How’s a Mann get into the NAS?


Guest post by Canman (aka Mike Dombroski)

Am I the only one outraged?

Every once in a while, I go through Michael Mann’s tweets in an incognito window. Most recently, I just hit a few minutes behind him crowing about being elected, inducted, or something, into the National Academy of Sciences. This looked like a bombshell to me—a real scoop. I made sure to shoot off a few fiery tweets, like this one:

Then I had to get some fresh air. I went and got a few groceries and stomped and muttered around the parking lot for a while. When I came back to start wading through the thermonuclear fallout, I was surprised to find their was hardly any. Well, you never know what will and won’t make a splash. Mark Steyn was worried that his lawsuit battle with Mann might not get much attention, and had to brace himself for a flood of amicus briefs supporting Mann.

I suppose most people aren’t all that attuned to the goings on of the National Academy of Sciences. I know I’m not, except for when they are going to include someone like Mann. I’m actually rather attuned to someone they didn’t include, Carl Sagan. Though I didn’t agree with a lot of his politics, I was a big fan of Carl Sagan. His books always seemed to have stuff that was fresh and new. When a couple of biographies of him came out, at about the turn of the millennium, I rushed to the library to check them out. One of the more interesting sagas, was when he was rejected for inclusion into the NAS. His first wife, Lynn Margules, a renowned biologist, was a member. Back then, being an acclaimed science popularizer and a celebrity was considered perhaps, uncouth. Of course some of it undoubtedly had to do with big egos, who were not acclaimed, popular celebrities.

Now days we seem to be living in the age of the science communicator. Search for “Michael Mann” at the NCSE site, and you get 6 pages of hits with lots of awards, such as:

… the 2018 Public Engagement with Science Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in recognition of his “tireless efforts to communicate the science of climate change to the media, public[,] and policymakers.

… the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication for 2017.

… the James Shea Award for 2017. Presented by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the award honors “exceptional contributions in the form of writing and/or editing of Earth science materials (broadly construed) that are of interest to the general public and/or teachers of Earth science.”

… the 2018 Climate Communication Prize from the American Geological Union.

… the Louis J. Battan Author’s Award (K-12) for 2020 for their book The Tantrum that Saved the World

Mann is a communicator? The only thing I find notable about his writing is that it’s whiny and ranty. Otherwise, it’s mostly bland talking points. It’s certainly not not like reading Richard Feynman or Stephen Jay Gould! The only challenging thing I’ve read of his, other than MBH’98 (Uncle!), is his comparison of his short modern centered PCA to Gould’s analysis, in his book, The Mismeasure of Man. Gould was no longer alive to provide clarification or extrication.

Well, if he’s not an impressive communicator, maybe it’s “what” he’s communicating. Other than the same old talking points, all the other activist/scientists have, he does have this unique narrative. He’s a nerdy scientist, who discovers this rising temperature graph and then gets attacked by right wing politicians and the fossil fuel industry. His unimpressive communication skills actually help with this narrative, along with the fact that he’s short, fat and bald. The actual supposed science behind the hockey stick is so bad, extensive and arcane, that these charges seems implausible to the casual observer (they did to me). He looks like a scapegoat being made into a cardboard villain, when in fact, on closer examination, he really is a cardboard villain! Add to that, he’s a ridiculous intellectual narcissist and very vindictive towards critics.

Do honors, like being in the NAS, really matter? They didn’t to Richard Feynman in his great YouTube video:

Feynman actually resigned from the NAS. He describes physicists sticking together to block a chemist. He exclaims, “The whole thing was rotten!” For better or worse, we do give awards for achievement and put our best and brightest in prestigious organizations. We do push back when questionable people get lauded as such. This should be one of those times.


  1. In the age of Lysenkoism it is no surprise that that Lewandowsky became a fellow of the RS, and it is no surprise that Mann would be made a fellow of the NAS. They both exemplify the spirit of the age quite well.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. From the short video, Feynman loved to gain understanding of the natural world. The real pleasure and prize was the fun of the chase, in making the discoveries and new insights, and the pleasure in seeing others using those insights. However, I would disagree with him about the importance of Nobel Prizes. The recognition that this brings can inspire others to make discoveries for themselves. But Feynman through his books and video interviews inspired others.
    Mann’s achievements are in a very partial look at the data to promote an ideological perspective. He spends much of his time in maintaining Groupthink. The NAS membership will no doubt be used, like his phoney Nobel Prize, to discourage others from thinking and discovering for themselves.

    A premier example of perseverance is achieve a result is Andrew Wiles in solving Fermat’s Last Thoerem. He spent about five years finding a solution, only for someone to discover a mistake. After another 18 months he solved it properly.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Breaking: Mark Jacobson ordered to pay Chris Clack’s legal fees.

    This somehow slipped past me. From Forbes:columnist Robert Bryce:

    Attempting to shut down debate and demonizing the opposition is one of the hallmarks of the all-renewable-energy tribe. And there’s no small bit of irony in the fact that Fox’s effort to censor Planet of the Humans was launched just two days after his ally, Jacobson, was reproached by a federal court for trying to intimidate one of his critics by filing a frivolous lawsuit against him. On April 20, Jacobson was ordered to pay the legal fees of Chris Clack, the Colorado mathematician who Jacobson sued in 2017 for $10 million on claims that Clack had defamed him. Jacobson’s lawsuit, which also named the National Academy of Sciences, was a classic example of a SLAPP suit, or strategic litigation against public participation. What was Clack’s sin? He, along with nearly two dozen other prominent scientists, debunked the claims that Jacobson was making about – what else? — renewable energy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks Canman.

    Only yesterday I was trying to remember Jacobson’s name as an example of how not to resolve a dispute in science (taking legal action to shut the other guy up is kinda the ultimate, short of physical action). The point, which should be obvious to these thin-skinned types, is that if the criticism made was very wrong, then it ought to be easy to answer in words. (I’ve just watched the Dick Cavett show with Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer on youtube. In comments someone says that the infamous punch by Mailer preceded the show, a physical response to being criticised.)

    That the Jacobson paper won the Cozzarelli Prize is interesting, and seems to show that the prize was awarded not for the quality of the science but for the desirableness of the conclusion.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Read the climategate emails where Mann and PhilJones rub each others’ “accomplishments” and set about manipulating major awards for each other – suggesting the time framing for these activities.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Alan K, a very warm welcome back from me. I hope that you and yours are OK now. You had me worried for a while, there.

    Liked by 2 people

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