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A brick wall

Scott Ott from the Daily Caller tries and fails to get meaningful comment out of Michael Mann.

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Reader Comments (15)

The sudden rise of Dr Mann has attracted attention in the past. Are we now witnessing a sudden fall? Whatever transpires, let us hope that detailed attention will be given not only to the technicalities of temperature reconstructions, but also to psychological, social, and political dimensions of his career and of his attitudes to others. His prominence as a buttress of the IPCC coupled with the massive government interventions which have been proposed or are underway as a result of IPCC PR, makes him a public figure of some importance.

Jul 25, 2010 at 9:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Interesting but problematic. Let's suppose the famous writer Andrew Montford asked for the same interview with Michael Mann that Scott did. What would be Mann's likely reaction on recognizing the requester? Once Mann figures that any interviewer is agnostic or skeptical about AGW, my assumption is that he would see zero benefit and turn it down. While I would like to hear his explanation and kudos to Scott for asking and persisting in his request, the fact that Michael Mann turned such an interview down is not really germane. We should somehow try to maintain more perspective on these things than the commenters at the Daily Caller (or the rude commenters at Real Climate after Judith Curry's two comments).

Jul 25, 2010 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterBernie

Mann's most consistent trait, it seems to me, is an extreme unwillingness to admit - to himself and to others - that he could be have been wrong about something he was certain he was right, especially after he's told everyone else how certain he was.

The contradiction spotted by Scott Ott - that Mann is playing down the importance of the hockey stick while, at the same time, insisting that it was confirmed by other studies etc - suggest to me that Mann has finally admitted to himself that his original hockey stick was full of errors. But that doesn't mean that he's willing to admit that to others, especially to those he sees as his critics or even his enemies. So he sort of takes refuge in what he still knows he's right about - the broader CAGW hypothesis - which means that, again, his hockey stick wasn't so wrong. What he seems to be saying is, "ok that particular work wasn't perfect and maybe it shouldn't have received so much attention, and so we should move on from it. What's important is that CAGW is correct and, by the way, even my hockey stick wasn't so totally wrong since its conclusions have been confirmed by others".

Which would explain why he's stopped defending the hockey stick itself like a cornered animal? His tactic now is to divert attention from it.

Jul 25, 2010 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter B


I know what you mean, but lots of people give interviews to potentially hostile reviewers.

Jul 25, 2010 at 9:13 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Agreed, but we shouldn't over-interpret or get worked up about it when they decline - that's all.

Jul 25, 2010 at 9:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBernie

I find Mann's recent "dances with hockey-stick" (particularly his aw shucks "central icon" comment to the BBC) somewhat lacking in sincerity. His dances are definitely at odds with one of his SOD Reviewer Comments:

[Comment ID 156-55]

"The authors of this chapter should request an explanation from the lead authors of the SPM of why there is not a single graphic from the chapter shown in the SPM. Every other major section of the SPM has at least one supporting graphic. The lack of a supporting graphic in the A Paleoclimate Perspective section is effectively a slap in the face to chapter 6 authors. It also sends a disturbing message that AR4 is somehow backing away from paleoclimate-based claims made in the TAR where the results from paleoclimate studies were highlighted. [...]"

But then, again, perhaps it wasn't a hockey-stick graphic that he had in mind;-)

On a related note, considering all the whining we've heard of late to the effect that these poor beleaguered "climate scientists" just don't know how to talk to the media and the public, one would think that Mann would have jumped at the opportunity to respond to Ott's very reasonable questions.

Jul 25, 2010 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

This is one decline he didn't manage to hide.

Jul 25, 2010 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

Uh oh. Scrappleface is on the case. Prepare to be amused.

Jul 26, 2010 at 12:31 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

As commenters there say, what a fantastic piece from Scott Ott. Courteous, humane, kind, fair, informed, imaginative, and bitingly perceptive, this is journalism at its very best - the kind of journalism that many of us thought we had largely lost.

Mann hasn't got a leg to stand on now. But curiously, it is Mann himself who has cut off his own legs. All Scott Ott has done is to note that this self-amputation is the full import of Mann's own recent words.

It seems to me that so many reasonable commenters now see right through the diabolical effects of Mann's bad science, and how central it has been to the whole AGW drive, that downfall must surely be close now. We must surely be close to the tipping-point where he is no longer an asset to Penn State.

Jul 26, 2010 at 1:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterLucy Skywalker

It may be that Mann has no ability to question his graph. It fits perfectly with his core beliefs and therefore is "real" without a doubt. Whatever he may have done to construct the data was similar to separating wheat from chaff, at least that is how he sees it.?

Jul 26, 2010 at 3:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterbruce ryan

You should know that there are many fledgling Hansens and Schneiders who imagine themsevles to be walking in their footsteps. These people fancy, and desire their own actions to be in the same mould. Look at Ben Santer's comment. Look at all interviews Mann has given over the past years.

Thanks for reminding about that Janus-faced climate scientist comment.

Jul 26, 2010 at 4:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Since the UEA data-dump of November 2009 aka "Climategate" demolished AGW hysterics' theses root-and-branch, have any of the Green Gang --Briffa, Hansen, Jones, Mann, Trenberth et al.-- published anything of peer-reviewed substance pertaining to their qi-channel expertise? Selective data, spurious methodology, conclusions at odds with verifiable fact, would seem to preclude further bleats and squeaks from such as these. Despite much blogging commentary, amid sadly deficient inquiries in U.S. and overseas pseudo-science exemplars have gone their ways unchallenged by colleagues. At what point, in sheer self-defense, do reputable researchers draw the line?

Jul 26, 2010 at 4:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Blake

Equally, you won't get much out of scientists working for BP :
Big oil does not like openness of data again.

Jul 26, 2010 at 8:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterantonyindia

Toy Story 2 was on TV last night and I couldn't help noticing that the toy shop owner reminded me of someone...

Jul 26, 2010 at 8:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaulM

Mann had a perfect opportunity to put out written statements to the questions posed. Ott would have had no choice but to run the statements. Written statements can be crafted, edited, reviewed, and passed around to sympathetic team members before release.

If he has reasonable answers (in his mind), he passed up a wonderful chance to make his case. Not very smart. Of course, perhaps he realizes he has no reasonable answers.

Jul 26, 2010 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

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