Subtitle: The World's Scientists–in their own words–on Michael E Mann, His Hockey Stick, and their Damage to Science
The famous “hockey stick” graph by climatologist Michael Mann, while not the sole foundation for the scientific case in support of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change, is definitely the main face of it. Used in everything from Al Gore's documentary to congressional hearings, the hockey stick has played the most prominent role in the media's popularization of climate change as an existential crisis, and is primarily responsible for the the subsequent alarmism the issue has generated. The problem, however, is that–contrary to the media's monolithic peddling of the “consensus”–Mann's data and conclusions have been widely discredited. And boy, do I mean widely.
This book is not a narrative, and it contains very little argument or opinion from the author (more like editor). It is simply a collection of quotes, with some commentary and context provided by Steyn, from 120 scientists and professional academics, which illustrate unequivocally that the supposedly air-tight and unchallenged consensus in support of Mann's hockey stick is anything but.
It's a simple premise, one easily supported by gathering quotations from the public record. And the effect is devastating. Mann comes out of it looking like a petty, thin-skinned charlatan at best, and a fraudulent embarrassment to scientific discipline at worst. And to accomplish this, Steyn doesn't even need to wield his considerable wit in destroying Mann; the quotes from Mann's colleagues do it all by themselves. Of course, Steyn's hilarity does shine through in a few areas, particularly the chapter titles, each of which is a pun on Mann's name. My favorites: Mannsplaining, Mann Boobs, Mann O'War, Mann Hole, Mann Overboard.
I'm not a scientist, so I claim no ability to evaluate the climate change data with any authority. But I can think for myself and read quotes from 120 actual scientists with an open mind. Very little of the popular culture and media noise about climate change rises above appeals to authority, demagoguery, and efforts to punish those who dare to dissent or even ask questions critical of the “consensus.” Though often dry and esoteric, this book is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in challenging groupthink.