work.

      • Mann falsely accused Wegman of perjury:


        • Except that Wegman was found guilty.

          Doesn’t truth become an absolute defence against libel?

  22. By: David Appell on February 23, 2014
    at 3:03 pm
    You could not make a bigger fool of yourself faster than to parrot the propaganda you’ve been fed about WUWT. The dumbest contributors there are smarter than the smartest bloggers on the believer sites. When you say things like that you immediately expose yourself as a hopelessly ignorant and gullible dupe who has never learned to think for himself, but whose world view is based on what the loudest idiots tell you. You are scientifically illiterate, like all believers. –AGF

  23. By: David Appell on February 23, 2014
    at 3:15 pm
    SA has become just another propaganda spewing rag. Now if you ever want to say something intelligent, don’t spout off libel sources. Find an example from S&B of a paper they have misrepresented. If you want an example of utter BS, see Cook et al’s compilation.

    And one more time–this is pretty simple and basic–explain how glaciers that uncover forests show we have entered into dangerous global warming. Do you believe in the LIA or MWP or don’t you? Or have you never heard of them? Look, fool, they don’t show up on the hockey stick. We are dealing with the stupidest fools who have ever lived, and you eat up their garbage on a steady diet. The world of climatology has been taken over by con artists. –AGF

    • AGF: Where is your list of studies who botched SLR so badly? I’m still waiting….

    • Find an example from S&B of a paper they have misrepresented.

      I wrote an article about why S&B was wrong, after a month’s worth of reporting:

      I laid out clearly the paper’s large errors in logic and methodology…. Is there something there you think I got wrong?

    • Do you believe in the LIA or MWP or don’t you?

      I only believe what the scientific evidence says. You?

      So yet again: what credible scientific studies support the idea of a global MWP?

    • >> And one more time–this is pretty simple and basic–explain how glaciers that uncover forests show we have entered into dangerous global warming.

      You must have missed my earlier comment.

      The forests are being uncovered now, but the current temp didn’t do that. If you put an ice cube in a hot oven. It won’t melt that fast. It takes both time and high temp to melt.

      Now, let’s say I have a warm oven. It takes longer than if I have a very hot oven (which might melt the ice in 20 seconds).

      So if you see a forest being uncovered, it wasn’t just the temperature now that did it. It is the temp and the time.

      What is my point?

      That perhaps the temp we had in 1975 was enough to melt and uncover that forest if we had kept that 1975 temp for 100 years.

      Or maybe the 2000 temp can do it in 15 years.

      So we are uncovering a forest over land that perhaps was very fertile and iceless at a temp just like we had in 1975.

      If you want to prove otherwise (that it wasn’t 1975’s temp but that it was at least 2014’s temp), then you need to do some science and not just scream nonsense on blogs.

      A simple ice cube experiment shows that perhaps a much cooler oven than we have today — if kept on long enough — can lead to fertile forests after ice. You can’t imply the temp then was hotter than now. It might merely have been a little hotter than in 1975, for example.

    • >> they don’t show up on the hockey stick

      Did you look at the uncertainties?

      • And remember that the original Hockey Stick had the shaft pointing downward, so that there was slow cooling over most of the last millennium. In other words, there was a MWP and an LIA. They were just not as pronounced as some other reconstructions–especially those that didn’t have much data and had poor spatial coverage.

        • But. but the cover of Monford’s Hockey Stick Illusion drew the shaft horizontal, os:
          9a) Eitehr it was, because he siad it was, depsitre what MBH99 said
          (b) It was misrepresentation starting withe the cover, appropriately.

  24. And what does your analysis consist of? Parroted slander, like this from Malcolm Hughs: “The Soon et al. paper is so fundamentally misconceived and contains so many egregious errors that it would take weeks to list and explain them all.” Weeks? SA prints this crap?

    OK, I see three complaints: 1) the paper is qualitative rather than quantitative; 2) it doesn’t take into account variability in timing of the MWP; 3) it doesn’t treat the problem of late 20th century warming. Are these valid criticisms or just more subterfuge?

    1) Proxies are qualitative by nature. In order to quantify them you must tie them in to the modern T record, something which the CRU famously jumped the gun on. (Remember the Graybill email–or have you never read them?) My glacier examples are purely qualitative, and that’s good enough. It was warmer 500ya than it is now. When complaining that something is not quantified you would do well to specify the unquantified parameters: you don’t even qualify the lack of quantification. Do you mean by degrees T? Years? Ring thickness?
    2) Ideally a paper would compare T curves, but when you’re talking about a thousand papers that’s not easy to do. Hughs needs a whole book to provide a hundred or so proxy graphs. Does he deny the MWP?
    3) Yes, like Graybill S&B won’t jump to unwarranted conclusions about the quantitative value of their proxies. The thrust of their paper is to show just how precarious is the assumption that Briffa and Jones and Mann have done this with any reliability. McIntyre has shown that they have not.

    So if I had been an editor of SA I would not have considered your half-arsed letter for publication. That they accepted it just goes to show the extent to which they have been subverted by the politics of East Anglia. –AGF

    • You completely missed S&B’s most serious methodolgical error:

      “Specifically, they define a “climatic anomaly” as a period of 50 or more years of wetness or dryness or sustained warmth (or, for the Little Ice Age, coolness). The problem is that under this broad definition a wet or dry spell would indicate a climatic anomaly even if the temperature remained perfectly constant.”

      Defend *that*.

    • Re: Malcolm Hughes comment: Are you seriously saying that a scientist can’t say a study is flawed without it being slander???

      • Isn’t it amusing for the idiot to claim that in a thread about someone calling Mann a fraud where the aforementioned idiot wants to protect the ability to make such claims in public!

    • >> My glacier examples are purely qualitative, and that’s good enough. It was warmer 500ya than it is now.

      Look at the oven example I wrote a moment ago.

      We have an ice cube frozen around a bug and sitting in a cold room.

      Then we raise the heat fast.

      At 300 C the ice cube fully melts away revealing the bug.

      You seem to be saying that since the ice melted away at 300 C, that the bug was around uniced at a temp that must have been at least 300 C !!!

      I hope you see the error in your argument.

    • >> 1) the paper is qualitative rather than quantitative

      You are right. That is a weakness. If Newton and the scientists had stopped at saying that a body with more stuff inside has more force, we would not be where we are.

      Qualitative can better than nothing, however, but the example you used is wrong. Revealed forests from thawing doesn’t mean it was as warm or warmer then as it is now. See the 300 C oven example.

      >> 2) it doesn’t take into account variability in timing of the MWP;

      Mann did. If you actually “average” these things on a yearly basis, that average flattens out. That is what averaging generally does to a bunch of data that is widely varying (and more so if it is in the vicinity of a similar value).

      Mann did account for the MWP through error bars; however, we know that better statistics than what he used leads to a bit of a bump, still high error bars, and at that a bump lower than the sharp rise in the late 20th century.

      You can’t squeeze honey out of proxies. About the best you will get is an uninteresting curve and high uncertainties. It’s not Mann’s fault. You should understand this.

      >> 3) it doesn’t treat the problem of late 20th century warming

      You can’t get the right answer if you screw up the 20th century warming.

      Why do you think you defended this point?

      MM showed Mann had flaws not that he was completely off.

      >> So if I had been an editor of SA I would not have considered your half-arsed letter for publication.

      If you improve your reasoning skills, maybe you might one day be selected as an editor. But by then, you might just accept David Appell’s pieces.

  25. Oh, and what “credible” studies show a MWP (besides JM Glacier)? Here’s one:

    • Separately from the MWP issue, I’ll note that the Abstract for that paper is suggestive of what our oceans might become even if CO2 in the atmosphere were held steady from now on since the oceans take a long time to reach equilibrium and have not caught up to current air temp much less current CO2 levels. The sun can penetrate and directly warm only the upper layers of the oceans. It takes a while of mixing to warm everything well (and reach equilibrium) and overcome the “inertia” of the vast and very cold ocean bottom.

  26. The Pacific Ocean isn’t the entire globe, is it?

  27. Re. David Appell on February 23, 2014
    at 3:28 pm:

    “AGF: Where is your list of studies who botched SLR so badly? I’m still waiting….”

    Now if the MSM and Kerry and Obama would stick to IPCC projections, even if they are a little high, that would be just fine. The ubiquitous hype comes from Hansen and Gore: 5m by 2100. Granted, Hansen is an outlier. But who will admit it. His BS is what passes for science in the popular mind, when in truth SLR is not a serious threat. Do you admit that?

    The controversy is not so much SLR per se but acceleration. In order to predict future catastrophe SLR must depart from current behavior. It must accelerate. What counts for acceleration in the alarmist view. Sat obs vs. tide gauge data. Isn’t that funny: right when the birds flu SLR suddenly jumped to 3mm/year from the old 2mm of the gauge data. Apples and oranges. But that’s what counts for science for the believers. We have no statistically significant SLR acceleration, but you just wait–it will come.

    Primitive tells grew 10 times as fast as current SLR. Current SLR has shown no increase in 80 years. There is no correlation between CO2 and SLR. GW alarm is BS from the getgo.

    When will you people admit that Hansen is a quack. You’ll have to do that before you can bring yourselves to admit that Mann is a con artist. –AGF

    • AGF: You don’t have any studies to point to, do you?

      Did you read what the 5AR says about SLR acceleration?

  28. Appell: “The Pacific Ocean isn’t the entire globe, is it?”

    No, it’s about a third of the globe. But for lack of SH data the cabal has denied a global MWP. Now that the data are coming in we see (so far) that it was global. But in fact the other two Patagonian glacier forests have been known since 1970, and were ignored. Face it; you hitched your wagon to a falling star. –AGF

    • But for lack of SH data the cabal has denied a global MWP.

      And Asia. Africa. The Atlantic. The polar regions.

      Where are the studies proving the MWP was global? This is the 4th time I’m asked.

    • The funniest thing is that IF the MCA was global, it makes our current predicament WORSE, not better. Because a global MCA would increase the chances of a significant upward natural fluctuation, so that our GHG-future must include that risk, as well. We’d have to worry about a more common natural warming adding to anthropogenic warming.

      This is what deniers never get.

    • And despite no data from the SH, you insist that there MUST be a global MWP.

      Since you’re the one making the positive claim, it’s up to you to support it with evidence, not with rhetoric.

  29. Appell, 512: “You completely missed S&B’s most serious methodolgical error”

    In your letter you write: “The problem is that under this broad definition a wet or dry spell would indicate a climatic anomaly even if the temperature remained perfectly constant.”

    That makes no sense to me. Why does the arbitrary number 50 indicate precipitation as opposed to T? Since when did Mann worry about this. That is the problem Graybill was concerned with: with tree rings you never know whether rain or heat is at work. Moreover you’re stacking a 50 year definition against Mann’s 30 years for modern warming, which can now be seen to be premature. The more important question is not the existence of a MWP (where Mann is the outlier), but whether the globe is now warmer than the MWP, and how do you determine that from tree rings that are affected as much by rain as by heat or cold.

    However open to criticism S&B may be, it is far superior to the HS, let alone John Cook’s piece of trash. And how did Mann respond to S&B? By trying to get them fired:

    • Why does the arbitrary number 50 indicate precipitation as opposed to T?

      You’re right — the number “50” is arbitrary. Perhaps you’re starting to understand.

      It was S&B who said a climate anomaly includes precipitation, not me.

      By the way, how about telling us how many times this S&B paper has been cited — an often-used meaure of a paper’s worth.

    • The more important question is not the existence of a MWP (where Mann is the outlier)

      No. I’ll note again that you have failed to provide a single credible study that shows a global MWP. Not one.

      Meanwhile, lots of studies have replicated Mann’s findings:

    • how do you determine that from tree rings that are affected as much by rain as by heat or cold.

      Are you really suggesting that the world’s expert dendrochronologists haven’t thought about this problem??

      They have. A HUGE AMOUNT. Just because you don’t know about this doens’t mean I don’t.

    • And how did Mann respond to S&B? By trying to get them fired.

      Oh, he tried really hard, didn’t he — sharing his thoughts to a friend. Did he take it beyond that? Did he??

      Scientists who write such bad papers, funded by oil companies, perhaps SHOULD be fired. You’ll notice Baliunas has taken herself out of the game since then. (Neither her nor Soon would give me an interview.) The only funding Soon seems able to get is from the fossil fuel industry — but then, he’s not upfront about his funding either.

      • Yeah, according to deniers, they’re allowed to say someone should be fired TO THEIR EMPLOYER, but if someone accepting that AGW is the inevitable conclusion of current actions says to SOMEONE WITHOUT THE POWER that someone should be dropped, THAT’S a DISASTER!

  30. DA at 529:

    Like I said, IPCC is coming down to earth. See IPCC vs. Rahmstorf at

    • notrickszone?

      Have you ever read 1984?

  31. AGF: Blog posts aren’t science. This is a blog about science. So you’ll have to cite science, not blogs. Try again.

  32. DP, your endless naivete grows tiresome. Yes, the dendrochronologists have long been aware of the complications of their field, which is why they long since dismissed tree rings as reliable T proxies. The CRU cabal grasped at straws in resurrecting a discredited technique. They tried to enlist honest scientists, like Funkhauser, as when Briffa hints that if he wants to get his stuffed published he needs to make it relevant–relevant to climate reconstruction, relevant to climate alarmism:
    You’ve probably never heard of him. That’s because he didn’t sell his soul to the CRU. –AGF

    • Denddrochronologists have long since “dismissed” tree rings as reliable temperature proxies? Says who?

      Then why was Malcolm Hughes a co-author on MBH98 and MBH99?

      Where are Funkhauser’s papers disproving dendrochronology? Links please.

      • DA, 1012: “Where are Funkhauser’s papers disproving dendrochronology? Links please.”

        No such papers exist, and nobody said any such papers exist. The link I provided shows how Briffa tried to get Funkhauser to ascribe a “transfer function” –precip or T, but of course Briffa is interested in T, but Funkhauser explains the different responses depending on elevation don’t allow it. Briffa tells him not to demand perfection; Funkhauser says: “I really wish I could be more positive about the Kyrgyzstan material, but I swear I pulled every trick out of my sleeve trying to milk something out of that. It was pretty funny though – I told Malcolm [Hughes, I presume] what you said about my possibly being too Graybill-like in evaluating the response functions – he laughed and said that’s what he thought at first also.”
        So Funkhauser resigns himself to publishing his study honestly in some other venue. The CRU never gave a damn about scientific accuracy, and the relation between scientific accuracy and peer review was inverse. All they were ever engaged in was fraud.

        Trees respond to hot, cold, elevation, shade, etc. They make for poor T proxies. What makes for a better proxies is a moving tree line, as when it gets so cold they die, or when glacial ice mows them down. But this isn’t really addressed to you, DA. Good science will always be beyond your comprehension. This is addressed to those who, when they read the emails, will understand immediately that cabal was a collection of fraudsters. –AGF

        • Aha — “no such papers exist.”

          All these emails show are what scientists (and many others) do all the time — wonder about things, and try to figure out where the truth lies, by talking/writing to each other.

          You would criminalize that.

        • Or maybe you wouldn’t criminalize these emails. Perhaps maybe you think that you should be the one to elevate a very few electronic musings to the status of accepted science, for no other reason than that you say so?

          That it all comes down to what you think, what you alone in your wisdom declare to be “fraud,’ without any evidence whatsoever?

        • “So Funkhauser resigns himself to publishing his study honestly in some other venue”

          Or is it he resigns himself to publishing in the dirty corners of science where they’re ready to print any credulous screed if it gets eyeballs?

        • “Trees respond to hot, cold, elevation, shade, etc.”

          Indeed they do.

          Which is why “Hide the decline” is so horrendously hilarious: there is no decline, except with proxies that you are herein calling inaccurate.


          Oh, by the way, what about ice cores, non-bristlecone pine trees and so on? Since these proxies do not agree with the bristlecone pine data after about 1960, and all of them agree with the thermometer readings before about then, why are you claiming that it’s unreliable?

          And when you claim it unreliable, there is no data to claim that there was ANY MWP at all. You’ve already thrown out every proxy because they don’t directly measure temperature.

          No data? No data for an MWP.

          • As for the DA’s posts, I’ve put on my oxygen and hip waders. Let’s see if we can sort through all the BS.
            1) Yeah, yeah, we know Mann is really a good guy. He didn’t seriously think he could get S&B fired. He just said: ” If someone has close ties w/any individuals there who might be in a position to actually get some action taken on this, I’d highly encourage pursuing this” (Mann to Hulmes, 7/24/03), which is all innocent, harmless stuff. He is after all, not omnipotent, only infallible.
            2) Is Willie Soon was financed by big oil (because he? Heaven forbid, the CRU would never stoop so low, even while accusing McIntyre of the same: “Mike
            Had a very good meeting with Shell yesterday. Only a minor part of the agenda, but I expect they will accept an invitation to act as a strategic partner and will contribute to a studentship fund though under certain conditions” (Mick Kelley to Hulmes, 05 Jul 2000: 0962818260 — from:
            Big oil has been funding the climate scare for years. See how naive DA is?
            3) Still don’t get your point on 50 years. What “arbitrary” figure do you suggest? And we ought to recognized that in practice the MWP is defined by the LIA: to make the MWP disappear it helps to make the LIA disappear to (as the HS does), in spite of the fact that it overlaps the historical temperature record. What the glacier wood shows is that we are still recovering from the LIA. If we suppose for argument’s sake that these particular glaciers responded to increased precipitation rather than warmth, but that their current melting is due to increased warmth rather than decreased precipitation, we seem at the very least to be abandoning any correlation between P and T, if not common sense altogether.
            4) Have I given up on S&B? I would have to give up on the MWP and LIA first, and S&B is far better science than the HS. –AGF

            • AG, you still haven’t given any links to any studies that show a worldwide MWP and LIA with the MWP large enough to exceed present temperatures. Some global or hemispheric reconstructions do show both–the MWP just isn’t big enough. So stop your crackpot meandering and either answer the question or go away.

            • “1) Yeah, yeah, we know Mann is really a good guy”

              So stop trashing him based on what someone third hand said.

              “2) Is Willie Soon was financed by big oil”

              Grammar and sentence structure passed you by, didn’t it, dear.

              Tell me, when Pat Michaels said to congress that very little funding from fossil fuels, maybe 5%, then later in an interview NOT UNDER OATH he admitted it was around 40%, what do you think this says about other claims he makes?

              Soon’s paper was rubbish. Why doesn’t matter. Incompetence or Malice doesn’t matter: it was wrong.

              “3) Still don’t get your point on 50 years.”

              Because you have no idea what statistical significance means.

              “What “arbitrary” figure do you suggest?”

              50 years, I reckon. What do you reckon?

              “I would have to give up on the MWP and LIA first”

              You don’t even know what it means. If they were global, then climate sensitivity is far higher than the 3C per doubling that the IPCC claim.

              “S&B is far better science than the HS”

              No, it isn’t. Hitchen’s Razor.

          • As if tree rings were the only proxies. The dendros and hockey sticks are a short episode of junk science sandwiched by good historical data before (e.g., Lamb) and a host of good studies afterward, e.g.,

            Click to access 1-2_Narama.pdf

            And…but I’m surely wasting my breath. When everybody else accepts that current warmth is nothing anomalous, no different than the MWP, the name “Wow’ will vanish and its owner will deny the name, and claim he knew all along there was a global MWP. –AGF

            • So you are saying that a tentative reconstruction, based on far less data, that had far less spatial coverage, is better than one made with more data and greater coverage? Interesting.

            • Of course, Barry!

              Since agostd “knows” that AGW is wrong, any science showing otherwise “must” be wrong, therefore ANY science showing AGW is wrong “must” be right.

              A triumph of idiocy and insanity over reality.

    • You don’t understand the implications of another MWP.

      Do you happen to know when and why the Sandhills of Nebraska formed? Or the water problems of the US Southwest/Mexican north of that time?

      • I’m all ears. You seem to be saying we have not yet matched the MWP, which is what the hockey stick denies. –AGF

        • Excellent. Seems you haven’t seen the graph at all, since the graph doesn’t go to present date. You know, since it warmed another 0.4C over the maximum at the time.

          EVERYTHING you’ve claimed has been second hand garbage regurgitated like the spume of a seagull feeding its chicks.

    • At least you seem to have given up on S&B. Smart move — it was always a real dog of a paper.

    • Where does Briffa say “climate alarmism”?

  33. Of course, when it comes to making up flawed models to prove the preconceived ideas, deniers have it in spades. See here for McIntyre:

    • I don’t suppose there is a Latin term for making arguments by inserting long debunked links, but here is the one that refutes his:
      The more relevant point being that such websites as “Deep Climate” exist, run pretty much anonymously, for the purpose of espousing disinformation against good science which argues against “the cause.” The anonymous Wow links to the anonymous DC which specializes in smoke and subterfuge. While CA specializes in straight, honest, factual analysis. –AGF

      • Why are you looking for a latin term for what you do with applomb, agrobusy?

        Your climate fraud it link is a load of irrelevant BS proposition by you with no supporting evidence for it as rebuttal of the errors so succinctly delineated by deepclimate.

        • Even more huourously, Stevie admits that the plagiarism happened and merely pretends that this is fine and dandy because, well, he never really says the causal connection as to why it’s OK to plagiarise. Even if it’s under oath to congress.

          • You are the king of professional BS. Check it out, folks–this is the sort of advocate it takes to convince the world that climate doom is upon us, and that we can prevent it if we repent–by taxing carbon. I suppose I should behave more like McIntyre, always unperturbed, patient, condescending, matter of fact, while all around demonize his honest fact finding. The world is full of liars. –AGF

            • Aaaw, sorry, reality doesn’t conform to your wishes.

              MBH: solid science, not perfect.
              M&M: Stupid non science. total trash.
              Wegman: fraud, plagiarist.

    • Wow: following DC’s fine sleuthing, Nick Stokes did a nice analysis, in case you haven’t seen it. I always like to mention it, because it’s shorter and the graphical display is nice:

      It’s also worth noting:

  34. Re. JM:

    There’s some stuff we can use from your first link. One comment says:

    oneuniverseJune 10, 2011 at 2:45 AM

    It’s worth pointing out that the strip-bark trees (bristlecones and foxtails) which provide MBH’s hockey-stick shape are poor proxies for temperature, and should not have been used in temperature recommendations. According to MM05, 93% of the variance in MBH98’s PC1 is accounted for by 15 strip-bark sites, 13 of which are from Graybill & Idso 1993, wherein it is remarked that the tree-ring widths at these sites do not correlate well with local and regional temperatures:

    “It is notable that trends of the magnitude observed in the 20th C ringwidth growth are conspicuously lacking in all of the time series of instrumented climatic variables that might reasonably be considered growth-forcing in nature.”
    That leaves the argument moot. –AGF

    • I believe MBH used tree ring density, not width. Anyone have the paper on hand to check?

      • Table 1 of MBH99 shows 2 density and 7 ring width series:

        Click to access mbh99.pdf


        • Thanks. Isn’t it interesting that Mann’s paper has a long discussion about how he thinks Graybill and Idso might be right, and how he corrected for the CO2 effect they identified?

          • Note that these papers are by 3 people, not just Mann:

            -Ray Bradley, is among other things author of the classic (1999) text Paleoclimatology … i.e., the one Wegman&Said plagiarized and (I allege) falsified.

            Ray and Phil Jones wrote (1993) ”Little Ice Age’ summer temperature variations: their nature and relevance to recent global warming trends”, which of course included the reconstruction adapted for IPCC(1995), Fig 3.20, p.175,

            -Malcolm Hughes is of course this guy, i.e., one of the world’s top dendrochronology experts.

          • > I don’t suppose there is a Latin term for making
            > arguments by inserting long debunked links

            There’s an English term: “memory of a goldfish” — but that’s insulting to goldfish.

            • Aye, goldfish have pretty good memories.

  35. The cover of Montford’s Hockey Stick Illusion drew the shaft horizontal, so:

    (a) Either that was an honest error by Montford, despite fact that MBH99 regression line has a (modest) MWP, just not the exaggerated MWP of Lamb(1965) sketch worshipped by flat-Earth map lovers.

    (b) It was deliberate misrepresentation, consistently, given the misrepresentations elsewhere in the book piled upon the infamous dog astrology reference. Of course, Montford assigned credibility to Deming, Lindzen, McIntyre, McKitrick and Wegman, so anything is possible. 🙂

  36. Check this out:

    Classic. What goes around comes around.

    • Nah, sorry, I’ve better things to do with my time than read about someone who isn’t what he claims: either bishop or hill.

      Added to that you’ve self confessed at not understanding libel, yet claiming, sorry, *crowing* about this as if it’s some “silver bullet” of libel indicates that you’ve not understood it, but have been told it’s a humdinger.

      All in all, the prognosis for that link being of any utility or enlightenment at all is extremely poor.

      • Bishop Hill (461 m) is one of the Paps of Fife,
        attached to the petrified witch Carlin Maggie, no relation to Thatcher as far as I know.

        Montford apparently went to uni in Fife, none of which excuses his persistent misinformation.

        • He’s not one of the Paps of Fife, either.

  37. These are interesting times. Not since emperors backed competing Christologies have ideological battle lines been so clearly drawn. Darwin versus Genesis never came close. Now we have atheist against atheist, Christian against Christian, Moor against Moor and Jew against Jew. Heresies and counter heresies are marshaled and published. Because salvation hangs in the balance. I failed to stand up for the polar bears and now there’s nobody left to stand up for me.

    Who are the creationists now? Hansen and Gore, with their 5m SLR by 2100 or the BAU bunch with their 3mm forever? Time and tides will tell and are telling. Climate doom and destruction used to be fodder of prophets of a bygone morality. The new morality is…is…what is it? Drive less? Fly less? Not really. Nobody drives and flies like Gore and Mann and Jones and all the other exponents of doom. But the messengers must have their wings. But what is the new morality if it does not encompass some identifiable behavior? Is it merely confession? Troth, as Eve’s offspring I share her guilt. I am evil by birth, inclined by nature to burn the remains of ancient ferns and cycads.

    May I have my ticket now, or should I ride my bike to Patagonia? Is there no sacrament beyond confession, no penitence to make straight my wayward soul? How may I know I am saved, or must I too be doomed with all humanity? How can I wash away my loathsome carbon footprints?

    I will ride my bike to Patagonia. No, I will paddle my kayak to Sitka and fish and burn firewood and forsake my former evil ways. If a lost and hungry polar bear sees me I will let him eat me. That should save my soul. I will die as a martyr for the cause.

    But I digress. Heterodoxy beckons. Heresy even. North of Juneau GIA is an inch per year–10 times the rate of SLR–fastest in the world. It’s recovering from the LIA, you see, like Exit Glacier up near Anchorage, and Jorge Montt Glacier down in Patagonia. Of course the catechism of climate doom taught me that my bad breath and dirty exhaust were responsible for all this melting. I’m beginning to doubt. Help me. –AGF

    • I had to smile at that one.

      People of the future will wonder why we went so long hooked on nonrenewables. They will, however, still use nuclear because of its high energy density where renewables and chemical energy just won’t do, but they will have found better ways to manage the garbage from spent fuel. We’ll also perhaps grow numerous multi-stage interconnected space elevators “organically” from space stations down. Passwords and other secrets as well as public historical information and most anything else will also be hidden or otherwise “easily viewable” within junk and other DNA and custom made cells in our bodies. Star Trek “computer” will be accessible everywhere. We will all live half inside fantasy land all the time with transparent eye coverings that generate all sorts of information and synthetic images. Our minds will control a lot. People will also have much greater control over “urges” and be much more tolerant simply because we will realize that our minds are mere programs written from experience and can be changed rather well to suit peaceful coexistence among what are essentially just our own selves but having inherited a different body and set of challenges…. But we will still face major dangers from chemicals, nuclear, and bio hazards should the social fabric break down, a fabric running on much more open information access and civilian voting… that is until it wouldn’t be and we have to again recover from a dark age and toxic environment.

    • Prediction: We will more or less control global CO2 levels later on and use it to both prevent global cooling yet also melting of polar regions (goldilocks setting) but not before many modern coastal cities are significantly harmed from encroaching oceans and killer weather from our foot-dragging.

      • In fact storms correlate with cold:

        Mann and “Wow” share the zealotry responsible for the disappearance of the MWP, which until 1990 was considered much warmer than the present:

        A small group of dendrochronologists made the MWP disappear. Mann even made the LIA disappear. And Mann did all he could to keep his data from McIntyre. There just aren’t many people around who are willing or able to sort out the hype from the science–other than the skeptics, that is. –AGF

        • The first graph obviously does not look at the 20th century rises in detail (never mind that there was a significant rise just in the 1990s after that graph), as we see based on how it tops off and turns downward (pre 1990) and simplifies the entire century’s worth of variation. The earlier results do suggest significant smoothing of the 20th century. Meanwhile, the second graph does have I think 95% uncertainty markings that suggest the current temp likely has gone over any prior temp (with a 5% chance of being wrong in any given year I think). Note finally that the second graph has the benefit of 10 more years of added and more detailed study.

          If you want to challenge the current IPCC views, find your proxies, do the stat, and make your case. Or (since I am curious) point us to someone who you think has.

          • >> (with a 5% chance of being wrong in any given year ..)

            Wait. I think more accurate is

            (with up to a 5% chance of being wrong in any given year ..)

        • I’ll add that not only was there more study and more modern data+temp broken records in those 10 years after 1990, but there was also more proxy research done. It’s more than possible that the new locations and time frames (of proxy data) and new techniques would change our view of what was the global average temp at any given point in those past centuries.

        • Note that if you ignore the red on the 2001 graph and then trace out the top of the gray on that graph, you end up roughly with the 1990 graph.

          The old proxy data is necessarily “fuzzy” (in both coordinates) and not precise to the year. This is why the 1990 graph may have used a lot of smoothing, consequently omitting perhaps a few of the latter decades of the 20th century. [Someone who knows more about that may want to comment.]

          In any case, to analyze the IPCC’s potential shenanigans, one should study the details of the science they claim to depict. To just eyeball graphs is asking for trouble if you are trying to claim a smoking gun.

          • The literature exposing the shenanigans of the IPCC is too vast to cite–insiders come out of the woodwork to decry the perennial whitewashing–misrepresentation–of committee input. What starts as good science morphs into radical ideology in the final product, but there are limits to what they can get away with, and they are improving. E.g., IPCC now makes no claims of correlation between CO2 and storms–an old “contrarian” claim. That is to say, what the “deniers” have long been saying, the IPCC is finally starting to say, and from the radical point of view the IPCC would have to be included with the contrarian view. This especially goes for SLR predictions. –AGF

        • Correlation is not causation, asfg.

          • Correlation always implies causation. The problem is to determine what is causing what. E.g., when Gore et al claim CO2 forces T in the ice core data they are making a naive deduction of correlation based on causation. In fact T and CO2 respond in tandem to ice sheet extension. But just about all the believers have to be educated from scratch. –AGF

            • “Correlation always implies causation.” That is an unbelievably ignorant statement.

    • My prediction is that deniers such as yourself will get even more angry and spittle-flecked as your predictions of “Cooling any day now, honest!” shows up to be complete horseshit.

      Likely ending up in some of you blowing the shit out of things so you can die thinking you’re defending The Free Market from a New World Order takeover ™.

      • This more like Phil Jones (to M Mann):

        “[McIntyre and McKitrick] have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.” –AGF

  38. By: Barry Bickmore on March 26, 2014
    at 7:58 am

    “Correlation always implies causation.” That is an unbelievably ignorant statement.
    OK, Bickmore, let’s see you come up with an example of correlation that does not imply causation. We’ll see who’s incredibly ignorant. –AGF

    • Correlate your age with global mean air temperature.

      • Of course there is no correlation, hence no potential causation to consider. –AGF

        • Can you explain how you got “no correlation”?

          And as another example, generate random data series over and over. Calculate correlation across every such sample (using whatever formula you like that would suggest correlation). Eventually, you will get a value that gives a high correlation score; however, there would be no more causation associated with those two series than between any two other. We can argue the meaning of “random” and such, but the point is that there are enough different things out there yet you can only really go up or down across two numbers in some constrained range. And all ranges are basically constrained, so you will have overlap when you measure enough things simply because you have a large set of values (of measurements of many many things) being mapped onto a smaller set (the actual values)… more or less.

          I am sure you have seen many graphs that look similar but are of things totally unrelated, eg, the stock market price of stock X on day Y looking similar to some totally unrelated graph.

          • Anyone under the age of 15 can say there is zero correlation between their age and surface T. Anyone else can say there is negligible correlation. But you’re only splitting hairs. If you insist, I’ll restate: the better the correlation, the more reason we have to suspect causation. Very high correlation suggests a high probability of causation.

            Now when Dickey et al claim correlation between core rotation and T implies causation, what we really have is spurious correlation. Correlation between the Parana River and T is borderline–too weak to demand causation. Rooster crows and daylight have excellent correlation; causation is demanded–just have to find out how it works. –AGF

            • I don’t want to split hairs, but I am trying to understand your point. You did say, “correlation always implies causation” and challenged BB to find an exception, yet also said later, “correlation between the Parana River and T is borderline–too weak to demand causation.”

              In any case, there is a strong physical theory to show causation between a likely rise in T from a rise in CO2. Al Gore didn’t make that up out of the blue. He may have misjudged the evidence (I don’t know), so you would be right on that point. Note that the assumption that we have not found clear evidence of the GHE in rocks, ice, and what not of a time many years ago makes the GHE no less true. Lots of things which are true have no evidence in ice cores.

              Given how the math to the greenhouse effect has been described based on accepted physical principles, the burden is on those saying this can’t happen to make that argument. Just stating you don’t believe in the GHE or something along those lines is not science, nor convincing to the 97%.

              When seeking more detail on the GHE some time back, I was directed to the paper from 1978 by Ramanathan and Coakley in case you want to take a look and offer a critique.

  39. Here’s another example. Babies experiment early with light switches. Flip switch, room lights up. Multiple switches on a single plate trigger different lights. The babies quickly learn which switch triggers which light. They deduce correlation.

    Another: the viceroy butterfly mimics the bad tasting monarch. Its numbers must remain substantially lower than monarch populations. Why. The more viceroys there are the more birds eat one before they eat a monarch. That is, the higher the viceroy population, the higher the bird population that can distinguish between a viceroy and a monarch. Through elementary statistical studies the birds learn that not all monarch-looking butterflies taste bad. They fine tune the correlation. To deny that correlation translates to causation is to deny the utility of statistics.

    As for primary forcing there isn’t much to argue about. It’s the feedback that remains unknown. So the models are all over the map (settled science), while current observation stays near the bottom predictions. And observation over the past 10my is likewise all over the map, i.e., nearly random correlation:

    (from Bill Illis), except where Pleistocene albedo forces CO2 and T in tandem. –AGF

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