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DA "“Scientific disagreements must be decided not in court but rather through the scientific process." Why?
There are a number of reasons. 1. Most judges have no significant scientific backgrounds; 2. The judges are almost always supposed to rely on the arguments presented by lawyers who, most often, have no special scientific expertise; 3. Virtually, no judges are conversant in statistics; 4. Most judges have roughly 500 to 2,000 cases pending of widely different claims-- they don't have the time to seriously research specialized scientific issues or become knowledgeable about them. They also don't have time to address serious scientific questions and do justice to the rest of their cases. 5. 99% of human beings cannot be knowledgeable about criminal law, trust law, contract law, tort law, constitutional law et cet., and also be knowledgeable about specialized science -- particularly specialized science across all fields -- for instance, physics or chemistry.
As poorly trained as judges are, most juries are exponentially worse. Most libel cases are tried before juries to address the matters that this blog post deals with.
<blockquote>Well, at least two judges have ruled that the words applied to Mann were capable of being defamatory, and presumably the appeals court too, else they would have stopped the case. </blockquote>
Yes, just not the words you quoted. As I said, comparing Mann to a child molester was not something which could be the basis for a libel lawsuit as it contains no factual elements. Accusing him of fraud is a different story.
<blockquote>But what is the actual defamation claimed here. There is much talk of lying etc, but you need actual defamation. And I don’t think a scientific disagreement would cut it.</blockquote>
A person's scientific work is part of their career as much as the person who builds a house's career is tied to the quality of the construction he did. If people lie about what he did to say it was fundamentally unsound, he can sue. The same is true here. Clack et al. alleged Jacobson made serious errors which invalidated their modeling project, which if true, could have a serious impact on his career as he has put a not insignificant amount of effort into these analyses (including a number of other papers).
If I lie and say a model someone has put much focus into reported global warming will kill everyone on Earth by 2040, that could hurt their career quite badly (if people believed me). That my lies were about a scientific issue, a computer model or analysis doesn't make that untrue. Intentionally fabricating claims to say someone's work has been completely invalidated can get you sued. That shouldn't be remarkable.
Yes and given the nature of the courts the resolution will be years and years in coming.
"I don’t think the defendants in this case can really say the lawsuit came out of the blue."
The plaintive has the upper hand simply because he/she sets the narrative. Until the suit takes shape and is formalized, the defendants are on the defensive, not knowing the relevant particulars and most important, whether the plaintive is really "serious" as in: "Are you really serious?" The impact of filing a lawsuit is: shock and awe; ultimately, intimidation: "do as I demand or see you in court."
Maybe in the usual parlance of lawyers, filing a lawsuit is what is usual and customary everyday behavior as the language is expected. For others, who do not usually have an adversarial relationship with the world or people who populates one's everyday experiences, it does feel like the lawsuit comes "out of the blue."
Brandon there are tons of journals out there. if you can't get published in one journal you publish in another one. With internet the entire scientific literature is one journal.
There is actually a sort of precedence for this.
Nearly nine years ago a group of earthquake scientists and other experts assured people in an Italian earthquake region that they had nothing to worry about when a series of tiny tremors hit the region.
Unfortunately within a week a major earth quake hit and over 300 people killed.
7 scientists/engineers were charged and initially sent to prison. They appealed and six were released. The main one however was still sentenced to two years in jail, reduced from six years.
So science has been challenged in the courts and found wanting. So perhaps the law has Been used in the past to decide scientific disagreements, although this personal suing seems to be unique
Brandon S?: <i> That lies and libel might have been published in a scientific journal about a scientific issue does not stop them from being lies and libel appropriately addressed with legal action. </i>
Is the phrase "modeling error" a lie? In a scientific dispute, is the phrase "modeling error" defamatory? I have read through almost all of the complaint, and I do not see anything defamatory. Do you?
Don’t think this will end well for Jacobsen. He got shredded in PNAS, and will get reshredded in discovery and at trial
Brandon, if I understand your position you say that courts will order the defendant to pay the plaintiff at the whim of the judge.
Good luck with that.
Notice Nick how you did not even attempt to answer my question.
As the great man used to say, why is it so?
Brandon do you give refunds for your free legal advice?
Jacobson's complaint appears to be about arcane hydropower points. I have read Clack's paper and it's about a lot more than that (eg. hydrogen for transportation and storage). It looks like it would be more appropriate for Jacobson to request a corrigendum than a retraction.
<blockquote>the defendants are on the defensive, not knowing the relevant particulars</blockquote>
I think when someone writes a multi-page document explicitly detailing the claims they believe to be false then when ignored follows it up with a line-by-line detailing of the claims said to be false, people should be able to guess the particulars of any follow-up complaints.
Brandon said, "As for Mark Steyn, given the numerous false claims he makes about Michael Mann in his book, it is difficult for me to feel sympathy for him. It’s not like he’s innocent of what he’s accused of."
Can you give us, say, five false claims Steyn makes about Mann in his book, that are examples of libel?
Canman, I would suggest rereading his complaint if that is the impression you got as what you describe is quite different from what his legal complaint actually says.
<blockquote>Can you give us, say, five false claims Steyn makes about Mann in his book, that are examples of libel?</blockquote>
The number five seems rather strange. Why such an arbitrary number? It's not like anyone would actually read past the third. By the time they got through the third, either they'd agree with me or dismiss me. Heck, I'd be surprised if anyone here would read past the first example. Given that, and how much time it'd take to provide many examples, I'll just provide one for now. After it's discussed, if people want more, we can then move on to other examples.
From steyn's book (Page 53):
<blockquote>Ah well. That's because most of the tree ring data used by Mann only go up to 1980....
Because, as eventually emerged in 2014, when you update the tree rings, the hockey stick
collapses – as Mann knew all along. He folded in the real-world temperature data because, by
the mid-20th century, the proxies don't tell the story that Mann et al wanted to sell, and
certainly don't produce anything that looks like a hockey stick. From the 1940s on, the tree
rings head south, and fail to show the late 20th-century warming that the thermometers do.
This is what became known as the “divergence problem” - which in turn led to the catchphrase
of Climategate: “hide the decline” - ie, the decline in temperature as determined by tree rings.</blockquote>
This claim is false. Michael Mann did not delete any data from the modern portion of his reconstruction. He certainly did not delete forty years of his reconstruction from 1940-1980 and replace it with instrumental data. Anyone who has the slightest knowledge of Mann's (in)famous hockey stick would know this claim is completely and utterly bogus. Despite that, Steyn runs with this obvious falsehood for two pages in this section and repeats it in other locations.
Google Drive is now asking me to request permission to read the complaint again.
matthewrmarler, if you've read through the complaint, then you know what Jacobson labels that a lie. According to Jacobson, the basis for claiming there was such an error is false, and the authors of the Clack et al. paper knew it was false.
But you say you've read through most of the complaint, so you should already know this. You should know the questions you ask are misleading. I don't know why you're asking them.
You hit the nail on the head, matt. Expressing the opinion that someone is "wrong" about something is not defamation.
How would Jacobson know the authors of Clack et al. know it is false, Brandon?
Brandon is correct. It's defamation per se. The same type of defamation that Mann committed when he stated that scientist Judith Curry is a "serial dis-informer" on the science. It's like accusing a doctor of deliberate malpractice, or a CPA of cooking the books. Google it.
Of course Jacabson's case is not the same. Clack et al. claim that he made errors. It's a difference of opinion. It happens all the time in science and in other professions. Case against Clack et al. is dismissed.
More weirdness from Jacobson. He has put out a statement, through lawyers, saying that his beef is with PNAS processes. I doubt that the courts should be regulating that anyway, but trying to fit it in the framework of a defamation trial seems just nuts.
That's all very interesting, Brandon. Wait till you read their counter suit. If Jacobson can't prove that they knew they were lying in their criticism of his paper, then they have a good case of defamation per se against that clown.
I predict he will regret this foolishness.
Is he suing the peer reviewers also? And their children?
From a shack in the woods comes a cry of support for Jacobson. We now know for sure that Jacobson doesn't have a snowball's chance.
From my review of Modern Scientific Controversies, regardless of what happens re Jacobson, it will not "steer the overall climate-energy debate back towards a direction of sanity."
Jacobson's suit is about challenging the whole process of peer-review, in general, and the details of the peer-review of his paper, in the Courts -- it is not about climate science.
His paper was not regular science -- it is that special kind of science that one sees in modern science controversies where the authors expect to get a free pass because of their paper is on the "right side" of the controversy. Jacobson is angry that the long-standing system didn't work in his favor and protect him from scientific criticism -- he felt it should have because he is a Green Energy Campaigner -- has a badge and everything.
This is Dr Judith Curry’s blog.
Can people stop getting off on their own ego driven bollocks and simply answer the main theme. Why can’t Scientists question challenge and debate, discuss uncertainty and slowly move science forward without recourse to god help us lawyers. Why does every branch of science predicate every statement with ..... we feel possibly.... we think it may indicate ........ we are not sure but ...... the old chestnut MORE RESEARCH is needed.
Why are climate scientists that certain that they want to sue people for $10 mill that challenge them?
I’m just an old ordinary bloke who clings on to 1780’s ish enlightenment
Kevin Martin UK based god help me with Brexit. Our Trump.
Hard left campus fasc1sm is spreading to the UK:
Nullius in verba takes on a hole new meaning in the
cli-sci debate, Mark Jacobson, Michael Mann et Al,
Jugadish Shukla, David Appall...
Don you are welcome to your views but to support my approach, here is an excerpt from the findlaw.com site:
One essential element in any defamation action is that the defendant published something defamatory about the plaintiff. A communication may be considered defamatory "if it tends so to harm the reputation of another as to lower him in the estimation of the community or to deter third persons from associating with him," according to the American Restatement of Torts (or "The Restatement").
I ask again, who has a lower estimation of Mann as a result of what Stein wrote? What persons has been deterred from associating with him?
Google it yourself!
You may or may not care to wait until the court makes its decision Don.
People get far too excited over what they think courts may or should do.
In lawyers speak: "what you knew or SHOULD have known..." does not mitigate the feelings of someone who is being sued and intimidated. In other circles, and apparently not in the lawyers world, adversarial dialogue would be perceived as bad behavior, which it is.
Imagine if mcintyre has taken PNAS to court over process
Brandon: "The reality is Galileo’s problems stemmed almost entirely from the fact he didn’t have evidence to prove his theories. "
Brandon: "David Appell, given I never said Galileo had no evidence, I am not surprised you have no idea where I got such an idea"
I spent far more time than I had intended reviewing the history of the Clack et al. paper today, and I have to say, I have no sympathy for the authors of it. Prior to Jacobson creating a detailed list of complaints about supposed errors in the paper, the paper contained a staggering number of errors that made it seem the authors had no idea what they were talking about.
However, changes the authors made in response to Jacobson's complaints did improve the paper in regard to some things, and those changes may have been enough to give them deniability in any lawsuit. For instance, the paper originally said Jacobson's values for hydroelectric power were a maximum, not an average. There was no uncertainty in that statement, and Jacobson rightly complained as it was completely untrue. For the final version of the paper a couple changes were made which seem to allude to the authors knowledge those values were averages, not maximum, even as the authors maintained their original portrayal. The result is people reading the paper would likely be misled as to what Jacobson's values were, but at the same time, the Clack et al. authors may have a fig leaf of, "If you look close enough at an entirely different section/document, you can see we knew those values were averages, not maximums."
Or perhaps the changes were due to sloppiness. I wouldn't rule that possibility out. I kept being distracted by strange things like the authors adding 87.48 GW and 57.68 GW and getting 145.26 GW for their paper while adding the two together and getting 145.16 GW for their Supporting Information. There were enough little things like that in the paper and its previous versions that I wouldn't feel comfortable assuming too much competence.
Brandon S: <i>You should know the questions you ask are misleading. </i>
In what ways are my <i>questions </i>misleading? Why is it defamation for a scientist to claim that an assumption made in a second scientist's derivations is false? Why should anyone accept the second scientist's assertion that the first scientist's criticism is a "lie"?
Are my questions "misleading" because you say so? Why not simply answer them and show us how the correct answers, in your opinion, are in fact misleading? I think you are not thinking clearly about scientific debate and defamation. If you think something in the complaint clearly illustrates defamation, what was it that I missed?
Brandon S: <i> I spent far more time than I had intended reviewing the history of the Clack et al. paper today, and I have to say, I have no sympathy for the authors of it.</i>
Any body's sympathy is not the issue. Did the defendant's commit defamation?
<i>I kept being distracted by strange things like the authors adding 87.48 GW and 57.68 GW and getting 145.26 GW for their paper while adding the two together and getting 145.16 GW for their Supporting Information.</i>
That's it? When everyone knows that there are probably not more than two significant figures that are reliable in the first place? You are making typos the basis of the claim of defamation?
Mark Z. Jacobson apparently doesn’t understand how science works. He was and is free to publish a rebuttal to what he believes to be lies, mistakes, or whatever in a journal. He is an id-eee-ut for taking this to court. Just sayin’.
Because Mark Jacobson is an id-eeeee-ut, that's why.
A comment seems to have gone astray. Anyway Gump, I told you to look at a tree and you Googled the forest. It's called "defamation per se". I should have known to put it in quotes, for the slow ones.
Don, talking of slow ones, you would of course realise that you need to pass the defamation threshold before you award damages for defamation per se.
Your attempted insult only persuades people you have nothing else to offer.
Now, is there anything else you want to say?
I am trying to post this here for the third time.
For Forrest Gump:
Google "defamation per se". I should have put it in quotes for the slow ones.
The clown still has not bothered to look it up:
"However, some types of false statements are considered so damaging that they are deemed defamatory on their face ("defamation per se"). This is in contrast to "defamation per quod" where the false statement is not inherently defamatory and has to be evaluated in the context of additional facts. Generally, for defamation per se, the statements are presumed harmful whereas for defamation per quod the damage must be proven."
Do you know what that means, clown?
I know what that means Don. I'm just not convinced that you do. You appear to have missed the phrase "so damaging".
Clown? Right back at you!
You obviously don't know what it means, Gumpy. You still have not done your homework. I gave you a brief explanation of defamation per se. I don't get paid for this service. I am not going to help you any more.
Except if you want to publish in a journal then you have to jump through journal publication hoops and peer gate keeping. This may be two wackos having a go at each other but that doesn't change the fact that we've seen enough journal "nastiness" to know that they are not impartial publishers of science (especially regarding anything related to greenery) and you have no right of reply.
I'm pleased to hear you are not being paid. I repeat that I see nothing to persuade me that you understand what you are writing. Your attempted insults are pathetic.
Over and out unless you have anything to add.
"Complaint to protect and respect the integrity of science when all other options exhausted" Very stupid statement. Judges and a jury cannot be relied upon to answer complicated scientific questions. So, why is he going to an incompetent institution to resolve his scientific questions. He could simply publish an article elsewhere, if all he was concerned about was the integrity of science. He could also publish a detailed blog post. He could attend appropriate scientific meetings and make his point at those.
Also, his lawyer's statement was: "His complaint does not seek to litigate science." Pretty stupid statement by lawyer. Complaints are a part of litigation. Would also mention that if his concern was merely the integrity of science, he could have simply asked for a judgment in his favor and an award of something like $1,000. (The principle and not the money is the most effective remedy for any scientific mistakes. Julian Simon's bet only resulted in a payment of $576, but it was very influential) Instead he refers to potentially $10,000,000 in damages. This is more in line with petty intimidation than scientific integrity.
OK, I will give you some hints:
1) stand outside a doctor's office and tell the folks coming and going that the doc is a quack
2) even better, stand outside a lawyer's office and call him a shyster
3) accuse a scientist of intentionally concocting faux science
Last hint, you should apologize to Judith's denizens for subjecting them to your stubborn ignorance.