Remember the controversial “hockey stick graph” created by, among others, climatologist Dr. Michael E. Mann? Perhaps you have read about Mann’s defamation lawsuit against Rand Simberg, Mark Steyn, CEI and National Review. Read here from the Cato Institute’s Trevor Burrus the downright silliness of the lawsuit and its implied danger to First Amendment-protected speech. As Mr. Burrus writes, “For most normal scientists, the fact that there are others who disagree with them is not a problem. Disagreement in science, after all, is how science progresses. For some climate-change catastrophists, however, the fact that there are people who disagree with them is a reason to sue.”
Proponents of the theory of catastrophic climate change should think twice before they support Dr. Mann’s lawsuit. In fact, anyone who engages in vigorous intellectual debate should be afraid that Mann’s lawsuit wasn’t immediately dismissed as a nuisance suit that is attempting to stifle First Amendment-protected speech.
If Mann wins this lawsuit, he or his friends could easily find themselves on the other side of a defamation suit. Climate-change catastrophists consistently accuse climate-change “deniers” of intellectual and professional malfeasance. For example, here is a picture of Dr. Mann standing in front of a podium that proclaims to fight “the fakers” and to put “quacks, scams, and shams on the ropes.” In his book (pg. 141), Dr. Mann calls out the “bogus research” of climate-change skeptics, and, in an email to a N.Y. Times reporter, Dr. Mann called one skeptical paper “pure scientific fraud.”
Even those not involved in the climate-change debate should be scared. Paul Krugman, for example, has come out in favor of Dr. Mann’s suit because “he’s doing all of us a service.” As someone who is well-known for calling his opponents names, Krugman should be careful what he wishes for. Here, for example, is Krugman calling Paul Ryan’s tax plan a “fraud” on national television.
Some climatologists have long been frustrated that a persistent group of scientists have not yet fully accepted the theory of an impending climate-change catastrophe. For most normal scientists, the fact that there are others who disagree with them is not a problem. Disagreement in science, after all, is how science progresses. For some climate-change catastrophists, however, the fact that there are people who disagree with them is a reason to sue.
Hopefully I don’t get sued for this column.