Friday, April 30, 2010

Where are the tone trolls when you need them

Coby Beck brings word from the Charlottesville Hook that the VA Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, has told UVa to turn over every piece of paper Michael Mann ever touched when he was there, including that used in the nether regions. Chip Knappenberger, to give him credit, points out that this is not a good thing,

Sorry, but I can’t agree with Dr. Battig or Dr. Singer on this one.

Cuccinelli is taking things too far. Way too far. This has all the trappings of a witch hunt, plain and simple.

It does not strike me as being much of a stretch that it is not far along this path before scientists at Virginia’s public universities become political appointees, with whoever is in charge deciding which science is acceptable, and prosecuting the rest. Say good-bye to science in Virginia. Who is going to sign up to do it?

UPDATE: Steve McIntyre comes in on Chip's side of the register, condemning the Cooch

but old S. Fred goes nuclear

There is a good chance that Virginia’s Attorney-General Ken Cuccinelli will come up with the “smoking gun” — where other socalled investigations have only produced one whitewash after another.

We know from the leaked e-mails of Climategate that Prof.Michael Mann was involved in the international conspiracy to “hide the decline” [in global temperatures], using what chief conspirator Dr.Phil Jones refers to as “Mike [Mann]’s trick.” Now at last we may find out just how this was done.

A lot is at stake here. If the recent warming is based on faked data, then all attempts to influence the climate by controlling the emissions of the so-called “pollutant” carbon dioxide are useless –and very costly. This includes the UN Climate Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, the Waxman-Markey Cap & Trade (Tax) bill, the EPA “Endangerment Finding” based on the UN’s IPCC conclusion, and the upcoming Kerry-Lieberman-Graham bill in the US Senate.

There go all the windfarms, both onshore and offshore, the wasteful ethanol projects, and the hydrogen economy. Maybe Al Gore will cough up some of his ill-gotten $500 million, gained from scaring the public, from carbon trading, carbon footprints, and all the other scams.

So – good luck, Ken Cuccinelli. We are with you all the way.

S. Fred Singer, PhD
Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
Chairman, Virginia Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment

Eli, being the ever hopeful bunny assumes that Prof. Curry will make a large donation to covering Prof. Mann's legal fees.


Anonymous said...

Fred's sounding more and more like a "birther".

Anonymous said...


Old Fred has suffered a blowout. As we mourn many dead coal miners killed in multiple incidents and watch the unfolding of an environmental catastrophe on the Gulf Coast, old Fred rants about the cost of wind power.

He's wrong about that too, of course. When wind comes on line costs go down because pricey gas is not burned.

Fred should retire to a beach on the Gulf coast.

Boris said...

I love it when the dishonest "skeptics" get so frothed up they can't even construct an Alex-Jones-quality conspiracy theory.The data for "recent warming" was never handled by Michael Mann, so Singer's premise is off by a mile. It's clear he doesn't even know what the whole "hide the decline" mess was all about. Here's a hint , Fred, it was about hiding the divergence of some NH tree ring proxies someplace skeptics would never look: the peer reviewed literature.

Also, the humanist in me wants to applaud Chip K's stance. But the cynic in me thinks that he might be afraid that his mentor Patrick Michaels' work might attract more scrutiny than it gets when it is pressed into the oily folds of the Wall St. Journal.

Hoping to be wrong, though.

Steve Bloom said...

Wasn't there some attempt to FOIA material on Pat Michaels?

thefordprefect said...

I rather like the use of the the "thing" word throughout the CID

for example-
10. The scope of this CID is to reach any and all data, documents and things in your
possession, including those stored or residing on any computer, hard drive,...

Just what is a "thing"

Not only that they have 30days to produce tonnes of things - not only things touched by Mann but things of people who touched things touched by Mann.
this surely has to be a joke!

If not it could end research as we know it. Who wants to have to account for all sheets of toilet paper used during a project.

Sad really

mike roddy said...

Advice for The Bunny: Go back to Watership Down. After having to leave their farm, and finding out how their domesticated cousins lived, that group of rabbits became very hardheard indeed.

They would have had no hope that Judith Curry would experience an awakening, or that Dr. Fred Singer would actually try to learn a little science. Life taught them all about those kinds of dreams.

Cthulhu said...

Re Boris:

"It's clear he doesn't even know what the whole "hide the decline" mess was all about."

Fred's version of "hide the decline", although wrong, is a lot more straight-forward for people to buy..

Ron Broberg said...

If at first you don't succeed,
ask for a Republican appointed committee.

And when that doesn't succeed,
ask for a University review.

And when that doesn't succeed,
ask for a Republican-led criminal investigation.

And when that doesn't succeed ...?

Absolutey, f*n unbelievable. They have no honor, no integrity, and respect no moral boundaries.

I wish you well Dr. Mann. What I wish on those who support this inquisition shall not be spoken.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, P.E.

As a professional engineer, I work by a code of ethics and a personal and professional integrity. I am willing to examine the work of other engineers and judge them on competence and other factors, and if needed to "drill them out of the corp".

At various liberal websites, like Brad DeLong's, I was aghast that no lawyers could be found to file charges against John Yoo or seek to have him disbarred. Sure, the blogosphere is filled with liberal lawyers that claim to despise what Yoo did, but not a single one of them would do what it takes to move have him disbarred.

The inquiries into climategate have all taken great steps to avoid investigating the actual questions involving the science, and have looked only at the trappings of how the work was performed.

This is a not a good statement for climate scientists. It puts them alongside lawyers as being unwilling to investigate their own.

I think Richard Feynman, in Cargo Cult Science states his viewpoints that scientists must be willing to examine their own, and bend over backwards to explain what could be wrong with their theories, and also explains that scientists work hand in hand with society, and explains their work carefully, and lets society make its decisions.

I think the climate scientists have failed society, and while I deplore having lawyers look under the skirts of scientists or academics, I don't believe that scientists or academics are above society when it comes to taxpayer fraud.

I think you're peddling a load of shit and failing the integrity that all scientists and society relies on.

JMurphy said...

Anonymous P.E. has trotted out all the favourite Denier memes : Appeal to authority; belief in a conspiracy of silence; Appeal to popularity; self-belief; accusations of fraud; Conservatism; same old, same old. Boring.

Andy said...

Anonymous PE, where is the evidence for fraud?

Even Fred Singer now admits they are still looking for the smoking gun.

What is it with Republicans and elusive weapons?

Anonymous said...

Andy said "What is it with Republicans and elusive weapons?"

This made me laugh until I cried.

Anonymous said...

Any volunteers to deliver the entire contents of the sewerage works to the Auditor General's office. Or is there some way of sorting out the good proffessor's nether region paperwork.

Well he has requested it.

Little Mouse

Anonymous said...

The above screed by the anonymous PE should be a reminder that "plug and chug" engineering courses do not make one scientifically literate.

But I digress -- here's something that was posted by a *serious* tinfoil-hatter over at

Russ Walsh says:
May 1, 2010 at 12:55 AM

Mann’s just the beginning. The list needs to include Gore, Suzuki (The Canadian enviro @&^*!!! who said that anyone who didn’t believe in manmade global warming should be jailed), members of the media, NASA’s Hanson. The list is too long for this space! These people attacked us, and its time to clean up. Had it not been for Climategate and Lord Christopher Monckton we’d all be enslaved in one world global government thru the Copenhagen Treaty they STILL trying to ram through. Leftists are the most deviant, lying, deceitful, bullying gang of thugs you’ll ever meet.

This is what Michael Mann is up against -- I really hate to say this, but I have concerns about his personal safety.

EliRabett said...

Well yes, Anon Eng (take a number please if you comment here), for example, the Royal Society has appointed a committee to check the science at the CRU, and there have been decades of evaluations of climate related research done by panels of the US National Academy of Sciences and similar bodies elsewhere.

chrisd said...

My favorite quote on Ken Cuccinelli, from a gawker blog earlier this month:

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has only been in office since January, but he's already demonstrated that Virginians accidentally elected a crazy person.

That comment, by the way, was the result of Cuccinelli's statement that he might not get a Social Security number for his upcoming 7th child (!) because "it is being used to track you."

Oh, he appears to be a birther, too.

carrot eater said...

As with Boris: Given that Mann works on paleo, what on earth about the recent warming does Singer expect to learn from this witch-hunt?

"accidentally elected a crazy person"

That actually seems about right. Most attention was on the top of the ticket (governor); the AG just came in on the coattails.

carrot eater said...

Prediction: It'll turn out that Mann's admin once used the wrong account number to buy $70 worth of crappy pizza for the grad students at a seminar.

And the usual suspects will declare the final nail in the coffin, yet again.

JamTheCat said...

Singer sounds like the idiots who made fun of Noah for building his ark...and we know what happened to them.

Anonymous said...

Snow Bunny says:

This is inconsistent with Fred's personality and capabilities since when?

He's jealous of other scientists. I read one of his earlier papers putting down a whole field with a lordly air and mumbo-jumbo. Non-sequitur all the way down, imho. Shouldn't have been published.

I don't know of any constructive scientific work he ever did. I admit I didn't read a lot of his papers, not liking the mental torture junk papers give me. I just suspected all them were that way.

You think Fred has just now gone over the top? In 1960 he suggested Phobos, a moon of Mars, was built by aliens. Made a newspaper headline of it.

Anonymous said...

And I thought Fred knew the world was warming...he wrote a book called something like Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 years in which the warming is all part of natural cycle. Now apparently Mann's hiding the decline means the world isn't warming, whdich means Fred's book was totally wrong, right???

Or was his book so thoroughly debunked he gave up on natural global warming and decided he'd have better success denying things were warming at all?

He must know what "hide the decline" means too. Is he stupid, delusional living in a small box, or a liar? I don't think he's stupid, fwiw, so that narrows the choices.

-daniel j. andrews

John Mashey said...

Re: Fred Singer
People really, really should make a note to read the Oreskes/Conway "Merchants of Doubt", which should be out later this month. Fred is included in great detail, going back many decades and the story is more complex than it seems. Fred seems more in the Seitz mold than the Milloy mold.

Gar Lipow said...

>Fred seems more in the Seitz mold than the Milloy mold.

Can you explain the distinction?

Anonymous said...

>Fred seems more in the Seitz mold than the Milloy mold.

Can you explain the distinction?

My guess is that Seitz is more of a "Dr. Strangelove" type, while Milloy better fits the Ferengi mold (think "Quark" from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).

--caerbannog the anonybunny

TrueSceptic said...

Gar Lipow,

Singer and Seitz were both good scientists until their ideology and greed got the better of them. Milloy has never been anything other than a right-wing propagandist. If you need to know more, there are many sources.

EliRabett said...

Singer has never been in Seitz's class as a scientist, but the two were friends.

Robert P. said...

To follow up on Eli's point, here's some data from ISI:

S. Fred Singer: Most cited paper has 92 citations.
10th most cited paper has 43 citations.
h-index = 21

Frederick Seitz: Most cited paper has 715 citations.
10th most cited paper has 201 citations.
h-index = 40

Michael E. Mann: Most cited paper - 680 citations.
10th most cited paper has 124 citations.
h-index = 32

The denialati keep promoting Singer as some giant of atmospheric science. He's not. He's a regular guy, who did some good work back in the 50's and 60's, but nothing earthshaking.

Gar Lipow said...

Thanks for the clarifications. I hope the stuff I do on solar and wind and efficiency is as useful to ya'll as your hard work in keeping up on who is who and what is what in the denial sphere is to me.

Martin Vermeer said...

McIntyre is obviously embarrassed -- as I would be in his shoes. Hmm, why am I reminded of Khrushchev denouncing Stalin? McI should have known where the blog science road ends: at mob science.

Skip Smith said...

The mob science can be found in the comment section of any blog devoted to climate study. What sets blogs apart is how they deal with the nuts. ClimateAudit actually does a nice job of reigning in the fruitcakes.

Martin Vermeer said...

Skip, are you serious? (No, don't answer that.) McI is the senior mob scientist... the nuts are a chapter apart. Methinks your standards have slipped a bit.

Skip Smith said...

McIntyre has cut off comments on multiple threads on Cuccinelli vs. Mann because they were too aggressive and mean spirited.

And if having a blog about climate science is "mob science" then there are dozens of guilty parties on both sides.

Skip Smith said...

Actually, before I argue further, I should ask how you define "mob scientist."

Martin Vermeer said...

Skip, I'll pass on the definition and rather illustrate by example... does Yamal ring a bell?

There's more where that came from.

Skip Smith said...

So you're using the term "mob scientist" as an insult, but you can't actually define it?

Martin Vermeer said...

You know what blog science stands for, don't you? (Hint: no, it's not "blogging about science".)

"Mob science" is when that gets out of hand, and Steve needs his plausible-deniability skills. Yamal shows the process in action, thought you could connect the dots yourself. Sorry.

Do you need a formal definition? I'm lazy as bunnies go, but if you insist...

Skip Smith said...

Would this be an example of the plausible deniability you're talking about?

>>"Takinig the high road is
probably very important here. If *others* want to say that their actions represent
scientific fraud, intellectual dishonesty, etc. (as I think we all suspect they do), lets
let *them* make these charges for us!"<<

Martin Vermeer said...

Skip, thanks for a useful link! Eh, did you read it? Because it is an own goal.

This mail is a live demo of what Steve ought to be doing if he wants to be taken seriously; what he has been told time and again, and it never seems to stick: do the science. Let the evidence speak for you, not the snark and innuendo. You don't need that if you're right. But "blog science" is so much more fun, innit?

And by the way, the statement you quote was not made in public. No science illiterate mob or echo chamber was being played. There is simply nothing to deny, plausibly or otherwise.

An even better example is described here, about the Douglass et al. paper, where the evidence for fraud is convincing, yet the F word was never used in public.

Thanks for making my broader point. Do you still need that definition? ;-)

Skip Smith said...

If you think that's doing science, we're done here.

Martin Vermeer said...


bluegrue said...

The University of Virginia has engaged a law firm to explore options regarding the CID.

Anonymous said...

As a busy bird, I am always looking for nice threads. You gotta feather a nest, we all know that... but hey, does stuff like this really happen? To think that this Barry Saltzman guy; got his 'Big Idea', after Tiny Tim sang his song, way back, in the early sixties. Wow!...

Save the world? Gotta Franklin...
If you lived here, you would be home by now. Buy-buy...

willard said...

Sorry to be late.

A basic definition of a mob scientist would be a scientist that promotes his work by enthralling her audience with antagonism towards her competitors.

Promotion can be taken in a technical sense; a common trick is dog-whistling.

By this definition, there are indeed dozens of guilty parties on both sides.

Paul Daniel Ash said...


The gender-neutral pronoun is your friend.