Penn State investigation concludes:

The Investigatory Committee, after careful review of all available evidence, determined
that there is no substance to the allegation against Dr. Michael E. Mann, Professor,
Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University.

More specifically, the Investigatory Committee determined that Dr. Michael E. Mann did
not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously
deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing,
conducting, or reporting research, or other scholarly activities.

The decision of the Investigatory Committee was unanimous.

Comments

  1. #1 MapleLeaf
    July 2, 2010

    Mann exonerated, again, this time on Canada Day (1 July). Happy Canada day Stephen McIntyre ;)

  2. #2 Former Skeptic
    July 2, 2010

    More specifically, the Investigatory Committee determined that Dr. Michael E. Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research, or other scholarly activities.

    The sound you just heard was the wailing and gnashing of teeth from Mosher and Fuller.

  3. #3 Mike
    July 2, 2010

    And cue in the conspiracy theorists….4…3…2…1…

    Tim, you need to just cut & paste the word “yet” and keep it handy, because you’ll need it for the “climate scientists cleared yet yet yet again”, and the “climate scientists cleared yet yet yet yet again” topics which will undoubtedly be out soon.

    Virginia State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is still going after Mann, and using the exact same “evidence” as used in all the inquiries by various different authorities which have found there is no case to answer. Apparently even though he passed the bar exams, he’s not terribly bright.

  4. #4 sod
    July 2, 2010

    good news. now watch that spin!

  5. #5 MarkB
    July 2, 2010

    Isn’t it time some of those engaging in slander/libel/defamation be taken to court and put on trial? There’s quite a long list. Start with the top witch hunters.

  6. #6 chek
    July 2, 2010

    Congratulations to Dr. Mann on the official notice of an outcome that wasn’t in doubt for many of us.

    Just one other thing though – has anyone else noticed occurrences such as on page 8 [here](http://live.psu.edu/fullimg/userpics/10026/Final_Investigation_Report.pdf) that McIntyre’s BSc seems to have been mysteriously upgraded to a full-blown doctorate?
    As in “”What is your reply to the email statements of Dr. McIntyre

    What’s up with that?

  7. #7 TrueSceptic
    July 2, 2010

    6 chek,

    That is odd. You’d think such a report would be very careful indeed to get all details correct. McIntyre’s name appears 6 times, 5 times with “Dr.” and once with “Mr.” The only correct title is within a quote from Mann.

    Do we have to check the whole thing looking for stupid errors like that?

  8. #8 Martin Vermeer
    July 2, 2010

    I think the use of Dr was intentional. And of course a quote is a quote. I suspect it is leaning over backward by this crowd of Dr’s in order not to be accused of elitism… factual accuracy be damned.

  9. #9 Eli Rabett
    July 2, 2010

    Dr. McIntyre, Dr. Courtney, Dr. Watt. Defining Dr. down.

  10. #10 dorlomin
    July 2, 2010

    Can McKintyre and McKitrick now show us their reconstruction of temperatures for the past 1000 years, they have had 10 years to do the work, 10 years to gather the mountains of evidence that the earth has been warming during that period and with there vastly superior statistical skills it should be bullit proof by now.

    In science when you disagree with a conclusion you show how it should be done, what the correct one is. Not just whine that others are doing it wrong.

  11. #11 J
    July 2, 2010

    dorlomin, I think McI’s claim is that it may not be possible to reconstruct temperatures in the past 1000 years with any degree of precision, because the proxy data are too unreliable. I don’t think much of McI in general, but that is not an unreasonable claim.

    Imagine that someone claimed to be able to predict the weather (not climate, weather) six months in advance. (Maybe a writer for the Old Farmer’s Almanac?) You challenge that person and claim their predictions are nonsense. Would you be obligated to offer your own competing prediction?

    I suppose a different way of looking at this is that McI could offer a reconstruction that just had humongous error bars. In my weather analogy, that would be like saying “Okay, six months from now the temperature in New York will be 0 C plus or minus 30 C.”

  12. #12 Eli Rabett
    July 2, 2010

    J, Eli can confidently predict that it will be colder where he is and warmer where Tim is in six months. Wanna bet?

    Which is kind of the ballpark stuff that the proxy’s are useful for.

  13. #13 dorlomin
    July 2, 2010

    We do temperature reconstructions for the entire Phanerozoic era, 540 million years. Every year we gain new data and better technology. Every year we advance our understanding of the past. We do this by doing the difficult things that have large error bars and improving on them.

    Not by shoving our hands in our pockets and moaning “you are doing it wrong”. If Mann and company have shown to much accuracy not enough error bars, lets see a reconstruction that fits the data better.

  14. #14 Lotharsson
    July 2, 2010

    > Dr. McIntyre, Dr. Courtney, Dr. Watt. Defining Dr. down.

    Dr. Lotharsson is not amused. (That’s not intended to be humourous – in real life I have a Ph.D., as do any number of commenters here.)

    I wonder perhaps if it’s a deliberate strategy to see if the auditors will point out the error? ;-) You know, like some development processes where deliberate errors are inserted, and the proportion of discovery of deliberate errors used to infer how roughly many unintentional errors are likely to remain?

  15. #15 Roger the Cabin Boy
    July 2, 2010

    Apparently even though he (Cuccinelli)passed the bar exams, he’s not terribly bright.

    Plenty of that in Congress…..

  16. #16 Wow
    July 2, 2010

    “Apparently even though he (Cuccinelli)passed the bar exams, he’s not terribly bright.”

    Maybe the bar is set too low?

    Badum kshhh!

    Thank you, try the veal!

  17. #17 t_p_hamilton
    July 2, 2010

    Racally Rabbet:”Dr. McIntyre, Dr. Courtney, Dr. Watt. Defining Dr. down.”

    Makes me think of “Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr Howard” for some reason.

  18. #18 Lars Karlsson
    July 2, 2010

    Now we are only waiting for the response: “Yet yet another whitewash”.

  19. #19 Rattus Norvegicus
    July 2, 2010

    My favorite rant so far. How can you argue with logic like that!

  20. #20 Martin Vermeer
    July 2, 2010

    Imagine that someone claimed to be able to predict the weather (not climate, weather) six months in advance. (Maybe a writer for the Old Farmer’s Almanac?) You challenge that person and claim their predictions are nonsense. Would you be obligated to offer your own competing prediction?

    J, the essential difference is that you can check the weather six months from now. So, just predict the average weather for the same time of year over the last ten years or so, and demonstrate that you do no worse. This is also how you show up astrologers (by getting just as happy customers by presenting the very same predictions rotated one zodiac sign forward), etc. Big Placebo.

    With proxy reconstructions you cannot send back thermometers in a time machine, so you have to test quality by using the internal consistency of the data, e.g., by removing subcategories of proxies and seeing how sensitive the result is to that. What you do not do is treat it as a bookkeeping exercise: just follow the rules, apply best practices and get the correct result. Getting McI to do this for himself would have the merit of confronting him with this reality.

  21. #21 John Mashey
    July 2, 2010

    re: #18 whitweash

    I’m originally from Pittsburgh, PA area (and did all 3 degrees at Penn State and am still in frequent contact).

    This story in Pittsbrugh paper was sort-of-reasonable, given that it’s published by Richard Mellon Scaife…. but Lindzen comes through (read article for context):

    “But Richard S. Lindzen, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of meteorology who disagrees with Mann’s work, called the school’s investigation a “whitewash.” Lindzen was interviewed by the Penn State panel during its investigation.

    “Penn State has clearly demonstrated that it is incapable of monitoring violations of scientific standards of behavior internally,” Lindzen said in an e-mail from France.”

  22. #22 dizzy
    July 2, 2010

    // I think the use of Dr was intentional. //

    Why not. He’s a Data Doctor.

  23. #23 Brian Angliss
    July 2, 2010

    Don’t know if this will get through moderation or not, or whether it’ll have any impact on the readers at WUWT, but I had to at least try.
    —-
    There appears to be a misunderstanding here of how seriously Penn State must take allegations of research misconduct. Between 2006 and 2009, when Mann joined the PSU faculty, PSU earned $2.8 billion in research grants. Over that same period, Mann brought in $1.8 million. That’s 0.06% of the total research grants. Does anyone here seriously believe that PSU would risk the other 99.94% of research grants to protect ANY single researcher, no matter how respectable they’re perceived to be?

    PSU is a tier-one research university. That means that their reputation is everything, and if they hadn’t been completely certain that Mann’s behavior was within acceptable norms for his field, he would have been tossed to the wolves to protect the university.

    I recommend the following for a longer discussion of just how seriously any university takes allegations of research misconduct and why it wouldn’t make sense for PSU to conduct a whitewash on behalf of Mann: http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2010/02/15/psu-cover-up-extremely-unlikely/

  24. #24 chek
    July 2, 2010

    Well expressed Brian, in terms even the densest of those followers of denial could (if they so wished) understand.

  25. #25 J
    July 2, 2010

    Martin, Eli, and dorlomin —

    Let’s try putting this a different way. Suppose someone claims to have developed some new understanding. (It could be a way of predicting the climate in the past or the future, it could be a correlation between nosepicking and cancer, the details don’t matter).

    Now, let’s say you don’t believe the data actually support their model. There are two ways you could point this out. One, you could provide a competing and more successful model — you could propose a different temperature reconstruction/prediction, and show that it fits the data better (for a future prediction, this would require waiting a while), or you could show that asbestos or smoking has more explanatory value in cancer cases.

    Alternatively, you could also just show that their model or their understanding is inherently flawed. Due to the chaotic nature of weather, it’s just not possible to predict it six months in advance. Due to the coarse spatial and temporal resolution of proxies, it’s not possible to deduce that it was 17C and sunny on a given Tuesday afternoon at a particular hillside in Anatolia in 5037 BCE. Respondents thought the nosepicking survey was a joke and so the data are worthless.

    Both of those are reasonable ways to critique someone else’s model. I don’t think it’s reasonable to insist that McI has to create his own reconstruction, when his argument is that the data aren’t precise enough to support any nontrivial reconstruction.

    That doesn’t mean I agree that McI actually has shown anything meaningful. I just don’t agree with dorlomin’s suggestion that if you disagree with someone’s reconstruction you’re somehow obligated to offer a better one.

  26. #26 J
    July 2, 2010

    Heh. I like the “furtile minds” in Rattus Norvegicus’s link at #19.

  27. #27 chek
    July 2, 2010

    J, you seem to me to be saying that a constituent proxy group such as dendrochronology is one of what the Watt’s crowd would term a non-science.

    You do understand that more than a single type of proxy is used and that they’ve been calibrated against the existing instrumental record where that is possible? Hence the concern over the post 1960 decline where the correlation breaks down in some – and it’s only some – cases.

  28. #28 Derecho64
    July 2, 2010

    As per usual, the foaming-at-the-mouth cretins over at WTFWT are chasing their tails into a frenzy of the stupid.

    These folks are turning into a parody of themselves.

  29. #29 Robert Murphy
    July 2, 2010

    “Dr. McIntyre, Dr. Courtney, Dr. Watt. Defining Dr. down.”

    Maybe they’re Time Lords.

  30. #30 Deep Climate
    July 2, 2010

    Did someone say “whitewash”? Yes, they did.

    Morano and Lindzen: Mann Exoneration a “whitewash”

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/07/02/morano-and-lindzen-mann-exoneration-a-whitewash/

    Lo and behold, Marc Morano of Climate Depot has come through right on schedule, even comparing Mann to disgraced investment fraudster Bernie Madoff and calling Mann the “posterboy of the corrupt and disgraced climate science echo chamber” . And, the denialosphere’s star scientist, MIT meteorologist Richard Lindzen, has weighed in right behind him, echoing Morano’s “whitewash” characterization.

    Can the rest of the denialosphere be far behind? Oh, the sad – and presumably unintentional – irony of it all.

    Make sure to read about Lindzen’s other escapades – like coaching Anthony Watts on rhetorical statistics.

  31. #31 MarkB
    July 2, 2010

    “McIntyre’s name appears 6 times, 5 times with “Dr.” and once with “Mr.” The only correct title is within a quote from Mann.”

    Donning my denier-style thinking cap, I’m going to have to assume Penn State did this intentionally, in order to make it appear that McIntyre actually has a PhD and Mann is being disrespectful.

  32. #32 Rick Bradford
    July 2, 2010

    > Donning my denier-style thinking cap,

    You should have remembered to take off your tin-foil one first…

  33. #33 John
    July 3, 2010

    That Watts thread is amusing. He’s clearly down to only the most obsessive, ideology-driven commenters. They all seem to think that McIntyre is some kind of all knowing God.

  34. #34 Jeremy C
    July 3, 2010

    Rattus,

    Your link at *19 is priceless, utterly priceless. I sprayed cornflakes right to the window.

  35. #35 P. Lewis
    July 3, 2010

    Re #19 and #34

    I thought the linked guy must be a bona fide Poe, but then I read his contribution here. You’ll have to search on his name (Lalonde). So the jury’s not on him being a Poe. Or is it?

  36. #36 P. Lewis
    July 3, 2010

    Oops! “So the jury’s not out on him being a Poe.” of course!

  37. #37 J
    July 3, 2010

    No, chek, I’m not saying that proxy-based paleoclimate studies are non-science. I’m also not saying that Mann’s work is non-science.

    Forget entirely about Mann, climate science, etc. Just, in the abstract, if someone proposes a model and you think there are problems with it, there are at least two ways to point that out. You can propose a competing model and show that it fits the data better. Or you can point out conceptual flaws in the way their model works. Both of those are valid approaches. That’s all I’m saying.

  38. #38 frank
    July 3, 2010

    Shorter J:

    McIntyre was right in pointing out flaws in Mann’s work! Actually, what I mean is, an abstract McIntyre was right in pointing out abstract flaws in an abstract Mann’s work.

  39. #39 TrueSceptic
    July 3, 2010

    24 chek,

    I think you grossly overestimate the intelligence and fair-mindedness of those followers.

  40. #40 TrueSceptic
    July 3, 2010

    31 MarkB,

    To … err … make it not look like a whitewash?

  41. #41 TrueSceptic
    July 3, 2010

    19, 34, 35,

    “furtile minds”

    “psuedo” 3 times, including “Gravity should be classed as a psuedo-science”.

    This is one of those “special” people, isn’t it?

  42. #42 J
    July 3, 2010

    Shorter frank:

    I wear omelets on my head. Also, the moon is made out of aardvarks.

    That bears about as much relationship to anything you’ve ever said as your version does to anything I’ve said. :-)

    More seriously, I know I probably come across as a concern troll in this thread, but I’m really not. The larger issue here is that I think those of us on the pro-science side have to at least understand how the “unskeptical skeptics” think and what their actual arguments are.

    When someone says “It’s not possible to do X” there are a range of appropriate responses, but those do not include “Well, if you don’t like the way Mann does X you should try doing it better yourself.”

    People are much more likely to accept your arguments if you make it clear that you understand what they’re saying.

  43. #43 frank
    July 3, 2010

    Shorter J:

    McIntyre was right in picking flaws in Mann’s work. Actually, what I mean is, an abstract McIntyre was right in pointing out abstract flaws in an abstract Mann’s work.

    No, I’m not actually arguing that McIntyre was right in picking ‘flaws’ in Mann’s work! What I’m saying is that other people are arguing that McIntyre was right in picking ‘flaws’ in Mann’s work! I’m not a concern troll! Really! I’m just being misunderstood!

  44. #44 Michael Ralston
    July 3, 2010

    No, frank, that is not what J is saying at all.
    J is simply pointing out that what McIntyre claimed is a valid argument – if (counterfactually) dendrochronology had error bars so large as to contain essentially no information, then one could reject the use of dendrochronology in the construction of a model without providing a competing model.

    McIntyre is wrong, but he is not wrong due to his failure to provide a model – he is wrong because one can’t reject dendrochronology out of hand like he claims. It behooves us to correctly identify the errors in the denialist’s logic, so that they can’t pick nits to confuse the underinformed listeners… after all, it’s all they’ve got short of outright lying, so why not deny them that refuge?

  45. #45 J
    July 4, 2010

    Thank you, Michael, for explaining that better than I did.

    In general, when you’re engaged in a debate it’s helpful to be able to convince your opponent (or neutral bystanders) that you understand her/his argument first, before you proceed to demolish it. If people think that your opponent is making claims and you’re not understanding them or not addressing them, they’ll draw the conclusion that you can’t answer them and thus you must be wrong.

    McI et al. are making two kinds of claims — the methods used by Mann are problematic, and the proxy data aren’t good enough to support a reconstruction with any reasonable degree of precision. I think the first claim is obviously groundless, since other reconstructions by other people have produced similar “hockey sticks” while using very different methods. I’m less confident about the second claim but as a non-expert I’m willing to defer to the actual experts on the pro-science side and assume that they know whereof they speak. But that’s the case that people should be making. How exactly does it help our side to stop talking about the science and move the debate into the realm of propaganda, insults, and feel-good talking points? That’s their home turf! Any time this becomes a battle of illogical and non-responsive arguments, the denialists will win.

    There, that should be long enough to give frank plenty of fodder for his next “shortening”. I’m looking forward to seeing it :-)

  46. #46 frank
    July 4, 2010

    Michael Ralston:

    You’re right… but see below.

    * * *

    J:

    > But that’s the case that people should be making.

    People have made the case. Martin Vermeer wrote:

    > With proxy reconstructions you cannot send back thermometers in a time machine, so you have to test quality by using the internal consistency of the data, e.g., by removing subcategories of proxies and seeing how sensitive the result is to that.

    Your response was to ignore him and try to make your argument more and more abstract to the point of uselessness.

  47. #47 Lars Karlsson
    July 4, 2010

    [This](http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/02/penn-state-report-released/#comment-422042) comment in the WUWT Mann thread is priceless:

    ‘Einstein said: “No amount of experimentation can prove me right; only one experiment can prove me wrong”.

    There isn’t one experiment proving agw doesn’t exist; there are many. Miskolczi. Gerlich and Tscheuschner. Ernst-Georg Beck. Landscheidt.

    But, the irony is the ice core data showing that temperature increases happen about 800 years before the CO2 increases. Game. Set. Match.’

    Not exactly Einstein…

  48. #48 luminous beauty
    July 4, 2010

    >McI et al. are making two kinds of claims — the methods used by Mann are problematic, and the proxy data aren’t good enough to support a reconstruction with any reasonable degree of precision.

    The first claim is dependent on the second claim. De-centered PCA is only unreliable if some substantial portion of the data is spuriously correlated.

    But then, IMHO, what MBH did wasn’t de-centered PCA at all, but short segmented PCA, which is kind of necessary for estimating uncertainties; PCA wasn’t directly performed on the proxies, but the instrumental record; and the reasons for using the 1901 – 1980 segment for proxy calibration are pretty straight forward (i.e., the most, the most accurate and the most homogeneous instrumental data).

  49. #49 Byron Smith
    July 5, 2010

    For those who might be tempted to think that a tier-one university might engage in whitewash for the sake of an employee, read here to see how unlikely that is. Basically, a university’s reputation is its lifeblood (all the more so for a top research school like in this case) and it is far, far better to deal with the fallout of the misconduct of a single employee (no matter how impressive their research credentials) than to deal with the fallout of being involved in a whitewashing operation.

  50. #50 Marco
    July 5, 2010

    Oh darn, Byron Smith. You guys and your rationality. It’s all about the perception! Logic, smogic, climategate is a whitewash (unless it finds “The Team” guilty of all kinds of scientific fraud), AGW is a hoax, and Al Gore is fat. There. Proven.

  51. #51 dorlomin
    July 7, 2010

    Guardian reporting Phile jones going back to work.

  52. And yet another precedent set for the admonishment of climate change scientists – bad news again for the rain forests, the human race – and my business of buying quality wood!

    Disgusted!

    NAF

  53. #53 homeopath london
    May 5, 2012

    There people should be brought to justice. This is an outrage.

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