If you need another example of scientific establishment’s deteriorating credibility since the election of Donald Trump, here it is: The world’s largest science organization is bestowing a top honor on a climate propagandist who spends lots of his time making hateful, inflammatory comments about the president, his family, his administration and GOP lawmakers on social media.
Michael Mann, a Penn State University professor and infamous author of the so-called “hockey stick” graph to show the planet is warming, will receive the 2018 “Public Engagement with Science” award by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) this weekend. The award will recognize Mann’s “tireless efforts to communicate the science of climate change to the media, public and policymakers.”
There’s no question that Mann is the climate tribe’s most outspoken firebrand. He is the media’s go-to source for a doomsday comment about anthropogenic global warming. Since the beginning of the month, Mann has been quoted in dozens of articles—not necessarily about science, but to berate the Trump administration for reversing many of President Obama’s climate change policies.
Put On Your Tinfoil Hats Now!
He is the “Citizen Secretary of Science and Environment in the so-called Shadow Cabinet to troll Trump cabinet members. After Trump was elected, Mann warned how “my colleagues and I are steeling ourselves for a renewed onslaught of intimidation, from inside and outside government. It would be bad for our work and bad for our planet.”
Rather than offer thoughtful, persuasive arguments for why climate change is a legitimate threat, Mann instead excoriates anyone, including so-called climate deniers and fellow scientists, who does not conform to his ideological worldview.
“The AAAS has sent quite a message to the public by giving a communications award to Michael Mann, who made multiple false claims about being a Nobel prize winner, including to a court of law,” Steve Milloy, author of “Scare Pollution” and publisher of junkscience.com, told me. “Mann has conspired with others to silence critics and prevent opponents from being published in science journals. He has sued his critics but, ironically, spends a great deal of time making ad hominem attacks against politicians and scientists with whom he disagrees.”
Earlier this month, Mann led an effort to oust philanthropist and GOP fundraiser Rebekah Mercer from the American Museum of Natural History board of directors. Why? Mercer, according to Mann and his fellow climate bullies, is a “financier of climate denialism” because her foundation also contributes to nonprofit organizations such as the Heartland Institute, which challenges the grip that climate change orthodoxy has in the media and public education.
Although Mercer has a science background and has donated $4 million to the museum, Mann accused her of “spending millions to discredit science,” and called her a “sponsor of fake news and climate disinformation.” Mercer responded to his attacks in the Wall Street Journal on February 15, admitting that “absurd smears have inspired a few gullible, but vicious characters, to make credible death threats against my family and me.”
This Kind of ‘Public Engagement’ Isn’t Praiseworthy
But it’s Mann’s shameful—one might argue unstable—rants against the current administration and Republican lawmakers that should have disqualified him from receiving a “public engagement” award from the world’s top scientific society. His Twitter timeline is a disturbing mix of self-promoting puffery and enraged political tirades with very little science. In just the past few days, Mann has called the president “a pathetic excuse for a human being,” a “sociopath,” and wondered if he would be “tied up with the golden lasso.” On Valentine’s Day, he posted this weird poem about the First Couple:
He even flaunts his prodigious math skills to come up with clever equations about the president:
The award-winning communicator has called Kellyanne Conway “evil,” accused House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes of being a “traitor,” and routinely blasts Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. Mann said this to Rolling Stone last year about Pruitt’s appointment: “If there was ever an example of the fox guarding the henhouse, this is it. We have a Koch-brothers-connected industry shill who is now in charge of climate and environmental policy for the entire country.”
The climatologist saves his most petty and pernicious attacks for fellow scientists who challenge the failings of climate science. During a congressional hearing last year, Mann testified alongside two climate scientists he has relentlessly bashed: Judith Curry and Roger Pielke Jr. Although both believe in manmade climate change, their objections to faulty modeling and inaccurate projections have placed them on Mann’s hit list.
After one lawmaker asked about this, Curry addressed Mann’s unprofessional conduct: “What I’m concerned about is the behavior of scientists. I’ve been called a denier for the congressional record from Michael Mann’s testimony. What kind of a behavior is that? This is not the behavior of scientists who are respectfully disagreeing and open to debate.” Mann replied he hadn’t called her a denier, even though it was in his written opening remarks. He can’t even keep his own story straight.
In a blog post, Pielke—who was also smeared by the Obama White House—didn’t mince words about the AAAS’s decision to celebrate Mann: “The AAAS is telling us that engaging in hyper-partisan, gutter politics, targeted against Republicans and colleagues you disagree with, using unethical tactics, will be rewarded by leaders in the scientific community. AAAS could work to help to defuse the pathological politicization of science. Instead, it has thrown some gasoline on the fire.”
Apparently Everything Is Political Now to the Left
So, why did the AAAS choose Mann? For precisely the reasons Pielke outlined. Since the presidential election, the scientific establishment has largely lost its collective mind. Rather than leverage its expertise and power for the common good, it is fueling the nation’s partisan divide, pushing identity politics over science, and working with anti-Trump foes to undermine his presidency.
The AAAS chief is former Democratic congressman Rush Holt, who late last year helped push the phony story that the Centers for Disease Control had banned seven words under direction from Trump’s White House. He ironically told CNN this about the mythical ban: “The epidemic I’m talking about is widespread negligent attitude toward science, neglect of evidence, where people far and wide seem very comfortable substituting wishful thinking and opinion and ideology for evidence.”
After the election, scientific leaders claimed Trump would destroy science. But glorifying political demagogues with PhDs and wrapping it in the cloak of science will do more lasting damage to science than anything Trump does or tweets. As Curry wrote this week in response to Mann’s award: “What to say about this, other than the climate science world is upside down? On one level, all this is highly amusing. On another level, I absolutely despair for the integrity of academic climate science.” And all science.