Cuccinelli tells court former U-Va. professor's academic freedom not threatened

From the Washington Post

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has told a judge that his request for documents related to the work of former University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann should be granted because neither academic freedom nor the First Amendment “immunizes” a person from a fraud investigation.

The university has petitioned a judge to set aside Cuccinelli’s “civil investigative demand,” essentially a subpoena, in which he sought seeking emails sent to and from Mann before he left the university in 2005, as well as information about five public grants Mann received while at the school.Cuccinelli made a lengthy response to the university’s petition in an Albemarle Circuit Court on Tuesday. In his answer, a top staff attorney for Cuccinelli rejects several arguments that had been made by the university’s lawyers–hired specially to handle the case, which has received national attention.

Cuccinelli notes some documents he has sought are public records that could ordinarily be released through a Freedom of Information request. He also uses Mann’s own resume to indicate the grants he has asked about were awarded through the university, even though some involved federal money.

But the core of Cuccinelli’s initial response is a rejection of the university’s position that turning over Mann’s documents would violate his academic freedom. The university had been under significant pressure from academics who believed Cuccinelli’s attempt to get the documents was part of a politcally-motivated crusade scientists who have researched global warming. “Academic freedom is neither implicated nor threatened by the CIDs” Cuccinelli’s lawyer wrote, arguing that academics have no shield against allegations that they have committed fraud.

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94 thoughts on “Cuccinelli tells court former U-Va. professor's academic freedom not threatened

  1. Academic freedom….we are at a crossroads here.
    That backroom deals and conspiratorial machinations resulted in the subversion (distortion?) of the peer-review process is one thing. If the release of the climate-gate e-mails had only raised more ire within academia, the miscreants would have been brought to heel.
    Sadly, all we have seen to date are whitewashes and misdirection. This too will pass and saner heads will eventually prevail. This does not excuse the methods that were employed to (almost) achieve the means.
    Mann appears to be the poster-child for “professors gone bad” so making an example of him will be a cautionary tale to ensure better behavior from grant-seeking scientists. Using “re-jigged” results to gain more grants may constitute fraud and as such, deserves to receive the full punishment that the law provides.

  2. Looks 100% like a fishing expetition and harrassment. The DA can’t even say what he is looking for. Not sure how much time it would take for the university to comply or for the DA’s office to go through the information. Since Mann is not longer at UV, I assume that the costs will only accrue to the unversity and the DA’s office. In general, the sucess of grants is judged by publications and weak performance (few or weak publications) reduces one’s chance with further grant proposals. Does the DA expect to undercover fraud in the administration of the grant by some accountant clerk in the grants research department at the University of Virginia?

  3. This will be a good test to see if scrutiny can be brought to bear on people taking taxpayer money while purporting to do climate science…. and the institutions that facilitate them.
    So far it appears they are not willing to entertain a spirit of cooperation and transparency…… So, what is it that they are afraid will be discovered?

  4. Wriggle wriggle.
    Still, at least Piltdown Mann won’t be troubling us with spurious tree ring trends while he’s soaking up $1,800,000 studying the flightpaths of mosquitos.

  5. I’m glad Ken Cuccinelli is still on the case. The more Michael Mann and those involved with him resist the more they look guilty. So all I can say is I hope they step up their efforts to resist even more.

  6. It’s immensely funny to read what happens in comments at the WaPo when BruceFairfax starts quoting text. It is geschribben and rippen to shredden.
    ================

  7. Bravo!!! Cuccinelli… If fraud has been alleged, they must be forthcoming…. Even IF no fraud was alleged, all documents created with public funds should be available for public inspection… It’s time to get tough with our money… I just hope it’s not too late…

  8. Also noteworthy is the incoherent rage and raving of the alarmist faction, using invective and rhetoric peculiar to the tribe. That comment section is going to be worth following for awhile.
    ====================

  9. BillD says:
    June 20, 2010 at 6:44 am
    Looks 100% like a fishing expetition and harrassment.
    100% Bill? It depends what kind of glasses you’re looking through.

  10. The reporting on this story has not been good. Read the comments and you can see how confused people are about what is going on.
    Of course the government can investigate Mann. This is essentially an audit. If Mann has committed fraud, then he and the university have to return money to Virginia. Even if Mann has committed fraud, he will not be sent to prison. This is only about the money. And Cuccinelli is not judging the science. The people who think it is are way, way off base. The reporter should do a better job of explaining what Cuccinelli is looking at.
    Mann and the university should stop complaining and turn over the documents. Thye are acting like they are guilty! If I was Cuccinelli, I would keep pressing.

  11. On the comments page of the Washington Post RonInIrvine put it best:

    “Mann and the university should stop complaining and turn over the documents. Thye are acting like they are guilty! If I was Cuccinelli, I would keep pressing.”

    Through experience Cuccinelli knows that the more an organisation resists the more likely there is a smoking gun.
    As my ma always used to say “If you got nothing to hide, you got nothing to fear.” :o(

  12. Good. Both barrels, Mr. Attorney General.
    The arrogance of academia is rather disgusting, frankly.

  13. BillD says:
    “Looks 100% like a fishing expetition and harrassment. The DA can’t even say what he is looking for.”
    Actually, it pretty clear what he is looking for and neither fishing nor harassment is involved. Mann’s e-mail may very well contain discussion, as there was in the CRU e-mail, of unscientific thinking that went into creating the HockeyStick graph in which he/they (colleagues) consciously selected data and altered statistical programming to create a specific desired result.
    It is one thing to make an honest error and logically follow and try to support a wrong hypothesis, but it is another to knowingly use immoral and false methods to create a result to support a politically motivated hypothesis. Now it is fraud—no academic freedom is involved—as other people’s money was used to fund the fraud and the results would be used to support the larger fraud of AGW.
    Academic freedom does not mean that a tenured professor can do anything he/she jolly well pleases. There are still bounds. First, they are subject to all of our morals, ethics, and laws. They do have the freedom to study any area of knowledge they like or even change fields, as Albert Svent-Gyorgi did when he switched from biochemistry to crystallography. However, they do have to follow rational lines of thought and have to perform defendable work; otherwise, being unproductive, they can be stripped of their tenure. Yep, there are indeed limits.
    And, if a paper was published, it only means that the rationale of the paper and its form was acceptable to that particular journal and its editor. It is the discussion and academic (lacking ad hominem attacks) arguments that follow that determines whether it is good science or not.
    I was in lipid biochemistry and the literature from before 1980 is rank with papers that appear to make sense, but when you learn the odd chemistry that can occur in nonaqueous environments of fats, oils, and hydrocarbons and the innocent mistakes that can be made in handling these compounds, you find that over 50% of the papers are rubbish. Now that we know this, from our own and contemporary work, only the truly valid papers and their methods are cited over and over in current literature, becoming the scientific foundation of current and future work.
    Time, adult discussion, and the utility of the published science determines, in a form of Darwinian selection, the fitness of the science.

  14. “Looks 100% like a fishing expedition and harrassment.” BillD
    Of course it’s a fishing expedition. Is that supposed to be some kind of condemnation? Every time the IRS audits someone they are on a fishing expedition. If a university or a researcher takes grant money they should expect to make an accounting of how the money was used. As long as governments give out grant money there will be people tempted to misuse it and there will have to be people making sure it doesn’t get misused, that’s the nature of money. You know, even Andy Revkin over at the NYTimes jokes about grant money, saying, “I got out of college in 1978. I was lucky enough to get a fellowship that allowed me to study ‘Man’s Relationship to the Sea in the South Pacific’ It was a real scam.” – this was during his keynote at a recent “Moving By Degrees” symposium. I think that people should take grant money more seriously than they do. Thinking that a vague notion such as “academic freedom” is license for educators and researchers do as they please simply because they think of themselves as academic is naive. Furthermore this all ties in to the uncertainty of climate science which is the thing that the U.S. Supreme Court directed the EPA to be on the watch for. There is a strong possibility that Cuccinelli is motivated by political considerations, but this is not that different from scientists letting their political cant interfere with their scientific judgments. Let’s not forget that Mann’s colleagues are the ones that described him as using a “trick.” That alone may be sufficient to warrant attention from authorities.

  15. I love the bit where UVA’ lawyer is claiming that the since this is the first time a CID has been issued under the FATA, it is unprecedented.
    The warmers do so love that word – and now, finally, they get to use it in legal brief. I’m so happy for them.

  16. I am still underwhelmed by the attourney general jumping into this. I do actually consider it a publicity stunt for future political gain.
    That said , the fact that the last stand for people looking for the actual truth in a scientific issue revolving around the basic principles of the scientific method, ie., propose a theory, design an experiment , evealuate the results, ADJUST YOUR THEORY TO THE OBSERVED RESULTS, retest, continue the cycle until you have a thesis that withstands all the test. Publish your results , discuss the objections with anybody who has a problem with your theory. Make sure that your results are reproduceable by anybody who is interested.
    In this particular case the AGW theory has world changing implications if it stands up to the scientific test. There could be Nobel invitations for properly done research , so just out of curiosity
    WHY ON EARTH ARE THE PEOPLE WHO DESIGNED THE TESTS AND DID THE RESEARCH NOT STANDING ONTOP OF THE BIGEST MOUNTAIN THEY CAN FIND YELLING AT THE WORLD . HERE IS MY DATA, HERE IS MY THEORY BRIONG ON YOUR BEST I WILL DEFEND MY THEORIES BECAUSE THEY ARE WITHOUT ANY DOUBT CORRECT.
    Unfortunately we are left with a bunch of incestuous back patters who can not defend their lunch choices let alone some of what could have been earth shaking research.
    Here endeth the rant

  17. BillD:
    “Not sure how much time it would take for the university to comply or for the DA’s office to go through the information. ”
    Hell of a lot less than fighting it out in court. Are you suggesting that no possible frauds should ever be investigated, as the same objection always applies?
    BillD: “Since Mann is not longer at UV, I assume that the costs will only accrue to the unversity and the DA’s office. ”
    Maybe you are hinting that Mann should pay the costs if guilty? Anyone have a problem with that?
    Again, should no fraud inquiries ever take place?
    In any case, if it leads to applicants for grants being more scrupulous than they otherwise might have been the investigation could pay for itself.
    BillD: “In general, the sucess of grants is judged by publications and weak performance (few or weak publications) reduces one’s chance with further grant proposals. ”
    That anyone can put this idea forward with a straight face after the proof of “the team” at least attempting to pervert peer review is astonishing.

  18. I am confused, and perhaps someone with a better understanding of the law can help me out here. But isn’t the U-Va a publicly funded institution, and weren’t the documents in question prepared using U-Va (therefore publicly owned) machines? If those two observations are correct then wouldn’t the recent Supreme Court ruling (Ontario vs. Quon) apply? It is my understanding that the court found that an individual using a publicly owned communication device did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. It seems to me that the court has made it clear that anyone who uses publicly paid for equipment and publicly paid for work time has in essence produced a publicly paid for document and that those documents should be made available. Have I misinterpreted the court ruling? Or is there some other reason why this ruling wouldn’t apply in this instance?

  19. Not to worry America! In the short term, if Mann has done anything for which he should be punished he will receive a Pardon from the President of the ASPCC and a few more grants from the NAS. If the University of Virginia has done anything for which it should be punished it will receive numurous pledges and bequests from the AlGoreInstitute.ORG.
    In the long term, Mann will live (after he dies) in infamy and be despised by real scientists (and many psyentists) forever and ever and evermore (a Benedict Arnold kind’a fella), and the University will be renamed The Mann GED Institute of Fiction and Poetry and eventually become a Community College, LLC, on the WWW, restricted to those in prison for child molesting and serving life terms.
    Damnation is for Eternity! Or so I’m told.

  20. “BillD says:
    June 20, 2010 at 6:44 am
    Looks 100% like a fishing expetition and harrassment. The DA can’t even say what he is looking for. Not sure how much time it would take for the university to comply or for the DA’s office to go through the information. Since Mann is not longer at UV, I assume that the costs will only accrue to the unversity and the DA’s office. In general, the sucess of grants is judged by publications and weak performance (few or weak publications) reduces one’s chance with further grant proposals. Does the DA expect to undercover fraud in the administration of the grant by some accountant clerk in the grants research department at the University of Virginia?”

    When you sign on to get ‘government money’ everything you do that you charge to that money belongs to the government sponsor – you lose ALL rights to it and any privacy on the work. The intellectual property of anything done with government funding is vested TOTALLY with the government. Effectively, your work should be ‘open book’ as far as the government sponsor is concerned. In this case the government sponsor is now of the opinion that something was hidden from them – they have absolute right to ask for and see anything that was used or developed under that research grant.
    These government research grants are by no means free money and the fruits of your and your students’ labors are completely owned by the government this includes not only results but also any stationery and furniture and computer hardware and software that was funded under the grant- if you don’t like that idea then don’t ask for a government grant.
    Access to the information will in the end will come down to a simple contractual argument. Remember the State may also decide that if the university is recalcitrant in meeting these contractual research grant obligations, then perhaps no further State research grants will be extended to any department of the university. The fact that the university is willing to risk loss of all research funding raises some questions about what it is they feel they need to withhold: presumably disclosure of whatever it is would be of equal cost to them as loss of grant funding.

  21. “The DA can’t even say what he is looking for. The DA can’t even say what he is looking for. ”
    and that is why he is requesting the records d’oh!
    not until he gets the records will he know whether or not fraud has taken place

  22. BillD Said:
    “The DA can’t even say what he is looking for.”
    Actually, the DA said specifically that he was investigating the possibility of FRAUD. It doesn’t make any difference who committed the fraud.
    Yes, it looks like a fishing expedition. So what? It is a time honored liberal political tradition.
    We have all seen some pretty ugly fish that need to be expelled from the academic pond, and finding the Al Capone equivalent of income tax evasion is just as effective in curtailing Dr Mann’s damage on honest science and society.

  23. And that is why I am proud to be a Virginian! Here’s an inconvenient truth. Professors at Virginia public universities are state employees. The AG has full standing for the investigation of all current and former state employees.

  24. “Academic freedom” is as important as freedom of speech, but academic fraud deserves no nore protection than freedom of speech can protect one’s freedom to lie under oath. Mann is not being tried for scientific perjury, but why is academia trying to thwart the process if fact-finding? Is there an academic fear of uncovering the true facts?

  25. Academic freedom?.A close friend just sent me the following. I just can´t believe this is happening in the USA.
    THE SNEEZE
    They walked in tandem, each of the ninety-two students filing into the already crowded auditorium. With their rich maroon gowns flowing and the traditional caps, they looked almost as grown up as they felt.
    Dads swallowed hard behind broad smiles, and Moms freely brushed away tears.
    This class would NOT pray during the commencements, not by choice, but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it.
    The principal and several students were careful to stay within the guidelines allowed by the ruling. They gave inspirational and challenging speeches, but no one mentioned divine guidance and no one asked for blessings on the graduates or their families.
    The speeches were nice, but they were routine until the final speech received a standing ovation.
    A solitary student walked proudly to the microphone. He stood still and silent for just a moment, and then, it happened.
    All 92 students, every single one of them, suddenly SNEEZED !!!!
    The student on stage simply looked at the audience and said,
    ‘GOD BLESS YOU’
    And he walked off the stage…
    The audience exploded into applause. This graduating class had found a unique way to invoke God’s blessing on their future with or without the court’s approval.
    Isn’t this a wonderful story? Pass it on to all your friends………and
    GOD BLESS YOU!
    This is a true story; it happened at the University of Maryland.

  26. This is just a Political witch hunt, as the “hockey stick’ has been replicated by numerous other studies.

  27. “academics who believed Cuccinelli’s attempt to get the documents was part of a politcally-motivated crusade scientists who have researched global warming”
    crusade against scientists

  28. What surprised me was how weak and poorly constructed UVa’s petition was. They basically argued that the state can’t investigate the use of grant money at the university, despite the UK ICO finding prima facia evidence of a crime in the climategate emails, because university faculty are fine and excellent men of letters. I’m sure that in the insular world of academia such arguments have force, but in a court of law, it won’t get them very far.

  29. Ref – jcrabb says:
    June 20, 2010 at 9:23 am
    “This is just a Political witch hunt, as the “hockey stick’ has been replicated by numerous other studies.”
    ______________________-
    Soooooo True! Mann is a politician and deserves everything they throw at him. And that Hockey Stick thing you said is true too! We used to tape boomerangs to broomsticks and mophandles to play hockey backstage when I was in college. They worked great! But, you know, there’s no good substitute for a real puck. Gotta have a real puck.

  30. Are you in need of a broom or a magic wand?
    jcrabb says:
    June 20, 2010 at 9:23 am
    This is just a Political witch hunt, as the “hockey stick’ has been replicated by numerous other studies.

  31. Steve Oregon says:
    crusade against scientists

    Anyone who serves a master betraying his honor is not longer a scientist but a mercenary,

  32. Re: research scientists who cry waaayy every time someone wants to monitor/review
    use of public funds. I’m a special ed teacher. It happens to us every year at the state and federal level. Wanna complain ’bout it? Take a number and wait your turn.
    As for scientific freedom, the fact that I am monitored has nothing to do with my freedom to choose methodologies that produce student improvement results. I, and the district, more importantly can’t rob Peter to pay Paul, or call something one thing when in essence, it is another, in order to serve kids with disabilities. We can’t fudge test results (and we are monitored for that too), we can’t use funds from one account to pay for another, we can’t cut services when student count is the same but the economy sucks, we can’t be calling people disabled just because we want to double dip, etc, etc, etc. The review is extensive and takes a couple of months to complete and turn in. Every year. The review, which in essence is a search for wrong doing, is finely detailed, to the point that whether or not a student progresses is less of an issue than whether or not our records are complete.
    The public demands how its money is spent. Mr. Mann, call 1-800 waaayyy.

  33. “……..academics who believed Cuccinelli’s attempt to get the documents was part of a politcally-motivated crusade…….”
    A politically-motivated response to a politically-motivated crusade would seem more apt. If academia had refrained from becoming politicized and if climate science would have avoided activism then none of this would have been necessary. I’m only surprised it hasn’t happened earlier.

  34. “WHY ON EARTH ARE THE PEOPLE WHO DESIGNED THE TESTS AND DID THE RESEARCH NOT STANDING ONTOP OF THE BIGEST MOUNTAIN THEY CAN FIND YELLING AT THE WORLD . HERE IS MY DATA, HERE IS MY THEORY BRIONG ON YOUR BEST I WILL DEFEND MY THEORIES BECAUSE THEY ARE WITHOUT ANY DOUBT CORRECT”
    I agree. Thats why I was excited to hear a debate in which Gavin Schmidt was a speaker. I was totally taken aback by his complete failure to present any proof of CAGW, and worse, he engaged in attacks on those people who were not “believers”. At that point, I saw the light. The whole hypothesis is close to a scam or fraud. While there might be some warming due to CO2, it is going to be so small as to be of no concern, perhaps 0.6 C.

  35. Looks 100% like a fishing expetition and harrassment.

    In law, that’s called “discovery”. BillD isn’t a lawyer, is he?

  36. jcrabb says:
    June 20, 2010 at 9:23 am
    “This is just a Political witch hunt, as the “hockey stick’ has been replicated by numerous other studies.”
    Other studies like Keith Briffa’s amazing Yamal tree study (one tree accounted for the hockey stick shape) or Phil Jones “Hide the decline study?”

  37. I forget, which part of the Constitution guarantees academic freedom? Now we all know that university professors do have special freedoms not guaranteed to the rest of us. After all, they’re elite and we aren’t. I guess academic freedom is found in the same place in the Constitution where is guarantees the right to privacy. I suppose the reason I don’t know where either are found is because I don’t have the talent of being able to read between the lines (to make it say whatever I want it to say).

  38. It amazes me that legitimate climate scientists haven’t condemned the use of data from trees that give falsely low temperatures. Is there somewhere I’ve missed that they have admitted that that is bad science? I also don’t recall them condemning Mike’s Nature trick of hiding the inconvenient data. Have I missed that somewhere also? This refusal to condemn these tricks seems to be universal on their side. Therefore, since they call us deniers, maybe we should start calling the the people who defend the trick, tricksters.

  39. Here’s another Steve;
    “which he sought seeking ”
    Author must be from The Department of Redundancy Department!

  40. The public funds scientists to discover the truth. Why would scientists not want to be completely honest and open?
    Just in case anyone hasn’t had a chance to review this typical Jones-Mannerism:
    Here’s a climategate thread showing Mann’s ethics in action:
    http://eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=903
    Discussing Jones’ ‘impact factor’ in the literature, Jones says that his common surname results in too high a score. Not wanting to miss an opportunity for elevating the readings, Mann says he’ll use the untruthful, artificially high number:
    Mann: “HI Phil, OK–thanks, I’ll just go w/ the H=62. That is an impressive number and almost certainly higher than the vast majority of AGU Fellows.”
    That anyone can behave like this, create bogus relationships using shoddy amateurish ‘statistical’ methods, vehemently attack scientific colleagues, pervert the peer review system, and still obtain massive grant funding is an absolute disgrace.

  41. BillD says:
    June 20, 2010 at 6:44 am
    Looks 100% like a fishing expetition and harrassment. The DA can’t even say what he is looking for. Not sure how much time it would take for the university to comply or for the DA’s office to go through the information. Since Mann is not longer at UV, I assume that the costs will only accrue to the unversity and the DA’s office. In general, the sucess of grants is judged by publications and weak performance (few or weak publications) reduces one’s chance with further grant proposals. Does the DA expect to undercover fraud in the administration of the grant by some accountant clerk in the grants research department at the University of Virginia?
    In the case you hadn’t noticed, Mann was involved in the ‘ClimateGate’ matter up to his proverbial eyebrows.
    It is your thought to say that because Mann is no longer at the university, that an investigation into wrongdoing has no validity?
    Isn’t that every bit the same as the CRU thinking that they could put off responding to a FOI request until the 6 month limit had been reached, and thence declare that the request was no longer valid?

  42. While I certainly wish there was another methodology for uncovering these charlatans’ chicanery, if Cucinelli’s approach is what’s available, let’s rock and roll.
    Crying about ‘academic freedom’, to distract from the valid question of what may or may not have been done with the public dime simply won’t play in Peoria, and certainly shouldn’t in a court of law.
    Whining that it’s ‘all political’ – well, live by the sword, die by the sword. When Hanson gets the memo, for his sake, hope he’s wearing dark slacks.

  43. Back in MAY WUWT had this: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/30/ken-cuccinelli-versus-810-academics/#more-20046
    A couple of thoughts come to mind:
    ++ If the university freely gave up Dr. Patrick Michaels’ “private” emails to Greenpeace without any legal requirement, it is hard to see how the university can now play the other side of the fence where there is a legal proceeding.
    ++ Why this fervent defense of academic freedom etc., for Dr. Mann and UV but not for Dr. Michaels? UV can’t have it both ways.

  44. Unless funds were diverted for a purpose other than what was specified in the grant, then fraud was not committed. It’s been amply demonstrated that Dr. Mann’s research has flaws that he stubbornly will not acknowledge, that he has over-reached on his analysis and conclusions, that he fails to adhere to standard practices of science such as openly sharing data and methods, and that he’s a boor. However, none of these things, while rightly condemned, amount to fraud. This investigation is within the rights of the Virgina AG, but borders closely on the abuse of power. As in the Duke lacrosse team case, public officials can be tempted to use the power of the State for their own purposes. That had better not be the case here or nobody is served well. If Dr. Mann is hounded unfairly, even if he deserves being pulled up short for not playing nice, the public and the researchers all suffer. We need better science, not retribution.

  45. This is the ultimate peer review. If someone is willing to accept public (0ur money) for their research, then their research should be open to review by those who represent the public (the attorney general). Why not release any and all information if there is nothing to hide? This is not a question of national security clearance. This is public information, since the public paid for it. And besides, Mann wants to re-engineer society using his data, so before we do that, why not let the information be closely reviewed by any and all who wish to, including the highest legal authority of the State? It is not like Mann doesnt take a political position with all his work, is he impartial and non opinionated, quite the opposite. So they say his information can not be released because the person asking for it, the AG, is not impartial or non opinionated. You can’t have it both ways. Keep up the pressure AG, the law is on your side.

  46. Oh, and since the trick wasn’t really a bad thing, the trick was just a clever method of doing a calculation, they shouldn’t mind being called tricksters. And since they aren’t really calling us Nazi Holocaust deniers when they call us deniers, we aren’t really calling them frauds when we call them tricksters. We’re just saying they have lots of good clever tricks for doing their calculations.

  47. @jcrabb. do you mean the studies that used the same faulty data and trick as the origional, or the ones with such poor cross validation R2 values that they are meaningless statistically?

  48. As a Virginia taxpayer I am grateful to Mr. Cuccinelli for pursuing this case. He is doing what a huge majority of the voters elected him to do. As a retired academic (30+ years in college and university teaching and administration), I have had experience with the academic mindset, including matters of funding and grantsmanship. I witnessed many ways of gaming the system, of making sure that a grant could be renewed or extended by failing to complete within the time limit, of overstating the problem in order to interest people in government and industry. Oh, yes, university people cozy up to industry as well as government when grant money is involved. Often a position may depend upon government or industry funding, and a university teacher is just as fond of job income as anyone else. The idea that a university teacher is somehow pure, disinterested, objective, truly scientific, without bias or conflict of interest, is false. The university is as pure, and as corrupt, as the rest of humanity, and most of it is subject to the same laws. Mr. Cuccinelli is not only well within his rights (and job description) to press his investigation; he is also obligated by his position as an officer of the law to probe where he sees a reason to do so. That judgment is his to make, and he has made it.

  49. Of course there should be proper scrutiny of the use of public funds, and as a layman I don’t see anything wrong with the granting of funds for scientific research being routinely “audited”, but that is not what is happening here – it is an investigation into a potential criminal offence. And for such a thing to take place surely there should actually be some evidence of an actual offence having been committed, otherwise it is, as mentioned above, just a fishing expedition.
    How many people here would be happy for their local DA’s office to subpoena their tax returns, just in case they have commited tax fraud.

  50. They basically argued that the state can’t investigate the use of grant money at the university, despite the UK ICO finding prima facia evidence of a crime in the climategate emails
    Firstly, the ICO has made no statement to this effect. Secondly U-Va is not subject to UK FoI laws.

  51. § 8.01-216.3. False claims; civil penalty.
    A. Any person who:
    1. Knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, to an officer or employee of the Commonwealth a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;
    2. Knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement to get a false or fraudulent claim paid or approved by the Commonwealth;
    3. Conspires to defraud the Commonwealth by getting a false or fraudulent claim allowed or paid;

    The University is saying that “Cuccinelli’s attempt to get the documents was part of a politcally-motivated crusade [against] scientists who have researched global warming.”
    Global warming is where the prestige, power, and money is right now for this and other Universities. How can they petition the court that investigations are somehow off-limits when it concerns climate research? It is shameful that an institution for higher learning would attempt to make such a deeply flawed argument.

  52. Dr. Raymond Stantz:
    Personally, I liked the University; they gave us money and facilities, we didn’t have to produce anything. You’ve never been out of college. You don’t know what it’s like out there. I’ve worked in the private sector–they expect results.

  53. jcrabb says:
    June 20, 2010 at 9:23 am
    This is just a Political witch hunt, as the “hockey stick’ has been replicated by numerous other studies.
    ************
    As a hockey fan I can tell that latest hockey sticks are made of some kind “s**t
    material. At least few of them are broken on every game. LOL

  54. It is astonishing that Penn State, a tax payer supported institution, would take the side of a faculty member who is essentially being accused of defrauding taxpayers.
    Unfortunately, that is probably what would happen at the majority of our educational institutions.

  55. What is astonishing is that UVA, a taxpayer supported institution, would take the side of a former faculty member who is essentially being accused of defrauding the taxpayers.
    Unfortunately, that attitude is prevelant in far too many of our educational institutions.

  56. Pamela Gray says:
    June 20, 2010 at 10:06 am
    Re: research scientists who cry waaayy every time someone wants to monitor/review
    use of public funds. I’m a special ed teacher. It happens to us every year at the state and federal level. Wanna complain ’bout it? Take a number and wait your turn.

    And that’s exactly how it happens for research scientists, first you have to justify every expenditure to the research grants dept of the university or apply for a variance if necessary, the university then has to submit its accounts to the granting body. Subsequently universities in receipt of federal government funds are audited about every five years. On several occasions in those audits I have been asked to justify a purchase made a few years before, fortunately I kept impeccable records so it was never a problem. I’ve also had to give evidence in a government fraud investigation of a research contractor (non university). The idea that these routine processes don’t take place and are opposed by research scientists is ludicrous. What is opposed is a politician instituting a witch hunt with no justification or probable cause.
    ssquared says:
    June 20, 2010 at 5:09 pm
    It is astonishing that Penn State, a tax payer supported institution, would take the side of a faculty member who is essentially being accused of defrauding taxpayers.

    Well it’s the University of Virginia not Penn State but you miss the point, it’s they who are being accused of fraud, they were the recipients of the grants and approved the expenditures!

  57. Felony missappropriation of funds. Docs can rip off insurance and Medicare and hide under HIPPAA. Health care privacy act has been tried. Docs get hammered and have to pay off. It looks like the first desparate attempt is to try to get the case tossed out. It won’t work.

  58. The Founders committed themselves to the highest standard of action in establishing the USA by The Declaration of Independence:

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, . . .

    With trillions of our taxpayer dollars at stake, let us renew that standard in Climate Science. Instead of complaining, let both the Universities and Climate scientists clearly publish their data and programs as well as showing how the funds met the grant application – to confirm that their science is impeccable – or else to expose it so that others can sweep away the cobwebs and establish solid models with clearly defendable data and methods.
    A true scientist has nothing to fear from a grant audit. The University’s objections smell like smoke – that they are trying to hide something rather than clearly showing that all their work is sound and above board.

  59. @ Andrew Adams
    “”They basically argued that the state can’t investigate the use of grant money at the university, despite the UK ICO finding prima facia evidence of a crime in the climategate emails””
    “Firstly, the ICO has made no statement to this effect. Secondly U-Va is not subject to UK FoI laws.”
    ——–
    The ICO wrote:
    “The emails [the climategate emails] which are now public reveal that Mr Holland’s requests under the Freedom of Information Act were not dealt with as they should have been under the legislation. Section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act makes it
    an offence [a crime] for public authorities to act so as to prevent intentionally the
    disclosure of requests for information.”
    And further: ‘[t]he Prima Facie evidence from the published emails indicate an attempt to defeat disclosure by deleting information. It is hard to imagine more cogent Prima Facie evidence.”
    The ICO was unable to prosecute under section 77 of the FOI Act because too much time had elapsed under UK law. However, they continue to pursue a case under section 50 of the Act. US law is different and these crimes can still be prosecuted in the US. The statutory authority in the UK found prima facie evidence of a crime and those same activities constitute a crime in the US. This alone is sufficient reason to undertake an investigation in the US.
    If grant money was used to pay the salaries of the people who were engaged in committing these alleged crimes, then that could constitute fraud.

  60. If fraud has been alleged, they must be forthcoming,

    Alleging isn’t enough. You need evidence.
    It’s quite clear he’s groping in the dark. In his response, he cites the CRU emails,

    “As we all know, this isn’t about truth at all, it’s about plausibly deniable accusations”

    unaware, apparently, that Mann is talking about skeptics.
    It’s a fishing expedition, an abuse of law. Stephen McIntyre and JeffID are on the money with this call, as was Tamino about Anthony Watts being hassled at his workplace. It’s a matter of principle.

  61. mpaul,
    I stand corrected over the opinion of the ICO, but the fact remains that if an offence was committed under the UK FOI act (and a prima facie case is not the same as hard evidence) it was commited by UEA, not U-Va or anyone employed by U-Va.

  62. ZT says:
    June 20, 2010 at 11:10 am
    “Here’s a climategate thread showing Mann’s ethics in action:”
    Yep ZT, every time someone defends Mann or Jones I direct them to the same emails. I have wondered since the release of the emails why no one has followed up on this. For sure, Jones should have had his credibility questioned in the UK Parliament enquiry, had anyone on the enquiry panel had the time or persistence to actually read the emails.
    As a matter of interest, should Cuccinelli get the emails, has he said that he will release them to the general public or will FOI’s be required to get him to release them?

  63. Charles Higley says:
    June 20, 2010 at 8:01 am
    …..Academic freedom does not mean that a tenured professor can do anything he/she jolly well pleases. There are still bounds. First, they are subject to all of our morals, ethics, and laws. They do have the freedom to study any area of knowledge they like or even change fields, as Albert Svent-Gyorgi did when he switched from biochemistry to crystallography. However, they do have to follow rational lines of thought and have to perform defendable work; otherwise, being unproductive, they can be stripped of their tenure. Yep, there are indeed limits.
    And, if a paper was published, it only means that the rationale of the paper and its form was acceptable to that particular journal and its editor. It is the discussion and academic (lacking ad hominem attacks) arguments that follow that determines whether it is good science or not….
    Time, adult discussion, and the utility of the published science determines, in a form of Darwinian selection, the fitness of the science.
    _________________________________________________________________________
    Unfortunately in Climate Science politics got in the way of the “Time, adult discussion, and the utility of the published science determines, in a form of Darwinian selection, the fitness of the science.” Actually according to testimony by Jones, it is “customary” to NOT provide the data and information to perform validation in “climate science” therefore “climate science” does not meet the definition of “science” at all. If “climate science” as practiced by Mann, Jones et al does not meet the accepted time honored definition of “peer reviewed science” as the Analysis of the key emails shows then every honest scientist should be 100% behind Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
    The continued whitewashing and gnashing of teeth and wailing by the supposed scientists defending Mann, is giving science in general a very bad reputation. IF Cuccinelli does find major irregularities, then the other scientists who are so busy defending Mann may soon find themselves under scrutiny. I am sure that is what they are afraid of.
    Given the idiotic studies we have looked at here on WUWT, I am glad Cuccinelli is pressing forward. Taxpayers do not need to fund idiotic studies and professors should not look at grants as their private treasure chests which open with the magic phrase “Global Warming.” Professors and universities also need to be reminded that the taxpayer is their boss and the state Attorney General is their representative.

  64. artwest says:
    June 20, 2010 at 8:32 am
    BillD: “In general, the sucess of grants is judged by publications and weak performance (few or weak publications) reduces one’s chance with further grant proposals. ”
    That anyone can put this idea forward with a straight face after the proof of “the team” at least attempting to pervert peer review is astonishing.
    _____________________________________________________________________
    Let’s assume BillD has only bothered to read what the peer review clique, “Realclimate” had to say about the emails, “nothing here move along”. BillD go read The Assassination of Science There is every reason to believe grant funds were misused, or rather used to generate political propaganda material and not to advance science.

  65. jcrabb says:
    June 20, 2010 at 9:23 am
    This is just a Political witch hunt, as the “hockey stick’ has been replicated by numerous other studies.
    ____________________________________________________________________
    Of course it has. Here is the “Call to Arms”
    Mike Mann
    email 1068652882
    “Tim, Phil, Keith:
    I suggest a way out of this mess. Because of the complexity of the arguments involved, to an uninformed observer it all might be viewed as just scientific nit-picking by “for” and “against” global warming proponents. However, if an “independent group” such as you guys at the Climatic Research Unit could make a statement as to whether the McIntyre and McKitrick effort is truly an “audit”, and whether they did it right, I think that would go a long way to defusing the issue…
    If you are willing, a quick and forceful statement from The Distinguished CRU Boys would help quash further arguments, although here, at least, it is already quite out of control… “

    Here is some of the discussion on how to get rid of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period.
    Phil Jones:
    “…Can we not address the misconceptions by finally coming up with definitive dates for the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period and redefining what we think the terms really mean? With all of us and more on the paper, it should carry a lot of weight. In a way we will be setting the agenda for what should be being done over the next few years….”
    Mike Mann:
    “I think that trying to adopt a time frame of 2000 years, rather than the usual 1000 years, addresses a good earlier point that Jonathan Overpeck made … that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “Medieval Warm Period”, even if we don’t yet have data available that far back.”
    Jonathan Overpeck:
    “I’m sure you saw the recent (to be infamous) Wall Street Journal editorial—they showed what I think was a IPCC First Assessment Report curve—with the good old Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age, etc. (Lamb view?—I don’t have the First Assessment Report with me). The way to handle the hockey stick might best be to put it in an historical perspective along with the older IPCC views. First, show your great figures, discuss them and what went into them, and then—after showing the state-of-the-art, discuss how much our understanding and view have changed. In this, simply compare each of the historical views (First Assessment v Report, Second Assessment Report, T/hird Assessment Report) to the current view, and while doing so, play down the controversy(s)—especially the hockey stick. The smart folks will realize that that the fluff in the news is just that, but those with a real stake in that debate will hopefully get the point that it doesn’t matter… “
    Further explanation at The Assassination of Science

  66. Surely, if Mr. Cuccinelli thinks that there is enough evidence in the climategate emails or other evidence in his possession to lead him to suspect that either a grant was obtained by fraud or that part or all of a grant had been used for purposes other than those stated in the grant application he has a duty to investigate.
    Look at it another way. Suppose there has actually been fraud, if it is inappropriate for the DA to investigate, who should be responsible for exposing that fraud and attempting to recover public funds?
    outcome.

  67. My description of my fantastic opportunity at the age of 21 to go study isolated Polynesian villages as a “scam” was related to how spectacular the opportunity was, not to the idea that I was somehow getting away with something.
    It’s a wonderful feeling to get support for doing something that’s utterly enjoyable. Scam was an inept descriptor used during an informal talk.

  68. Friends:
    There are several errors of logic in the above comments, and I write to point out one of them because it is fundamental to several of the discussions in postings on this thread.
    The error amounts to an assertion that proof of academic fraud by Dr Mann would not constitute financial fraud by the University. Perhaps this is best stated by Gary at
    June 20, 2010 at 11:51 am where he writes:
    “Unless funds were diverted for a purpose other than what was specified in the grant, then fraud was not committed. It’s been amply demonstrated that Dr. Mann’s research has flaws that he stubbornly will not acknowledge, that he has over-reached on his analysis and conclusions, that he fails to adhere to standard practices of science such as openly sharing data and methods, and that he’s a boor. However, none of these things, while rightly condemned, amount to fraud.”
    However, it is not true that “Unless funds were diverted for a purpose other than what was specified in the grant, then fraud was not committed”.
    It would also be true that fraud was committed if
    (a) the results of past studies were cited by the University as evidence in support a claim to obtain grant monies for further research at the University,
    and
    (b) the University had reason to suppose the past studies were flawed
    but
    (c) the University did not reveal to the potential funding agency that the University had reason to suppose the past studies were flawed.
    There now exists much reason to suppose that the work by Dr Mann was very flawed. Hence, the AG has good reason (some would say a duty) to determine
    (i) if the University cited the work of Mann as supporting evidence in any claim(s) for grants,
    and
    (ii) if, at the time of those grant applications, the University had reason to suppose the cited work of Mann was flawed.
    This goes to the heart of both the ‘science’ conducted by Dr Mann and the validity of a fraud investigation by the AG.
    Richard

  69. Richard S Courtney says:
    June 21, 2010 at 5:06 am
    Friends:
    There are several errors of logic in the above comments, and I write to point out one of them because it is fundamental to several of the discussions in postings on this thread….
    _____________________________________________________
    Thank you for pointing this out. If any of Mann’s grants were based on work that had been invalidated by M & M, then after their peer reviewed study of his work was published, the University would be skating on thin ice.

  70. “Scam was an inept descriptor” Andy Revkin
    Good to hear A. Revkin clarify the matter. I’m sure his voice will go a long way to remind the serious way that grant and fellowship money should be regarded, especially during a time when we read a Time cover story on bankrupt states.

  71. The ICO was unable to prosecute under section 77 of the FOI Act because too much time had elapsed under UK law. However, they continue to pursue a case under section 50 of the Act.

    The ICO is investigating CRU for possible breaches of FOI. As the FOIs were not directed to Michael Mann, the ICO investigation is a red herring in the Cuccinelli case.
    The U of A oversees grant applications and disburses funds after assessing proposals. If there is any fraud to be uncovered, the university will incur damages, not Michael Mann. If Mann himself committed fraud, that would be a matter between him and the university. Regarding federal funds, the buck stops with the university.
    I think it will be impossible to prove fraud by Michael Mann. Re the hockey stick and M&M’s rebuttal, incompetence is the worst charge that could be declared, if that. MBH 98 was a pioneer study using new statistical techniques. If we start punishing scientists for attempting new methodologies that may or may not be valid, we neuter science, which proceeds by trial and error.
    Stephen McIntyre, who wrote the key papers rebutting MBH 98 seven and five years ago, and has blogged about it ever since, agrees with this notion, and specifically rejects the charge of Mann fraudulence over the hockey stick.

    I might add that this is not the first time that I’ve volunteered support to Mann in this sort of nonsense. I was copied on one of Keenan’s attempts to instigate a fraud investigation against Mann and immediately made it clear that I did not support or endorse the request, strongly disapproved of it and even offered Mann my support.

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/02/26/10477/
    If only his champions in the skeptical blogworlds matched his integrity.

  72. The University has motivation to push back if indeed they find that Mann kinda took his files and work papers with him and left nothing behind. I recall a lawsuit where an employee used racial slurs in personal e-mail and his employer had legal civil liability for this on company computers. Employees argue they have 100% privacy on their company e-mail messages. Not so if the company has liability for the content. If a company can be sued for dirt in e-mails, it is their duty to inspect and retain them.

  73. I work with FOI requests all day long in Florida. Although I don’t know how it works in Virginia, I know how it works here. First, most government employees I know seem to have little understanding of the law. Second, we are not allowed to use our opinion of the validity of the request to determine whether we will fill the request. Even if we could prove that the person making the request was up to no good, that he was going to use the information for devious and harmful purposes, we still have to provide the information quickly and completely. I suspect that the law in Virginia is essentially the same.
    It doesn’t matter whether the FOI request constitutes a fishing expedition, or whether the person making the request has any reasonable hope of putting that information to good use. All the person has to do is be able to identify the documents he is looking for (such as, all the emails that Joe Blow wrote). Whether he wanted to use them to make wallpaper or whether he wanted to use them to write a character assassination of the person who wrote the emails, the law DEMANDS that we provide the information. And such is how it should be.

  74. Barry:
    At June 21, 2010 at 8:16 am you say:
    “I think it will be impossible to prove fraud by Michael Mann. Re the hockey stick and M&M’s rebuttal, incompetence is the worst charge that could be declared, if that. MBH 98 was a pioneer study using new statistical techniques. If we start punishing scientists for attempting new methodologies that may or may not be valid, we neuter science, which proceeds by trial and error.”
    With respect, your comment is an irrelevance. I explained why it is not relevant at June 21, 2010 at 5:06 am above.
    Firstly, Dr Mann is not being investigated by the AG: the university is. So, there is no purpose in attempting to prove “fraud by Michael Mann” because he is not being investigated for fraud.
    However, as I said in my post at June 21, 2010 at 5:06 am :
    “It would also be true that fraud was committed if
    (a) the results of past studies were cited by the University as evidence in support a claim to obtain grant monies for further research at the University,
    and
    (b) the University had reason to suppose the past studies were flawed
    but
    (c) the University did not reveal to the potential funding agency that the University had reason to suppose the past studies were flawed.”
    So, the only significant issues to determine are if the University had reason to suppose Dr Mann’s studies were flawed and if the University revealed that suspicion when citing the work of Dr Mann as evidence to support a grant application.
    The significant point is whether or not the university had reason to suspect the work was flawed. And it does not matter if the work of Dr Mann were suspected of being flawed because it was fraudulent or because it was incompetent or for some other reason.
    Richard

  75. What I would like to know is this:
    Did Mann/Jones/Briffa/etal. produce/publish/store/turn in/report on the items they promised to produce when they received their grants.
    From reading the emails it appears to me that with respect to Jones research one of the following is true:
    1. He produced everything that was required. To me, this means that the requirements of his grants were way too low. Especially the ones financed by the US Government using our tax money. He should produce/publish/make public all of his results/data/reports.
    2. He did not produce everything that was required. This IS fraud.
    If Mr. Mann did produce everything required and fulfilled all of the requirements of his grant that’s great. What we may learn from this is that our government is handing out lots of money without sufficient controls on what the grantees are required to produce. YMMV.

  76. Gail Combs says:
    June 21, 2010 at 3:09 am
    artwest says:
    June 20, 2010 at 8:32 am
    BillD: “In general, the sucess of grants is judged by publications and weak performance (few or weak publications) reduces one’s chance with further grant proposals. ”
    Let’s assume BillD has only bothered to read what the peer review clique, “Realclimate” had to say about the emails, “nothing here move along”. BillD go read The Assassination of Science There is every reason to believe grant funds were misused, or rather used to generate political propaganda material and not to advance science.
    That anyone can put this idea forward with a straight face after the proof of “the team” at least attempting to pervert peer review is astonishing.
    Gail:
    Most of my info on grants comes from acting as a reviewer, mostly for the National Science Foundation, but also for state foundations and for proposals from other countries (UK, Netherlands, Japan, Russia, Finland and other countries). I have also submitted numerous grant proposals, some of which have been funded. Many agencies only fund 10-15% of proposals which might take a couple of months to research and write. My most recent NSF proposal cited about 200 articles, which I had to read and understand.
    Scientists need to work very hard to get grants and chose topics and research programs which are likely to pay off in terms of scientific findings, publications and satisfaction. Reviewers are very critical and are more likely to be unfairly critical of proposals from their closest competitiors or on topics which seem like band wagons. I am not a climate scientists, but I do not believe that climate science is different from other areas of US and world science.
    You are right that I don’t pay much attention to email that has been posted without the authors’ permission. Mainly I pay attention to scientific journal articles. I tend to quickly get very skeptical of bloggers who, on purpose or through lack of understanding distort scientific papers.

  77. I’ve explained my position earlier. I think Cuccinelli has the right to have a look-see, but that it would be inadvisable for him to proceed further unless Mann has committed a clear-cut and purely procedural violation. It’s an incredible dangerous slippery slope to start getting the legal system involved in hounding dodgy science, because the standard can be applied selectively, according to political and popular bias.
    However, here is something interesting (linked to a few days ago by Climate Depot), from http://tertiumquids.blogspot.com/2010/06/cuccinellis-uva-investigation-yields.html

    A reader passes on the following information regarding the Attorney General’s response to the University of Virginia’s motion to dismiss in the Michael Mann investigation. Note what’s said on page ten of the AG’s response regarding the prior investigations of Mann and others in the Climategate affair:

    Respondent [UVA] avers that the other investigation, in terms of the evidence considered, the questions asked, and the conclusions reached, speak for themselves. However, it should be noted that it is unlikely that those investigations had access to the materials sought by the CID because, based upon the representations of prior counsel, prior to the discovery of a back-up e-mail server containing responsive documents as a result of the search put in motion by the CIDs, the University had previously maintained that it was not in possession of Dr. Mann’s e-mails from the time he was at the University.

  78. barry says:
    June 21, 2010 at 8:16 am
    (…)
    MBH 98 was a pioneer study using new statistical techniques.
    ——-Reply:
    Do we know what these “new statistical techniques” even are?

  79. When acting as a reviewer of a scientific paper, I don’t care much about who wrote the paper, whether I like or dislike or don’t know this person. It doesn’t bother me if the paper contradicts my own published studies or not. Mostly I look at the quality of the science and the data analysis and the appropriate interpretation of results and use of the scientific literature. If I don’t really believe the conclusions of a scientific manuscript but cannot find fault with the science and the analysis, I will ususually give it a positive vote, even if it contradicts my own publications. In a fairly long career, I have been a peer reviewer for over 600 manuscripts for at least 31 journals and have also been an editor or subject matter editor for 5 journals and hundreds of additional manuscripts. I am often impressed by the quality of reviews and their contributions to improving the clarity and quality of scientific publications. Occasionally manuscripts are rejected unfairly, but authors can always try a different journal, taking into acccount the input from editors and reviewers. It’s also my opinion that the prominance of American science is based in part on a very competitive allocation of research funds. Unlike other countries, reasearch dollars are allocated largely on the basis of scientific merit, rather than one’s position or name.

  80. Gail Combs says:
    June 21, 2010 at 6:12 am
    Richard S Courtney says:
    June 21, 2010 at 5:06 am
    Friends:
    There are several errors of logic in the above comments, and I write to point out one of them because it is fundamental to several of the discussions in postings on this thread….
    _____________________________________________________
    Thank you for pointing this out. If any of Mann’s grants were based on work that had been invalidated by M & M, then after their peer reviewed study of his work was published, the University would be skating on thin ice.
    Not meaning to pick on Gail–but do any of you really think that any university is competent to review the research of its professors or that a lawyer with no training in science can judge the scientific validity of Mann’s research or any other scientific publication? The way that science works is that editors select reviewers who are experts on a particular topic.
    When a scientific paper is rejected for weaknesses (or insufficient impact) for a specific journal, that hardly means that the paper or the funding was based on fraud. Perhaps the results are not interesting, the data collection or experiment has weaknesses or the writing is poorly crafted. Univesities do not evaluate the technical aspects of their professors’ grant proposals. This is done by grant reviewers and grant agencies.
    Often I read scientific studies that I discount because of weaknesses in the data analysis, statistics etc. Poor work only very rarely is due to fraud.

  81. PS: Cuccinelli’s CID has already justified itself by uncovering an attempted cover-up:

    “… prior to the discovery of a back-up e-mail server containing responsive documents as a result of the search put in motion by the CIDs, the University had previously maintained that it was not in possession of Dr. Mann’s e-mails from the time he was at the University.”

  82. BillD says:
    I am not a climate scientist, but I do not believe that climate science is different from other areas of US and world science.

    That’s what nearly all outsider scientists believe, and it mainly explains why national scientific societies have endorsed warmist science.
    But is it true?

  83. Firstly, Dr Mann is not being investigated by the AG: the university is.

    The target of Cuccinelli’s CID is Michael Mann.

    This Civil Investigative Demand (CID) is issued in connection with an investigation by the Attorney General into possible violations by Dr Micheal Mann of […] The investigation relates to data and other material that Dr Mann presented in seeking awards/grants funded, in whole or in part, by the Commonwealth of Virginia or any of its agencies as well as data, materials and communications that Dr Mann created, presented or made in connection with or related to the following awards/grants….

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/30755623/Untitled
    The University is instructed to verify the documents, but is not itself under investigation by the terms of the CID.
    You, I and others have concluded, contrary to the thrust of the CID, that the buck stops with the university.
    I posted my comments about Mann’s alleged fraud in response to the top post, which reiterates the position,

    Cuccinelli’s lawyer wrote, arguing that academics have no shield against allegations that they have committed fraud.

    and in response to the many following comments fashioned likewise. If our opinion is correct, allegations of fraud by committed by Mann may be an ‘irrelevance’ WRT the probe, but it is clearly not irrelevant to Cuccinelli, Steve Mosher and a good number of the people replying in this thread.

  84. PS: Cuccinelli’s CID has already justified itself by uncovering an attempted cover-up:

    “… prior to the discovery of a back-up e-mail server containing responsive documents as a result of the search put in motion by the CIDs, the University had previously maintained that it was not in possession of Dr. Mann’s e-mails from the time he was at the University.”

    Hell of a crystal ball you have. Why, then, did the university not delete the emails in the back up server. Why did they even admit they discovered it?
    Seems to be no distance between allegation and conviction for some people.

  85. Even though I am not a climate scientist, I have reviewed a number ecological studies on the impacts of climate warming on ecological communities. These are not studies about predicted changes, but rather, articles about populations changes over the last 20-40 years. I am the first to admit that such studies don’t say anything about the cause of climate warming, only that the changes in temperature and strong enough too significantly effect many populations and ecosystems. I don’t have the interest or expertise to critique much of the physics modeling. I feel fairly well qualified to evaluate and understand much of the proxy work, including statistical analysis.
    After reading maybe 80-100 of the mainline journal articles on climate change published in the past 10 years, I feel comfortable with most of the analysis and conclusions. It’s important to look at serious criticism, but I don’t see the point in reading criticism from people who feel free to twist and distort the conclusions of a paper or to put it down without having carfully read the introduction, methods, results discussion and conclusions. I wonder how many people have read Mann’s more recent Nature paper, that included 9 pages of supplementary data and made an effort to overcome the criticisms of the earlier studies. A web site called “skeptical Science” has a list of 104 arguments against ACW with one or many scientific articles that debunk each of the 104 reasons. Perhaps some of these 104 arguments have validity, but anyone who wants to make a case against ACW should read over these articles, just to be sure.

  86. BillD,
    Sounds like you mean well, but when you say, “…anyone who wants to make a case against ACW should read over these articles, just to be sure,” doesn’t understand how the scientific method – or the corrupt climate peer review process – works.
    You see, scientific skeptics have nothing to prove [and the alarmist blog calling itself “skeptical” wouldn’t know scientific skepticism if it bit ’em on the ankle].
    According to the Scientific Method, it is the purveyors of AGW [in truth: CAGW] who must make their case. They have failed. Even planet Earth herself is falsifying their catastrophic AGW globaloney: as CO2 rises, temperatures are not rising as the the models insist they should. In fact, there is no credible evidence showing that the increase in temperature over the past couple of centuries is anything other than recovery from the LIA. No one has falsified the hypothesis that the temperature rise and the CO2 rise is anything but coincidental.
    The central problem is that the purveyors of this CAGW scam adamantly refuse to allow other scientists to test their data and methods. Their unscientific message: “Trust us.” Sorry, no can do. They need to open the books – completely – or expect the public to look at them like they have plenty to hide.
    The day the insufferably incompetent Michael Mann of Hokey Stick fame opens his taxpayer-paid books, wake me. Until then, IMO he is defrauding the public that paid for his work product.

  87. barry says:
    June 21, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    RK says:
    PS: Cuccinelli’s CID has already justified itself by uncovering an attempted cover-up:
    “… prior to the discovery of a back-up e-mail server containing responsive documents as a result of the search put in motion by the CIDs, the University had previously maintained that it was not in possession of Dr. Mann’s e-mails from the time he was at the University.”

    Hell of a crystal ball you have. Why, then, did the university not delete the emails in the back up server. Why did they even admit they discovered it?
    Seems to be no distance between allegation and conviction for some people.

    OK, I shouldn’t have used the word coverup without being surer. Maybe it was something else–inadvertence, laziness, or carelessness–that was behind UVA’s prior denial of having his e-mails.
    But OTOH it’s not reasonable to conclude that if they had knowingly denied it to Penn State, they’d have been consistent and done the same to an attorney general. That would be equivalent to lying under oath. It’s well known that lawyers make damn sure their clients don’t do that, even if it involves contradicting their prior assertions. (White House aides’ fear of committing perjury is what unraveled Watergate, for instance.) Changing ones tune under oath is therefore suspicious.
    So I’d keep an open mind on what accounted for their initial denials. Until Cuccinelli’s (effective) subpoena, UVA had “plausible deniability.” They were under no requirement to have a formal search made of their backup files, so they could offhandedly say, “We don’t have ’em” without formally checking, even though they knew or suspected better. Once their IT team had located the backed up e-mails, or even once their IT people knew from press accounts that Cuccinelli had requested them, UVA had no choice but to fess up. So they might have been “playing dumb” initially, hoping they could get away with it.
    I repeat, though, that this probe should go no further than being a probe. If “incorrect” science were to come under the purview of the legal system, only PC science would survive.

  88. barry:
    Thankyou for your comments at June 21, 2010 at 6:33 pm.
    Yes, you are right in your literal interpretation of what the AG is doing.
    I said;
    “Firstly, Dr Mann is not being investigated by the AG: the university is.”
    And, as you have pointed out (with quotation to prove your point);
    “The University is instructed to verify the documents, but is not itself under investigation by the terms of the CID.”
    However, we seem to be in some agreement because you immediately follow that statement by saying;
    “You, I and others have concluded, contrary to the thrust of the CID, that the buck stops with the university”.
    Before responding, I think I should point out that I am not a lawyer and all my comments here are on the basis of logic. Law is not always logical and, therefore, a lawyer may be able to refute what I am saying (although I doubt it).
    You assert;
    “If our opinion is correct, allegations of fraud by committed by Mann may be an ‘irrelevance’ WRT the probe, but it is clearly not irrelevant to Cuccinelli, Steve Mosher and a good number of the people replying in this thread.”
    I do not think it matters what is considered significant to “Cuccinelli, Steve Mosher and a good number of the people replying in this thread.” The only point of significance is whether or not a fraud has been committed according to the law.
    As I said;
    “However, as I said in my post at June 21, 2010 at 5:06 am :
    “It would also be true that fraud was committed if
    (a) the results of past studies were cited by the University as evidence in support a claim to obtain grant monies for further research at the University,
    and
    (b) the University had reason to suppose the past studies were flawed
    but
    (c) the University did not reveal to the potential funding agency that the University had reason to suppose the past studies were flawed.”
    So, the only significant issues to determine are if the University had reason to suppose Dr Mann’s studies were flawed and if the University revealed that suspicion when citing the work of Dr Mann as evidence to support a grant application.
    The significant point is whether or not the university had reason to suspect the work was flawed. And it does not matter if the work of Dr Mann were suspected of being flawed because it was fraudulent or because it was incompetent or for some other reason. ”
    So, in my view the only questions to be resolved by the investigation of the AG are these three.
    Did the University make a grant proposal that cited the work of Dr Mann?
    At the time of any such grant proposal, did the University have a reason to suspect that the work of Dr Mann was flawed?
    Did the grant proposal mention that suspicion?
    Richard

  89. andrew adams says:
    June 21, 2010 at 12:15 am
    mpaul,
    I stand corrected over the opinion of the ICO, but the fact remains that if an offence was committed under the UK FOI act (and a prima facie case is not the same as hard evidence) it was commited by UEA, not U-Va or anyone employed by U-Va.

    And now you stand corrected over prima facie. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prima_facie . Unless rebutted, the evidence is sufficient for a prosecution to be obtained. That actually goes a little bit beyond hard evidence. The CRU has made no attempt to rebut the evidence, just relying on the six-month limitation to avoid prosecution.

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