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« Global warming grubbiness | Main | More Spectating - Josh 92 »

Mann writes doggerel

Michael Mann has written to top US newspaper the Payson Roundup defending his honour...


An individual named Terry Putnam did a grave disservice to your readers by making false and defamatory statements about me and my climate scientist colleagues...

I always liked the good old days when letters to the editor began "Sir", or perhaps "Dear Sir".

Read the whole thing.

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Reader Comments (66)

So the emails were definitely stolen then? The number of independent or external inquiries seems to keep rising - it is now up to seven!

Mar 31, 2011 at 7:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Note that the comments sectionof the Payson Roundup are less than supportive of Professor Mann.

Mar 31, 2011 at 7:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy Old Man

"Mr. Putnam makes the libelous claim"

I've forgotten how we should interpret this anymore. Does that mean we can look forward to thw whole thing coming to court?

Mar 31, 2011 at 7:25 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Mann writes -

Mr. Putnam makes the libelous claim that the so-called “hockey stick”

Why the "so-called". Why the quotes?
Is this a Freudian slip?

Mar 31, 2011 at 7:38 AM | Unregistered Commenterandyscrase

WOW ! - He's really gone BIG Time !!!

"The Payson Roundup ...... based in Payson, a recreation and retirement community that's home to 15,000 ...... and the quiet mountain hamlets of Pine and Strawberry .......... the twice-a-month publication for the growing ranching communities in the Tonto Basin. The Roundup, ......... has a circulation of more than 7,000."

Mar 31, 2011 at 7:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterPFM

I once had a letter published in the Spelthorne and Runnymede Gazette (incoroporating the Egham Courier and Virginia Water Advertiser). But I didn't get in the advert for my blog and book like Mikey The Mann managed...........opportunity missed :-(

Mar 31, 2011 at 7:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

NAS exonerated him did it? From the Hockey Schtick:

"The NAS report did nothing of the sort, and in fact validated all of the significant criticisms of McIntyre & McKitrick (M&M) and the Wegman Report:

1. The NAS indicated that the hockey stick method systematically underestimated the uncertainties in the data (p. 107).

2. In subtle wording, the NAS agreed with the M&M assertion that the hockey stick had no statistical significance, and was no more informative about the distant past than a table of random numbers. The NAS found that Mann’s methods had no validation (CE) skill significantly different from zero. In the past, however, it has always been claimed that the method has a significant nonzero validation skill. Methods without a validation skill are usually considered useless. Mann’s data set does not have enough information to verify its ‘skill’ at resolving the past, and has such wide uncertainty bounds as to be no better than the simple mean of the data (p. 91). M&M said that the appearance of significance was created by ignoring all but one type of test score, thereby failing to quantify all the relevant uncertainties. The NAS agreed (p. 110), but, again, did so in subtle wording.

3. M&M argued that the hockey stick relied for its shape on the inclusion of a small set of invalid proxy data (called bristlecone, or “strip-bark” records). If they are removed, the conclusion that the 20th century is unusually warm compared to the pre-1450 interval is reversed. Hence the conclusion of unique late 20th century warmth is not robust - in other word it does not hold up under minor variations in data or methods. The NAS panel agreed, saying Mann�s results are “strongly dependent” on the strip-bark data (pp. 106-107), and they went further, warning that strip-bark data should not be used in this type of research (p. 50).

4. The NAS said “ Mann et al. used a type of principal component analysis that tends to bias the shape of the reconstructions”, i.e. produce hockey sticks from baseball statistics, telephone book numbers, and monte carlo random numbers.

5. The NAS said Mann downplayed the “uncertainties of the published reconstructions...Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that ‘the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium.”

Mann never mentions that a subsequent House Energy and Commerce Committee report chaired by Edward Wegman totally destroyed the credibility of the ‘hockey stick’ and devastatingly ripped apart Mann’s methodology as ‘bad mathematics’. Furthermore, when Gerald North, the chairman of the NAS panel—which Mann claims ‘vindicated him’ - was asked at the House Committee hearings whether or not they agreed with Wegman’s harsh criticisms, he said they did:

CHAIRMAN BARTON: Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman’s report?

DR. NORTH [Head of the NAS panel]: No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report.

DR. BLOOMFIELD [Head of the Royal Statistical Society]: Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr. Mann and his co-workers and we felt that some of the choices they made were inappropriate. We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr. Wegman.

WALLACE [of the American Statistical Association]: ‘the two reports [Wegman’s and NAS] were complementary, and to the extent that they overlapped, the conclusions were quite consistent.’

Mann uses the 5 rules of propaganda in his defense, including the rule of orchestration: endlessly repeating the same messages in different variations and combinations [e.g. the NAS gave my hockey stick a clean bill of health]."

Mar 31, 2011 at 8:07 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

As Grumpy old man noticed - the comments hardly seem to be supportive.

Mar 31, 2011 at 8:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterDoug UK

If that was Mann posting, then a) he's a bit thick, and b) desperate. The Payson Roundup? This is like a sketch from Newhart.

Mar 31, 2011 at 8:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

If the claims about Manns "so called hockey stick" are so libelous why have we not yet seen this in court? Especially in the UK where the libel laws are so heavily weighed in favor of someone like Mann?


Mar 31, 2011 at 8:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

In the USA, it is extremely difficult for a famous person to win a libel case. The probability that Mann will sue somebody for libel in the USA is tiny, especially when you consider that he would expose himself to the discovery process (whereby the defense can request documents such as Mann's emails to prove their point).

Mar 31, 2011 at 8:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Koch

For the readers interested in the truth behind the science he is recommending his own web site and his own book! Wow!

Mar 31, 2011 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterJean S

It's amazing they keep throwing the word 'libel' around, isn't it?

Never get round to suing though. Full disclosure is way too scary a proposition for the Hockey Team.

Mar 31, 2011 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Chris Horner, a lawyer who is a senior fellow with the CEI and is extremely knowledgeable about global warming misconduct, would most likely represent (probably pro bono) anybody who Mann sues for libel in the USA. Mann certainly wants to avoid an actual fair investigation (as opposed to the whitewashes conducted by the likes of Penn State).

Mar 31, 2011 at 8:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Koch

Careful, Doctor Mann; you may find that, like Lord Palmerston and the Czar of Russia did, that the Skibbereen Eagle has its eye on you!

Mar 31, 2011 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

I agree, Bish, 'Dear Sir or Madam' would have been a rather more gentlemanly start to Mann's silly and wildly innacurate maunderings. Filling a letter to an obscure newsletter with mock outrage and innocence flavoured with a very perceptable air of desperation seems a very silly tactic to me, but I guess if one lives in a world where one lives or dies professionally by the number of column-inches one has published, any content in any publication will suffice. For some odd reason, a line from an old song has wandered in to my consciousness just now - "I talk to the trees, but they don't listen to me..."
I guess his local parish newsletter will be the next recipient of Mann's desperate scribbling. If he wasn't such a wild dissembler, and I'm being kind, I might almost begin to feel sorry for him. It must be very strange and unsettling for him to slide so rapidly from stardom in a very narrow feild to much wider approbrium.

Mar 31, 2011 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Something is fishy here IMHO. I know that Mann is pretty stupid, but I don't think he would do this. Perhaps an early April fools joke.

The phrase at the end "scientifically-based books on the topic like my “Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming.”" seems to be just pushing credibility just a bit too far.

Mar 31, 2011 at 9:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterAGWMan

I hope he wrote the letter in his own time and not on the public dime.

Mar 31, 2011 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Sixpack


"The phrase at the end "scientifically-based books on the topic like my “Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming.”" seems to be just pushing credibility just a bit too far"

Pushing credbility seems to be the name of Mann's game. But wait till you see the subititle of this book, of which he is the co-author:

"The illustrated guide to the findings of the IPCC"

As for Mann's "seven separate external investigations" claim ... well, what is one to expect?! Attention to detail and accuracy have never really been his forté, have they?!

Mar 31, 2011 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

Has anyone plotted the Hockey Stick, with an update of actual temperatures upto the present date?

Does that blade keep skyrocketing up, or does it do something even more stupid and implausible than the original?

Mar 31, 2011 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Confirmation of Mann's desparation will be provided by a Bob Ward article, probably in the Guardian

Mar 31, 2011 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

"Dozens of independent groups of scientists have independently come to the same conclusion".

Sure, but were they independently independent?

Mar 31, 2011 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

<<Ring, ring>>. Click. The editor of the Payson Roundup (for it is she, Teresa McQuerry): "Good morning, thanks for calling the Payson Roundup, you're speaking with Ter......You're a man? You're man. And which... You're Mr Man. Michael Man...with TWO enns! Wonderful, well how can I....Uh huh...mmm...libel, really!...a hockey stick...Well, you see Mr Mann, here in Rim Country we wouldn't really know about global warming. Though I think we've got a couple of inches of it on the front lawn right now! No, no, I'm not being flippant...well that's very impressive, that you've been in the New York Times. So was Karl our handyman but since he got out of the penitentiary, with the medication and all, he's just fine now. No, I am taking you seriously. Are you thinking of retiring here Mr Mann? It's got a very warm climate, when it's not snowing like it has been! Oh, so a warm climate, that's not a good thing...well, many of our residents love the warm....CO2 - isn't that what makes soda pop? Oh, Mr Mann, you do sound quite downbeat, I think you should visit Payson and the Rim Country soon. You'll have a lot of fun here..Mr Mann? Mr Mann?"

Mar 31, 2011 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

Realclimate is run by scientists?

I thought it was run by Gavin.

Mar 31, 2011 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Mann writes -

Mr. Putnam makes the libelous claim that the so-called “hockey stick”

Why the "so-called". Why the quotes?
Is this a Freudian slip?
Mar 31, 2011 at 7:38 AM | Unregistered Commenter andyscrase

Andy, is a "so called 'hockey stick'" because it isn't really a hockey stock - it's a graph, and would be fairly useless in a game of hockey.

Mar 31, 2011 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Accusing someone of libel, if false, is, of course, itself libel.

Are these assertions, from Mann's letter, true or not?

"Terry Putnam did a grave disservice to your readers by making false and defamatory statements..."

"... misrepresenting the content of stolen e-mails to falsely accuse them of “falsifying data.”

"Mr. Putnam makes the libelous claim that the so-called “hockey stick”..."

"...falsehoods and smears perpetuated by people like Mr. Putnam..."

" of wrongdoing manufactured by climate change deniers."

Scientists generally know little of the law but there is a growing tendency among some scientists who claim the CAGW science is settled to bandy legal terms to try and intimidate those who dispute their conclusions.

Any actual libel suit would likely result in a counterclaim for libel based on accusations such as those quoted above. The law is a nasty, messy business. For example, there is also the possibility that by making accusations of having been defamed, an accuser (or someone posing as someone an accuser), attempts to provoke the person accused of defamation into sueing for defamation first, turning the whole argument on its head.

Scientists should establish the truth of their theories by the scientific method and not by law, journalism, status, PR and politics.

Mar 31, 2011 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered Commenterstu

"Director, Penn State Earth"

Is that in a parallel universe..?

Also, wouldn't a real scientist say that the data are not false?

Mar 31, 2011 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

"showing that recent warming is unusual over at least the past 1,000 years"

Is that an admission that it might have been warmer just before then (and however often you like earlier on)?

Mar 31, 2011 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Doggerel chasing a stick!

Mar 31, 2011 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Mann has sued -- in Canada.

Mar 31, 2011 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

History is written in the third person, Mr. Mann, not the first.

Mar 31, 2011 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

James P

I noticed that singular data gaffe. Could just be sloppiness. Didn't Tom Wigley say in an email that MBH98/99 was a sloppy piece of work?

Oh - now this is worth sharing. I went looking for Wigley's disparagement of MBH98/99 but couldn't find it.

Instead, I came across this exchange between Dr Dr. Edward R. Cook (Doherty Senior Scholar and
Director, Tree-Ring Laboratory, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory) and a certain Prof. K Briffa:

Bradley still regards the MWP as "mysterious" and "very incoherent" (his latest pronouncement to me) based on the available data. Of course he and other members of the MBH camp have a fundamental dislike for the very concept of the MWP, so I tend to view their evaluations as starting out from a somewhat biased perspective, i.e. the cup is not only "half-empty"; it is demonstrably "broken". I come more from the "cup half-full" camp when it comes to the MWP, maybe yes, maybe no, but it is too early to say what it is. Being a natural skeptic, I guess you might lean more towards the MBH camp, which is fine as long as one is honest and open about evaluating the evidence (I have my doubts about the MBH camp). We can always politely(?) disagree given the same admittedly equivocal evidence.

I should say that Jan should at least be made aware of this reanalysis of his data. Admittedly, all of the Schweingruber data are in the public domain I believe, so that should not be an issue with those data. I just don't want to get into an open critique of the Esper data because it would just add fuel to the MBH attack squad. They tend to work in their own somewhat agenda-filled ways. We should also work on this stuff on our own, but I do not think that we have an agenda per se, other than trying to objectively understand what is going on.



[Emphasis added]

Doesn’t sound much like a consensus among scientists to me.

Mar 31, 2011 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD, It's here:

He said:

I have just read the M&M stuff critcizing MBH. A lot of it seems valid to me.
At the very least MBH is a very sloppy piece of work -- an opinion I have held
for some time.

Presumably what you have done with Keith is better? -- or is it?
I get asked about this a lot. Can you give me a brief heads up? Mike is too
deep into this to be helpful.

The must be a different meaning for "consensus" in the climate science world.

Mar 31, 2011 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo


Thank you.

One for the cuttings folder. I shall know where to look next time. Still, the unexpected gem from Cook above made it all worth while.

Mar 31, 2011 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Michael Mann is all show and no blow. He huffed and puffed about the Hide The Decline musical Youtube hit, and in the end did nothing.

Just to refresh everyone's memories

Mar 31, 2011 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJabba the Cat

Revisionist history.

Mar 31, 2011 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

Usually the fallen hero wraps himself in the flag and goes forth to meet a glorious death as the curtain falls on the last act of the opera. Here we have the fallen anti-hero wrapping himself in a thick layer of white wash, unable to move due to how thick it is. Hopefully the curtain will fall on him once and for all.

As a psychologist, I would say he has "lost" it.

Mar 31, 2011 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

As a psychologist, I would say he has "lost" it.

Mar 31, 2011 at 2:19 PM | Don Pablo de la Sierra

Would that be the "plot", "data", "MWP" , "decline" or simply, scientific credibility ?

Mar 31, 2011 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

All the above and a few more items.

Mar 31, 2011 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

his mind

Mar 31, 2011 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

Professor Mann has always been thus. See in the climategate emails how quick he was to call even polite dissenters, particularly the temperate, measured, and inoffensive Steve MacIntyre, "charlatans" and "morons" who he said produced "crap". He must know that there is a large body of very well informed opinion that thinks his own body of work to be of no value whatsoever. Are they all "specious", "ill-informed" and "spurious" views?

One of the most revealing things about the climategate emails was the long look we got into Mann's personality. I would always have been prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, involved as he was in a scientific endeavour in its infancy, trying, but in reality failing, to pull a meaningful signal out of lots of random and difficult noise. But his conduct as a man and as an academic has forever consigned him to history as a perfidious bully.

He appears to have learned very little from the whole experience and even he must know that the law is the last resort of the scoundrel? Threatening legal action and then not taking it is even worse. He really should have realised by now that if he isn't going to acknowledge even the smallest shortcoming in himself or his work the best thing he can do is fade away quietly and leave others to pick up the pieces.

All the best, all

Mar 31, 2011 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard B

A fine, if wholly unrelated, example of the path to self-destruction. It starts (like Mann’s career) benignly enough...


Mar 31, 2011 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Sorry, Link not working. URL is

Mar 31, 2011 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Am reading HSI now and am curious if Montford (or McIntyre) has reviewed Mann's book, if so, an URL would be greatly appreciated.

Mar 31, 2011 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterobiwankenobi

I found today on another blog this summary of the defining characteristics of groupthink, as put forward by its original identifier, one Irving Janis:

1. Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking.
2. Rationalising warnings that might challenge the group’s assumptions.
3. Unquestioned belief in the morality of the group, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions.
4. Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, biased, spiteful, impotent, or stupid.
5. Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the group, couched in terms of “disloyalty”.
6. Self-censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus.
7. Illusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement.
8. Mind guards — self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information.

Michael Mann would tick every box, I believe.

Mar 31, 2011 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Commenting seems to be fixed BTW.

Mar 31, 2011 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

BBD, geronimo, while reminding ourselves of what the others think of MikeyMann, dont forget

where Keith Briffa says
>"I have just read this lettter - and I think it is crap. I am sick to
>death of Mann stating his reconstruction represents the tropical
>area just because it contains a few (poorly temperature
>representative ) tropical series. "

and Ed Cook replies
"Of course, I agree with you. We both know the probable flaws in
Mike's recon, particularly as it relates to the tropical stuff. "

Mar 31, 2011 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaulM


Thank you. Another one for the CRU email 'best of' folder ;-)

You missed a bit:


He [Mann] is just as capable of regressing these data again[st] any other "target" series , such as the increasing trend of self-opinionated verbage [sic] he has produced over the last few years , and ... (better say no more)


Just one big, happy family.

Mar 31, 2011 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD


I've been okay for the last couple of (captcha-free) days too. But then it worked fine for short periods before and abruptly went bad, so too early to say whether Don Pablo's Postulate is on the money.

Mar 31, 2011 at 5:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I've been to the Payson in question many times. Its elevation, nestled among Ponderosa pines (it's not high enough for stripbark bristlecones!) makes it about 20F cooler than the scorching desert metroplex of Phoenix less than 100 miles away, so it's a popular summer getaway spot.

Can't think of anything about the town or its newpaper that would particularly attract the attention of Prof. Mann, so I wonder if the Roundup was just one recipient of a mass mailing to every small-town rag in America. Interesting to see if the same letter pops up elsewhere.

Mar 31, 2011 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Bob

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