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Hockey Stick Illusion denial

I came across this review of Michael Mann's book in Times Higher Education. The author, Jon Turney, is a green science writer, so you know exactly what to expect, but the thought struck me that it is completely amazing that Mike Hulme's is still the only review of Mann's book to even mention the Hockey Stick Illusion.

Are they all in denial or something?

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Reader Comments (68)

Jon Turney says:"Mann is nothing if not dogged, obviously likes a (scientific) argument, and is not easily daunted by legal threats..." - So Turney can't recognise ad hominem when he sees it.

He then goes on to claim that Mann's book is undoubtedly "impressive" because it is "...a 200-page text with more than 100 pages of notes..." - So never mind the quality, feel the width!

Your Grace, you should send Turney a copy of the HSI.

Apr 27, 2012 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

So much for the victory of climate scepticism, this is what the (presumably educated) readers of the THE are reading:
"As a meticulous piece of science that produces a memorable visual signature, the hockey stick - confirmed since its first appearance in 1999 by several independent studies - has featured prominently in efforts to communicate climate science and what it means for us all. It has also evoked repeated, relentless attacks: on the original papers, on climate scientists in general, and on Mann himself."
And there's me thinking that the hockey stick had been conclusively and comprehensively discredited - I must have dreamed it.

Apr 27, 2012 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJim Turner

But then he also calls the hockey stick a 'meticulous piece of science'. So I guess he hasn't heard of Steve McIntyre either.

Apr 27, 2012 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

You should read the eulogy of Mann at the EGU pages (he got a medal from them).

It is a sad thing that the EGU lend themselves to this farce (although they gave the same medal to Jones 10 years ago).

Mann deserves the award on the basis of his important contributions to the understanding of climate change over the last two millennia but also for pioneering statistical techniques for isolating climate signals in noisy data.

Mann’s climate reconstruction of the last 1000 years is popularly known as the “Hockey Stick” and gave tremendous impetus to the study of historical climate change,

... that is the intellectual caliber of the EGU. What a sad thing

Apr 27, 2012 at 12:17 PM | Registered CommenterPatagon

Yup. Total denial.

Apr 27, 2012 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

It is absolutely pointless for us to thrash about here in righteous rage.

We need to actually go out and confront these people.
Call them out for the liars and charlatans that they are.

If it needs taking legal action so be it.

I'm busy right now confronting the liars and the organisations that support them.
And yes I have been to Court and expect to do so again.

Apr 27, 2012 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterKon Dealer

Is nobody (with better references to hand than I have) going to leave a comment ?

Apr 27, 2012 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

"Are they all in denial or something?"

In some cases I think it is more a case of maintaining plausible deniability. It will be one thing in years to come to say that you placed your faith in the climate scientists consensus, and were unaware of this paper, or that blog, or steered clear of them because of rabid and stupid commenters etc (which even the best of them have). However, once you admit to being aware of the HSI, then you are on the record as having had the case assembled there, in such clear and accessible form, available to you.

That being the case, explaining how you maintained support for Mann and Co. which should already be embarrassing, will become downright damning in the future. And your support will be recorded, forever, in computer searchable form (via caching, way back machine etc). Thus, far better to pretend you are not aware of it.

Apr 27, 2012 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterjim west

Three very uncomplimentary comments on there now.

Apr 27, 2012 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered Commentermeltemian

It's not denial - they may well be unaware of HSI. I think you may be vastly overestimating the intellectual curiosity, and inclination for independent thought, of most people; especially of career "scientists".

The sad reality is that most people are unable, or unwilling, to actually try to begin to understand what the technical absurdities with Mann's hockey stick are - much easier to make sure you're seen as smart by parroting what the supposedly smart crowd says.

Apr 27, 2012 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter B

"The author, Jon Turney, is a green science writer, so you know exactly what to expect"

Doesn't say much for journalistic enquiry, does it? Still, I see he's receiving some education via the comments, although I expect Monbiot's CACC-handers will be along shortly to balance things...

Apr 27, 2012 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Jim West says: "In some cases I think it is more a case of maintaining plausible deniability".
It goes beyond that, into 'inplausible deniability'. When younger, my children were adept at it - chocolate all over hands, chocolate all over face, chocolate all over t-shirt -
"Where's the chocolate?"
"Don't know"
"Did you eat it?"
The clear bias in Turney's review is not that he sides with Mann, as he is entitled to do, but that he gives no sense that there is any controversy or debate about the 'hockey stick': the uninformed reader would reasonably deduce that it was completely accepted by all except a small group of 'enemies of science'.
At least the reviewer seems to be getting a well deserved pasting at the hands of commenters now.

Apr 27, 2012 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJim Turner

Peter you are absolutely correct. Too many people in Society are of the "me too" variety.

They are worthless pawns in this "debate".

As I stated earlier we need to go for the Mann at the top.

Apr 27, 2012 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterKon Dealer

Mann and his sycophants have entered the strange world of projection, where they reverse motives and actions.

Apr 27, 2012 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Consider the possibility that the general public knows the overall disreputable state of activist/ alarmist/ catastrophic climate science better than the activist/ alarmist/ catastrophic climate scientists themselves and also better than the fawning media who support those myopically biased scientists. So, if that is the case then intimidation could be the only avenue left for those scientific activists/alarmists/catastrophists to take against their critics (aka skeptic & aka independent thinkers) in the general public.

Intimidation is not any form of argument; the use of it by ‘scientists’ means shows their abandonment of the renaissance/ enlightenment.


Apr 27, 2012 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

Are they in denial? No idea. Or is some deeper stranger thing going on? I was amazed when Cameron popped up the other day banging on about the need for more windmills, when I thought even my dog had realised that windmills don;t actually add much to the grid and have all sorts of problems, and even Tory MPs are getting restless about the idea. So whats going on? Is he flogging this dead horse because (a) he's in denial (b) civil servants no longer give ministers every side of an issue to consider (c) its some dark 'Europe' thing he's being made to do by Brussels and he doesn't care to admit that in public? Likewise CAGW - we all know its basically balls, why are so many people at so many levels still supporting it fervently? They can see what we can see, what is it that leads them to opposite conclusions?

Apr 27, 2012 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

It's not denial, but your expectations are fueled almost 100% on your own assessment of your own importance.

First rule of public discourse - don't believe your own hype.

Apr 27, 2012 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom

The review is certainly being trashed in the comments on the review.

Apr 27, 2012 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

Peter B: "understand what the technical absurdities with Mann's hockey stick are "

Would you care to enumerate those 'technical absurdities' ?

Apr 27, 2012 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

"Are they all in denial or something"? No, they don't mention it because someone might go out and read it and realize what a load of claptrap they have been reading from the Team. You can't expect the Team and its cheerleaders to advertise their own debunking, can you?

Anyway, if Mann to be believed, anyone who questions his god-like abilities must be an oil shill, part of the Anti-Team conspiracy. One of the purposes of Mann's book is to reduce the credibility of whistleblowers.

Apr 27, 2012 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

Here in the US, we have had two major Supreme Court cases, now awaiting judgment. In both cases, there was a serene certainty that they would go in a direction I will call Progressive. Once the presentations were made, it suddenly became obvious that the decisions might well not go that way. Much like the Warmists, the Progressives never even considered that there was any other side until forced to confront it. Then, the truth dawned on them; panic ensued.

Apr 27, 2012 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterTregonsee

Bitbucket: At the risk of feeding trolls, I would say why don't you just go and read the HSI, where the technical absurdities of Mann's hockey stick are explained?

Apr 27, 2012 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

No Bishop. You are in denial. You expect an ignorant world to be persuaded simply on the merits of intellectual arguments. You should have done a lot more to promote your book.

But clever, erudite, chaps don't do such mundane dirty things as marketing. But the committed Marxists do plenty of it.

Apr 27, 2012 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Steiner

Well Bish I hope it because they cannot bring themselves to remember when you kneed them in the rattlers ! but it's more likely to be peer fear that keeps the mind/mouths shut over their side of the fence !

Apr 27, 2012 at 6:42 PM | Unregistered Commentermat

Hi Messanger, I don't have a copy of the HSI. But I was interested in the term "technical absurdities". I mean, space flight at light speed is technically absurd with our current knowledge, as is building a bridge to the moon. But plotting a graph showing temperature changes over the centuries is difficult, sure. But technically absurd it is not.

I hate to break it to you, but HSI is probably not referenced because people don't believe it or have not heard of it. It might be the center of the world here, but outside I think not.

Apr 27, 2012 at 6:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Apr 27, 2012 at 12:17 PM | Patagon

Patagon, your EGU's quotations are simply statement of fact. Mann's work has been undeniably massively influential to the study of paleoclimate on millenial timescales.

His early 1994 paper on temperature variability on interannual to century timescales has been cited 179 times.

His 1995 paper on climate oscillations over past 500 years has 144 citations

His 1996 paper on spatiotemporal modes as 129 citation

His 1998 temperature reconstruction has 817 citations

His 1999 temperature reconstruction has 762 citations

His 2000 paper on NH multidecadal variability has 350 citations...

...and so on. His work has been hugely influential, has effectively stimulated a new focus on millenial-scale paleoclimatology and has held up in the face of some rather creepy efforts to trash it.

Apr 27, 2012 at 7:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris

Apr 27, 2012 at 5:11 PM | Messenger

Not sure you understand the concept of "trolling". BitBucket asks a perfectly appropriate question, assuming that one accepts that one should be skeptical of assertions that aren't supported by properly validated science. I'm pretty familiar with the scientific literature on this subject, and I'm also curious about the dissing of Dr. Mann's work, when there isn't anything in the scientific literature that indicates there's significant problems with it. There's been loads of paleoreconstructions published now, and these are broadly consistent with Mann's conclusions, even those published nearly 15 years ago. As a farily well-informed scientist able to read the scientific literature, I'm exteemly skeptical of the unsupported assertions (not to mention rather dreary ranting!) against Mann's work.

Apr 27, 2012 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris

"Mann deserves the award on the basis of his important contributions to the understanding of climate change over the last two millennia ..."

This Mann chap is much older than I thought!

Apr 27, 2012 at 7:25 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

@Chris, read Climateaudit.
Steve McIntyre knows a little bit about statistics- as does Wegmann.
They have both shown Mann's reconstructions to be
statistically flawed, or in some cases blatantly falsified.

Mann is a liar.

Those who defend him are either ignorant, fools or have their snouts in the same trough.

Apr 27, 2012 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

These apologists are ignorant, or disingenuous about other reconstruction supporting the Hockey Stick, which depend upon Upside Down Tiljanders or Split Bark Bristlecones.

Always the same question, the same question; ignorant or disingenuous?

Apr 27, 2012 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Kon Dealer: “Peter you are absolutely correct. Too many people in Society are of the "me too" variety.”

Not sure whether you’re being ironic here, Kon. Hard to tell on the interblogs.

On the issue of reading the Hockey Stick Illusion, most people (and I include myself here) probably don’t have the time or interest to pursue the technical aspects of this sort of science.

Currently, I have a couple of books on the go. Then there are newspapers, magazines, radio, television, the internet. Somewhere in between these attractions, one must also fit in ordinary living, so I doubt that any time soon I would be reading a 400-odd page book on the technical details of paleoclimate reconstruction.

However, often “tell-all” books contain “smoking guns” which act not only as teasers but also encapsulate the flavour of the revelations. Think Elvis’s cheeseburgers or Nancy Reagan’s astrologer.

Perhaps someone could list the, say, half-dozen smoking guns in HSI to give people an idea of the main points of contention re Mann’s Hockey Stick.

Apr 27, 2012 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrendan H

@Brendan, I am not being ironic.
Rather I am frustrated at fools, fellow travellers and sycophants climbing on the AGW bandwagon when it is crystal clear that it is a politically driven scam.

I apologise if I am getting increasingly abrupt and intolerant, but I have spent nearly 3 years fighting climate "scientists" and their legal teams bent on frustrating legitimate enquiry.

Just when you think it is over up they pop again like some undead zombies.
I'm getting tired of having to repeatedly drive the stake through their lying hearts.

Apr 27, 2012 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

BH, this is inside baseball, but those who've examined the replays, and know the rules, understand that the sox and souls of the perpetrators are black, black, black. That the Piltdown Mann is still defended so blithely is a source of deep, black, anger to the umpires, and a source of amazement that such ultimately destructive tactics would ever be considered.

Consider the troika, and the wolves, starving in the cold.

Apr 27, 2012 at 8:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Steve McIntyre knows a little bit about statistics- as does Wegmann.
They have both shown Mann's reconstructions to be
statistically flawed, or in some cases blatantly falsified

Really Don? That's just stuff on a blog. I'm decidedly skeptical of that considering that (a) they seemingly haven't published substantive critique in the scientific literature, and (b) Mann's essential conclusions have been reproduced independently.

Wegman's paper in which he attempted to trash Dr. Mann's research practices was retracted by the publisher of Computational Statistics & Data Analysis for fraud (Wegman plagiarised others work).

His attempt to trash Dr. Mann's work by insuinating that application of his methods to "red noise" produced "hockeysticks" was decidedly dodgy - the noise wasn’t red noise at all but was undetrended noise obtained from proxy data themselves (i.e. it retained some of the trend in the proxy series). After biasing towards generating “hockey-sticks” from supposed “noise”, a program was used to select the 1% most "hockeystick-like outputs from computational runs of synthetic "paleodata" [in other words 99% of the data that more poorly supported the attempt to "construct" "hockey-sticks" from noise were thrown away]. (this can be established by downloading the computer code from Geophys. Res. Lett. 32, L03710, doi:10.1029/2004GL021750, 2005).

So I'm inclined to be skeptical of those attempted critiques of Dr. Mann's work.

Apr 27, 2012 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris

Apr 27, 2012 at 7:43 PM | kim

kim, since Mann et al explicitly pointed out potential problematic proxy series and repeated the analysis with and without inclusion of these proxies (including the Tijander et al. series), and it makes rather little diference to the temperature reconstruction, and this is published in an Open Access paper freely downloadable from the website of the Proceedings of the National Acadamy Sciences (Google "Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia").....'s a little mistifying that you assert someting that's blatantly untrue (not to mention insisting that people that are able to read stuff in open access papers are "disingenuous or ignorant apologists").

Apr 27, 2012 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris

Heh, poor victimised chris. Anything remotely resembling the blade has either TJ or BC, and the best day ever @ KK's Collide-a-Scape was Gavin Schmidt giving up the shaft earlier than 1500 AD.

Apr 27, 2012 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Another vague review that seems to mention everything else except anything about how the book is as a read, I mean the poor guy resorts to invoking learning something via "the overall impression" you get!

I almost feel sorry for all these poor activists getting drafted in to say something convincingly positive about this book, I really think Mann has done a great thing by writing this awful book!

These guys couldn't risk reading THSI, it would kill them ;)

Apr 27, 2012 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

I'm wondering if chris isn't Chris Colose. Judith Curry having proven immune to his youthful charms, could he be trying his luck over here?

Apr 27, 2012 at 8:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Yeah, CM, my spidey feel on the innerwebz. Not so brave, no mo.

Apr 27, 2012 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Mann's work has not been replicated independently the same proxies, the same cherry picking and the same mistakes have been used by colleagues of Mann in a very closed small field. They have managed to delude themselves.

And having read the turgid dense prose of Mann, I would trust a blog anytime over his drivel and no im not impressed by the vanity publishing of the redefined perr reviewed literature. Oh and the Wegman report still stands, the plagiarism was a student of his contributing to another paper.

Apr 27, 2012 at 9:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy

Oh and chris, properly validated by whom? Oh you mean by those people who stand to make the most out of it? Sorry your attempts at grasping for authority are laughable. Embryonic academic by any chance?

Apr 27, 2012 at 9:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy

And finally citations are not a measure of quality, they are a measure of fashion.

Apr 27, 2012 at 9:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy

fair enough kim, one could read Mann's 2008 PNAS paper I cited above (open access, so you can download it and read it by planting it in front of your yeux!) and find out that the reconstruction is largely independent of whether or not tree ring data are used at least for the past 1300 years. The reconstruction and its essential conclusions about the anomalous nature of late 20th century and contemporary warmth are independent of tree ring series or potentially problematic Tijander data.

Still, you're determined to cling to your misrepresentations. That's O.K. This is a blog message board and it's not that big a deal. I was curious to see whether there was some substantive arguments/analyses against our recent distinguished Oeschger medal winner. Apparently not! It's enough to assert that his prose is "turgid" and that the 1000's of citations of his work don't mean a hill of beans, and that his reconstructions are reliant on bristlecone pines or potentially dodgy Tijander series when it's easy to see that they aren't, and so on. Not very skeptical scientifically-speaking, but perhaps that's not the point of this blog...

Apr 27, 2012 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris

Don Keiller: “I am not being ironic.”

I was referring to your (or “Kon Dealer’s”) “me-too” response while decrying me-tooism.

I wasn’t taking issue with your being “abrupt and intolerant”. Free speech is a feature of the Western way of life, and I support the right to sound off within reasonable limits.

My request for a list of smoking guns is a serious one, since in all my reading of the controversy the details go right over my head. I suspect I would be none the wiser even with a list of the major HSI criticisms of the Hockey Stick, but at least I would know what they are.

Apr 27, 2012 at 9:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrendan H

Andy, the Wegman Report is discussed here:

You will read that the red-noise hockey stick story is fraudulent. Enjoy :-)

Apr 27, 2012 at 9:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

If you press on Chris you get this:

Comment left by 'chris'

This item was posted by an anonymous author, meaning that he or she does not have a personal account with this website.

So who is he? Since he is on the side of "The Team" he has no need to worry about remaining anonymous. Nobody on the socalled "sceptic" side is going to try getting him sacked.

Apr 27, 2012 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Peter

chris, I think you are funny. You will probably be called a troll (and maybe that is even an accurate description) but your attempts here are 'textbook examples' how the climate scare faithers argue. You are factually wrong on quite a number of points. Points however often regurgitated at various climate scare outlets. You tell us about the attacks on Wegman, or that the figure exhibiting the spurious Hockey-stickiness from red noise inputs showed simulations where this was more pronounced than average. But none of this diminishes the flaws of MBH98&99. And the shoddy statistics were just one of the many flaws.

That other (but often closely related) groups come up with similar reconstructions, when using the same date also carries very little weight. Most importantly, none of these related reconstructions can establish that the modern warming anyhow may be seen as unprecedented, that it is indeed warmer than 100 years ago, or that warming now is faster than anytime before. None!

Those who believe such things are just thinking and hoping(!) wishfully! Especially since the proxies used don't even display what the instruments are telling us today. So how could they then have done this correctly during previous centuries. The answer is simply: They couldn't then either! One simply cannot make such definite claims about the past based on so poor data and proxies. End of story.

The fact that Mann still did and tried, the fact that IPCC with its alleged thousands of experts and thorough review process not only let it through, but displayed it prominently. And the fact that so many of the IPCC-tarnished scientist bent over backwards to salvage the Hockestick, still do, tells us something! And it ain't pretty, trust me!

But those efforts where directed not at those capable of reading and checking the data and the claims, but rather those who are impressed with terms like 'consensus' or 'citations' or 'thousands of publications' or 'awards' or pronouncements by various committees etc.

Not even among the climate scientists is Mann's held in particularly high regard, trying to distance themselves from him. Obviously because he has damaged the field and still continues to make things worse.

And yes, I think you should be skeptical of those criticizing Mann and his work. But that is not what you are. You are trying to dismiss the criticism and moreover those who criticize without bothering heed what they are saying. Apparently based on various (often irrelevant) talking points you have found elsewhere.

And this chris, quite strongly indicates that your interests are more of the activism 'defending Mann' we have seen so much of.

Apr 27, 2012 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonas N

good post maybe Bitbucket (who, from his arrogance and ignorance and speech patterns closely aligns to W Connolley) will tell you in his lordly vein why you are an ignorant peasant who should defer to someone who has never looked at climate science.

Apr 27, 2012 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

If the blog is not that important why are you here? Oh that's it you have come to share with us your intellect and knowledge. I'm pretty sure that over at CA most of your points have been shown to be wrong, several months ago. - strange how you repeat the same drivel others have.

No citations mean nothing, prizes mean nothing, whether the work stands up to scrutiny means everything, our host has in his book shown how flawed Mann's work is ( and of course by extension the 'replications' of the work - not looking too good for those boys and girls is it, nor you for that matter) and of course shown how science failed to correct such rubbish.

But don't worry keep going on about climate disruption or whatever it Is called this week, those grants have to be gained!

Are you telling me old Mike is good writer?

Apr 27, 2012 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy

I'm guessing chris is a student/young academic who has come here to instruct the great unwashed and teach us all the error of ways. His posts have that condescension found in the young combined with a lack of real knowledge hiding behind his credentials and selected references.

Apr 27, 2012 at 10:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy

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