Global Warming: Man or Myth?

Scientists can also wear their citizen hats

Science by Error and Trial

with 15 comments

I sent the following letter to my elected representatives and to many media outlets.  I hope that you will also consider writing to voice your concern.


The Attorney General of the state of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli II, is attempting to force the University of Virginia to turn over email communications and other documents related to the climate science research of Dr. Michael Mann who worked at the University between 1999 and 2005.  This is Cuccinelli’s second attempt to question the integrity of Dr. Mann’s work.  A Virginia judge has already ruled against Cuccinelli’s first attempt.

In 1998 and 1999, Dr. Mann, along with Drs. Bradley and Hughes, published two important research articles related to historical temperature reconstructions known as MBH98/99.  MBH98/99 were essentially the first of their kind and showed that the last few decades have been warmer than any in the past 1,000 years. 

At the request of Congress in 2006, a panel of scientific experts was convened by the National Research Council to assess the validity of MBH98/99.  The panel chaired by Dr. Gerald North found that although there were some statistical problems with the reconstructions, these issues were minor and did not change the results.  Modern global temperatures were significantly warmer than in the past 1000 years.

The most recent article on this subject by Dr. Mann and six other scientists is dated 2008 and shows essentially the same results.  More recently, Kaufmann et al. (2009) and Thibodeau et al. (2010) confirm Mann’s results.  The IPCC (2007) concluded:

Paleoclimate information supports the interpretation that the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous 1300 years. Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns.

Since 2007, just about every international body of science supports the IPCC conclusions.

Cuccinelli’s latest move would mean that if a scientist makes a mistake while using public funding, that scientist has committed fraud.  Science advances by trial and error.  When mistakes are made, the peer-review publication process usually roots them out.  Cuccinelli’s version of the scientific process would be “make an error and go to trial.”  Einstein did not arrive at E=mc2 in his first attempt.  If he were working in the state of Virginia under Cuccinelli today, he could be jailed for his initial mistakes and perhaps never achieve that landmark equation.

Dr. Mann and other scientists who are trying to understand climate change will not be available to help prevent the crisis that is global warming if they are defending themselves against politically motivated witch hunts, or worse, sitting in a jail where their talents are being wasted.


More links:

Timeline of the Virginia Attorney General’s Misguided Investigation – Union of Concerned Scientists

Court Filing from Ken Cuccinelli Continues to Make Basic Scientific Errors – Union of Concerned Scientists

Cuccinelli Goes Fishing Again – Realclimate

Ken Cuccinelli seems determined to embarrass Virginia – Washington Post (10/6/2010)

Just in time for Halloween, Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli Raises his Failed Fraud Investigation from the Dead – Huffington Post article by Rep. Ed Markey (10/7/10)

Get the anti-science bent out of politics – Dr. Mann’s beautiful op-ed in The Washington Post (10/08/10)

University of Virginia Continues to Stand Up to Ken Cuccinelli’s Politically Motivated Attack on Climate Scientist (10/21/10)

Virginia/DC Contacts 

Newspaper Circulation Contact Name Contact Email
Washington Post 578,482 Rosalind Helderman E-mail Form
Virginian-Pilot 164,454 Julian Walker
Richmond Times-Dispatch 133,161 Jim Nolan
Roanoke Times 88,927 Laurence Hammack

Written by Scott Mandia

October 5, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

15 Responses

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  1. Scott, don’t forget Albert Einstein put a cosmological constant into an equation, for the sole purpose that he could not believe an ever-expanding universe. Talk about “fraud” !

    He later called it his “biggest mistake”, so let’s see if the Cooch wants to have a go at Einstein, too…(who cares he’s dead?)


    October 5, 2010 at 2:43 pm

  2. Wow, a very powerful letter…if I lived in the States I would send one too! Good job.



    October 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm

  3. And don’t forget Einstein received much flack for relativity, including his Nobel being delayed, and even then it was awarded for something else.

    “This world is a strange madhouse. Currently, every coachman and every waiter is debating whether relativity theory is correct. Belief in this matter depends on political party affiliation.” — Einstein in a letter to Marcel Grossmann, 1920

    More, including a fuller text of the above quote.

    “”Arbeitsgemeinschaft deutscher Naturforscher zur Erhaltung reiner Wissenschaft e.V.” (Association of German Natural Scientists for the Preservation of Pure Science) – a society that Einstein ironically called “Antirelativistische GmbH” (Anti-Relativity Company, Ltd.).”

    I don’t recall attempts to criminally prosecute Einstein, though.

    J Bowers

    October 6, 2010 at 5:29 am

  4. […] more: Science by Error and Trial « Global Warming: Man or Myth? This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged einstein, german, german-natural, help-prevent, […]

  5. Consider a Virginia citizen walking down a dark alley and wonder if that person would feel more solace knowing that their AG was vigorously pursuing people who might pull a knife rather than scientists that might pull a historical temperature plot?

    Scott Mandia

    October 6, 2010 at 7:43 am

  6. global warming, climate change, is NOTHING but a taxation of American citizens. It is nothing more than the redistribution of WEALTH. They have tried to make this the “NEW RELIGION” and Al Gore is a fraud. Check on how much money Al Gore has made and how much all the others have made. FOLLOW the money, you will get your answer. Al Gore says no one should be near the WATER, yet he buys a mansion on the West Coast. IT is a joke, and should be STOPPED. There is NO WITCH HUNT here. The original data has been LOST (or throw away purposely), so how can you build on NO data? Give it up, there will be NO CAP AND TRADE.


    October 6, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    • Marion, I gladly take any other measure that reduces CO2 emissions. Cap-and-trade is a typical industry ‘solution’, meaning that it doesn’t really work in practice.

      Of course, you already made a decision based on political allegiance alone, rather than on the facts. Scott already explained how he makes nothing more, nor less, in his position as a scientist at academia when he does, or does not, prove or disprove climate change.

      Oh, and the original data is nicely owned by the originator of the data, the National Meteorological Agencies. Get it there, you lazy gits!


      October 7, 2010 at 1:13 am

  7. The UN is the biggest liar going, USA needs to get out of the UN….


    October 6, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    • A bit of a strange statement to make. The USA is a significant member of the UN. So, if the UN is the biggest liar going, then that means…

      J Bowers

      October 7, 2010 at 10:34 am

  8. Off-subject:

    I’m writing a couple of pages on Venice and sea level rise. If anyone has any very recent information on the status of the huge gates that are to be built to keep the sea at bay, please let me know.

    Hunt Janin

    October 8, 2010 at 5:28 am

  9. […] detailed in previous blog posts (Wegman-gate: Alert Congress & the Media and Science by Error and Trial), and by this recent Washington Post letter from Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), Dr. Michael E. Mann is […]

  10. […] filed requests to investigate Dr. Michael Mann, a prominent paleoclimatic researcher, for fraud, simply because a twelve-year-old paper by Mann had some statistical weaknesses. Ironically, the Republican Party, which prides itself on fiscal responsibility and lower […]

  11. […] tutkintapyynnön petoksesta tohtori Michael Mannia, tunnettua paleoklimatologia vastaan yksinkertaisesti siksi, että kaksitoista vuotta vanhassa Mannin tieteellisessä julkaisussa oli joi…. Ironista kyllä, republikaanien puolue, joka ylpeilee fiskaalisella vastuuntunnolla ja […]

  12. This kind of thing needs a new word, Scott: Lysenkarthyism

    J Bowers

    January 27, 2011 at 9:29 am

  13. […] the obvious innocence of Dr. Mann and other scientists, it is clear that people such as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cucinelli and Chris Horner of Competitive Enterprise Institute and American Tradition Institute, who are […]

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