Thank you very much to all those who've swung by the SteynOnline bookstore this last week to help fund my side of the looming trial of the century via our new gift certificates. We've had customers from Yellowknife to Vanuatu, Harrogate to Hong Kong - and I'm very touched by the comments. If you prefer to buy one of many fine products, we're thinking of targeting our wares: sales of My Sharia Amour will be going to fund our deposition of Dr Mann, whereas my version of The King's New Clothes will be covering the appeal to the Supreme Court. Thank you also to all those who've made suggestions with respect to both the science and the law. The good advice I'm keeping close to my chest, the not-so-good ones we might publish here to throw Dr Mann's Big Tobacco lawyers off the scent.
Speaking of the upcoming trial, Denyse O'Leary was a key part of the Internet pushback against Canada's squalid "human rights" commissions five years ago, and she has noted the banner above. Denyse has a post today about the Scopes Monkey Trial comparison, and writes:
The choice of symbolism is interesting. The only thing one can be sure of is that Steyn, an able communicator, reckons that everyone knows what, in the most basic, external sense, he is referring to when he talks about the Scopes Trial. It will be interesting to unpack similarities and differences in the months ahead.
To give credit where it's due, it wasn't me who compared my itsy-bitsy libel suit to the Scopes case but The New York Times:
For Climate Change, a Possible Trial Could Echo the Scopes Monkey Case
Reader Joseph Wilkinson has also been boning up on the Scopes trial but mainly in terms of legal strategy. He writes:
You've been billing this case as the "Scopes Monkey Trial of the 21st Century." And in a way it is. But I've read the transcript of the real Scopes Trial. It was nothing like Inherit the Wind (even though ITW is wonderful cinema). Darrow spent most of the case with an 'offer of proof' – having his excluded experts testify outside the presence of the jury so that he could preserve his issues for appeal.
In fact, once the judge ruled on his evidentiary issues, Darrow argued to the jury that they should find Scopes guilty so that the case could be carried "to a higher court." Because he knew that was the place to fight the purely legal issue. (The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the trial judge's rulings and then issued a nolle prosequi on the case…since the whole thing had been a collusion between the government and the accused to get the law tested in court.) Neither Scopes nor Darrow ever dreamed of waiving the appeals and neither should you.
Just to clarify, I'm not waiving anything. And, if I lose in the DC Superior Court, I'll certainly be appealing. And when the appeals are exhausted I'll be fleeing the country for my longest Australian tour ever. Speaking of which:
Just read your post that you're planning a return trip to Australia. My wife and I saw you at the Tattersalls Club in Brisbane a year and a bit back and have ever since been kicking ourselves that we didn't bring our teenage children as well. If you can squeeze Brisbane in again, that would be great.
Maybe you can bring a hockey stick!
I had a great time in Brisbane, especially when you Queenslanders gave me the old "Hip-hip-hooray!" at the end of the evening. We're still putting together the tour schedule, but I'm reasonably confident a return visit to your fine state is on the cards. Stella, by contrast, prefers me on the radio. I filled in for an ailing Rush last week, and on Tuesday was in a bit of a crotchetty mood after a somewhat dispiriting encounter with US health care - all paperwork and no medical attention. But at least Stella enjoyed it:
Brilliant show! Re-structured my day to hear you for the full 3 hours. Broadcast more often cranky, you were fantastic. No one does such quick, natural hilarious wit like you - it's like listening to Jasper Carrot gone Right. Every time you're on I run round the house saying MARK STEYN'S on, because I'm so pleased!
I've looked online for you before and got totally confused because I had no idea you sang! Just like a Brit not to mention your talent, I really think listeners would love to know more about you. I thought you were a regular radio guy on another station and tried to find you. Tell us more about YOU!
Actually, the Mark Steyn who sings "Marshmallow World" really hates being mistaken for me.
Alas, not everyone feels about my on-air appearances the way Stella does. Chris Modenbach of Modern Era "professional recruiting" of Cleveland, Ohio writes:
Mark fucken steyn-
Get out of my country you fucken illegal- if not you could get hurt-haha- I hear from rush you're a DEAD MAN- a DEAD MAN
I'm not sure I'd turn for "professional recruiting" to any firm that recruited Chris Modenbach. But he appears to be diversifying. Previously, he's written abusive emails to my old friends Michelle Malkin and Mary Katherine Ham, and then, when they've printed his missives, threatened to "sue for libel". I'm pleased to see he's expanded from picking on girls to picking on Canadians. Libel-wise, my dance card is filled, but I'm always game for fisticuffs.
The other day, I quoted from an Australian column of mine from 2006 that cited Michael Crichton's fine novel State of Fear, and mentioned that the author had sent me a note in response. That in turn prompted a flurry of mail from readers citing the late Mr Crichton and his views on the Big Climate racket. First, from Patrick:
I've been following your lawsuit with Dr. Mann with interest. I agree that the stakes are very high.
I stumbled on Michael Crichton's testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Enviornment and Public Works in 2005; iit pithily summarizes the duplicitousness of Mann's hockey stick.
Indeed, it does. An excerpt:
In 1998-99 the American climate researcher Michael Mann and his co-workers published an estimate of global temperatures from the year 1000 to 1980. Mann's results appeared to show a spike in recent temperatures that was unprecedented in the last thousand years. His alarming report received widespread publicity and formed the centerpiece of the U.N.'s Third Assessment Report, in 2001. The graph appeared on the first page of the IPCC Executive Summary.
Mann's work was initially criticized because his graph didn't show the well-known Medieval Warm Period, when temperatures were warmer than they are today, or the Little Ice Age, when they were colder than today. But real fireworks began when two Canadian researchers, McIntyre and McKitrick, attempted to replicate Mann's study. They found grave errors in the work, which they detailed in 2003: calculation errors, data used twice, and a computer program that generated a hockey stick out of any data fed to it—even random data.
Mann's work has been dismissed as "phony" and "rubbish" by climate scientists around the world who subscribe to global warming. Some have asked why the UN accepted Mann's report so uncritically. It is unsettling to learn Mann himself was in charge of the section of the report that included his work. This episode of climate science is far from the standards of independent verification.
The hockey stick controversy drags on. But I would direct the Committee's attention to three aspects of this story. First, six years passed between Mann's publication and the first detailed accounts of errors in his work. This is simply too long for policymakers to wait for validated results. Particularly if it is going to be shown around the world in the meantime.
Second, the flaws in Mann's work were not caught by climate scientists, but rather by outsiders—in this case, an economist and a mathematician. McIntyre and McKitrick had to go to great lengths to obtain the data from Mann's team, which obstructed them at every turn. When the Canadians sought help from the NSF, they were told that Mann was under no obligation to provide his data to other researchers for independent verification.
Third, this kind of stonewalling is not unique or uncommon. The Canadians are now attempting to replicate other climate studies and are getting the same runaround from other researchers. One leading light in the field told them: "Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it."
Matt Stichnoth emails to note a lecture given by Michael Crichton at Caltech in 2003. This too is worth quoting:
I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.
Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world.
In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.
In addition, let me remind you that the track record of the consensus is nothing to be proud of...
In past centuries, the greatest killer of women was fever following childbirth. One woman in six died of this fever.
In 1795, Alexander Gordon of Aberdeen suggested that the fevers were infectious processes, and he was able to cure them. The consensus said no.
In 1843, Oliver Wendell Holmes claimed puerperal fever was contagious, and presented compelling evidence. The consensus said no.
In 1849, Semmelweiss demonstrated that sanitary techniques virtually eliminated puerperal fever in hospitals under his management. The consensus said he was a Jew, ignored him, and dismissed him from his post. There was in fact no agreement on puerperal fever until the start of the twentieth century. Thus the consensus took one hundred and twenty five years to arrive at the right conclusion despite the efforts of the prominent "skeptics" around the world, skeptics who were demeaned and ignored. And despite the constant ongoing deaths of women...
And shall we go on? The examples can be multiplied endlessly. Jenner and smallpox, Pasteur and germ theory. Saccharine, margarine, repressed memory, fiber and colon cancer, hormone replacement therapy. The list of consensus errors goes on and on.
Finally, I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.
One more good one about an individual bludgeoning the consensus to death: the guy who drank a beakerful of bacteria to change the understanding of how ulcers happen. In the end this guy really did win a Nobel.
Unlike Dr Mann, who simply awarded himself one. I only had a minimal amount of private correspondence with Michael Crichton toward the end of his too short life. But how I wish he were around still to stick it to these guys.
Finally, I mentioned on Rush that America was devolving into the Republic of Paperwork, and that federal regulation alone sucks up ten per cent of GDP. Sean from Nebraska writes:
My wife is a social worker here in Omaha. One of her clients has early onset Alzheimers. In order for him to receive financial assistance from Douglas County, he has to fill out a 44 page application form . . . the same form EVERY MONTH!
I wouldn't have thought that would do anything to slow the onset of the disease. ("I'm sure I did this form last month, didn't I?") In the meantime, if you haven't yet picked up a book at the Steyn store - or you have but you've already forgotten - there are bargains galore.