His text is rather incredible. As Roger Pielke Jr observed five years ago, if Michael Mann did not exist, the skeptics would have to invent him.
According to Mann's latest tirade, everyone would be a fearmonger and a demagogue like himself if the public became more familiar with six propositions – various would-be facts and ideas. What are they? Are they true?
1. Climate Scientists are the Real Skeptics
No, they are not. Climate skeptics are known as "skeptics" for a good reason – because they are nothing else than the practitioners of scientific skepticism in the context of the remarkable claims about the climate. Climate fearmongers such as Michael Mann himself are those who are rejecting the rules of the scientific skepticism in a way that is completely analogous to the blunders committed by the advocates of paranormal phenomena and similar things.
Wikipedia defines scientific skepticism as
the practice of questioning whether claims are supported by empirical research and have reproducibility, as part of a methodological norm pursuing "the extension of certified knowledge".The definition ultimately came from Robert Merton, a sociologist of science. Clearly, the global warming fearmongering maximally violates this definition. The claims are mostly about the future which isn't accessible to empirical research and the claims about the past and present boil down to "one episode of man-made global warming" that is supposed to have started a century ago. Because we are talking about one hypothetical process, one episode, the claims clearly lack reproducibility, too. The climate panic isn't about another ice age – many ice ages would have occurred on Earth in the past. It's about something that is supposed to be, much like Jesus' resurrection, unprecedented.
This problem of the climate alarm is related to another one: the dramatic climate change really diverges from the "certified knowledge" qualitatively. The "certified knowledge" allows one to discuss the weather within climatic conditions that may be approximated as constant even though they are changing in the long run. The climate hysteria wants something dramatically different and it's really its defining, characteristic feature, something that makes it so attractive to many ears. What makes it so attractive is the same feature that makes the climate alarmism contradict the attitudes of scientific skepticism. In other words, climate alarmism is intrinsically unscientific.
More generally, scientific skepticism is summarized by the slogan that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Climate alarmism contradicts this attitude because it wants to morph a self-evidently extraordinary claim – that within just a hundred of years, life on Earth will be threatened by climate change as serious as none during the recent tens of millions of years or more – into the new "default assumption" that, like other default assumptions, doesn't require any evidence at all, let alone extraordinary.
Lots of wise essays have been written about the analogies between the climate alarmism and the old-fashioned religions. They have their original sins, scapegoats, the ultimate hell, prophets, moralizing preachers, indulgences, saviors, repentance, blasphemies, and heretics, among many other components. The big claims are not being justified by the empirical data or calculations that one may verify; instead, they mostly boil down to would-be authorities.
Michael Mann's own answer proves that his attitude is the opposite of scientific skepticism when he criticizes skeptics for "denying mainstream science". Something is "mainstream" if one finds sufficiently many people who will endorse it. This has nothing whatever to do with having enough evidence. The beliefs in geocentrism or creationism with all the remarkable things that were needed to defend these beliefs used to be "mainstream science" as well. It was just wrong and totally at odds with the principles of scientific skepticism.
The second paragraph Mann writes about this issue is OK but one may see that none of the rules are actually respected by the climate fearmongers. For example, he ends up by saying that "scientists are always trying to find holes in each other’s proposed ideas, or in their own proposed ideas." But that's exactly the main principle he has denounced just a few sentences earlier when he said that to question the climate hysteria isn't skepticism because "climate hysteria is mainstream science". If it can't be questioned and if it is actually not being questioned, it is no science.
2. The Science of Climate Change is Based on Many Sources of Data and Many Different Methodologies
The idea of a dangerous man-made climate change is not based on any credible data or methodologies. But in general, it is true that the climate science is based on many diverse data and methodologies. But what's completely wrong about Mann's claims here is that it is an advantage. On the contrary, the need to use many different methodologies and ways to acquire data – without seeing winners – is exactly one of the top disadvantages that make the climate science an inferior, soft scientific discipline.
This diversity means nothing else that none of the sources of data and no existing methodology is good enough! If one of them were good enough, it would be extremely unlikely that people would remain ambiguous about the optimal sources of data and the optimal methodologies.
If we want to study particle physics at the experimental energy frontier, close to a \(\TeV\) of energy per particle, we are studying a science that affects many – well, all – processes in Nature and that's what makes it powerful. On the other hand, it's obvious what is the right, general way of studying this physics. On the experimental side, it's particle collisions. One may pretty much derive which particles should collide to gain the maximum amount of information, too. There are no diverse sources because the colliders allowed us to get very far – in energy and accuracy – and it is simply extremely unlikely that two or more different methodologies would get equally far. If the most distant among your schoolmates from the elementary school lives 9,000 miles away from you, it is unlikely that the second one also lives about 9,000 miles – unless they married each other.
Similar comments apply to methodologies. Predictions for real-world experiments are calculated from Feynman diagrams which are pretty much universal and encode perturbative quantum field theory which is a good approximation for all these phenomena. There is no similarly relevant competing methodology (let me include the twistor-based rules etc. to the same package, just to avoid excessively subtle discussions) simply because if two methodologies work pretty much equally well, they must be equivalent.
The impossibility to choose the right methodologies etc. is a symptom of the poor or non-existent accuracy in the climate science in general. This softness, fuzziness, and interdisciplinary character all contribute to the fact that predictions in this discipline are extremely unreliable and may pretty much be summarized as guesswork. This appraisal applies to some types of claims more clearly than to others and the situation may improve in the future but no doubt, the climate science doesn't belong among the hardest sciences today and its features that Michael Mann sells as advantages are actually major culprits or symptoms of the inferior – i.e. less scientific – status of the discipline.
3. The Models Have Proven Accurate
This is just a downright lie. None of the types of model predictions that are relevant for the dangerous man-made climate change debate has ever celebrated a success that can't be considered a coincidence and that one wouldn't be ashamed to describe in detail.
In the last 20 years, the computer technology got vastly better and so would have the climate models if they were in the ballpark of the truth and if the climate scientists were successfully pursuing the scientific method that can converge to the truth ever more accurately. Instead, all the predictions by the climate modelers were getting worse. The discussions about the "global warming hiatus" in the recent 20 years are the most characteristic example of this failure. Nothing about the models really works.
If predictions of the global mean temperature – the least fluctuating quantity related to the "global warming" that one may think of – deviate by 100 percent i.e. completely disagree with the observations (a huge predicted warming vs no warming at all) even after a 20-year averaging of various kinds of noise, it is a spectacular failure. I often feel compassionate about the climate modelers and their advocates who have a really hard job if their job is to pretend that they and their "work" is something else than what it clearly is, namely a pile of worthless distorted šit.
There are computer models related to the atmospheric dynamics that have done some impressive job – including meteorological models predicting the weather for the next 3 days or a week. But there is a difference between one week and 20 or 100 years.
It is fair to say that those who had access to powerful computers had no advantage in predicting anything about the long-term behavior of the atmosphere relatively to those who know enough theory (about the atmospheric dynamics) and only use the pencils and paper. The climate models may have "looked" realistic, like a computer game, but the correlation between their outcomes and the actual behavior of the climate turned out to be non-existent.
It's not really hard to understand why it is so. A computer is only useful if we need to make many calculations that are too much for a scientist with a brain, a pencil, and a piece of paper – but which may still be trusted. That's why meteorological models are good for forecasts of the weather for a few days. These programs have to deal with the interactions of several vortices and changing winds and for a while, their dynamics may be trusted. But the long-term behavior of these atmospheric patterns is chaotic and small errors in the initial state or the calculation lead to completely wrong predictions. And whenever this chaotic behavior averages out, there must exist an effective theory where the chaotic phenomena are absent from scratch, and predictions based on this effective theory may be done with a pencil and a piece of paper again.
That's why you should expect that the situation will really not change and climate models will remain useless as a device to produce climate predictions. At any rate, they are useless today. They are only being used by advocates of a particular preconception – in this case a dangerous climate change in the future – to make their claims look more scientific than they are. However, showing a seemingly realistic computer game (one that a random observer may confuse with the actual reality) is something else than producing correct scientific predictions simply because the observer's "feelings of realism" have no reason to be correlated with the actual accuracy of the predictions: the observer has no idea about the right answer.
Mann mentions predictions of the impact of volcano eruptions. They were in the ballpark of the truth but these estimates may be made without computers. Moreover, there are similar general predictions of "some sensitivity" that didn't work comparably well.
4. If Anything, Global Warming is Probably Worse Than Scientists Say
If anything, global warming is an even clearer non-problem than what even the real climate scientists – the climate skeptics – are willing to admit. If anything, even the probability of a significant global cooling is much higher than the typical climate skeptics tend to guess.
To defend his comment that "AGW is worse than thought", Michael Mann cherry-picks a random study that says so, and chooses to trust it. But that's exactly how science doesn't work and cannot work. Science can't be based on comparative literature and cherry-picking of literature. In fact, it is not based on the selection of literature at all. Genuine science is based on calculations comparing hypotheses with the empirical data.
When we insist on the scientific method – instead of the method of trying to silence scientists by intimidation and efforts to make everyone worship third-class scientists and downright fraudsters who must be the "authorities" (and, according to Mann, the more unhinged and hysterical alarmist a person is, the more credible "authority" he is) – the answer to the question becomes totally clear. From an ensemble of climate models most frequently used by the "climate science community", about 98 percent overstated the warming in the last 2 decades or so where they could have been validated, often by a factor of 3 or higher. All of them got a wrong sign of the temperature change for the last decade.
In science, it doesn't matter at all that these models occupied 98% of the supercomputers' memory or the brains of those who are paid as climate scientists. A vast majority of them have been proven wrong so they must be abandoned. The broader theories aligned with these falsified predictions have to be eliminated. If climate science were a meritocratic discipline, like the true and hard scientific disciplines, the proponents of the dangerous climate change would have been (almost?) completely eliminated many years ago, too. However, the climate science community has become something completely different: a mafia of dishonest left-wing activists and crooks who know that they're lying 24 hours a day but their lies are found convenient by the governments to increased their power which is why none of these crooks and criminals, not even Michael Mann himself, has ever been properly punished or fired.
The climate alarmists are not a part of the scientific community. They are a well-organized mafia. What makes them more influential isn't the increased accuracy of their claims but the increased hysteria behind their claims and the strengthened intimidation of everyone else.
5. A Scientific Consensus Isn’t Like a Popularity Contest
The measurement of consensus is always a popularity contest and proper science simply never uses such tools to answer any questions. At most, consensus among people who are expected to be more qualified could be more likely to be more accurate than consensus in the broadest public. However, it is never guaranteed to be so and it is never known how much expertise is actually needed for a person to provide the right answers to a certain class of questions. The expertise of a selected community may still be insufficient so it's easy for such a community to be "mostly wrong". The history of science is full of such examples.
Moreover, the selection one adds by switching from the broader public to the climate change community may add some expertise in average (although way too many "non-professionals" are much more competent than way too many "professional" climate scientists) but it adds much more bias. The bulk of the climate science community wants these claims about a dangerous climate change to be believed because these claims are what has increased their funding by a factor of ten or twenty – ten or twenty times – in the last 20 years or so. So like many other people, they don't want to throw away 90 or 95 percent of their funding. And they don't want to be arrested which some of them, including Michael Mann, surely will be as soon as the neverending brainwashing by the lies about a dangerous looming climate change will really stop. It has slowed down but the kind of an as clear end to this disease as I expect hasn't materialized yet.
This bias and lack of scientific integrity is making the community's guesses about the future climate much more inaccurate than whatever their increased expertise relatively to the public could add in the positive direction. I refuse to read the whole 9-paragraph rant by a Michael Mann that is full of cursing about "contrarians" (the climate religious bigots' word for the "heretics") and similar ideological trash. I prefer to extend my patience concerning the date when this particular crook is finally placed on an electric chair.
6. Climatologists are Beginning to Recognize That They Have to Speak Up
Some of them, like Dick Lindzen, have realized it for 25 years or so. Marc Morano had the list of roughly 1,000 scientists who would follow but the climate scientists who are beginning to speak up today should in no way be considered pioneers. Of course that Michael Mann turned all this question upside down. He is pretending that corrupt crooks like himself who have been paid tens of billions of dollars have been dissidents who couldn't speak so far and the situation is finally changing. Very funny, give me a break. The alarmed climate scientists were the antipodal opposites of dissidents who would have to be afraid of speaking. They were paid tens of billions of dollars exactly because the kind of stuff they could say was extremely convenient for an octopus that began to spread in the mainstream political system.
If these corrupt climate scientists – people paid with the knowledge that they're likely to promote climate alarm – haven't sufficiently promoted alarm in the past, it's because most of them still had some traces of integrity and tens of billions of dollars simply weren't enough to make them constantly emit the same downright lies as Michael Mann loves to emit on a daily basis because the strength of his stomach and the reservoir of his immorality is always higher than previously thought.