Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Amazon Deletes my Comments to Shawn Otto

Checking out the new reviews to Michael Mann's The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, I found a short review by a name I recognized. I vaguely remember listening to at least one interview of Shawn Otto by Chris Mooney on Point of Inquiry. Checking around, I find that Otto has a has a new book out called The War on Science. The review, entitled A Must Read, reads like a short blurb:
An insightful account of a major global challenge from one of the leading scientists at the center of the storm. A must read.
I saw this as a chance to give one of Mann's enablers a piece of my mind, so I fired off this fire breathing comment in the form of a letter:

[Update: (7-21-16) A comment that I made with a link to this post has been deleted.]

[Update:(10-10-16) I wrote an Amazon review that panned Otto's latest book.]

 Shawn Otto, 
You've gotta be shi#ing us! You're a rather significant science author and you should know better. This book is at best a whiny, mediocre autobiography. It's not without value, but I have to ask you. Have you ever actually read any of the critiques of Mann's hockey stick? They're not only devastating, but a very interesting and important story in the annals of science. Anyone who reads HSCW should also at least read something from the other side. The seminal opposing work is Andrew Montford's "The Hockey Stick Illusion", written two years before HSCW. But there are also a lot of condensed summaries. Brandon Shollenberger has written two short inexpensive e-books: "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Introduction to the Hockey Stick" and "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Follow-Up on the Hockey Stick". There's also his review at WUWT:

For a really concise summary, I would recommend Matt Ridley's review of HSI:
... or Judith Curry's comment at Real Climate:
I don't know if you are aware of this (writers on your side of the climate issue seem to be avoiding it), but Michael Mann sued pundit Mark Steyn in a case that has tied him up (with legal expenses) for almost half of a freaking decade! The ACLU and a whole bunch of news organizations, including the Washington Post, have written Amicus Briefs for Steyn. No one wrote one for Mann. As a "science" "writer", perhaps this is something you might want to comment on. If you want to read a lot of hilariously entertaining writing on this, I would suggest that you go to Steyn Online and from "Politics & War" on the menu bar, click on "Defend Free Speech!". For a shorter summary, I'd suggest this post by Tom Fuller:
If you people want to believe that Mann is some kind of hero who has been hounded by the fossil fuel industry, you ignore what the critics have to say at your own peril.This is actually a rather interesting and entertaining story for more informed members of the general public. To quote Willis Eschenbach (picture Al Pacino wearing a pair of glasses with a thick strap and a crooked tie knot): "They are laughing at you!"
I'd just like to emphasize that I do not say there is no global warming or that all climate science is bad, but when I see Mann touted as a leading expert, I tend to take a lot of what I hear with a rain[sic] of salt.
Mike Dombroski (aka Canman)
 He responded with a lame reply:
Mann's hockey stick has not been successfully falsified anywhere. In fact, similar hockey stick graphs have been independently produced by several other scientists using independent lines of data, and Maan's[sic] work continues to be cited by the mainstream science community
I shot back:
 Have you ever read any of the criticisms that I've just listed? Many of them are short. I'm not sure what you mean by "successfully falsified", but McIntyre did not find Mann's hockey stick to be true or false. He published papers showing that the work behind it was of such poor quality as to make it meaningless. As a science writer writing about this subject, don't you feel some sort of obligation to check out what the other side has to say? BTW, I just bought a kindle copy of your latest book. Looking through the index, I see a number of references to Michael Mann, but none for Steve McIntyre. That's kind of like writing about Jim and Tammy Baker and not mentioning Jessica Hahn.
Mann publishes a lot papers and I'm sure he continues to get citations, but his work also continues to get some criticism (search Climate Audit). He is also quite active in public, notably with his lawsuit against Mark Steyn, among others. This looks like a topic that should be at least tangentially related to your new book. Do you have any comments on it?
I somehow got it in my mind that he might delete his review, so I saved it in the WaybackMachine. Otto then responded with this dronage:
Mann's hockey stick chart has been confirmed by numerous other teams of scientists using a wide variety of proxy data, including tree rings, corals, stalagmites, boreholes and ice cores. Neither McIntyre and McKitrick are climate scientists. Their claims were first made in a 2003 article published in a non-scientific (or social science) journal called “Energy and Environment.” Later, they submitted it to Nature, but it was rejected based on negative appraisals by reviewers and the section editor. Mann, et al, answered their criticism and showed how it was incorrect. http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/EandEPaperProblem_03nov03.pdf Here is a write-up on this well-trod path. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=8 McIntyre has been characterized as obsessed with this issue, which is the mark of a man on a mission to persuade, not that of a scientist. http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/11/30/mcintyre-mission-obsessive-quest-disprove-michael-mann-hockey-stick The E & E journal itself has been widely criticized by numerous leading climate scientists for publishing "pseudo-science," having an agenda, and having low peer-review standards. In writing about science, one doesn't need to present both sides of any and every disagreement as if they have equal weight. That is a logical fallacy called false balance. I report on the facts that have the overwhelming weight of the evidence. In this case, it's Mann. In the case of GMO it's that they are safe to eat. In the case of vaccines, they don't cause autism and cell phones don't cause brain cancer and fluoride doesn't dumb you down, but bad statistics does. Pregnancy begins at implantation, evolution is the foundation of biology and modern medicine, creationism doesn't belong in science classes, the morning after pill does not cause abortions, humans and dinosaurs did no cohabit the Earth and it's not 6,000 years old. A woman's body does not have a way to "shut that whole thing down" in the case of rape, and oil companies have been funding a major disinformation campaign. Left or right anti-science, I call 'em like I see them based on the evidence, and in this case Mann's right.
I then made a thoughtful reply that I can't show, because it was deleted (along with my first comment) and I didn't make a copy of it. From memory, it went something like this:
I remember you from an old Point of Inquiry interview with Chris Mooney, so I listened to it again along with a more recent one about your latest book. You seem more mild mannered than I expected, so I will apologize for my rudeness. I'm normally not an "in your face" type of guy, but it was intentional. I think you guys are trying to sweep an interesting and important story under the rug. The saga of the hockey stick should be a cautionary tale about how scientific and government institutions can go off track.
I used to be very interested in the evolution/intelligent design (ID) issue. I was never very impressed with the ID proponents, but I did read Michael Behe's book and found it unconvincing. I also learned a lot about evolution from books by Richard Dawkins and Steven Jay Gould. I feel that the evolutionists have won all the arguments and I now find the issue tiresome and boring. I don't think I've ever seen a creationist make a point that some evolutionist was not willing to address. I don't see this on climate. I see valid points ignored or stonewalled with irrelevant talking points. 
You say you call'em as you see'em. I see from the recent interview that you are a friend of Mann's, so that may affect your objectivity. I think you only want to see Mann's side. I think you don't want to look at any of my links because you're afraid of what you might find. I think Mann's critics are doing to him what the evolutionists have done to the creationists.
Amazon has buttons for rating comments and reporting abuse, so I'm not sure exactly how it was decided to delete the comments. At this writing, one of mine is still there. On the Wayback Machine, I haven't been able to make any more saves. I'm not that adept with the Wayback Machine, so I might just not be doing it right. To experiment, I just saved another Amazon review by Brad Keyes. I can't seem to make a second save work. I'm not sure what rights people have over other people archiving their Amazon reviews or to lysenkoize old archives, but since this is a review for a Michael Mann book, you can be sure they will be exorcised to the fullest.









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