A Conspiracy of One

Guest post by Brandon Shollenberger

Words cannot describe the humor of Michael Mann’s latest post:

As professional climate change deniers become increasingly irrelevant and desperate, so do their distraction and smear efforts. These are mostly just noise in the background these days, as the media increasingly appears to be recognizing the intellectual bankruptcy of the industry-funded climate change denial effort and those who do its bidding. Occasionally, though, I will debunk the most egregious of the smears and falsehoods, both to set the record straight, and to arm readers w/ the information necessary to evaluate the credibility of the various actors in the climate change denial campaign…At that point I will be updating my lecture slides, many of which are indeed somewhat out of date.

Thus starts the latest crazy posting in the climate blog world, unsurprisingly written by Michael Mann.  Snickers abound when Mann talks about “credibility,” but no words exist for the reaction this post should garner.  Specifically, Michael Mann refers to a recent posting from (the long missed) Steve McIntyre, saying: 

…it seems remarkable that Mr. McIntyre couldn’t figure this out, and instead chose to invent an entire conspiracy theory involving not just me, but multiple scientists, the AGU, IPCC, etc.

Steve McIntyre has gathered a great deal of respect, including respect from people who don’t agree with him.  He has made many points even his critics accept are true.  How can anyone believe he is some conspiracy nut?  I don’t know, but it can’t be because of anything he wrote in that post.

The term AGU is used approximately 30 times in McIntyre’s post.  In every case, it is used in a sense like “Mann at AGU,” “Mann’s AGU graphic” or “the AGU audience.”  Not a single case of McIntyre saying the AGU did anything exists.  The same is true for the term IPCC, which gets used 10 times.  In fact, the only person (other than Mann) the post refers to as doing anything is Naomi Oreskes, who McIntyre says “appears to have [been] wrongfooted” by Mann.

Put simply, Steve McIntyre blamed everything in this post on Michael Mann.  Mann interprets this as:

…an apparent effort to manufacture a nefarious plot out of whole cloth [where] Mr. McIntyre (parroted by Mr. Watts) imagines a great conspiracy.

While this is arguably a new low for Michael Mann, many people won’t be surprised at him saying things that make him appear delusional.  However, some may be surprised to see John Cook, proprietor of Skeptical Science, agreed, saying (in a comment):

I find it interesting that Steve McIntyre automatically lunges towards a conspiratorial explanation of events. Stephan Lewandowsky published a paper last year showing a significant association between climate denial and conspiratorial thinking. The response to the research from climate deniers was a host of new conspiracy theories. We document the originators of these conspiracy theories in the paper Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation: http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/Lewandowsky_2013_Recursive_Fury.pdf. The chief originator of conspiracy theories? Steve McIntyre.

That’s right, the founder of Skeptical Science, a man who works with people like Stephan Lewandowsky to claim skeptics are conspiracy nuts, promotes this as an example of their conspiratorial ideation.  A man who publishes papers claiming to find conspiracy theorists finds blaming everything on Mann to be a conspiracy theory involving an unknown number of people.

Be careful folks.  Blame Michael Mann for anything, and you may be fabricating a conspiracy involving intergovernmental bodies, scientific communities and “multiple scientists.”

Or so global warming advocates will say.


See Steve McIntyre’s observations on Dr. Mann’s graphic shortcomings here


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Paul Schnurr

Classic ad hominem!


You’ll recall Steve McIntyre’s discussion of dehumanizing language. We are all conspiracists, denialists and thespians, no doubt.
Being a conspiracist I’m waiting for super Mandia’s tweet defending Michael Mann in 5…4…3….2…1….


“…intellectual bankruptcy of the industry-funded climate change denial…”
…intellectual bankruptcy of the oil industry-funded (BP, Shell, Al Gore and Oxy etc) climate change alarmist centres such as the UEA CRU…
There Mann, fixed it for ya!

From Michael Mann’s latest post:
He wrote:
As professional climate change deniers become increasingly irrelevant and desperate, so do their distraction and smear efforts. These are mostly just noise in the background these days, as the media increasingly appears to be recognizing the intellectual bankruptcy of the industry-funded climate change denial effort and those who do its bidding.
Little Mickey meant to write:
As professional climate change doomsayers become increasingly irrelevant and desperate, so do their distraction and smear efforts. These are mostly just noise in the background these days, as the media increasingly appears to be recognizing the intellectual bankruptcy of the taxpayers-funded climate change fear spreading effort and those who do its bidding

Steve Keohane

Wearing a hockey stick just seems awkward.

cui bono

Nothing about Mann using the land-only surface data then. Just my slides are “somewhat out of date” (8 years).
Words fail me. About as badly as charts fail Mann.

Using the phrase “climate denier” puts any following arguments beyond reason and into the realm of politics and/or religion. If you disagree with them or don’t follow the dogma fully you are a “climate denier.” These folks seem to believe they can control the climate if they can only control all our activities. I’m more than willing to deny them the latter. Climate control used to be on the dash of some cars.

M Courtney

McIntyre did not accuse the AGU of being part of a conspiracy. That is clear from the posts.
But Michael Mann and John Cook have accused McIntyre of believing in a conspiracy.
Just to disparage McIntyre’s work? It can’t be that. His work is too technical for anyone to follow unless they already have basic English comprehension.
To promote the SkS created paper that claims everyone who disagrees with the authors is crazy? It can’t be that. The paper is self-published, unable to legitimately pass peer review and is an embarrasment to Australian academia.
Or maybe it is because both Mann and Cook want people to know about a conspiracy in the AGU? It could be that. But it seems unlikely. What evidence can they have?
The AGU should ask both Mann and Cook to be clear. What evidence for a conspiracy have they found. And if none they should be forced to agree with McIntyre that it is Mann who is responsible for the misrepresentation. Mann alone
It is time for the AGU to stand up for its own good reputation while it may still have one.

Mann has either bought his own snake oil pitch, or is intentionally lying. Which is not mine to say. But when he claims his lies are facts, and that facts are lies, he is creating a new form of deception for the willing dupes. They are not to look at the data, but rather, just believe the sermons from his mount.
Sad really. I expect to see some of his acolytes defending him shortly using his own delusional data. The fun part will be in how they deny reality – the reality of their OWN data.


Ha ha… they are getting a bit desperate now…
For a long time the default fall-back position in the face of facts has been “… yeah, well, anyway you think it is all a great conspiracy…. ” which eventually fades away to an angry muttering once it is shown that a whole bunch of people making the same errors of logical thinking in pursuing their own particular interests does not necessarily take or make a conspiracy.
Of course, Lewandowsky jumped on the bandwagon, and in spite of producing nothing of substance, he and his words were embraced very enthusiastically by the believers… and now Mann and Cook are showing a disturbingly Orwellian tendency to not even care about paying lip service to the truth or the details of the original debate, but could think of only this old fall-back line.
But, in these times of ubiquitous communication, the old tactics of deflection and distraction don’t work so well any more, and they are instead immediately exposed.

Steve from Rockwood

Maybe Mann is right and he’s just 7 years out of date like he says…


Unreality Mannifest…

lurker passing through, laughing

Prof. Mann never misses an opportunity to beclown himself. And boy, does he deliver.


Mann seems to be descending into delusion. Lets not forget the (albeit tired and hackneyed) stereotype of the ‘mad scientist’.


I see little to gain from engaging in a shouting contest with the likes of Michael Mann and John Cook. When your critics are screaming like fools, best not try to drown them out.


The funny part about this whole ordeal is that Mann hasn’t once refuted the claim that McIntyer’s article is hitting on: That Mann’s argument that the observations are close to the models is completely wrong and deceptive.

Mike Mangan

Who’s going to call him out? There are no mainstream reporters or journalists who will. The AGU will do nothing. A cursory glance at their website shows them to be completely in agreement with the CAGW orthodoxy. Penn State hierarchy is unperturbed. It’s not Mann’s chicanery and buffoonery that’s the story here, it’s that he can engage in it with impunity. Skeptical websites have little power. Who is supposed to be the check and balance in this situation??


“A man who publishes papers…”, I can’t help but think of Cook as a boy cartoonist.


Conspiracy? None mentioned or implied. Mann has gone well off the rails with his commentary.
What this whole affair does indicate is a shocking level of “Groupthink”. No one else, as far as anyone knows, looked at this graphic critically. This was presented to a room full of scientists who appear to have simply nodded their heads in agreement.
I wonder…if this was an investment that carried with it a promise of rapid growth, would these people be as quick to accept assurances that the projections were correct and that things were on track? Would they be mollified by the insistence that this investment could only be measured over a 30 year period? Would they focus exclusively on the trend and ignore the decline in that trend, or might they notice the fact that their stake is worth less now than it was 15 years ago?
If it was their money involved I’d like to think that they’d be going for the torches and pitchforks right about now, but maybe not. I’ve been to a few gatherings where folks talked about their participation in MLM schemes, and they remained staunchly optimistic even when there was clear evidence that they had been scammed. Groupthink is a powerful thing and no conspiracy is required.

Jeff L

“As professional climate change deniers become increasingly irrelevant and desperate, so do their distraction and smear efforts”
Shouldn’t that be read :
“As professional “CAGWers” become increasingly irrelevant and desperate, so do their distraction and smear efforts. ”
Any public opinion poll will show you who is irrelevant & who is relevant,
Also, any look traffic poll of any climate blog & you will see who is irrelevant & who is relevant.
His continued use of ad homs & labeling skeptics the the “d” word shows who uses smear & distraction efforts. How about some data for a change, Mike?


Wow.simply wow…
Captain Queeg? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AznmrRZsRQ

Bill Marsh

“At that point I will be updating my lecture slides, many of which are indeed somewhat out of date.”
Indeed, Dr Mann has a gift for understatement. Imagine an accounting firm showing up with slides about your firm that stop reflecting financial information almost 8 years previously and tries to make recommendations about your firms current financial strategy based on them. I’d wager that the slides would not be considered ‘somewhat out of date’.

Michael Mann – a short, balding, physically unnatractive man thrust into the limelight discovered just how much he likes being an important person and is now desperately trying to extend his 15 minutes.
While his behavior is repugnant I can’t actually harbor any ill will to this man. If you read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie it would be apparent that Mann isn’t doing anything that any other person would do, most everyone would like to be considered important and he probably truly believes every word of his BS because of the need to be important. The harder people push and tell him he’s wrong the more determined he’ll become in his efforts; it’s what led Max Planck to say “Science advances one funeral at a time”. Mann will never change is his mind because his ego is too caught up in his standing within the AGW community, to admit he was wrong would destroy him and he will never do that.
We can laugh and shake our heads and ridicule him (something I’m guilty of doing myself) but at the end of the day this approach will just cause him and his supporters to dig their heels in even further. I’m not sure what the answer is, human nature rarely allows us to see our own failings. It’s the rare person who can do so and Mann has proven incapable many times over.

Bill Marsh

LOL, I like how he also worked in a plug for his book into his rant. Nice touch.

Rick Bradford

“Deniers” are so irrelevant that Mann has to expend a great deal of verbiage trying to dismiss them in the usual tired old ways.
It’s a pity that he lacks self-awareness as much as he lacks statistical competence.

Fred from Canuckistan

Mikey Mann . . . The new King Chucklehead.

Jarrett Jones

Upside down Mann upside down.
No surprise.


This wouldn’t be so nuts if Dr. Mann actually had a shred of scientific integrity.
He seems to have caught a really bad case of Skeptical Science Syndrome.
One knows the Steve is 100% correct when instead of explaining why his analysis is wrong, you conjure up all kinds of idiotic assumptions.
But hark, AGW is rife with idiotic assumptions.
Dr. Mann is such wonderful proof of this that I hope he never stops presenting/publishing. He is one of the best examples of Skeptical Science Syndrome I have ever observed. As such, his mistakes will continue, and allow open debate to flourish.


Mannian sophistry from another dimension. None other than that intrepid would-be board member of the Heartland Institute outlines the roots of the rise of this globalised Hot War phenomenon-
“In 1987, the Cold War was starting to warm up, but so was the Earth. The Berlin Wall was starting to come down, but nascent political and ideological threats were emerging. Traditional academic disciplines were searching for new language, tools, and answers to interdisciplinary problems. The concept of sustainability was just being introduced, but there was a growing appreciation that problems of the environment, economy, and society were intricately linked.
This idea drove us to create the Pacific Institute. We believed that global problems and effective solutions in the 21st century would require innovative ways of thinking, seeing, and doing.”
You won’t win a traditional scientific argument with these innovative thinkers, seers[Freudian spelling] and doers responding to all those nascent political and ideological threats emerging everywhere out there, but as Walter Russell Mead knew some time ago, it doesn’t really matter with these noisy alarm clocks-
Their incessant jangling is falling on ever more deaf ears for a very obvious empirical reason.

I think Dr. Mann sees dead people or something. Where is this “army of deniers” that are “funded by industry”? Are these dead people he sees with a seance? Are they perhaps his imaginary enemies (instead of friends)? I don’t know, but a man that paranoid just need professional help. It would be funny if the man was not taken seriously like he is, so in the end the best we can do is show the world how crazy he really is and perhaps get him the help he so desperatly needs.

David L.

Seriously Mike, why did you stop the trend at 2005? When my colleagues or I would present data at a national convention we would use the most up to date data we could. Some people would pride themselves in showing data that their graduate students collected that morning!
Is it laziness, hiding the flat trend since 2005, or you fill in option 3?

Like this exchange, the Lewandowsky (SL)exchange was quite interesting. In the end a blogger with the nom de plume of faustusnotes (FN) published an article which contradicted Lewandowsky though in the beginning he sharply criticized Steve McIntyres (SM) handling of the data.
See here:
Subsequent to the grand cat fight… FN posted this article on Factor Analysis (PC, EV, FA whatever). (It seems to be well written — maybe I don’t know enough though.)
It arose from a series of Articles — blog posts by Steve McIntyre. This is the one where FN makes a conciliatory offer and then subsequently (link above) shows that SM’s (major)conclusion was correct — though they got there by somewhat different paths.

As someone who does not work in the Social Sciences it seemed to me that the article by FN and subsequent comments shed considerable light on the techniques. It certainly showed who believed in wild theories — and it was not Steve M. If one had to judge “who won” I would say that FN and SM argued to a draw with both having a valid approach to the data and both making some initial errors — with the only real loser being SL.
On this one, I would suggest that Dr. Mann should beware the Stats of March.

My comment simply disappeared for some unknown reason…
[ It was in the spam filer – see it above – mod]


Listen to the bully. You know he is an idiot when he accuses the victim of being stupid. It’s called “projectionism”.
With this in mind, please note what he said, word for word.
Mann is the one being paid, sidelined, more irrelevant as the media is tending to go with hands on ears singing “lalalalalala” to maintain some sort of credibility. The intellectual bankrupcy of choosing a few tree rings then appending modern temperature data. The bebunking of serious questions through deletion.. At this point “I will be updating my lecture slides, many of which are indeed somewhat out of date.”.. i.e. proven to be irrelevant and plain wrong!
Need we say more? I’m listening 😀

Pamela Gray

The apparent new meaning of a Ph.D.: POWER, higher and deeper.
I remember when it used to mean you now carry an official green card declaring the holder to be representative of a unique group of people defined by their insatiable curiosity of what they do NOT know and were willing to let an amoeba inform them.


”However, some may be surprised to see John Cook, proprietor of Skeptical Science, agreed, saying (in a comment):”
Not in the slightest! It is exactly the kind of narcistic bulldust to be expected from Cook and his ilk.

Mann is foolishness wrapped in idiocy covered by delusion and dipped in a rich dark covering of psycho.

Too funny.
Q: How will Mikey explain using land only temperature records to 2005 in comparison to Hansen’s Land and Ocean Scenario B?
A: He won’t. Instead, he’ll holler “persecute the heretic” and then duck and run.
More ‘hide the decline’ shenanigans.

Darren Potter

Up until now, I thought the Mann was just another Alarmist, out to cash in on Gore’s Global Warming. However…
After the latest missive by the Mann, I am wondering if he has a psychological problem. Possibly an issue with separating fantasy world from reality or perhaps an obsessive problem where he just can’t come to grips with facts or a combination of both?
Mann’s made up Nobel Peace Prize, along with his claim of having received the Prize indicates some problem with reality. When coupled with his latest twisted lecture, the above missive from the Mann where there is a mixing of real world with a made-up world, and that even Gore has given up his crusade of Global Warming – it does make one ponder if the Mann needs professional help.


I am vastly amused to find a Specsavers ad. at the head of the comments inviting me to book an eye test now! Hmmm…ask M.Mann!


Here it is,
Josh can recycle this cartoon for this episode, same pose was struck I’m sure.

Vince Causey

Mann makes James “they tried to gag me” Hansen sound like the embodiment of calm, dispassionate, sage-like wisdom.
One wonders on the hubris of a man (Mann) who asserts to remain “aloof”, like God in Heaven, only to incarnate himself when forced to intervene in the most egregious protestations of climate “denialism”, that His Word is enough to reveal climate Truth and uncover Error.
It makes me wanna puke!


I think the proper technical qualifier for this post is: “WTF?”
Which post are you talking about? Because in the one I read, there’s a whole section on “wingman” Naomi Oreskes, among others, and all-too-predictable swipes at the supposedly evil “AGU of Oreskes, Gleick, Lewandowsky and Mann”.

Tom J

I have know idea where to begin with this so I think I’ll write about a wedding instead. My niece’s first name begins with ‘M’. Her spouse’s first name begins with ‘M’ as well. So the upcoming wedding will be ‘MM’. Michael Mann’s name is sometimes shortened to MM. See, I guess I started down the right path after all.
Anyway, my sister’s working overtime on this wedding. She desperately wants to get my niece out of the house. Anyway, she went to a wedding invitation place (wip) to have invitations designed. She didn’t invite me despite the fact that I’m on permanent disability (therefore with lots of free time) and, most importantly, I worked as a commercial artist for over 30 years. She did, however, show me the designs and ask for my opinion. I told her they sucked and that the wip was clueless about design but tried to act professional while they just moved design elements around on a computer screen. Unbeknownst to me, my sister designed them. Whoops.
It’s just dawned on me that the foregoing story is exactly about Michael Mann. Consider my sister as the government. She can do some things very well. But she cannot design things. Consider Michael Mann as the wip. He doesn’t know any more about design than my sister so he will give her exactly what she wants so long as she pays him thinking he knows what he’s doing, and best of all, he’s doing exactly what she wants. Consider me as the voter. Neither of them listen to me.
P.S. Don’t worry about my sister. She’s an older sister. Believe me, I get it worse than I give it.


I discovered the questionable scientific standards in climate science through the statistics abuse of mr. Mann as exposed by mr. McIntyre. It doesn’t really surprise me that he thinks he can get away with (or just thinks it’s fine, I don’t really know if he’s genuinely dishonest or just a bad scientist) using outdated misguiding charts – the simplest form of statistics abuse.
Mr. Mann, the shoddy science of you and some of your team companions combined with the over-the-top marketing of mr. Gore were the reasons I, after having had confidence in the CAGW theory for almost 30 years, became a “skeptic” (or “lukewarmer”, some would say), but it’s extremely difficult to explain why and how your hockey science was bad to people that are less knowledgable in math than I am (unless they’re open-minded enough to read Montford’s book). But now your statistics is wrong at such a basic level that I think everyone can understand it. Bravo! Bring it on!


Scientists like Michael Mann remain dangerous directly in proportion to the influence he/they wield in places where big, relevant decisions are made. These associations must be eroded. I do hope this thread and McIntyre’s work make it into the hands of the powerful people who are (still) listening/supporting.

Steve Hill from Ky

I wonder just how much damage that Mann and Gore have done to the world with their fabracated lies……Gore has switched over to Jihad.


Mann, the gift that keeps on giving…..who needs data,prove,when they have a clown like this..priceless.thank you MM


It will end badly for these people. Very, very badly. Honestly, I can’t wait.

Peter Miller

You know what’s really weird?
Someone out there must read the BS that Mann writes and believes it. I wonder who that someone is?