Sunday, December 16, 2012

Concerned Scientists Unconcerned About Freedom of Expression

Someone named Aaron Huertas, a flak for a group that calls itself the "Union of Concerned Scientists" penned a Letter to the Editor the other day accusing me of "misrepresenting" the work of Dr. Michael Mann, the PSU climatologist.

Just how I misrepresented Dr. Mann's work, he didn't say. Because he couldn't. Because I didn't.

Mr. Huertas wrote:
In the late 1990s, Mann and his colleagues wrote a scientific paper that demonstrated the Earth’s temperature is higher today than it’s been in thousands of years. It was innovative research and it got a lot of attention. Unfortunately, political opponents of addressing climate change didn’t like it. So they attacked the messengers.
But Professor Mann's work wasn't "attacked" by "political opponents," it was reviewed by a Canadian mathematician and a Canadian economics professor - and found wanting, in so far as it exaggerated the level of warming claimed in his graph.

Huertas wrote:
Groups funded by the fossil fuel industry pounced on the paper. And bloggers tried to pick the paper apart. At first, Mann and his colleagues responded to them in good faith. But they found that the bloggers, front groups and congressmen didn’t care about the science. They just wanted to smear Mann and his research.
And so on. Huertas is happy to defend Mann against alleged "smears" from others, but he ignores evidence that Mann, himself, sought to smear the reputation of the man, Stephen McIntyre, who first questioned his work. In an email, he believed would stay private (but didn't) Mann expressed his intention of finding a friendly journalist who would "investigate" McIntyre and find a way to tie him to fossil fuel industry.

Some of Mann's own research numbers were later described in a "Climategate" email by a friendly colleague as "deceptive."

Mann has also claimed to be a Nobel Prize winner. He isn't. And the Nobel committee has made that quite clear.

What does Mr. Huertas have to say about any of that? Nothing. Zero. Zilch. He ignores it and falsely accuses me of misrepresenting Mann's work.

He calls the comparing of Mann to convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky "disgusting." That's his opinion. Of course, I didn't comprare Mann to Sandusky. I compared him to another Jerry - Falwell, the famous evangelical reverend who sued Larry Flynt and famously lost.

Mann has filed a lawsuit against the writer who made the Sandusky comparison. It was for this, I criticized Mann for being thin-skinned and arrogant. That, and his falsely claiming to be a Nobel Prize winner.

What is the position of the Union of Concerned Scientists on members who claim to have won Nobel Prizes when they haven't? Huertas doesn't say.

What is their position on the First Amendment? Huertas doesn't say. Mann is a public figure and that is where these sort of battles should fought - in the public square - not in court. But that's just my opinion.

As for that of the Union of Concerned Scientists and this sort legal bullying to chill freedom of expression, Huertas and his paymasters seem wholly unconcerned.


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January 1, 2013 at 1:27 AM 

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