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The Courts Canada Earth Stats The Media Science

Canadian Climate Scientist Wins Defamation Suit Against National Post 297

Layzej writes A leading Canadian climate scientist has been awarded $50,000 in a defamation suit against The National Post newspaper. Andrew Weaver sued the Post over four articles published between December 2009 and February 2010. The articles contain "grossly irresponsible falsehoods that have gone viral on the Internet," and they "poison" the debate over climate change, Weaver asserted in a statement at the time the suit was filed. The judge agreed, concluding "the defendants have been careless or indifferent to the accuracy of the facts. As evident from the testimony of the defendants, they were more interested in espousing a particular view than assessing the accuracy of the facts."

This is the first of several law suits launched by climate scientists against journalists who have published alleged libels and falsehoods. Climate scientist Ben Santer suggests the following explanation for these types of defamations: "if you can't attack the underlying science, you go after the scientist."
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Canadian Climate Scientist Wins Defamation Suit Against National Post

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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @09:48AM (#49005307)
    Scientists are learning the tools of the people who hate them.

    The denialists do not understand science, but they damn well do understand money and lawyers. It's a pity that in this day and age we have to cater to those who are either still thinking in the stone age, or have pecuniary interests in reality being suppressed, but when the lies they spout are easily provable, it's time to see you in court, denialists, not to prove or disprove the science, but to expose your duplicity.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You should have read the article because it says as well such a suit would have been rejected in USA.

      “Libel law in Canada is often seen as the most regressive in the English speaking world today,” Bill Kovarik, professor of communication at Radford University and a 2009 media fellow at the University of Western Ontario, told The Yale Forum. “A case like this, based only on political criticism, would likely be dismissed on a motion for summary judgment in the U.S. In Canada, the burden of proof is on the defendant, not the plaintiff, so the National Post (one of the most conservative papers in Canada) is going to have to prove their claims are either true or fair comment, and this will be difficult in the Canadian system.”

      The comment is not insignificant since Andrew Weaver is also a political personality in British Columbia, he as been elected in 2013. So, when does he sustain an political argument and when does he sustain a scientific one?

      • So what? In the US you can get away with very outrageous lies unless the person you libeled has tons of money to sue (Carroll Burnett vs National Enquirer) to set the record straight - and even then, they don't care - it's part of the cost of doing business as usual.

        The old Midnight Magazine (now defunct) used to make up stories that were unbelievable, like alien abductions. In one case, they clamed a 101-year-old woman had just given birth. They gave her name and state. Of course it was all made up, so th

        • by PPH ( 736903 )

          At 105, she was still kicking, and got her judgment.

          So, how's her alien baby doing?

          • So, how's her alien baby doing?

            Batboy is just fine, and has retired in Florida following plastic surgery in Los Angeles.

          • The hasn't been any updates in the news lately but rumor has it that he became a scientist and politician in canida and has sued some newspaper for libel.

    • Probably not, this is a Canadian only issue. To understand why, read this quote from the article:

      “Libel law in Canada is often seen as the most regressive in the English speaking world today,” Bill Kovarik, professor of communication at Radford University and a 2009 media fellow at the University of Western Ontario, told The Yale Forum. “A case like this, based only on political criticism, would likely be dismissed on a motion for summary judgment in the U.S. In Canada, the burden of proof is on the defendant, not the plaintiff, so the National Post (one of the most conservative papers in Canada) is going to have to prove their claims are either true or fair comment, and this will be difficult in the Canadian system.”

  • Governments and those in power have long used propaganda sprinkled with a careful dissemination of the news to keep their tax bases in check.

    In the new World, with a few exceptions, information is freely available to an average World citizen. It would be difficult to bottleneck the pipeline without appearing to be despotic these days.

    What's a person or group with an agenda to do? Flood the places people develop their opinions with facts that are friendlier to their goals. Shitty, clever, malevolent basta

  • I thought this was settled science. Now not only are you trying to tell us that there is debate but also you're making money off of it? What kind of climate scientist are you, anyway?

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      No, there's no debate.

      Lies are something different.

    • by claar ( 126368 )

      "Settled Science"? Is that some new religion? It certainly has little in common with the falsifiable research basis of the science I used in school..

    • OF course there's a debate! There are gaps in the science that scientists refuse to acknowledge!

      Some celebrity told me that AGW causes autism, and I for one won't stand for it!

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @10:57AM (#49005577)

    You're upping the bid to lawsuits. You must realize that a the court process can be a painful and expensive procedure even for the innocent.

    Consider that these same scientists could be sucked into serial lawsuits regarding undisclosed emails, methodology of data filtration/smoothing, disclosure of raw unmodified data which in some cases doesn't exist anymore, detailed explanations of climate models, etc.

    Look... you really don't want to open this book. The legal system especially in the US has been successfully used as a bludgeon against people for over a generation. You open this door and lawyers are going to be knocking on the doors of both sides begging them to let their law firm represent them in one lawsuit or another.

    Turn on American TV and you'll see all sorts of ads for various lawyers... they say "SUE YOUR BOSS!"... they'll say "were you injured EVER, sue the other guy! FUCK HIM!" They'll say, did you ever use this product? Call us so we can send you a check for 2 dollars, your share of a class action lawsuit that netted our firm a hundred million dollars!" They'll say "Are you the member of any politically advantageous minority? Black, Hispanic, female, gay, transgender? Call us and we'll help you sue people for being bigots!"

    And some bright spark thought it would be a good idea to bring the trial lawyers into this shit storm? Okay. *gets more popcorn*

    • "

      Consider that these same scientists could be sucked into serial lawsuits regarding undisclosed emails, methodology of data filtration/smoothing, disclosure of raw unmodified data which in some cases doesn't exist anymore, detailed explanations of climate models, etc.

      Scientist's emails are beside the point. It's what they say in their published, peer reviewed papers that matters. As far as the rest of that, methodology is in the published papers, raw data has not been deleted* and the source code for several of the major climate models is freely available for download. If scientists get sued over any of that they'll win easily.

      * Back in the 1980's when the cost of storing data was much higher than it is lately the CRU threw out some data that they no longer needed b

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @11:22AM (#49005715)

    The judge agreed, concluding "the defendants have been careless or indifferent to the accuracy of the facts. As evident from the testimony of the defendants, they were more interested in espousing a particular view than assessing the accuracy of the facts."

    And now that is sorted out, just like when Dr. Andrew Wakefield [wikipedia.org] was discredited for his fraudulent research that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine caused autism, rational thinking can now prevail and we can all get back to ... oh wait.

    • At least in the UK, the discrediting of Andrew Wakefield does seem to have worked. MMR vaccination rates have recovered, and are now at their highest ever level. Of course some people still believe him or have other reasons to continue the fraud, but the decisive judgments and associated publicity have changed public opinion back.

I haven't lost my mind -- it's backed up on tape somewhere.

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