Michael Mann Redefines Science

Written by Rich Trzupek

In a post over at Peter Guest’s blog, Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann is quoted making one of the most remarkable statements that I’ve ever heard coming out of a supposed scientist’s mouth:

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Proof is for mathematical theorems and alcoholic beverages. It’s not for science.

He goes on to explain that science is all about “credible theories” and “best explanations” and his gosh-darn critics supposedly don’t offer up any of those.

Now it seems pretty obvious that Mann’s attempt to separate proof from science stems from increasing public awareness that the warming predicted by the high-sensitivity models that Mann and others have championed just hasn’t occurred over the last fifteen years. No matter. You don’t need “proof” when you have “credible theories.”

That comes as something of a shock to me. When I was going to school to earn my degree in chemistry, we were taught that science was indeed all about absolute truths and proofs at the end of the day. “Credible theories” is how you got to those truths, not an alternative to them.

The proposition that phlogiston made combustion possible was a “credible theory” for a long time, until Lavoisier conclusively “proved” that oxidation was responsible. Before — USEPA approves the use of an air pollution dispersion model, real world data that “proves” the model can successfully and accurately determine dispersion patterns is necessary. Climatologists, apparently, do not suffer under similar uncomfortable burdens.

And the problem here is that guys like Mann, Jones, Gore, etc. have been running around for years, essentially presenting their hyper-sensitive version of climatology as established, unquestionable fact. I can’t count the number of times that AGW-heads have told me that “climate change is an established, scientific fact!” (Which it is of course, but not in the sense that these knuckleheads use the phrase).

Guest laments that:

Bound by honesty, the scientific consensus (sic) is going to struggle to overcome this problem, appearing unable to actually back up its results with tangible events…

Cross out the word “appearing” and you have as concise a statement of the problems that alarmists like Mann increasingly face with each passing day.

Guest also calls the US the world’s biggest carbon emitter, a position we’ve surrendered toChina some time ago, while Mann moans that his critics have “…delayed the necessary reductions in carbon emissions for decades…” I don’t know whether to conclude Mann is stupid, lazy or willfully ignorant, but EPA data clearly shows that the United States has been making massive reductions in carbon dioxide emissions since 2008 and the combination of new CAFÉ standards, EPA-forced coal-fired power plant retirements and state renewable portfolio standards ensure that these reductions will continue far into the future.

Good Lord! The guy got what he wanted and he’s still whining. Michael, if you want to sell your doomsday routine, take your act to Beijing or Delhi – there’s nothing left to do in the states short of going Flintstones.

This Mann-love comes as the enviro-left takes pot-shots at the brilliant conservative writerMark Steyn, who made the mistake of not only questioning Mann’s theories, but had theeffrontery to do so utilizing satire. The thin-skinned climatologist is in the process of suing Steyn, National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, apparently for both hurting his feelings and for pointing out that “credible theories” do not equate to either proof or truth.

The whacky world of climate alarmism is falling apart. The leading acolytes of the movement will continue to wail that it’s all the fault of those evil energy interests that supposedly make fellows like me question the theology of AGW theory, but in reality they have no one to blame for their increasing irrelevance but themselves.

Read more at: blog.heartland.org

Comments (4)

  • Avatar



    ” I don’t know whether to conclude Mann is stupid, lazy or willfully ignorant ..”

    Probably none of the above.

    Friends of mine who subscribe to man made global warming/climate change alarm always challenge me with “why would these guys with PhD.s distort the truth or lie etc.

    There is one simple answer – they have swallowed the hypothesis – even Lindzen published a paper describing the greenhouse effect where the atmosphere has equal heating power to the sun.

    But if you publish a paper which becomes well read the whole world of celebrity opens up.

    International acclaim, fame, recognition at I.P.C.C. conferences and free luxurious travel. The ability to attract money.

    We all know what happens if you challenge even some tiny distortion – your name tag is removed from the table forever and you are attacked and vilified.

    Who wouldn’t prefer such offerings to an uneventful career lecturing people who’d really rather be somewhere else ? All you need to do is jump enthusiastically on the band wagon.

    • Avatar

      Science or Fiction


      The following essay gives an idea about what is wrong. As commented by “Jungletrunks” at Judith Curry´s site:
      “The essay describes the success of IPCC through its history and evolution, yet it unwittingly reveals everything that’s wrong with the organization from the perspective of science.”

      The Evolution of International Cooperation in Climate Science
      by Spencer R. Weart, American Institute of Physics

  • Avatar

    Science or Fiction


    This reminds me of a point where I think even Karl Popper made a mistake, or at least was a bit un-precise, ref.: Logic of scientific discovery:
    “According to my proposal, what characterizes the empirical method is its manner of exposing to falsification, in every conceivable way, the system to be tested. Its aim is not to save the lives of untenable systems but, on the contrary, to select the one which is by comparison the fittest, by exposing them all to the fiercest struggle for survival.”

    I think he must have forgotten to say – or it didn´t occur to him at that point – that it might very well happen that none of the proposed theoretical systems passes the tests – that none of the theories survives – in which case we don´t know for sure what is causing the observed events.

    • Avatar

      Jerry L Krause


      Hi Whoever,

      Your comment is well taken. I have often quoted R. C. Sutcliffe, Weather and Climate, who wrote: “All this may seem a far cry from the general circulation of the world’s atmosphere but the detail serves to point the moral, that one cannot explain the broad features of world climate if on does not know the actual mechanisms involved.”

      I question Popper’s qualifier: “exposing to falsification, in every conceivable way”. Einstein stated: “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” I believe that the scientific law–The atmospheric temperature can never be less than the atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature.–is reproducible evidence that the fact that water vapor is also a greenhouse gas has nothing to due with the fact that atmosphere’s average temperature could never be 33oC less than which occurs every day at every location along the earth’s surface and in the total atmosphere. Ponder this.

      Have a good day, Jerry

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