22 July 2012
I am amazed at how political beliefs can lead people to say and do really ignorant things. I had a comment this week from someone who complained that it was nearly impossible to get information about climate change from a non political source, and he has a real point. It’s one of the reasons that I started writing this blog and hopefully I have made it a little easier to sort out the politics from what is real.
I steer away from commenting much on the day-to-day assault on science from political and certain religious groups, but I do make an exception when something is so egregious that it really should get some attention. The North Carolina Legislature’s inane attempt to outlaw the science of sea level rise is one recent exception.
This post is another.
This week the National Review published an insulting and (very likely) libelous article about climate change expert Dr. Micheal Mann of Penn State University I suspect that a formal apology and a retraction are on the way. if not, Michael Mann will have a very good case against them. The writer of that article deserves to defend his words in court and I suspect he will.
Dr. Mann has been subjected to an overwhelming amount of hate mail and death threats, (most of which are very badly spelled) because he published a paper several years ago, with the image above in it. You may have heard about this image, it’s called the “Hockey Stick”, and let me say right here, that no matter what you may read on the internet, this image has stood the test of dozens of reviews and investigations. Every scientific peer group that has looked at it says it’s good science and if anyone tells you differently, they are giving you political propaganda.
To put it in plain words- the graph is correct, get over it.
However, some people cannot seem to get over it, and for those whose politics conflict with scientific reality, (whether it be evolution, climate change, or the age of the Earth) this image was too powerful to be ignored. Numerous attempts have been made to somehow or someway discredit Dr. Mann (or his graph). Fortunately, they’ve all failed and Dr. Mann’s famous graph stands as good science. Not only that, but he has been totally cleared of every accusation against him.
Dr. Mann has an excellent book out about his modern-day walk through the trials of Galileo, and I highly recommend it. Oh, and Dr. Mann posted a note on his Facebook page that he has indeed hired a very good attorney and plans to sue the National Review for what they wrote. After reading the insulting article in the Nat. Review, I suspect he will win in a big way. (Update July 24- the letter written by Dr. Mann’s attorney demanding an apology and retraction is available here.)
Standing Up For Science
This kind of thing has happened so frequently among those who do research in climate physics, that a legal defense fund has been established. The very fact that scientists are in need of such a thing is evidence in itself of the assault on basic science underway in America. If you’re the type of person who believes in Science you might think about a donation. Things are so bad that the National Center for Science Education recently added climate change to its mission to defend teachers and the teaching of real science in classrooms.
Some advice to students: If you are in a high school or college science classroom, and the instructor says anything that calls into doubt the scientific realities of the age of the Earth (4,500 million years), natural selection, or that the planet is getting warmer (and greenhouse gases are involved), then you are NOT being taught science. There is NO scientific evidence that call any of these into the slightest doubt.
If your instructor says otherwise, I’d look for a new teacher.