Monday, July 26, 2010

Hinkle questions Cuccinelli's fraud probe at UVa.

In spite of his own conservative leanings, Bart Hinkle didn't have much good to say about Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's fraud investigation of former UVa. climatologist Michael Mann (Mann is now at Penn State):

If Mann had taken state grant money and then blown it on cocaine and prostitutes, that would be one thing. But Cuccinelli doesn't say Mann failed to do the work for which he was paid: producing research on matters such as Resolving the Scale-wide Sensitivities in the Dynamical Coupling Between Climate and the Biosphere and Decadal Variability in the Tropical Indo-Pacific: Integrating Paleo & Coupled Model Results.

Rather, Cuccinelli says Mann's conclusions from the work he did are wrong. The AG hangs his hat on the fact that other scientists dispute the hockey stick graph and so forth. Yet as UVa argues in a May 27 court filing, "FATA does not authorize the Attorney General to engage in scientific debate."

To read Hinkle's excellent analysis of this matter, published in Thursday's RT-D click here.

One gets the feeling that hardcore skeptics of Mann's research are assuming that everyone on the other side is as likely to stretch or ignore the truth as they are. So, they assume legitimate scientists, whose findings they reject, are mostly trying to find evidence to justify their elitist, liberal beliefs.


James Young said...

Even assuming arguendo that Mann did not commit acts of fraud, the more nagging question --- and one which Mann's defenders/Cuccinelli's attackers have scrupulously avoided --- is "What are the limits of academic freedom in a publicly-funded institution?" It is at least arguable that an individual who wishes to exercise "academic freedom" cannot do so when publicly funded.

F.T. Rea said...

James, I suppose it depends on what role one sees as proper for publicly-funded universities.

Should they continue to be open laboratories for the unrestrained pursuit of truth? Or, should such pursuits be filtered through the fleeting whims of the political agendas of elected officials?