[Tuesday] marked a not unimportant court deadline in the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century, and I wouldn't want to let it pass without comment. Ever since this tedious suit was launched by Doctor Fraudpants in defense of his global-warming hockey stick, Michael Mann's supporters have insisted that it's not, as I and my fellow defendants have insisted, about free speech. Instead, as they see it, it's about science finally fighting back against a sustained assault by Koch-funded "denialists". This sub-headline encapsulates the general line:
Michael Mann is taking a stand for science.Gotcha. Michael Mann is not doing this for Michael Mann, or even for Michael Mann's science, or even for climate science. He's doing it for science. Mann is science and science is Mann.
A few weeks ago, you'll recall, the ACLU, The Washington Post, NBC News, The Los Angeles Times and various other notorious right-wing deniers all filed amici briefs opposed to Michael Mann and his assault on free speech. They did this not because they have any great love for me, but because their antipathy to wackjob foreign blowhards is outweighed by their appreciation of the First Amendment - and an understanding of the damage a Mann victory would inflict on it. After noting the upsurge of opposition to Mann, Reuters inquired of Catherine Reilly (one of his vast legal team) whether there would be any amici filing pro-Mann briefs:
I asked Reilly if the professor would have any supporting briefs next month when he responds to the defendants in the D.C. appeals court.Ms Reilly was a pleasant sort when I met her in court over a year ago, but she struck me as a formidable opponent. So I naturally assumed that the above was what what the political types call "lowering expectations". As I wrote:
"At this point, we don't know," she said.
I would be surprised if Mann didn't have any supporting briefs. I was in court when Ms Reilly's genial co-counsel made his argument for Mann, which was a straightforward appeal to authority: Why, all these eminent acronymic bodies, from the EPA and NSF and NOAA even unto HMG in London, have proved that all criticisms of Mann are false and without merit. So I would certainly expect them to file briefs - and, given that Mann sees this as part of a broader "war on science" by well-funded "deniers", I would also expect briefs from the various professional bodies: the National Academy of Sciences, the American Physical Society, etc. As pleasant as it is to find my side of the court suddenly so crowded, I'm confident Mann will be able to even up the numbers.Well, yesterday was the deadline, and not a single amicus brief was filed on behalf of Mann. Not one. So Michael Mann is taking a stand for science. But evidently science is disinclined to take a stand for Michael Mann. The self-appointed captain of the hockey team is playing solo. As Judith Curry wrote last month:
The link between 'defending Michael Mann is defending climate science' seems to have been broken.As yesterday's deafening silence confirms. If you're defending Michael Mann, you're not defending science, or defending climate science, or theories on global warming or anything else. Defending Michael Mann means defending Michael Mann - and it turns out not many people are willing to go there.
More here: The lonesomest Mann in town
This development is very telling, and is the moment that the tide of consensus receded and left Mann out standing in his field.