Found In Translation: internat’l reax to the Hughes et al. Shenanigans paper (in press)

Begging your indulgence of my freshman German and schoolgirl French, let me belatedly give you a taste of what a couple of foreign outlets have to say about the upcoming blockbuster HBM’15.

First but not least, though: our thanks to ever-perceptive reader Sarmange for the observation that,

The Hockey stick is evidently a basic form in Nature (the magazine and the universe alike), like spirals, the golden section, all the geometric figures you can get from the conic sections, like circles, parabolas and hyperbolas…

masthead Le-Monde-newspaper-logoIn what is being called the last nail in the coffin of global-warming incredulisme, a new study purports to find a roughly hockey-stick-shaped temperature signal without using any fraud.

News of the finding comes as a relief to Dr Michael Mann, whose much maligned 1998 hockey stick—the original and best—has come in for much maligning by the forces of denialisme over the years. He is currently being dragged through multiple countries’ legal systems by climate defamers, an ordeal to which he would much prefer a quick, out-of-court dénouement.

“Litigation is a waste of time I should be spending on frontier science. At this point I’d settle for a sincere, soul-searching apology from the Canadian race,” says Mann.

“Not for my sake, so much as for the benefit of the people watching them apologise to me,” adds the renowned tree physiologist [sic], who considers the public to be “the real victims” of the damage America’s northern neighbour has done to his good name.

In a notoriously contentious science, one thing’s for sure: the new article will leave négateurs of the Earth’s climate no room to manoeuvre.

Accusations of paranoia and secretiveness—probably orchestrated by industry-linked attack blogs—have forced Mann to retreat behind the siege mentality of a recluse. His contact with the public is now limited to the occasional Tweet per day, a full-page letter to the New York Times when absolutely necessary, guest spots on American raconteur Bill Maher’s show, a bestselling book about himself and of course scientific pressers like today’s, which couldn’t be avoided.

masthead frankfurter imagesAsked why the new analysis has taken 17 years, lead author Malcolm Hughes explained that Mann et al. are well-known for their refusal to help anyone replicate their 1998 study.

Competitive replication—the only way a finding can really gain epistemic credibility—is the lifeblood of most physical sciences. Apparently, then, the fierce opposition to the process among leading practitioners marks climatology out as a somewhat unique field.

But Harvard’s Naomi Oreskes, a historian of how ideas develop, repudiates suggestions that climate science is in any way pathological.

“In a way, climate science is pathological,” she says, “because it’s been forced to contend with the unique new phenomenon of climate skepticism. For reasons science doesn’t yet fully understand, other fields have been lucky enough to escape the worst impacts of climate denial so far.”

Professor Oreskes blames the intense, unhealthy level of scrutiny to which the scientists have been subjected on the real-world significance of their research. “When you’re—say—a biologist, your work has little relevance to real life, if any. Climate science, on the other hand, affects everyone and everything.”

The original hockey-stick team is particularly disinclined to assist Canadian retiree Stephen McIntyre and other so-called ‘auditors.’ Such people constitute, in Dr Mann’s words, “a novel subspecies of citizen scientist whose contribution to scholarship begins and ends with verifying that my work is internally valid—something I already know.”

Auditing is therefore a waste of time—at best—Mann explains. 

“How would that prove the science was right? It couldn’t. That doesn’t even make sense. Internal validity means very little on its own.

“Then again, you don’t have to be paranoid to suspect that a number of ‘auditors’ aren’t motivated purely by a desire to prove the science right in the first place.”

As a legitimate scientist, Dr Mann cannot abide mala fide skepticism.

(McIntyre has never responded to allegations of bad faith, except insofar as he denies them and says the real problem is bad science.)

Mann says he only agreed to co-operate with the authors of HBM’15 when they convinced him the study would serve the urgent purpose of demolishing a Klimaleugner talking-point.

2 thoughts on “Found In Translation: internat’l reax to the Hughes et al. Shenanigans paper (in press)

  1. bethcooperpoetry

    And here I was thinking that up-tick shape involved political art,
    not one of Natures’, kinda/ a stamping boot image or an arm-raised
    salute, half a swzsticka’ even.

    Liked by 1 person


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