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Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science 786

Lasrick writes: Michael Mann writes about the ad hominem attacks on scientists, especially climate scientists, that have become much more frequent over the last few decades. Mann should know: his work as a postdoc on the famed "hockey stick" graph led him to be vilified by Fox News and in the Wall Street Journal. Wealthy interests such as the Scaife Foundation and Koch Industries pressured Penn State University to fire him (they didn't). Right-wing elected officials attempted to have Mann's personal records and emails (and those of other climate scientists) subpoenaed and tried to have the "hockey stick" discredited in the media, despite the fact that the National Academy of Sciences reaffirmed the work, and that subsequent reports of the IPCC and the most recent peerreviewed research corroborates it.

Even worse, Mann and his family were targets of death threats. Despite (or perhaps because of) the well-funded and ubiquitous attacks, Mann believes that flat-out climate change denialism is losing favor with the public, and he lays out how and why scientists should engage and not retreat to their labs to conduct research far from the public eye. "We scientists must hold ourselves to a higher standard than the deniers-for-hire. We must be honest as we convey the threat posed by climate change to the public. But we must also be effective. The stakes are simply too great for us to fail to communicate the risks of inaction. The good news is that scientists have truth on their side, and truth will ultimately win out."
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Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science

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  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Saturday January 10, 2015 @08:12PM (#48783587)

    Starsky and Hutch and Crime Story didn't really have much to do with climate change - but I did like the Del Shannon theme song he used on the latter.

  • by v(*_*)vvvv ( 233078 ) on Saturday January 10, 2015 @08:35PM (#48783679)
    Despite what we're led to believe, science is not a democracy. Science is a totalitarian, authoritarian, oppressive regime in which only nature has a say in anything. And nature only speaks through evidence.

    Society is not governed by science. We've made it to democracy and capitalism in which vote count and bank account reign supreme. And in our society, science is still poor and a minority. The truth does not ultimately win in a democracy. "It's about votes, not truth, dumb ass." And it's easier to buy votes than to inspire them with education.

    Scientists completely underestimate the opposition. And the worst part is, the science doesn't even matter. It matters to scientists of course, but it doesn't matter to the deniers. They are on a mission to make money and serve their cause. And all they really need is to buy time. That is all they want. As long as they can postpone action, the more money they make. So even if they believed in the inevitability of scientific conclusion and of actual global warming, they aren't even concerned about those outcomes until they happen. All they have in mind is immediate gratification. So they've already won, and they keep winning. The battle scientists are fighting over "minds" is moot. There are no minds to find. They need to fight the money.

    True scientists only echo the voice of nature. Today, nature is our slave. And nature has no voice. Global warming is inevitable. It's nature's revenge. I'd invest in a post warm economy than any attempts in saving it. Science will never have enough money to win the war on global warming.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Well, aside from the animism, you are not far off. The problem scientists have is that there are a majority of morons that do not understand that scientists do not deal in personal opinions, but approximations to the truth as good as can be had. Ignoring science always has severe consequences.

      The other thing is of course, that good scientists are bad liars. Their profession is very hard to master and mastering it requires absolute truthfulness to oneself and others. Hence whenever it is a debate not based o

  • I'm glad to see that Mr. Mann did not use the pejorative term "denier" even though the /. summary does.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bunratty ( 545641 )
      Do you have a better term for people who continue to vociferously claim that warming is not happening? They're not just doubters or skeptics or merely asking questions. Personally, I think denial [wikipedia.org] is the most accurate term for these people, but I'm open to other suggestions.
    • Re:Denier? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Saturday January 10, 2015 @10:00PM (#48784205)

      "Climate change denier" is merely descriptive and accurate as such. Any negative connotations are purely the fault of those following this "school of though". Above some level of utter stupidity, any descriptive term automatically acquires negative meaning.

  • When Canadian columnist Mark Steyn questioned Church of Warminetics doctrine, Mann took the unusual step of filing a suit:

    http://www.steynonline.com/656... [steynonline.com]

    I never knew that hiring lawyers was such a crucial element of the scientific method.

    • by jo_ham ( 604554 )

      How does filing a lawsuit for defamation of character (even if misguided, since it's tricky to win a defamation suit and typically the press has freedom to say what it likes) affect the way he does science?

      Oh right, discredit the Mann, not the argument. Of course, my mistake.

  • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Saturday January 10, 2015 @10:47PM (#48784499)

    I remember a similar event:

    Scientists: "Tobacco kills."

    Politicians: "Jobs."

    So it is written, so let it be done.

    Again and stuff.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.