Weaver on Tortious Sarcasm towards an Academic

In 2005, serial litigant Andrew Weaver, now a politician but then an academic at University of Victoria active in public controversy, threatened Climate Audit about alleged defamatory remarks.  I asked Weaver to explain why the seemingly innocuous remarks (by John A, not myself) were supposedly defamatory. As I understand Weaver’s theory of libel, sarcasm towards an academic is supposed to be tortious. It may seem -preposterous spelled out like this, but so does the decision in Weaver v National Post.

I will present the correspondence pertaining to Weaver’s libel allegations in full, so that readers can judge for themselves whether I have accurately characterized the Weaver’s doctrine of tortious sarcasm towards an academic. [Note: I was concurrently discussing issues related to Rutherford et al, 2005, of which Weaver was editor. To focus on the flow of discussion on Weaver’s libel allegations, I haven’t shown these sections of the emails, but, to reassure Brandon, will place a pdf online of the emails including Rutherford discussion – see here]

The Climate Audit Post, March 16, 2005

Weaver’s legal threats arose when Climate Audit was in its infancy. On March 16, 2005,  John A wrote a post entitled Spot the Hockey Stick #9: Andrew Weaver, which showed a hockey stick together with the following caption:

“Thus we come to Dr Andrew Weaver, of the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria in Canada, who has tirelessly promoted the Hockey Stick in the past, and to prove his scientific prowess, he bequeaths the Hockey Stick to the next generation of brave environmental guardians, media stars and possibly, the occasional climatologist.”

More florid than my style, but free speech about public affairs would be dreary indeed if one can’t say something like this about an academic who’s placed himself in public debate.

Weaver’s Complaint, March 31

On March 31, 2005, Weaver sent me an email stating that the post contained “defamatory remarks about [Weaver] which publicly undermine [his] professional integrity”. In particular, Weaver stated that he had never “‘promoted’ Mann et al” in the past and that the statement that he had “promoted” Mann et al was defamatory to him.

Dear Mr. McIntyre,

I recently came across a website: http://www.climateaudit.org which is registered to you and administered by you (see below). On that particular web site I noticed “Spot the Hockey Stick #9: Andrew Weaver”: http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?p=139#more-139

In this piece I find that a selected component of one panel in Lecture 1 of EOS 460 course notes has been taken and posted without my permission. In addition, I find that the discussion has misrepresented the intent of that figure. I would ask that you immediately remove that figure from your web site.

Second, it is my opinion that your site contains defamatory remarks about me which publicly undermine my professional integrity.

First, with respect to the statement:

“Thus we come to Dr Andrew Weaver, of the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria in Canada, who has tirelessly promoted the Hockey Stick in the past, and to prove his scientific prowess, he bequeaths the Hockey Stick to the next generation of brave environmental guardians, media stars and possibly, the occasional climatologist.”

I have never ‘promoted’ Mann et al. in the past. Not only that, I did not ‘promote’ it in my lectures, which of course you were not at. I request that you immediately remove the defamatory statement from your web site.

Second, it is clear to me that an average lay reader also has a similar impression to mine as to the defamatory nature of your site (please see one of the posts on your site):

“I don’t know. In your efforts to find any way possible of villifying the ‘Hockey Stick’ you search around the net, rummage through someones on-line notes for something (anything?) to triumphantly post here (like some kind of self appointed climate truth policeman meeting his masters?), and ritually submit yet another scientist to CAtype ridicule. Just what *is* it with you and this place John? It’s worse than disrespect, it’s shameful.”

Third, [… complaint about inline discussion of my complaint about Rutherford et al 2005 in CA post http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?p=138]

Yours sincerely

Andrew Weaver

McIntyre Reply, April 6

I was puzzled as to why Weaver believed it was defamatory to say that he had promoted the Hockey Stick and asked Weaver to explain whether the problem was that he didn’t think that the Hockey Stick was a valid representation of past temperature history or that he took the position that he had not disseminated such views:

Dear Andrew, I’ve had a chance to review some of the materials involved in your complaint and would like to resolve matters.

It was certainly not the intent of climateaudit to convey defamatory remarks about you or anyone else. However, I’m a little unclear as to what aspects of the sentences in question that you find untrue or defamatory. It was my understanding that (1) you believed the Hockey Stick graph to be a valid representation of past climate history; (2) that you had publicly endorsed this representation of climate history. The contents of the lecture appear to be consistent with your public posture. Dissemination of viewpoints to the public is what I understand to be “promotion”. Is the problem that you do not believe the Hockey Stick to be a valid representation of past climate history or that you have not in fact disseminated this view to the public? If both of these are correct, I do not understand why you believe that the claim that you have disseminated the Hockey Stick representation of climate history to be defamatory to you.

Secondly, in connection with my own correspondence, it was my understanding that I communicated with you in your capacity as Editor, Journal of Climate and not in a personal capacity. […discussion of Rutherford et al 2005]

In the interim, if you wish me to post up your letter to me at climateaudit.org in full, I am quite prepared to do so.

Regards, Steve McIntyre

Weaver: the Tort of Sarcasm towards an Academic, April 7

Weaver answered later the same day (April 7) but did not respond to either of my questions.  In particular, he seemed to concur that he did in fact believe the Hockey Stick to be a valid representation of past temperature history and that he had disseminated such beliefs.

Weaver explained that it wasn’t the “words themselves” but the “the sneering tone and the implications that make the case”. And, for those of you who wonder why a “sneering tone” towards an academic would engage the interest of libel law, Weaver explained that the “implications” of the sneering tone were  “that I am (essentially) incompetent in my field”.  (I’ll return to this in the conclusions.)

Dear Mr. McIntyre, thank you for your email. You stated that: “However, I’m a little unclear as to what aspects of the sentences in question that you find untrue or defamatory.”

As I mentioned in my original email, I deem the sentence below to be defamatory and to publicly undermine my professional integrity:

“Thus we come to Dr Andrew Weaver, of the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria in Canada, who has tirelessly promoted the Hockey Stick in the past, and to prove his scientific prowess, he bequeaths the Hockey Stick to the next generation of brave environmental guardians, media stars and possibly, the occasional climatologist.”

I once more reiterate the comments from one of your posters which underscore how other, lay readers, clearly agree with me:

“I don’t know. In your efforts to find any way possible of villifying the ‘Hockey Stick’ you search around the net, rummage through someones on-line notes for something (anything?) to triumphantly post here (like some kind of self appointed climate truth policeman meeting his masters?), and ritually submit yet another scientist to CAtype ridicule. Just what *is* it with you and this place John? It’s worse than disrespect, it’s shameful.”

Your questions concerning my ‘opinion’ of the Mann et al ‘hockey stick’ are not relevant to the issue at hand since if you had attended my class you would have known the context with which I discussed my modified figure (which you still have not removed I note). In addition neither you nor the writer on your site attended my class so you have no basis for any of assertions as to my position.

As I see it, it is the implications that I am (essentially) incompetent in my field that is the defamatory issue — the tone and phrasing effectively is designed to hold me up to contempt. For example, if I say: “John Doe is incompetent”, that’s clearly defamatory. If I say, “Good old John Doe, always trudging behind the leaders in his field”, I have expressed the same thought. It is the sneering tone and the implications that make the case, not the words themselves (maybe John Doe isn’t always the first to publish an idea or concept, so the substance might even be true, but the conclusion implicated is not!). It would not be defamatory if I said, “John Doe is not always first to publish the ideas he writes about” (assuming this is true).

With respect to the correspondence, […. discussion of Rutherford et al ]

McIntyre Reply, April 11

By this time (h/t John A), I had become aware of Weaver’s much more derogatory remarks about our 2003 article at UBC Thunderbird (see discussion here).  I pointed out to Weaver that he himself had used more offensive words about our work.  I wasn’t convinced at all by Weaver’s explanation of the tort. I again asked him to explain the supposed defamation, inquiring (in light of his explanation of John Doe trudging) whether he “objected not so much to being portrayed as a promoter of the hockey stick, but in being given insufficient credit for being a leader in hockey stick theory”. But I couldn’t be bothered squabbling further and removed them, though I left Weaver’s hockey stick image in the post untouched, responding to Weaver as follows:

Dear Andrew,

I remain unable to follow your reasoning below as to why you consider the posting in question to be defamatory and disagree that it is.

As I read your complaint, you have objected not so much to being portrayed as a promoter of the hockey stick, but in being given insufficient credit for being a leader in hockey stick theory. Be that as it may, the tone of the posting is not a tone that I would have used and, although I did not make the posting, I have elected in this instance to substantially edit the posting to remove potentially offensive language and hope that this resolves this aspect of the matter.

I notice that you have elsewhere not been averse to using offensive language in discussing our material, saying, for example, that our first article should never have been published.

[…Rutherford discussion]

Regards, Steve McIntyre

Weaver Sign Off, April 11

Later that day, Weaver acknowledged the change at the post and complained that I had not “responded to all of [his] questions” in his “previous post” (by which, re-examining it seems that he meant two posts earlier):

Dear Mr. McIntyre, thank’s for the email and changing the language on the web site. Of course I do not agree with your assertions below. You have not responded to all of my questions in my previous post as you stated you would but I can tell at this stage that you are not really willing to address the issues in anything more than a rhetorical manner.

[…Rutherford discussion.]

Yours sincerely
Andrew Weaver

McIntyre Sign-Off, April 11

I responded:

Dear Andrew,

I advised you previously that: “I disagree with some other points and will respond on all matters following receipt of the above clarifications. I look forward to a prompt and amicable resolution of this matter.”    You have no basis for asserting that I have no intention of responding fully or in other than a rhetorical manner. Even though you failed to provide any reasonable argument as to why the disputed posting was defamatory, I modified language.

[..Rutherford discussion]

The matter petered out at that point.  Looking back, the other questions relate to his dispute about an inline comment (http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?p=138) about Weaver’s handling as Journal of Climate editor of Mannian PCs, which I’ll discuss separately.

Tortious Sarcasm towards an Academic
A tort similar to proposed tort of sarcasm towards an academic also arose in Mann v Steyn, where Mann advocated the related tort of “professional and personal defamation of a Nobel prize recipient” and J Combs-Greene found that it was actionable in D.C. to “call [Mann’s] work a sham or to question [Mann’s] intellect and reasoning”.

If I had ever said, for example, that “Weaver ought to have spent more time figuring out the trick in hide-the-decline and less time complaining about minor sarcasms,” that would presumably have been tortious sarcasm towards an academic and actionable in Weaver-world.

As I understand Weaver’s theory, the tort of sarcasm towards an academic arises because the “implications” of a “sneering tone” towards an academic are that “[he is] (essentially) incompetent in [his] field”.  Together with the supposed doctrine that it is “clearly defamatory” to say that an academic is “incompetent”, we have the novel tort of sarcasm towards an academic. Once again, here is Weaver’s exposition in full – watch the phrase “in my field” as the connection to academics:

As I see it, it is the implications that I am (essentially) incompetent in my field that is the defamatory issue — the tone and phrasing effectively is designed to hold me up to contempt. For example, if I say: “John Doe is incompetent”, that’s clearly defamatory. If I say, “Good old John Doe, always trudging behind the leaders in his field“, I have expressed the same thought. It is the sneering tone and the implications that make the case, not the words themselves (maybe John Doe isn’t always the first to publish an idea or concept, so the substance might even be true, but the conclusion implicated is not!). It would not be defamatory if I said, “John Doe is not always first to publish the ideas he writes about” (assuming this is true).

As I understand Weaver’s proposed tort,  even if an academic has himself engaged in public controversy, sarcasm towards him is an imputation on his academic reputation within the field and therefore actionable.  The corollary appears to be that academics like Weaver have complete licence to slag the competence of their opponents (as Weaver did with us), while anyone opposing them with sarcasm is commiting a tort.   It seems unconscionable, but Weaver seems to have convinced novice judge Burke of the doctrine.

Surely Weaver’s proposed tort of sarcasm towards academics should be extinguished as quickly and firmly as possible. If Weaver (in his pre-politician career) wanted to engage in public controversy, he should be prepared to accept the sort of sarcasm that anyone else has to endure in public controversy.   Judge Burke should have said to Weaver what Lucia would have said to him:  Now Andrew, put on your big boy pants.

Postscript: Correspondence without elision of Rutherford material here.

 


89 Comments

  1. Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

    Andrew Weaver is incompetent.

    Sue me.

    Steve, you’re protected from this statement by the DCMA

    • Brad R
      Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 4:11 AM | Permalink

      DMCA is U.S. law. Both McIntyre and Weaver are in Canada.

      • Nicholas
        Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

        I don’t know about Canada but we adopted it in Australia as part of the free trade agreement with the USA (harmonization of copyright law).

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 8:25 PM | Permalink

          Nicholas, I don’t know if Canada has adopted DMCA laws, but I’m not sure why it’d matter. I don’t think, “Andrew Weaver is incompetent” is a copyrightable statement 😛

  2. Craig Loehle
    Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

    Broadway actors (and all performers) have to put up with all sorts of insults in the media (even before the internet). Perhaps this arrogance arises out of years of being in front of a classroom of students who know better than to question the big man.
    I remember a physics teacher like this: my first test he marked each question right as he went, and at the end, clearly displeased that I got 100%, went back and marked my sketches of sin waves down (even though instructions said “sketch” not draft) so I only got an 85. No one in his class would be allowed to achieve perfection, only him.
    Truth be told, most academics and in fact most everyone is not as competent as they would wish and maybe not competent at all. Many academics are clearly delusional about their own abilities. But I guess we better not ever point it out.

  3. Brian H
    Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

    What a self-important blowhard.

  4. CaligulaJones
    Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    “defamatory remarks…which publicly undermine…professional integrity”

    Someone cheekier than I once told me, when I raised the same issue, “actually, your posts themselves publicly undermine your professional integrity”.

    Not to agree with Worried Weaver, but perhaps the problem is that he believes he is a Professional Climate Expert, and if you disagree with him and are NOT a professional, you aren’t damaging your “amateur” status.

    Or, we could all take a play out of Penn & Teller’s playbook and just call all our opponents nasty names like “!@!hole”, as opposed to saying they are wrong, which is actionable.

    Not mature or sciency, and we probably don’t want to get down in the gutter with our opponents, but its an “out”.

  5. Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

    Andrew Weaver is the most competent person I have ever come across in his field. Which field is that? How dare you ask such a sarcastic question.

    Such terrible thoughtcrime reminds me of the two guards on the East of the old Berlin Wall, looking out wistfully on the bright lights of the West.

    “Are you thinking what I’m thinking, comrade?”

    “Of course, comrade.”

    “In that case you’re under arrest!”

    • joe
      Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

      “You need to apologies for calling me incompetent”

      “I am sorry your incompetent”

      Steve: maybe he meant: “You need two apologies for calling me incompetent”.
      Response: I am sorry, your incompetence.

  6. Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    It is very unfortunate to be burdened with such heartbreaking self doubt as to feel slighted for being the promoter of questionable “scientific theories” not of ones own making. One possible explanation among many for a strong feeling of having ones “professional integrity undermined” could be a lack of personal confidence in the foundations of that same professional integrity.

  7. PhilH
    Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

    Don’t believe I would ever ask Weaver over for Sunday lunch. What a jerk!

    • JCM
      Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

      Invite him and serve humble pie

  8. Beta Blocker
    Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

    For those students at any university in Canada who might be inclined towards making fun of their professors while they lounge around the Student Union Building shooting the breeze with each other — should these Canadian students be watching what they say about their professors, especially about their environmental science professors, if they don’t want to be either sued for defamation, or else possibly be kicked out of their university for speaking ill of a member of the faculty in a setting where other students outside their immediate circle can hear them?

  9. Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 2:55 PM | Permalink

    Of course, Weaver has distinguished himself by stating – or at least allowing others to state – that he is, himself a Nobel Prize winner.

    In fact, his own university – to this day, promotes him as a “Nobel Prize Winner”. Which surely he would correct in the interest of verity.

    http://communications.uvic.ca/uvicinfo/announcement.php?id=201

    UVic congratulates Nobel Prize-winning researchers:
    Dr. Andrew Weaver, a professor in UVic’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences and the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis

    • Coldish
      Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 2:31 AM | Permalink

      From the U of V’s website: ‘The University of Victoria congratulates its researchers who, as members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), share in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore…”’
      Perhaps tending to OT, but I had thought that the IPCC membership consisted of governments, not individuals. I assume that Weaver has not himself claimed to be a prize-winner.

      • Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 4:48 AM | Permalink

        I assume that Weaver has not himself claimed to be a prize-winner.

        Sorry to disappoint you, Coldish. However, the record shows that Weaver most definitely has made such a claim, with more than a little help from his very good friends at the CBC. Repeatedly.

        Furthermore, even newbie Judge Emily was fooled into including in her “judgment” (as I had recently noted):

        There are 2 Nobel mentions in the transcript, both of which dress-up Weaver – whlle oh so sloppily and/or conveniently and/or sleazily (take your pick!) – omitting the key word “Peace”:

        [17] Dr. Weaver has also participated in the Nobel Prize-winning organization […]

        [76] […] Andrew Weaver, a University of Victoria scientist and key contributor to the Nobel prize-winning work […]

        • Coldish
          Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 4:58 AM | Permalink

          Thanks, Hilary.

  10. mpainter
    Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

    Imagine what would ensue if Weaver’s claim that a sneering or sarcastic tone was tort was upheld in the courts, for surely such a principle would not be preserved as a prerogative of academedians alone. The courts would be overwhelmed with irritated suitors seeking their revenge.
    Interesting that Weaver should hold such positive, yet novel ideas of tort, which certainly is not his field of expertise. One thinks of the annual AGU conclave where an attorney is provided office space and confers with all comers.
    Even more interesting is that he should sue on a similarly flimsy basis and happily find himself pleading his cause in the court of a judge like Burke. What a coincidence.

  11. MikeN
    Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

    >The claim that “upside down” data were used is bizarre.

    Does Weaver have an opinion whether this constitutes defamation or libel?

  12. Frank Cook
    Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

    >>Now Andrew, put on your big boy pants.

    I daresay that such a statement would result in almost any fragile flower of an academic having a case of the vapors.

    Lucky, then, that nobody actually said such a thing to him, isn’t it…

  13. Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    This post is amusing, in a twisted way. It says:

    I will present the correspondence in full, so that readers can judge for themselves whether I have accurately characterized the Weaver’s doctrine of tortious sarcasm towards an academic.

    Then proceeds to provide quotations with:

    Third, [… complaint about inline discussion of my complaint about Rutherford et al 2005 in CA post http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?p=138%5D

    […discussion of Rutherford et al 2005]

    […. discussion of Rutherford et al ]

    […Rutherford discussion]

    […Rutherford discussion.]

    [..Rutherford discussion]

    Is this some Mannian use of the phrase “in full”? Does “in full” now mean “in full, save whatever portions I don’t think I need to provide”? It’s not like one can even argue the removed portions are irrelevant since the post does quote:

    You have not responded to all of my questions in my previous post as you stated you would but I can tell at this stage that you are not really willing to address the issues in anything more than a rhetorical manner.

    And:

    You have no basis for asserting that I have no intention of responding fully or in other than a rhetorical manner.

    While saying:

    Looking back, the other questions relate to his dispute about an inline comment (http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?p=138) about Weaver’s handling as Journal of Climate editor of Mannian PCs, which I’ll discuss separately.

    Which means the post discusses a matter that cannot be judged because the correspondence which was presented “in full” cuts out material related to that matter.

    Steve: Brandon, the discussion of Rutherford et al isn’t relevant to the libel issue. I initially tried to carry both themes in the discussion, but it got very confusing. Setting up the Rutherford issue goes into all sorts of Mannian PC issues and hide-the-decline issues that would be a good subject for another post. For good order’s sake, I will add a phrase in the setup clarifying that portions of the emails related to Rutherford have been excluded from the narrative and will make an accompanying pdf of the complete emails which ought to reassure you and anyone else.

    • Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 5:09 PM | Permalink

      I took it to mean ‘in full’ as far as relevant discussion of Weaver’s claim of defamation was concerned. But what would I know? I didn’t look at this in a twisted way.

      • Brandon Shollenberger
        Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

        Richard Drake, that’s a fascinating interpretation of “in full.” I’m curious, how would you have described it if the entire correspondence, with nothing removed, was presented? Would that be “in full plus”? “Super in full”?

        You portray me as looking “at this in a twisted way,” but all I expect is “in full” to mean “with nothing removed.” How is that twisted? How is that even remarkable?

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 11:28 PM | Permalink

        same here.
        only on planet brandon would it be misunderstood.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 12:24 AM | Permalink

          I’ve zamboni-ed some minor foodfighting purely to make the comment thread less unreadable.

    • Brandon Shollenberger
      Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

      Steve, I haven’t complained about the portions being removed or the inability to view the entire correspondence. I don’t take issue with excerpts being used. What I take issue with is someone claiming to “present the correspondence in full” while not presenting the correspondence in full.

      If you’re going to go out of your way to claim to be providing something in full, you ought to provide it in full. If you’re not going to provide it in full, you should just not say you’re providing it in full. It’s that simple.

      Steve: I’ve amended the lead-in description to be more precise. In my earlier draft of this post, I had included all the emails in full, but it was distracting and so, for the narrative, I showed the chronology of the libel discussion in full, marking sections pertaining to Rutherford et al. I should have made the lead-in description more precise at the same time but I’m glad that alert readers, such as yourself, are quick to spot any such inconsistencies.

      • Carrick
        Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

        Steve McIntyre:

        Steve: I’ve amended the lead-in description to be more precise. In my earlier draft of this post, I had included all the emails in full, but it was distracting and so, for the narrative, I showed the chronology of the libel discussion in full, marking sections pertaining to Rutherford et al. I should have made the lead-in description more precise at the same time but I’m glad that alert readers, such as yourself, are quick to spot any such inconsistencies.

        Perhaps you could place the full emails on line and provide a link to it at the bottom of this post?

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 4:54 PM | Permalink

          Carrick, to be honest, I don’t know why he’s decided to post the full correspondence. My concerns would have been addressed with just the change he made to the text. If anything, doing so and adding the note he’s added would serve to exaggerate my concerns and make me seem more demanding than I am.

          Personally, I don’t know how this became as big a deal as it did. This post claimed to present correspondence “in full” yet cut portions of it out. In what world is it surprising a person would point out that’s wrong, and funny?

          I mean, if it’s not acceptable in this crowd to point out “in full” means in full, not in part, what is it okay to point out?

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 3:30 AM | Permalink

          Brandon.

          no same person was confused by what steve meant by “IN FULL”:
          the correspondence, every mail, would be provided. that is the simple plain meaning.
          It only means every word of every mail in some pathological heads

          when you read the mails and see parts elided refering different matters [rutherford]
          every sane person understands what ‘in full’ meant.

          By your logic if steve elided ANYTHING the description of “full” would be wrong.
          if her elided a phone number, personal details not relevant.. ect.

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 4:44 AM | Permalink

          Steven Mosher, it’s good to know your belief would hold I am insane. Please, make sure to include that in your routine as you follow me around posting comments solely to insult me.

          In the meantime, I should point out I talked about this incident with a couple people today because I thought it was funny. They agreed it is weird (and wrong) to say you’re presenting correspondence “in full” while cutting out significant portions of it. I guess I must be surrounded by the insane, and it’s only here I can find sanity.

          Steve: you say “while cutting out significant portions of it”. The key word is “significant”. The Rutherford discussion wasn’t relevant to the Weaver’s theory of libel. The discussion of Rutherford – marked as elisions – was not “significant” to the libel issue. The elisions of the Rutherford discussion were to focus on the topic of the post. Setting up the Rutherford discussion leads into other issues.

        • Carrick
          Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

          Brandon:

          Carrick, to be honest, I don’t know why he’s decided to post the full correspondence.

          It would be a reasonable supposition that originally the full emails were provided, but the length of the documented ended up being too long. So later, the word “full” became no longer strictly apropos, and probably should have been replaced with “relevant portions”. These things happen in blog posts and in papers too, so it’s a pretty minor issue IMO.

          My comment relates to the case where people post only selected portions of correspondence. I think it strengthens the presentation to include the unredacted version of the emails (sans personal information of course), so as others can judge whether they accurately quoted only the truly relevant portions. This is a bigger issue, because it relates to scholarship issues.

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

          Carrick:

          It would be a reasonable supposition that originally the full emails were provided, but the length of the documented ended up being too long. So later, the word “full” became no longer strictly apropos, and probably should have been replaced with “relevant portions”. These things happen in blog posts and in papers too, so it’s a pretty minor issue IMO.

          That’s exactly my interpretation. I mostly just thought it was funny to see “in full” used when someone else might say “with portions removed.” It was reminiscent of how the Team would often say “independent” when someone else might say “has close ties.” I figured it was inadvertent and not a big deal, but it was funny and worth commenting on.

          For what it’s worth, Steve has said when he began writing this post he intended to discuss both topics covered in the e-mails. As you say, the post got too long so he decided to break it up. Given that, I’d say it’s obvious your explanation is correct.

          My comment relates to the case where people post only selected portions of correspondence. I think it strengthens the presentation to include the unredacted version of the emails (sans personal information of course), so as others can judge whether they accurately quoted only the truly relevant portions. This is a bigger issue, because it relates to scholarship issues.

          That’s a fair point. It’s something I myself would definitely do. I just can’t bring myself to ask others to do it unless I have some reason to suspect the redacted material is relevant to the discussion. Doing so would make me feel like I’m demanding they do busy work. (I know you didn’t demand anything. I’m just making a general remark.)

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

          Steve:

          Steve: you say “while cutting out significant portions of it”. The key word is “significant”.

          That might have been a bad choice of words on my part. “Significant” can mean many different things, and it is easy to cause confusion with it. I meant “significant” as in “a not insignificant amount of text.” My intention was to indicate we aren’t talking about a couple words that make up a tiny portion of the text being removed; we’re talking about a number of paragraphs which make up a “significant” amount of the text.

          But given “significant” can refer to size or importance (or possibly other things), my intended meaning might not have been clear.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

          Carrick, these are correspondence from the libel complaint on. There is earlier correspondence which I’ll try to edit sometime:
          http://www.climateaudit.info/correspondence/weaver/WEAVER%20CORRESPONDENCE%202005-6.pdf. That the elisions pertain to Rutherford should be evident.

          There are numerous oddities about the Rutherford article, examined in the Weaver context.

        • Carrick
          Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

          Thanks Steve. Rutherford’s behavior is certainly curious. It seems apparent why he doesn’t want to disseminate what appear to be half-truths further than the intended, apparently credulous target.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

        rich
        “In the meantime, I should point out I talked about this incident with a couple people today because I thought it was funny. They agreed it is weird (and wrong) to say you’re presenting correspondence “in full” while cutting out significant portions of it. I guess I must be surrounded by the insane, and it’s only here I can find sanity.”

        illogical people appeal to authority.
        the less sane appeal to anonymous authority or ‘some people i talked to’ were they actual humans? or imaginary friends?

        I should point out that I shared your material with a statement analysis expert.
        He agreed with me. Stunning argument don’t you think.

        ‘in full’
        if I redacted a personal phone number could I say ‘in full’ on planet brandon?

  14. Brandon Shollenberger
    Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

    Above I pointed out the peculiarity of claiming to present correspondence “in full” while removing portions of the correspondence. I still think that’s beyond weird, but to try to comment on a more meaningful point, this post says:

    Weaver answered later the same day (April 7) but did not respond to either of my questions. In particular, he seemed to concur that he did in fact believe the Hockey Stick to be a valid representation of past temperature history and that he had disseminated such beliefs.

    But doesn’t explain why one should feel Andrew Weaver “seemed to concur” to such. The post quotes Weaver as saying:

    Dear Mr. McIntyre, thank you for your email. You stated that: “However, I’m a little unclear as to what aspects of the sentences in question that you find untrue or defamatory.”

    As I mentioned in my original email, I deem the sentence below to be defamatory and to publicly undermine my professional integrity:

    I’m not sure if the use of two separate quote blocks is supposed to indicate a portion of the text was removed. That’s why one would normally use separate quote blocks, but perhaps it was inadvertant. Assuming so, the relevant portion of the quote would seem to be this later portion of the second quote block:

    Your questions concerning my ‘opinion’ of the Mann et al ‘hockey stick’ are not relevant to the issue at hand since if you had attended my class you would have known the context with which I discussed my modified figure (which you still have not removed I note). In addition neither you nor the writer on your site attended my class so you have no basis for any of assertions as to my position.

    Weaver refused to discuss the issue as he claimed it was irrelevant, and he said the people discussing it couldn’t possibly know what his position actually was. Nothing in that indicates what Weaver’s view on Michael Mann’s work was.

    I don’t know what logic is at play here. I do, however, know the response given to Weaver was quite weird:

    As I read your complaint, you have objected not so much to being portrayed as a promoter of the hockey stick, but in being given insufficient credit for being a leader in hockey stick theory.

    This is nothing like what Weaver said. Weaver complained about the tone of a post. He then provided an example to try to show why he believed tone could make something defamatory even if the concept being discussed was not defamatory. The idea of “being a leader” in anything only came up in that example.

    Whether or not one agrees with Weaver’s argument on tone making something defamatory, there is absolutely no reason to think the example he gave to try to demonstrate the concept somehow represented his complaint about this specific instance.

    Steve: Brandon says of my reply to Weaver: “: I don’t know what logic is at play here. I do, however, know the response given to Weaver was quite weird”. Brandon, Brandon,…. I thought that Weaver’s response was inane. I certainly didn’t agree that it was a tort to be sarcastic to an academic, but but wasn’t interested at the time in engaging with him on it. So my reply to him was … sarcastic. And, in retrospect, highly appropriate.

    • Brandon Shollenberger
      Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 11:01 PM | Permalink

      Steve, I hope you realize you failed to address the central point of my comment, that there is nothing in Weaver’s e-mails which indicates he “seemed to concur” with what you had said. The only reason I discussed what you said in your e-mail was to try to examine the reasoning for what you say now. What you say about that e-mail in your response to me in no way explains or supports the portion of this post I’ve called into question.

      Steve: Brandon, sometimes you read things like a computer. Of course, I didn’t think that Weaver concurred with what I said. I presumed that he believed the HS to be a valid representation of past history and he didn’t dispute this when I presented it to him, which I took as “seeming to concur” on these narrow points. I said: “In particular, he seemed to concur that he did in fact believe the Hockey Stick to be a valid representation of past temperature history and that he had disseminated such beliefs.” I don’t think that my meaning was so unclear as to be stood on its head.

      Ed Snack, -snip -(Also snipped Ed)

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 1:47 AM | Permalink

        Well, this looks like like another post that has piqued Brandon’s disinterest.

      • Brandon Shollenberger
        Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 2:29 AM | Permalink

        Steve, I don’t see why you think I stood your meaning on its head. I agree you meant exactly what you say you meant. I just think you are wrong in your reasoning:

        he didn’t dispute this when I presented it to him, which I took as “seeming to concur” on these narrow points

        In no way does choosing not to dispute a claim you feel is irrelevant indicate you agree with the claim. As a test, we can suppose, for a moment, failing to dispute a point automatically indicates agreement with the point. My first comment on this issue said:

        Weaver refused to discuss the issue as he claimed it was irrelevant, and he said the people discussing it couldn’t possibly know what his position actually was. Nothing in that indicates what Weaver’s view on Michael Mann’s work was.

        You didn’t dispute this. Instead, you chose to discuss something else. Under your proposed reasoning, I could claim this means you “seemed to concur” with me. That was obviously not your intention. Clearly, we shouldn’t take a mere failure to dispute a point as indicating concurrence with that point.

        I don’t see why you think I’ve stood anything on its head. Similarly, I don’t understand why you say:

        Brandon, sometimes you read things like a computer. Of course, I didn’t think that Weaver concurred with what I said. I presumed that he believed the HS to be a valid representation of past history and he didn’t dispute this when I presented it to him, which I took as “seeming to concur” on these narrow points.

        Which draws a distinction between “these narrow points” and the more general issues even though my commentary was limited to only “these narrow points.” I didn’t say anything which suggested the supposed concurrence extended beyond the two specific points you now emphasize you were referring to.

        It seems to me you are under the impression there is far more disagreement than there actually is. As far as I can see, the only thing we have actually disagreed on is I think the reasoning you use for saying Weaver “seemed to concur” with those two specific points is faulty.

        • thisisnotgoodtogo
          Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 3:56 AM | Permalink

          Brandon, you say:

          “In no way does choosing not to dispute a claim you feel is irrelevant” indicate you agree with the claim. As a test, we can suppose, for a moment, failing to dispute a point automatically indicates agreement with the point. My first comment on this issue said:

          Weaver refused to discuss the issue as he claimed it was irrelevant, and he said the people discussing it couldn’t possibly know what his position actually was. Nothing in that indicates what Weaver’s view on Michael Mann’s work was.

          You didn’t dispute this. Instead, you chose to discuss something else. Under your proposed reasoning, I could claim this means you “seemed to concur” with me. That was obviously not your intention. Clearly, we shouldn’t take a mere failure to dispute a point as indicating concurrence with that point.”

          Brandon, you omitted part of Steve’s reply, which is :
          “In particular, he seemed to concur that he did in fact believe the Hockey Stick to be a valid representation of past temperature history and that he had disseminated such beliefs.”

          And in fact, Weaver had indicated concurrence by pointing to the reader comment as concurring with his position:

          “Second, it is clear to me that an average lay reader also has a similar impression to mine as to the defamatory nature of your site (please see one of the posts on your site):

          “I don’t know. In your efforts to find any way possible of villifying the ‘Hockey Stick’ ”

          If “villifying” the hockey stick is agreed by Weaver to be defamatory, that would certainly lend credence to the opinion that he “seemed to concur that he did in fact believe the Hockey Stick to be a valid representation of past temperature history”.

          Brandon, you said:”In no way does choosing not to dispute a claim you feel is irrelevant indicate you agree with the claim.”

          Obviously not irrelevant; he pointed to the reader comment as reflecting his own thoughts on the matter.
          And Steve did not rely only on the non-responsiveness. You neglected to include Steve’s “In particular” statement.

        • Craig Loehle
          Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

          How do we know Weaver supports and disseminates the hockey stick? He used it in his class, in talks, and in a paper. I don’t use material in a talk unless I support/believe it (unless to criticize it, which Weaver did not do) and using it in talks and papers is disseminating it. Once again, it is using words like the Cheshire cat to mean whatever one wants. Weaver is claiming Steve doesn’t know what Weaver believes, but we don’t need to know what he believes if he uses the hockey stick in a talk and a paper. The inference is usual and customary.

          Steve: he had also (incorrectly) told the National Post that the IPCC 2001 report had “four” “independent” “hockey sticks” and thus the idea that our critique of the Mann et al hockey stick mattered was balderdash. He had also made derogatory remarks about us to a fellow UVic faculty member, though he didn’t know that we knew that.

        • thisisnotgoodtogo
          Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

          Absolutely, Craig!

          Belief is not dissemination.
          Either it was disseminated or it was not. It was.

        • Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

          Craig Loehle, I disagree. ‘Twas not the Cheshire cat, but Humpty Dumpty.

        • Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

          Ah, but when Craig said the Cheshire Cat he obviously meant Humpty. Dumpty himself and many climate pundits would have approved.

        • Paul Courtney
          Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

          Brandon: Your steadfast refusal to address the larger issues raised when public figures stifle speech/press by threatening libel suit is duly noted. Having utterly finished off Steve (/not), will you turn your disinterest to Mr. Weaver soon? His disclaimer of promoting Mann et al was an outright lie, which Pat Frank demonstrates below beyond dispute. Too large a point for you? Then let’s get picky. Weaver chided Steve and John A. for making claims about his lectures “which of course you were not at”. But John A.’s post references printed material, no? Further, Weaver’s first complaint is that he has never promoted Mann et al, but when Steve asks the obvious question, do you support Mann et al, Weaver says that’s irrelevant. How can the asserted defamatory statement be irrelevant? Too many questions? Then just this-Do you agree with any portion of Weaver’s March 31, 2005 statement to Steve (only the bold-faced part about Mann, his lectures and demanding removal of defamatory material)?

        • MikeN
          Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

          Brandon wants to be the next in court if those guys lose, so he can really win the case as it should be fought.

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

          ressed. That I didn’t address some other position is unremarkable.

          Moreover, your claim I “omitted” a portion of McIntyre’s explanation is simply false. I quoted that exact text in the comment which started this fork. I specifically quoted it to argue it was an incorrect claim given without any argument to support it.

          That said, the position you suggest is untenable. You claim the quote you provide from the commenter Weaver quoted shows Weaver’s position, but you’ve cut out a significant portion of the quote. The full quote clearly does not label “villifying” the hockey stick to be defamatory. You can only portray it as doing so but presenting a tiny portion of the quote in false context to create a false impression.

        • thisisnotgoodtogo
          Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, you said:

          “Moreover, your claim I “omitted” a portion of McIntyre’s explanation is simply false.”

          Brandon, your claim of “simply false” is simply false. It’s not false; it’s true.
          Look at your post which I replied to!

        • thisisnotgoodtogo
          Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 6:38 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, you said:

          “That said, the position you suggest is untenable. You claim the quote you provide from the commenter Weaver quoted shows Weaver’s position”

          Brandon, your position you suggest is untenable. You claim the quote you provide from the commentary I made about the commenter Weaver quoted shows my position about Weaver’s poaition.

        • thisisnotgoodtogo
          Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, seriously.

          I was showing what I thought was Weaver’s position about what Steve thought Weaver concurred with. Remember the questions?

          “Is the problem that you do not believe the Hockey Stick to be a valid representation of past climate history or that you have not in fact disseminated this view to the public?”

          “Weaver answered later the same day (April 7) but did not respond to either of my questions. In particular, he seemed to concur that he did in fact believe the Hockey Stick to be a valid representation of past temperature history and that he had disseminated such beliefs.”

  15. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
    Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

    And I thought Lèse-majesté was dead.

    • Throgmorton.
      Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

      Lèse-majesté is still a crime in the kingdoms of Norway and Sweden. So certain genius climate scientists had better micro-manage their tone when they go to receive their well earned Nobel prizes.

    • Glyn Palmer
      Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

      Damn; there goes another keyboard!

  16. Mike Singleton
    Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

    snip
    Had some minor dealings with Weaver, in one word, opinionated.

    • JCM
      Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

      He’s a politician and therefore required to be opinionated.

  17. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

    In 2003, Andrew Weaver published “The science of climate changeGeoscience Canada, 30, 91-109.

    Figure 7 of that paper features a set of four hockey stick graphs plus the surface temperature record:
    “Mann et al.. 1999, reconstruction (annual mean, full hemisphere)
    “Mann, et al., 1999, reconstruction (annual mean, 30 N to 70 N latitude band)
    “Jones, et al., 1998, reconstruction (summer, extra-tropical emphasis)
    “Briffa, 2000, reconstruction (tree-ring density only, summer, extra-tropical)
    “Instrumental data (annual mean, full hemisphere)”

    Here’s what he says about Figure 7: “Very recently, proxy data from, for example, boreholes, corals and tree rings have allowed for the reconstruction of northern hemisphere temperatures back as far as AD 1000. Several such reconstructions are shown in Figure 7 (bottom). Of particular importance is that reconstructed and instrumental records generally agree over their common period. In the last 1,000 years the 20h century is the warmest century, the 1990s the warmest decade.

    Two elements can be drawn from this; one immediately relevant, one very interesting. Relevant is that the article shows what Andrew Weaver thought about the hockey stick in 2003. For him, it shows the “northern hemisphere temperatures back as far as AD 1000…,” and that … “ In the last 1,000 years the 20h century is the warmest century.”

    So, regardless of what John A knew and when he knew it, when Andrew Weaver made his complaint of John A’s 2005 representations, Weaver knew that he had supported the consensus view of the hockey stick since at least 2003. When Andrew Weaver complained that John A represented his (Weaver’s) views without knowing his views, the complaint must have been made with an internal admission that John A’s representations were in fact correct. That makes Weaver’s complaint opportunistic, rhetorical, and substantively misleading.

    The interesting element is that Figure 7 in Weaver’s article appears to include the form of Briffa 2000 minus the post-1960 decline. It’s a bit hard to see, because the pdf isn’t highest quality. But I’ve stared at a 400% blow-up, and can’t make out any decline past 1960. Weaver 2003 Figure 7 appears to be the exact IPCC Figure Steve discussed here at CA back in May 2005. It became the hide-the-decline classic.

    Was Andrew Weaver tricked by the IPCC as well? If so, (and we hope so, so that he’s an innocent victim rather than a fellow-traveller), he may want to know who he should sue for leading him astray. After all, some caused him to publish a plot now known to have been tricked out. This may lead naïve others to impertinently question his competence.

    Also interesting (sorry, Steve, had to add this), is that the Figure 7 commentary shows Andrew Weaver thinks that statistical manipulation of tree ring metrics produces physical temperatures. To me, that view reveals certain elements of competence.

    Steve: Pat, good spotting on the Weaver article. Did you notice yesterday’s discussion of Weaver and IPCC Figure 7 as it deals with exactly this topic – see https://climateaudit.org/2015/03/11/how-mann-tricked-weaver/

    • Pat Frank
      Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 10:03 PM | Permalink

      I did read that post, Steve, and should have remembered that you had included the IPCC AR3 reconstruction. In fact, that exact graphic is Figure 7 in Andrew Weaver’s 2003 article.

      So, it appears possible that Prof. Weaver was doubly tricked. First with the idea that the Figure contained four independent reconstructions, and second that the reconstructions themselves were fully represented.

      Knowing he’d been led astray, one wonders to which conclusion Andrew Weaver’s competence will lead him concerning the truncated proxy. Was it “pure and unadulterated rubbish” or was it “absolute balderdash“?

      I’m at a loss to decide.

      Perhaps we can leave the diagnosis to those more competent.

      Still, Andrew Weaver now has a host of targets for suit. Life is so full of exciting opportunities! 🙂

  18. Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

    I bet weaver has huge problems with students & colleagues taking the mickey.

  19. Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

    I have been reading up on the guy and from his own intolerant and pedantic approach to life I am completely astonished anyone votes for him. As for the judge I assume he had a good reason to throw away all principles of free speech and … well I just will never think of Canada as a tolerant place again.

  20. AntonyIndia
    Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

    As 99.999% of the world has never heard of this Andrew Weaver it was good to read the Wikipedia entry about him.
    Now it is clear to me that he has pinned his political carrier to his academic credentials as he wants to become the leader of some Green Party in 2017. This explains part of his over sensitiveness. Freedom of speech is not high on his agenda is seems. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/08/14/andrew-weaver-bc-green-leader_n_3757475.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-british-columbia

    • Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 11:25 AM | Permalink

      Andrew Weaver is the only Green Party Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia Canada.

      He did not want to assume leadership of the BC Green as the leader failed to get elected, wisely as he was not experienced in the Legislature, but now seems to have decided to do so for the next election, due in 2017.

      He had previously dallied with the New Democratic Party, a mush of Marxists and labour unionists, but settled on the Green Party.

      Ongoing debate among environmental activist minded people as to which party to support, the conservative type parties hope the division of votes continues. 🙂

  21. Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 10:46 PM | Permalink

    I first heard of Weaver when he did the paranoid crap in his pants over the post-climategate break-in. His lack of self-awareness combined with his sense of self-importance were all I needed to “know” him. Nothing has changed my opinion since.

  22. Posted Mar 13, 2015 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

    Tort…tortious…tortuous.

  23. Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 1:39 AM | Permalink

    Oh, my! The poor litigious, little, green lamb, eh?!

    In light of his March 2005:

    I have never ‘promoted’ Mann et al. in the past. Not only that, I did not ‘promote’ it in my lectures, which of course you were not at. I request that you immediately remove the defamatory statement from your web site.

    And his subsequent ‘explanatory’ (for want of a better word):

    […] the tone and phrasing effectively is designed to hold me up to contempt. [Weaver’s examples] It is the sneering tone and the implications that make the case, not the words themselves [more Weaverisms snipped for brevity -hro]

    I, for one, cannot help wondering why Weaver does not appear to have launched a libel suit against RateMyProfessor where one finds … wait for it … that a full 25% of the 36 respondents gave him a “Poor” rating.

    Here are two (more or less) contemporaneous examples of this “Poor” – and perhaps in the Legal Rules According to Weaver™ (and even Judge Emily?!) “defamatory” – rating from students who (presumably) were at his lectures:

    [10/05/2004]

    entertaining and brilliant, but basically an immature and “its all about me” twit. good thing there are universities – he wouldn’t last a day in the real world.

    [and 10/27/2005]

    Knows his stuff but he can’t teach worth a damn. He often loses his mind in lectures and mixes up fundamentals. Maybe better for upper level […] Some midterm questions were very unexpected based on his study recommendations.

    Then again, I suppose it’s within the realm of possibility that the above ratings lacked the apparently “key” ingredient of a “sneering” tone – as perceived by Weaver, whose perceptions (and/or those articulated by his designated legal counsel) in such matters – must be the only ones that count in court.

    Or, at least, the only ones that appear to count in the court of newbie Judge Emily, whose own qualifications appear to derive from her many years in the quasi-judicial field of labour arbitration, mediation and dispute resolution. None of which have anything to do with libel or defamation law.

    Alternatively, perhaps Weaver (in his 2004-2005 capacity as president of UVic’s Faculty Association – and their chief negotiator in 2003 and 2006 collective bargaining) was simply too busy to notice the above ratings.

    As for Weaver’s apparent concern about ‘tone and phrasing holding [others] up to contempt’, I cannot help wondering…

    Whether or not in the Legal Rules According to Weaver™ (and/or Judge Emily?!), expostulations such as the following found in a Nov. 2010 Victoria Times article, must also be characterized as “holding [others] up to contempt” – or even <gasp> Weaver’s “proposed tort of sarcasm”:

    sputtering words like “unbelievable” and “dictator” and “shocking affront to democracy,” says he hopes the opposition will force Harper’s minority government to fall. “He’s got to get kicked out. This is Canada, not Zimbabwe . . . or maybe it is.

    “It’s all about not wanting to do anything about the issue,” Weaver says of the Senate sabotage. It’s about pandering to the oil industry, to the Conservatives’ Alberta power base.

    No contempt and no sneering tone in the above?! Of course not! Well, one must presume, at least not in the Legal Rules According to Weaver™ (and/or Judge Emily?!)

    Furthermore, as a BC resident and voter in the last Provincial election – not unlike the overwhelming majority of my fellow voting residents (including those in Andrew <We are the vote> Weaver’s riding) – I chose to exercise my democratic right to not vote for a Green Party candidate.

    Consequently, I would really like to know whether or not Weaver (and/or Judge Emily) would deem that one who, during the course of a 7,000+ word very public (circa Oct. 23, 2014) peroration in the legislature, had declared:

    Shame on the people who voted for this government.

    could and/or should be found to be equally guilty of “holding [others] up to contempt” and/or subject to prosecution for libel and/or defamation by virtue of Weaver’s proposed (and/or presumed?!) tort of sarcasm. Not to mention warranting the description of a “shocking affront to democracy”.

    Or is it simply the case that Weaver – not unlike others of the very Green persuasion, nor unlike prominent Holocaust denier (and serial litigator) David Irving – is a firm adherent and practitioner of the “free speech for me, but not for thee” school of “thought”?

    IOW, one whose picayune protestations, pronouncements and “arguments” (not unlike those of Pachauri, come to think of it) deserve to be tossed “into the dustbin”, along with Judge Emily’s error-riddled “judgment”.

  24. Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

    Steve:

    I’ve zamboni-ed some minor foodfighting purely to make the comment thread less unreadable.

    Completely understood. Excellent use of the zamboni in the last two threads.

    More florid than my style, but free speech about public affairs would be dreary indeed if one can’t say something [sarcastic] like this about an academic who’s placed himself in public debate.

    So true – and another interesting window into the seminal days of CA ten years ago. More recently some blog comment sections seem to become nothing but sarcasm, from one commenter to the next, and vice versa, and vice versa, ad nauseam. There’s surely never been anything as dreary to read in the field of human communication, in which we all fail to be competent. Congratulations especially to Judith Curry for recent use of the zamboni in some key threads, helping neophytes like myself better understand the breakthrough paper on Albedo (one sincerely hopes) by Stephens et al. Not an easy thing to get right, in either direction.

    I thought that Weaver’s response was inane. I certainly didn’t agree that it was a tort to be sarcastic to an academic, but wasn’t interested at the time in engaging with him on it. So my reply to him was … sarcastic. And, in retrospect, highly appropriate.

    Back on track for a moment. Never was sarcasm more deserved. Thank you for such a pertinent example, as we try to get to grips with quite how far Judge Burke went off track as far as the basic freedoms of the West are concerned.

    And now off piste again, with zamboni expected in close pursuit, but staying with two recent themes: being sarcastic to an academic and Brad Keyes of Climate Nuremberg fame/obscurity. Brad was particularly rude to a London-based academic on Twitter on 1st February:

    Rather good sledgehammer sarcasm but as the interested reader can see (click on the time and date of the tweet for context) I felt an interest because I’d just said something shocking but more focused to Professor Maslin. So, to be honest, I groaned at the contribution from down under. But tweets are completely out of one’s control or that of any previous generation of Zamboni. In fact, as Twitter chooses to remember the conversation from Brad onwards, it ends with some superb contributions from Spence_UK, as he’s known on CA. That’s social media for you. Sometimes.

    The punchline for me though was reached three days later:

    A UK climate academic who actually listened, even after having to endure such rudeness and sarcasm from the unwashed. Showing it’s possible. Someone who might one day be awarded the order of big boy pants by industry pioneers like Lucia. (I recently ascribed that telling phrase to Judy, in talking to some influential Ruby programmers about another heated February exchange. One lives and learns.)

  25. blogagog
    Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    The thing about sarcasm is, I love to dish it out, but I hate to take it.

  26. Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    That thought brought this one to my mind. The most competent people I’ve ever met were never sensitive about these things. They were poised and took sarcasm in stride and criticism with aplomb.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

      What I have noticed is that the people who get offended by criticism tend to be phonies, like the Wizard of Oz, who don’t want you to look behind the curtain.

    • Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

      As Steve has shown in this very thread. But there are also dangers in a naive ‘big boy pants’ school of response.

      By way of example, I remember mentioning Steve, the hockey stick and this blog to someone who had become quite a close friend in another context around 2007. He had a background in physics and was starting to work in renewable energy. On hearing Steve’s name he said dismissively “Oh yes, he’s got links with and funding from the oil industry hasn’t he?” I was truly astonished by the ignorance and shallowness of someone I otherwise respected. I remember thinking I didn’t do a very good job at putting the record straight, partly because of the shock.

      Nigel Lawson is I think an example of someone who has fought back well, on behalf of many of us, against such malicious and base propaganda. Weaver and others partly get away with such affronts to logic and freedom as they regularly commit because of this background noise accepted by the ignorant. I sure don’t know how to replace it all with sweetness and light but I do think we have to resist. Sarcasm is a useful and valid tool as we do.

  27. Jan Christoffersen
    Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

    What does the link below say about the competence of the University of Victoria’s climate modeling group, of which Weaver was the head for many years?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/24/epic-failure-of-the-canadian-climate-model/

    • davideisenstadt
      Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

      careful now…weaver may sue you…sneering sarcasm and whatnot.

    • joe
      Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

      speaking of models – the latest meme de jour is that Hansens 1988 model is remarkably accurate (failing to note that the comparison is with Hansens scenerio C)

      • Pat Frank
        Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

        OT

        • Pat Frank
          Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

          That diagnosis logically requires removal of joe’s comment as well.

          Steve: probably, but my editing is uneven. I prefer that longtime and valued readers stick with the informal rules.

  28. Brandon Shollenberger
    Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

    Seriously? I didn’t comment for something like 12 hours, and you’re portraying that as a remarkable delay? A couple weeks ago a person did much the same when I didn’t respond for four hours. What’s with that?

    I went to the length of writing a post to discuss a couple issues I’ve raised which our host has failed to address. I did so primarily because he invited me to discuss them, saying he’d respond if I did. He hasn’t. Nobody else here has either. That seems far more relevant than me taking half a day off from commenting on a blog.

    • michael hart
      Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 6:28 PM | Permalink

      Perhaps he has been busy with other things?
      Well, whatever, nobody reading or commenting here owes you a response.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 3:18 AM | Permalink

        on planet brandon the rules are different.

        • Throgmorton.
          Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

          Everybody has their own “planet”, Steven.

          I value Brandon Shollenberger’s propensity to challenge both sides of this issue equally without the cosy partisanship or mindless sneering that has largely stalled the debate (or for that matter, the hit and run tactics that some of us chose to employ).

          He demonstrates an ability to lay out his reasoning in a clear expository manner, without elisions or fudging, so that it can be fully exposed to criticism. Yes, he can be accused of a relentless micro-punctiliousness, but very often these apparent quibbles turn out to be key points. This would seem to be the case here.

        • Brandon Shollenberger
          Posted Mar 16, 2015 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

          Throgmorton, thanks for your comment. My goal is to do exactly what you say, so it’s good to hear I’ve succeeded (at least in the eyes of some).

        • Rick
          Posted Mar 16, 2015 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

          ‘He demonstrates an ability to lay out his reasoning in a clear expository manner’
          Wow, you must have the dedication and inner peace of a Greek Orthodox Monk. Halfway through I’m reaching for the double strength pain relief. I must have an allergy to relentless micro-punctiliousness.

  29. Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 10:47 PM | Permalink

    Oh. Weaver definitely should have but on big boy pants!

    Beyond that, I’m pretty sure expressing the opinion someone is incompetent would not be defamation in the US. Opinions cannot be defamatory.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Mar 14, 2015 at 11:29 PM | Permalink

      Lucia says:

      Oh. Weaver definitely should have but on big boy pants!

      Lucia, if you meant “Weaver definitely should have butt on big boy pants!”, I hope you’re not expecting him to twerk.

  30. Brandon Shollenberger
    Posted Mar 15, 2015 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    The URL to the file with the correspondence doesn’t work because it’s a bit wrong. There’s a period and space at the end of it which breaks the link. You can get to the file by removing those, but it’d probably be best to fix it. (This link works.)

  31. clays
    Posted Mar 16, 2015 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    Throgmorton, Exactly what are the “key points” that Brandon has elucidated here? All I see is a pointless descent down an irrelevant rabbit hole that adds nothing to the conversation.

  32. Posted Mar 17, 2015 at 1:21 AM | Permalink

    Reblogged this on I Didn't Ask To Be a Blog.

  33. Posted Mar 17, 2015 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

    It would seem Dr. Weaver is a bit on the touchy side.

    Barbara “call me Senator” Boxer phoned, and she wants both her ego and her thin skin back.

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