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Michael E. Mann Sues For Defamation Over Comparison To Jerry Sandusky

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the can't-we-just-talk-like-adults dept.

Education 371

eldavojohn writes "The global warming debate has left much to be desired in the realm of logic and rationale. One particular researcher, Michael E. Mann, has been repeatedly attacked for his now infamous (and peer reviewed/independently verified) hockey stick graph. It has come to the point where he is now suing for defamation over being compared to convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky. Articles hosted by defendants and written by defendant Rand Simberg and defendant Mark Steyn utilize questionable logic for implicating Michael E. Mann alongside Jerry Sandusky with the original piece, concluding, 'Michael Mann, like Joe Paterno, was a rock star in the context of Penn State University, bringing in millions in research funding. The same university president who resigned in the wake of the Sandusky scandal was also the president when Mann was being (whitewashed) investigated. We saw what the university administration was willing to do to cover up heinous crimes, and even let them continue, rather than expose them. Should we suppose, in light of what we now know, they would do any less to hide academic and scientific misconduct, with so much at stake?' Additionally, sentences were stylized to blend the two people together: 'He has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.' One of the defendants admits to removing 'a sentence or two' of questionable wording. Still, as a public figure, Michael E. Mann has an uphill battle to prove defamation in court."

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371 comments

Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admin (1, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41756395)

It sounds like their argument is that the Penn State administration has a tendency to cover-up embarrassing stuff and protect their own. I would think they would have more a case for defamation than this guy (assuming it's not true, of course). Not that I would expect them to bring it, since at this point they're mostly just hiding in a foxhole somewhere praying that CNN goes away soon.

Mann himself should probably just accept that this is a downside to climate research (since it's become hopelessly politicized). On the upside, there's a lot of grant money to be had, though, and the potential to change the world and all that. Trade-offs, you know.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41756455)

At the same time, Steyn has flown awfully close at times to libel, and this comes as close to crossing the line as I've seen. Whether it crosses the line or not will be up to a court to decide, unless Steyn backs downs. My opinion is that while it is an obnoxious, immoral piece of trash piece that shows Steyn and Simberg to be dishonorable disreputable shitbags, it's not truly libelous.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756607)

Mann is not suing for libel, he's suing for defamation. They're not the same thing legally speaking.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (3, Informative)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | about 2 years ago | (#41756691)

Defamation is a broad category that includes libel and slander. Libel is defamation that occurs in a persistent form; slander is defamation that occurs in a transitory form.

According to the complaint [typepad.com] , Mann is suing for five counts of libel and one count of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (0, Flamebait)

mindbuilder (960119) | about 2 years ago | (#41756727)

The whitewashes explicity decided not to invetigate Mann's "hide the decline" because he did it and it couldn't be denied. Hiding contrary evidence is a no no in science, Especially after your opponents have made it clear that they think that contrary evidence is significant. You have to include it in your graph and explain it, not leave it out. Worse, nearly the entire climate science community has defended this unscientific conduct, destroying the credibility of the entire community. And they continue to put forth the deception that he was exonerated from this misconduct. One of their leaders was quoted by Discover magazine as saying that they had to choose between honesty and effectiveness. We now know what they chose. It was not defamation because it was an opinion based on at least arguable, if not obviously true evidence. Remember it is against the moderation rules to mod somebody down just because you think they are wrong. It is also not flamebait if it is a sincerely held belief put forward for honest discussion.

You don't know what "Hide the Decline" means (3, Informative)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about 2 years ago | (#41756821)

http://www.skepticalscience.com/Mikes-Nature-trick-hide-the-decline-advanced.htm [skepticalscience.com]

Phil Jones' email is often cited as evidence of an attempt to "hide the decline in global temperatures". This claim is patently false and demonstrates ignorance of the science discussed. The decline actually refers to a decline in tree growth at certain high-latitude locations since 1960.

Tree-ring growth has been found to match well with temperature and hence tree-rings are used to plot temperature going back hundreds of years. However, tree-rings in some high-latitude locations diverge from modern instrumental temperature records after 1960. This is known as the "divergence problem". Consequently, tree-ring data in these high-latitude locations are not considered reliable after 1960 and should not be used to represent temperature in recent decades.

The divergence problem has been openly discussed in the peer-reviewed literature since 1995 when it was noticed that Alaskan trees were showing a weakened temperature signal in recent decades (Jacoby 1995). This work was broadened in 1998 using a network of over 300 tree-ring records across high northern latitudes (Briffa 1998). From 1880 to 1960, tree growth closely matches temperature measurements. However, the correlation drops sharply after 1960 for certain trees at high latitudes.

Mods, feel free to mod parent down not because you think he's wrong, but because he is wrong.

Re:You don't know what "Hide the Decline" means (-1, Offtopic)

mindbuilder (960119) | about 2 years ago | (#41756927)

It is against the moderation rules to mod somebody down even if they REALLY ARE wrong. Especially if it is a controversial issue. I'll address the argument in a minute.

Re:You don't know what "Hide the Decline" means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756973)

I'd say "Overrated" works well for someone who really is wrong.

Re:You don't know what "Hide the Decline" means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41757189)

I would agree. In fact I would support a -1 Incorrect as long as the mod submitted a source

Re:You don't know what "Hide the Decline" means (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41757089)

Posting intentional trying to provoke people by posting incorrect things as facts. So -1 flamebait seems reasonable.

Re:You don't know what "Hide the Decline" means (3, Insightful)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about 2 years ago | (#41757125)

Anxiously awaiting your rebuttal, especially given the fact that the decline which you claim isn't being talked about has in fact been talked about for over a decade.

Also wondering whether you agree with the fact that I was modded down to -1 for providing evidence contrary to your post.

Re:You don't know what "Hide the Decline" means (4, Insightful)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | about 2 years ago | (#41757145)

It is against the moderation rules to mod somebody down even if they REALLY ARE wrong.

Bullshit. The negative moderation options exist for a reason. Use them where appropriate. When someone makes an empirical claim that clearly and absurdly wrong, especially one which remediable with a couple minutes of research, this is a troll by definition.

Re:You don't know what "Hide the Decline" means (4, Informative)

mindbuilder (960119) | about 2 years ago | (#41757325)

Your source contradicts itself

DeadCatX2 quoted some source:
"Tree-ring growth has been found to match well with temperature ... However, tree-rings in some high-latitude locations diverge from modern instrumental temperature records after 1960."

If the tree rings are showing falsely low temperatures after 1960 then it is questionabe at best if they were not giving falsely low temperatures back during the medieval warm period. It is a rule of science that you are not supposed to hide such evidence especially if your opponents say it is significant.

To say it was not hiding is rediculous since the alarmist Phil Jones himself described what he was doing as hiding. Burying data deep in an academic paper the public won't see is still hiding. Sure the experts were debating it, but it was hiden from the public who wouldn't look deeper than the graph.

I would have replied earlier but my battery died and i lost my post. I'll have more.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (0, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41756903)

So if you're a mentally retarded gullible twit who posts falsehoods because you're too fucking stupid to know they're falsehoods, you can be downmodded?

Mod parent up. (-1, Troll)

microbox (704317) | about 2 years ago | (#41757309)

It looks like a denier has come through and marked the insightful criticism as a troll.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41757053)

"because he did it "
  No, he did not. It was about TREE GROWTH decline at certain latitudes.. But please, keep being News Corps bitch. IT deals with the divergence problem. I could go into detail, but your heads is so far up your ass I doubt it's worth it.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41757055)

Remember it is against the moderation rules to mod somebody down just because you think they are wrong

No, it is not. If you get a +5 Insightful, and you are absolutely incorrect in even your basis premise, you can get modded "Overrated". Which I have done. You are taking words out of context and fail to understand what he was trying to hide. Please read, do your research and inform yourself before repeating this non-scandal.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (0)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#41757109)

As DeadCatX2's post explained "hide the decline" simply refers to a technique to make the graphs look cleaner by removing irrelevant data. The decline is hidden in plain sight since the reasons for not using the data are fully explained in the published work. Problem is that those sorts of details seldom make it out to news reports on the work.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (2, Informative)

microbox (704317) | about 2 years ago | (#41757277)

The whitewashes explicity decided not to invetigate Mann's "hide the decline" because he did it and it couldn't be denied.

This is materially false. You are living in a fantasy world. Go read one of the many independent investigations on this, or better yet, read the original email yourself.

Talk about cherry-picking.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (0, Flamebait)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#41756459)

Hockey stick is proven fabrication.

The studies approving Vioxx were "peer reviewed" as well...

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (1, Flamebait)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41756481)

First sentence is a lie.

Second sentence is a red herring that has absolutely nothing to do with first sentence.

Conclusion: Poster is likely a sociopath or retard, possibly both.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (1, Insightful)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | about 2 years ago | (#41756599)

The people who continue to try to derail any efforts to stop climate change amaze me.

As more and more weather disasters rack up, and as the climate actually does change, it would seem their misinformation would fall on deaf ears. But I think there is also a want on the part of a lot of people to not believe what is going on, what they are doing to their children's future, and even what they are doing to their own futures.

Not that it really matters at this point. We are ~12 years to the 2 degree C mark over average global temperature from the last century - and climbing. The 2 degrees C mark is considered kind of a line in the sand. Once we cross that, it will be especially hard to recover.

PBS Frontline is running a very topical show this week: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/climate-of-doubt/ [pbs.org]

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (2, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 2 years ago | (#41756665)

Seems like you never heard about the null hypothesis. Weather disasters rack up no matter what and none of what we have seen is in the least out of line with what has happened in history.

If you ignore history, however, you'll always think things are going to hell in a handbasket ... as people have done all the time in history.

The null hypothesis when refuted is refuted. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756847)

And the null hypothesis (there is no warming trend) has been refuted.

Weather disasters are racking up at rates higher than the null hypothesis ("there is no increase in weather disasters") can accept, so that is refuted.

What we have seen IS out of line with what has happened in history. Two 150-year events in the same year worldwide is no proof of a change in the climate. over 30 is.

Re:The null hypothesis when refuted is refuted. (0)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 2 years ago | (#41757319)

There are over 200 countries in the world.

They could have extreme events in:
- maximum measured temperature all year
- maximum measured temperature in winter
- maximum measured temperature in autumn
- maximum measured temperature in spring
- minimum measured temperature all year
- minimum measured temperature in summer
- minimum measured temperature in autumn
- minimum measured temperature in spring

- highest average temperature all year
- highest average temperature of a spring
- highest average temperature of a summer
- highest average temperature of an autumn
- highest average temperature of a winter

- lowest average temperature all year
- lowest average temperature of a spring
- lowest average temperature of a summer
- lowest average temperature of an autumn
- lowest average temperature of a winter

And that's just temperature. Same could happen with rainfall, snow and total precipitation (high, low). There can be the "longest dry spell", "longest stretch of rain", "longest period with temperatures above 25 degree", longest period below 10 degree

or whatever, just from the top of my hat.

You're being fooled by the media.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41757173)

the null hypothesis has been refuted in this issue. IT's in all the expert scientific journals.
What we have seen is out of line with the overall history trend. That, along with mountains of other data clearly indicate AGW is really. External sources have been eliminated. The current shape of the earths orbit* doesn't account for the change. So, it' internal.

Yes, looking at one set of data, say 2 years' in and of itself doesn't mean the planet is warming, nor would it mean it's not warming. To isolate one piece of data, then use that one tiny pieces in an argument ignoring the rest of the relevant data it really fucking shitty.

*it goes between phases of round to more oval; which causes 'ages' This is a quick laymans explanation, you can find the data online.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756793)

As time passes I'm having a harder time convincing myself that there's no big interests in the USA running a deliberate disinformation campaign. I just keep stumbling across too many things for it to be a coincidence.

eg. Yesterday I was looking at this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frozen_Planet#.22On_Thin_Ice.22_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

Discovery channel deleting an episode of the latest David Attenborough documentary because it briefly mentions global warming...? Uhuh.

In the Bush administration there's plenty of documentation showing that it was the government behind it [wikipedia.org] but it's still continuing today. The sad part is that it seems to be working. On the Internet there's a clear division between the USA and the rest of the world now (and it's not because Americans are smarter or better informed).

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756649)

you know, this is the best use of logic ive seen all day. you win the internets

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756959)

Second sentence is also a lie. The "hockey stick graph" was not "independently verified" unless you mean proven to be false. Wiped out were the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. If one feeds white noise into the program used to generate the graph, one still gets a hockey stick. This was all done by weighting the data samples he liked (showing AGW) higher than the data samples he did not like (those not showing AGW).

Another Citation If You Please (1, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41756683)

Hockey stick is proven fabrication.

Well, if you desire a citation for my claims of independent verification, check out Richard Muller [slashdot.org] who previously attacked said graph and consequent IPCC claims (the results of which earned them the 2007 Nobel Prize). Pay attention to these first three paragraphs [nytimes.com] . That 2007 IPCC report is important because that is what Mann contributed to.

If I'm not mistaken, Muller tackled the same problem from a as different an approach as possible and came to the same conclusion.

The studies approving Vioxx were "peer reviewed" as well...

Sure, just because something is peer reviewed doesn't mean it is without fault but it sure is a good deliminator between a crackpot on the internet and someone trying very hard to participate in a community that also tries to hold itself to a higher standard than baseless claims and unreproducible results, wouldn't you agree?

Re:Another Citation If You Please (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756777)

"earned them the 2007 Nobel Prize"

Is that the same organization that gave a peace prize to a president who assassinates people, along with killing women and children, with no due process of law?

Yeah, I'm not sure how that gives them any kind of credibility.

Re:Another Citation If You Please (0, Troll)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 2 years ago | (#41756953)

Hey, according to the Republicans Obama has been a very meek leader who would never hurt a fly!

Re:Another Citation If You Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756987)

"earned them the 2007 Nobel Prize"

Is that the same organization that gave a peace prize to a president who assassinates people, along with killing women and children, with no due process of law?

Yeah, I'm not sure how that gives them any kind of credibility.

Speaking of a lack of logic in these debates [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:Another Citation If You Please (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41757307)

Copy/paste from wikipedia: According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

Now, it turns out that unlike the scientific and literary Nobel prizes, Alfred Nobel left no directive specifying that the Peace Prize should only be awarded for accomplishments which have stood the test of time. At the time Obama won the prize, he had just been elected and the rest of the nations in the world genuinely saw him as a giant leap forward with respect to fraternity between nations (and so on), mostly due to the arrogant warmongering sack of shit he was replacing.

It wasn't until after being awarded the prize that Obama did anything you've accused him of. It was a bit foolish of the Norwegian Nobel Committee to award the prize to a guy who hadn't done anything yet, but that's the worst that can be said of them.

But on top of all that, the Norwegian Nobel Committee does not influence the other prizes in any way. Even the organizations which pick the committee members who in turn choose the prize winners are different! (Peace: committee selected by the Norwegian Parliament. Physics and chemistry: committees selected by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Physiology and medicine: committee selected by the Karolinska Institutet. Literature: the Swedish Academy. And there's also a hanger-on Economics prize which wasn't actually created by Alfred Nobel, but nevertheless bears his name. It's controlled by a bank.)

TLDR: yeah, I'm not sure why we should give your post any credibility.

Re:Another Citation If You Please (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756879)

Muller has been outed as a long-time warmist, his claims otherwise notwithstanding.

His miracle conversion from skeptic to agw believer was just another fraud, like the hockeystick graph.

Obviously you're not reading the summary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756461)

FTFS:

'He has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.'

But it looks like they'll have to show this is so in a court of law.

Given absolutely no evidence of that, they're fucked.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (4, Insightful)

medcalf (68293) | about 2 years ago | (#41756525)

Also, discovery should be ... interesting.

No, It's a Pretty Specific Target Considering ... (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41756541)

It sounds like their argument is that the Penn State administration has a tendency to cover-up embarrassing stuff and protect their own.

The Penn State Hershey Medical Center [pennstatehershey.org] brings in over a billion dollars a year in revenue to Penn State. The same university president who resigned in the wake of the Sandusky scandal also presided over said medical center with obvious financial interests that were easily orders of magnitudes higher than the football program. When will we re-investigate all of their malpractice suits? When will we bring their alleged (just now) organ trafficking ring from China to justice? Should we suppose, in light of what we now know, they would do any less to hide treatment and medical misconduct, with so much at stake?

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756553)

Someone could push a big red button and change the world that doesn't necessarily make it a good thing. I'm all for real science based on repeatable, and objective analysis, but it's very rare to see that in science now days. Everyone has an agenda, and politics and money are far more important than truthful discovery.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#41756675)

Ah, but Mann's Hockey Stick is repeatable. A number of other studies since the original was published have shown substantially the same thing as Mann's work using different proxy datasets. Here's a number of them plotted along with the Hockey Stick Graph. [wikipedia.org] See if you can figure out which is which.

Re:Sounds more like a slam against Penn State admi (3, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41757129)

Anybody who would say what you just said is worse than Hitler. (It's Slashdot, I have to mention Hitler!)

But seriously? People are inciting to have you killed and you're supposed to say, "Oh well, it's part of the job"? If we let that stand, American science doesn't have much of a future.

Threatening Discovery of Materials on All Research (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41756399)

Since submitting I've found the response by CEI [cei.org] , the response by National Review's editor [nationalreview.com] and a PDF of the letter to Mann's lawyers [nationalreview.com] that says:

Dr. Mann complains about two statements: 1) that as "the man behind the fraudulent climate-change 'hockey-stick' graph," he is "the very ringmaster of the three ring circus" on climate change; and 2) that he "could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet." Neither of these statements is actionable. Moreover, if Dr. Mann decides to pursue this matter, he and his research would be subjected to a very extensive discovery of materials that he has fought so hard to protect in other proceedings. Such materials would be required for National Review to defend itself.

Re:Threatening Discovery of Materials on All Resea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756679)

Why do you call him Dr. Mann?

He got his degree from Penn State, which suggests that he molests little boys. A child rapist can't possibly be a doctor, in any legitimate sense, unless he is Greek, and it is obvious in this case that as a rapist everything he says has no value.

Because he came from Penn State.

I'll bet they just said that shit for the lulz. They probably didn't think there would be any consequences. I mean, like what, for slander? Lulz. That isn't even a real crime. Lulz.

Re:Threatening Discovery of Materials on All Resea (1, Insightful)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#41756723)

You know, I don't think Mann is afraid of discovery at all. As far as I can tell his work has always been honest. The reason he's fought it is that a scientists work should be judged by the science they produce, the published results of their work, not some gotcha quote mining of working papers and communications with peers.

Re:Threatening Discovery of Materials on All Resea (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41756875)

The reason he's fought it is that a scientists work should be judged by the science they produce, the published results of their work, not some gotcha quote mining of working papers and communications with peers.

The reason he fights it is clearer to me. It's the same reason why, if a law enforcement officer showed up at my house and demanded to rifle through all of my blongings looking for anything that might be illegal I would tell him to go pound sand. Not because I'm guilty, not because I hate the police but because he has no right to without a warrant! Furthermore, if 90% of people in our society allowed this and it became expected or, worse yet, legal then you would have effectively forfeited your right to privacy.

Scientists are human beings that work long hours at their jobs. Demanding the publication of everything is a bit dehumanizing and Mann is correct to fight it lest other scientists find themselves under the same expectations after it has been established as the norm. I think it will be acceptable to release it during the discovery phase of a case like this but it should not be given up lightly.

This is a clear attempt to intimidate and repress scientists and researchers.

Re:Threatening Discovery of Materials on All Resea (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41757115)

It's the same reason why, if a law enforcement officer showed up at my house and demanded to rifle through all of my blongings looking for anything that might be illegal I would tell him to go pound sand. Not because I'm guilty, not because I hate the police but because he has no right to without a warrant!

Dr. Mann and his university accept public funds from the federal government and that subjects him to FOIA requests. And frankly, I see nothing wrong with examining relevant email communications from Dr. Mann on that basis. If he doesn't like it, then he can always refuse federal funding for his research projects.

Re:Threatening Discovery of Materials on All Resea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41757161)

It's the same reason why, if a law enforcement officer showed up at my house and demanded to rifle through all of my blongings looking for anything that might be illegal I would tell him to go pound sand. Not because I'm guilty, not because I hate the police but because he has no right to without a warrant!

Dr. Mann and his university accept public funds from the federal government and that subjects him to FOIA requests. And frankly, I see nothing wrong with examining relevant email communications from Dr. Mann on that basis. If he doesn't like it, then he can always refuse federal funding for his research projects.

Are you serious? You want e-mails when most projects in medicine and physics that are federally funded don't even release their raw data?! Why aren't you clamoring for the DNA and raw collider data that has been built with your taxpaying dollars? Or should they just refuse federal funding as well?

Re:Threatening Discovery of Materials on All Resea (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 2 years ago | (#41757303)

CERN willfully discards 90% of it's data. But if you have High Speed Internet (and most Americans do, unless CERN has insane bandwidth requirement that I don't know about) , you can get access to the other 10 percent.

Re:Threatening Discovery of Materials on All Resea (1)

HuguesT (84078) | about 2 years ago | (#41757317)

Emails, even those of federal agents, can only subpoenaed if there is a criminal investigation going on. They are discoverable, but they are not public.

Re:Threatening Discovery of Materials on All Resea (0, Troll)

mounthood (993037) | about 2 years ago | (#41757101)

So they repeat the offensive statements, say he won't win, then threaten him with a "very extensive" invasion of his privacy. National Review is shit.

Inflammatory? You bet! Defamation? Not a chance. (1, Informative)

SnowDeath (157414) | about 2 years ago | (#41756431)

While the imaginatively twisted likenesses are obviously meant to irritate Michael Mann, they are in no way defamation of character and I suggest a counter-suit for harassment!

Re:Inflammatory? You bet! Defamation? Not a chance (3, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 2 years ago | (#41756507)

The defendants are much more creative than that. They are going to use discovery in this case to gain access to documents that Michael Mann has very strenuously fought to keep out of the public eye. There may be nothing in those documents relevant to either this case or to the AGW debate, but the fact that Michael Mann has fought so hard to keep them private suggests that there is something in them he would rather the public not know (it may be on a completely unrelated topic).

If the defendants don't have enough material now (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756625)

If the defendants don't have enough material to prove their accussations, they will lose. Absolutely nothing Mann currently has needs to be discovered, since the statements the defendents have made should be defensible by what they currently have.

If they don't have any proof of what they claim, then they've been lying and are guilty of defamation.

I don't get to ask you to prove my accusations against you. Would it be allowed to accuse, say, the Heartland Institute of hosting kiddie porn and then, to prove my case, demand to see ALL storage that the HI have? No. If I don't have reason to believe HI of hosting KP (snuff KP at that!), then I can be successfully sued for defamation.

Re:Inflammatory? You bet! Defamation? Not a chance (1)

I Read Good (2348294) | about 2 years ago | (#41756661)

So they made these comparisons and wrote all of these inflammatory things betting on the HOPE that Mann would sue them for defamation so they could drag all of these documents Mann's been alegedly hiding out into court? Is that what your saying? That seems like a bit of a stretch to me.

Re:Inflammatory? You bet! Defamation? Not a chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756981)

I don't think the GP meant to imply that this outcome was planned; merely that the opportunistic liars who wrote the piece would not pass up such a maneuver.

Re:Inflammatory? You bet! Defamation? Not a chance (4, Insightful)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#41756761)

The reason Mann has fought all of that discovery is because he's standing up for other scientists. The discovery is not after anything relevant to anything. What's relevant is his published work.

Re:Inflammatory? You bet! Defamation? Not a chance (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756895)

The discovery is not after anything relevant to anything. What's relevant is his published work.

In a defamation case involving allegations that his emails and professional correspondence showed he was intentionally lying about his findings, I imagine said emails and correspondence would be VERY relevant.

Re:Inflammatory? You bet! Defamation? Not a chance (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#41757017)

The beauty of science is that some one else can reproduce the work and evaluate how good it is. Mann's Hockey Stick has been supported by a number of other researchers [wikipedia.org] using different proxy data who come up with similar results to Mann. I'm not aware of any peer reviewed published work that contradicts Mann's work.

So even if hypothetically Mann were to be found intentionally lying it's irrelevant. The actual published work is what matters.

Re:Inflammatory? You bet! Defamation? Not a chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756787)

Attempting to discredit Prof. Mann's scientific thesis is acceptable and hardly defamation. However, attempting to tie Dr. Mann to a serial child molestor is grounds for defamation. The defendants better have a good lawyer. People have been sued for less and won handily. As for the correctness of the "hockey stick", it has been demonstrated independently using entirely different methods and Mann's celebrated conclusion is still as valid as it was when it was first proposed.

If I were on the jury, a few tens or hundreds of millions of dollars would seem a fair price for a man's reputation. Corporations, which are now people have paid much more in similar cases.

Same realm (1)

SoupGuru (723634) | about 2 years ago | (#41756453)

Publishing peer reviewed science is almost the exact same thing as child molestation. How can anyone not see that?

On a different note, is anyone else having problems getting Slashdot to load in a usable way? It's like I'm being dared to take my nerd traffic elsewhere.

Peer review (5, Insightful)

simonbp (412489) | about 2 years ago | (#41756471)

As someone who has been on both sides as both an author and reviewer of scientific papers, "peer reviewed" doen't not mean something is automatically correct, simply that it is worthy of publication. It's closer to saying it's plausible, and should be out there for the scientific community to discuss. Correctness is more judged by reproducability over a timescale of decades, but even that is not definative.

Science is a lot more messy that a lot of people would like to believe...

Re:Peer review (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#41756701)

Ya it gets rather annoying when people say "peer reviewed" like it means "proved beyond all debate." No, it means just that: some of your peers reviewed it and say "this is ok for publication."

In addition to the fact that there could be something they missed (happens all the time) the process is also rather political, as with all human endeavors and so some things pass review that probably shouldn't, and other things get rejected should get published.

All in all it is a necessary step but it is just a basic check and only the first in a long line.

Re:Peer review (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about 2 years ago | (#41756877)

Strawman alert...reasonable people don't say "it's peer reviewed so it's proven beyond debate". Reasonable people say "look this paper isn't even peer reviewed so it is worth extra scrutiny".

Re:Peer review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41757045)

"the science is settled" which drives me up the wall. Hell they are still picking apart Einsteins stuff and hes been dead for years...

Check your assumptions is always good science.

Re:Peer review (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about 2 years ago | (#41757087)

I don't see that, either. I see "there is a scientific consensus". The only people who might say remarks such as "peer review = beyond debate" or "science is settled" are people with an agenda, and I don't consider them to be reasonable.

Another strawman. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41757229)

The only one to claim the science is settled as a "climate expert" is Christopher Monckton.

Meanwhile the ACTUAL climate scientists say this about "the science is settled":

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/

Re:Peer review (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#41757185)

From Slashdot "his now infamous (and peer reviewed/independently verified) hockey stick graph." They are presenting peer review as something that is a "oh you need to shut up and stop criticizing" situation.

Re:Peer review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756835)

Mann's science is hardly on trial here. Merely defamatory statements made by the defendants. A quick jury trial should have his all resolved in no time.

It doesn't seem like too much of a stretch for Mann to prove that the defendant's liking Mann's behavior to that of a serial child molester is defamatory.

Re:Peer review (1)

kubernet3s (1954672) | about 2 years ago | (#41756887)

the point is, if it's peer-reviewed, you don't get to jeer at someone and call them a child molester. Good science can indeed lead to incorrect conclusions, but that doesn't mean it isn't good science.

Re:Peer review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756993)

His work was peer-reviewed and approved. The scientific community agreed the work was fit to be out there, ~not~ the administration of his university.

That means it's completely inappropriate to say that it was shoddy work covered up by a corrupt president similarly to how he protected a child rapist.

I hope Mann crucifies these despicable liars and science-deniers.

Re:Peer review (2)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41757295)

That means it's completely inappropriate to say that it was shoddy work covered up by a corrupt president similarly to how he protected a child rapist.

Even though it's true? Mann and Sandusky received the same whitewash treatment from the same people.

As to your first assertion, peer review generally means the paper has been looked over by 2-4 people knowledgeable in the field, depending on the journal and circumstances. That's not the entire scientific community, even if you then add in Mann and his coauthors.

I hope Mann crucifies these despicable liars and science-deniers.

"Science-deniers". It's interesting how irrational and unscientific the supposedly pro-science side is in this debate.

Legit Science (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756473)

OH IT'S PEER REVIEWED!?!?!?!? Well then never mind, he's obviously 100% legit and his opponents are scurrilous dogs.

Whatever you do, don't read these critical Slashdot articles about the noble, impeachable peer review process.
http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/09/17/1529245/inspector-general-investigated-for-muzzling-inconvenient-science
http://science.slashdot.org/story/10/09/17/1416201/peer-review-highly-sensitive-to-poor-refereeing

Re:Legit Science (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41756563)

And yet, for all the problems, science marches on, the most successful system for gathering data and creating testable explanations ever created.

Re:Legit Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756653)

nice unified front, mixed with red herring.

i see that you are equally adept at the game.

Re:Legit Science (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41756819)

Be good enough to point out the red herring.

Re:Legit Science (1)

rs79 (71822) | about 2 years ago | (#41756997)

"And yet, for all the problems, science marches on, the most successful system for gathering data and creating testable explanations ever created"

The scientific *process* is pure, but the publication of science is 50% good and 50% junk science.

Indentured Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756503)

I love how industry likes to twist science to their whim, and the rats squirm when they exposed and affiliated with scum.
It happens in the sludge indstry too. [youtube.com]

Wait, what? (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 years ago | (#41756535)

Sorry, I wasn't paying attention. I was thinking of the children.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756713)

Joe? is that you?

Rand Simberg is a clown (4, Informative)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#41756583)

Simberg is best known for a fabricated "Reuters" article allegedly from 1945 [educate-yourself.org] which, unbelievably, was taken seriously and cited by both Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld. Basically, it was a lame satire about the Iraqi resistance which (falsely) claimed that similar things had happened in Germany after WWII.

Sure sounds like it (4, Insightful)

NinjaTekNeeks (817385) | about 2 years ago | (#41756597)

"Any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person's reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person." From: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Defamation+of+character [thefreedictionary.com]

It really is a slimy piece of shit move to compare someone to Sandusky because they were at Penn under the same umbrella. This definitely harms his reputation and if you believe it then certainly you will have disagreeable opinions and feelings towards him. He's a scientist who interpreted data in a controversial way that is argued among academics, he certainly didn't rape innocent children in the showers.

Re:Sure sounds like it (2)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 2 years ago | (#41756731)

He's a public figure though. Otherwise Obama and Romney could both stop their campaigns and retire off of lawsuits.

(Cue the "But my candidate wouldn't do that, only the other guy would!" responses.)

Re:Sure sounds like it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41757083)

He's a scientist who interpreted data in a controversial way that is argued among academics, he certainly didn't rape innocent children in the showers.

And nobody said he did. This case isn't going anywhere except to Streisand him.

Compared *to* or compared *with*? (2)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 2 years ago | (#41756605)

The "Writing In the Sciences [coursera.org] " online course over at Coursera [coursera.org] says to distinguish between "compare to" and "compare with".

"Compare to" is used to find similarities, as in "shall I compare thee to a summer's day?". "Compare with" is used to find differences, as in "His time was 2:11:10 compared with 2:14 for his closest competitor." (Many sources [google.com] on the net.)

So I have to ask, was he being compared to Jerry Sandusky, or compared with Jerry Sandusky?

Inquiring [Scientific writing] minds want to know :-)

Probably not a good move. (5, Interesting)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 2 years ago | (#41756663)

One way to give your detractors more attention than they otherwise would have gotten is to attack them (this article is a case in point.) Worse is that if he loses the case (which given his public figure status, is easily possible) he'll just add to their credibility.

Disclaimer: I myself generally distrust climate alarmists. The earth has had periods of MUCH warmer climates, and life thrived in all of them. Hell, lets even look at more recent history: some archeologists have found evidence that during the medieval warm period, there were farms in areas that are now considered far too inhospitable for agriculture due to the cold climate. Further, what we're seeing now may very well be yet another temperate anomaly, only now our measurements are more accurate so it seems different.

And yes, I do believe in global warming.

Re:Probably not a good move. (1, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41757027)

Life may have thrived, but the life in question is several billion human beings who are heavily reliant on key agricultural zones like the North American grain belt, which, if they shift or disappear, will have severe consequences for billions of people.

Civilizations have failed before due to climactic changes. Is there some reason you think history has ended and we are now immune to major alterations in agricultural productivity? Do you think the food on the shelves of your nearest grocery store appear there due to Star Trek-like fabricators?

Required viewing for defenders of freedom (3, Insightful)

mgrivich (1015787) | about 2 years ago | (#41756687)

Mark Steyn on the freedom of speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XH70VHZ857M [youtube.com] Mark Steyn is known for intelligent and cutting right wing satire. He is also known for being prosecuted in various courts for his writings. As such, he is one of strongest defenders of the freedom of speech today. Everyone needs to remember that freedom of speech is not for those you agree with, it is for those you don't agree with.

Re:Required viewing for defenders of freedom (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41757155)

Someone who pushes the boundaries of defamation/libel isn't fighting for freedom of speech, they're abusing it, and it makes them ammunition for the bills and laws that fight against it. That's how and why things get limited, idiots exercise a right irresponsibly and take it right up to the edge, and people freak out and start wondering if they need to redraw the lines. It's just like the gun nut who insists on open-carrying his AR15. He may have the right, but rather than "supporting" the second amendment, he's encouraging people to fight it. You're not defending anything by abusing it.

Re:Required viewing for defenders of freedom (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41757181)

He is free to speak. Mann is also free to speak. They'll speak together in front of a judge, who will then decide whether the demonstrably false and defaming statements in question are actionable. Even if they are, Steyn will still be free to speak; he will merely be subject to further action if he continues to make demonstrably false and defaming statements about Mann.

Your right to swing your fists around ends where my nose begins.

Let me point out (2, Informative)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 years ago | (#41756707)

That even if Mann had engaged in scientific fraud, which is questionable considering that his accusers are known liars and can barely spell "science", they're stiill equating the violation of scientific integrity with the RAPING OF CHILDREN. .

Fuck these guys hard.

Hockey stick? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756735)

Moar liek bent like Bill Clinton's DICK, amirite?

Lulz. XD

America Alone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756791)

Mark Steyn is the author of this pile horse crap.

Apparently very hard to prove defamation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756863)

IANAL, nor are most of the other posters apparently.

By all accounts, it is pretty difficult for public figures to successfully bring defamation claims, which is probably why folks generally don't bother(which is why the tabloids survive presumably). Well, that and the fact that bringing it to court airs the claims so thoroughly as to further trash their names above and beyond the original "offending" material. And it isn't clear that a court victory, if such comes, helps all that much to rectify the damage to their reputation, though a big settlement may soften the blow...

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation#Public_figure_doctrine_.28absence_of_malice.29
Public figure doctrine (absence of malice)

Special rules apply in the case of statements made in the press concerning public figures, which can be used as a defence. A series of court rulings led by New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964) established that for a public official (or other legitimate public figure) to win a libel case, the statement must have been published knowing it to be false or with reckless disregard to its truth, (also known as actual malice).[32]

Uh Oh Mikey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41756923)

Mann has very likely just made a very big mistake. In the legal proceedings, something called "discovery" will allow the defendants to get all the access they can eat to Mann's records, including all those emails that he fought to keep secret. I expect that the fraud will be proven in a court of law.

Heh.

Hustler Magazine v. Falwell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41757013)

Case dismissed

Defamation Does Not Cover Reporting Fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41757059)

Michael Mann has been repeatedly exposed for manipulating data to support his preconceived conclusions.

Re:Defamation Does Not Cover Reporting Fact (1, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41757085)

Good thing the hockey stick has been confirmed by others, then.

A Gambit? If so, Mann got punked (2)

PerlPunk (548551) | about 2 years ago | (#41757191)

A hypothetical scenario:

If all that Simberg, Steyn et. al. wanted to do was have a look at Mann's data, this is how they might be going about it:

W: Simberg, Steyn write inflammatory articles about Mann and his hockey stick graph, hoping Mann tries to sue their asses.
B: Mann tries to sue their asses.
W: Simberg & Steyn subpoena data out of Mann's ass.
B: Mann must choose which is more important, the anonymity of his data or realizing the slim possibility of owning S & S's asses but still being more likely to lose.
W: S & S smile.

It's called Zugzwang, baby!

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