“And yet it moves…”: climatologist Michael Mann targeted by Virginia’s conservative Attorney General

The war on science continues...

Further evidence that the conservative side of politics is not afraid to intimidate scientists can be seen in recent developments in the US.

Virginia’s Republican Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, attempts to intimidate climatologist Michael Mann (continually in the sights of deniers for his “hockey stick graph”) by raising the spectre of possible charges of “fraud”:

“No one can accuse Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli of shying from controversy. In his first four months in office, Cuccinelli directed public universities to remove sexual orientation from their anti-discrimination policies, attacked the Environmental Protection Agency, and filed a lawsuit challenging federal health care reform. Now, it appears, he may be preparing a legal assault on an embattled proponent of global warming theory who used to teach at the University of Virginia, Michael Mann.

In papers sent to UVA April 23, Cuccinelli’s office commands the university to produce a sweeping swath of documents relating to Mann’s receipt of nearly half a million dollars in state grant-funded climate research conducted while Mann— now director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State— was at UVA between 1999 and 2005.

If Cuccinelli succeeds in finding a smoking gun like the purloined emails that led to the international scandal dubbed Climategate, Cuccinelli could seek the return of all the research money, legal fees, and trebled damages…”

The denial movement is rubbing it’s hands with glee, oblivious to the irony that they charge others with politicising the science. Mann, Jones and the CRU have already been cleared by multiple inquiries.

Why this continued attack?

28 thoughts on ““And yet it moves…”: climatologist Michael Mann targeted by Virginia’s conservative Attorney General

  1. JG says:

    Cuccinelli should be removed from office forthwith for his gross abuse of his position. It is shameful that Virginia has not yet begun moves to impeach him. He is supposed to be the state’s lawyer, not a bloody ayatollah.

  2. Ken says:

    He sounds like a right nutter anyway. Wants yo cover up the breasts on the State emblem.

  3. Think Big says:

    Just a quick housekeeping comment – did you mean to write ‘intimidate’ rather than ‘intimate’ in the first line?

    Good story nonetheless. I think they will continue to attack climate scientists and generate one beat-up after another if allowed to.

    They have no shame.

    [Noe: thanks for picking up typo, corrected! Mike @ WTD]

  4. rogerthesurf says:

    I think the tax payer has every right to be 100% sure that public money is spent properly.
    I also suspect that the Attorney General is smart enough to understand that climate change of any sort most certainly does not prove the “anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis.




    • Watching the Deniers says:

      AGW is a confirmed theory, and the AG is ignoring the wealth of scientific evidence. Given he is a lawyer, and *not* a scientists one would question his capacity to dismiss decades of scientific research.

      Again, what was I saying about values determining “facts” for the individual?

  5. rogerthesurf says:

    AGW is a not confirmed theory, and the AG is very much aware that there is no proof of the “anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis

    Sorry to contradict you but if you were the least bit scientific you would understand that even the IPCC knows that it is not a fact.

    Their use of the words “very likely” and similar phrases (although exaggerations they definitely are) simply prove the point.


    [Ok, this is just forum trolling.
    “Even the IPCC knows that it is not a fact…” Personally I’m not going to debate this kind of, well, silliness. Others can, but the debate is too important to spend time having to deal with such a perverse and willful denial of scientific facts. All the best Roger.

    Mike @ WTD]


  6. JG says:

    AGW is a not confirmed theory

    Ah, we have an idiot in our midst.

  7. JG says:

    PZ Myers has a short but interesting comment on the issue:


    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Thanks mate for the link – PZ Myers has a great blog, and I think many of us share the outrage. Pure politics, and dirty at that.

  8. rogerthesurf says:

    Well typical of your type.
    You believe in the AGW theory because someone told you to and you have this sort of misplaced faith.
    Of course you are unable to engage in the logic of the science because it might threaten your faith and of course that is painful.

    So typically all you can do is engage in name calling.

    Did you read my blog? http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com and check out the links? Or my other blog where I record answers from the likes of you and your friends to my comments.
    Note that reasonable answers are very few and far between.

    Now if you knew what you were talking about, you would have some answers or explanations for at least some of the thngs in my blog, backed up by authorative references of course.
    This comment will also be posted at http://www.globalwarmingsupporter.wordpress.com
    and my readers and I await your reasonable and discerning comment with interest.



    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Roger, honestly… what are your qualifications?

      I don’t have faith in AGW. Actually, I really, really wish it wasn’t true. But the truth is it is an observed fact.

      When the medical profession tells you smoking may cause the likelihood that you will develop lung cancer you’d most likely listen. Ditto the thousands of scientists around the world who have confirmed the theory via research, observation and the methods of science.

      All your “questions” can be easily addressed at John Cook’s fantastic site, Skeptical Science: http://www.skepticalscience.com/

    • JG says:

      Of course you are unable to engage in the logic of the science because it might threaten your faith and of course that is painful.

      Perhaps you might be good enough to produce some actual science with whose logic the rest of us might engage?

      At the moment you’re just chortling over the fact that some bullyboy Attorney General is abusing his power in order to persecute a scientist whose rationally derived, evidence-based scientific conclusions he finds ideologically disagreeable.

    • “Of course you are unable to engage in the logic of the science because it might threaten your faith and of course that is painful.”
      And on Roger’s site:
      “I’m with the church on this one, only GOD whoever or whatever he/she may be can control the climate! So Far! ”
      Woo! Love the science Roger! 🙂
      I gave you references and now you don’t talk to me

  9. rogerthesurf says:

    So you read my blog and checked out every reference then?



  10. JG says:

    So you read my blog and checked out every reference then?

    I skipped through the first page of your blog, recognized large chunks of it and its links as drivel I’d come across a hundred times before, and decided I had better uses for my time.

    The problem you deniers seem to have (in common with your colleagues among the Creationists, the AIDS/HIV refuseniks, the vaccination-causes-autism types, even the birthers) is that you seem to think it’s your entitlement to demand that other, saner people waste their time explaining to you in painstaking detail why the “science” you’ve picked up from Viscount “I have the status of a Nobel Prize winner, I’m a member of the House of Lords, I was Margaret Thatcher’s Science Advisor, I’ve found a cure for AIDS” Monckton is baloney. And you share with them also (a) a complete inability to realize that doing this over and over again to each new denialist who can’t be bothered to read the genuine science becomes a pain in the ass pretty damn’ fast, and (b) an absolute refusal, even when the facts are laid out in front of you, to change your thinking one iota — instead you’ll run off and find some new piece of Monckton or Peilke or Bolt or Nova or (gawd ‘elp us) Inhofe to regurgitate at us.

    The rest of us tire of it the same way we tire of the tantrums of a spoilt infant.

    A question for you, Roger. How many of Michael Mann’s publications have you read? Of Phil Jones’s? Of Jim Hansen’s?

    Do you even read New Scientist/Scientific American?

    Do you read any of the ScienceBlogs? That’s the place where a lot of actual scientists hang out.

  11. rogerthesurf says:


    True to form you are unable to provide any reasonable response.
    To me this means that you have no answer to the disprovals of the unproven “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” found in my blog.
    This is in spite of the fact that my blog is kept simple and clear of all the diverting issues that surround the AGW debate and focuses on the important fundimental questions.
    Needless to say I am well read, but I try and get my understanding from scientific papers rather than biased commentaries.

    So like most of who can only resort to name calling, you have proven that your beliefs are ones of a misplaced faith because you are unable to defend them in any scientific or logical fashion.

    And I did sincerely invite you to try.



  12. JG says:

    Needless to say I am well read, but I try and get my understanding from scientific papers rather than biased commentaries.

    I’m sorry: This made me laugh a lot. You’d better delete all those vaunted links on your blog, then, hadn’t you?

    I assume from your answer that in fact, no, you don’t choose to, and haven’t, read any of the “straight” literature on the subject, that you shun magazines of orthodox science like New Scientist and Scientific American, and that those “scientific papers” you boast of are in fact the so-described-by-their-authors outpourings of Monckton and his ilk that, remarkably, fail to find publication in anything with a peer-review system.

    Oh, that’s right: those nasty climatologists freeze them out . . . the same way the nasty psychologists froze out L. Ron Hubbard and the nasty astronomers froze out Immanuel Velikovsky.

    Tell me, Roger, if you required a triple bypass, would you get a heart surgeon to do the job or would you instead opt for some guy who runs a blog?

  13. rogerthesurf says:

    Thank you for your reply,

    Unfortunately once again I have to ask, where is your logical, authorative discussion? You are sounding like you are spreading gossip to me. Not one attempt to make a point and provide me with a reason why, in the form of some references perhaps.
    Perhaps if you had read my blog more carefully, you could have been a little more objective.

    I will answer some of your questions though.

    ” “straight” literature on the subject”

    I assume you mean reports published by the IPCC and their hired scientists?

    These resources need to be studied with caution. These people have studied their published sources http://www.noconsensus.org/ipcc-audit/IPCC-report-card.php Why dont you check them out and see if you agree?
    As well as poor sources and lack of peer reviewing, the IPCC reports rely entirely on the unproven “anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis. You may have noticed that they cannot claim it is fact but at best can claim “very likely” or “almost certain”, which in itself is an exaggeration. Therefore all their conclusions cannot be any better than the actual unproven hypothesis itself.

    Here is a good video to watch which I think illustrates the difficulty of proving a hypothesis, even when the proof is readily at hand.

    (the subject has nothing to do with AGW, just may help you about the concept of a hypothesis.

    It is necessary to go beyond the IPCC influence and look for unbiased studies. Usually emeritus academics are a good source because they are not worried about their pension or superannuation anymore, but most of all one must use ones own brain to be satisfied with the logic.

    The links on my blog are there because I support their conclusions and also may be of some interest to readers. I have not necessarily come to my conclusions by the same method.

    ” if you required a triple bypass, would you get a heart surgeon to do the job or would you instead opt for some guy who runs a blog?”

    If I needed a triple bypass, no matter what the qualifications were, no-one would operate on me until they had carefully showed me the evidence that such an operation was needed, explained it to me in reasonable terms and I was satisfied that it all made sense. If they were unable or too arrogant to deign to explain, I would send him/them on their way.
    The “anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis is not anywhere near the needed standard of proof.



  14. JG says:

    In other words, Roger, all of the world’s climatologists are biased except those few elderly ones you can find whose views are ideologically acceptable to you?

    but at best can claim “very likely” or “almost certain”

    You have that the wrong way round. That isn’t “the best they can claim”: they’re expressing sensible scientific caution, as in: “Roger will almost certainly refuse adamantly to alter his views one iota no matter what anyone says to him, as predicted confidently several comments above.”

    If they were unable or too arrogant to deign to explain, I would send him/them on their way.

    And so you’d likely die of heart failure. That is, of course, completely your entitlement. It would not be your entitlement to take the rest of us with you . . . which is in effect what you climate-change deniers are hoping to do. Put down your ideological cudgels and think this one through:

    (a) If we take no action and then discover that the assembly of elderly fruitbats, Murdoch journalists and Exxon-funded astroturf organizations, etc., got it wrong, the consequence is that we’re all dead.

    (b) If we take action by increasing energy-use efficiency and developing clean, renewable sources of energy (which would mean energy independence and thus an economic blessing for a whole host of countries who’re currently woefully poor), and then discover that somehow 99.9% of the world’s climate scientists got it wrong, the consequence is that — cripes! — we’ve made the world a better, cleaner place unnecessarily.

    I see that the other folk here concluded early that it would be a waste of time to argue with you — oops, almost certainly a waste of time to argue with you. I wish I’d had the sense to follow their example. This is like beating my head against a brick wall. Goodbye, Roger.

  15. Watching the Deniers says:

    I’d add nonconsensus.org is a well known industry funded denier site. Personally, I’m going to be somewhat sceptical of their information. There is a consensus, well established. To say otherwise is contrary to the facts.

  16. JG says:

    nonconsensus.org is a well known industry funded denier site

    Thanks for this, Mike. I was fairly certain that this (“industry funded”) was the case, but didn’t have time to check beyond a quick glance at SourceWatch (which doesn’t seem to have it).

  17. JG says:

    Curiously, even some of the prominent deniers are now lambasting Cuccinelli over this action: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/07/varied-critics-assail-official-probing-climate-scientist/?ref=science

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Yes I’ve noted… good that some of them can recognise extremism. There is a spectrum of belief amongst the denial community – from outright conspiracy theory making to those who are (genuinely, but mistakenly) sceptical.

  18. I think my comments regarding noconsensus is what good ol’ roger interested in attacking me also. Did you look at their climate change 101? I tell you, it’s deep!
    JG; I got caught up arguing with him as well and funnily enough, following my conversation with him he came along here sprouting the same stuff… Certainly hard of hearing that one!
    Anyhow, one good thing came out of it – he put me onto a few other blogs that have been worth following!

  19. JG says:

    Oh, bloody hell, here (http://mothincarnate.wordpress.com/discussions-with-denial/), you mean? It’s kind of word-for-word what he was spewing at me, isn’t it?

    Of course you are unable to engage in the logic of the science because it might threaten your faith and of course that is painful.

    the disprovals of the unproven “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” found in my blog

    You have a lot more patience with his like than I do . . . Keep up the good work!

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Patience indeed, more so than I might have. But well worth the read Moth!

    • Dave McRae says:

      Roger popped over briefly to mine as well and repeated his assertion that starvation will be rampant if we implement the economic measures needed to cull CO2 emissions thus greenhouse gas theory is wrong.

      This argument is not uncommon – but still fascinates me – it’s like to deny the existence of cancer because cancer treatments can be harsh. I do wish it worked like that. But unfortunately, the CO2 molecule refuses to alter it’s physical properties in response to our economic circumstances. And he wont allow me to cut him either, although he was nice about declining.

      (I also don’t think the treatments are that harsh with regard to CO2 mitigation, mainly because of mainstream economic reports like Stern and Garnaut and no economic paper exists that asserts additional starvation due to CO2 mitigation so I have no idea where they get that assertion from)

      And yes, his site is a Gish-gallop of every denier argument regardless of whether they are contradictory to other denier argument or how many ways they’ve been debunked previously.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: