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Trying to cancel Michael Mann's talks: a poll

Anthony Watts criticizes a cool-headed, rational, pro-coal organization named Choose Common Sense that attempts to convince Penn State University to abolish a planned talk by Michael Mann on February 9th in the Penn Stater, central Pennsylvania's most sophisticated hotel.

I am genuinely interested in the TRF readers' own opinion – and you may be interested, too. So here's the poll; please try to answer before you see what I think (and I hope and guess that my opinion won't distort your own attitudes, anyway).

Is it OK to try to scrap Mann's talk? Do his talks hurt the alarmist cause?
 He has the right to speak and he increases the listeners' belief in AGW
 He has the right to speak and his talks discredit the AGW ideology, anyway
 There's no right to speak at fancy places; talks by liars help to spread lies
 There's no right to speak at fancy places; but his talks don't help AGW, anyway free polls 

It's pretty clear that you either tend to sympathize with Michael Mann or with Choose Common Sense so don't pay too much attention to my wording: you know what I am asking, don't you? ;-)

And here is what I wrote on Anthony's blog.

I beg to disagree.

While I cherish the freedom of speech, this is not about the freedom of speech. It is not about *whether* he can speak but *where* he does.

He has the right to say anything but in a healthy society, people should be naturally led to say things at appropriate places for them – innocent confused and intellectually mediocre people at home or in the street; and thieves and life-long liars like Michael Mann in the jail.

It seems as a sign of a somewhat dysfunctional American society today that Michael Mann still isn’t giving these talks for his inmates in the State Pen while his inmates would also have the right to say something to Mr Mann. A speech by Mr Mann in Pennsylvania’s most sophisticated hotel is an insult to tens of millions of Americans who are much more competent to give such a talk but who won’t be invited to do so.

I also disagree that the more similar people speak, the more it hurts alarmism. Alarmism peaked 3-5 years ago and peaked exactly *because* some extremely nasty and dishonest people have been saying some extremely absurd and untrue things. Some people think that the more often lies are said, the more people understand that they’re lies. But the world doesn’t work like that. The more liars speak and the more prominent positions they are given to say their lies, the more powerful these lies become. It’s as simple as that.
So I agree with some/many WUWT readers that this is really a war and offering your other cheek isn't a way to win this war. Even in a completely free and meritocratic society (and we're not really living in it), there will always be some pressures attempting to invite a particular speaker to a particular place; and pressures to disinvite a particular speaker away from a particular place.

Global warming arrived to the vicinity of Lake Geneva again. Can you help this family to push their car? In Europe, 300 people – including two folks in Pilsen – have already frozen in the recent chilly weather. See other literally cool pictures from the two days at (gallery) or at CNN's website, under a dramatic title about a "tragic situation". Snow reached Algeria, too.

This general template is universal. However, the society will always evolve according to the character and type of the people who are actually allowed to speak at prominent enough places. And I just think that this set shouldn't include Michael Mann much like it shouldn't have included Adolf Hitler in 1930.

Anthony has promoted free speech which is a noble value. However, this attitude becomes a bit paradoxical if we look at the following parts of the discussion at WUWT:
Richard M says:
February 4, 2012 at 10:13 am

Where does the right to free speech end?

[SNIP on this blog it ends with the published site policy, and while you are certainly entitled to your opinion about who Penn State might allow to speak, this sort of comment will do nothing but create an off-topic flame-fest not directly related to the issue at hand, so while it pains me to have to snip it, I must. - Anthony]

trbixler says:
February 4, 2012 at 10:16 am

[SNIP while you are certainly entitled to your opinion about who Penn State might allow to speak, this sort of comment will do nothing but create an off-topic flame-fest not directly related to the issue at hand, so while it pains me to have to snip it, I must. - Anthony]

There has been no “trial” (well maybe a review) for Mann. There is not even an admission by “authority” that his tricky math has harmed many physically as well as financially. So is it said that it is OK to do harm and continue to do harm until one is proven by authority to be doing harm? Mann has been cleared by his peers and has the continued support of government and grants. It must be OK.

papiertigre says:
February 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm

[snip over the top - Anthony]

Joules Verne says:
February 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm

There seems to be a great deal of confusion here. This isn’t about Mann having a right to speak. This is about Penn State’s choice of who gets to speak. That lecture hall isn’t a soap box on a public street corner where everyone has equal access. Penn State administrators choose who gets to use this particular public soap box. In the opinion of Choose Common Sense in Mann they’ve chosen poorly and as taxpayers (ostensibly Pennsylvania taxpayers) have a right to voice their disapproval of the speakers chosen.

On a more personal note [SNIP: That's a bit over the top. Sorry. -REP]

Arno Arrak says:
February 4, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Personally I consider the construction of the hockey stick a scientific fraud. The journals should have withdrawn his papers long ago and he should have lost his job but this did not happen. Why do I say this? Because he did not like the temperature trend of his tree ring data for recent decades so he simply chucked them out and substituted thermometer readings he did like. If you are a scientist and you have just created a set of observations according to a valid protocol you are not allowed to throw out observations that you don’t like to make the rest of your data look good. It does not matter he claims those data were no good. It matters even less that the thermometer data he substituted for tree ring data that he rejected were considered “right” by comparison. It was done to change the conclusion of the paper to conform to a predetermined outcome. This premeditated twisting of data makes it a scientific fraud, period. Beyond that, the temperature curves for the eighties and nineties are themselves also fraudulent. I have proved that the thermometer data for these two decades have been manipulated to show warming where none exists. It is easy to show this by comparing them with satellite temperature measurements. You will find graphical demonstration of how it was done in figures 24, 27 and 29 of my book “What Warming?” available on Amazon. The global warming establishment has shielded him and deflected all investigations so far. [snip. Please, that is a bridge too far. ~dbs, mod.]
There are lots of limitations in the WUWT conception of the free speech – and those WUWT readers weren't even speaking in a fancy hotel in front of hundreds of people in suits. I would say that Anthony Watts and the WUWT moderators are suppressing the freedom of speech of other people to a comparable extent as the Choose Common Sense coalition. So the main difference is whose freedom of speech should be crippled.

I am afraid that Anthony Watts and his moderators have picked a wrong side. Who is being really stifled in the contemporary Western society? It's exactly the people who think that the taxpayers' money shouldn't be freely wasted or stolen by self-proclaimed "saviors" of the world. Complaining that someone doesn't want these "saviors" – crooks, thieves, and idiots – to give talks in fancy hotels seems kind of disingenuous to me in comparison with the real problem.

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