Yesterday marked a not unimportant court deadline in the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century, and I wouldn't want to let it pass without comment. Ever since this tedious suit was launched by Doctor Fraudpants in defense of his global-warming hockey stick, Michael Mann's supporters have insisted that it's not, as I and my fellow defendants have insisted, about free speech. Instead, as they see it, it's about science finally fighting back against a sustained assault by Koch-funded "denialists". This sub-headline encapsulates the general line:
Michael Mann is taking a stand for science.
Gotcha. Michael Mann is not doing this for Michael Mann, or even for Michael Mann's science, or even for climate science. He's doing it for science. Mann is science and science is Mann.
A few weeks ago, you'll recall, the ACLU, The Washington Post, NBC News, The Los Angeles Times and various other notorious right-wing deniers all filed amici briefs opposed to Michael Mann and his assault on free speech. They did this not because they have any great love for me, but because their antipathy to wackjob foreign blowhards is outweighed by their appreciation of the First Amendment - and an understanding of the damage a Mann victory would inflict on it. After noting the upsurge of opposition to Mann, Reuters enquired of Catherine Reilly (one of his vast legal team) whether there would be any amici filing pro-Mann briefs:
I asked Reilly if the professor would have any supporting briefs next month when he responds to the defendants in the D.C. appeals court.
"At this point, we don't know," she said.
Ms Reilly was a pleasant sort when I met her in court over a year ago, but she struck me as a formidable opponent. So I naturally assumed that the above was what what the political types call "lowering expectations". As I wrote:
I would be surprised if Mann didn't have any supporting briefs. I was in court when Ms Reilly's genial co-counsel made his argument for Mann, which was a straightforward appeal to authority: Why, all these eminent acronymic bodies, from the EPA and NSF and NOAA even unto HMG in London, have proved that all criticisms of Mann are false and without merit. So I would certainly expect them to file briefs - and, given that Mann sees this as part of a broader "war on science" by well-funded "deniers", I would also expect briefs from the various professional bodies: the National Academy of Sciences, the American Physical Society, etc. As pleasant as it is to find my side of the court suddenly so crowded, I'm confident Mann will be able to even up the numbers.
Well, yesterday was the deadline, and not a single amicus brief was filed on behalf of Mann. Not one. So Michael Mann is taking a stand for science. But evidently science is disinclined to take a stand for Michael Mann. The self-appointed captain of the hockey team is playing solo. As Judith Curry wrote last month:
The link between 'defending Michael Mann is defending climate science' seems to have been broken.
As yesterday's deafening silence confirms. If you're defending Michael Mann, you're not defending science, or defending climate science, or theories on global warming or anything else. Defending Michael Mann means defending Michael Mann - and it turns out not many people are willing to go there.
This wasn't the way the case looked back at the beginning of the year when the climate alarmism industry was gleefully predicting that this case would put National Review out of business. But I was struck some time ago by the weirdness of Dr Mann's dwindling band of defenders - the Irish inventor of the Percentigrade measure of global warming, the Guardian conspiracy theorist who thinks al-Qaeda is a western intelligence operation, the alleged "Republican scientist" in Utah with his kinky fantasies about me giving him a lap-dance... Then there's Toronto's leading ovine fornication specialist M J Murphy, who blogs as Big City Lib, and is now busy compiling my witness list:
@RogerPielkeJr OT but curious: have you been interviewed to appear for Steyn at @MarkSteynOnline vs. @MichaelEMann? Have you said y/n?
If the downturn in the ovine fornication analysis industry has left him with that much time on his hands, M J Murphy might be more usefully occupied trying to drum up a few witnesses for Mann.
Michael Mann is not taking a stand for science, or even merely climate science. Science will do just fine without him, and climate science would be significantly better off. As the Prussian puts it, "What is Mann that thou art mindful of him?" Do click through to look at the various "replications" and "confirmations" of Mann's hockey stick, and note the differences between Mann's own sticks and what he produces "when he has to work with competent scientists who can check his work" (see the "consensus" hockey stick above). The Prussian respects science, but he can't respect Mann's science:
I still get into raging argument where I say it is outrageous to casually attack the scientific integrity of climatologists…. other than Mann.
Because Mann's conduct has been an utter and complete disgrace. He's lied about being a Nobel laureate, he's lied about being multiply exonerated, he's lied about other scientists, and tried to bully and smear and intimidate anyone who refuses to defer to him.
And the only reason he gets away with this is because of the respect that good people, like Mr Huertas, rightly and properly have for science and the scientific method. Science is hard, tough, poorly paid, and often thankless work. It's also the thing that actually advances our species from the savannah to the skyscraper. It's quite right and proper to have a healthy respect for this.
And Mann's abusing it. He is trying to cash in on that respect for his own ends.
A lot of other scientists agree with the Prussian. Mann and his hockey stick have been called "scanty", "sloppy", "sh*tty", "rubbish", "a disgrace to the profession", "dubious", "invalidated" and "just bad science" - and that's just the fellows who believe in global warming, the guys who are on his side ...but don't regard it as "his" side, no matter how obnoxiously proprietorial he gets about it.
Mann has spent the last decade painting himself into an ever more exclusive corner. Consider this, for example, from his Twitter feed, where he purports to call out Judith Curry:
#JudithCurry: R U being compensated for doing these events for fossil fuel front groups? https://www.masterresource.org/debate-issues/tppf-climate-conference-2014/ … & http://marshall.org/events/state-of-the-climate-debate/ …
As Jean S points out immediately below his Tweet, if Mann was really interested in getting an answer from Dr Curry, he'd address her directly via her Twitter handle rather than a hashtag. But he never does, does he? He blocks anyone who disagrees with him, and then refuses even to acknowledge their Twitter address lest anything even mildly critical of the poor insecure fellow turn up in his feed. By contrast, every week Dr Curry cheerfully links to drivel by Mann acolytes trashing her:
When you can bear as little dissent as Michael Mann it's no wonder a self-proclaimed Nobel Laureate winds up in an echo chamber populated by sheep shaggers and 9/11 troofers.
Meanwhile, tomorrow, Wednesday, at 2pm Eastern, Penn Futures, the state's environmental advocacy group, will be hosting a live Twitter chat called "Ask Dr Mann". You might like to ask him why he's scared of Judith Curry's Twitter handle. Or if he'd like you to submit an amicus brief.
~We incline more to the Judith Curry way of doing things here, so I'm happy to post Mann's latest feeble legal pleading at SteynOnline. There's not much of interest in it, except in the section on page 21 headed "Jurisdiction", where Dr Mann has withdrawn his objection that "an appeal of the denial of a motion to dismiss under the Act does not meet the stringent requirements of the collateral order doctrine". If that makes your eyeballs bleed, it's to do with the fact that, at the time the District of Columbia passed its anti-SLAPP law, it was not clear whether a ruling under the law was immediately appealable. If that still makes your eyeballs bleed, well, join the club: we're essentially a test case for a new law whose full scope the DC Appeals Court has yet to pronounce on. But I read Mann's reversal of his earlier position this way - that he's desperately hoping the DC judges will rule that the anti-SLAPP is immediately appealable and then they'll toss the whole case out, and get him off the hook of his own vanity before he has to spend any more time holed up with M J Murphy and David Appell.
I doubt it'll work like that. I'm not part of this appeal and I've countersued Mann. We're planning for discovery, deposition and trial. I'm busy with a family emergency at the moment, and I regret being unable to post more. But I thank you during this content lull for keeping up your support for my pushback against Climatollah Mann via our Steyn Vs The Stick trial merchandise, our new SteynOnline gift certificates and all the other stuff - books, CDs, and more - over at the Steyn store. As the absence of amici suggests, the tide is turning against Mann. That's in part due to the way we've been able to shine a light on his mountain of misrepresentations. And we've only been able to do that because your support kept us in the game during a very rocky patch at the beginning of this year. I'm profoundly grateful, and determined to fight on.