Stanford Prof sues scientists who criticized him – demands $10M

by Judith Curry

Mannian litigation gone wild. — Steve McIntyre

Details given by Michael Schellenberger in Environmental Progress:

Stanford University professor Mark Z. Jacobson has filed a lawsuit, demanding $10 million in damages, against the peer-reviewed scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) [link to published paper] and a group of eminent scientists (Clack et al.) for their study showing that Jacobson made improper assumptions in order to claim that he had demonstrated U.S. energy could be provided exclusively by renewable energy, primarily wind, water, and solar.

A copy of Jacobson’s complaint and submitted exhibits can be found here and here

What Jacobson has done is unprecedented. Scientific disagreements must be decided not in court but rather through the scientific process. We urge Stanford University, Stanford Alumni, and everyone who loves science and free speech to denounce this lawsuit.

The lawsuit rests on the claim that Clack et al. defamed Jacobson by calling his assumption that hydroelectricity could be significantly expanded a “modeling error.”

Environmental Progress weighed in on this controversy when Clack et al. published their article. In our view, it’s clear that Jacobson made a false assumption about the possibility of expanding U.S. hydroelectricity.

Jacobson’s assumption speaks to the essential fallacy of the 100 percent renewables proposal.

Renewables like solar and wind require vastly larger amounts of land and mining in order to produce power that is unreliable. Under the guise of protecting the environment, renewables destroy the environment.

One of the most environmentally devastating ways of producing electricity is with hydroelectric dams. While poor nations have a right to make cheap power from hydroelectricity, their environmental impact is enormous.

Jacobson’s proposal is to expand radically hydroelectric dams so they can support unreliable solar and wind energy. Such a proposal would devastate fish species even more than they have already been devastated.

The only way to promote such an environmentally devastating agenda is to claim it is good for the environment. That requires lying. Now that these lies have been exposed, it is revealing that Jacobson has resorted to a lawsuit that cannot and will not do anything more than intimidate his opponents.

Scientists and energy analysts should not be intimidated. We must stand up to bullies. We urge all lovers of nature and science to join us in denouncing this unprecedented and appalling attack on free inquiry.

JC reflections

Well I am just speechless.  Alice Dreger summed it up with this tweet

This is batshit.

In many ways, this is much worse than any of Michael Mann’s lawsuits alleging defamation of character [link] — Jacobson’s lawsuit seeks to settle a genuine scientific disagreement in the courts.

I am reminded of the  controversy surrounding publication of the Webster, Curry et al. (2005) paper on hurricanes and global warming [link].  Massive hostilities from both sides in the media, dozens of rebuttals submitted to Science, dozens of papers defending and extending our findings. The whole debate played out on the evening news for almost six months.  Massive elevations to my blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, etc.  It wasn’t pretty, and it was massively stressful.  I took a step back, and wrote a paper Mixing Science and Politics in Testing the Hypothesis that Warming is Causing a Global Increase in Hurricane Intensity. Not surprisingly, after more than a decade, we can see that both sides had valid points and this issue still isn’t settled.

We are also seeing themes of campus ‘safe spaces’ here, with allegations that this critique has upset the graduate students.

I do not see a good ending for Mark Jacobson here — there will undoubtedly be a countersuit and he stands to lose a lot of money (not just his lawsuit).

Possibly, there will be sufficient backlash against this that will steer the overall climate-energy debate back towards a direction of sanity.

 

 

279 responses to “Stanford Prof sues scientists who criticized him – demands $10M

  1. “Possibly, there will be sufficient backlash against this that will steer the overall climate-energy debate back towards a direction of sanity.”

    Nah!!

  2. I see he filed in the same DC courts Mann did. This means there will never be a resolution. Mark Steyn is still waiting. Science will march on for decades while the DC courts sit on this.

    • tumbleweedstumbling: Science will march on for decades while the DC courts sit on this.

      It is possible that even the DC Court will see the importance of expediting “the process” (c.f Kafka’s “Der Prozess”, translated as “The Trial”).

      But I think that you are probably right. I think that Mann and Jacobson and other proponents of urgent action probably do not want, and their supporters probably do not want, to be cross-examined under oath by well-advised counsel for their detractors. Mann is acting as though a resolution of Mann v Steyn and Steyn v Mann is something that he wants to avoid.

      The other favorite literary example is Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, (“Bleak House”, by Charles Dickens) in which all the money in dispute was harvested by the attorneys. Mann v Steyn and Steyn v. Mann are contributing much to the wealth of Steyn’s attorneys; I have not read anything relevant to Mann’s attorneys..

  3. This will probably be thrown out by the courts. What standing does Jacobson have to claim damages… i.e., how is he personally damaged by this paper. It does, however, reveal serious flaws in the peer review process. No surprises there. Perhaps that is Jacobson’s only purpose – to bring attention to the process and himself. Good luck with that.

  4. Judith, you may not see “a good ending for Mark Jacobson”, but the view from here, so to speak, is that Jacobson didn’t even have a good beginning!

    My neighbour, A chemist in Langley (aka Blair King), totally demolished Jacobson in a series of very thorough posts in 2015/16 (here would be a good starting point).

    IMHO, the Jacobsons, Manns & Weavers of this world need to grow up and/or get a life – as should all the little SJWs.

  5. This post quotes Michael Schellenberger as saying:

    What Jacobson has done is unprecedented. Scientific disagreements must be decided not in court but rather through the scientific process. We urge Stanford University, Stanford Alumni, and everyone who loves science and free speech to denounce this lawsuit.

    But fails to note the legal argument of this lawsuit is not one of a scientific disagreement. Insofar as the lawsuit’s stated purpose (which may not reflect the actual purpose) is concerned, the issue is not about which of two papers is correct. The stated purpose of the lawsuit is to address false claims the authors of one paper knowingly published, with the help and support of a journal which violated its own policies in order to publish said paper.

    I don’t see any problem with that, on a conceptual level. That’s not a scientific dispute. If you intentionally publish things you know to be false which will harm a person’s career, you’ve commited a libelous act for which lawsuits are an appropriate recourse. That the false claims you published involve a scientific issue doesn’t change that.

    I can’t speak to this lawsuit’s veracity as I’m not famliar enough with the underlying factual disputes, but if what it said happeneed did in fact happen as it says, this lawsuit is appropriate. 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.

    That all said, a number of the things alleged in this lawsuit could be equally applied to any number of papers published by mainstream climate scientists. I know some people will mock the idea of complaining about things like listing authors who contributed next to nothing to inflate author counts seeing as that has been done by mainstream climate scientists plenty of times. I think that’s the wrong tack. If someone wants to make a public issue of a common wrongdoing by scientific journals, I’m all for that.

    • This is nothing but a 100% pure intimidation tactic. Mark Steyn has been left in limbo by the DC courts over the lawsuit against him by Michael Mann. The case is no closer to being settled that when Mann first filed it after years of waiting. The DC courts will do the same thing with this they have done to Mark Steyn. They will simply file it somewhere so it is never resolved and just sits like a big shadow over every scientist’s head. Anyone who doesn’t want to shell out a fortune to lawyers for a case to nowhere will have to choose whether or not to go quiet now. This will have even more of a chilling effect than the quest to have all climate deniers charged with racketeering.

      • This lawsuit makes specific allegations of statements the authors knew to be lies. Thus far, not a single person has discussed those allegations. That’s a shame. Maybe this lawsuit is intended solely as a matter of intimidation, but there’s no way for an onlooker to know that if people refuse to discuss what the lawsuit alleges.

        I support free speech, but it has limits. If people really did lie about Mark Jacobson’s work in order to hurt his career, why shouldn’t he file a lawsuit? It’s not okay to lie about people to cause them damage.

        (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.)

      • I disagree. If the statements are known to lies that can be better proven in published counter statements in peer reviewed journals and scientists can decide for themselves. By moving it into the court system, things are effectively silenced for years. Dr. Tim Ball is still waiting for a resolution of his case in Canada against Mann. Meanwhile no one can discuss the case because the legal process is still underway. Not only does it intimidate scientists from speaking out in the first place, it also silenced critics for at least 8 years on the specifics of the accusation until the matte is finally settled in court. So let us suppose hypothetically, that a scientist is trying to garner funding from industry or government on the basis of his work. His work is found to be faulty. He silences his opponent by filing a law suit. Meanwhile, while his opponent is silenced he uses his work to go ahead and continue to develop his relationship with industry and/or government and gets a lot of money. A decade later when his case finally gets through the legal system, who will care? Most people won’t even know the results. Meanwhile this hypothetical scientist has all the money. The potential for hiding poor science or even fraud is enormous.

      • Except any examination of the practical aspects of what you describe show your proposed system is completely unfair. Consider how the journal this paper was published in is being sued for basically being an accomplice. If a journal allows libel to be published in it, it is unlikely a person could hope to get a fair treatment when trying to submit any response from them. A journal would be free not to publish the response to the libel it helped promulgate. The system you propose is one in which people who have the favor of a journal (either personally or via position) can abuse anyone who does not with there being no real recourse.

        The simple reality is nobody is above the law. If you commit libel, you can be held responsible for it. There’s no special exception for things said in scientific journals, nor should there be one. Every other group of people has to live with this, including people who’s jobs depend far more on their freedoms (such as journalists). Scientists don’t deserve any special treatment.

        Just imagine if society decided no scientist could be sued for libel over any of his publications. What happens then if Michael Mann or other mainstream climate scientists start writing papers lying about what their critics say, flagrantly making things up about the analysis of anyone they dislike and smearing those people to damage their careers. Now imagine if those people found themselves unable to respond evenly due to the typical gatekeeping of scientific journals.

        I bet plenty of people complaining about this lawsuit would find their position very different in such a case.

      • Thus far, not a single person has discussed those allegations.

        Why would a snowflake bother with that? Much easier to exploit the significant issue of freedom of speech, to hand-wring and self- victimize in order to advance a partisan agenda.

      • 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.

      • Brandon wrote:
        > A journal would be free not to publish the response to the libel it helped promulgate.

        That is called “freedom of the press”: it is the law of the land and has been for a very, very long time.

        E.g., if the NYT or WaPo publish criticisms of the Donald that he does not like they do not have to publish his response. Period.

        Law of the land. First Amendment. You don’t like it, move to North Korea (a place I think Prof. Jacobson would enjoy — not much energy consumption in North Korea!).

    • This lawsuit makes specific allegations of statements the authors knew to be lies. Thus far, not a single person has discussed those allegations. That’s a shame. Maybe this lawsuit is intended solely as a matter of intimidation, but there’s no way for an onlooker to know that if people refuse to discuss what the lawsuit alleges.

      I support free speech, but it has limits. If people really did lie about Mark Jacobson’s work in order to hurt his career, why shouldn’t he file a lawsuit? It’s not okay to lie about people to cause them damage.

      (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.)

      • 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?

      • johnmegent:

        Can you give us, say, five false claims Steyn makes about Mann in his book, that are examples of libel?

        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):

        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.

        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.

      • Brandon, is the book you’re referring to, “A disgrace to the profession”?

      • @Brandon S.

        The quote you gave here from Steyn’s book does not say “Mann deleted forty years of his reconstruction from 1940-1980 and replace it with instrumental data. ”

        Now maybe Steyn said it somewhere else in his book (don’t know), but the quote you have provided doesn’t say that.

      • wijnand2015

        I can’t see that the quoted part says what Brandon wrote. Perhaps its elsewhere in the book? If so it needs to be directly quoted in order to prove Brandon’s point.

        Also one quote that does not appear to support Brandon’s understanding of the matter does not fulfil the criteria of 5 false claims suggested by john

        Five seems excessive but how about a couple Brandon to make your point, but actual quotes or direct references that verify your point? Thanks

        This from Ron Graf elsewhere in the thread concerns Mcintyres ‘amicus brief’ and as such is quite relevant as to what was and wasn’t said by Mann’s assertions (not in relation to Steyn)

        http://www.climateaudit.info/legal/litigation/mann%20v%20steyn/20170126%20McIntyre%20Amicus%20Brief.pdf

        tonyb

      • johnmegent, yes, the quote is.

        wijnand2015, climatereason perhaps it was more clear to me due to me being familiar with the book, but Steyn says Mann’s tree ring record went down after 1940s so he folded in instrumental temperatures to hide the decline in his tree ring reconstruction. I’m not sure how you interpret that other than Steyn saying Mann deleted tree ring data and splicing in the instrumental record to cover the deletion up. I know the exact number of years isn’t specified (and thus may not be 40) but I don’t see how else one could interpret what he wrote.

        Could you describe how you’d interpret that quotation? If it helps, that quotation is from the introduction to a chapter, with the first section of hte chapter beginning with Steyn quoting Jennifer Marohasy:

        My key problem with the ‘the hockey stick’ has always been that the upward spike representing runaway global warming in the 20th Century was never of the same stuff as the rest of the chart. That is the spike is largely based on the instrumental temperature record i.e. the thermometer record, while the downward trending line that it was grafted on to, is based on proxies, in particular estimates of temperature derived from studies of tree rings.

        It has always, for me, been a case of Michael Mann comparing apples and oranges, or to put it another way sticking an apple on the end of a banana.
        – the banana being the long gradual 900-year decline, with an apple core grafted onto the end and pointing upward as the latter-day spike.
        But why was Mann obliged to do this? Dr Marohasy explains:

        the grafting was necessary because the proxy record, i.e. the tree ring record, shows that global temperatures have declined since about 1960.

        Of course we know that global temperature haven’t declined since 1960, or thereabout, so there must be something wrong with the proxy record. This is known as “the divergence problem” and it is a problem, because if tree rings are not a good indicator of global temperature after 1960, how can they be a good indicator of global temperature prior to 1960?

        With Steyn adding commentary:

        This is the hockey stick’s double deformity: The shaft used a novel and bizarre formula to re-make the past …but, if you were to apply the same method to the 20th and 21st century, the result would look nothing like the observed temperature record…. So if his method is flopperoo for telling you what, say, the 1970s were like, why should it be any more reliable for the 1470s?

        Steyn says if you use Mann’s methodology for “the 20th and 21 century, the result would look nothing like the observed temperature record.” He says Mann’s tree ring reconstruction wasn’t used for the 1970s, which could only be true if the instrumental data had replaced it. In the introduction to the chapter the quote I provided was from, he says:

        If the tree rings can’t read the 1960s correctly, why should we believe what they tell us about the 1560s or the 1260s?

        I’m not sure if that additional context helps resolve our differing interpretations or not. If not, could you clarify how you would interpret what Steyn wrote?

      • Brandon S? It’s not like anyone would actually read past the third.

        I have read Steyn’s “A disgrace to the profession”, and (almost?) all of your criticisms of it that you have posted here.

        Michael Mann did not delete any data from the modern portion of his reconstruction.

        The quote you provide does not say that Mann “[deleted]” data. How would you describe how Mann handled “the divergence problem”, and the reason that the IPCC removed the “Hockey Stick” graph from its web site? “The divergence problem” is that the method of reconstruction of past temperatures, at the time of the original “hockey stick” produced inaccurate estimates for the modern period, undermining any confidence that they could be accurate for the past.

      • matthewrmarler:

        I have read Steyn’s “A disgrace to the profession”, and (almost?) all of your criticisms of it that you have posted here.

        That’s cool to hear, but my remark was based largelup opon me recognizing Steyn’s book isn’t too topical for this blog post. If Steyn’s book were more relevant to the post, I’d expect people to pay more attention to things I might say about it. That said, I might have underestimated the patience/interest of readers here.

        The quote you provide does not say that Mann “[deleted]” data. How would you describe how Mann handled “the divergence problem”, and the reason that the IPCC removed the “Hockey Stick” graph from its web site?

        As far as I know, neither of these things happened. Michael Mann didn’t handle the divergence problem because it didn’t exist in his data. As for the IPCC removing a graph from its web site, this is the first I’ve heard of that supposedly happening. If it did happen, it’s news to me.

        “The divergence problem” is that the method of reconstruction of past temperatures, at the time of the original “hockey stick” produced inaccurate estimates for the modern period, undermining any confidence that they could be accurate for the past.

        That didn’t happen. Michael Mann’s reconstruction tracked modern temperatures by design. In fact, one of the central problems with Mann’s methodology (which has received far less attention than it deserves as people focused on PCA more) is he basically weighted proxies by their correlation to the modern temperature record.

        That is, the better a proxy matched the modern temperature record, the more weight it was given. The result was Mann’s methodology could basically never fail to produce a temperature rise in the modern portion. Such a rise was built into his methodology. There couldn’t have been a divergence like Steyn claims because Mann’s methodology wouldn’t have allowed one to exist – not even if his data had actually contained one.

        It’s not difficult to see what has happened either. The divergence problem initially came up in work by Keith Briffa. Briffa deleted portions of his reconstruction because of it being divergent. Steyn and many others have simply taken what Briffa did and attributed it to Mann. In fact, Steyn’s book repeatedly refers to aspects of Briffa’s work as problems with mann’s, including quoting people who directly discussed Briffa’s work as though they were discussing Mann’s.

        I might have been able to tolerate such sloppiness if it had no effect, but people believing there was a divergence in Mann’d reconstruction that needed to be hidden results in people not realizing a central problem of Mann’s reconstruction = that it was forced to match the instrumental record, no matter what the data might show. Fabricating a fake problem with Mann’s work that hides a real, central problem with his work is offensive to me.

      • Brandon S: Michael Mann’s reconstruction tracked modern temperatures by design.

        Tell us again why the IPCC took the hockkey stick down from its web site. Did that constitute “defamation”? Did the IPCC make a mistake in so doing?

        I seem to have a memory that you were going to assemble all of your criticisms of Steyn’s book into a shareable document? Am I wrong about that? Does a document exist that you can share?

      • Brandon S but people believing there was a divergence in Mann’d reconstruction that needed to be hidden results in people not realizing a central problem of Mann’s reconstruction

        What exactly was Mann’s “trick to hide the decline”?

      • “What was Mann’s trick to hide the decline.”

        I did not write a book on this as Brandon has but I believe that the quote came from Phil Jones not understanding Mike’s Nature trick was not splicing but just systematic increased weighting the favored data. If this is the case I would hope that Brandon would find it excusable after all that Steyn made the same mistake as the head of the Climate Research Unit.

        If this is not the case I would still hope Brandon could see that mis-articulating the exact method of the trick ( perhaps fraud) is not libelous.

      • matthewrmarler, asking a person to answer a question “again” after they’ve already answered it, without acknowledging the answer they gave, is rude. It also suggests there’s no value in answering any questions you might ask. I certainly don’t see a point in providing a detailed explanation of what a well-known topic is after you do it.

        As for your memory, your memory is false. I have considered such an idea, but the length of any document which sought to fully detail the issues with Mark Steyn’s book would be almost as long as his book. It would take less time and effort to detail what Steyn wrote that was accurate.

        Heck, just listing his misquotations would take over 20 pages. Excluding ones people might dismiss as copy editing would still leave it at five pages. And that’s just flat-out misquotations. That doesn’t even touch on the much larger problem of Steyn grossly misrepresenting things he quotes. You can see where I attempted to start creating such a list in this post here, but I gave up while having only scratched hte surface.

      • Ron Graf: If this is the case I would hope that Brandon would find it excusable after all that Steyn made the same mistake as the head of the Climate Research Unit.

        If this is not the case I would still hope Brandon could see that mis-articulating the exact method of the trick ( perhaps fraud) is not libelous.

        I like the way that you wrote that.

      • Ron Graf:

        I did not write a book on this as Brandon has but I believe that the quote came from Phil Jones not understanding Mike’s Nature trick was not splicing but just systematic increased weighting the favored data. If this is the case I would hope that Brandon would find it excusable after all that Steyn made the same mistake as the head of the Climate Research Unit.

        That is not correct. Any time you smooth data, the data at the ends gets treated differently than the data in the middle as there is less data on one side. One common solution to this is to “pad” your series with extra values so you have enough to treat every point of your series equally. When this is done, you chop off the extra portions.

        Michael Mann’s “trick” was to use the modern instrumental record for his padding. That was done only to allow the smoothing algorithm to work properly, and its effect was quite minor. Without it, the reconstruction still clearly looked like a hockey stick, and in fact, the difference was almost unnoticeable when the reconstruction was plotted with instrumental values. Finally, this was only done when creating graphs for the reconstruction. The underlying data series was not altered, meaning anyone who downloaded the reconstruction’s values could plot the data without using Mann’s “trick.”

        That said, you are correct about Phil Jones not understanding what Mann did. Mann only appended data to address endpoint issues in his smoothing. Jones simply added the data and pretended the result was one continuous series. That resulted in presenting modern instrumental temperature data as part of reconstructed temperatures, which is a big deal.

        If this is not the case I would still hope Brandon could see that mis-articulating the exact method of the trick ( perhaps fraud) is not libelous.

        It is certainly libelous to falsely accuse a person of deleting reconstructed values which go the wrong way and replacing them with instrumental data to get one’s desired results. Whether that libel can uphold a lawsuit is a different matter. One has to examine the mindset of the person who made the false accusation to see what, if any, standards they held themselves to in reporting their false accusation.

        When dealing with public figures, libel lawsuits are very difficult to maintain. However, the quality of Steyn’s book is so low, and the misrepresentations in it so constant and obvious, I believe it provides meaningful support to the idea Steyn bloviates. If Steyn honestly believes his false claims, the law says he should win any libel suit brought by public figures. However, if Steyn just talks out his posterior without having any interest in whether or not what he says is true, the law says he can lose.

        The question a judge and jury would have to consider when looking at things like what’s in Steyn’s book is why did he say what he said? Did he truly believe it? If so, Steyn should win. But if Steyn simply said things because he liked how they sounded, not because he actually believed them, Steyn should lose/

        Of course, Mann hasn’t sued over Steyn’s book or managed to bring it into his lawsuit in some other way so far so none of that may matter. It is quite possibly Mann will lose the lawsuit he filed even though he could have won a lawsuit filed over his book. It’s also possible Steyn and his co-defendants will continue bungling their defense as they have thus far, causing them to lose a lawsuit they should be able to win with ease. The world is a strange place like that.

    • “Scientific disagreements must be decided not in court but rather through the scientific process.” The very act of filing a lawsuit shows that this is not a scientific disagreement, but .. “The stated purpose of the lawsuit is to address false claims the authors of one paper..” I have to conclude that a scientific disagreement can not even exist. Time is out of joint.

    • Brandon S?: 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.

      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?

      • 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 S: You should know the questions you ask are misleading.

        In what ways are my questions 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: 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.

        Jacobson claiming that the claim of error was false does not make it false. His explanation to Clack does not imply that Clack “knew” it was false.

    • “Fallacy” has no intent. Your argument falls down on that.

      A fallacious argument is not an intent to mislead. It is an argument in error, a logical fallacy.

    • Hey, no need to spend all that money on a court case when Brandon can resolve it for us. He clearly understands all the facts in the case and can be trusted to stand for truth, justice and the American way.

      • Based on how bad a job the lawyers have done for the defendants so far, hiring me couldn’t be worse. Then again, I’m not sure hiring a random hobo off the street could be worse. I cringe at thinking about how much money these lawyers are making.

        Come to think of it, the longer this case drags on, the more billable hours the lawyers get. Isn’t it in their best interest to not resolve this quickly so long as doing so doesn’t get them fired? If so, maybe it’s not entirely unsurprising they’ve decided to go with a bad defense. It’s good enough to keep from losing the case, but it’s not good enough to get the case thrown out.

    • “I can’t speak to this lawsuit’s veracity as I’m not familiar enough with the underlying factual disputes, but if what it said happened did in fact happen as it says, this lawsuit is appropriate. 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.”

      This is only half an argument, Brandon.
      Do you mean as well,

      “I can’t speak to this lawsuit’s veracity as I’m not familiar enough with the underlying factual disputes, but if what it said happened did not in fact happen as it says, this lawsuit is not appropriate. That truth might have been published in a scientific journal about a scientific issue does not stop them from being truth hence not appropriately addressed with legal action.”

      Since the veracity of the lawsuit is fundamental to the merits of suing one might be advised to let it go through to the keeper rather than making a comment taking sides to stir people up.

      I think Mark Steyn did a wonderful number on Michael Mann by the way and your Nick Stokes like attack on him would have run much better if only we could be more sure of the veracity.

  6. Michael Schellenberger wrote, in Environmental Progress:

    Jacobson’s proposal is to expand radically hydroelectric dams so they can support unreliable solar and wind energy. Such a proposal would devastate fish species even more than they have already been devastated.

    The only way to promote such an environmentally devastating agenda is to claim it is good for the environment. That requires lying.

    Calling it “lying” is uncharitable and too escalatory. Jacobson probably just judged the environmental cost of fewer fish as tiny in comparison to the cost of more CO2.

    • The issue is not the environmental cost of fewer fish. The issue is the actual cost to Prof. Jacobson.

      • That was the original issue. Schellenberger’s comment involved a second issue. That second issue is the one I addressed.

    • I agree, it doesn’t help to use the l word. Shellenberger has accused Jacobson of lying previously on his blog.

      I don’t think Jacobson is lying. I think he’s just obsessed and delusional. As Feynmann put it, “the easiest person to fool is yourself”. Jacobson has fooled himself, but nobody else

      • “Jacobson has fooled himself, but nobody else”

        Unfortunately,his paper has been cited many times in the literature and apparently many green NGOs have bought into its argument and promoted it among their readers.

      • Huh. Your comment made me realize this blog post misspelled his name as “Schellenberger.” I was using that spelling because I assumed the post got it right. I really should have verified that spelling given how many times I’ve had my name misspelled as “Schollenberger.”

    • Its not only fewer fish. Increasing the power tenfold requires more water volume and/or more head. Water volume is usually maxed, but one can conceive of a system whereby the hydropower is used only to backup solar and wind. This of course requires intermittent power generation, and restricting water flow to a minimum when renewables happen to be available.

      I can visualize installing 10 fold water turbines, but what bothers me is the idea that rivers downstream will be loaded with 10 times current flow. That would be devastating, cause flooding, alter landscapes, etc. Picture a 10X normal water volume flowing down the Tennessee River on a sporadic sometimes random basis, in pulses that last from one hour to two days.

      Increasing head could help a bit, but that requires raising dams and flooding a much larger area. That’s something which requires a site appraisal, but I doubt it would allow a significant increase.

  7. If not a “modeling error” then what… fraud, right?

    • According to the lawsuit, it was nothing but lies by the authors of the paper who criticized his work. That is, the fabricated the claim of a modeling error by saying things they knew to be false. I’d like to think people wouldn’t oppose filing a lawsuit over lies intended to harm a person simply because those lies were published in a scientific journal.

      In any realm of life, it is usually wrong for a disagreement to be settled via a lawsuit. However, in extreme cases it can be appropriate. The question I haven’t seen anyone ask is, “Is this one of those extreme cases?” If not, then the lawsuit should be scorned as inappropriate and intended to intimidate. If so, the lawsuit should be supported because lying is bad.

      • What next tho… Hollywood star sues movie reviewer?

      • Brandon: “The question I haven’t seen anyone ask is, “Is this one of those extreme cases?” If not, then the lawsuit should be scorned as inappropriate and intended to intimidate. If so, the lawsuit should be supported because lying is bad.”

        Brandon, I agree with the half of you that says law suits are appropriate last resorts for settling disputes, (regardless of lying).

        More specifically, the appropriate purpose for liable and slander law lies in those of weaker means of rebuttal but whose livelihood is damaged by the resulting harm in reputation. People with instant media access or the media itself are very limited to sue since they have available means to clear out false facts (and in so doing place a ding the reputation of the accuser). In the case of any dispute among scientists that is the result of published claims the appropriate response is through publishing. Both the accuser and accused investigators are on equal footing and share equal risks.

        Part of Mann’s suit claims that his defamer made the accusation that Mann’s alleged misconduct was not properly investigated. If Steyn’s showed flagrant disregard of truth, and Steyn cannot prove the accusation is true, then Mann has a case to prove damages the article caused him.

        However, in Mann’s case I think Steyn wins with no other material needed besides Steve McIntyre’s amicus brief filed earlier this year.

      • Ron Graf:

        In the case of any dispute among scientists that is the result of published claims the appropriate response is through publishing. Both the accuser and accused investigators are on equal footing and share equal risks.

        This is simply false. In a person intentionally lies in a publication in a scientific journal, one cannot expect to undue the harm simply by publishing something of their own. They certainly cannot hope to address the problem of a scientific journal willfully asitsting in the spread of such a lie by publishing an article of their own.

        If you intentionally tell lies you know will likely harm a person’s professional career, you should expect to be sued. It doesn’t matter if you tell your lies in a newspaper, book or scientific journal. That a person might be able to write an equitable publication which points out what you said were lies is nowhere near a sufficient recourse as to make lawsuits inappropriate.

        Part of Mann’s suit claims that his defamer made the accusation that Mann’s alleged misconduct was not properly investigated. If Steyn’s showed flagrant disregard of truth, and Steyn cannot prove the accusation is true, then Mann has a case to prove damages the article caused him.

        However, in Mann’s case I think Steyn wins with no other material needed besides Steve McIntyre’s amicus brief filed earlier this year.

        I’ve repeatedly said Michael Mann committed fraud so I think what Mark Steyn said about him is true. However, I would not be surprised, or even dismayed, if Steyn lost a libel lawsuit to Mann. There are two reasons (which correspond): 1) The legal defense thus far has been inept. Steyn and the other defendants argued they were allowed to say what they said because of freedom of speech. Specifically, they claimed saying Mann’s work was fraudulent did not involve any factual content which could be proven false. That’s BS. Not only is it a stupid argument, but in turn it meant they couldn’t argue it is provably true Mann committed fraud. If they had argued they could prove it was true Mann committed fraud from the beginning, the case would have been thrown out years ago. It was largely because they weren’t willing to stand by what they said this quagmire got created.

        2) Steyn deserves to suffer for the many false statements he has made. Steyn’s book libels many people by misquoting or misrepresenting what they said in a way that’d hurt their reputation. His book is filled with so many inaccuracies, outright falsehoods, misquotations and other misrepresentations it shows exactly why freedom of speech has restrictions. If it is legally permissible, Mann should seek to amend his complaint to add in Steyn’s book. If he could manage to do that, I suspect he’d win the case. Steyn really did libel Mann and other in his book.

        Which is ironic, in the real sense of the word. Steyn wrote a book to discredit the idea he libeled anyone, but instead, the book wound up libeling numerous people. Skeptics (as a group) don’t care though. They don’t even care about the freedom of speech. Skeptics just want to be able to get away with saying anything they want, no matter how false it might be. That’s now how the legal system works. It’s not how the legal system should work either.

      • Specifically, they claimed saying Mann’s work was fraudulent did not involve any factual content which could be proven false. That’s BS. Not only is it a stupid argument, but in turn it meant they couldn’t argue it is provably true Mann committed fraud.

        Making one legal defense does not preclude any other defenses even when they are logically contradictory. I believe Steyn would have preferred arguing the claims are true and have Mann be cross-examined in a trial. Steyn’s co-defendants, OTH, preferred absence of malice and settlement.

        Skeptics just want to be able to get away with saying anything they want, no matter how false it might be. That’s now how the legal system works. It’s not how the legal system should work either.

        The freedom of speech debate weighs the value of unfettered expression of ideas versus the harm of intentional mis-information. I think the line is rightly placed at intentional falsity with intent to do harm. The degree of obligation of special care to avoid harm should be commensurate to the a-symmetry of the party’s respective resources to sway public information.

      • Some people don’t like the implications of what they said or their work, and implication which are bad for someone particularly politically powerful in their industry.

        Suffering from cognitive dissonance is not the same as suffering from libel.

      • Ron Graf:

        Making one legal defense does not preclude any other defenses even when they are logically contradictory. I believe Steyn would have preferred arguing the claims are true and have Mann be cross-examined in a trial. Steyn’s co-defendants, OTH, preferred absence of malice and settlement.

        if the two defenses rest upon mutually exclusive legal arguments, using one does in fact preclude the other. That’s why the defendants didn’t argue what they said was factually true while simultaneously saying it contained no factually provable component. The judge would have never tolerated it.

        Steyn has since changed his position to drop the claim what he said is not provably true. However, because his legal argument for a year was that what he said was not provably true, his case was inextricably linked to that of the other defendants who have stuck with that position since day one. The simple reality is when you lie down with people who use mealy-mouthed legal defenses, you can’t expect a speedy trial as that’s not what they’re aiming for. If you want a speedy trial, cut with the BS gamesmanship.

        The freedom of speech debate weighs the value of unfettered expression of ideas versus the harm of intentional mis-information. I think the line is rightly placed at intentional falsity with intent to do harm.

        If only this were the position Skeptics actually held to. It’s not though. Skeptics have shown time and time again when legal challenges get raised, they don’t even look at the issue of whether or not what was said was intentionally false. The Skeptic movement covers for members who intentionally lie.

        Just look at how not a single person has even attempted to examine the factual aspects of the complaint in this case. The complaint alleges specific lies were told. Nobody has even attempted to argue what was said were not lies that were intentionally told. It’s an issue nobody has expressed the slightest interest in. Clearly, the line isn’t being drawn at intentional lies.

      • Brandon S: “Is this one of those extreme cases?”

        Is it? Does Jacobson make a case that it is? Have you tried to make a case that it is?

        What we have is a case of scientists disagreeing about whether a proposition used in a derivation has a sound basis. I thought when I first read the Jacobson report that the Jacobson vision was fanciful; it is like the claim I used to read that all of the garbage in the US could be disposed of in a single manageable hole in S. Dakota (based on a computation of volumes), or that all of the electricity demand in the US could be satisfied by a solar farm in a relatively small patch of Nevada desert.

      • Is this one of those extreme cases?

        Clearly no, except for Brandon and Jacobson.

      • Where is the evidence that Clack et el lied Brandon? Is Jacobson’s saying so sufficient evidence for you?

  8. It’s like bearing witness to a somewhat less lethal version of the French Revolution.

  9. One bunch of nongs who claim 80% renewables is easy and affordable blasts another who says it can be 100%.

    I cannot wait for another people to come out saying they are both foolish.
    Implausible assumptions is a great title for a future post, Judith.

    Anyway a good laugh seeing Brandon defend the indefensible as well, he is known for being spot on the money.

    Still, as long as one can sleep in a tent and hunt fish with a spear we can still relax at night and blog on our solar powered I pads in the future about how good it was in the past.

  10. The first of many emperors with no clothes.
    I would sue too with all the nasty hateful things they said about his views.
    How dare they.

  11. Restore Scientific Integrity
    Chris Clacky would do well to raise Richard Feynman’s high standard of scientific integrity in @mzjacobson vs @clacky007 Mark Z. Jacobson would do well to instead welcome ALL possible challenges and tests to his hypothesis. https://twitter.com/DavidLHagen/status/925938152489013248

  12. I can’t see how this can get past a motion to dismiss. There’s not only the issue of showing actual malice, but I think he’d have trouble finding words that were defamatory (unlike Mann, where terms like “the Jerry Sandusky of science” are certainly defamatory).

    • I agree with Nick for once. Surely Jacobson’s case will be thrown out at the earliest opportunity?

    • Nick, who changed their view about Michael Mann as a result of what was written? It’s not enough for him to say that his feelings were hurt. He will need to show that he was shunned by friends or failed to advance in his career, or something, anything.

      That is the value of the “disgrace to the profession” book. It will be used as evidence that Mann was held in such low esteem within his field that his reputation has not been harmed at all because such harm would be impossible.

    • Nick, how did being called the Jerry Sandusky of science harm Mann’s reputation? Did you, for example, think any the less of him? Did you shun him? Did it harm his advancement in his field?

      What exactly was the effect of this alleged defamation?

      • Sorry mods. My first post did not appear when I posted. Please delete this one.

      • Actually, Mann doesn’t have to show damages like you claim because of the concept of defamation per se. That refers to a type of claim which is so serious in nature that damages taken as a given. When dealing with defamation per se, legally, there is no burden of proof in regard to damages. The defense might try to argue damages did not happen, but the burden of proof is on them, and it is not easy to meet.

        Mark Steyn’s book doesn’t help his case. In fact, his book is filled with so many errors, misquotations, false statements and willful misrepresentations, it could well be the basis of a libel lawsuit itself. Not necessarily by Mann either. Steyn libeled a number of people in his book by grossly misrepresenting/misquoting what they said. That’s not an academic point either. The inaccuracies and falsehoods of Steyn’s book are crucial to his narrative of Mann being widely scorned.

        Of course, Skeptics don’t seem to care about that. Skeptics would have a field day with Steyn’s book if it roles were reversed. I think that shows people’s complains about legal actions aren’t actually about whether those legal actions are justified under the law. If Skeptics had any interest in fairness or integrity, they would at least admit Steyn’s book is horribly accurate. They would never accept it from someone like Michael Mann.

      • Brandon, Mann will indeed need to show that he suffered a loss if he is to get a payout from Steyn. I did not however assert that it was an element of the tort. You are arguing against something I didn’t say.

        Oh and the plaintiff must establish that he has suffered the loss. Otherwise nominal damages will be awarded and You no doubt know about the costs regime.

        I’ll leave you to your views on Steyn’s book. You might have a better crystal ball than me.

        One last thing though, who altered their opinion of Mann as a result of the alleged defamation? You? Anybody? I for one always thought he was low life.

      • I’m sorry, but what you say is simply false. There is no need to show damages in a case involving defamation per se. When you say Mann would need to show damages to get a payout, you’re simply wrong. In a case of defamation per se, large payouts can come without the plaintiff doing anything to show what damages were suffered.

        For defamation per se, as a matter of law, damages are assumed. Plaintiffs only have to attempt to quantify damages if they want to encourage the judge/jury to aware a certain amount of rebut the defendants’ attempts to prove damages were not suffered.

        I don’t know what point you think I argued against that you didn’t say, but what you just said is wrong as a matter of law.

      • 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.

      • Some people don’t like the implications of what they said or their work, and the pointing out of implications which may disagree with their personal beliefs and which are bad for someone particularly politically powerful in their industry.

        Suffering from cognitive dissonance is not the same as suffering from libel.

      • 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. 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.

      • Notice Nick how you did not even attempt to answer my question.

        As the great man used to say, why is it so?

      • Nick Stokes:

        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.

        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.

        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.

        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.

      • Brandon do you give refunds for your free legal advice?

      • 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.

      • 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!

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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:
        Findlaw:
        “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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • That’s it Don? Are you quite sure you’ve got nothing else to add?

      • I’ll help you, Gumpy.

        Gumpy said: “You appear to have missed the phrase “so damaging”.”

        You took that out of context, Gumpy. You need to read the whole thing:

        “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.”

        Defamation per se refers to statements that are deemed defamatory on their face. I gave you (3) examples of the types of statements that are defamation per se, unless proven to be true.

        You said: “Oh and the plaintiff must establish that he has suffered the loss.”
        Not in a case of defamation per se, Gumpy. Try to read the freaking words, Gumpy. Read all of them. Don’t pick and choose. That’s the learning method of a dingbat. If you don’t get it now, you got some issues with your brain.

      • Is that it Don? Are you quite sure you have nothing else to add?

      • I tried to guide you down the path to knowledge, Gumpy. But you just keep bumping into trees and tripping over pebbles. You are now lying prostrate on the ground. Get thyself up! Wipe the dirt off your face. Open your freaking eyes. Learn how to read. Use your little pointy head, Gumpy. You are dismissed.

      • Is that it Don? Are you quite sure you have nothing else to add?

      • Bradon S: Mark Steyn’s book doesn’t help his case.
        It shows that field was full of criticisms of Mann at the time that Steyn wrote the article.

        That will make it hard to show actual malice or the other criteria for “defamation”. I conjecture that is why Mann is making so little effort to move the case forward. Your analyses show how hard it is for someone familiar with the field to find many actual errors, in my opinion. Perhaps you can testify for Mann at trial. I would follow that testimony with great interest.

      • Let’s see if Gumpy is still around.

      • Let’s see how long the moderators will tolerate your conduct and whether you really are a protected species.

    • Nick Stokes, oddly enough the phrase you quoted for the Mark Steyn case wasn’t used as the basis for claims of defamation. The reason is defamation, for the purpose of lawsuits, requires provable facts (either directly stated or clearly implied). Insults like what you quoted don’t involve facts, therefore they cannot be the basis for a lawsuit. Mann’s suit against Steyn rests instead on Steyn having said Mann’s work was fraudulent. That’s the sort of statement, which, if false, should trigger a lawsuit. (It isn’t false as Mann did commit fraud, but that’s a separate issue of a type which is supposed to be resolved at trial.).

      In the current case, I don’t see why any judge would dismiss this for lack of foundation. The lawsuit’s allegation is Jacobson’s critics claimed his work contained serious errors which invalidated his work. It was basically a polite way of saying Jacobson did terrible job, based upon specific factual claims. According to the lawsuit, those claims were not just false, but their falsity was easy to verify. The journal and authors were repeatedly informed of the falsity of those claims, but a paper containing them was published anyway.

      The lawsuit portrays a clear-cut case of people telling obvious lies which would make a person’s professional work look bad without basis. That’s exactly what libel lawsuits are for. The lawsuit further portrays a journal as violating its own policies and ignoring repeated calls for obvious errors to be corrected (as part of its form peer-review process), to the point it was warned legal action would be taken due to the nature of these errors. That would make the journal culpable for violating its own formal policies (in addition) to knowingly spread lies it knew would harm a person’s professional career.

      The lawsuit’s allegations are perfectly in line with what a libel lawsuit requires. If the allegations are correct, this lawsuit is completely appropriate, both on a legal basis and a moral one. People shouldn’t be allowed to tell lies which will damage a person’s professional career. Libel law exists because of that. There neither is nor should be an exception in libel law for lies which are told in a scientific journal. Whether you tell your lies in a newspaper, book or scientific journal doesn’t matter.

      I don’t know enough about this case to say with certainty whose narrative might be correct, but so far, I haven’t seen anything which contradicts what Jacobson alleges. If people want to claim this lawsuit is just for intimidation, they should at least put a little effort into explaining how what Jacobson alleges is either false or not as bad as he says. Because quite frankly, his allegations are incredibly serious.

      • 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.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        Brandon,

        Earlier you wrote “The Skeptic movement covers for members who intentionally lie.”.
        You must believe that there is a sceptic movement and that it is peopled. I can be one such member.
        When I study your quote, I exclaim mentally, “Brandon, that is a lie”. Brandon, do you now feel that you ought to receive papers for a libel against you? Geoff

      • A clear cut case of telling lies. huh?

        Because Jacobson says so. Yep, that is clear cut.

        This shows one should not get their law degree from an on line clearing house in Nigeria.

      • Read this for Jacobson’s detailed response to Clack. Make your own judgment from that. This was not linked in the article for some reason.
        https://www.scribd.com/document/351730638/17-06-Ecowatch

  13. I would like to make it clear that I think that all scientists -especially in the field of climate-are brilliant and always correct in whatever they write and their models are without reproach..

    Especially brilliant are Dr Mann, James Hansen and everyone who has ever written about climate change including Bob Ward and Al Gore..

    The Met Office and all its scientists are brilliant. Gavin is always correct. No scientist has ever written an incorrect thing and science should never be challenged.

    In particular I would like to publicly rebut the Royal Society’s blasphemous ideas on Science and the duty of other scientists to challenge it . What do they know?

    ‘Our origins lie in a 1660 ‘invisible college’ of natural philosophers and physicians. Today we are the UK’s national science academy and a Fellowship of some 1,600 of the world’s most eminent scientists.

    The very first ‘learned society’ meeting on 28 November 1660 followed a lecture at Gresham College by Christopher Wren. Joined by other leading polymaths including Robert Boyle and John Wilkins, the group soon received royal approval, and from 1663 it would be known as ‘The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge’.

    The Royal Society’s motto ‘Nullius in verba’ is taken to mean ‘take nobody’s word for it’. It is an expression of the determination of Fellows to withstand the domination of authority and to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment. ‘

    tonyb

  14. It reminds me more of the Catholic Spanish Inquisition who put that nasty Geocentric Denier Galileo under house arrest in 1615. 97% a consensus of astronomers in the University of Pisa believed the sun went around the earth.
    Heretical heliocentrism must be punished – Galileo made the 97% look silly they felt libled.

    • It reminds you wrongly. The Spanish Inquisition had nothing to do with Galileo, who was tried in Italy by the Roman Inquisition.

      • Roman / Spanish ? “NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION”
        Galileo was a rascal denier anyway. Probably racketeering as well!
        An entire generation of a massively funded scientific establishment will never accept that maybe they got large parts of the science just wrong. I think it will take until 2060 when most have died off or retired before the whole subject will be quietly forgotten. What a waste of energy, life force and time.

  15. Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    You couldn’t make it up. Welcome to the crazy world of climate recriminations.

  16. Pingback: Stanford Prof sues scientists who criticized him – demands $10M | Climate Etc. | Cranky Old Crow

  17. Astrologers didn’t attack each other, as far as I know. What’s different about climate science. I think it’s mixing in social justice.

  18. In his book Galileo called the character representing the official Church view ‘Simplicio’. That didn’t amuse them much.
    https://math.berkeley.edu/~robin/Galileo/view.html

    • Actually Pope Urban VIII asked Galileo to put his words in his book and make it neutral for both theories. Galileo complied only with the first request by putting the Pope’s words in Simplicio. Up to that point Urban VIII had supported Galileo, but certainly he wasn’t amused by the way his request was fulfilled.

      • Javier, indeed. The pope supported Galileo, and in exchange, Galileo wrote a book painting him as an imbecile. It doesn’t get much dumber than that.

        It always amazes me how people cite Galileo as some sort of scientific hero. The reality is Galileo’s problems stemmed almost entirely from the fact he didn’t have evidence to prove his theories. Galileo had an idea. Galileo had evidence which kind of supported his idea but wasn’t conclusive and could have fit other theories. Galileo decided that didn’t matter. Galileo decided even though he didn’t have evidence he would promote his theory as fact. The Church told him not to. The Church told him unless he could provide proof of his theory, he could only promote his theory as a theory, not a fact.

        Galileo’s trouble arose from his completely unscientific practice of demanding people agree with things he said even though he didn’t have proof for them. He did this on a number of topics, including ones where was wrong. He went so far as to demand the church change religious dogma based on his unproven ideas. There was some pushback toward his behavior due to religious fervor, but ultimately, Galileo’s problem was he wouldn’t stop demanding people agree with his theories which he didn’t have proof for.

        That’s not a scientific hero. That’s the opposite. That Galileo happened to be right on his most important theory doesn’t make his behavior any better. Galileo would have remained hugely popular and respected if he had just not demanded people believe things he couldn’t prove to be true. He wasn’t hated for his ideas; he was hated because people didn’t like being told they had to believe things the evidence didn’t show to be true.

      • I don’t know where you get the idea that Galileo had no evidence for his theories (either simple equations of motion or the Galilean satellites), but he worked hard at both and proved both.

        Galileo was a giant, rightfully so.

      • David Appell, given I never said Galileo had no evidence, I am not surprised you have no idea where I got such an idea. The only person who has even considered that idea here is yourself, in your imagination of what I have supposedly said.

        What I did say is Galileo did not have sufficient evidence to prove his theory. That is true. The evidence Galileo had was not conclusive, as his contenmporaries pointed out. There were other theories at the time which could have explained it. Specifically, while Galileo’s evidence correctly rejected the Ptolemaic system, it could not disprove the Tychonic system. (And technically, the evidence couldn’t disprove either system, merely make them implausible.)

        Also, some of what he claimed as evidence was simply wrong. For instance, he claimed his theories about the Earth’s movement explained the tides, something his contemporaries correctly noted to be incorrect. This was a particularly bad argument for Galileo as he spent quite a bit of time on it even though his work on the topic was shoddy. When fleshed out, Galileo’s theory on tidal movements was easily seen to be internally inconsistent and impossible.

      • Steven Mosher

        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”

      • Steven Mosher | November 2, 2017 at 9:09 pm |
        Touche.
        Well done.

      • Steven Mosher

        yes angech

        Appell should sue Brandon for some sort of typo.

        watch. Brandon will never own the fact that he said no evidence
        and then changed it to

        ‘What I did say is Galileo did not have sufficient evidence to prove his theory.”

        he didnt say “sufficient evidence” he said

        “The reality is Galileo’s problems stemmed almost entirely from the fact he didn’t have evidence to prove his theories.”

        Brandon will point out that he didnt use the word “no”

        But he lies when he implies that he said “‘What I did say is Galileo did not have sufficient evidence to prove his theory.”

        he said no such thing.

        Lets nit pick him to death.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        Brandon S,
        Cut this “Galileo’s trouble arose from his completely unscientific practice of demanding people agree with things he said even though he didn’t have proof for them”
        Paste this “The IPCC’s trouble arose from its completely unscientific practice of demanding people agree with things the members said even though they didn’t have proof for them.”
        Then do continue your interesting assertions. Geoff.

      • Steven Mosher says:

        watch. Brandon will never own the fact that he said no evidence

        That’s because I am capable of reading simple sentences. Having evidence is not the same as having evidence to prove something, Police routinely have evidence which implicates a person in a crime without that evidence being sufficient to prove the person is guilty of the crime.

        I get someone can look at the phrase “evidence to prove his theories” and note the word “sufficient” is not explicitly stated. However, I think most people can recognize when a person says “evidence to prove” something, they mean evidence sufficient to prove it not just any amount of evidence. After all, you can’t prove something without sufficient evidence.

        I love discussion of semantics, but people like Mosher are either terrible at them because they are terrible at using the English language, or they are just like making things up to troll. Either way, it’s a waste of space.

        Geoff Sherrington, I am well aware of the parallels one can draw between Galileo and the IPCC. I’ve always thought it funny Skeptics try to use Galileo to gain credibility. Galileo was not the hero they try to portray him as, and Skeptics could have gone the other way.

      • Of course he won’t Steve. That’s how Brandon rolls.

      • Now it’s getting laughable. Brandon, who is apparently an expert on the law, is also a distinguished English language expert.

        Guess he missed what Mosher’s original field of study was.

      • Brandon S –

        I think the way Mosher nit-picked your words is what you tend to do to others and what you did to Steyn. You have to approach these disputes with some degree of charity that allows your opponent to be a bit imprecise from time to time.

  19. IMHO dragging a scientific journal to the courts is going to do a lot more damage to Jacobson career that anything the defendants might have done or said.

    • I’m sure Jacobson has thought about that. And decided to sue anyway.

      I don’t see what’s wrong with this. It’s his choice. Maybe now some deniers will think twice about making wild and obviously ridiculous statements.

      • “Maybe now some deniers will think twice about making wild and obviously ridiculous statements.”

        Yes, maybe he will, when his case gets thrown out and he has to pay the legal bills and he becomes even more of a laughing-stock than he already is.

      • A fair trial in open court will do everyone a lot of good. We have discussed this before. It will be costly for the litigants, especially the loser, but cross-examination of all the witnesses for the plaintiff under penalty of perjury, by well-advised counsel for the defendants, will be informative for everyone following the details of the controversies, and even more for people not following the details. If conducted expeditiously, that is. The experience of Mann v. Steyn and Steyn v. Mann show that “the process is the punishment”.

      • David Appell: Maybe now some deniers will think twice about making wild and obviously ridiculous statements.

        Maybe. But many “non-wild” and obviously “non-ridiculous” criticisms of the calls for urgent action will withstand scrutiny in open court.

      • 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.

      • Nullius in verba takes on a hole new meaning in the
        cli-sci debate, Mark Jacobson, Michael Mann et Al,
        Jugadish Shukla, David Appall…

    • Appell –

      So now a “denier” is someone who doubts that we can meet all our energy needs with renewables by some date?

  20. “What Jacobson has done is unprecedented.”

    I’m sure he knows this.

    “Scientific disagreements must be decided not in court but rather through the scientific process.”

    Why?

    Seriously, why?

    • David, do you plan to denounce Judith Curry again? That would be unprecedented.

    • DA ““Scientific disagreements must be decided not in court but rather through the scientific process.” Why?
      Seriously, 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.

      JD

      • JD, you are spoiling my dream of a grand Mann v Steyn trial with scores of top field experts flying in around the country to testify for one side or the other. The nationally televised spectacle would amount to the 21st century equivalent to the Scopes Trial. The finely tuned expert evidence would be would be summarized and eloquently debated by the modern equivalents of then presidential candidate William Jennings Bryant and legendary Clarence Darrow. I can even envision the air conditioning breaking down on a scorching mid-July day forcing the trial to convene outdoors, furthering the drama as in the Scopes trial, (though they had no AC).

        The result would be similar to Scopes, who was found guilty of teaching evolution in violation to the new Tennessee state law of that year, 1925. Steyn would be found liable for $10 in reputation damages Mann but the publicity and national focus and exposure of the actual facts of the debate would put a spear through the climate justice hype.

        But I know that is all a dream. The truth is that the US justice system is an currently old sclerotic patient on life support. Mann v Steyn was filed like 6 years ago and has no date in sight. Contrast this to the 1934 Lindbergh baby kidnapper who was caught, convicted and electrocuted in less than a nine month span (and this includes a governor ordered reprieve.)

        Fun fact — the science text that Scopes was teaching included eugenics.

    • That you have to ask that question tells us you can be easily dismissed from the discussion.

  21. Isn’t one of the jobs of professors to “upset the graduate students?”

  22. This seems to be the logical extension to bringing your mom to your employment performance review. It’s a tough world out there.

  23. testing. Previous comment absent

  24. Jacobson is attempting to force acceptance of a bookshelf model as though it were based upon reality, even though it does not pass real word testing.

    https://mathbabe.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/screen-shot-2014-09-29-at-8-46-46-am.png?w=595&h=528

  25. The description of chameleon models comes from Paul Pfleiderer of Stanford.
    https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/cameleon-climate-models/

  26. Brandon S

    “He wasn’t hated for his ideas; he was hated because people didn’t like being told they had to believe things the evidence didn’t show to be true.”

    Is this not exactly what climate alarmists are asking us all to do?
    Global Temp Records -Sea Levels- Arctic Sea Ice not melting their acceptance that the models are too hot and plain wrong.etc

  27. “Not surprisingly, after more than a decade, we can see that both sides had valid points and this issue still isn’t settled.”

    Being threatened with a lawsuit is frightening as it seems to come out of the “blue.” Nothing in one’s daily professional activity prepares one for a lawyer’s strident “gotcha” phrasing accusing you of all sorts of wrong-doing. Intimidation is the game. Intimidation is meant to frighten you into poor decision-making; making decisions you would not ordinarily consider let alone implement. The classic instance is the “cover-up” of an otherwise minor transgression. The cover-up is usually clumsy and ineffective, which releases the lawyer hounds baying and snarling, and you are immediately in a defensive “guilty as charged” mode.

    When one’s usual and customary life is about as far away, like in another galaxy from a lawyer attack dog’s thinking, the lawsuit plays tricks with your mind and sleep and plays out further in your professional activities. To survive and achieve a new equilibrium, one needs supportive people around you for the duration. Even when the case is thrown out as being frivolous, the adjudicating body never says the plaintive and it’s lawyers are mean-spirited.

    All one can do is move on. Retribution is hardly worth the effort as it strings out the whole disagreeable experience.

    • Mark Jacobson told the journal in advance of them publishing the article he planned to take legal action regarding it. Whatever else may be true, I don’t think the defendants in this case can really say the lawsuit came out of the blue.

      Personally, if someone threatened me with legal action and provided specific complaints about how I had supposedly said untrue things about their work, I’d get prepared with a written response explaining why they’re wrong. Jacobson didn’t just threaten a lawsuit, he said he intended to get an injunction to stop the publication (he apparently decided not to). That’s plenty of warning.

      • Brandon S

        “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.”

      • RiHo08:

        the defendants are on the defensive, not knowing the relevant particulars

        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.

      • Brando S

        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.

  28. From my superficial skimming, i think Brandon is mostly right here. This looks like a rather bad paper based on implausible assumptions and a flashy headline was met with hyperbole in journal. It highlights how badly biases have crept into academia and are treated as objective facts.

  29. Academia is a circus that no-one takes seriously any-more.
    I understand they still have tons of power to wield massive destruction.
    But, we’re all just laughing and looking forward to the inevitable demise.

  30. “Stanford Prof sues scientists who criticized him – demands $10M”

    In fact if you look to the end of the document, he’s asking for a lot more than that:
    * in excess of $10M damages from NAS
    * in excess of $10M damages from Clack
    * additional punitive damages from NAS and from Clack
    * legal costs

    • Actually, his complaint doesn’t ask for damages ” in excess of $10M damages” from anyone. He asks for damages which are to be determined at trial, which he claims to believe will be determined to be over $10 million from each party. Saying you believe damages will be found to be above a certain amount doesn’t mean you’re asking for more than that amount.

      He also asks for the paper he complains about be retracted.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • Google Drive is now asking me to request permission to read the complaint again.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Actually, his complaint doesn’t ask for damages ” in excess of $10M damages” from anyone. He asks for damages which are to be determined at trial, which he claims to believe will be determined to be over $10 million from each party. Saying you believe damages will be found to be above a certain amount doesn’t mean you’re asking for more than that amount.”

        err yes it does.

        the damages are always determined at trial, thats just boilerplate.
        he is asking for more than 10M, that’s what he thinks the defamation is worth to him.

  31. Jacobsons paper was peer reviewed and as such solid.
    A new paper comes out that is also peer reviewed and says that Jacobson made grave mistakes.
    It seems to be the best case against the ivory tower of peer review.

    • Peer review doesn’t decide on the solidity of an article. Peer review decides the methodology is adequate, no gross errors were found, and the conclusions are congruent with the findings. It can also point out if the findings by others are taken into account. Many articles that fit this bill are pretty weak and inane and get published, usually in second rate journals.

      Peer review isn’t supposed to be perfect as reviewers aren’t perfect (they are not even paid to do the job). So mistakes do happen regularly. A clear example was the famous water memory article in Nature, or the cold fusion article in Science.

      Nobody claims that peer-review system is perfect, but paraphrasing Churchill it is just better than all the proposed alternatives.

      • Javier,

        I think a lot of people use the term with the intent to lead people to believe it is a confirmation of factual proof.

  32. One thing this suit does do, right, wrong or otherwise, is prove there *is* a scientific and legal debate relevant to the national conversation.

    Jacobson has just explicitly and openly declared this.

    too long we’ve heard “there is no debate, move on”

  33. 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.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/11/italian-earthquake-experts-acquitted-of-L-Aquila-manslaughter/382585/

    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

    Tonyb

    • The reason is that in Italy actual people suffer damages and died and a judge had to decided on the responsibility of those that failed to issue a warning. It was not the science but the legal responsibility that was decided.

      In this case the damages will be very hard to demonstrate, and most judges don’t like to decide about scientific issues. They prefer to decide about legal issues.

      • Javier

        There are surely similarities? A BBC programme yesterday talked about the tens of millions of people being classified as climate refugees.

        Surely if someone gives a stark warning of the situation and others water it down then they could be seen as contributing to any future damage and problems?

        Ok, not an exact equivalent but the earthquake scientists were prosecuted for using the best available science which indicated there would be no major quake.

        In this case under review the authors would claim to be doing the same in providing their understanding of the current situation

        tonyb

  34. Don’t think this will end well for Jacobsen. He got shredded in PNAS, and will get reshredded in discovery and at trial

  35. 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.

    • “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.

      JD

    • I don’t trust anyone whose middle initial is Z

    • I think the PNAS process went wrong and I sympathize more with Jacobson here. If someone (Jacobson) publishes a paper and someone (Clack) wants to criticize it strongly, there is a response process whereby before the criticism is published, the original author (Jacobson) gets to respond with a rebuttal and both would be published together or the criticism would be withdrawn or scaled back based on a sufficient rebuttal. As it was, it appears, Jacobson never saw the Clack paper until after it came out, and therefore it came out with no rebuttals and lots of unchecked erroneous statements which may be considered damaging.

      • I am not going to read through all this foolishness again, somebody can correct me if I am wrong, but I thought I read somewhere that Jacobson warned them about all the mistakes or alleged deliberate errors they made before they published. And that they made some accommodations. Are you on the right thread, yimmy?

      • Jim D wrote:
        > If someone (Jacobson) publishes a paper and someone (Clack) wants to criticize it strongly, there is a response process whereby before the criticism is published, the original author (Jacobson) gets to respond with a rebuttal and both would be published together or the criticism would be withdrawn or scaled back based on a sufficient rebuttal.

        No, Jim, there is no standard process of this sort,

        You just mischaracterized how science works.

        The journal editors do as they wish.

        Not as you claim.

        Same with magazines, newspapers, etc.

        No guaranteed right to respond to critics.

        Here in the States, we call it the “First Amendment.”

        Maybe you don’t live in the States? Or never read the Bill of Rights?

      • If a paper is critical of another paper, the original author would at least be notified, and appears to have been, but his objections were ignored and that is where the normal scientific process derailed. This paper was not treated as a response to the original paper, even though it clearly was. His rebuttal was therefore not published alongside the critical paper. as it would have been if this had been treated as a response. That did not look ethically good on the part of PNAS, and the suit results from the apparent unbalanced treatment and an accepted publication with mistaken accusations incorrectly demeaning the original author. PNAS is on the defensive here as part of what looks to me like a hit job on a contrarian with views not liked by the mainstream in this particular journal.

      • JimD wrote:I
        >If a paper is critical of another paper, the original author would at least be notified, and appears to have been, but his objections were ignored and that is where the normal scientific process derailed.

        Again, you reveal your bizarre ignorance of the “normal scientific process.” Some journals may do as you say; some may not.

        No requirement, no guarantee.

        Same as NYT, WaPo, etc. Freedom of the press. First Amendment.

        JimD also wrote:
        >As it was, it appears, Jacobson never saw the Clack paper until after it came out, and therefore it came out with no rebuttals and lots of unchecked erroneous statements which may be considered damaging.

        My understanding is that you are factually mistaken here (and if you are, I plan on urging PNAS and Clack to sue you, per your own publicly stated principles!) But even if you are correct, it does not matter.

        The HuffPo, the WaPo, the NYT, and, even, I suspect, Judith Curry and even you yourself often publish criticisms of individuals without giving the object of the criticism prior warning of the criticism.

        Completely protected by the First Amendment.

        If you disagree,,, well, since everyone here knows that you yourself have criticized others right here on this blog without giving the objects of your criticism prior warning before you publish your criticism… well, please tell us where you can be served with legal papers by all of us who, according to your own publicly stated principles have a decisive legal case against you.

        Personally, I promise to settle for no more than half your assets and half your future income.

        Do you really want to live in a country that works that way????

        Are you really not intelligent enough to see the implications of the principles you are enunciating?? (No: don’t answer that — we already know,)

      • I think you want to suppress the right of this scientist to complain when he considers himself unfairly treated by a journal. What kind of tyranny is that? Can people go around criticizing people by using factually wrong published articles with impunity in your world? Where do you draw the line when journals err in the direction of harming the reputations of contrarians? If this happened to a contrarian you agreed with, would your stance be the same? I neither agree nor disagree with Jacobson, but I can see that he strongly believes that he was unfairly criticized in a publication, and a line was crossed by the sheer incompetence with facts of the critical article. The article itself was highly unusual in not being a formal response yet de facto being one at the same time, and in its strongly worded certainties that turned out to be wrongly founded in most cases. Any line of publication is open to libel when they are loose with the facts, and scientific ones should not be exempt when they criticize Jacobson in such personal terms as this article did.

  36. Is he suing the peer reviewers also? And their children?

  37. 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.

    • A feeling of entitlement is running strong at Stanford. Professor Paul Ehrlich has made many wrong predictions, with no consequences. Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, a longtime family friend of a rape victim, called for a removal of a judge who did not punish the rapist harshly enough. Now Professor Jacobson got inspired by Professor Mann (and maybe by Professor Dauber as well) how to settle a scientific disagreement outside of science.

  38. 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.

  39. Imagine if mcintyre has taken PNAS to court over process

    https://climateaudit.org/2007/04/19/a-try-for-thompson-data-at-pnas/

    • Mosher,
      Jacobson goes to court to stifle being reviewed.
      McIntyre went to court to get taxpayers access to the data they had paid for.
      Yip, exactly the same.

  40. 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 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.

      Any body’s sympathy is not the issue. Did the defendant’s commit defamation?

      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.

      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?

      • “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?”

        Thats our copy editor brandon.
        Such a waste of intelligence.

      • matthewrmarler, please don’t act dumber than you are. You are perfectly capable of reading what I wrote. I didn’t say anything about that example being defamation. I began that paragraph with.

        Or perhaps the changes were due to sloppiness. I wouldn’t rule that possibility out. I kept being distracted by strange things like…

        There isn’t a single word in what I wrote which suggests that example is one I’m offering of proof of defamation. I clearly indicated it was an example of sloppiness, suggesting the peculiar changes I had noticed in the various versions of the paper might not have been due to any sort of scheming, but rather, simple sloppiness.

        There is no possible justification for your interpretation of what I wrote. Please don’t insult readers’ intelligence by pretending you are dumb enough to believe it.

      • Brandon S: There isn’t a single word in what I wrote which suggests that example is one I’m offering of proof of defamation.

        Have you forgotten the topic here? You wrote that the sloppiness was reason for ignoring all of Clack’s case that Jacobson was mistaken. If Clack’s presentation is defensible, then Clack has not committed the offense that Jacobson has charged him with.

      • matthewrmarler:

        Have you forgotten the topic here? You wrote that the sloppiness was reason for ignoring all of Clack’s case that Jacobson was mistaken.

        I did not say anything remotely resembling this. I don’t know what you think you may be reading, but it is certainly not anything I have written. Responding to a person who points out you’ve simply made things up about what they’ve supposedly said by wildly making things up is a strange tactic, one I would advise against.

        Anyone who read words I wrote rather than words they imagined had been written would see I did not assign any import to the sloppiness I referred. All I said is that sloppiness distracts me and might explain some of the peculiar changes I noticed had been made between versions of the Clack et al. paper. That neither says the example I provided was a (much less the only) case of defamation in the paper nor says it is a reason we should ignore anything.

        If you’d like to keep disregarding what I say so you can respond to figments of your imagination, I am more than happy to stop intruding. I am sure you can maintain both sides of your imaginary debate without me.

  41. 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 idiot for taking this to court. Just sayin’.

  42. 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’.

    • 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.

  43. Kip Hansen | November 2, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    From my review of Modern Scientific Controversies, regardless of what happens re Jacobson, 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.”

    And where does Kip turn for a free pass?

    The Heartland Institute

  44. science needs a blockchain

  45. Pingback: Suing for “science” – The weblog of Inscius /ˈiːn.ski.us/

  46. Omg The court system is probably laughing at him for bringing this case.

  47. The lawsuit seems nuts.

    As does Judith and denizens obsession with Michael Mann.

  48. Reblogged this on The GOLDEN RULE and commented:
    Valid science surfacing! Commonsense prevailing!

  49. Pingback: Academia Stunned As Science Anti-Free Speech Neurosis Flares…”Eminent Scientists” Sued Over Dissident Paper!

  50. Pingback: A professor ecologist places a demand of $ 10 million for the refutarle | Coolest Hacks

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  54. Shellenberger has interpreted Clack’s paper as an accusation of lying by Jacobson. If reasonable people take that the same way, it would be defamatory, and the question comes down to whether Shellenberger can be taken as typical of reasonable people, which I think is not likely to be true given the nature of his wording compared to how Clack phrased it. Errors and lies are different things. Perhaps the case should be against Shellenberger instead.

  55. Umbelievable. What is even worse is the courts allow this nonsense to continue. This suit should be dismissed out of hand.

  56. Pingback: Lying is Not Okay | Izuru

  57. For people who wish to complain this lawsuit is terribly unjust, I suggest you try to consider why the lawsuit was filed. It was not filed, as many people are portraying, simply to shut critics up. It wasn’t filed over a scientific dispute. It was, at least as far as I can tell, filed because authors of a paper intentionally lied about what Mark Jacobson and his co-authors did in their paper in order to fabricate false problems with their work.

    Scientific disputes are good, but there is nothing scientific about a dispute which is nothing more than, “I said X; he claims I said Y.” There is nothing about the scientific process which requires us defend people who intentionally lie about other people’s work from lawsuits, not even if those lies are published in a scientific journal.

    http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2017/11/lying-is-not-okay/

    • All Jacobson has to do is prove they intentionally lied. If he doesn’t prove it, they should sue his silly butt for calling them liars in their chosen profession. That’s libel per se. Right, Brandon?

      • Were they l!ars or dumb as rocks. If someone as dumb as rocks published something libelous about you can they plead ignorance as a defense?

      • Yes they can plead that, yimmy. But if it is libelous, there is no defense. You won’t get that.

      • Does the law distinguish between intentional lies or just a mistake when considering libel? I expect not, otherwise the ability to plead ignorance is a big loophole. Anyway a good outcome would be some kind of retraction and apology by Clack and also by PNAS who seem to have ignored Jacobson to publish this.

      • You are confused, yimmy. I tried explaining this to another confused character and he got mad. You seem to be leaning in right direction. Read this:

        http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/civil-litigation/defenses-defamation-lawsuit.html

        I think the correct outcome of the ninny Jacobson’s case would be him losing. The defendants could then sue him for defamation, for calling them liars. I think they would have a strong case for defamation per se and they have already won a defamation case based on the plaintiff’s failure to prove they are liars. Get it, yimmy?

      • PNAS got it wrong. They need to retract all the wrong accusations made by Clack et al., and then publicly apologize for their review process not working properly. I think they sometimes use a pal review system for their members, and it may explain this charade.
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/11/the-pnas-old-boys-club-nas-members-can-choose-who-will-review-their-paper/

      • Oh, you are citing watts now. Doesn’t huffpo have any instructions on this story? So every time some authors publish a paper in pal review PNAS that disagrees with a paper somebody else had published, we should assume that they have committed libel. That should discourage disruptive disagreements on science issues. First to publish wins. Period. Nice work, yimmy. We are impressed, as usual. We couldn’t get along without you. I don’t know what else to say. Actually I do, but Judith won’t allow it.

      • Don, it is only libel if their criticism is provably wrong, which Jacobson has demonstrated. That part is over. Where do you go from there? I would say PNAS has to figure out what went wrong when they accepted it even when Jacobson already told them it was wrong, and who is to blame for all the errors in Clack’s criticism. I suspect pal review here, and really I don’t care what you think because you seem a bit behind with the facts.

      • This joshua guy is the one Jacobson should sue, yimmy:

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/11/01/stanford-professor-files-libel-suit-against-leading-scientific-journal-over-clean-energy-claims/?utm_term=.bd51e34c0ebd

        comments:

        joshua mounts
        No need to write a paper about it, those of us in the heavy industrial sector knew all along that “Dr.” Jacobson’s work was bogus. He’s been running around the globe for 5 years telling everyone the technology already exists to transition to clean energy, anyone that’s even remotely close to the power sector or is familiar with the scale of heavy industry that would be needed to make that claim reality knows Dr. Jacobson of Stanford is an incompetent fool and liar. And its so easy now to see how liberals “play the game”. People have been citing Jacobson’s work for 5 years now! If you challenge these fools on renewables, they cite Stanford (i.e. Jacobson). I think Jacobson will regret filing this lawsuit because it’s going to bring a lot of unwanted attention his way. I’ve been saying that for years on these boards. Jacobson’s work is bogus and a sham, it’s a preconceived conclusion masquerading as academic research. Stanford should fire him.

        And Clack said:

        “I am disappointed that this suit has been filed,” Clack said in an emailed statement. “Our paper underwent very rigorous peer review, and two further extraordinary editorial reviews by the nation’s most prestigious academic journal, which considered Dr. Jacobson’s criticisms and found them to be without merit. It is unfortunate that Dr. Jacobson has now chosen to reargue his points in a court of law, rather than in the academic literature, where they belong.”

      • Jacobson may have proved to your silly highly biased satisfaction that Clack is wrong, but he hasn’t proven it in court. It very likely cannot be proven in court. Case closed. Time for the countersuit to begin, because Jacobson is not accusing Clack et al. of being wrong. He is accusing them of lying.

        I have a comment that went into moderation. Maybe words in the quote. Anyway, you are clueless. Carry on.

      • Clack was wrong, and whether it was by lying or ignorance, I think you agree, does not matter. Ignorance is not a defense, but retraction is a solution. We went through all this already.
        Jacobson’s response, again, is here for your information because it was not linked in the main post for some reason.
        https://www.scribd.com/document/351730638/17-06-Ecowatch

      • Clack was so right. You are ignorant. Case closed.

        I’ll bet you a case of your favorite liquor that Jacobson loses.

      • Clack misinterpreted Jacobson’s paper. Misinterpretation is never right.

      • So, you think that alleged misinterpretation is defamation. But you wouldn’t bet on it. Nice work, yimmy.

      • “I am disappointed that this suit has been filed,” Clack said in an emailed statement. “Our paper underwent very rigorous peer review, and two further extraordinary editorial reviews by the nation’s most prestigious academic journal, which considered Dr. Jacobson’s criticisms and found them to be without merit. It is unfortunate that Dr. Jacobson has now chosen to reargue his points in a court of law, rather than in the academic literature, where they belong.”

        Peer reviewers and PNAS says Clack et al. meets scientific standards. No way that Jacobson is going to win.

      • Yes, he was claiming Jacobson made basic mathematical errors based on his own misinterpretation. He could also correct his error publicly which is needed anyway, lawsuit or not, because now his own paper contains a glaring error of misinterpretation and wrongful accusation. It’s a mess.

      • Nice work, yimmy. Just ignore the fact the Clack paper was peer reviewed and reviewed twice more by PNAS editors, after Jacobson had made his objections known. That is more than adequate scrutiny and PNAS is no fly by night pay for play journal of last resort, like that one BEST landed in. Jacobson is toast. Another lost cause for you, yimmy. Don’t you ever feel embarrassed?

      • He felt wronged when the editors ignored him and so he resorted to the law which is there for those who are libeled. You can object to the libel law, but there it is. He sure didn’t do it for fun.

      • I will say further that Jacobson is regarded as a minority contrarian in this field, but Clack’s attempt to publicly ridicule his contrarian views on behalf of the majority view has backfired in a spectacular way.

      • I support his right to stand up for himself when people try to suppress his minority views by public ridicule. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you do. Do I care? No.

      • jimd

        you said

        “I support his right to stand up for himself when people try to suppress his minority views by public ridicule. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you do. Do I care? No.”

        Surely you were arguing the opposite on the University thread?

        tonyb

      • Little yimmy goes off the rails when he can’t fall back on his CAGW Bible of Climate Gospel. And he apparently hasn’t gotten instructions from huffpo on this one. nobody is saying that Jacobson doesn’t have a right to sue. It’s just that he is wrong and a loser making a fool of himself. I guess that is why yimmy would empathize with him. funny

      • I think Judith got the wrong end of the stick on this one. It looks like a case of a majority with the help of a willing journal trying to bully a contrarian within the field with a demeaning article. Unfortunately their attack points were wrong and the poor guy wants to fight back rather than be intimidated.

      • Thank you very much for your final words on the matter, yimmy. Really, thank you. We very much appreciate you ending your participation on this Jacobson foolishness.

      • Jim D wrote:
        >Unfortunately their attack points were wrong and the poor guy wants to fight back rather than be intimidated.

        Jim, you have shown your true, deep ignorance of science.

        In science, you “fight back” with reasons, evidence, etc.

        Not with lawsuits.

        Jacobson has violated the most elementary rules of academic freedom and should be summarily terminated by Stanford.

        As a Stanford grad (Ph.D., 1983), I am going to urge everyone I know to refrain from contributing to Stanford unless and until they sever their relationship with this creature.

        Dave

      • Jim D wrote:
        >Does the law distinguish between intentional lies or just a mistake when considering libel?

        Yes, as a matter of fact, the law does. Try googling “absence of malice.”

      • physicistdave, if it is a mistake at the basis of demeaning Jacobson, Clack needs to apologize and publicly correct it. Any refusal to do so, would look like intent. Jacobson has already rebutted Clack rather well, if you check it out, and all it would take to make the case go away should be a retraction or a corrigendum and a public apology. Clack interpreted some numbers wrong and made that the basis of his case.

      • Also regarding absence of malice, apparently there was a rather vicious twitter war afterwards that might argue against that. Could that be used in evidence?

      • JimD wrote to me:
        >physicistdave, if it is a mistake at the basis of demeaning Jacobson, Clack needs to apologize and publicly correct it. Any refusal to do so, would look like intent. Jacobson has already rebutted Clack rather well, if you check it out, and all it would take to make the case go away should be a retraction or a corrigendum and a public apology

        Well, Jim, if the Jacobson creature really did rebut Clack “rather well” as you say, then all of their mutual colleagues will recognize that, and the whole lawsuit is moot and can and will be immediately dismissed!

        Of course, you know as well as I that the Jacobson has not refuted Clack et al. in a way that convinces everyone, and that therefore the whole matter is still a live scientific issue, and that therefore a court would be wrong to violate the First Amendment in trying to impose its opinion on the scientific community.

        I o not know why you cannot get it through your head that the fact that Jacobson has convinced you that he is correct is no legal reason at all for imposing your opinion on Clack and PNAS (okay, I admit: I do know why you cannot get it through your head, but I am too polite to spell it out).

      • Jacobson is convinced that Clack deliberately misinterpreted his paper and he tells him specifically how. Clack’s criticism is therefore wrong and libelous on top of that in Jacobson’s view. It only takes Jacobson to be convinced of this to launch a lawsuit. It doesn’t matter what I think but he has that right when he believes he was wronged, and he wouldn’t do a lawsuit without being sure he was right because that is not a trivial process.

    • JimD wrote to me:
      >Also regarding absence of malice, apparently there was a rather vicious twitter war afterwards that might argue against that.

      No, Jim, it cannot.

      It is very hard to prove defamation in American courts, especially for “public figures.”

      In this context, since the creature Jacobson has chosen to publish his work, and has loudly and widely, proclaimed the value of his work in numerous venues, the court will apply criteria analogous to the public-figure criteria.

      To win, Jacobson basically has to prove that the defendant knew for a fact that he was lying or at least showed careless and reckless disregard for the truth (i.e., they just did not care whether it was true).

      That is clearly not the case here: Clack et al, rightly or wrongly, clearly do think Jacobson made mistakes. The fact that you or Jacobson disagree does not really matter. The First Amendment protects Clack and PNAS.

      Again: you are really, truly revealing your incredible ignorance of the practice of science here. Do you know how many (published) mistakes Einstein made before he managed to get General Relativity right?? Do you know how many mistakes his critics made (hint: even more than he made)??

      Mistakes in scientific publications, mistakes in pointing out supposed mistakes,, and so on ad infinitum is a normal, healthy part of the scientific process. You do not get to use an arm of the state, such as the courts, to short-circuit this process — at least not unless you live under Stalin (e.g., the Lysenkoist scandal) or Hitler!

      It is irrelevant whether Jacobson can convince you (or a judge) that he is scientifically correct. Freedom of speech, and the scientific method, protects the right to be mistaken.

      Fortunately, this Jacobson creature will crash and burn in court. I only hope they counter-sue and utterly destroy Jacobson financially as well as professionally: we need to send a decisive message to all who would use the courts to short-circuit the scientific method.

  58. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #290 | Watts Up With That?

  59. Pingback: Stanford Professor sues skeptical scientists for $10M | Principia Scientific International

  60. Pingback: A Frightening Attack On Scientific Debate | PA Pundits - International

  61. OK, POB time over.
    Now to relax and watch this comedy play out.
    One bunch of carbon capture greenies [never mind all the extra pollution] attacking the even weirder ideas of a full blown ecological warrior.
    When so many sites pander to full green on their i pads, computers etc, get their news of the world from TV and drink their champagne and drive their motorcars and holiday on jets and live carbon fossil fuel supported lives for 50 years and then think they can claim a conscious for other people….
    Rant.
    Pure comedy.
    At least Mark Z. Jacobson appears to be eye candy like Trudeau and the British science fellow on QI.
    His attacks on Nuclear power, the other option are full blown 60’s hippie and well worth putting up next time that option is arranged.

  62. Hi Judith,

    You originally had a link to the complaint and the exhibits. Several days after your post it stopped working. Now it is gone. Can you or someone else give me a link to a place where I can find them. They are not on the court’s website.

    JD

  63. The DC court’s public records procedures reflect on the competency and ethics of the court (Or potentially the Clerk of Courts, if the Clerk is an office independent of the Court.) I asked for the complaint and the attachments and was told that they would be emailed to me. Over the phone was not told that I would be charged. In any event, I received an email that requested that I pay $129 for the emailing of public records. Here is the email:

    “Good Morning:

    Copies are $0.50 per page and we accept payment in the form of cash, check, money order, debit/credit. We do not accept credit/debit payments telephonically and all payments with the exception of cash are subject to I.D. verification.
    Please make checks payable to Clerk, D.C. Superior Court.

    The page count for the documents requested from 2017 CA 6685 is 258 pages, and the total cost for the documents is $129.00. If you would like to proceed please remit payment either in person or via mail and the documents will be issued upon receipt. Copies can either be mailed or transmitted electronically.

    Payments should be mailed to:
    Attn: Clerk,
    Civil Actions Branch, Civil Division
    500 Indiana Avenue NW, Room 5000
    Washington, D.C. 20001”

    Not difficult to see how the DC Court of Appeals wrongly based its decision that Mann had viable suit against Steyn, in substantial measure, on the demonstrably false idea that Mann had been cleared 6 investigations. This policy is so stupid it is embarrassing. (Theoretically, I could see, potentially, a $5 charge for an email) It reflects very poorly on the Court or the Clerk — whoever is responsible for the policy. In either event, in the big picture, it reflects very poorly on the Court system that such an egregiously poor policy is part of DC’s system of “justice.”

    JD

  64. From Jacobsons pinned tweet, you can see who his allies are:

  65. Pingback: Friday hawt chicks & links – The infestation edition. – Adam Piggott

  66. Well, Judith, as a Stanford Ph.D. (1983), I wish I could say this surprises me.

    Alas, it doesn’t.

    I saw something similar to this when I was a doctoral student at Stanford.

    But, since I would rather avoid facing a lawsuit, I will refrain from going into the details.

    I will just say that from my own experience, Stanford does indeed have, and has long had, problems with academic freedom.

    Dave Miller in Sacramento

    • Physicist Dave in a too deeply threaded to have a reply button comment above:

      Jacobson has violated the most elementary rules of academic freedom and should be summarily terminated by Stanford.

      As a Stanford grad (Ph.D., 1983), I am going to urge everyone I know to refrain from contributing to Stanford unless and until they sever their relationship with this creature.

      Isn’t he a tenured professor? How would Stanford go about severing their relationship with him?

      • Oh, it is possible to get rid of tenured professors — just takes some work.

        That is not necessary anyway. The usual approach would be to make his life so miserable that he chooses to leave. Squeeze him out of any reasonable office or lab space (Jacobson deserves an old broom closet in the basement!), freeze his salary, deny him collegial relations with administrators, staff, and colleagues, start unending hearings into his professional misconduct — I think you can see that he would not stick around for long.

        If the Stanford administration, the faculty senate, his department, and his colleague would loudly, publicly, and persistently condemn Jacobson’s behavior, file amicus briefs with the court disavowing him as an enemy of the scientific community, etc…. well, that would pretty much suffice too. (And, Stanford has the very deep pockets needed to deal with legal costs if this creature sues Stanford.)

        But, in my observations over the last four decades, ethical standards are not high within the Stanford administration or faculty. I’m quite sure that, privately, they are cluck-clucking over this creature’s wrongful actions.

        But, the guts to do the right thing publicly and publicly denounce Jacobson’s actions? Alas, I very much doubt that such courage exists at my old alma mater, the Leland Stanford Junior University.

        Dave

      • Oh, and don’t forget to take his stapler!!

    • O Socrates!
      Plato of that ‘Noble’ (necessary)
      Lie would be pleased.
      Utopias require the kabosh
      on free speech.

  67. Here is a cross posting from the Blackboard that is an example of a defamation suit serving a valid societal purpose. http://freebeacon.com/culture/local-bakers-sues-oberlin-for-libel-slander/

    The relevant portion of the article states:

    “The complaint comes a year after Oberlin College students held a massive protest in front of Gibson’s Food Mart and Bakery, in response to three of their peers being arrested and charged with shoplifting.

    Allyn Gibson was physically assaulted by the students during the incident, according to police who arrived on the scene.

    The three students, one of whom is white, pleaded guilty in August to attempted theft and aggravated trespassing.

    As part of the deal, the trio had to read statements stating explicitly that their arrests were not racially motivated.

    However, a flier disseminated at the Nov. 2016 multi-day protest, which was attended by college deans—including Raimondo—staff, faculty, and hundreds of students, pressed customers to cease patronizing the “racist establishment with a long account of racial profiling and discrimination,” according to the suit.

    An Oberlin Police Department investigation into the racism charges found that only six of the 40 shoplifters arrested at Gibson’s in the last 5 years were African American, according to the report.

    The Gibson complaint alleges that the college supported its students in their show of racial outrage in an attempt to push a narrative of Oberlin having a “legacy of being a strong advocate for and a strong supporter of African American students and racial minorities.”

    JD

  68. Curiously, the far-left Daily Kos actually had a goodarticle on the Jacobson craziness. The take-away conclusion:

    It is hard to overstate how totally bonkers this lawsuit is. Beyond the obvious — Jacobson calls other people “scientifically fraudulent” and then sues them for defaming his character? — is the simple fact that scientific truth and credibility are not, and cannot be, decided in a court of law. In science, ideas are accepted or rejected on their own merits, and any process that undermines that merit-based approach — including a legal process — won’t change the mind of any principled scientist.

    (Tragically, it appears that the author, Keith Pickering, was killed in an auto crash a few days after posting the article. He seems to have been an honest, decent sort, even though I myself do not generally agree with the politics of the Daily Kos.)

  69. National Review has an interesting take on why Jacobson is suing Clak, but not Caldera:

    A final point: As mentioned above, Jacobson didn’t sue any of the other authors of the Clack paper. That’s notable because nearly all of Clack’s co-authors have affiliations with big institutions, including schools such as Carnegie Mellon and Stanford, that would likely pay for their lawyers in a case like this. Clack doesn’t have institutional backing. He’s an independent consultant who now faces tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills for the sin of publishing an academic paper in one of America’s most prestigious scientific journals that refuted some of the silly claims being made by the climate crusaders.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/453585/environmentalist-who-claimed-us-could-run-renewables-sues-over-academic-disagreement

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