William Connolley supports the climate faith against expert opinions

Of the current litigation by Prof. Michael Mann against The National Review and Mark Steyn, William Connolley (the Stoat) states:-

By supporting the SLAPP filing, Steyn is running away.

My reply is

You are wrong.

Steyn’s Amicus Curiae states

In particular, Steyn supports the use of the D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act to combat attempts by Plaintiff-Appellee and others to stifle public debate via the threat of protracted and inevitably expensive litigation. But in this case the anti-SLAPP process itself ……… has been manipulated by plaintiff-appellee Mann to become merely an additional phase of protracted procedural punishment.

Steyn further accuses Mann of “venue shopping” (as neither party has any connection with D.C.) and of delaying trial. He also ups the ante by accusing Mann of fraudulent claims, including that Mann was a Nobel Laureate, and that he was “exonerated” by a British Climategate Enquiry that never even mentioned him.

Steyn added:

It is clear from the ease with which Mann lies about things that would not withstand ten minutes of scrutiny in a courtroom that he has no intention of proceeding to trial.

Steyn is supported in his appeal by a separate brief undersigned by numerous organisations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Time Inc, The National Press Association, and Bloomberg.

To cap it all, Steyn is further supported by another brief from the District of Columbia, who view Mann’s case as being the opposite of what their anti-SLAPP legislation intended.

So there seems to be a choice here:-


You view that acceptance into the consensus cult of climatology gives you superior insights into everything, including statistics, philosophy of science, economics, public policy making, evidence evaluation, etymology and ethics.


You believe that by specializing in particular applied subject area; and comparing and contrasting views within that area; and learning from what others say in areas that impinge upon the applied specialism; and by having a wider understanding of other areas – that you may through study and application possibly gain both a deep understanding of that specialism and be able to assess the specialism in the wider context of other academic subjects and extent of knowledge and boundaries of the specialism.



  1. > William Connolley supports the climate faith against expert opinions

    Congratulations. You spelt my name right. Very few “skeptics” manage to do that.

    However, that’s about as good as it gets. I “support” the std.ipcc viewpoint on global warming: see for example http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/just-what-is-this-consensus-anyway/ or http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/07/04/what-i-think-about-global-warm/ That’s not faith; that’s based on the published scientific research. And even the “skeptic” world admits that the balance of expertise is overwhelmingly on the IPCC “side”.

    Steyn isn’t an expert on the science; he’s a know-nothing.

    • manicbeancounter

       /  15/08/2014

      The expert opinions I refer to are legal ones, not in climatology.
      You do not appear to have got beyond the title. Your opinions on climate give you no special legal insights. In fact, your inbuilt prejudices in the case seem to have resulted in an inexpert evaluation which is clearly wrong. You should either provide a counter argument, or admit you are wrong.

      Looking at the realclimate consensus article, the point 4 is an issue of ethics. That is outside the expertise of climatology. Also which policy evaluation, effective policy implementation, and minimizing any adverse side effects are other areas where climatologists have no expertise to offer.

      Missing from both articles is drawing on the wisdom from other areas (climatology is very much a new and applied subject) and the past dangers of consensus and group belief. For instance, medicine provides many examples where “expert” consensus defended harmful practices and procedures against new scientific knowledge.

      • > point 4 is an issue of ethics. That is outside the expertise of climatology

        Very perceptive. As the RC article says:

        1. The earth is getting warmer (0.6 +/- 0.2 oC in the past century; 0.1 0.17 oC/decade over the last 30 years (see update)) [ch 2]
        2. People are causing this [ch 12] (see update)
        3. If GHG emissions continue, the warming will continue and indeed accelerate [ch 9]
        4. (This will be a problem and we ought to do something about it)

        I’ve put those four points in rough order of certainty. The last one is in brackets because whilst many would agree, many others (who agree with 1-3) would not, at least without qualification. It’s probably not a part of the core consensus in the way 1-3 are. Most (all?) of us here on RealClimate are physical scientists – we can talk sensibly about past, present and future changes in climate, but potential impacts on ecosystems or human society are out of our field. If you want to see the IPCCs own summary, it’s here.

        So, errm, yes. We’re well aware that its out of our field. I said so. It would be great if you could acknowledge that, rather than writing as though I’d omitted it.

        • manicbeancounter

           /  15/08/2014

          There are number of points wrong with your highlighted statement, but principally that the vague demarcation between expertise and opinion is not adhered to. I do not hear empty opinion statements on ethics or policy by Phd climatologists being challenged by colleagues as being outside their area of expertise. But if an expert on policy-making and policy implementation, like Lord Lawson challenges policy with cogent arguments, they are called climate deniers. It is an empty statement.

          But that is not the subject of my article. I have accused you of going against expert opinion, and substantiated that accusation. You had the opportunity to answer my accusation with counter-arguments. Your evasion leads me to conclude that I am correct. You still have that opportunity to mount a counter-argument. I suggest you actually read what I have said, and the various briefs that I quote, and provide the counter-arguments. This is what I understand to be debate. It does not have to be tonight, or even over the weekend. But until such time, I will keep on gently reminding you that one of your dogmatic opinions is unsubstantiated.

  2. tom0mason

     /  15/08/2014

    Thank-you for expertly articulating what I feel but have difficulty in expressing. All too often the CAGW true believer comes onto open or skeptical blogs just to recite a mantra and little else.
    Fine work.

  3. Brian H

     /  17/08/2014

    To logically parse Connolley’s statements, start with the axiom that he is always right. All else follows. ;p

  4. > I have accused you of going against expert opinion, and substantiated that accusation.

    I said Steyn was running away, by trying to get the case dismissed. You quote Steyn’s AC brief, which says that he’s like the case to be dismissed. What you’ve quoted from Steyn supports what I’m saying, not what you’re saying.

    The “expert opinion” you quote in support isn’t expert legal opinion, its primarily from journos. Its their opinion, which is fair enough, but not legal. You’ve also quoted Steyn in support of his own claims, but he’s a bozo not an expert.

    Its odd to see you suddenly so deferential to expert opinion. The weight of expert opinion on the science of climate change, which you’re rather reluctant to discuss, is clearly the IPCC’s. But in that case, oh no, you reject the expert view. This puzzle is easily resolved: you’re simply accepting the views that coincide with your own.

    • manicbeancounter

       /  17/08/2014

      In my view the current case is an appeal against the anti-SLAPP decision made in Mann’s favour. As I understand this it, a successful appeal would sink Mann’s case. In a naval warfare analogy, Mann’s ship is sunk. Running away would be full steam ahead in the opposite direction. In a civil action you cannot run away, short of fleeing the jurisdiction, but can seek the most advantageous surrender (settlement) terms. But litigation would not stop there. Steyn et al have a counterclaim against Mann.

      The running away bit seems further contradicted by consideration of briefs.
      Briefs (on Steyn’s side) have been submitted by the ACLU and various media bodies because of First Amendment freedom of speech implications. The District of Columbia explains what anti-SLAPP is about in it’s brief:-
      Through the Act, the Council of the District of Columbia joined the majority of states in crafting a legislative response to the perceived threat to speech rights from “SLAPPs”-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. SLAPPs are typically civil actions that arise out of the defendant’s communications on an issue of public concern. SLAPPs can be particularly insidious. ……(S)uch suits “are often without merit, but achieve their filer’s intention of punishing or preventing opposing points of view, resulting in a chilling effect on the exercise of constitutionally protected rights.”
      If a “special motion to dismiss” pursuant to the Act is filed, the claim must be dismissed with prejudice if it arises from an act in furtherance of the right of advocacy on issues of public interest, unless the plaintiff can show that “the claim is likely to succeed on the merits,” in which case the plaintiffs claim survives…
      The District of Columbia is concerned that Mann’s lawyers are using their anti-SLAPP legislation for the opposite of what they intended.

      Ask a lawyer friend to check the details if you like.

      On the subject of “expert opinion”, there is a world of difference between
      (a) Highly qualified lawyers (with established track records) writing briefs to established formats and quoting precedents of what has gone before.
      (b) Climatologists who
      – Have an appalling track record on predictions, indicating a lack of competency.
      – Do not build on the traditions of science, or are aware the philosophers of science.
      – Assume that being a “climate scientist” means being a leading authority on everything, such as statistics, policy evaluation, economics, negotiation etc. etc.
      See my article https://manicbeancounter.com/2013/05/29/three-positive-ways-to-counter-climate-denial/
      Also https://manicbeancounter.com/2013/09/05/fundamentals-that-climate-science-ignores/
      So earned authority I respect. Claimed authority without substance I don’t. I have not discussed it so as not to get distracted. But sometime soon I will do a separate posting on your views on climate consensus. You make some perceptive comments.

      • > the current case is an appeal against the anti-SLAPP decision made in Mann’s favour

        The “decision made in Mann’s favour” was a decision to dismiss-the-attempt-to-dismiss. Ie, to proceed to trial. By appealling that, or in Steyn’s case by supporting the appeal, Steyn is running away from the actual case.

        Steyn’s counterclaim against Mann is a joke.

        > The running away bit seems further contradicted by consideration of briefs.
        Briefs (on Steyn’s side) have been submitted by the ACLU

        Nope, sorry, I just don’t follow your argument here. How does considering the briefs help? In respect of the question – does Steyn actually want the case to come to court or not – the briefs you’re talking about are all on the “no” side.

        Lawyers and climatologists are indeed different. I disagree with your assessment of the record of “prediction” by climatologists. But you said you didn’t want to talk about climate science. And now, even while claiming not to want to talk about it (“I have not discussed it so as not to get distracted” you are). You seem to be trying to muddy the waters: whatever difference there is, is irrelevant to the case. And anyway, the legal fraternity have a clear record of getting things wrong.

        > Claimed authority without substance I don’t.

        I don’t think you have any ability to evaluate climate science. You have no skills, no training, and haven’t read any of the actual papers.

  5. William,you are not fully addressing what he is saying about the LEGAL arguments of the case. All you have offered are weak opinions,while he has shown substance in his comments about the case.

    It is clear in my mind that Steyn is there to fight and has counter sued as well indicating that he is NOT running away. He wants a trial to bring up discovery and expose Manns lies about himself,very provable lies too.

    • I’m not sure which of his “legal” arguments you think I haven’t addressed. Nor indeed do I know what you mean by “LEGAL arguments of the case”. Are you talking about the virtues, or otherwise, of the appeal for dismissal under Anti-SLAPP? In which case, I don’t really care. That’s all lawyering about whether the case can come to court or not. If you’re talking about the virtues, or otherwise, of the underlying arguments in Mann-vs-Steyn, then MBc has said nothing about those, so your comment would make no sense.

      > Steyn is there to fight

      Then explain “Steyn’s Amicus Curiae states: In particular, Steyn supports the use of the D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act…”. That’s not Steyn trying to fight; its him trying to run away. If he wanted to fight, he’d have nothing to do with an appeal for dismissal of the case.

  6. Eliza

     /  18/08/2014

    Stokes, Connolley, Zeke, Mosh… Warmists troolls without ANY scientific background. Just read Mosh’s CV LOL English BS

    • Background? All of a sudden you’ve gone all credentialist. If you want to judge people by their credentials then the IPCC beats the “skeptics” hollow with both hands tied behind its back. And I have more papers than you, our host, and all the commentators at JN’s combined: http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/met/wmc/papers/

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