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« Churnalism | Main | Still tricking people »

Mann lecture at Mount Holyoake

This video is of Michael Mann lecturing at Mount Holyoke College - a liberal arts college in Massachusetts - a few days ago. The quality of the video is poor but I think it's adequate. I'm posting it up now and will take a look myself later on tonight.

H/T Batheswithwhales

There is an introduction about the greenhouse effect which looks pretty dull. It starts to get interesting from about 20 mins or so.

The good bit though is at 34:30 or so, when Mann ascribes the divergence problem to "pollutants" and says that is was "scientifically appropriate" to delete the divergent data.

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Reader Comments (35)

Was it open mic comedy night at Mount Holyoke College, and if so did anyone laugh ?
Still it’s quite a come down from his happy days of top level press attention and world wide exposure, I looked forward to the day Mann is left with nothing but ramblings on some obscure web site to get his message across.

Apr 25, 2011 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

"liberal arts college" ...... hmmmmm ....... is that significant?

Apr 25, 2011 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterPFM

I thought the chairman's introduction was less than enthusiastic and convincing .....

Apr 25, 2011 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Still selectively using sources, I note.

Apr 25, 2011 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Souter

"It wasn't nefarious, it was scientifically the appropriate thing to do".

This guy is a scientist?

The response is simple in a situation like this - Publish a paper in Nature showing, arguing, demonstrating and proving that this type of a practice is *not* scientifically the appropriate thing to do. Let Mann reply there. This bullshit has just gone on for far too long.

Apr 25, 2011 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

RE: omitting the decline,

For all of Mann's expertise he missed a trick with the divergence. It was a cast iron, copper bottomed opportunity to call for more research and more funding in pursuit of the unknown and he failed to take it.

Apr 25, 2011 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

divergence problem to "pollutants" and says that is was "scientifically appropriate" to delete the divergent data

Would the "pollutants" be rising levels of atmospheric CO2?

Briffa has already raised that very recently as a possible reason for divergent data.

If it is being argued by the Team as such then that negates further the scientific value of using tree rings as thermometers.

Here is current research on CO2 and tree growth.

“We’ve known for 30 or 40 years that extra CO2 and extra temperature cause trees to grow,", said Geoffrey Parker, of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland.

It looks like the Team have painted themselves in a corner.

Apr 25, 2011 at 9:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

The sound quality is pretty bad and the slides not great either. (I couldn't really catch any of the questions at the end of the meeting.)

Mann shows a cartoon of Steve McIntyre implying that only one hockeystick had been debunked and dozens of others remain intact.

He enjoys spending more time trying to reinforce confusion about hiding the decline meaning hiding a decline in global temperatures than he does in explaining what it actually does relate to, but then he defends hiding the decline in proxy measurements as being entirely appropriate and seems to be clinging to a belief that I thought the IPCC had since discarded: that tree-ring reconstructions are able to confirm that recent temperatures are unprecedented in over 2000 years.

I blame all those elite scientists who, while not being prepared to defend what happened, are also not prepared to speak out and condemn what happened. They bare the ones who allow mann to have wriggle room to continue peddling this rubbish.

Apr 25, 2011 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Mount Holyoke is a women's college which enjoys a good reputation. The standard degree is a Bachelor of Arts, not a Bachelor of Science -- that is why it is called a liberal arts college. It is not a university and does not offer any PhD programs, and the only graduate program is a Masters Degree in Psychology. There is an Environmental Studies Department.

Since there would not be any graduate students in any climatology-related fields attending this college, this lecture would be a "lightweight" exposure for Mann.

Apr 25, 2011 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrcrinum

Oh. Great find. To see the idiots there listen to him and not question himon these sharp points of interest to us all is interesting, it seems a trait we see more often.

And also - Wow! he went to the trouble of getting a picture of Sarah Palin for his presentation. And he tries to claim a carefully planned smear campaign was behind climategate ?

If you are in trouble with your science presentation than enlist some external context it seems.

As the Bish says, it is on record Mann says the tree ring proxies decline can be dismissed because it is an effect of "... pollution and other contaminating effects that make them no longer record climate conditions"

Oh also note it is now the "Medieval Warm Period - if you will"

I think - as Brian Cox may say - it can only get better.

Let them keep digging the facts will never support this bullshit unless we have full on Lysenkoesque dictorship envoked (which wont happen) let them keep shuffling out rope like this :)

Apr 25, 2011 at 10:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

I tried to watch this wearing two hats. One as a relatively knowledgeable sceptic and one as a "What's this climate change stuff and should I be worried about it" individual.
It wasn't easy. I know too much, thanks to Steve Mc and the Good Bishop, to believe a word he says.
But damn it, he's very good. He gains the attention and then the sympathy of the audience. Lays his credentials on the table as he wishes them to appear and then relentlessly batters the certainty of MM Climate change into the heads in the audience.
He loses them in the middle with his "factual" barrage but, by then, it doesn't matter.
He's reinforced the faithfull, attracted the undecided and, perhaps, swayed a few lukewarmers.
This is not Science, This is not Truth. But, by God, it's damn good marketing.
I'm a bit more woried than I was earlier.

Apr 25, 2011 at 11:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

I wonder if Palin will send Mann a threatening note about Mann's use of her image? (c.f. Mann's complaint to the M4GW team, regarding

Apr 25, 2011 at 11:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Mann's note to the M4GW team is here

Apr 25, 2011 at 11:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

RoyFOMR, I wouldn't loose any sleep over it. As long as Mann needs to sneak around at rural fringe women's colleges in order to avoid unwanted spotlight on his performances, he is not exactly getting anywhere.

By the way, an interesting piece here on Manns email controversy. I don't know if it is much news to you guys, but it was to me:

Apr 26, 2011 at 12:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterBatheswithwhales

I look forward to the day when the work of Michael Mann is included in every text on statistics. His work will be featured in the chapter titled, "Lies, damn lies and statistics".

Apr 26, 2011 at 12:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterSean2829

[Snip- unnecessary]

Apr 26, 2011 at 1:00 AM | Unregistered Commenterphinniethewoo

More proctoganda from Mann, just as you'd expect. Lysenko would be jealous.

Apr 26, 2011 at 1:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Mann must be doing a favor for someone because Mount Holyoke is definitely not a prestiguous location. 40 years ago it was a very competitive school - now, not so much.

It is not far from UMass Amherst - in Western Massachusetts - which is where Bradley is based - so perhaps that is the connection.

Apr 26, 2011 at 3:20 AM | Unregistered Commenterbernie

Uhhh, isn't there supposed to be a study or something supporting statements like it is caused by pollutants???


I guess they are so Godlike now they can speak and it becomes reality!!

Apr 26, 2011 at 3:43 AM | Unregistered Commenterkuhnkat

@ZT - from Mann's solicitors;

we demand that you immediately cease and desist using Dr Mann's likeness and that you immediately remove the defamatory video video from your web page (including cashed versions)

What are "cashed versions"?

Apr 26, 2011 at 5:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

"cashed versions" just means that Mann's lawyers are as technology savvy as Mann is statistically competent

Apr 26, 2011 at 5:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

It is very telling that Mann, for all his 'Herculean efforts' , when he was 'out there', battling the forces of evil, could only come up with the one editorial in the Washington Post, against Sarah Palin of all people. All the while when, others, at his Realclimate foxhole have to do the batting for him, as waves and waves of questions wash over the fortified ramparts of their own comments section.

You can look at this Mother Jones puff piece in 2005 where Mann bloviates about the El Nino and the 'global climate' (whatever that is). Six years down the line, he is talking about the same things, except that his performance has cartoons and animations.

Apr 26, 2011 at 5:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

He's nothing if not persistant - and, give him his due, quite good at it too. A thorn in the flesh of the name of Science.

Apr 26, 2011 at 7:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterPFM

Pollutants, what pollutants? Where is the peer-reviewed paper explaining how these pollutants came to make the tree cores thinner?

More to the point where are the Men of Science to challenge this guff.

Apr 26, 2011 at 8:01 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Mann seems like just another ugly sister who found a slipper marked "pollution and other contaminating effects", shouting "it fits... it fits" Prince charming should be asking for a podiatrist quick sharp ;^)

Apr 26, 2011 at 8:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

The good bit though is at 34:30 or so, when Mann ascribes the divergence problem to "pollutants" and says that is was "scientifically appropriate" to delete the divergent data.

Isn't there a Mann quote that says this could never (the deletion that is) happen.

Apr 26, 2011 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

I found the video difficult to follow; sound levels a tad low, graphics hard to see properly, but I got the gist of the thing, i.e. Mann's right, the sceptic community is wrong and we're all going to hell in a handcart. The speaker who introduced Mann appeared to have drawn the short straw and had little choice; he made the best of it but seemed almost embarrassed to be there.
Mann seems to be an excellent salesman, shame his product is shonky. His hiding of the decline is now out in the open and he is incredibly brazen in presenting specious reasons for his actions. He obviously has a truly thick hide which is impervious to the barbs of truth!

Apr 26, 2011 at 9:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Am I the only person who sees parallels between Michael Mann and Erich von Daniken?

Apr 26, 2011 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterDr John

"Mann seems to be an excellent salesman"

IIRC, America was once defined as the only country that was more proud of its marketing than of its products. Plus ça change...

Apr 26, 2011 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

You hit the nail on the head Alexander. Mann is an excellent salesman.
I would definitely buy a second-hand car from him.

Apr 26, 2011 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Am I correct in thinking that the proxies not only diverged for the most recent forty (well now fifty) years but were chosen as representative my matching them to the existing temperature record? There's not a chance in hell they tell us anything about past climate if that is the case. So they don't record recent temperatures, they are fitted to known temperatures, what of value do they tell us about unknown temperatures? It seems preposterous this was ever considered let alone propagandized by Gore and his ilk. Even then I remember seeing a forum post where someone who worked in forestry was commenting on all of the variables that affect tree growth. I think temperature was considered insignificant compared to rainfall, sunlight, nutrients, herbivores & insects, fungal and other disease and of course carbon dioxide concentrations. I guess what I'm asking is how was the premise that trees represent temperature established? I'm no dendroclimatologist but is there any actual salvagable science in what Mann et al. did, or was it flawed to the core?

Apr 26, 2011 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterNano Pope

Dildoclimatology is yet another desperate attempt to tease a putative signal, x, from 300x noise, and (as practiced by Mann, et al) attribute that signal to the very, very small percentage of net CO2 that is human-produced. The difficulty of doing this is inexpressible in ordinary mathematical terms. One must call upon the resources of DSM-IV to get a handle on it.

Quem deus perdere vult, dementat prius. ["Whom the gods would destroy they first drive mad."]

Apr 26, 2011 at 6:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Well, he's not likely to win an Oscar.

Apr 26, 2011 at 8:56 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

If we've long "moved on" from the original HS, why is Mann still now presenting it as an icon of CC Science?
By presenting Sarah Palin's portrate as he starts to talk about the "crime" of the hacked Climategate emails, it looks like he's trying to suggest she was a ringleader!
The HS work has improved in the past decade because "there are far more records that are now available and more sophisticated statistical methods that can be brought to bear on this problem" (38min)

Apr 26, 2011 at 9:25 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

Finally - I would find it hard his advice that we all need to make the sacrifice to reduce our own footprint, from someone who can't resist consuming more than his fair share of the world's food.

Apr 26, 2011 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

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