CEI Compares Climate Scientist to a Child Molester

, former deputy director, Center for Science & Democracy | July 23, 2012, 3:29 pm EDT
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Competitive Enterprise Institute’s space technology and policy analyst, Rand Simberg, recently wrote a blog post in which he compared Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann to former university football coach and convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky. CEI published the post on its own blog, and the National Review decided it was appropriate to pass along. Michael Mann has rightly demanded that the National Review retract the blog post and issue a public apology.

The most offensive section of the CEI post, which has since been scrubbed:

“Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science.”

The National Review has not responded or issued an apology; Simberg’s post does now include the following caveat: “Two inappropriate sentences that originally appeared in this post have been removed by the editor.”

I was stunned when I heard that the Heartland Institute had compared climate scientists to the Unabomber. We all know they’re a group that’s on the fringe even among climate deniers.

But I am aghast that a representative of the Competitive Enterprise Institute—purportedly, a think tank that wants the public to take it seriously—would compare climate scientists to child molesters.

Perhaps the companies and individuals that withdrew their funding of the Heartland Institute might want to think twice about funding its partner in crossing the line. At a minimum, they should demand that CEI publicly apologize for inserting this sort of vitriol into the public discussion around climate change.

CEI has yet to publicly distance itself from its employee’s words. We call upon CEI to do so explicitly and directly, and to ask the National Review to remove the offensive words from its website.

Michael Mann, whose research has been the subject of eight independent investigations exonerating him against charges of scientific misconduct, is right to aggressively defend himself against defamation of character. Especially in an age where scientists receive death threats simply for doing their jobs.

Disgusting attacks like these have no place in civilized discourse.

Posted in: Global Warming, Scientific Integrity Tags: , ,

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  • Terri Robson

    The world has gone back to the Dark Ages as far as science is concerned, perpetrated by a few who are deeply involved in the very things that are causing our current turbulent weather, and lets not forget about the decades of ” Weather Modification “, I have yet to see a study done that shows if there has been any adverse effects from this, and could be part of the ever faster climate change.

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education to Its Bloggers: Feel Free to Disparage Climate Science but not Black Studies

    See: wp.me/pKr8Z-Hs

  • Kate Cell

    My first reaction was that it’s unconscionable to equate a well-respected scholar with a convicted child rapist. Well duh. But what’s even worse is to equate Sandusky’s numerous victims with… data. Data aren’t sentient. They can’t be molested or tortured. They don’t suffer nightmares or flashbacks or sexual dysfunction or suicidal ideation because someone ran an unusual statistical technique on them. The numbers are doing just fine, thank you.

    To make an analogy between mere numbers derived from the growth of tree rings, or the carbon content of ice bores, or whatever other proxies Mike and his colleagues use, and Sandusky’s victims, is purely wicked. These young men have suffered enough. Many of them were vulnerable even before Sandusky traumatized them. They have already been dragged into showers and basements and courtrooms. They do not need to be dragged into the climate debate as well.

    • Michael Halpern

      Kate, this is an excellent (and eloquent) point. Thank you for making it.

  • Oh, it is much worse! We expect this type of nonsense from CEI but CHE? Yep. The Chronicle of Higher Education is also guilty of the same. See:


    • Michael Halpern

      Thanks, Scott. The Chronicle piece is also highly irresponsible. They should not be providing that sort of platform.

  • Nicky Turner

    This is just wretched…… would they like to comment on the drought?
    Would they like to comment on the hottest this, the hottest that, the driest everything?
    What are American farmers in the new dust bowl going to do?

    I despair……

    Keep your chin up Michael.

    • Michael Halpern

      Nicky, sometimes the pundits win and the people lose. But I keep my chin up, because what choice do I have? And Woody Guthrie would approve.

  • Peter Clarke

    Simply shows the level of desperation of these people, when (as always) they can’t produce a reasoned argument against the case they just go for smear tactics.