That's not a Jane Austen legal thriller, but the content of much of our Mailbox since the news of Judge Weisberg's ruling in the Mann vs Steyn case. Much of the correspondence fell into two camps - letters from supportive attorneys around the US offering a hand with legal services since I decided to part company from my joint representation with National Review; and letters from readers wanting to know if I'd be soliciting donations for a legal defense fund.
On the latter point, I've resisted such an idea, and, as in my Canadian battles, suggested that if you want to chip in a few bucks I'd rather you bought a copy of my book on free speech or some other item from the SteynOnline store. Still, I understand that many people would rather just give me money than have to slog through one of my books, never mind one of my CDs. So we're trying to put something together that hopefully will enable us to fight a full-strength defense.
A third if somewhat smaller category of correspondents were members of the scientific community who dislike Big Climate's heavy-handed pressure to conform or shut up. We'll run a selection of letters in this space in the days ahead, starting with this one, from Alex Heltzel in Texas:
I would just like to send a note of support to Mark this evening, who I have found to be an excellent source of insight and information. Thank you for your considerable efforts.
Regarding the Michael Mann situation, I want to briefly convey the fact that many scientists and engineers are appalled by the poor scientific discipline and lack of professionalism displayed so publicly by Professor Mann. When I entered the thermal/fluid sciences as a young adult, I was impressed by the rigorous analytical minds of my mentors, some of whom were the best in the world at what they do. It will only be with fortune and luck that I may follow in their footsteps. Michael Mann's science, correspondence, and public vitriol assure me that he never will.
I would never allow any person to tell me that skepticism is anything but a virtue; the entire point of our existence, in my humble opinion, is the pursuit of discovery. Something tells me Mark would agree.
Alex J Heltzel
Alex is absolutely right. As Judith Curry, much traduced by the thuggish Dr Mann, testified to Congress last week:
Skepticism is one of the norms of science. We build confidence in our theories as they are able to withstand skeptical challenges. If instead scientists defend their theories by calling their opponents names, well that is a sign that their theories are in trouble.