Spinning exoneration of Dr. Michael Mann Into “Whitewash”

Dr Michael Mann, Penn State University

I have read the full report of this inquiry Concerning the Allegations of Research Misconduct Against Dr. Michael E. Mann and find the whole business interesting. Here are my reasons – quotes are from the report:

1: No specific charges for Mann to confront

Instead the University had received:

“numerous communications (emails, phone calls and letters) accusing Dr. Michael E. Mann of having engaged in acts that included manipulating data, destroying records and colluding to hamper the progress of scientific discourse around the issue of anthropogenic global warming from approximately 1998. These accusations were based on perceptions of the content of the widely reported theft of emails from a server at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Great Britain.”

So, all sorts of wild claims were being made as part of the hysterical fall out from “climategate” – the illegal release of emails in the UK. This was promoted by conservative bloggers and media outlets, by the deniersphere’s echo chamber.

“….. no formal allegations accusing Dr. Mann of research misconduct were submitted to any University official …the emails and other communications were reviewed [and] synthesized [into] the following four formal allegations.  …. The four synthesized allegations were as follows:”

1. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to suppress or falsify data?

2. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data, related to AR4, as suggested by Phil Jones?
3. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any misuse of privileged or confidential information available to you in your capacity as an academic scholar?
4. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community.

So – no formal charges or accusations. This forced the inquiry to synthesis their own from implied accusations from the deluge of hysterical emails and comments. They were not accusations of the inquiry or the University themselves!

2: No evidence to substantiate allegations

None at all. Not for any of the four allegations! The report discusses each accusation and detail and gives it’s clear finding that “there is no substance for this allegation.”

Naturally Dr Mann expressed pleasure at the result:

“I am very pleased that, after a thorough review, the independent Penn State committee found no evidence to support any of the allegations against me.  …. This is very much the vindication I expected since I am confident I have done nothing wrong.”

This does sort of expose the hysterical “climategate” beat up for what it was, doesn’t it. We can seriously discuss deficiencies in the way scientists at the University of East Anglia handled freedom of information requests, how they should be disciplined for this, etc.,  because there are specific charges and evidence. But the witch hunt against individuals like Dr Mann is exposed as hysterical hot air.

3: Further investigation by peers required

This was jumped on by some of the most biased commenters to claim a denier victory. Locally, conspiracy theorist Ian Wishart, claimed the inquiry was “widening “(Hockey-stick’s Michael Mann under deeper investigation). Blogger Poneke claimed Hockey stick fabricator Michael Mann to face further scrutiny in the wake of Climategate emails leak. Similar headlines appeared overseas and in the twittersphere.

However, this was simply a result of the inquiry committee finding itself unable to make a definitive finding on accusation 4 (deviation from accepted practices within the academic community for research). The decided this requited a “review by a committee of faculty scientists.” Clearly they saw that anything short of this would be seen as a whitewash saying: “Only with such a review will the academic community and other interested parties likely feel that Penn State has discharged it responsibility on this matter.”

Consequently an investigatory committee of five faculty members “with impeccable credentials” was set up and will report back within 120 days.

This will of course add extra reliability to Mann’s vindication. He commented “I fully support the additional inquiry which may be the best way to remove any lingering doubts. I intend to cooperate fully in this matter – as I have since the beginning of the process.

You can find the full report of the inquiry panel here: Concerning the Allegations of Research Misconduct Against Dr. Michael E. Mann

See also:
Climate change deniers’ tawdry manipulation of “hockey sticks”
Breaking: Penn State inquiry finds no evidence for allegations against Michael Mann
Brendan Demelle | Climate Skeptics Try To Spin Penn State Exoneration of Dr. Michael Mann Into “Whitewash”.
Michael Mann updates the world on the latest climate science and responds to the illegally hacked emails
Sorry deniers, hockey stick gets longer, stronger: Earth hotter now than in past 2,000 years
Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, “seminal” study finds
Abandoning all journalistic standards, CBS libels Michael Mann based on a YouTube video — while reporting his exoneration!

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14 responses to “Spinning exoneration of Dr. Michael Mann Into “Whitewash”

  1. Rob should sent them his investigative evidence and blow the whole case wide open!
    Take that, Mr Scientist you! :)

  2. Michael Mann is no longer relevant. We all know that now.

  3. But the investigators are in on it, don’t you know? :)

  4. Scholarsandrogues.com interviewed a number of university research directors and they all said that it was preposterous that the Mann inquiry and investigation were/would be a whitewash.

    http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2010/02/15/psu-cover-up-extremely-unlikely/

  5. Pingback: Chris Mooney interviews Michael Mann on “climategate” « Open Parachute

  6. Ken,

    There is an important piece of information missing from your posting. I’m sure it must have been an oversight. But I’m hoping you can help.

    How much money is Michael Mann being paid to study climate change? And how much money is being given to Penn State to study the effects of climate change?

    Cheers

  7. James, that is of course irrelevant to the post but of couse the panel would have been familiar with funding.

    Of course Mann will be paid wages normal for his position.

    I hope he and his university do receive good science funding. this is important work and funding agencies should recognise that. He has also proven to be a very good researcher and will attract funding for that as well.

    Sent from my iPod

  8. I see you have evaded my question…why don’t you at least try to answer it.

  9. No evasion, James. Just not interested in Mann’s wages or research budget. They are surely irrelevant to my post, aren’t they?

    Why are you?

    Why don’t you make the point that you want to instead of hiding behind such a silly question?

    That will enable discussion.

  10. Pingback: A more transparent approach « Open Parachute

  11. Pingback: Officially a fake scandal from science perspective « Open Parachute

  12. I am a chemist. I am very ashamed of these hypocrites who fudge data and refuse to disclose their TAX paid for data and methods.

    Scientist need to clean up their act and not act like “holier than thou” Ivory Tower Priests. I have certainly seen a lot of deliberate falsification of data during my career and it is about time scientist cleaned up their act. If they do not their BOSS the tax payer has every right to audit them to see if they are doing what they are paid for.

  13. Gail,

    What a coincidence – I am also a chemist, now retired. However, I was never aware of any “deliberate falsification of data” during my career.

    If you honestly are aware of such falsification you are ethically bound to expose it – specifically. Unsubstantiated general claims are themselves unethical because they effectively accuse everone you have had contact with – a form of slander.

    The scientific community treats data falsification very seriously. It violates the very heart of scientific ethics. So any substantiated charge would be seriously dealt with.

    Interestingly climate science and people like Mann and Jones have been scrutinized so thoroughly we can be pretty confident of their honesty. It has been their critics, people like mad Monckton, who have been caught falsifying data and lying.

    They need to “clean up their act” if they want to be listened to.

    As for data availability my experience is that scientists do make an incredible amount of their information available. However, my experience with a local denier group who have been using such publicly available data and distorting it is that they refuse to make their specific data and methodolgy available.

    Bloody hell, they even refuse to name their “scientific team” responsible for their reports!

    They are the real crooks!

  14. Pingback: Truth getting it’s boots on! « Open Parachute

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