Mann vs Steyn … and us. An exceptionally important trial just started

Here is a super-brief outline of this VERY BIG deal – that will not be seen on mainstream media…

Dr. Michael E. Mann is a well-known climate activist. e.g., he was the person who invented the hockey-stick climate graph — which intentionally conveys alarmism.

Mark Steyn is a conservative, outspoken public speaker, writer, TV personality, etc. who has a keen interest in public policies, from COVID to climate.

About 12 years ago, Mark (per hereadded some comments to an internet post written by someone else. His observations drew a parallel between Jerry Sandusky (the disgraced Penn State football coach), and Mann (also a Penn State employee). Both Mann and Sandusky were investigated by Penn State’s administration in what Steyn characterized as a cover-up. Steyn also described Mann’s famous hockey stick temperature chart as fraudulent.

My understanding is that Mann subsequently told Steyn to retract his comments. However, Steyn refused, saying that what he wrote was accurate. Mann then said that he would sue Steyn if he didn’t retract, and Steyn said be my guest. This began the saga.

There are at least four fascinating aspects of this lawsuit:

  1. Mann’s contention is that this case is primarily about Science.
  2. Steyn’s position is that this is a trial primarily about Free Speech.
  3. Steyn is acting as his own lawyer (i.e. pro se), which is highly unusual.
  4. The case took 12 years to be heard, which seems to violate due process.

I could easily expand on any of those four issues, but for the sake of simplicity, I’ll focus on just the Science element.

Mann’s contention about Science is interesting, and (for multiple reasons) seems to be a very weak argument. E.g., it’s fascinating to note that, despite this being a high-profile case about a topic of paramount interest (climate change), it appears that not a single Science organization formally stepped forward to side with Mann! (See here.)

Also very interesting is that (earlier) the Judge denied Mann’s request for certain experts (some of his climate alarmist buds) to testify on his behalf. What is extremely fascinating is the Judge’s reason:

“Applying Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the Daubert standard for scientific evidence, Judge Irving concluded that most of the proffered expert testimony was inadmissible because the experts failed to identify the methodology they used in reaching their conclusions about the contested statements… The methodologies of the expert must be grounded in the Scientific Method, such that another person with similar expertise could replicate them (Daubert 509 US at 591).”

That the Judge is looking for evidence that the Scientific Method is used in the alarmist’s climate arguments is extraordinarily significant, for at least two reasons: 1) alarmists contend that the Scientific Method is not applicable for assessing the validity of climate change claims, as climate is “too complicated,” and 2) as I have explained in earlier commentaries (e.g., here), progressives have specifically attacked the Scientific Method, so that it is no longer taught in almost any K-12 US schools (thanks to the acceptance of the progressive NGSS by some 49 states).

My unsolicited advice is for Steyn to take on Mann about Science. Starting with the definition of Science (“Science is a process”), to what is the main process (the Scientific Method). It’s a major asset that it already appears that the Judge is aware of, and is favorably disposed to, the Scientific Method.

The Scientific Method can be traced back some 4000 years (e.g., here) — and was heavily relied on by essentially every notable scientist in our history (Newton, Curie, Einstein, etc.). That progressives are trying to now throw it in the trash should indeed be vigorously challenged — and this seems like a superior venue.

Steyn should also make it clear that what Mann calls science is really political science. I can not overstate the significance of this distinction. We are inundated with activist scientists who arbitrarily discard the standards of real Science (the process), and substitute their own. Their rationale for this abrogation is the end justifies the means. This is relevant in this trial, as that appears to be exactly what Mann did with the hockey stick graph. (See this excellent detailed discussion about Mann’s graph.)

Mann and Greta Thunberg are birds of a feather. The most relevant difference is that Mann has significantly more academic credentials. He should know better as to what Science is, what the Scientific Method is, what Critical Thinking is, etc. What that translates to is that considering Mann’s dissipations, the sin is greater for him.

If Steyn plays his cards right, he has a superior opportunity to expose Mann’s turpitudes. Ideally, that in turn, could bring about a penitential response by Mann, to begin to make amends for the horrific influence his actions have had on the world, and on genuine Science.

The takeaway here is that Steyn is an odds-on favorite to win this case, based on the merits of either (or both) Science and Free Speech, plus the fact that the judge seems inclined to be serious about this, rather than play politics. Considering that Steyn is an eloquent presenter (see his strong opening statement), this should be savored…

Important — I do not personally know Mark Steyn. If any readers do, please have him contact me as I have some suggestions to help him win this case. I will not post them here for obvious reasons.

Some other sample references of interest:

Watch the Mann-Steyn Trial Live

Mann v. Steyn Finally Gets Under Way

The link between ‘defending Michael Mann is defending climate science’ seems to have been broken

Archive: Judge Strikes All of Michael Mann’s Expert Witnesses from Libel Suit

Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere

Day One in Court

Climate Trial of the Century

Go Get ‘Em, Mark!

Mann v. Steyn Goes to Trial After 12 Years

Mann v Ball: How Mann is Losing (an earlier interesting Mann lawsuit)

©2024. John Droz, Jr.. All rights reserved.

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