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Virginia AG Probing Michael Mann For Fraud 617

Posted by kdawson
from the all-the-research-we-approve-of dept.
eldavojohn writes "Republican Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has requested receipts and research documents relating to nearly half a million dollars in state taxpayer money used to conduct climate change research at the University of Virginia while under direction of Michael Mann, originator of the famous 2001 IPCC Hockey Stick graph depicting rapid climate change. Mann appears to be a prime target for Cuccinelli — who has also requested hearings with the EPA to contest the grounds of their carbon dioxide studies. Mann's expenditures of taxpayer money may become problematic if Cuccinelli finds violations of Virginia's Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. Cuccinelli has been active in pushing conservative views in the past, including an effort to remove the titillating mammary from the beloved Great Seal of Virginia. No end in sight for the politicizing of the science and research surrounding climate change."
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Virginia AG Probing Michael Mann For Fraud

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:38PM (#32066982)

    He's also the asshole that told all the public universities in Virginia they could no longer have policies of non-discrimination towards gays.

    Stay classy.

    • He's also the asshole that told all the public universities in Virginia they could no longer have policies of non-discrimination towards gays.

      Stay classy.

      Well, I live in Northern Virginia by DC so I'm painfully aware of his policies. In 2004, as a State Senator in Virginia's Senate, he stated " Homosexuality is wrong [pqarchiver.com]." This was in regards to a bill that would be introduced to add homosexuality under hate crime legislation after a particularly disturbing case. Cuccinelli vowed to fight any extension of gay rights. He would be reelected in 2007 and appointed as Attorney General this year.

      Your fancy logic is no use here, this is politics. You have to d

      • Not Appointed (Score:4, Interesting)

        by waldoj (8229) <(waldo) (at) (jaquith.org)> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:45PM (#32067562) Homepage Journal
        Actually, Cuccinelli wasn't "appointed" as attorney general—he was elected. He defeated Democrat Steve Shannon by a huge margin. We chose to have this guy as AG, and it wasn't even close. Any informed voter should have known what they were getting into with Cuccinelli. He's really, really far right, and he's never hid it. It doesn't speak well of Virginia.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:50PM (#32067602)

        You have to disprove Cuccinelli's belief that "homosexuality is wrong" and his apparent reinforcement that it moves him up the voting chain so the populace agrees.

        There are large portions of the population which (for whatever reason) don't want to support "gay rights".

        The goal then, should be to re-frame the argument in a way as to remove the government from areas which it doesn't belong (like defining marriage).
        Think of it this way, if the government had no concern for marriage and only "cared" about civil unions, what issue would it be what the sexes of the two parties are?

        You want to "marry" a man or woman or child or goat or rock (or a mix), that's between you and the church.
        Everything else is a contract, let the lawyers fight over it.

      • by Arker (91948) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @11:48PM (#32069034) Homepage

        Your fancy logic is no use here, this is politics. You have to disprove Cuccinelli's belief that "homosexuality is wrong" and his apparent reinforcement that it moves him up the voting chain so the populace agrees.

        A very large percentage of the population around the world happens to agree with him. (I dont, personally, but they are clearly the majority around the world.)

        However you do NOT have to convince them otherwise in order to convince them that gays should not be legally persecuted. You just have to convince them that the entire subject is outside of the proper purvue of the government to begin with, generally a much easier argument.

        Of course, if what you want is not to simply put gay people on an even playing field legally, but you really want to give them special privileges instead, no argument is going to work with these people. Or with me either, for that matter. "Hate crime" legislation is dangerous nonsense. If violent crimes are not being dealt with properly, that is an issue to be dealt with across the board, but we should never have a law that imposes a heavier penalty for assaulting a member of a 'protected class' differently than an assault on any other citizen, and we also should insofar as at all possible avoid defining crimes by ultimately unknowable mental states of the aggressors, rather than simply by their actions.

        • by Vintermann (400722) on Monday May 03, 2010 @05:24AM (#32070324) Homepage

          The arguments for hate crime laws are not hard to understand.

          If a white man beats up another white man after he has been to the polling booth, that's bad for a lot of reasons. If a white man beats up a black man after he has been to the polling booth, that's bad for all the aforementioned reasons, but it could also be an attempt to scare other black people from voting. It's not just an attack on that man, it's an attack on his class/category. A person motivated by hate may take the normal punishment for such a crime, and still consider it a success if it worked as intended.

          Similar things would be attacks on gays in order to keep them in the closet, and from publicly defending their interests, attacks on muslim women who refuse to wear a veil, etc. Such attacks are already illegal for obvious reasons, but society believes (correctly, in my opinion) that commiting crimes in order to suppress minorities is especially bad, and deserving of extra sanction.

          The only issue I have with hate crime laws is if they are directed against particular groups only. It's not what kind of group it is that matters, but the intent of the suppressing act.

        • by jschottm (317343) on Monday May 03, 2010 @07:40AM (#32070782)

          Of course, if what you want is not to simply put gay people on an even playing field legally, but you really want to give them special privileges instead, no argument is going to work with these people.

          Here is an example of one of the policies [vt.edu] in question.

          Is not being fired simply for being black a "special privilege?"
          Is not being denied entrance as a student simply for being black a "special privilege?"
          Is not being denied financial aid simply for being black a "special privilege?"
          Is not being denied the ability to participate in graduation simply for being black a "special privilege?"
          Is not being called a [racial slur of choice] in the workplace or the classroom a "special privilege?"

          Now s/black/gay and s/racial/sexual/. Do any of the above statements make _more_ sense after that? People should be hired/accepted/funded/allowed participation from the best possible candidate regardless of race, military background, age, disability, religion, gender, nationality, and so forth. Because there have been problems with issues in the past, they have been enumerated as things you should not discriminate against. It's not providing [positive] special treatment, it's ensuring against [negative] special treatment.

          If violent crimes are not being dealt with properly, that is an issue to be dealt with across the board, but we should never have a law that imposes a heavier penalty for assaulting a member of a 'protected class' differently than an assault on any other citizen

          If basic laws provide sufficient deterrence to common crime but a specific class of people are still being targeted, then some kind of additional measure is needed. Let's say that there's an acceptable level of muggings - there's a few, but in general, the threat of imprisonment is enough to deter most would-be muggers, and the punishment/rehabilitation level is maximizes deterrence, minimizes state costs, and minimizes repeat offenders by effectively rehabilitating them. At the same time, anti-Catholic sentiment has caused a rampant level of muggings of nuns that is not deterred by the basic statues.

          To alter the already correct formula that deters casual muggings to attempt to protect the nuns would be a societal harm.

          Further, hate crime prosecutions are often done to change the venue when local forces are sympathetic to the cause and chose not to use the existing laws. For example, U.S. v. Cecil Price et al.

          we also should insofar as at all possible avoid defining crimes by ultimately unknowable mental states of the aggressors, rather than simply by their actions.

          By that logic there should be no distinction between involuntary manslaughter and first degree murder.

          • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Monday May 03, 2010 @09:15AM (#32071348)
            Two people have responded with justifications for "hate crime" legislation. The problem is that those proposing these laws never try and prove that existing laws are insufficient detterent. For example, the argument was made in 2000 that hate crime legislation was needed in Texas because of the guys who drug a black man behind a pickup. Two of the three involved were sentenced to death. There was no evidence that the third was involved because of racism. Texas has no "hate crime" laws, yet this case was used to promote the idea of passing one. Exactly what greater penalty would a "hate crime" law have imposed on the men sentenced to death (note: there was no evidence that the one who was not sentenced to death had racial motivations in committing the crime).
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:22PM (#32067370)

      Don't let facts get in the way of your partisan hatred. All he did was point out that only the state legislature has the authority to mandate such policies.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:46PM (#32067570)

      Have you actually read the opinion? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/Cuccinelli.pdf

      He's telling the public universities that, in his opinion, they don't have the authority to have those sorts of policies unless specifically authorized by the General Assembly. Previous AGs have said the same thing. Part of his job is to provide legal advice, which is exactly what he did.

      • by KiahZero (610862) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @09:05PM (#32068082)

        The opinion is remarkably poor legal advice, as it fails to account for the relevant differences between local governments and universities and does not speak to the general grants of authority given to Virginia universities to craft their own rules.

      • by Overzeetop (214511) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @09:24PM (#32068210) Journal

        I'd rather correct you:

        The AG's job regarding legal advice is to provide it in response to requests from state institutions. In this case, I believe, nobody asked him - he just decided that it was in his political interest to create the opinion from his reading of the laws.

        He's - if I can borrow the term - legislating from the AG's office. I'd rather he go back to prosecuting people who harm society by breaking the law. (We'll, I'd rather he leave office. Steve Shannon is no great shakes, but I voted for him as a way to vote against this kind of activism).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BitwiseX (300405)
      Washington Post article about it. [washingtonpost.com]

      "U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said in a statement that Cuccinelli's advice would "damage the Commonwealth's reputation for academic excellence and diversity."
      ""What he's saying is reprehensible," said Vincent F. Callahan Jr., a former Republican member of the House of Delegates who serves on George Mason's board of visitors. "I don't know what he's doing, opening up this can of worms."


      Total prick. He might as well of put out a press release that simply said "I hate
  • Woo, witchhunts! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:39PM (#32066986)

    After the whole Climategate thing fizzled, I was wondering when some enterprising Republican in the US would take it upon himself to try to drum up some more bullshit. I guess after the guy was done making sure you can discriminate against the gays the way the good lord intended, Cuccinelli thought he'd move on to something that's a better use of the taxpayer's dollars.

    Yay Virginia!

    • It is very serious (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Presto Vivace (882157) <marshall@prestovivace.biz> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:45PM (#32067038) Homepage Journal
      Even if the investigation comes up empty, as I expect it will, it could have a very damaging effect upon Mann's career. It also could have a chilling effect not only on other climate scientists, but even discouraging science students in even choosing a career in climate science.
      • by AHuxley (892839) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:24PM (#32067384) Homepage Journal
        In one stroke turn many sciences outside maths or military industrial engineering disciplines into 'arts' in the eyes of the US public.
        No more messy European style reports about cadmium, lead, beryllium, dioxin, strontium, the water table, air quality ect. by 'experts' in US courts.
      • by Maestro4k (707634) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:35PM (#32067488) Journal

        It also could have a chilling effect not only on other climate scientists, but even discouraging science students in even choosing a career in climate science.

        I suspect that's the plan, according to the article he's wanting documents from the period of 1999 - 2005, and it goes on to describe what's he's demanded be produced as:

        Among the documents Cuccinelli demands are any and all emailed or written correspondence between or relating to Mann and more than 40 climate scientists, documents supporting any of five applications for the $484,875 in grants, and evidence of any documents that no longer exist along with proof of why, when, and how they were destroyed or disappeared.

        I seriously, seriously doubt all the E-mail correspondence will still exist, we're talking about stuff that goes back 11 years. And when it does, and they can't prove "why, when and how" those E-mails were lost exactly, this asshole will claim it's all some giant cover-up. No matter what Mann and the UVA does they're going to lose here, because this isn't a legit investigation, it's a political witch-hunt pure and simple. McCarthy would be proud.

        This disgusts me greatly, I'm torn between being glad I'm not living in Virginia and wishing I was so I could raise holy hell at the waste of my tax dollars on political witch-hunts by this jerk. Maybe Virginia voters will wake up and demand an investigation into Cuccinelli's waste of their tax dollars under the same law he's abusing here.

        • but I woulf not bet on it. Besides, the idea may not be to prove anything, just a selected release of specific emails to prove anything that Cuccinelli pleases. We have a junior Kenneth Starr on our hands.
        • by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @09:24PM (#32068204)
          I suspect that's the plan, according to the article he's wanting documents from the period of 1999 - 2005, and it goes on to describe what's he's demanded be produced as:

          The White House couldn't even answer demands about emails from more recent time. And for retro-justifying $500,000 in grants (it's not that much, under $100k per year for 6 years), it'll take about that much more to account for it. Produce every document suspected to exist, or justify its non existence is the order. And he doesn't care if that's impractical. In fact he wants it to be. I'm sure he thinks that they'll not provide anything incriminating, but that they'll be unable to provide everything, and what isn't provided won't have accurate destruction history (I know I don't record emails as I destroy them). And so, any single missing document of the thousands or tens of thousands he's expecting and he'll have his "proof" that they must have done something because they couldn't comply with his simple request.

          It's not a witch hunt. He has the witch he wants. This is the burning. Investigations as a punishment is nothing new. Even if exonerated, it will be a blow against the reputation of Michael Mann and the treasury of Virgina.
  • Non-peer Review (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Machupo (59568) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:39PM (#32066990)

    Great...

    Definitely the beginning of the end when science is evaluated by non-scientists (or bought/paid for court "expert witnesses").

    • Re:Non-peer Review (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Barrinmw (1791848) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:50PM (#32067076)
      When Scientists act like politicians, I don't find it hard to believe that politicians will soon act like scientists.
      • Re:Non-peer Review (Score:4, Insightful)

        by shellster_dude (1261444) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:54PM (#32067626)
        Mod parent up. Climategate was the result of scientist taking their findings out of the field of science and into politics. Whether malicious or not, these scientists let politics skew their research. They modified data that "didn't look right". They deleted "anomalous" data. All of these things are clearly in the realm of politics instead of science. Scientists have the responsibility of presenting the science warts and all, as it is. Especially when some of the science is being funded by tax dollars and can potentially affect millions of lives because of the legislation which will be based on the results.

        Climategate is no longer about whether climate change or global warming is or isn't happening. It is about the egregious abuse of the scientific method and peer review.
      • Re:Non-peer Review (Score:5, Insightful)

        by niiler (716140) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @11:15PM (#32068882) Journal
        It is everybody's job to get involved in politics in a democracy, whether they be scientists or no. And whereas we are all qualified to evaluate the merits of our politicians, there are very few of us who can evaluate the merits of science. In fact, it is often quite difficult to evaluate the merits of science outside of one's discipline.
    • On the other hand (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Presto Vivace (882157) <marshall@prestovivace.biz> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:53PM (#32067106) Homepage Journal
      it is a great day for economic development in DC and Maryland, who is going to locate a scientific research institution or bio-technology business in Virginia with this going on?
  • Pure trolling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:43PM (#32067004)

    That's pure trolling from Cuccinelli, he has not asked for the data (which is open) related to the papers in question, but ALL of Mann's e-mail with about 20 people.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/05/cuccinelli_is_using_the_law_to.php [scienceblogs.com]

  • by TimmyDee (713324) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:44PM (#32067026) Homepage Journal

    Maybe someone should sue Cuccinelli for fraud. After all, this sounds like a waste of taxpayer money if I've ever heard of one.

    • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:04PM (#32067200)
      Don't hold your breath: Persecution of scientists who support inconvenient ideas is a tried and true tradition of politicians who wish to maintain power. During the cold war, they would call you communist and wreck your career if you supported social reforms. They took away Linus Pauling's passport and only gave it back to him so he could travel to Stockholm to receive his Nobel Prize. Oppenheimer's reputation never did recover after his security clearance was revoked, even though everything they said about him was a complete lie. Before that, the church would try you for heresy if you were uppity. Also, every time a dictator or oligarchy takes power, they always kill the intellectuals first.

      Mann did invite a lot of criticism by not opening his data when people asked him for it. I'm referring of course to the issues with the bristlecone pine and his convolution of several sets of temperature proxies. I haven't heard of any evidence that Mann is involved in any fraud though, but witch hunts by their very nature never come up empty-handed. This one won't either.
      • by oiron (697563) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @10:29PM (#32068570) Homepage

        Mann did invite a lot of criticism by not opening his data when people asked him for it. I'm referring of course to the issues with the bristlecone pine and his convolution of several sets of temperature proxies. I haven't heard of any evidence that Mann is involved in any fraud though, but witch hunts by their very nature never come up empty-handed. This one won't either.

        I think you're confusing Michael E. Mann [wikipedia.org], who conducted some research based on climate data with the CRU [wikipedia.org] which actually publishes some of the data.

        The controversy in that case was just this: CRU publishes a compilation of recent near-surface temperature, in association with the Hadley Centre. This is made up of data from various national meteorological agencies, which is processed to remove local noise and variations (urban heat island effect, moving of weather stations, etc), gridded and used to produce global surface temperature records.

        The end-product of CRU's record was always available in public. What was controversial was that some of the national weather agencies' records couldn't be released because those agencies had copyright over the data, and were selling it commercially. There's also a possibility that the CRU scientists used copyright as an excuse to spite those who were using FOIA requests to harass them (as they saw it, and I for one don't blame them - requesting data you have no intention of using, for the sole purpose of making a noise about it, whether it's released or not is disingenuous at best).

        In any case, pretty much all of the actual data, barring a few stations, was in the public domain long before the FOIA requests - those making the requests just couldn't get as much political mileage out of public domain data. You can still find all that data by going to RealClimate [realclimate.org]

        Michael Mann, on the other hand, is a researcher who worked on the "hockey stick" graph - a consolidation of various paleoclimate data, collected from proxies like tree rings and ice cores. He and his co-authors overlaid several paleoclimate reconstructions over each other, to show how well they correlated, and found that they all correlated pretty well, and showed a marked rise in temperature during the industrial era. One controversy with this data is that they added instrument records (that is, the CRU temperature series) to the end of the chart [wikipedia.org] (which you can see as the black line in the image), which shows more warming in recent times. Another is that one proxy (tree ring data) shows a decline in the proxy measurement (tree ring width) from the 1960s onwards, which on the face of it, should imply that temperatures are declining, but which no other data, including all the various instrument data show. Mann used a statistical trick of stopping the tree ring data with the 60s and tacking on the instrument data, a technique some people disagree with.

        Anyway, the point is, none of Michael Mann's data was ever hidden away

  • by sphealey (2855) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:44PM (#32067028)

    This is but one of many shenanigans [washingtonmonthly.com] the new Virginia AG is involved in.

    sPh

  • consider this... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by buddyglass (925859) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:07PM (#32067232)

    Can you envision any scenario where a republican calling for a fraud investigation related to climate research would not be criticized as "politicizing science"? I agree that's probably what's happening in this particular case, but it seems that any call for an investigation would end up being impugned as "politicizing science" regardless of the investigation's merits.

    • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:36PM (#32067496)

      Probably because it is politicizing science regardless of the merits. The way science operates is not generally by having attorneys general investigating the merits of scientific papers. If something was wrong or fraudulent, that's a job for journal editorial staff and university misconduct boards to sort out.

      Similarly, it'd be correctly considered "politicizing science" if democrats launched a fraud investigation of a libertarian economist, regardless of whether that economist did or didn't fabricate evidence. The attorney general is just not the right person to do it.

    • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:46PM (#32067574)
      Normally, investigations start because there is suspected wrongdoing. Here's the quote from TFA about the suspected wrongdoing here:

      "Since it's public money, there's enough controversy to look in to the possible manipulation of data," says Dr. Charles Battig, president of the nonprofit Piedmont Chapter Virginia Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment, a group that doubts the underpinnings of climate change theory.

      I'll be the first to recognize that Mann's hockey stick has some issues [wikipedia.org] with the older data. Unfortunately, there is a difference between manipulation of data for a political reason and just being wrong. Most science, when first published, is wrong and scientists try to be clear that the data they present has significant uncertainty attached to it (this is often forgotten by the media looking for a sensational story).

      Given that, let me turn your question around: given that as a political entity, Republicans generally have disavowed that any climate change is possible how could anyone as a member of that political entity actually evaluate the difference between Mann being wrong and Mann committing fraud in an unbiased way? I don't think they can, they don't have any credibility on this topic.

    • by oiron (697563) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @10:31PM (#32068578) Homepage

      If the investigation had any "merits", could he please find a few decent scientists who know about this stuff (either worked in the field or in allied fields) who might conduct it, instead of doing it as a political witch-hunt?

      If not, the criticism is entirely valid.

    • by Sique (173459) on Monday May 03, 2010 @02:32AM (#32069770) Homepage

      No. If it is scientific fraud, then normaly the colleagues would complain (as it happened with those high profile frauds like Jan Hendrik Schön [wikipedia.org] or Hwang Woo-Suk [wikipedia.org]). If it is financial fraud, normally the finance departement of the university would complain. If someone from outside calls it fraud and starts an investigation, it always sounds like politics.

  • by mbone (558574) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:13PM (#32067286)

    He is just another Republican carpetbagger (from New Jersey). These grifters evidently think that everyone in the South is an easy mark.

  • by taxman_10m (41083) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:19PM (#32067332)

    Boston civil-liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate calls his new book "Three Felonies a Day," referring to the number of crimes he estimates the average American now unwittingly commits because of vague laws. New technology adds its own complexity, making innocent activity potentially criminal.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471504574438900830760842.html [wsj.com]

    • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:31PM (#32067440)
      This is true. I hate to say it, but unfortunately some scientists do play a little too fast and loose with their research dollars. The fact is, you can't maintain a research program without moving some money around sometimes to fill in the gaps. These are things like one research grant ending, but the graduate student being paid as a research assistant hasn't finished his or her degree quit yet because they showed up half way through the grant starting (the start of the grant and finding the student are almost never coincident), and so you support that student with another grant for a semester or two until they finish. The alternative is to let the student go unpaid with no degree, but this too will be disaster for a professor if he or she can't graduate students.

      Unless Mann is a saint, even if he is not truly fraudulent with his funds, he will be hard pressed to defend every last research dollar spent under his program. He could be found guilty for nothing more than what is an accepted practice among researchers because the alternative is a non-workable research program.
  • by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:21PM (#32067354)

    The motto on the Great Seal of Virginia is "Sic Semper Tyrannis". It means "thus always to yyrants" and was attributed to Brutus after stabbing Caesar and was also what John Wilkes Booth said after murdering Lincoln. Timothy McVeigh was wearing the motto (with a picture of Lincoln, not the VA seal) when we was arrested.

    That (now) hateful phrase remains on the seal, but at least the cartoon titty is gone.

  • by DynaSoar (714234) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:32PM (#32067446) Journal

    He didn't have all these problems when he was doing Miami Vice.

  • Good. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drolli (522659) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:32PM (#32067450) Journal
    Its better to test these claims in front of a court than to listen to the defamation of sciene much longer. Much easier to defend yourself there.
    • Re:Good. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by oiron (697563) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @10:34PM (#32068600) Homepage

      Science should be defended by peer review and by thesis defence, not by challenging it in a court of law, with the possibility of a legal punishment for being wrong, or for producing a politically inconvenient result.

      Though this is becoming a bit of a Godwin by itself, I'll mention Galileo here...

      • Re:Good. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by drolli (522659) on Monday May 03, 2010 @12:52AM (#32069318) Journal

        Science should be defended by peer review and by thesis defence, not by challenging it in a court of law, with the possibility of a legal punishment for being wrong, or for producing a politically inconvenient result.

        I agree. I am a scientist myself. However, i am also an employee. Instead of letting idiotic morons who believe the earth is 6000years old and relativity is bullshit because its to complicated for them (see Andrew Schlafly) throw mud on me in public, i would rather prefer that they go to court. Because then there is a good chances it hurts them.

  • It's 2010! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by M. Baranczak (726671) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:47PM (#32067578)

    You would think that by this time, the discussion would have moved from "is global warming real?" to "what do we do about it?" No such luck.

  • My guess is this has little to do with Michael Mann or the University of Virginia. This has everything to do with the AG's petition to put the EPA's threatened regulation of carbon dioxide under review [vaag.com]. The AG is seeking to undermine the EPA's grounds for action by showing that it is based on weak, missing, or faulty scientific evidence.

    The law the AG is using is the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act [taf.org], a relatively new "whistleblower" law. The kinds of fraud this law attempts to cover are:

    * Submitting false service records or samples in order to show better-than-actual performance.

    * Falsifying natural resource production records -- Pumping, mining or harvesting more natural resources from public lands that is actually reported to the government.

    * Billing for research that was never conducted; falsifying research data that was paid for by the U.S. government.

    Arguably, if the AG can show that the climate science was cooked, he could have a case. If he wins it, he may have established a legal precedent for throwing out the climate data in the EPA case.

    This sounds like a pretty smart legal move, if you are a Republican and you control the governorship of Virginia.

  • by s2jcpete (989386) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @09:28PM (#32068244)
    The same AG who changed the Virginia state seal to cover up a breast. The same state seal designed by George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. http://hamptonroads.com/2010/04/cuccinelli-opts-more-modest-state-seal [hamptonroads.com]
  • by cavehobbit (652751) on Monday May 03, 2010 @07:05AM (#32070638)
    "No end in sight for the politicizing of the science and research surrounding climate change." Duh. Since the funding for it comes from government it is politicized from the start. What the OP is saying is that only disagreement or challenge to one viewpoint is politcs, the other side is pristine pure selfless logic. Crap. It's ALL politics. Why else do progressives attack anything that questions AGW? True science accepts challenges either as corrections to a theory or as test of validity.

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