Sunday, November 6, 2011

Galileo of climate science

Leftist science writer Chris Mooney writes:
Yesterday in a Virginia courtroom, Michael Mann — who is quickly becoming the Galileo of climate science — triumphed over the conservative American Tradition Institute, and ongoing attempts at scientist-harassment. ...

I called Mann the “Galileo of climate science,” and increasingly, I think this is not mere hyperbole.

I’ve been following climate science, and political attacks on it, for nearly a decade. Throughout that period, conservatives have been relentlessly attacking Mann because of the hockey stick graph. And starting in 2005, there have been attempts — first in Congress, then using the legal process — to wrest information from Mann, information whose disclosure would simply allow conservative motivated reasoners to come up with new reasons to criticize and attack him. This is a beast that, at all costs, must not be fed.
So Mann is some sort of scientific hero for refusing to release his data? I am not seeing this analogy to Galileo.

Science writers are always using the Galileo story as a metaphor. Usually it is to show that religion is wrong, or that new ideas get persecuted by authorities, or that a paradigm shift is needed. But the Mann story is none of those. He has the establishment view, and he is using legal arguments to avoid defending it.

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