Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach
With Dr. Michael Mann out on the hustings selling his innocence, as I discussed a few days ago, I was pleased when I came across this clear explanation of some major issues in the so-called inquiry by Penn State into the Mann’s actions. I urge everyone to read it, and follow up on the citations therein. There are numerous other problems with the inquiry, but that hit the high points.
Figure 1. The effect of Michael Mann, as seen by Chris Bok. But I digress.
Here was the mind-boggling part to me. To my astonishment, other than Michael Mann, the people running the investigation of Michael Mann reported interviewing exactly TWO PEOPLE besides Mann himself. I was, as the lovely English expression has it, “Gob-smacked”.
Remember that Dr. Mann recently said:
My employer, Penn State University, exonerated me after a thorough investigation of my e-mails in the East Anglia archive.
I knew it was bad, but interviewing two people now constitutes a “thorough investigation” of alleged serious scientific malfeasance? The investigators didn’t even understand that the famous “Mike’s Nature trick“was a clever way of hiding adverse data, a big scientific no-no. They didn’t interview anyone who actually understood the issues.
Two interviews and close the books? That is a pathetic joke. Penn State was my father’s alma mater, Class of ’26, I’m glad he didn’t live to see how far they have fallen. Penn State should demand that its name be taken off the document.
However, because this is a story involving Dr. Mann, you know there’s gotta be more to it than that they just interviewed two people, there’s bound to be a further twist to the story.
Here’s the inside joke. The two people interviewed were Gerry North of the “North Report” and Donald Kennedy, the editor of Science Magazine.
Gerry North I can kinda understand, because he chaired an earlier (and also widely criticized) enquiry into Dr. Mann’s hijinks. So he was a friend of Manns, and he’d covered up for Mann before, keeping his committee from even looking for scientific malfeasance, much less finding any. So I can understand them interviewing North, makes perfect sense.
But why did they pick Donald Kennedy, Editor of Science Magazine, as the other person to interview? I have no idea. By a curious coincidence, however, there’s a back-story here. Donald Kennedy was the first scientific figure I ever emailed to try to get something done.
I regret that I didn’t understand the importance of saving these documents at the time. In any event, my email to Kennedy has not survived my numerous computer changes and crashes since then, or it’s there and I can’t find it. But I recall it well, it was my first appeal.
In it I pointed out that science depends on the data being archived to allow for replication. I noted the efforts by Michael Mann to conceal the data used in his infamous “HockeyStick” paper. So I appealed to Kennedy to actually use the policies and power of his journal, Science Magazine, and ask Mann to archive the data used in his studies.
See, at that time, I was kinda naive … ya think?
I got blown off totally. Not even the courtesy of a reply. Which I later found out was no surprise. Kennedy, as editor of Science Magazine, has often allowed the publication of pro-AGW articles without requiring that they archive their data.
However, you don’t have to take my word for the abuse that Kennedy has done to the scientific process. He is noted for saying on PBS:
… the journal has to trust its reviewers; it has to trust the source. It can’t go in and demand the data books.
Look, with all due respect, Kennedy may be the editor of Science Magazine, but that is absolutely untrue, and Kennedy knows it. Most journals have policies that require, not recommend but require, that data used in published papers must be archived by the time of publication. Kennedy simply has not wanted Science to uniformly enforce that policy.
The crazy part is, there’s no wriggle room. Science Magazine’s instructions for authors say:
Data and materials availability All data necessary to understand, assess, and extend the conclusions of the manuscript must be available to any reader of Science. After publication, all reasonable requests for materials must be fulfilled. Any restrictions on the availability of data or materials, including fees and original data obtained from other sources (Materials Transfer Agreements), must be disclosed to the editors upon submission. Fossils or other rare specimens must be deposited in a public museum or repository and available for research.
That’s totally clear. Data must be archived. So when Kennedy says Science Magazine “can’t go in and demand the data books”, he’s just blowing in your ear and tickling your tummy. Not only can they do so, it is their stated policy to do so.
Kennedy is also the man who refused to publish Benny Peiser’s devastating response to Naomi Oreske’s laughable claim of a “scientific consensus” based on her simplistic analysis of climate papers. Typical for the man. Steve McIntyre has an interesting look at Kennedy here.
In any case, there you have it, folks. The “thorough investigation” into Michael Mann talked to three people including Mann. One, Gerry North, had covered up for Mann before, as cited above. The other, Kennedy, had refused to ask him for his data, despite magazine policies requiring just that. Both Steve McIntyre and I wrote to Kennedy asking him to enforce his own magazine’s policies. He refused.
And after all of that, are you ready for the icing on the cake, the final twist in the tale? As you would expect, Dr. Michael Mann was one of the three people interviewed in the “thorough investigation”. Mann agreed to the publication of the Report of the “thorough investigation”. The Report Guidelines state:
A written report shall be prepared that states what evidence was reviewed, a copy of all interview transcripts and/or summaries, and includes the conclusions of the inquiry.
But oops … there’s no transcipt of what Mann said. Not only do we not have his answers, we don’t even know what questions he was asked. That is pathetic bumbling, take the investigators out and fire them, I want my money back.
And Michael Mann has the ineffable effrontery to declare himself “exonerated” by that grade-school quality report? Dr. Mann, you have not been “exonerated”. You have not even been investigated, and you are pulling all of the political levers you can reach, and making all the public appeals you can squeeze in, to ensure that you are never investigated. Like I said, I understand your actions, they make sense to me. In certain other lights, I have more skeletons than available closet space myself, so I understand why you are on the campaign trail.
I just want people to understand you for what you are, and to see what you are trying to do, which is evade investigation of your actions. It has nothing to do with “anti-science” on either side of the political aisle. It has nothing to do with politics. It’s all about you avoiding responsibility for what you have done.
I call again for an independent scientific inquiry into Dr. Mann’s activities. Yes, I know that may be fantasy. And I know that many people think the legal route, a la Cuccinelli, remains the only hope. But I’m opposed to that. I’ve been thinking about why I oppose it, and here’s why I don’t like Cuccinelli’s approach.
I grew up on a cattle ranch, some miles away from a small Western US town. In our world, there were certain unwritten Rules. Oh, yeah, we had the Ten Commandments, but these were the real rules, the iron of the social order. Breaking them meant that people would cut you dead socially, not invite you, not talk to you … and in a tiny town that cut deep. The four Rules were:
You could cheat at business, people did. Folks didn’t like it, but it didn’t put you outside the pale. You could cheat on your husband or wife, folks figured man is born a sinner, people didn’t like it but understood the human urge. You could cheat in a horse deal, that was almost respected in a strange way if it was outrageous enough and the purchaser was what we called a city slicker. But a man who would cheat at cards was a social outcast ever after.
You could steal, particularly from the Government, and still get talked to. People didn’t like a thief, but a man could be a good man and not always scrupulously return what he’d borrowed, as we used to say. But if you stole one head of livestock, you were a damned low-down rustler, and you might as well just move out of town.
Cowboys punched each other sometimes, that was so common it was called a “dustup”. But you couldn’t hit a woman. Likely leftover from the 1800s when there were few women on cattle ranches. Probably some men beat their wives, but if so, it was never admitted, and it was seen as a grave moral failing to hit a woman. Paradox, but go figure.
And finally, you couldn’t call the Sheriff to settle your differences. When my dad found out someone from a neighboring ranch was bonking my mom whenever the constellations chanced to align, he and the guy met in the middle of the only street in town, in front of the combination store/bar/post office/gas station, and they definitely had a “dustup” … but nobody ever heard of a “restraining order”, and nobody ever, ever called the Sheriff. Except maybe to arrest a rustler. If he wasn’t caught in the act …
I have (mostly) held to those rules without much change for a lifetime, which is why I hate to call the Sheriff on Michael Mann. I’d prefer that the scientific community would be in charge, rather than lawyers and Attorneys General and their ilk. I wish Penn State hadn’t folded like a frat party card table holding too many kegs. I have been saying for years that I wish someone with some weight in the climate science community would take up the slack, and call out the egregious malfeasance, including the malfeasance of Penn State’s “thorough investigation”.
Naive … ya think?
Anyhow, mostly I wish Michael Mann would summon the nerve to stand up and produce the evidence. Instead, he’s all about poor me, he’s exonerated, those mean politicians are picking on him, it’s an attack on science, we misunderstand him … bad news, Dr. Mann. It’s not science that people want to investigate. It’s you.
Anyhow, here’s a protip for whoever is involved with Mann’s ongoing PR campaign — an innocent man welcomes and even invites an investigation. He knows he is innocent and has nothing to hide. Pre-emptively fighting against the investigations makes it look like you have a guilty conscience …
I reiterate the offer that Dr. Mann can publish his defense and evidence and present his ideas here on Watts Up With That.