Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Earth

Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann 497

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the stop-trolling dept.
ideonexus (1257332) writes In January of 2014, the American Traditions Institute (ATI) sought climate scientist Micheal Mann's emails from his time at the University of Virginia, a request that was denied in the courts. Now the Virginia Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that ATI must pay damages for filing a frivolous lawsuit. Thus ends "Climategate." Hopefully.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @08:53AM (#47414251)

    But it seems that the only way to get emails and not get sued is to, How shall we say, Hack in.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @08:56AM (#47414267)
    Ha. Haha. Hahahahaha. Yeah, good luck with that. As long as that pesky cabal of climatologists is out to get those poor little fellas in the coal and petrol industries, Climategate will continue rising from the grave.
  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @08:57AM (#47414275)

    Evidence against them only makes them stronger.

  • by scotts13 (1371443) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:21AM (#47414445)

    ...I don't care if we do anything about Global Warming for another 20-30 years and at that point I have faith that civilization will start to engineer its way out of the problem...

    "We'll invent something to fix this when the time comes" is not a sound policy, or a policy at all. It's wishful thinking. What if we don't?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:23AM (#47414465)

    so...why have temperaturse not risen during last 15-17 years while C)2 went up?
    did the Stefan-Boltzmann Law not work when CO2 much higher in the past, and temperatures were lower than today?
    might be that is is more complicted than this one law?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:25AM (#47414483)

    Why not just release the emails and shut this group up? It seems like they are going to great lengths to hide something.

  • by sideslash (1865434) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:28AM (#47414497)
    As far as I can tell, this lawsuit determined that the Freedom of Information Act can't be used to get access to some official email correspondence paid for by public funds. Even if you are really gung-ho on AGW, that's not a result to automatically crow about.

    Michael Mann is not my favorite scientist, as he has a pattern of cargo cultist behavior that has annoyed his peers (provoking words like "vomit" and "crock of s**t"). The lawsuit to watch is the one where Mann is suing the National Review (a conservative magazine) and Mark Steyn, a conservative satirist and commentator. Whether or not his overall beliefs about AGW are justified, Professor Mann does have skeletons in his closet, and if the court does its job properly, he will be smacked down hard.
  • by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:38AM (#47414551) Homepage Journal

    No, really. You can see the actual spin in this very thread. They are starting to form a basic premise of "freedom of speech" being killed by these pesky "libel" laws(and judges who are now also in on the conspiracy).

    The oil companies/heartland institute don't have to create spin anymore, because they've had the most important success possible: making denialism an important part of the identity of a lot of people.

    There is not a soul who was babbling about this "scandal" when it "broke" who will take this ruling as cause for reconsideration. And that's the big success.

  • by sideslash (1865434) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:48AM (#47414675)
    OK, that was funny. But the 97% number is nonsense, just for the record. Skepticism about AGW catastrophism is rampant among the world's scientists at large (physicists, biologists, etc.), and many climate scientists have been cautiously coming out of the closet and poking sticks at the shaky foundations as well.

    I'm a little bit surprised that Slashdot doesn't have more AGW catastrophism skeptics, to be honest. Ordinary people hear "supercomputer driven model simulation" and they think "oooh, it must be really accurate and able to predict the future". Anybody who understands statistics and the banal realities of computation knows the good old GIGO principle. Not to mention the reality that nobody has ever successfully predicted long term climate changes, so throwing a supercomputer at an impossible problem doesn't magically add credibility. *sigh* (goes back to reading Professor Judith Curry's blog)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:59AM (#47414803)

    and many climate scientists have been cautiously coming out of the closet and poking sticks at the shaky foundations as well

    And many of them are finding out the hard way that challenging religious dogma often gets you burned at the stake.

    Posting AC because even mild skepticism of AGW will get you burned as a heretic on /. too.

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:59AM (#47414805)

    Beyond the "you shouldn't be forced to reveal private matters or be assumed guilty?" Then how about because nothing shuts up groups like this. Say he releases his e-mails and there is nothing incriminating in there. They will find one passage which, if taken out of context, will "prove" their point. Then they'll tout this out-of-content statement all over the place. Sure, some people will see the truth, but many more will believe the lie instead.

    To put it another way, I suspect you of committing illegal acts. Send me all of your e-mail correspondence for the last 10 years. I'll pour through that and see if anything looks wrong. If you typed "I hope we don't get caught" in the context of throwing someone a surprise birthday party and sneaking the gifts past them, I'll take that line and use it to show how you're really a shady criminal conspiring to avoid capture for your crimes. I await you sending me all of your e-mails so I can use them against you in any way I see fit.

  • by Simon Brooke (45012) <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:03AM (#47414851) Homepage Journal

    Ain't going to happen, sadly. As the temperate zone moves closer to the world's poles, and the regions we're currently growing cereal crops on become progressively more arid, there is simply less area of land (square miles or kilometres or however you want to measure it) on which crops can be grown - and that's ignoring the costs of clearing and draining that land, and all the effects of ecocide.

    At the same time as this is happening, of course, all our critical infrastructure will become unusable unless we make huge new investments in flood walls. For example, I work for a major international bank, which, obviously, has its critical data infrastructure replicated in seven cities across the globe. Only one problem: in six of those seven cities, our data centres are within ten metres of current sea level. Most major financial centres are old port cities, and all old port cities are on the coast. So over the next fifty years we have to either all relocate our trading infrastructure, or else abandon it. What I expect will happen is that we'll delay and dawdle until it's too late, and then our whole civilisation will collapse under the combined pressures of hunger, refugees, and rising water levels.

    We're already past the point where there's any hope of the planet being able to support even half its current population in 100 years time. The real policy question is how we now radically reduce the population without war, pestilence, famine and death.

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:04AM (#47414863)

    Don't forget a sense of purpose. You are fighting this extremely large group of powerful individuals who are conspiring to make the public believe a lie. (Be it AGW, the moon landing, vaccinations preventing disease, alternative medicine, Obama not being a secret Muslim lizard robot intent on world domination, etc.) Only you and your small band know the truth and must fight against overwhelming odds to battle the lie. I'm sure many conspiracy theorists feel like they are living in a movie and cast themselves as the dashing hero determined to save the day.

  • by BergZ (1680594) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:08AM (#47414931)
    Nope. Mann's work, just like every other scientist on the planet, should be judged on the basis of what he has published.
    We all know why ATI wanted access to Mann's emails: So that they could cherry-pick some juicy out of context quote to smear Mann with.
  • by BergZ (1680594) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:27AM (#47415115)
    Creationists blame Christopher Hitchens for "polarizing the Evolution debate"... and I do not accept their argument.
    The Creationists are wrong about that because:
    (1) Hitchens (like Gore) is not a scientist. You can not draw any conclusions about the validity of a scientific theory on the basis of the statements of non-scientists.
    (2) It doesn't matter how Hitchens said what he said. We are all responsible for deciding what we believe. Responsible people ignore the polarization and examine the arguments logically. Idiots blame their dismissal of science on "the other guy" for not being nice.

    If I wouldn't accept the "that guy polarized the debate" argument from Creationists; why would I accept it from you?
  • by thaylin (555395) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:36AM (#47415185)
    I like how you condemned him without evidence of those "skeletons". If the court does its job properly they will weigh the evidence and not just smack him down because you want them to.
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:36AM (#47415187)

    OK, that was funny. But the 97% number is nonsense, just for the record. Skepticism about AGW catastrophism is rampant among the world's scientists at large (physicists, biologists, etc.), and many climate scientists have been cautiously coming out of the closet and poking sticks at the shaky foundations as well.

    [Citation Needed]
    This is the original press release [uic.edu] about the 97%. By the way, the correct citation is "In analyzing responses by sub-groups, Doran found that climatologists who are active in research showed the strongest consensus on the causes of global warming, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role. "

    Basically the survey found that the experts in the field have 97% consensus. For overall numbers of scientists:

    Two questions were key: have mean global temperatures risen compared to pre-1800s levels, and has human activity been a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures.
    About 90 percent of the scientists agreed with the first question and 82 percent the second.

    Ordinary people hear "supercomputer driven model simulation" and they think "oooh, it must be really accurate and able to predict the future".

    No I think computer models are really the only thing we have as we don't have a spare planet to experiment upon and god-like powers. But with all models, I don't assume that they are all 100% accurate. But I think they can be constructed to be close enough to determine a reasonable outcome.

    Anybody who understands statistics and the banal realities of computation knows the good old GIGO principle. Not to mention the reality that nobody has ever successfully predicted long term climate changes, so throwing a supercomputer at an impossible problem doesn't magically add credibility. *sigh*

    No one has ever said that these models are 100% for all future predictions. Like most of science, theories (and models) that best fit observable data are used. And like most of science these are tested. I don't know if this is some sort of delusion or lack of understanding of how science works. Just because a scientist proposes something or releases a paper, it is not automatically accepted without challenge. Data is challenged. Conclusions are challenged.

    All science is challenged. Consensus is reached after enough data and evidence is presented that favors the conclusions. Einstein's General Theory of Relativity wasn't accepted because Einstein proposed it. It took a solar eclipse before many physicists began to accept that it might be the best theory. Now by today's standards, the results of solar eclipse experiment would not have been enough.

  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:59AM (#47415457)

    That 97% number IS bull, and its right there in the link you provided, under abstract:

    We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.
    So of the abstracts which discuss global warming, 97% support AGW. Except, you would not call that an unbiased sample, nor would that be an acceptable selection criteria in any other poll, ever.

    I generally nope out of any AGW conversation because theyre cesspools of illogic, ad hominems, and general idiocy, but come on. That 97% claim is like saying "97%*** of CoD players hate the game (***- 97% of players posting negative posts on the message boards)".

  • by Bongo (13261) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:11AM (#47415577)

    Whoever asked for 100%? The errors on the models are so far rather huge.

    As for testing, yes, science is tested and challenged. But here's the rub: that process takes time. Sometimes a lot of time. Like 50 years.

    Both the scenarios and the time to correct are running into the decades, which is much longer than the window inside which we're supposed to act to avert catastrophe. In other words, both the prediction and the correction haven't come about yet, so anything we do now is based on faith and best guesses.

    You can't magic away the risk with a supercomputer and lots of clever people.

    Ideally science would be an ever gradual fine grained improvement, but as soon as you deal with complex systems, like human bodies, or diet, or climate, there is just no magic answer. Like you say, we don't have ten planets to run as experiments. As you say, it is not the scientific method as famous for testing things to death repeatedly that is being used. It is guesswork. Educated guesswork carries risks and unintended consequences.

  • by Carewolf (581105) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:42AM (#47415859) Homepage

    Follow the money. How many grants are given to the study of ..... non catastrophic AGW? If you are a climatologist and want funding, you are pro-AGW, and you don't hide it, even if you are skeptical, as it is the only way to keep your funding.

    You have mixed something up. There are huge grants for disproving or challenging anything related to AGW funded by the powers that oppose (everybody with money). Pro-AGW science only receive money from everybody without money, which while a lot, doesn't really add up to anything.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:51AM (#47415937)

    I'm not sure what grounds there are for reciprocal discovery in this instance. A libel suit has never been an opportunity for the defendant to play detective and attempt to prove their accusations.

  • Re: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:00PM (#47416025)

    What on earth are you talking about? If you could cast credible doubt on AGW you'd not only have industry throwing money at you, but once you'd overturned the current consensus in climate science you'd have every major university fighting to get hold of the person who revolutionised the field.

  • by T.E.D. (34228) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:13PM (#47416169)

    Michael Mann is not my favorite scientist, as he has a pattern of ...

    Do you seriously have favorite scientists? Quick: Who's your favorite and least favorite molecular biologists? How about Phytopathologists? Do they have groupies and haters too?

  • by neonKow (1239288) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @01:01PM (#47416665) Journal

    Not a heretic. Burned as someone willfully ignoring the science to cling to their beliefs. This is slashdot, after all, and the way AGW skeptics present arguments often stinks of conspiracy theories.

  • Re: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @03:51PM (#47418485) Homepage

    Go right ahead and point me to where a decline in Antarctic ice was a forecast of AGW.

    You do know that - below freezing - there's an inverse correlation between temperature and snowfall, don't you? And I really hope you know that it's very rare that temperatures rise above freezing in the vast majority of Antarctica, whether you add a couple degrees to the temperature or not, right? Or did you not know / ever consider that?

    Just because you didn't realize something that should have been really bloody obvious to you doesn't mean it was a scientific prediction by your straw-man scientists.

  • by golodh (893453) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @04:43PM (#47419059)
    There is no legitimate reason to ask for researchers' emails. Such emails are only useful when you're trying to make things _personal_ instead of businesslike.

    You need people's emails when you're digging for something (anything really) you can use to discredit someone personally (apart from any scientific merit). Besides which, some of those emails are personal.

    The Virginia court ruled that filing a lawsuit just to get those emails constitutes harassment, which in turn is a frivolous use of the court's time. A sensible conclusion in my opinion.

    And yes, there do seem to be consequences for filing frivolous lawsuits.

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. -- A.H. Weiler

Working...