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« What every politician should know about climate models | Main | A saching »

Manndacity, integrity and Amazon reviews

Via Tom Nelson we learn that Michael Mann is misbehaving again. This time he's soliciting favourable Amazon reviews of his execrable book and he's also soliciting unfavourable ones of The Hockey Stick Illusion.

He doesn't seem to have got much of a response so far, which I suppose is fair enough given that it will take people a while to read the book. In fact, only one Mann fan appears to have been disreputable enough to write a review without actually reading the book (leaving aside Guardian columnist Dana Nuccitelli, who did so a few years ago, but without any prompting from the Hockeystickmeister).

The author of the new comment, one Alexandre Araújo Costa, turns out to be a Brazilian climatologist. Let me say to my friends working in the area: you really do need to deal with the rot in your profession.

[Postscript: I notice an earlier review by one Dave Kiehl from California, who says that the Hockey Stick Illusion "gave too much credit to such well-known (and documented) climate deniers and liars, James Inhofe and Joe Barton". This is, shall we say, a little odd since the book doesn't give Barton any credit for anything, simply recording his actions at the time. Inhofe is not mentioned at all. Another reviewer who was able to do his stuff without actually bothering with the book itself]

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Reader Comments (37)

Mark Steyn said a few days ago there would be a development in his case against the Mann.

Has anyone heard yet what that is?

Sep 7, 2014 at 9:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterjones

Rot among climatologists can't be got rid of. It's engrained, from whining Wagners to freedom hating Manns to conspiracy theorists getting a free ride over cups of coffee.

Sep 7, 2014 at 9:17 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Which reviewer was it who said that he never actually read the books sent to him because it prejudiced him so much?

Sep 7, 2014 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterEdward Spalton

Climate "scientists" either contribute directly with this type of behaviour by adding to the insults or indirectly by not speaking out and complaining about it.

This shows one how bad the state of the discipline is in!

Sep 7, 2014 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Does Mann think the rest of the world has recurrent amnesia?

Does he really want his grubby history of Amazon review fixing with his N̶a̶z̶i̶-̶f̶i̶x̶a̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶p̶o̶l̶i̶t̶i̶c̶a̶l̶ ̶a̶c̶t̶i̶v̶i̶s̶t̶s̶ eminent scientific colleagues at Skeptical Science dragged out into the light of day just in time for his libel action?

Let's remind ourselves anyway.

Sep 7, 2014 at 10:34 AM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

I love the word Hockeystickmeister. In line with this term, mother Nature seems to have Schadenfreude also.

Sep 7, 2014 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered Commenteroebele bruinsma

It never ceases to amaze me that Mann and his Little Army of Wiling Mannufacturers™(cf Gleick) have utterly failed to move beyond the point, established many years ago - and particularly, in this instance, Nov. 2009 - that the Internet is not (and never will be) a friend of third-rate, self-absorbed propagandists.

And let's face facts, folks ... Notwithstanding the conspicuous silence [Edit: vis a vis Mann and his world] - and/or avoidance - on the part of the dedicated Climateers™ who post here from time to time - the enviro-leg on which they stand gets weaker by the day.

This weakness seems to inspire them to leap to greater and greater depths of mediocrity ... and intellectual dishonesty.

I willingly concede that the mileage of others may vary, but that's the view from here ;-)

Sep 7, 2014 at 11:25 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

This will not help his state of mind. :) Steve continues to excoriate the Mann.

Sep 7, 2014 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterMick J

Of course, taking Mann at his word, and assuming that he would not want somebody to review a book they have not actually read, you could interpret his tweet as a recommendation to buy and read your book.

In which case, why not add "as recommended by Michael Mann" to your advertising?

Sep 7, 2014 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterWFC

Not actually too far OT, but if you've ever wondered how ignorant green zealots were created or how climatologists can do an in-depth review of a book without actually reading it, here's the basic answer.


Sep 7, 2014 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

It was interesting to see that his pet reviewer mentioned Arrhenius without apparently realizing what his opinion was.

"Although the sea, by absorbing carbonic acid, acts as a regulator of huge capacity, which takes up about five-sixths of the produced carbonic acid, we yet recognize that the slight percentage of carbonic acid in the atmosphere may by the advances of industry be changed to a noticeable degree in the course of a few centuries."


"We often hear lamentations that the coal stored up in the earth is wasted by the present generation without any thought of the future, and we are terrified by the awful destruction of life and property which has followed the volcanic eruptions of our days. We may find a kind of consolation in the consideration that here, as in every other case, there is good mixed with the evil. By the influence of the increasing percentage of carbonic acid in the atmosphere, we may hope to enjoy ages with more equable and better climates, especially as regards the colder regions of the earth, ages when the earth will bring forth much more abundant crops than at present, for the benefit of rapidly propagating mankind."

Hardly a ringing endorsement for the theory of CAGW

Sep 7, 2014 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith Willshaw

I saw Mann's pathetic pleading to comment on a negative review on Amazon. Enough negative reviews and I guess the review disappears.
It was a pretty poor review but the request for supportive comments on the review and additional positive reviews for the book is essentially pitiful.
Note: Many of the early positive reviews were from the folks at SkS.

Sep 7, 2014 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie1815

On the topic of Amazon reviews, Judith Curry has been discussing her co-authored text book (link) over at Climate, Etc.

It turns out serial alarmist and peak oil loon WebHubTelescope (WHUT) has taken offence at one particular equations, on grounds that he can't quite describe - Carrick and Pekka have done a sterling job on setting him straight on some details, but he won't back down. His next move was to give the book a 1-star review and whine about this one equation (completely ignoring the other 720 pages in the book).

Please note Dr Curry has asked that people do not turn the review section into a food fight, not to engage WHUT at amazon, and only post a review if you have read the book (of which the price and topic will exclude the vast majority involved in the climate debate).

WHUT is clearly convinced he is on to something here as he has "outed" himself at Amazon in order to post the 1-star review. Dr Curry did not write that part of the book and has promised a response from the author (Vitaly Khvorostyanov) as a post soon.

I find it astonishing that Judith Curry has generously provided a platform at which WHUT has been given the chance to spout his nonsense to an audience and this is how he responds. Unprofessional, and unpleasant.

Sep 7, 2014 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpence_UK

WHT is a troll researcher, possibly linked to Mann.

Sep 7, 2014 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterturnedoutnice

Thanks for the update Spence. Khvorostyanov and Curry seem to have produced something of lasting worth, unlike so much of the climate oeuvre. No surprise there's an unbalanced trollish response.

Sep 7, 2014 at 2:51 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Under Amazon's rules, authors are allowed to solicit reviews for their books. I'm not sure they can request voting on existing reviews, let alone soliciting votes on other authors' books.

Sep 7, 2014 at 3:15 PM | Registered Commentershub

Dr Costa said: "[that computers can now solve the] non-linear set of equations that govern the Earth's atmosphere and its interactions with the oceans, soil, vegetation and ice."

The equations govern nothing. They simply represent the equation-writers view of how things might happen. A little more humility in the climate business is needed.

Sep 7, 2014 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDHR

DHR, couldn't agree more.

"There is no more common error than to assume that, because prolonged and accurate mathematical calculations have been made, the application of the result to some fact of nature is absolutely certain." - Alfred North Whitehead

Sep 7, 2014 at 7:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil McEvoy

This weasley act by MM simply demonstrates that HSI contains, for him, some inconvenient truths.
HSI has 4.5 gold stars, HSCW has 4.

Sep 7, 2014 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

No great surprise since AGW is an inherently political topic and Amazon reviews of political books are always full of people with axes to grind.

Sep 7, 2014 at 9:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke in Central Illinois

An image/message which is currently doing the rounds in social media amused me a little. "Nemophilist" means, literally, a systematic lover of nobody. Put another way that is a person who hates people. Given the appalling death toll attributable to "environmentalist" policies, that's probably about right.

Sep 8, 2014 at 12:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterBraqueish

Braqueish: I looked at more than 15 online dictionaries and definitions. All bar one had identical wording.
"One who is fond of forest or forest scenery; a haunter of the woods." So they probably aren't independent at all.

I could not find any definition in line with what you're saying.

Sep 8, 2014 at 1:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

What happens is they have written their own negative review that they wish to occupy the top spot. It is a 3 star review that talks about the Tea Party and Fox News. There is one dial positive review that could be voted up by skeptics if they wanted.

Every time a new negative review takes the top spot, Mann tweets about it to get it voted down.

Sep 8, 2014 at 2:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterMIkeN

Another interesting comment thread for HSI is for the review by Climate Follower:

A commenter claims that a deleted comment was posted by Michael Mann. The commenters then speculate on whether Climate Follower is actually Michael Mann. The title of the review, "horribly dishonest book" seems consistent with his constant use of the word "dishonest".

Sep 8, 2014 at 3:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterCanman

"...The equations govern nothing. They simply represent the equation-writers view of how things might happen. A little more humility in the climate business is needed." --DHR

Whom the gods would destroy, they first drive mad.

Sep 8, 2014 at 3:57 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Just expose it:

Sep 8, 2014 at 4:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterNikFromNYC

Andrew, if I recall correctly Mann was party to the original secretive campaign organized via John Cook and SkS to arrange as many reviews as possible when the book was originally published. I find that kind of secret campaign far more objectionable than what is done openly, since open behavior can always be reasoned with and criticized openly (even if Mann himself is beyond reasoning with).

also, IIRC, Lewandowsky was first out of the box with a raving review of HSCW on publication day, presumably facilitated by his buddy John Cook.

Sep 8, 2014 at 7:33 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

yes it was discussed in a thread at WUWT, and first here at BH by Shub:

Mike's Amazon Trick

It appears that Lewandowsky's absurdly hyperbolic, raving review was the 2nd published, on Jan. 29, 2012. (Once can determine the temporal order by clicking "Newest First" and then going to the end of the list on the last page).

If it's ok I will paste Lewandowsky's review here, since I don't see a way to link to it at Amazon, and it really is an extraordinary piece of delusion, very revealing of the mindset of Mann allies.. I also find it remarkable that this is the only book review Lewandowsky has ever posted at Amazon -- i.e., only with prompting of the secret campaign by his buddies John Cook and Michael Mann did Lewandowsky ever find it worthwhile to post a review at Amazon:

159 of 295 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Graphsby, January 29, 2012

By Stephan Lewandowsky - See all my reviews

This review is from: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines (Kindle Edition)
Graphs can change the world. Modern astronomy would be unthinkable without the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram that tells the story of how stars evolve in a single picture; Charles Minard's map of Napoleon's 1812 campaign against Russia should be on the wall of every armchair warrior as a sombre reminder of how an initially impressive force can dwindle to a trickling retreat. And in 1998 Professor Michael Mann and colleagues published a graph, known as the "hockeystick," that will forever change how humanity views its future.

No one who has seen the hockeystick can escape the fact that we have a problem: After remaining stable for hundreds of years or more--forming the shaft of the hockeystick--global temperatures have increased dramatically during the last few decades. This rapid rise forms the blade of the hockeystick, and barring drastic emission reductions, it is bound to become longer in the future.
This book is about the hockeystick. And it is about the vicious response to the hockeystick by vested interests and their foot soldiers within the climate denial machine.

The very fact that the implications of the hockeystick are inescapable to anyone viewing it made the graph a prime target for a seemingly never-ending assault.

In this book, Professor Mann tells the story of this assault--not just on him, but on his collaborators and on the worldwide community of climate scientists. The story is one of sizzling criminality and deceit with a shadowy cast of characters.
For example, there is Congressman Joe Barton, who is memorable for his apology to BP when President Obama sought to hold the corporation accountable by creating a $20B damage fund after the gulf oil spill. An apology not to the people affected by the oil spill ... but to BP. In a peculiar inversion of ethics, Barton called the President's measures a "shakedown", finding it a "tragedy in the first proportion" that a corporation should be held accountable for the consequences of its actions.

The same inversion of ethics compelled Mr Barton--who has received more funding from fossil-fuel and energy interests than pretty much any other Congressman--to launch an "inquiry" into Professor Mann's hockey stick in 2006. The caliber of this "inquiry," which came to the conclusion that the hockeystick was an artifact arising from a statistical "error," has recently become apparent when its principal author was shown to have plagiarized at least one journal article, which has now been formally withdrawn by the publisher.
In the meantime, another peer-reviewed inquiry into the hockeystick by a team of experts from the National Academy of Sciences confirmed Professor Mann's research and concluded that the recent decades have likely been the hottest for a very long time indeed. The same conclusion has been reached independently by numerous other researchers, and the hockeystick must now surely rank among the most widely replicated and best-supported findings in the Earth sciences.

Alas, as Professor Mann outlines in several further chapters, the confirmation and replication of his research has made no dent into the efforts of those who attack the hockeystick not for scientific reasons, but for the obvious story it tells--a story that calls for action that threatens some very powerful interests.

The story of those attacks points to a shameful episode in American history. This episode continues to this date and without an end in sight. One can only wish that this well-written and powerful book will reach enough people to enable society to reject the malicious and vociferous attack on science and scientists.

This is a partisan book. It does not attempt to be "balanced" by adding a lie to the truth and dividing by two. This book is on one side of the biggest issue currently confronting global civilization, and on one side only.

This book is on the side of virtually every major scientific body in the world. It is on the side of the National Academy of Sciences in the U.S., on the side of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.... The Royal Society... the Academies of all developed nations.... The professional organizations of virtually all relevant disciplines, from Geology to Physics, in most countries around the world. It is on the side of the more than 95% of climate scientists who agree that the globe is warming and that human greenhouse gas emissions are responsible.
And quite contrary to what the attacks on Professor Mann seek to imply, he is held in the highest esteem by those professional bodies. In April this year, for example, he will accept the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) in Vienna.

The war on the hockeystick that Professor Mann describes is therefore a war not only on him or a handful of colleagues, but it is a war on science in general--a war on those who are alerting us to a future risk that is perpetrated by characters who put their own short-term profits über alles in the world.

Sep 8, 2014 at 7:46 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

The least post of this thread is about both Mann soliciting positive reviews of his book and negative reviews of THI, and also about whether people who follow this advice have actually read a book before reviewing it. The SkS campaign did presumably seek to coordinate reviews of people who had read Mann's book in advance, since they took care to distribute pre-publication copies electronically (and secretively). We would not know about the SkS campaign except for the leak of their Tree Hut secret forum.

Here is Shub's superb, pioneering post on the subject here at BH:

Michael Mann and Skeptical Science: Well-Orchestrated

Sep 8, 2014 at 7:53 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil


WHT is a troll researcher, possibly linked to Mann.

Someone at Climate Etc outed this person as none other than Greenpeace loon Gene Hashimi. You may all remember this incident:

Sep 8, 2014 at 8:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

I would read the book, but there's no way I'm going to grace Mann's bank account with any of my money.

Sep 8, 2014 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterIlma

"Dr Costa said: "[that computers can now solve the] non-linear set of equations that govern the Earth's atmosphere and its interactions with the oceans, soil, vegetation and ice."

If he really claims that he is either abysmally ignorant or simply lying. We can't solve the Navier-Stoke equations even for the immensely simpler case of airflow around an aircraft, except very approximately and with lots of simplifying assumptions.

Sep 8, 2014 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered Commentertty

This reader of "The Hockey Stick illusion" has posted his brief review of the book. I cite the historic place of the Hockey Stick in IPCC iconography (and Environment Canada's too)! And I connect the tale to Richard Bean's excellent play on the matter.

I also explain how Matt Ridley and I both Believed in CAGW because of the graph. But then it dropped out of IPCC iconography and then Climategate came along as if to validate the "pause" in climbing temperatures - and thus requiring a re-think of all the old alarmism.

I then invite the potential readers to seize upon Richard Muller's devastating take on the whole affair via YouTube, culminating in his refrain "This isn't how we do science here" at the University of California at Berkekey. Nor anywhere else that sound science is done.

Sep 8, 2014 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterOrson

Ilma: I felt the same about Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth". So I bought it secondhand in a charity shop.

Sep 8, 2014 at 12:51 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

MIke seems to be suffering from the idea that pretend and make believe are real.
I wonder what he thought of this movie:

Sep 8, 2014 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Braqueish: I looked at more than 15 online dictionaries and definitions. All bar one had identical wording.
"One who is fond of forest or forest scenery; a haunter of the woods." So they probably aren't independent at all.

I could not find any definition in line with what you're saying.

I believe that Braqueish has confused Latin nemo "no one" with Greek nemos, "wooded pasture", the true source of the word.

Sep 9, 2014 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAkatsukami

I believe that Braqueish has confused Latin nemo "no one" with Greek nemos, "wooded pasture", the true source of the word.

Thanks for the correction, Akatsukami. I believe I made the spurious mental connection between this and the German term "waldganger" -- one who shuns human connections and haunts the wildwood.

Sep 10, 2014 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterBraqueish

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