Michael Mann on TEDx – the scientization of politics

Michael Mann (of “hockey stick” fame) has just has a TEDx talk published.

It’s bookended by the things you’d expect – a quick run through of climate science and potential solutions – but the bits in the middle are probably the most interesting.

Climate science is often accused of becoming too politicised (usually because of the role of the  IPCC) but Mann’s argument here is that it happened the other way round: that politics became “scientized” in order to cast doubt over the scientific findings that do not align with paticular political views. At one point he refers to Merchants of Doubt, a book which presents evidence from the last 50 years covering a number of scientific topics that have caused problems for certain industries, and Mann’s case seems to add to those stories.

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14 Responses to “Michael Mann on TEDx – the scientization of politics”

  1. Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) Says:

    Then Climategate 2.0 happened and Mann’s self-pity story was recognized a work of fiction…

    • andyrussell Says:

      Just out of interest, why do you refer to it as “2.0”? Doesn’t that imply it’s a new version rather than the dregs of version 1.0 which were held back?

  2. Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) Says:

    It’s got its own level, previous 1000 messages were not as explosive, who would have known eg the Hockey Stick was held in such low regard by Briffa himself. Who cares what Mann can tell me if he’s not respected by his peers.

    Also with 220,000 messages crypted up, it makes sense to name the current batch as 2.0, awaiting 3.0 who knows when.

    • andyrussell Says:

      But why use the “.0”? It doesn’t tally with versioning.

      Either way, I didn’t see much to get exciting about with this latest batch of emails. The fact that some scientists don’t like the work of other scientists is hardly surprising. Especially when it’s in Nature!

      • Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) Says:

        BTW…for the “.0” you should blame Lester Brown 😎 or more likely, the “Web 2.0” jargon.

        I guess if it had been 1980 it would have been called “Climategate 2: The Anon Whistleblower Strikes Back”.

      • andyrussell Says:

        Well, Web 2.0 sort of makes sense in that it was a change in way content was generated and fits with versioning numbering. Climategate 2.0 makes no sense as it’s just a bit more of the first stuff and seems silly as one of the original climategate criticisms was about software development standards. I know it’s a tiny point but it struck me as odd.

  3. Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) Says:

    There are too many topics to choose…for the time being suffice it to say the harsh contrast between the unified stance those scientists held in public and their frankness in private should set on fire any self-respecting journalist.

    In fact it’s not just scientists disliking the work of other scientists – it’s scientists disparaging in private work they associated themselves with in public.

    • andyrussell Says:

      Did Briffa ever personally and publicly support Mann’s work? Regardless, there’s a difference between that and being an author on a report that recognises the value of a piece of work that you once criticised in a email. We don’t even know if Briffa changed his mind or was just mouthing off in that email, both of which are allowed and part of doing science. I don’t see them problem.

  4. Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) Says:

    You won’t see a problem as long as you don’t want to see a problem…those were the same people.who ganged up against De Freitas and Soon for daring to publish the same critiques of Mann’s hockey stick they were telling each other via email.

    There’s Bishop Hill, The Air Vent and Climate Audit out there, full of quotes and contexts if you’re truly interested. If instead you prefer to dream about right wing anti-science conspiracies, I shall refrain from unhinging your inner peace 🙂

    • andyrussell Says:

      I didn’t see anything interesting on Bishop Hill, just some stuff about the BBC.

      And the anti-science agenda of some politicians and businesses is well documented – it’s not a conspiracy theory.

  5. Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) Says:

    Nevermind we all pay activists to distort science reporting at the BBC, I presume.

    Let me know when you’ve investigated further.

  6. Jg Says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I enjoyed Mann’s talk.

  7. diogenes Says:

    it makes me wonder – but then I am not a scientist – wonder about the meaning of “concensus” when there appears to be a consensus that nagrees that the hockey-stick graph is invalid.

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