Dr Michael Mann, Penn State University
I have read the full report of this inquiry Concerning the Allegations of Research Misconduct Against Dr. Michael E. Mann and find the whole business interesting. Here are my reasons – quotes are from the report:
1: No specific charges for Mann to confront
Instead the University had received:
“numerous communications (emails, phone calls and letters) accusing Dr. Michael E. Mann of having engaged in acts that included manipulating data, destroying records and colluding to hamper the progress of scientific discourse around the issue of anthropogenic global warming from approximately 1998. These accusations were based on perceptions of the content of the widely reported theft of emails from a server at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Great Britain.”
So, all sorts of wild claims were being made as part of the hysterical fall out from “climategate” – the illegal release of emails in the UK. This was promoted by conservative bloggers and media outlets, by the deniersphere’s echo chamber.
“….. no formal allegations accusing Dr. Mann of research misconduct were submitted to any University official …the emails and other communications were reviewed [and] synthesized [into] the following four formal allegations. …. The four synthesized allegations were as follows:”
1. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to suppress or falsify data?
2. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data, related to AR4, as suggested by Phil Jones?
3. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any misuse of privileged or confidential information available to you in your capacity as an academic scholar?
4. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community.
So – no formal charges or accusations. This forced the inquiry to synthesis their own from implied accusations from the deluge of hysterical emails and comments. They were not accusations of the inquiry or the University themselves!
2: No evidence to substantiate allegations
None at all. Not for any of the four allegations! The report discusses each accusation and detail and gives it’s clear finding that “there is no substance for this allegation.”
Naturally Dr Mann expressed pleasure at the result:
“I am very pleased that, after a thorough review, the independent Penn State committee found no evidence to support any of the allegations against me. …. This is very much the vindication I expected since I am confident I have done nothing wrong.”
This does sort of expose the hysterical “climategate” beat up for what it was, doesn’t it. We can seriously discuss deficiencies in the way scientists at the University of East Anglia handled freedom of information requests, how they should be disciplined for this, etc., because there are specific charges and evidence. But the witch hunt against individuals like Dr Mann is exposed as hysterical hot air.
3: Further investigation by peers required
This was jumped on by some of the most biased commenters to claim a denier victory. Locally, conspiracy theorist Ian Wishart, claimed the inquiry was “widening “(Hockey-stick’s Michael Mann under deeper investigation). Blogger Poneke claimed Hockey stick fabricator Michael Mann to face further scrutiny in the wake of Climategate emails leak. Similar headlines appeared overseas and in the twittersphere.
However, this was simply a result of the inquiry committee finding itself unable to make a definitive finding on accusation 4 (deviation from accepted practices within the academic community for research). The decided this requited a “review by a committee of faculty scientists.” Clearly they saw that anything short of this would be seen as a whitewash saying: “Only with such a review will the academic community and other interested parties likely feel that Penn State has discharged it responsibility on this matter.”
Consequently an investigatory committee of five faculty members “with impeccable credentials” was set up and will report back within 120 days.
This will of course add extra reliability to Mann’s vindication. He commented “I fully support the additional inquiry which may be the best way to remove any lingering doubts. I intend to cooperate fully in this matter — as I have since the beginning of the process.“
You can find the full report of the inquiry panel here: Concerning the Allegations of Research Misconduct Against Dr. Michael E. Mann
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