Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Surely you're joking Mr. Weingarten - updated with invite

Back by popular demand a reposting of my January look at the base insanity of Ben Weingarten's defense of Mark Steyn*, the reporter who believes there's no place for honesty or integrity in today's media or political landscape.  
{"CLIMATE CHANGE VERSUS FREE SPEECH"  Ben Weingarten | The Blaze | Jan. 27, 2014 }

Steyn, Weingarten and friends are fighting a tooth and nail PR campaign against one of the world's experts on paleoclimate studies - {which alone is a good enough reason for the Republican/libertarian machine to make him enemy number one - despite the fact that recognized experts in the field, who actually understand the details of Dr. Mann's work consistently side with Dr. Mann's interpretation rather than the disjointed rhetorical attacks of the science rejecting, faith-based Republican crowd}.

I've shared some links to further information about court developments since this was originally written.

*  (Wednesday evening) 
Over the course of the day I've been wondering about my words: 
"the base insanity of Ben Weingarten's defense of Mark Steyn"was I too extreme, could I support it? 

After much deliberation, YES, I can support the insanity claim.  Here's my defense.  

To begin with Weingarten assumes that truth doesn't matter.

Think about it, Weingarten and Steyn's and the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and in fact, the entire Republican/libertarian political machine's argument (for way more than denying climate science ! ) is built on the demand that truth doesn't matter - faith and a good story is enough for them to reject down-to-Earth-facts and believe what they want, rather than what the observed facts are telling us.



I actually had further "points" written up, 
but you know . . .  what's the point?

Until that main insight is appreciated and plugged into how we/you deal with them, the rest won't make sense.

The bottom line is that to the Republican/libertarian crowd the truth of scientific fact doesn't matter.  

All they care about is winning their power-political games.  Nothing else in our world, nor our children's actual future living planet matters to them - they got their ancient beliefs and their fortunes to defend - to hell with the real world surrounding us.

That is the enemy you young ones are up against, watch this:

I challenge Weingarten, Steyn, or any 'champion' to explain in a rational good-faith manner where any of what I have written in this post is wrong. 

Objectively, rationally...  we don't need to like one another to have a civil dialogue.
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{Here's my prediction, you will hear nothing but the sounds of silence to my challenge, another failure to get through.
Fortunately, I'm almost 60 and on my way out, but I do worry about younger generations and I wonder do you have what it takes to crack that Republican/libertarian/evangelical faith-based shell of willfully imposed ignorance???  Lordie knows my generation failed big time.  

PS. you are welcome to grab anything I've written and rework it and make it your's.  Sharing and spreading information and ideas is what it's all about. }

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If you are trying to understand the "right wing" approach to learning about critically important climate science issues and the concept of an "even playing field" - here's an article that highlights their contempt for a civil and honest exchange of information.  

It relates to Dr. Mann's lawsuit against author Mark Steyn, the National Review and Competitive Enterprise Institute for claiming he's guilty of scientific fraud.  In response to another ruling in the plaintiff's favor, one Ben Weingarten wrote an artfully crafted plea for sympathy, wherein he transforms the perpetrator(s) into the victim(s).  But, do his claims stand up?

Here's my review, along with links to further information.

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Ben Weingarten | Jan. 27, 2014

{I have taken the liberty of adjusting some of Weingarten's self-serving links and redirecting them to authoritative sources - since it really does take full-time experts to understand and explain what's going on in the real physical world outside our windows.}

Ben Weingarten:    "If you dare to challenge the scientific establishment generally, and its global warming adherents specifically, you better have deep pockets and plenty of time on your hands. That is the takeaway of the last 15 months, and soon to be more, of Mark Steyn’s life. . .For those unfamiliar, Steyn, author and contributor for the “National Review,” along with Rand Simberg of the Competitive Enterprise Institute are embroiled in a defamation lawsuit with noted climate scientist Michael Mann. Mann is the famous originator of the so-called “Hockey Stick Graphclimate model."
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"Hockey stick graph climate model" - sounds like Ben doesn't even understand the most basic facts.  
The hockey stick graph is based on a collection of proxy data, in itself, it has absolutely nothing to do with climate models or forecasting climate change!  But, will Ben allow himself to be corrected and learn from his mistake? 

{ If  you want to learn about the "hockey stick graph" here's a good place to start
About those climate models: }

I'd like to ask Weingarten: Why do you feel it should be legal to maliciously lie about a person's professional work with the intension of destroying their career and hiding important information from the public?

This is from the court order:
Case No. 2012 CA 8263 B | Judge Frederick H. Weisberg
{I've inserted some paragraph breaks for clarity}

"Opinions and rhetorical hyperbole are protected speech under the First Amendment. Arguably, several of defendants’ statements fall into these protected categories. Some of defendants’ statements, however, contain what could reasonably be understood as assertions of fact.  
Accusing a scientist of conducting his research fraudulently, manipulating his data to achieve a predetermined or political outcome, or purposefully distorting the scientific truth are factual allegations. They go to the heart of scientific integrity. They can be proven true or false. If false, they are defamatory. If made with actual malice, they are actionable. ... 
In Count VII, plaintiff alleges that CEI published, and National Review republished, the following defamatory statement: “Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.”  
The allegedly defamatory aspect of this sentence is the statement that plaintiff “molested and tortured data,” not the rhetorically hyperbolic comparison to convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky. 
To “molest” means “to annoy, disturb, or persecute esp. with hostile intent or injurious effect.” Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary 741 (1977). To “torture” means “to twist or wrench out of shape”; and to “distort or over refine a meaning or an argument.”
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Id. at 1233. The statement “he has molested and tortured data” could easily be interpreted to mean that the plaintiff distorted, manipulated, or misrepresented his data. Certainly the statement is capable of a defamatory meaning, which means the questions of whether it was false and made with “actual malice” are questions of fact for the jury.  
A reasonable reader, both within and outside the scientific community, would understand that a scientist who molests or tortures his data is acting far outside the bounds of any acceptable scientific method.  
In context, it would not be unreasonable for a reader to interpret the comment, and the republication in National Review, as an allegation that Dr. Mann had committed scientific fraud, which Penn State University then covered up, just as some had accused the University of covering up the Sandusky scandal.  
For many of the reasons discussed in Judge Combs Greene’s July 19 orders, to state as a fact that a scientist dishonestly molests or tortures data to serve a political agenda would have a strong likelihood of damaging his reputation within his profession, which is the very essence of defamation. ... 
Viewing the alleged facts in the light most favorable to plaintiff, as the court must on a motion to dismiss, a reasonable jury is likely to find the statement that Dr. Mann “molested and tortured data” was false, was published with knowledge of its falsity or reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, and is actionable as a matter of law irrespective of special harm. ...
Ben Weingarten:    Dr. Mann filed suit against Steyn, Simberg and the “National Review” on Oct. 22, 2012. In his complaint he leveled varying libel charges against each of the defendants. Herein I focus on the allegations against Steyn in particular since his prospective hockey stick beheading as sacrifice to the scientific gods upon the altar of global warming is the most well-chronicled, and based on the least compelling evidence against the two individuals in the case.
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All that drama... Ben's getting a bit carried away with himself.

Ben claims "least compelling evidence" - the court disagrees, and explains why (see above) 

Besides Steyn's own words speak for themselves.

The real issue is Ben's starting point, namely, he believes telling malicious lies about a professional's work is fair-play.

Ben Weingarten:    Steyn has incurred literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees over the last 15 months defending himself against the following charge from Dr. Mann . . . Got that? Make fun of a climate scientist and be prepared to lawyer up.
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No Ben, 
trying to destroy an honest scientist's career, using lies and dirty tricks, is what's unacceptable - and deserves to be punished! 

Ben Weingarten:    Now before we proceed, we need not get into the science of global warming or climate change or whatever it’s being called this week, “Climategate” or Rand Simberg’s comments comparing Michael Mann to a fellow former Penn State employee Jerry Sandusky for “molested and tortured data.” ...
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Of course we need to get into the climate science, that's what all this is supposed to be about.  Back in 1998 Dr. Mann was the lead on a team of researchers that compiled a whole bunch of data and produced a graph that got dubbed and demonized as "The Hockey Stick Graph."

It was pioneering work, and as with all pioneering science, in hindsight, there were aspects that could have been done better.  That is how science works!  Mistakes and flaws provide the learning moments.  

What people like Ben don't share is that subsequent adjustments to the graph are barely perceptible to untrained eyes.  Since then many more studies into a whole variety of proxy evidence, continue reproducing the same basic "hockey stick" shape, the MWP and LIA not withstanding.

And we understand why.  Greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere have risen by a third in the past century  - this is holding in more heat.  It's simple physics.  Earth observation data supports that conclusion.

Ben Weingarten:    And I do not intend to debate the merits of the case, however weak from a non-legalistic perspective I think Mann’s position may be, 
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Of course not.  
Because Ben has nothing to defend.  
In usual denier fashion he make a lot of claims, tosses out a lot of insults and innuendos - but never says anything of real substance that anything can be built on - the way a real scientist would do. Smoke and mirrors is all Ben has to offer. 

given that the couple of phrases that offended Mann look mild compared to the typical invectives hurled at people who stake out what Mann himself pejoratively calls the “climate denier” position; 
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Steyn claims Mann fabricates his data and Ben consider that mild - then he comes up with all sorts of rationalizations for justifying Steyn's malicious unfounded attacks on Dr. Mann's work.  

and however hard it is to believe that Mann has suffered at all, given that as he has argued as recently as two weeks ago in a “New York Times” article “the overwhelming consensus among climate scientists is that human-caused climate change is happening.”
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What does this nonsense tell us about Weingarten's mind-set.  Does this man actually believe that the science of global warming is founded on the work of Dr. Mann and his team?  Considering Ben's an educated journalist, that's almost deranged.  Or is it just another example of no shame towards substituting lies for facts.

Want to learn what climate science is based on?

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The Discovery of Global Warming    
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The Earth’s Energy Budget – Part One
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Climate Change 2013:
The Physical Science Basis
IPCC Working Group I Contribution to AR5
The Twelfth Session of Working Group I (WGI-12) 

Ben Weingarten:    While all of these topics are ripe for discussion, and I urge you to research them yourselves, what really matters is the fact that Steyn, Simberg and the “National Review” were forced to defend themselves in a court of law in the first place. 
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Actually Ben, seems to me Anthony Watts, Fred Singer, Pat Michaels, Lord Monckton, McIntyre and that whole slew of shills should be forced into a court of law in order to defend their insistence on the right to endlessly repeat lie after verifiable lie to the public about something as crucial as global warming.  They are strategically and with malice hindering an honest learning process regarding the science of global warming and climate change and they deserve be held accountable.

Ben Weingarten:    On Dec. 19 2013, a Washington D.C. Appeals Court ruled that all appeals relating to Dr. Mann’s original complaint were deemed moot (loss number two). ...All of this is a way of saying that if you write a blog post calling a scientist, let alone a climate scientist a fraud, you better retract that statement or your life will become a living hell.
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Perhaps it's time to realize that the educated professionals who dedicate their lives to studying and understanding our planet, aren't creating grand conspiracies, they are gathering important data that we should be learning about in a serious manner - rather than constantly misrepresenting it.

Dear global warming science deniers, try to suspend your convictions and fears for a moment and look at the information respectable professionals, and  fellow humans, have gathered for our collective education:

The IPCC has produced a video on its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). The first part on the Working Group I contribution to AR5 is now available. The other parts will be released with the successive approvals of the other two Working Group contributions and the  Synthesis Report in the course of 2014.

Ben Weingarten:    "Steyn’s case is a quintessential example of the chilling of free speech, on a subject the importance of which is absolutely crucial given the billions of dollars in pending redistributed wealth and economic activity blocked by regulation all based on climate science. ...And for however much the sticks and stones thrown at Mann may have harmed him, one would be hard-pressed to argue that the punishment of sitting through over a year of litigation that went nowhere, replete with thousands of hours wasted and hundreds of thousands of dollars sunk is far worse. ..."
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It's like Ben Weingarten has absolutely no conception of how much weather impacts every aspect of our complex modern society, all he can think of is unfettered wealth accumulation.  The increasing tempo of infrastructure destroying extreme weather events should be a clear warning that this is for real, and if left ignored, it will get out of hand.  

Intensifying climate change will disrupt all the things Weingarten and the rest of us love about our modern world - when will we be allowed to stop ignoring that reality?

further reading:

"A Win for the Climate Scientist Who Skeptics Compared to Jerry Sandusky"
By Mariah Blake  | Fri Jan. 24, 2014

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Finishing all this, I'm reminded of a Yiddish definition for Chutzpah: 
"Being convicted of killing his parents 
Ben begs the court's leniency on the grounds that he is an orphan."

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Further information:

Michael Mann motion to dismiss Mark Steyn's counter-suit via DC court anti-SLAPP provision


citizenschallenge said...

For what it's worth I've emailed Mr. Weingarten the following invitation:

September 25th, 2014 - 6:29 PM
labeled: "FYI - A public invitation"

"Mr. Weingarten,
As my review makes clear (should you decide to read the rest of this post) I don't think much of you and your malicious game. Still, I don't need to like you to be willing to have a civil exchange.

Here's my public challenge."

Then I quoted my above introduction and red lettered invitation.
The ball is in Ben's court.

citizenschallenge said...

It's actually 6:59 PM my time. ;- )