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Thought for the day, tricky edition

In the wake of the suggestion that Lewandowsky organised a lot of soft questions for Michael Mann after his Cabot Institute lecture, I was thinking about Mann's apparently interminable book tour. I wondered if there is any record of Mann ever having been on the end of a difficult question on one of his numerous public appearances.

Perhaps readers can suggest examples.

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Reader Comments (17)

"Would you like sugar in your coffee, Mr Mann?"

Sep 25, 2014 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Perhaps readers can suggest examples.




Quote (Ava Gardner talking about Clark Gable): "He's the kind of guy who, if you say 'Hiya, Clark, how are you', is stuck for an answer".
Seems relevant.

Sep 25, 2014 at 4:29 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Check out #AskDrMann.

The modus operandi appears to be ignore or block.

Sep 25, 2014 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Damned good question.

The problem with it is that it's one that is being put to an audience that knows the answer and will merely elicit sarky responses from all the usual suspects. I was tempted but what good would it have done?

Our best hope is that Mark Steyn's counsel will use it as an opener in his examination of Mann at the deposition stage and then go on to ask all those difficult questions..

Sep 25, 2014 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Scott

If one were to plot the number of tricky question asked of Mann per unit time, as a function of time, one would obtain an inverted hockey stick.

However, a rudimentary PCA analysis would reveal that this statistic actually indicates rapidly increasing scientific consensus. (On the basis of one secret question asked once in somewhere in Siberia).

Climatology 101.

Sep 25, 2014 at 6:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

He is not there to answer questions unless they are merely invitations to lecture some more.

This course is poorly designed and even more poorly taught. The majority of the class has zero stat experience (there are no prerequisites), yet Dr. Mann dives headfirst into 400-level stat by the third week with no concern of whether his students understand. He lectures to hear his own voice. A 25-point mid-term curve should raise a few red flags.


Sep 25, 2014 at 6:46 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Bish: In the US, the companies that deliver cable TV service provide three public service channels which cover the House and Senate when they are in session, some hearings, book talks, and some talks from universities and think tanks. They have three programs with Mann: a book talk, a Congressional hearing, and panel discussion. I haven't watched any of them, probably 3 hours total. Go to and search for "micheal e mann". A broader search without the middle initial may find more.

Sep 25, 2014 at 7:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

That ratemyprofessors link is interesting. There is no proof that any of the raters actually took the course, and several of the positive ones make a big issue of what an expert Mann is on CAGW- they look about as convincing as the glowing reviews of his books on Amazon.

One of them even admits that Mann doesn't even turn up a lot of the time because he's so busy flying around the world to save the planet, as all the "best" climate scientists do.

Does he ever teach classes at a level where the students would have the statistical knowledge to challenge him? (Yes, I know that's a fast track to failing the course with "academics" like him.)

Sep 25, 2014 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

I remember seeing a video of Mann at a lecture shortly after he joined Penn State where a member of the audience stood up and explained why he thought Mann should not be at the university.

I can't find the video any more, it might have been taken down (it was quite a while ago). The first reference I found while googling for it was this one:

I love the entry paragraph to this article:

At the Fall 2008 Honors Colloquium last night, some of the audience members criticized joint Nobel Prize winner and Pennsylvania State University professor Michael Mann. One told him to leave the university during his speech.


Sep 25, 2014 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpence_UK

Someone argued recently that Mann truly believes what he's preaching.

I reckon he is going for an insanity plea.

Sep 25, 2014 at 8:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

@ Brute,
+1 heh.

Sep 25, 2014 at 9:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I wondered if there is any record of Mann ever having been on the end of a difficult question on one of his numerous public appearances.

Not yet but one day his massive ego will get the better of him and he will get the chance in a public court to answer some 'difficult questions ' where BS will not work at all. When it comes buy into popcorn shares.

Sep 25, 2014 at 11:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterKNR

I have heard such a question, though he did not treat it as difficult. I think I have written about it here.

He was asked,"Wouldn't that mean that warming in climate models is vastly overstated?"
His response was something like "You don't look like Dick. I agree with that actually. I have a reputation out there as some sort of climate alarmist, but I think there is a missing negative feedback."

The question started from his talk of how the medieval warm period was held down by a long term negative feedback in the tropics producing LaNina like effects. He mentions this part in his book as well, but not the implications.
So if you are arguing that Mann is a fraud and the Medieval Warm Period is global, then you are losing an advocate and argument for models are too hot.

Sep 26, 2014 at 12:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

Mike N,
That is an interesting recollection on your part. Since Prof. Mann is also on record pitching hard on the climate apocalypse, your comment raises more questions than it answers.

Sep 26, 2014 at 4:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I just noticed that Mann has co-written an essay on the Berkeley Blog saying that AGW presents a bigger threat to humanity than WW2 did:">The Gathering Storm – Michael Mann & Daniel M. Kammen

I have just submitted the comment below.

Your comment is awaiting moderation.
September 26, 2014, 6:37 am · Reply

I have read many things about climate change, but I think this is probably the most ludicrous. Are you seriously suggesting that climate change / disruption is a bigger threat than WW2? Around 30 million people died in WW2. Despite winning (with belated help from the USA) the people of the United Kingdom suffered greatly, with poverty and rationing lasting long after the war was won. We did not even manage to pay off our war debts (to the USA) until the early 1980s. (Ironically the Marshall Plan money mostly went to Germany, and none to the UK, probably because we voted for a socialist government immediately after the war). I digress. But there is no way that the worst potential threat from AGW is even comparable with the human and economic costs of WW2, and frankly it is insulting to the war dead to suggest it is.

The latest study by Prof Curry & Nic Lewis [ (non pay-walled available at ) ] concludes that climate sensitivity is likely to be 1.3C, much less that the IPCC’s suggested figure of 2-3C. This means the global average temperature will be unlikely to rise more than 1 or 2 Celsius by the end of the century, a rise which incidentally which would bring net benefits to the planet’s population (longer growing seasons, less cold winters, plants would have better drought resistance etc). Sea level data shows the current rate in increase is about 2mm pa at the most, and consistent with the historic trend, e.g.:

Arctic sea-ice extent has made a good recovery in the last few years since the outliers in 2007 and 2012 (when winds and storms were predominantly to blame for ice loss, not melting):

and contrary to the climate models’ projections, Antarctic sea ice extent has been increasing and breaking records by the day and year:

NH snow cover is showing no discernible trend:

Even the IPCC in its Fifth Assessment Report back peddled on the likelihood of threats from anthropogenic climate change, and admitted there was no scientific evidence of increased storms, floods or droughts from climate change. It is increasingly apparent that the climate science has been corrupted and politicised. Even the alarmist-loving mainstream media are beginning to realise that the game is up:

p.s. Prof. Mann, would you care to comment on the recent post at Climate Audit?

All my previous comments at the Berkeley blog have got through moderation un-edited so it will be interesting to see if this one does likewise.

Sep 26, 2014 at 3:30 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

fast forward to 59:35

Sep 27, 2014 at 3:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterduke c.

I listened to Mann's BookTV (c-span) talk. Conveniently, that talk was presented in front of a very small audience at the Penn State bookstore and no challenging questions were asked by any informed skeptics.

Sep 28, 2014 at 12:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

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