Once Upon A Time, back before people became so political, I discovered it was possible to admit ignorance and ask questions in the comments-sections of various websites, and get answers from a wide variety of people, some of whom were people who obviously did not know their ass from their elbow, but others who were people who did know a lot more than I did. I always appreciated the truly knowledgeable people, and one reason I liked them was because they tended to be polite. At times their good manners amazed me. I could be amazingly ignorant, but such people did not make me feel stupid.
One such person was Dr. Tim Ball, who I think I first met in the comments-section of the Accuweather “Global Warming” website, although it may have been the “Watts Up With That” website. It may have been as early as 2006, or more recent, but the situation was as follows:
At that point I knew a great deal about the Greenland Vikings, but knew very little about arctic sea-ice, and was confessing my ignorance. I was saying I “just didn’t get it”. How could the sea-ice-experts say X could be true, when it conflicted with the history of Greenland Vikings, which stated Y was true? At that point some person called Tim Ball (he left out the “Dr.”) redirected me to links that gave me a wealth of information. He was always courteous, and never once called me stupid.
This was in sharp contrast to Michael Mann, who seemed to call everyone stupid, especially if they said the Medieval Warm Period even existed. Judging from the “Climategate” emails, even people who were in a sense “on his side” were very cautious when approaching him, due to his explosive nature. He was contemptuous towards “old fashioned” ideas which lacked the Alarmist nature of his “hockey stick” graph, which put him at odds with Dr. Tim Ball.
I don’t object to Mann brashly proposing a new theory. What I object to is the way he attacked others. In a sense his theory disregards the life’s work of a great many historians, archeologists, geologists, and even climate-scientists such as Hubert Lamb. If any one has attacked anyone, it is Mann, in attacking prior ideas. All our ideas are based upon the work of those who precede us, and even if our theories are a radical departure from prior thought, we are suppose to begin our announcement of new ideas with, “With all due respect…” Mann was very disrespectful, and basically just bashed people, and then whined he was under attack.
Considering Mann’s graph in essence attacked the life’s work of Dr. Tim Ball, Tim was quite gracious, initially. He assumed he was dealing with scientists, and that debate would involve facts and science. As time passed, and especially as Tim investigated the work of the IPCC, (which used Mann’s graph as a cover for one of its “climate reports”), Tim became convinced science was not involved, and he was witnessing an attempt to put forth a political agenda.
(In some ways Tim’s suggestion (which strikes some as a “conspiracy theory”) is supported by written statements made in the past by people like Maurice Strong and Eric Holder, and originations such as the Club of Rome, which felt the world was over-populated and resources were running out and drastic action was called-for.)
As Tim began to point out the differences between Alarmist ideas and factual science he began to face a smear campaign. Among other things the campaign suggested Tim was funded by “Big Oil”, which was not true. Tim was able to turn right around and point out the people smearing him (such as DeSmogBlog) were funded by “Big Solar”. Rather than silencing Tim they created a formidable opponent, who, rather than retiring at age sixty-five, began traveling around giving talks about the differences between Alarmist ideas and factual science.
At this point I should mention that when I initially had contact with Tim in the comment sections of websites he never came across as a person on a high horse, nor mentioned he was involved in a battle with nasty people. However a lightbulb went off in my head when I wrote a piece called, “1815, 1816 and 1817; A Polar Puzzel” in 2013 for the “Watts Up With That” website, and down in the comments Tim wrote,
I urge people to read the volume we produced of a conference on the eruption of Tambora and its impact in Ottawa in 1992 titled, “The Year without a summer?: world climate in 1816.” It is available here;
Chief instigator of the event was C.R. Harington head of the paleobiology division of the Museum as part of an ongoing study of climate change in Canada over the last 20,000 years. The keynote speaker was John Eddy. We also tried to get Hubert Lamb, but he was unable to attend and his assistant John Kington appeared in his place. Participants and contributors were from every continent and in a multitude of disciplines.
Eddy was invited because, in meetings prior to the conference we were aware that global temperatures were declining in response to the Dalton Minimum, and he was writing about the temperature implications of changing solar activity.
A major part of the conference was a workshop I organized with Cynthia Wilson in which people from all over the world were asked to bring measures of the impact on temperature and precipitation for their region. The map we produced is an insert in a pocket of the book and provides a good illustration of the changed circulation patterns, part of which were the wind and ice conditions in the Arctic as reflected in the Admiralty comments. The pattern is one of extreme Meridional flow.
It was only at this time that I realized Tim was not an inquisitive-but-ignorant layman like myself, and actually was a person who had devoted years to studying climate change. That is how unassuming he seemed. He came across as a person who shared your curiosity.
Mann, on the other hand, was full of himself, arrogant and forever tooting his own horn, and quick to dismiss others as “unqualified”. One way he dismissed Tim was to sneer he was “only a geologist” (despite the fact Tim wrote his masters on Climate). Where Tim was eager to supply the curious with evidence and links, Mann hid his data, claiming it was his “property”, as if it was a trade secret and he held a copyright and it was worth a lot of money, (sort of like the patent for some sell-able toy, like a Frisbee.)
Mann could dish it out, but couldn’t take it. Although he smeared Tim, and Tim never sued him, Mann was driven wild by a comment Tim made that stated Alarmism was fraud and that Mann did not belong at Penn State but in the State Pen. (Personally I found the comment witty, succinct, and likely the truth.) At that point Mann sued Tim, and since then Mann has wasted everyone’s time and money in an extended and basically frivolous lawsuit based on vanity, bullying, and a great deal of other people’s money. I think he intended to prolong the case to such a degree it would bankrupt and break Tim, without needing to ever presenting any evidence, perhaps “winning” by merely dragging the case out until Tim died of natural causes.
The great thing is that Tim refused to die, or even to simply roll his eyes and head off to a quiet retirement someplace far away from political nitwits. He puts me to shame, because I’m tired of political nitwits, and don’t battle as much as I used to. Tim has worked pretty much non-stop through his seventies, giving over 600 talks, demanding accountability in science and exposing the political element of Global Warming, until now, at age 80, he has seen Mann’s lawsuit thrown out of court.
Tim is an inspiration. May he live to be 110, keep all his excellent wits, and never retire!