Cuccinelli’s supporting arguments, part 1

So the previously discussed Cuccinlli response, which I haven’t finished didn’t contain much of substance.  The document of substance was filed today.  This is the document where Cuccinelli actually has to make a coherent case.

This part contains Cuccinelli’s opening and statement of fact.  Part 2 is the rest of his filing.

So let’s start with Cuccinelli’s statement of the case.

His opening paragraphs state that he is not charging anyone with a FATA violation, but investigating whether a FATA violation has taken place.  p. 1 (not numbered in document)  (Therefore, he can go on a fishing expedition?)

The opening statement concludes that UVa has relevant information and no privilege can protect that. p. 2 (we shall see)

His first statement of facts is factual, and gives the publishing history of Michael Mann, in particular his two most famous papers related to the “hockey stick graph.” p.  2 (so far so good)

His next statement is that Mann’s “hockey stick” work contradicts prevailing climate theories, in particular it obscures the Little Ice Age and Medieval warm period. p.3 (he fails to mention that evidence is inconclusive as to whether these phenomena were global, or regional in extent.)

Page 4, (holy crap batman Cuccinelli is unhinged. ) Basically, Cuccinelli states that Michael Mann is part of a vast climate conspiracy to promote the fact that the globe is warming.  Climate scientists are motivated to produce data supporting global warming in order to obtain more grants. (This is supposed to be a statement of facts?  He asserts a vast climate conspiracy, and cites a paper showing the IPCC has few reviewers.  He fails to note that every major science body in the world has endorsed the IPCC conclusion, which include many scientists whose funding is not tied to global warming research.  Also, how is “your results are skewed” translated to “your results are fraudulent?”  Any research where the work is reproducible is not fraudulent. )

More stuff about how the policy decisions linked to IPCC cost money in the short term.  p. 4 (No debate here.  However, it should be pointed out that neither Mann’s funding sources nor Mann himself have advocated specific policies.  Others have cited his work to do that.)

Mann’s work gets criticized in some papers.   Pages 5 and 6 give a reasonably accurate description of the back and forth going on in the scientific literature. (The work is controversial?  Well, no duh.  The critical papers try to look at similar data in different ways.  This is the way science works.  Even if MBH98 gets proven incorrect in the future, the work isn’t fraudulent as it will have led to all of the papers that disprove it and better help understand the science.  This is my whole motivation for documenting Cuccinelli’s insanity.  Healthy scientific debate requires that papers be wrong from time to time.  So long as they are clear about their methods used, it isn’t fraud.)

Page 7.  On to “Climategate.”  Sigh.  He reprints some of the emails, and to his credit, he at least provides them in their near entirety, so at least the context within each email can be seen.  Page 8 and 9 note how multiple panels have cleared all scientists of wrongdoing, including Mann himself in a Penn State investigation concluded on June 4, 2010. (where the heck is Cuccinelli going with this?)

Page 9, Cuccinelli cites the Muir-Russell report out of context.  A poorly labeled graph on the cover of a World Meteorological Organization report is described as misleading.  (He fails to note that the rest of the review shows that it is misleading only in that, being the cover of the report, it was inadequately documented and explained.)

Page 10 is more one ways IPCC science could be improved.  (Do better statistics they always say.  What a load of bullcrap.  One can always use better statistics.  Just like one can always use more data.  More data=better statistics.  Both require a third thing scientists never have:  more time. Personal rant off.)

So on page 11 I don’t know WTF is going on.  Cuccinelli posts an essay about “Post Normal Science” where science is about “quality” and not “truth.” (I’ve got news for him, one of those is much more easy to judge than the other.  No scientific theory has ever been “proven”, only not disproven. )

I think he’s trying to imply that scientists=politicians, since quality is judged by peer review.  This line of “reasoning” continues on pages 12-13.  He cites the use of the phrase “the community” in one of Mann’s as evidence of Post Normal Science.

Okay I take my comment about the deep end back.  Now Cuccinelli is officially nutty. This gets a direct quote:

Academics are free to follow any philosophy of science they wish.  Nonetheless, Post Normal Science has introduced jargon which might be misleading/fraudulent in the contest of a grant application if its specialized meaning is not disclosed or otherwise known to the grant maker.

(What. The. Heck.  Scientists speak in code and since no one understands it, it must be fraudulent??  Scientist can believe what they want, but they must use Super Duper  Grant Writer Code any time they write a grant??  Breaking news:  English is a nuanced language!)

Page 13 and 14 describe how Cuccinelli initially found UVa responsive and that they discovered a heretofore unknown email archive that might have some of Mann’s email from his time at the university.  It notes how the university changed attorneys and suddenly grew a spine (wohoo!).

Page 15 has an important note that UVa has yet to file proof that no money from the one relevant UVa grant was paid prior to the enactment of the FATA.  (Understandable… grants are complicated in their administration.)

So in summary, Cuccinelli’s argument seems to be that because Mann applied for a UVa grant and some of his papers are “misleading”, he is likely to be defrauding the taxpayer

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One Response to Cuccinelli’s supporting arguments, part 1

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