I called the Mann hockey stick construction as a fraud in a post early in 2008 as new information became available. Now it appears that the state attorney general is actually going to see what a judge thinks about it all.
I am sympathetic to the scientist in the middle of all this, but only because like most fraud, it never started out that way. But in time it became the slave driver and the master and is slowly demolishing the remnants of his career that was in fact build on the back of the hockey stick.
He is not to be allowed to go quietly.
Bad science gets published often and cooked data even more often. Most of it simply slides between the cracks and is superseded by better data and better work that cleans up the loose ends.
No one notices that an operating mine was driven over on the
Trans Canada Highway by every geologist in the country or particularly cares. Science is like that.
TIMES DISPATCH | 19 MAY 2010 RICHMOND
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says his investigation into the research activities of a former
climate change scientist is about rooting out possible fraud and does not infringe upon academic freedom. University of Virginia
“The same legal standards for fraud apply to the academic setting that apply elsewhere,“ said Cuccinelli, who on Tuesday attended a fundraiser barbecue in Ivy for an abstinence-only education group. “The same rule of law, the same objective fact-finding process will take place.“
Cuccinelli sent a Civil Investigative Demand to U.Va. to obtain documents related to the work of Michael Mann, a leading researcher in climate change who was part of U.Va.‘s faculty between 1999 and 2005.
U.Va. has hired a law firm to explore its options, possibly signaling that the university will fight Cuccinelli’s demand.
According to Cuccinelli’s CID — which is the equivalent of a subpoena — the attorney general is investigating the possibility that Mann violated the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act by presenting false or misleading data related to climate change when seeking state-funded research grants.
Cuccinelli is a vocal skeptic of global warming and is challenging in court the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Cuccinelli’s investigation into Mann has drawn pointed criticism from the academic and scientific communities.
On Tuesday, 810
scientists and academics sent a letter to Cuccinelli urging him to back off his investigation of Mann. The letter, organized by the Virginia Union of Concerned Scientists, includes signatures from some 300 faculty members of U.Va.
“I signed the petition because I think that scientific debates should be played out in the academic arena. If Michael Mann’s conclusions are unsupported by his data, his scientific critics will eventually demonstrate this,“ said David Carr, a professor in U.Va.‘s department of environmental sciences.
“I do not have any special knowledge about Mr. Cuccinelli’s motives, but this CID seems to be an attempt to create noise for the purpose of drowning out a critical scientific debate.“
Carr noted that he was speaking for himself, not the university or his department.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science, meanwhile, announced Tuesday that its Board of Directors is asking Cuccinelli to justify his probe into Mann’s work or end it, saying Cuccinelli’s investigation is a political action that could have a chilling effect on cutting-edge scientific research.
“[Cuccinelli’s investigation] is making many, many scientists nervous,“ said Alan Leshner, chief executive officer of the association. “The purpose of science is to tell us about the natural world, whether we like the answer or not.“
Cuccinelli said Tuesday that concerned scientists and others should have no fear.
“They need not worry, but I doubt anybody screaming about it will take that from me,“ he said. “We’re going to work our way through the process in a professional way.“