UPDATE: Robert Tracinski has published a fine analysis of what a court victory for Michael Mann would mean. It includes a brief summary of US defamation law, as well as this case's perversion thereof:
In other words, Steyn's evaluation of Mann's scientific claims can be legally suppressed because Steyn dares to question the conclusions of established scientific institutions connected to the government. On this basis, the DC Superior Court arrives at the preposterous conclusion that it is a violation of Mann's rights to "question his intellect and reasoning." That's an awfully nice prerogative to be granted by government: an exemption against any challenge to your reasoning.
I said before that I don't know how the rest of us skeptics escaped being sued along with Steyn. Now we know. Mann is attempting to establish a precedent for climate censorship. If he wins this suit, then we're all targets.
Not necessarily. Mann knows that, if he wins big against a prominent target, then a lot of other critics will be silenced. Publishers and editors will accept the Court's ruling that Dr Mann's "intellect and reasoning" cannot be "questioned", and the space on the op-ed page where a climate skeptic might have found a home will be given over to "the war on women" or whether Paula Abdul should return to "American Idol". I myself will have to confine my observations on Dr Mann to non-US publications, such as The Australian, where my 2006 column describing the hockey stick as "fraudulent" attracted no defamation suit, notwithstanding that Australian freedom of expression is assumed by Americans to lack the absolute protection supposedly afforded by the First Amendment. Britain's A W Montford, author of The Hockey Stick Illusion, and Canada's Tim Ball, author of The Corruption of Climate Science, will not even bother to seek New York publishers for their next books. No point risking it, not when the US "justice" system has ring-fenced Mann's "intellect and reasoning".
Below, Scaramouche says that I'm Galileo. Robert Tracinski says Mann is Cardinal Bellarmine, but then hits on a better analogy:
Mann is attempting to install himself as a kind of American Lysenko. Trofim Lysenko was the Soviet scientist who ingratiated himself to Joseph Stalin and got his crackpot theories on genetics installed as official dogma, effectively killing the study of biology in the Soviet Union. Under Lysenko, the state had an established and official scientific doctrine, and you risked persecution if you questioned it. Mann's libel suit is an attempt to establish that same principle here.
Mann has recently declared himself to be both a scientist and a political activist. But in attempting to intimidate his critics and suppress free debate on global warming, he is violating the fundamental rules of both science and politics. If it is a sin to doubt, then there is no science. If it is a crime to dissent, then there is no politics.
Sad news from the jihad boys:
A group of Sunni militants attending a suicide bombing training class at a camp north of Baghdad were killed on Monday when their commander unwittingly conducted a demonstration with a belt that was packed with explosives.
So 22 suicide-bomber freshmen wound up graduating prematurely. One sympathizes, of course, with the camp's shortage of instructors: It's very hard to find experienced suicide bombers.
~I wonder if the Big Climate warm-mongers are not also prematurely self-detonating. Yesterday, the prestigious British science journal Nature published an article with the killer headline "Recent intensification of wind-driven circulation in the Pacific and the ongoing warming hiatus". Here's the layman's takeaway from Bloomberg:
Stronger Pacific Ocean winds may help explain the slowdown in the rate of global warming since the turn of the century, scientists said.
More powerful winds in the past 20 years may be forcing warmer seas deeper and bringing cooler water to the surface, 10 researchers from the U.S. and Australia said today in the journal Nature. That has cooled the average global temperature by as much as 0.2 degree Celsius (0.36 Fahrenheit) since 2001.
You don't say. Did you know the earth has, in fact, cooled over the last decade-and-a-half? Is that the impression you got from the Big Climate enforcers? How about a couple of contrasting quotes?
Breitbart.com on Sunday displayed a satellite photo showing 67.4 percent of the continental United States covered in snow.
Breitbart contrasted that image with the words of Dr. David Viner of England's University of East Anglia, who predicted in a 2000 interview that within a few years snowfall would become "a very rare and exciting event.
"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," Viner added.
Breitbart also quoted conservative writer Mark Steyn, who last month said in The Spectator, "Big Climate is slowly being crushed by a hard, icy reality: if you're heading off to university this year, there has been no global warming since before you were in kindergarten. That's to say, the story of the early 21st century is that the climate declined to follow the climate 'models.'"
The ten scientists in Nature somewhat parenthetically acknowledge this:
Here we show that a pronounced strengthening in Pacific trade winds over the past two decadesâ€”unprecedented in observations/reanalysis data and not captured by climate modelsâ€”is sufficient to account for the cooling of the tropical Pacific and a substantial slowdown in surface warming through increased subsurface ocean heat uptake.
The models were wrong, as the scientists above are prepared to admit. Others, though, are determined not to let humdrum reality get in the way:
Over 95% of Climate Models Agree: The Observations Must be Wrong
A reminder from the late Michael Crichton:
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...
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.
The "consensus" enforced by Nobel fantasist Michael Mann & Co is killing climate science.
~Speaking of which, John Hayward reminds us why this is important:
Mark Steyn, the most important figure in the debate over free speech in America today - which, as he might say, isn't a bad day's work for a Canadian...
Er, okay, that's not really true, though it's nice of him to say so. But here's the important bit:
The principles work the same for every group of totalitarian fanatics, from the global warming grifter who's using an insanely drawn-out legal procedure to silence Steyn, to the racial and sexual Thought Police. What passes beyond speech passes quickly beyond thought; the public doesn't invest a lot of mental energy in contemplating ideas it's not allowed to discuss. It's not necessary to work up a good defense of your ideas when the critics are not allowed to speak.
And long before we hit the point of government expressly outlawing speech, in a manner that even the tattered current edition of the First Amendment would not permit in the United States, it is quite possible for freelance totalitarians to control speech on a self-appointed vigilante basis. Much of what they do is designed to make those who own the means of intellectual transmission - publishers, TV network executives, film producers - nervous about doing business with the blacklisted.
That's what the Big Climate guys did for years. They told editors of scientific journals and climate correspondents of major newspapers who they were permitted to publish and interview. One side of the debate controlled the terms of it:
Here's what Phil Jones of the CRU and his colleague Michael Mann of Penn State mean by "peer review." When Climate Research published a paper dissenting from the Jones-Mann "consensus," Jones demanded that the journal "rid itself of this troublesome editor," and Mann advised that "we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers."
So much for Climate Research. When Geophysical Research Letters also showed signs of wandering off the "consensus" reservation, Dr. Tom Wigley ("one of the world's foremost experts on climate change") suggested they get the goods on its editor, Jim Saiers, and go to his bosses at the American Geophysical Union to "get him ousted." When another pair of troublesome dissenters emerge, Dr. Jones assured Dr. Mann, "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow â€” even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"
This has been disastrous for the integrity of science. Dr Mann, who is suing me for calling his hockey stick "fraudulent", told The New York Times that my fellow Canadians McIntyre and McKitrick's paper on what was wrong with the stick was "pure scientific fraud" (they didn't sue, not being insecure dweebs) - and, even more tellingly, advised the Times not to mention the M&M paper at all. We wouldn't want anything to get in the way of the "consensus", would we?
As John Hayward says, what passes beyond speech passes beyond thought. "Climate consensus" is like any other one-party state, reduced to rationalizing why the targets of its five-year plans haven't been met.
~Is my upcoming courtroom battle really the Scopes Monkey Trial of the 21st century? Scaramouche doesn't like to see me as William Jennings Bryan and prefers Galileo. If you want to support my legal pushback against the Big Climate thugs, you can do so through our SteynOnline gift certificates, and dedicate them to Galileo or any other historically analogous figure that springs to mind. Our gift certificates start at $25 and can be purchased either:
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See you in court!