[The DC Superior Court reasons] 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.
All of this stems from Michael Mann’s defamation suit against Mark Steyn, the National Review, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute for publishing Rand Simberg’s characterization that Michael Mann “has molested and tortured data.” As we all know, for public figures, the burden of proof for libel is high in the US. You can read one perspective about the legal wrangling in this Newsweek column. I’d also recommend this post by Judith Curry, where she describes how Mann feels free to, well, I’ll just use her words:
I’ve written previously about Mann’s defaming me as a ‘serial climate misinformer‘ and ‘anti-science.’ In recent weeks he has gone after Anthony Watts, Patrick Moore (founder of Greenpeace) and Bill Gates:Michael E. Mann @MichaelEMannJan 23 So Patrick Moore (aka “EcoSenseNow”) is no more than a garden variety troll w/ nothing serious to offer. Who knew! #JokersPosingAsThinkers.Michael E. Mann@MichaelEMannJan 22 @BillGates Gates made an indefensible blanket statement that obscures real challenges. To dismiss lacks class.
All of these insults are mud slinging without being accompanied by any substantive argument. Mann’s defamation of me (a climate scientist) is of particular relevance in context of Mann’s case against Steyn, in light of the recent ruling:
Accusing a scientist of conducting his research fraudulently, manipulating his data to achieve a predetermined or political outcome, or purposefully distorting the scientific truth are factual allegations. They go to the heart of scientific integrity. They can be proven true or false. If false, they are defamatory. If made with actual malice, they are actionable.
Seems to me that ‘serial climate misinformer’ and ‘anti-science’ qualify as defamatory, and its difficult to imagine that the statements were not made with malice.
Robert Tracinski’s entire article–Mann versus Steyn, the Trial of the Century–is worth a read. As Tracinski says,
If it is a sin to doubt, then there is no science. If it is a crime to dissent, then there is no politics.