Bill Stoltzfus leaves this comment on the post Hump Day Hilarity: Mann-o-War at the House Climate Science Hearing
I thought it was worth elevating for the general readership.
I listened to the entire hearing yesterday, and while I don’t have any individual experience with any of the people on the panel, I can now understand why Dr. Mann is not liked, and globally not liked at that. For a scientist he speaks very well, very little equivocation that one would normally associate with having personal or professional doubts about the subject, seems to transition smoothly from one topic to the next, almost glib, which is strange for a profession that should be characterized by caution and hesitancy to over-reach. I saw those qualities in the other 3 panelists, but not Dr. Mann.
He seemed to have no problem veering off into innuendo and personal attacks and weaved them into the threads of his testimony. And of course there was the preening megalomania of him reciting his CV again, even though the chairman had already done that for everyone (no one else saw the need). I heard all the science words and phrases but the one thing I did not hear from him was uncertainty, about anything, as though reading from a well-memorized script and the only thing he had to worry about was the presentation style. And then going off on Pielke and Curry repeatedly, right out in the open in one of the halls of Congress, while still portraying himself as the victim.
He had absolutely the biggest whoppers I have ever heard from a scientist, including the proposition that “climate change denier” and “climate science denier” were 2 fundamentally different things that should not be confused. Not to mention that it’s perfectly OK to label someone either way in any event. But of course my favorite whopper was that the consensus has the same acceptance rate in the scientific community and the public at large as the theory of gravity. Wow! Just Wow! Does anyone here care to step off a climate science cliff?
So yeah, now I understand. I hope I never meet him. I do hope to meet Dr. Curry, Dr. Christy , and Dr. Pielke at some point—I think they handled themselves well, refrained from personal attacks like adults should, gave their opinions without advocacy, and generally tried to be good stewards and citizens.
I’ll add to that. When Dr. Mann said in his testimony:
But I’m here today because I’m also passionate about communicating what we know to the public and to policymakers. I have become convinced that no pursuit could be more noble.
The first thing that went through my mind is that Dr. Mann may be an unwitting practitioner of Noble Cause Corruption
John P. Crank and Michael A. Caldero (2000) define noble cause corruption as
“corruption committed in the name of good ends”
While written about police conduct, the paper is germane to the climate debate because people who are convinced that they are “saving the Earth” often have the same issue with noble cause corruption as police officers planting evidence to put away somebody they “know” is a bad guy. The “end justifies the means”, as we saw demonstrated in the Climategate emails.