A follow up on ‘I’m Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State, Ask Me Almost Anything!’

People send me stuff. Readers will surely recall  ‘I’m Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State, Ask Me Almost Anything!’. A reader who does not wish to be named writes about the questions he posed. Readers probably won’t be surprised at the outcome. – Anthony

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I gave it quite a lot of thought, and asked three questions of Michael Mann during his Ask Me Anything on Reddit:

  1. Given the Oxburgh Panel’s criticism on your use of statistical methods and McShane and Wyner 2010 finding significant statistical lapses in Mann et al 2008, do you foresee consulting with statisticians before publishing future papers?
  2. Do you regret the splicing of instrumental data with proxy data in your Nature study, something that Phil Jones referred to as “Mike’s Nature trick?”
  3. Darrell Kaufman issued a correction after he discovered that your orientation of the Tiljander data set was upside down in Mann et al 2008. Do you regret reversing this orientation, and why have you not issued a similar correction?

Unfortunately, Michael Mann saw none of these questions. 

And it’s not that that the questions showed up but were down-voted into oblivion by the users (seems to be a safe zone for alarmists).  I half-expected that!  What transpired instead was that the moderator blocked my comments from appearing entirely.  Which was weird, because the only reason they should not have shown up is if I was posting spam.

The questions: (click to enlarge)

askmeanything

I contacted the moderator to inquire and his response was that my questions were “inappropriate” for Michael Mann.

The moderator action:  (click to enlarge)nallenresponse

So when the moderator specified that “hard questions are allowed” for Dr. Mann, I guess what he really meant was that “hard questions are definitely not allowed”.  And as to “inappropriate”, I can hardly imagine more appropriate questions!

What Michael Mann took part in was more along the lines of a puff piece or a public relations show than anything like an “Ask Me Anything.”   I’m disappointed, but not surprised.  And if Dr. Mann ever reads this, I imagine there are a lot of us who would love the answers to those 3 questions.  And about a hundred others after that.

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etudiant

No surprise here.
Ask me ‘Almost anything’ clearly limits the questions to the immaterial.

Bill Yarber

I suggest you send these questions to the new President at Penn State and demand answers or the resignation of Dr Mann. If you won’t, I will.
Bill Yarber
PSU – AeroSp Engr
BS – ’69
MS – ’71

MikeN

Some other questions that I know were deleted:
You have said that some unknown phenomenon kept the Medieval Warm Period from being global in scope. Do you think there are any similar or other negative feedbacks unaccounted for or not accounted for properly by climate models?
What is the status of your lawsuit against Tim Ball? Has he paid up yet?

OldHoya

If you wanted to get thru to Mann you should have asked:
1. Are you the smartest man ever to win the Nobel Prize or just one of the smartest?
2. Among oil company stooges like Anthony Watts, Judith Curry and Steve McIntyre, which one do you think is most likely a child molester?
3. Is that Wegman guy crazy or what?

Paul Westhaver

I think that the Reddit effort was a probe. Bang the system and see how it rattles so to speak.
He was digging. He never intended to answer anything of substance, he just wanted to know the scope and depth of the questions so he could see what people actually know in advance of his legal pursuits.

The moderation here is light years ahead of blogs like Reddit. WUWT posts comments that conform to this site’s Policy, even when they are derogatory. That makes for heavy site traffic, because readers like to see a back-and-forth discussion with all sides presented.
Reddit needs to rein in it’s moderators. The questions Anthony asked were straightforward and pertinent. Readers would very much like to see Mann’s response. Running interference for Michael Mann only makes Reddit an enabler, like buying another drink for an alcoholic.

MikeN

You misunderstood the moderator by focusing on the wrong part. He didn’t say the questions are ‘inappropriate’, but that they are inappropriate for Michael Mann. He is too thin-skinned to see such questions. To question his intellect is tantamount to an accusation of fraud.
Hard is merely another word for difficult or tricky, and does not include attacking questions here.
By hard questions are allowed, they meant something like
“Can you give us a complete list of all your awards and commendations?”
“What is the full form of (x-a)(x-b)(x-c)…(x-z)?”

eyesonu

@ “reader who does not wish to be named”
Good move. Good questions. And transparency here at WUWT.
There is a full blown rout occurring.

son of mulder

“So when the moderator specified that “hard questions are allowed” for Dr. Mann…”
The questions would not be hard for Dr Mann. An academic of his calibre would be able to answer them easily.

It is interesting that the mods blocked his polite, thoughtful questions entirely, but just let the users down-vote my question, which wasn’t as thoughtful, and wasn’t as tactful, into oblivion. This was my question:

Dr. Mann,
In your famous “Nature trick” you replaced the most recent section of your proxy-derived temperature graph with a graph of measured temperature data, to “hide the decline” in the proxy-derived values, because that decline was inconsistent with measured temperatures. Splicing in the measured data hid the fact that the proxy-derived values were plainly wrong during that period of time, a fact which (were it not hidden) cast doubt upon your method of deriving ancient temperatures from tree ring proxies.
Phil Jones discussed using your “Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series…to hide the decline” in this 1999 email:
http://www.burtonsys.com/FOIA/0942777075.txt
This was the reaction of a prominent longtime climate alarmist, physicist Richard Muller:

Muller sounds like a cheated-on spouse. He said he’s “infuriated.” He says your team is the group he “trusted the most,” but he vows that now he’ll no longer even read your papers.
Dr. Mann, will you please take this opportunity to apologize for deceiving the community with your “Nature trick?”

I wouldn’t mind if some folks here would up-vote my question, so that it reappears. It’s currently at -6. I think it has to be -4 or higher to be visible. (Note: I went through the comments, ctrl-F searching for “comment score below threshold” and up-voting most of those comments.)

Alan Robertson

To: the Distinguished Nobel Laureate, Dr. Mann,
Is it Ok to use the phrase: “State Pen, not Penn State” in any context?

Happened to me, too. I signed up specifically to ask a question. However, my first comment was an on-topic, point-by-point rebuttal of some nonsense someone had said. My stuff was factual and impossible to refute – it wasn’t even particularly controversial. My comment appeared briefly and then disappeared for good. The moderators are scared of tough questions which just shows how confident they are in the strength of their argument re global warming. Climate Nazis indeed.

Pamela Gray

Mann orchestrated a sing-a-long complete with a bouncing ball and backup singers. Nothing more, nothing less.

Greg

Of course a caveat like “almost anything can mean…… almost anything.
Clearly he had no intention of answering any real questions, just puffing himself up a bit by choosing some topics he felt confident about answering.
A really hard question like “how many Nobel prizes have you won?” is obviously not going to get answered because it would require working out the difference between one and zero.
The fact that he has trouble with that sort of thing may tell us how much use he is going to be at working out whether we have AGW or not AGW.

Bloke down the pub

To be fair, he did say ‘ask me anything’ not that he would answer any question.

The problem isn’t protecting Mann from the questions – the problem is making sure Reddit users only see what’s allowed.
Imagine what hell the life of a alarmist propagandist, constantly on the lookout for the information that can’t be dared to appear, and feeling surrounded by the Dark Dastardly Forces of Denial .
To be a climate change alarmist is its own punishment.

Doug

The email address for President-elect Dr. Eric Barron is “president@psu.edu”. Address it to President-elect Barron, so that it gets to him and not outgoing President Ericson.
As the father of a current PSU freshman and an incoming freshman, I’m formulating my letter now.

There is a forum for AMA called appropriately enough reddit.com/r/IAmA
Mann’s AMA was NOT in that subreddit. The reasons are quite apparent.
The /r/science folder on reddit was altered some 2 months ago to allow the moderators to squash any and all comments against the alarmist rhetoric. This was done because the /r/science group has formally aligned itself with the journal Nature.
http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/1s6410/subreddit_announcement_nature_partnership_with/
If Mann had held his AMA in /r/IAmA, your comments and questions would probably not have been banned.

Kevin Kilty

First rate questions. They were polite, pertinent, and of probative value. No wonder they went unanswered.

Peter Miller

I think the dodgy doctor is great.
He has set the bar for ethics in ‘climate science’ so low that his very existence serves to continually undermine the alarmist cause.

Gerad Wroe

Your questions weren’t too hard, they were disrespectful. You should know that you should preface your questions with a eulogy to his esteemed body of work, and then toss in a softball question about being burdened by noxious skeptics.

J Martin

Does Mann deserve the implicit respect that use of the title “Dr” implies. perhaps he should be referred to simply by his surname.

mickgreenhough

see www,theeuroprobe.org 2014 -015 
The Green Party wants to sack all MPs and civil servants who disagree with them
Mick G

Chad Wozniak

Well – what else would one expect from the Womann-named-Sue? Now, now, we musn’t disturb her equilibrium – she is so delicate.

Kurt in Switzerland

Put these guys on a late night talk show!
Kurt in Switzerland

JEM

I mused proposing something like “Are you the anchor in this cartoon that’s going to drag the entire alarmist ship to the bottom of the ocean, and if so will Trenberth be on deck holding a thermometer yelling ‘Eureka!’?”
But the idea that something like that would ever get to Mann’s eyes…you must be kidding…

Chad Wozniak

@J Martin –
No, I think “Womann-named-Sue” is sufficient.

richard

I believe his name will on forever in Science.
Wikapedia 2050
The MANN solution.
Definition – Attempts by a scientist to manipulate any data by hiding the source code.
The MANN solution was named after Michael Mann back in 2014 after he went to court and was found guilty of manipulation of data that lead to his arrest and banishment from the scientific field. Later in life he was found wandering forest and talking to the trees, comments heard were
” tell me how much warming has there been” whilst hugging trees, many a time he had to be stopped from chainsawing ancient trees.

David L. Hagen

My question was also deleted. Paraphrasing, I asked:
“In light of Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman’s description of scientific integrity, do you have any comments on your 1998 “hockey stick” paper?”
See Richard Feynman 1974 Caltech

It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid–not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.
Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can–if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.
In summary, the idea is to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgement in one particular direction or another.

richard

life on forever

richard

oh lordy – live on forever!

dr. lumpus spookytooth, phd.

Yeah big surprise, I asked several questions that were deleted also. Why be nice? After 2 of my questions were deleted, I just started taking shots at the moderator.

dr. lumpus spookytooth, phd.

I’m pretty sure Eli Rabbett was a moderator, normally he is pretty good about allowing tough questions, but my suspicion is that heavy handed orders were given out, probably by Mann himself. It is actually quite comical,

Harry Passfield

Paul Westhaver says:February 25, 2014 at 9:13 am

“I think that the Reddit effort was a probe. Bang the system and see how it rattles so to speak.”

I think Paul’s dead right: It was a fishing expedition to find out what people might use to oppose him (Mann). There was no intention to engage. Mann’s a poltroon!

Mark Bofill

You can pitch any fast ball you want, so long as it doesn’t go over 40 mph.

If you want to speak freely in the era of open mindedness then you have to show that you are open minded. Otherwise no one wants to hear you and your speaking rights will be taken away. Don’t waste the time of busy, enlightened open minded people.
You have to be open minded.
Same goes for science. If you want to discuss something about a theory, you have to demonstrate that you understand that theory. Questioning the basis of a body of theory obviously shows that you don’t understand that theory. It is only rational that any questions you may have that show such ignorance should be discarded outright, and that you should be socially sanctioned as an example to others.
Only in this environment can open minded scientific inquiry occur.
(do I need to put the sarc tag here?)

And another thing …
Isn’t it about time we improved science?
This stodgy reliance on ‘observation’ weighs down the beautiful thoughts and ambitions of so many enlightened people who can imagine a better reality.
Let’s do the brave, bold thing that people in the climate ‘debate’ (there is no debate) keep talking around – time to discard the burdensome thermometer reading and record keeping that takes valuable resources away from TRUE SCIENCE where models are made that show the world just how bad we really are and in how much need we are of having decisions made for us be beautiful, enlightened people with degrees that rely on essay writing and impassioned statement-making rather than dull, unimaginative fields like engineering and “hard sciences.”
Let’s free humanity and explicitly do away with “hard science” and replace it with “easy science” where everyone gets a Nobel Prize!
Like John said one morning after rolling over and looking at Yoko for the umpteenth time: Imagine!

KRJ Pietersen

I once posted a very politely phrased question on RealClimate about how come we were supposed to believe tree rings were good proxies for historical temperatures when we knew they did such a lousy job of tracking 1980s and 1990s temps, a fact which had made necessary “Mike’s Nature trick” in the first place. I even prefaced it with some gratuitous comment in praise of Gavin Schmidt (probably an example of my loose adherence to moral standards, but nevertheless).
My question was removed with impressive speed and efficiency for a bunch of guys that cannot manage to secure either the CRU e-mails or SkS forum from hackers.

to be fair muller did change his mind

Jimbo

Ask Me Almost Anything!

That key word means hard questions are disqualified. This is why they cannot and will not allow any debate. They would be pulverized.

Oldseadog

If I could be bothered jumping through the hoops to join reddit I would have asked him where all the money went that I am supposed to have received as a “climate sceptic”.
Well, it says to ask him anything.
And J. Martin, no matter what you think of his views, M. Mann has a PhD from Yale so he is entitled to the honorific title “Dr.” If there is a problem then perhaps it should be taken up with the department that awarded the PhD.

OK – I submitted a question via Twitter:
https://twitter.com/SemperBanU/status/438399949244334080
We’ll see if it gets a response.
It brings us another question – Is there a way to exhume long dead academics and study their layers of skin so as to determine thickness in prior epochs? Would that be Dermochronology?

KRJ Pietersen

We already know that Reddit has a policy that bans CAGW skeptics from posting:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/20/discussion-thread-reddit-bans-climate-change-skeptics/
It’s much simpler to be a denier, after all. To deny there is uncertainty, to deny debate, to deny freedom of thought, enquiry and speech, to deny the right of scientists that don’t toe the line to publish papers in the journals, to deny error or doubt even when people like Steve McIntyre have demonstrated that there are bits of your graph that are upside down, to take to the courts to deny the right of people like Mark Steyn to criticise and so on.

Jimbo

I did a search for certain words and variations thereof and none of the following appear in Mann’s question and answer piece.
• McIntyre
• Steve McIntyre
• statistician
• graft
• nature trick
• Medieval
• Little Ice Age
• Oxburgh
• enquiry
• climate research unit
• CRU
• Phil Jones
• Nature trick
• Darrell Kaufman
• Tiljander
I guess the gate keepers have some kind of keyword filter which banishes such questions straight into spam.

‘I’m Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State, Ask Me Almost Anything!’

You can bet your bottom Dollar that questions with some of the keywords I have listed above were asked.

I’m Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State, Ask Me Almost Nothing!

KNR

‘What Michael Mann took part in was more along the lines of a puff piece or a public relations show’
That is the only type of show he will take part in…until his ego gets the better of him and he does end up in court, what a day that will be.

Mick

From a non-climate-qualified person, keen on exposing anti-corruption aspects of life in general…..isn’t it wonderful for those of us similar types, that Blogs like this, are, in the ‘digital age’, able to expose these…….(fill in your own description)….types of people, hell bent on self promotion at what ever the cost to the truth. Long may it last!

Mike McMillan

If you were actually looking for a response, a better question for Dr Mann would be
The 1993 Graybill-Idso tree ring study that you used in MBH98 was undertaken by its authors to find evidence of CO2 fertilization. What techniques or methods did you use to separate out the temperature component from the effects of precipitation variation and increasing CO2?

Merovign

Obviously, *real* science is about not asking difficult questions, and only about confirming your own biases.
So we need a new name for that thing where you use techniques and processes designed to test your ideas against reality, because that’s not “science” anymore.

David, UK

And Mann has the temerity to label Judith Curry as “anti-science.” Oh, the projection. It burns.

So much for scientific transparency and “peer review”. It’s more like “peer ignore”.