The “Hockey League”

Michael Mann in a recent interview

“there’s not just a hockey stick — there’s a hockey league.”

The Team. The League.

h/t Bishop Hill


  1. Punksta
    Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

    I think what the “leagues” might refer to, are the other supposedly independent studies using different methodologies and proxies that confirm the HS. The DeepClimate blog is pushing this one hard, trying to counter Wegman.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

      By this, do you mean all the “independent” uses of bristlecones and Yamal?

      • Fred Harwood
        Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 6:28 PM | Permalink

        Thanks, Steve.

  2. John
    Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

    The opening sentence of the article about Mann’s interview is problematic:

    “Like evolutionary science in times past, climate science is now the target of “an elaborate P.R. campaign” to discredit researchers and their findings, says one of the scientists at the heart of the battle.”

    Most of us reading Steve’s blog love real science. Our criticisms are because science has been railroaded, Mann and company now say, essentially, that because the world is warming, and because CO2 has a role in the warming (along with black carbon, tropospheric ozone, and methane, never mentioned by Mann but crucial to understanding CO2 climate sensitivity), all other questions are irrelevant, any policies but his are from oil companies, anyone who disagrees with his formulations and policies is a denier.

    Now, with this latest statement, he analogizes those who don’t agree with his formulations and policies to those who denied evolution in the past.

    Since it is now clear for all to see that Mann is on output only, no input matters to him, most people who look at this issue even casually know that he’s not being balanced or thoughtful, the big worry to me now is that some people might think, “Well, Mann is wrong on his climate change overstatements, maybe evolution isn’t quite like the biology books say.”

    That may seem farfetched to some, but there are a lot of people out there who don’t believe in evolution, and a lot of non-scientific people who can be persuaded either way on evolution.

    Mann is actually giving them succor as well. And for people who love science, real science, this is a further blow.

    The damage Mann is doing goes far beyond climate issues at this point. Some people are going to question almost anything scientific, and that is harmful to all of us. That is Michael Mann’s gift….

    • Redbone
      Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

      I agree with this sentiment. A few years ago I sent an email to the editor of the Skeptical Inquirer, inquiring why the Skeptical Inquirer was not skeptical about global warming? A reply was shot back that the science was settled and only religous fanatics clung to the denial of AGW and evolution. I was astounded by the brazen fallacy being employed, the editor didn’t know me from Adam.

      • Pat Frank
        Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

        I met James Randi recently at a secularism conference in LA. He’s changed his position on AGW from partisan to being a kind of climate agnostic, and I asked him why. He essentially said that he realized, one day, that he didn’t know the science well enough to have a strong opinion on the matter. An honest man who changes his mind in light of reason. Imagine that. 🙂

        So, maybe the Skeptical Inquirer will have a different response now.

        • Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 10:34 PM | Permalink

          And Randi was excoriated on his JREF blog for saying “I don’t know”. So-called skeptics lambasted him for no reason.

        • Maybe
          Posted Nov 23, 2010 at 3:15 PM | Permalink

          Randi might change whats in the inquirer but the relics of his original sentiment will not die.

          @ Redbone. I do not see much logical fallacy in Randi’s reply?
          I have read a lot around, and there are plenty of fanatics who look, talk and and act exactly like Randi said. Hearing a lot of material from those types and not guys like MacIntyre, is more than enough to confirm Randi’s initial bias. Good that he is more open minded though.

      • AMac
        Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

        Re: Redbone (Nov 8 10:10),

        The umbrella organization for the “Skeptical Inquirer” is the “Center for Inquiry.” At the CFI’s online program “Point of Inquiry,” journalist/advocate Chris Mooney had a somewhat fawning 45-minute interview with Prof. Mann on Feb. 26, 2010. The podcast is here; unfortunately there’s no transcript.

        Prof. Mann’s talking points were largely the same ones that appeared in his recent New Scientist and Washington Post opinion pieces.

    • MrPete
      Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

      Re: John (Nov 8 09:40),

      Without going off-topic, and trying hard NOT to initiate a prohibited discussion of the “E” or “R” words…

      Steve: not hard enough. 🙂

    • NormD
      Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

      I listened to a podcast a few years where Computer Science professor said that Computer Science was full of questionable results, conclusions were presented but supporting data was not made available or was mysteriously adjusted, code was not archived. It sounded a lot like the current state of Climate Science.

      Makes one does wonder how far the rot has spread.

      Perhaps millions of people are dying of problems that are not being alleviated because of groupthink. No knowledge, just wondering.

    • Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

      Re: John (Nov 8 09:40),

      Curiously, I’ve come to a rather different conclusion.

      Over at Bishop’s threads on all these latest episodes where “methinks the Mann doth protest too much”, I became aware that a heck of a lot of wisdom was coming forth in all the remarks. As if Mann hit all our reflexes to defend righteousness and good science.

      I don’t want the corruption he represents to continue. But I’m not sorry that he has occasioned a rethink of what Science signifies, and how much integrity at the human level actually matters and affects the science itself; neither should it be surprising that that rethink is happening “beyond the pale” of official Science.

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Nov 9, 2010 at 3:08 AM | Permalink

      Agreed. I wrote this to the UK House of Commons inquiry:

      “But, implications for the integrity of scientific research are serious. Science has been debased and seen to be. The referenced CRU scientists, without doubt, showed poor integrity. The public, plus other parties such as those who fund scientific research, now have grounds to question the motives and integrity of all scientists. Fewer students might now choose to study Science. Belief-based decision- making might now dominate traditional Science-based inputs. We can expect to see an increase in fringe science popularity of subjects like man-made global warming catastrophy, chemophobia, fear of nuclear power, organic farming, homeopathy etc., as otherwise reasonable people lose faith in mainstream Science.”

  3. Punksta
    Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    I did wonder. I’ve tried ploughing through, but don’t really know.

  4. Benjamin
    Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    “Yet Mann remains keenly aware of the political import of every word. He ended his talk with an impassioned plea to action, complete with a picture of his daughter marveling at swimming polar bears at the local zoo. “I can’t imagine having to tell her when she’s grown up that the polar bears became extinct,” he said, “because we didn’t act soon enough to combat a problem that we knew was real but that we couldn’t convince the public of.””

    Is this a joke ?

    Maybe he should bring his daughter to Africa, she will see there people starving and willing to develop.

    Maybe she will be able tell us if she prefers spending money to help 2 billion people to fight malnutirtion that are starving/dying NOW and with 100% certainty or to help polar bears that don’t seem to be suffering so much right now and *could* maybe suffer over the next hundred years (not even sure, they got Greenland that wouldn’t be that much affected for thousands of years thanks to inertia).

    Or maybe just fight HIV ? Malaria ?

    And by the way, i guess my ancestors could imagine raising their children in a world without mammoths, (and millions of other species that have disappeared) … We still got bears anyway, just paint them in white and your daughter will be happy.

    Oh and by the way, without fossil fuels (and no, i’m not paid by oil companies, i just use common sens), going to the Arctic to see polar bears will be a real pain !
    Oh wait, he is talking about polar bears in a zoo ! Well, if they are in a zoo, i guess they don’t care so much about the ice sheets ! Mann deeply favors the use fossil fuels to get a cold place in the local zoo and to save polar bears yeahhhh.

  5. Susan
    Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    FYI, less than two weeks ago, Mann and colleagues (George T. Stone, Michael E. Mann and Andrew M. Buddington) chaired a session at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Denver that paired climate scientists with evolutionary biologists who have been outspoken against creationism (including Eugenie Scott), all commenting on the parallels between the two “battles.” See title below, the abstracts are available on the GSA website.

    As an evolutionary biologist, I was appalled.

    *Session No. 154 Tuesday, 2 November 2010
    8:00 AM-12:00 PM Colorado Convention Center: Four Seasons Ballrooms 2/3

    T22. Exposing Myths and Misrepresentations of Climate Change and Evolution Science: Strategies and Case Studies for Geoscientists, Educators, Policy Makers, and the Press *

  6. theduke
    Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

    This dovetails with the AGU announcement of a climate rapid response team of 700 scientists mobilizing to combat what they see as denialist propaganda.

    If they want to engage in honest dialogue fine. But I don’t think that’s the intent. I think you will see something more along the lines of this meeting Mann attended, which is more like a pep rally than a serious scientific discussion. The us-against-them mentality is on full display here.

    If Mann ever wants to be taken seriously again, he needs to get in the arena and debate someone like Lindzen or Steve in a neutral setting.

    But then that’s never been his style, has it?

  7. Mark F
    Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    This campaign has similarities to Fenton’s more outrageous fear and smear campaigns. Conjures up a vision of an unattached firework pinwheel sputtering and flailing against solid objects. How could Mann rationalize these insults to all but the most gullible, save with a horribly distorted ego. This is science? If a demented scream was enough to derail John Kerry, why does Mann keep attracting once-respectable groupies? Sigh…

    • Dan White
      Posted Nov 9, 2010 at 1:11 AM | Permalink

      I think maybe you meant Howard Dean, not John Kerry. Sheeeehaaaaaa!!

  8. GolfCharley
    Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

    I do not know very much about (Ice) Hockey. But is a Hockey League smaller in number than 2,500 climate experts (who wrote IPCC) and 97% of all scientists who form the consensus?

    Mann’s statistics are very confusing to me, and I am not sure whether he is saying that the number of his supporters is going up, or down. A bit like global temeratures really.

    • Punksta
      Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

      Not to worry, if need be we can just flip the graph upside-down

    • kuhnkat
      Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

      There were not 2500 scientists who wrote the latest IPCC report. Never were, never will be. Many of those alledged 2500 were NOT scientists. A number of the scientists were not experienced, respected members of the fields they contributed in. Many of the actual scientists involved did not agree with the executive summary or even all of the peer reviewed papers referenced (as opposed to the articles referenced which were not peer reviewed papers, but, screeds from activists)

      I am sure there are bits of the report that are actually reliable scientific findings. Unfortunately they have mostly been twisted to sell the oil.

    • Maybe
      Posted Nov 23, 2010 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

      Which IPCC report are you referring to? They have different people for each report and there have been several IPCC reports. Two thirds of the bodies for the next IPCC report are supposed to be scientists who previously never worked on an IPCC.
      Judging by most of the surveys of researchers on the topic, nearly any random sample of climatologists would come up with something similar to the IPCC.

  9. EdeF
    Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

    Hockey team penalized for icing.

  10. John Meech
    Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

    from the article on Mann’s announcement of his hockey league:

    “Mann … ended his talk with an impassioned plea to action, complete with a picture of his daughter marveling at swimming polar bears at the local zoo. “I can’t imagine having to tell her when she’s grown up that the polar bears became extinct,” he said, “because we didn’t act soon enough to combat a problem that we knew was real but that we couldn’t convince the public of.”

    So he thinks the Polar Bears will become extinct in the time it takes his daughter to grow up – I guess that’s Mann’s new contribution to the evolutionary debate.

    Polar Bears are now the new Politically-Correct animal replacing GreenPeace’s Harp Seal Pup. The new ad for Nissan shows a polar bear wandering through a suburb and eventually hugging an owner of the Nissan Leaf.

    • Brian H
      Posted Nov 13, 2010 at 7:06 AM | Permalink

      That PB populations are growing rather fast is most inconvenient. For “Dr.” Mann.

      One of the warm-weather sources of food they’ve glommed onto is apparently Snow Goose eggs, which, like the geese, are in substantial surplus now. P’raps Mamma Nature has it in mind for the PBs to control the population explosion of SGs!?!

      😉 😀

  11. Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

    We should sic the Federal League’s (by way of the Iron League) Hanson Brothers on Mann.

  12. pesadia
    Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    “When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities” Wise words from David Hume.

    I think that D.H. had M Mann in mind when he composed this observation.

    • Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

      Re: pesadia (Nov 8 15:05),

      Or, “The more crap you put up with, the more crap you are going to get.”
      — Dilbert

      • pesadia
        Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 4:25 PM | Permalink


      • Another Ian
        Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

        Or put poetically in “Dane-geld” by Rudyard Kipling

    • mpaul
      Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

      I met a traveller from an antique land
      Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
      Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
      Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
      And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
      Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
      Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
      The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
      And on the pedestal these words appear:
      “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
      Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
      Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
      Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
      The lone and level sands stretch far away.

      • David S
        Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

        Shouldn’t you have credited Shelley there, mpaul? Mashey will be after you.

        • mpaul
          Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

          Actually, all of the words (except for two) used by Shelley show up in Ray Bradley’s published works. I mean, what are the chances that Shelley unknowingly used exactly the same type of words as Bradley. About zero, right. Therefore, I think Bradley will claim that he was the original author. Further, Shelley failed to cite Bradley and now that the work is being used to criticize the Team, I suspect that he will file an academic misconduct charge with University College, Oxford.

  13. sleeper
    Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

    I think Mann probably recognizes his science is weak, but he likes the spotlight. So his trend is less scientist more Crusader. We’ll see how many “scientists” he gets to join his little Crusade.

  14. mpaul
    Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    On issues like climate change, there are usually small groups of zealots on either side and a large group of the impressionable middle. Emanations like this from Mann are probably received favorably by his zealous supporters, but I suspect will alienate most people.

  15. Dave L.
    Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    Mann received his PhD in 1998. His academic career commences as an adjunct associate professor at Univ. of Massachusetts in 1997, then assistant professor at Univ. of Virginia 1999-2005, Associate Professor Penn State 2005-2009, and Professor Penn State 2009-Present. In other words, PhD to full professor in circa 11 years — that’s a major league achievement. In the academic world, being a leading Member of the Hockey Team has been equivalent to superstar status. But I contend this meteoric rise in the academic world is all about money — grant money and government contract money. I think the designation ‘Hockey League’ is misleading; it should be ‘Money League’.

  16. John M
    Posted Nov 8, 2010 at 6:44 PM | Permalink

    A League?

    Hmmm, those of you who are Nero Wolfe fans might find this appropriate, considering the “rapid response team” that’s being organized by climate scientist supporters.

  17. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Nov 9, 2010 at 3:20 AM | Permalink

    Did not Verne, J, take temperatures for 20,000 leagues under the sea?

    • Bob Layson
      Posted Nov 9, 2010 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

      I too supposed, until I found out how long a league is, that the ”20,000 Leagues” in Verne’s title referred to the greatest depth to which he descended rather than total distance travelled by Professor Arronax whilst on the Nautilus.

      I am not trying to disguise the descent.

      • Bob Layson
        Posted Nov 9, 2010 at 8:11 AM | Permalink

        Looking at what Geoff Sherrington actually said I see he may not have shared my boyhood misapprehension.

  18. Bob Layson
    Posted Nov 9, 2010 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    Reading what Geoff Sherrington actually said I see that he may not have shared my boyhood misapprehension. Ooops.

  19. Hu McCulloch
    Posted Nov 9, 2010 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    (The final NAS report reaffirmed the basic science underlying the hockey stick reconstruction.)

    Evidently that’s Mann’s reading of the NAS report, but is it accurate?

  20. Jeff Norman
    Posted Nov 11, 2010 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    “there’s not just a hockey stick — there’s a hockey league.”

    He really doesn’t think things through does he. What is the purpose of a league?

    1. To establish a field of competitive teams. CRU, GISS, etc.
    2. To promote their sport above other sports. IPCC
    3. To attract talented players from other leagues. See student enrollments.
    4. To develop individual players. See co-author lists.
    4. To attract and maintain sponsorships. Mike (pronounced Mikey) with logo like a flattened check mark.
    5. To maximize play times for their players. See Hansen.
    6. To maximize positive media exposure. See Hansen.

    Sort of like the pot calling the pot black.

  21. Posted Nov 15, 2010 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    Lessee – a hockey league is a cartel of teams who try to hurt each other, whereas within a team they don’t.

    And Michael Mann claims persecution with his evolution analogy – why didn’t he use a “cry wolf” or “sky is falling” analogy? Methinks the analogies get convoluted/stretched, so should be rejected out of hand in favour of straight talk.

    PS: Well, maybe the debate is between teams trying to hurt each other intellectually, alarmists versus skeptics, but I doubt that’s what Mann meant.

  22. Richard Sharpe
    Posted Nov 24, 2010 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

    This seems to be the current type of the Hockey Team critique of McIntyre and the Wegman report (from WUWT):

    Steve Metzler says:
    November 24, 2010 at 7:06 am

    redneck says:

    If the point of the exercise is to replicate the results you absolutely need the code. Without the code it would be extremely difficult and time consuming to replicate the results as you would not know what proceedures were used to produce that result. After all if you want to replicate the result you need to repeat the exercise using the same methodology used previously which is given by the code.

    I’m afraid you just don’t get how science is done at all. Wegman is a *professional statistician*. As in… that’s what he does for a living. All McIntyre needed to do was tell Wegman what raw data he used and what methodology he used, and Wegman should have been able to reproduce McIntyre’s results himself in just a few days honest work. Then he would have noticed that by using AR1(.2) to generate the red noise, that he *couldn’t reproduce McIntyre’s results*. That is how science is done.

    But, no, he instead took the lazy way out and just copied McIntyre’s results without bothering to verify them. And for that he will be hung out to dry.

    Also, a statistician knows well better than to cherry-pick just 1% of the simulations that were run and call that the ‘results’. That’s *scandalous* behaviour. That’s why I call the whole thing a ‘stitch-up’ of Mann et. al.

  23. Punksta
    Posted Nov 24, 2010 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    So McIntyre cherry-picked, and Wegman just copied his results. Had Wegman done a proper job, he would have found he could not replicate McIntyre.
    Well – looks like case closed, the hockey stick lives…

    Steve: your assertions are untrue. The bias introduced by Mannian short-centering has been confirmed not just by Wegman, but by the NAS panel on the simple AR1 case.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Nov 24, 2010 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

      This is nonsense.

      No one seriously contests the bias introduced by short-centering. In addition to Wegman, the point was confirmed by the NAS panel.

      The effect of short-centering on the MBH network was to promote the bristlecones into the PC1 where Mann thought that they were the “dominant” component of variance, rather than merely one small regional artifact.

      • Fred
        Posted Nov 24, 2010 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

        Doesn’t it bother you in the slightest that for Wegman’s ‘replication’ of MM05, they simply plotted a sample of the random PCs that you had archived?And then mislabelled the caption (fig 4.4) to indicate that it was drawn from an AR(1) distribution, when it in fact was drawn from the ‘full’ acf case? That they gave the highly misleading impression that they had actually done something with your calculation?

        Plotting a picture of someone else’s archived result, using the original code doesn’t sound much like auditing ….

    • Richard Sharpe
      Posted Nov 24, 2010 at 6:15 PM | Permalink

      There are lots of trolls over at WUWT pointing to a Real Climate article and screaming:

      “McKitrick and McIntyre are cherry picking and Wegman plagiarised M&M”

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