Get Popcorn. Mike Mann Throws down with Scientific American.

May 23, 2011

If you haven’t watched this video yet, do so now.
I’ll wait.
I generally eschew covering the “inside baseball” controversies of deniers versus the reality based community, but this one’s pretty good, and if it goes to court, the above Climate Crocks video might be a prominent exhibit.

Here’s the latest. Scientific American has now published an interview with Richard Muller, in which Muller repeats the most popular climate denial talking points related to Mike Mann’s famous and endlessly replicated hockey stick temperature graph, and throws in unsupportable slurs against Al Gore, the IPCC, and climate science in general. The magazine’s editors did not see fit to fact check any of the statements.

All of which generally ticked off the redoubtable and pugnacious Joe Romm – who has now launched a withering blog-osphere assault on the august icon of American science writing, with  the above Climate Crock video as a leading exhibit.  Mike Mann is quoted in the piece:

“..Anyone who thinks that Richard Muller has any credibility at all should see this recent video report by Peter Sinclair, which shows him clearly lying about the science and the scientists. There is no room for such dishonesty when it comes to discussions of science.”

Which means, I guess, that if Muller hasn’t seen the video in which he plays a starring role, yet, he will with breakfast this morning.

The video makes clear that Muller has misquoted key documents from the “climategate” emails on more than one occasion, and in such a way as to reinforce the most egregious climate denial distortions. In spite of that, I’m actually kinder to the guy than Romm is – but Muller has now shown the spectacularly poor judgement of saying things to Sciam like

“I also separately learned of work done by Steve McIntyre up in Canada, who looked at the “hockey stick” data….  I reviewed the paper that the hockey stick was based on, and I became very uncomfortable. I felt that the paper didn’t support the chart enough.  A few years later, McIntyre came out and, indeed, showed that the hockey-stick chart was in fact incorrect. It had been affected by a very serious bug in the way scientists calculated their principal components. So I was glad that I had done that.”

..a statement that runs counter to fact based pieces that have previously run in Sciam itself.

Muller does not distance himself from his previous statements, documented in the video, that seem at variance to reality. In fact, he doubles down. Mann is having none of it, and has sent Scientific American a letter demanding correction and apology, or face legal action.

To help you better know the dogs in this fight, as a public service, I offer the following run down on the players:

Richard Muller: Physicist, Berkeley. Author of popular science book “Physics for Future Presidents”, and “The Instant Physicist: an Illustrated Guide”, where you can find nuggets of wisdom like this.  Front man for the Koch funded Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which he claims will rectify all the dishonesty and exaggerations in the global temperature record, but so far has only reinforced what the rest of us have known for 20 years.

Michael Mann: One of the world’s best known experts on Paleo-climate, and one of denierville’s favorite demons. Author of the well known “hockey stick” temperature graph, which shows how global temperatures have spiked over the last 200 years – which has survived all attacks over the last 12 years and shown itself to be an accurate representation of the best scientific estimates of paleo temperatures.  Tireless defender of science against denialist drivel.

Joe Romm: Physicist, former Assistant Secretary of Energy, and author of the world’s most prominent climate-themed blog, ClimateProgress.

4 Responses to “Get Popcorn. Mike Mann Throws down with Scientific American.”

  1. mrsircharles Says:

    Kudos, Peter.

    The difference between climate scientists and professional deniers (such as Anthony Watts)? Real scientists openly publish their data. Richard Muller is now repeatedly being blamed by the “Wattsupwiththat” community for abusing “confidential data” which he got from Watts.

    Seems like Muller is in deep trouble coming from both sides…

  2. TDAR1405 Says:

    A great read.

    Also, congrats on getting your video linked.

  3. otter17 Says:

    A bump from Dr. Mann… awesome.

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