Physics Today has a fascinating review by Naomi Oreskes of the book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars by Michael Mann.
In the Print edition the review is entitled, "A call to throw caution to the wind".
I suggest reading the one page review in full with two questions in mind:
How would you personally cope with the level of public scrutiny (and attack) that Mann was subjected to following publication of his 1998 Nature paper?
e.g., having emails and grant applications subject to subpoenas from politicians. The Wikipedia page on Mann describes the many investigations he has been subjected to.
Is it really possible for non-scientists to understand and realistically evaluate the evidence for and against scientific hypotheses concerning complex systems?
Oreskes seems to claim not in this political context and suggests Mann should not have been so cautious with his public pronouncements about ambiguities and subtleties in the data.
If people post their answers to one or both of these questions I will then will try and give mine.