Heading towards a science showdown

Many others have already covered how spectacularly bad this latest CID is.  What I intend to look at for this particular volley is whether or not it remedies the problems under which the original CID was rejected.

In summary, not terribly much has changed in substance, but the case is on slightly less dubious legal ground.  The scope is narrowed from five grants to one, but the scope of the evidence is not.  Cuccinelli tried to state a case based on poor statistical significance, but something tells me that the odds of a judge buying that as fraud have poor statistical significance.  For better or for worse, though, this new case will rely much more on the substance of Mann’s research, since Cuccinelli has now patched over the superficial legal flaws which were used as grounds for dismissing this case previously.   I predict the questions for the court to decide will be “Does the AG have objective reason to believe that a violation occured?” and “Is the scope of evidence sought appropriate?”  The former is all about the science.  The second is unlikely to result in an outright dismissal.  Therefore we will be having science put to the test in a court hearing.

The rest is below.

Well, reading through attachment A to the new CID, apparently Cuccinelli has a problem with English.  Rather than ask for material specifically related to the single 2003 “state” grant, he asks for, well, just about everything.   He “limits” the request to only 14 different university departments.

Also, I hate legalese.  This line is a doozy: “All uses of the conjunctive should be interpreted as including the disjunctive and vice versa in order to bring within the scope of this CID any information or documents that might otherwise be construed to be outside of its scope.” Strange to close such an esoteric loophole when the odds of getting anything are in question.

As has been noted elsewhere, Cuccinelli requests any email with pretty much everyone.  I specifically note that it asks for all correspondence with Dr. Mann, not specifically correspondence related to the grant application.  Also, it includes any emails which reference the same individuals that were neither sent from nor received by Dr. Mann.  Perhaps the AG is hoping that if he shoots the moon and misses he’ll at least end up in orbit (although a sun-intersecting escape trajectory would be preferable)?  I suspect that the court will not look favorably on the fact that he has failed to limit the search as the earlier ruling had instructed.  Also, a bit of trivia, the only person on the list without a Doctorate is Steven McIntyre.

The laundry list also includes any data created by Mann.  Again, not specifically limited in any way.  The only well-limited demands are #4-6, which are the financial and application records for the grant itself.

Attachment B is an attempt to rewrite climate history again.  It’s substance is little different from earlier filings (see my previous post).  However, Cuccinelli (or whomever wrote the thing) couldn’t even spell Stephen McIntyre’s last name right (see bottom of page 19).  Nothing new here.  Also no attempt at all to connect the history lesson to what’s being asked for in the CID.  And again a rant about “Post Normal Science.”  Actually, it could be plagiarized,  although nothing like that has ever happened before.

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5 Responses to Heading towards a science showdown

  1. John Mashey says:

    But Attachment B relies on the Wegman report.

    Isn’t one of Cuccinelli’s ideas that if one even mentions anything later found to be imperfect, then one has done {something bad}? That could be a problem.

    in any case, I recommend the original script for all this:

    I think Cuccinelli might fit the peasant who had been turned into a newt (or maybe wanted to turn into Newt), but hadn’t recovered as well.

    • vafreedom says:

      Plagiarizing a plagiarized report? That would be a new level of meta….

      In addition to the plagiarism issues with Wegman, the report also reminds me of this comic, only replacing physicists with statisticians. They always seem to think they know the practical application of statistics better than the rest of….

  2. vafreedom,
    If you email me, I can put you in touch with a WaPo writer who may be interested in pursuing this story.

    • vafreedom says:

      Thanks for the offer, but I’m in a bit of a time crunch at the moment. I’ll try to have a look in my free (ha) time at Wegman and see how it compares with the Cuccinelli. Not quite sure what I could help with anyway….

  3. John Mashey says:


    1) Bradley(1999) is the origin of 2 3-deep plagiarism chains, a rarity:
    Bradley => WR => Rapp(2008)
    Bradley => WR => McShane, Wyner(2010)

    2) But the social networks guys are ahead, i.e., Wasserman, Faust(1994), deNooy, Mrvar, Batelgj(2005):

    SNA => WR => Said, et al (2008)
    SNA => WR => Sharabati dissertation (2008)
    SNA => WR => Rezazad dissertation (2009)

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