Michael Mann, climate inquisitor

Quite why any objective observer would presume Mann to be a paragon of virtue has never been adequately explained. In the past few years, he claimed that he was a Nobel Prize laureate until the Nobel Committee explicitly said that he is not; attempted to claim that the National Academy of Sciences and CRU investigations into his conduct and his work have fully vindicated him and his hockey stick when they have in fact done no such thing; and has routinely reserved prerogatives for himself that he is unwilling to extend to anyone else. Mann’s critics are not merely bloggers and contrarians. Professor David Hand, the former president of the Royal Statistical Society who was charged with investigating the “Climategate” scandal, accused Mann of having “exaggerated” the climate-change threat and said Mann had given him an “uneasy feeling” by using “inappropriate statistical methods.” “Had they used an appropriate technique,” Hand said, “the size of the blade of the hockey stick would have been smaller.”

Mann rejected Hand’s assessment, claiming in an interview with the London Telegraph that his hockey-stick work had been “reviewed by the US National Academy of Sciences, the highest scientific authority in the United States, and given a clean bill of health.” “The statistician on the panel,” Mann continued, “Peter Bloomfield, a member of the Royal Statistical Society, came to the opposite conclusion of Prof Hand.” Embarrassingly for Mann, Peter Bloomfield refuted this characterization: “A quick rereading of the report,” Bloomfield wrote in an e-mail to Hand, “didn’t reveal any place where I, or any other member of the [NAS] committee[,] reached any conclusion with which you would differ. If you’re aware of any, I’d be glad of a reminder!”

With his frank hostility to free inquiry, Mann has behaved less like a scientist than like a religious figure who feels he has been given the final interpretation of the Bible, knows the Eschaton to be imminent, and has resolved to enforce the blasphemy laws lest anyone risk losing his soul.