“Much of the contents of [Mann's] book is old news“, according to Peter Gleick. In fact, an entire day spent at a website owned by somebody who interviewed the Man, has turned out nothing more than statements accompanied by “that’s nothing new” and “for those buried in the intellectual wastes of the Murdoch media – it will be brand new territory“.
IOW the general consensus appears to be that there is nothing in Mann’s book that has not already been mentioned, described or referred to somewhere on the web (and, I suspect, in the Climategate emails). Somebody tried to make the point that, according to agiographers, Mann’s book contains enough “to spark a dozen Master’s theses“. But that is not the point.
The point is, what would one find in Mann’s book that is nowhere else? Who knows…an insight, a revealing detail, whatever, anything as long as it is new. There has to be a reason to buy and then read the book, right?
According to Mann’s own supporters, the answers to those questions are still “nothing” and “none”. Well, no wonder Mann is ever so bothered about his enemies…with friends like Mann’s, no one needs enemies!
I’m sure nowadays the NYT would not even mention such a book as Alexander Kohn’s ”FALSE PROPHETS“, if it said anything about climate science:
BOOKS OF THE TIMES
By John Gross
Published: December 30, 1986
[...] Deceptions as blatant as this are -as far as anyone can tell – rare in the annals of science, but they represent only one end of a broad spectrum of possible scientific cheating. At the other extreme are errors that are at least partly the product of wishful thinking or a failure to guard against bias; in between come numerous gradations of what the Victorian scientist Charles Babbage classified as ”trimming” and ”cooking” (manipulating the data, suppressing inconvenient facts), along with plagiarism, making bogus claims about the probable course of research and the more subtle varieties of Babbage’s third category of misconduct, outright ”forging.”
[...] here are errors, as Mr. Kohn says, that ”are nothing to be ashamed of,” and he begins by considering some examples – in particular, those cases of collective error where a scientist’s initial mistake has been taken up and repeated by other scientists until it assumes the proportions of a mass delusion.
During the 1920′s and 1930′s, for instance, some 500 publications in reputable quarters were devoted to the phenomenon of ”mitogenetic rays” – ultraviolet rays that were erroneously thought to be emitted by plant or animal cells while they were dividing. Mr. Kohn observes that ”mythogenetic rays” might have been a better name; but he also tries to account for what it was that predisposed so many scientists to believe in them, and in subsequent mirages such as ”polywater” (a supposedly anomalous form of water – one eminent authority, J. D. Bernal, referred to it as ”the most important physical chemical discovery of the century”) and ”scotophobin” (a substance said to induce fear of darkness in rats). [...]
As I already said, this stuff should be mandatory reading in all science schools.
Who was the first one to write about climate change? For a while I thought I had found the most ancient reference in world literature: Lorenzo Magalotti in 1683 (referred to by Giacomo Leopardi in 1832)
[One and a half centuries ago Magalotti wrote] in the Family Letters: “It is certain that seasons’ natural order is worsening. Here in Italy it is common saying and lamentation that the half-seasons have disappeared; and in this confusion, it’s without doubt that the cold is advancing. I have heard my father that in his youth, in Rome, on the morning of Easter Sunday, everybody would change into summer clothes. Nowadays whoever can afford not to sell his shirt, I can tell you he’s very careful not to abandon any winter piece of clothing”. This is what Magalotti wrote in 1683.
Then Tony Brown and WUWT found something even more remote: Saint “Cyrian” (actually, Saint Cyprian) from around 250AD
The world has grown old and does not remain in its former vigour. It bears witness to its own decline. The rainfall and the suns warmth are both diminishing. The metals are nearly exhausted the husbandman is failing in his fields. Springs which once gushed forth liberally now barely give a trickle of water.’
I can happily report we can push the date a couple of centuries further back, by referring to “De re rustica” (“Agriculture“) by Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella (around AD40-50). From Book 1, 1:4-5:
[...] I have found that many authorities now worthy of remembrance were convinced that with the long wasting of the ages, weather and climate undergo a change; and that among them the most learned professional astronomer, Hipparchus, has put it on record that the time will come when the poles will change position, a statement to which Saserna, no mean authority on husbandry, seems to have given credence. For in that book on agriculture which he has left behind he concludes that the position of the heavens had changed from this evidence: that regions which formerly, because of the unremitting severity of winter, could not safeguard any shoot of the vine or the olive planted in them, now that the earlier coldness has abated and the weather is becoming more clement, produce olive harvests and the vintages of Bacchus in the greatest abundance. But whether this theory be true or false, we must leave it to the writings on astronomy [...]
Note how little has changed, with Authorities convinced the climate is changing, and the unconvinced agriculture expert…
(h/t Fabio Spina and Climatemonitor.it - Google English translation)