I came across an interesting story on Mark Steyn's website a couple days ago when looking for a quotation I had considered including in my recent eBook. The story caught my eye because it was about a man supposedly being poisoned, and, well, murder intrigue is intriguing. Here is what Steyn said happened:
Robert Spencer, the author of several bestselling books on Islam, a brave crusader against the dopier multiculti illusions and the proprietor of the indispensable Jihad Watch, gave a speech at the Grand Hotel, went to unwind at dinner afterwards, and was poisoned by a social-justice warrior.
That's a sexy story to share. Naturally, such a sexy story becomes less sexy as one examines it. Continue reading
As I mentioned yesterday, this site has reached another year in its short life. I think that's a fitting time to announce my new eBook which has just been published: The Climate Wars: A Disgrace to Skepticism.
I want to point out right from the start a lot of people I know won't like this book. Some might dislike it because they dislike my writing. That's fair. I can't say I'm amazing when it comes to prose. What I can say is the larger reason people will dislike it is the point of the eBook:
This book does not attempt to list everything anyone in the Skeptic movement has gotten or done wrong. There are an untold number of errors and misdeeds one could rant about in an attempt to score rhetorical points. That is not the point. The point is the polarization of the global warming debate means none of these problems matter.
There are many people in the global warming debate who do honest and good work. They do not matter. As long as people remain silent and allow bad work and unethical behavior to dominate the public representation of their side of a debate, all anyone will have is the same sort of partisan bickering they could find in any political argument.
That goes for all sides. Whatever the topic, whatever your beliefs. If you want to be taken seriously or accomplish some task, quit thinking about how “they” are the problem. Focus on what is right and what is wrong.
And remember, sometimes you and the things you like might be the ones that are wrong.
It's a simple point. If you say it about Warmists, Skeptics will quickly agree, talking at length about how "noble cause corruption" is, well, corrupting climate science. The question is, will any Skeptics acknowledge the same thing is true for them?
Experience makes me think they won't. Maybe I'll be surprised. And even if not, maybe some people who aren't as polarized when it comes to global warming will find this eBook worth their time.
And as always, if you don't want to spend the $0.99 on this eBook, you're welcome to download a free PDF copy available here.
I am a fierce critic of Michael Mann, a scientist made (in)famous for creating what is known as the "hockey stick." I have repeatedly said his "hockey stick" was fraudulent as he intentionally deceived people by doing things like hiding unfavorable results of statistical tests while publishing those which were favorable.
There's a lot of information and detail involved in the controversy around Mann's work. To help people understand it, I've written two short eBooks discussing it. The first deals with Mann's original hockey stick (a free PDF draft version can be found here), the second with Mann's follow-up efforts to disprove his critics (free draft version here). They demonstrate Mann intentionally deceived people by knowingly misrepresenting "scientific" findings. More bluntly, Mann committed fraud.
I am not the only person to say things like this. Many have. Mann is in the process of suing a few of them. You might think I would oppose this. I don't. Or at least, I don't oppose it completely. You see, the remark which caused this particular lawsuit was this disgusting remark:
Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except for instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in service of politicized science that could have dire consequences for the nation and planet
That is not the basis of the lawsuit, but it is what made Mann decide to file one. He was, quite understandably, upset at being compared to a child molester. I have no sympathy for people who get sued because they say things like this. There are consequences to being a despicable person.
That wouldn't be enough to make me support a lawsuit though. People say vile things all the time. Freedom of speech means they can. The reason this lawsuit happened is people accused Michael Mann of committing fraud. While I believe these accusations are true, I do not believe some of the people making them have behaved in a manner which should or would exempt them from legal scrutiny. In this post, I will discuss a recent court ruling allowing a lawsuit Mann filed to continue and explain why I believe that ruling is correct.
Readers may have noticed I haven't written any posts in the last week, and I haven't been updating my In Process Review of Mark Steyn's latest book, A Disgrace to the Profession. I haven't given up on things, but the more I read Steyn's book, the more I realized the current approach wasn't effective.
I like the idea of doing "live" reviews like this, but Steyn's book is so repetitive there's just not point. Even worse, there are so many problems with his book one could never hope to cover them in a single read through. So instead, I've decided I'll approach his book in a more systematic, research manner. It's not as fun, but it will let me work out just what's wrong with the book in a far more structured manner.
Now, I know a lot of people won't care. For whatever reasons, a lot of people will love Steyn's book no matter what. They will continue to love the idea of him providing 120 quotations from "experts" they can use as talking points, no matter what. It won't matter that some of the quotes weren't in reference to Michael Mann, his work or anything related to it. It won't matter that many of the quotes have their meanings distorted due to being heavily quoted mined. It won't even matter that by my current count, 71 of those 120 quotations qualify as misquotations.
Now, I'll be the first to admit a number of these misquotations are relatively minor. However, that's not the topic of today's post. Today I'm not going to discuss the severity or importance of misquotations. Today I'm just going to look at a bizarre grammatical issue that came up in Steyn's book and ask if it qualifies as a misquotation. Because honestly, it's so weird, I don't know.
As you may know from a few recent posts, I had some problems arise due to PayPal decided to take money for a couple purchases out of my bank account instead of my PayPal account. They've all been cleared up thanks to PayPal's Twitter customer service team (which solved the problem quickly when the phone line people couldn't accomplish anything), and in a few days money transfers will go through and everything will be back to normal.
In the meantime, a reader kindly purchased a copy of Mark Steyn's new book, A Disgrace to the Profession, a response of sorts to a lawsuit Michael Mann filed against him. I had been wanting to read this book, but I couldn't buy it when it was released due to my online accounts having issues, and that's when the reader contacted me to offer to purchase it for me.
Anyway, I got it in the mail yesterday, and I started reading it. If you saw my last post, you know I was not happy with what I saw. Because of that, I've decided to do something I haven't done in half a year. I'm going to do a "live" book review. That is, as I read the book, I will write my thoughts and reactions in the comments below. That'll give me a place to post all my thoughts so I don't have to keep making new post after new post.
I noticed Mark Steyn has a new piece in which he says he is "content to let Mr Shollenberger have the last word, in the unlikely event he ever gets around to it." Since it's clear no resolution is possible, I'm content to make a final comment and leave things unsettled. That comment is: Mark Steyn is an idiot.
Nobody who knows anything about me could believe I am a defender of Michael Mann. I've criticized him on more issues than most people know exist. I've written tens of thousands of words condemning his work and criticizing him as a person. I even wrote a ~20 post series explaining why it is reasonable for people to believe he is guilty of fraud to show he cannot win a lawsuit against people describing his work as fraudulent.
Why then, did Mark Steyn just say:
I said that you think "Michael E Mann has a case against me and the case ought to be permitted to got to trial". You've just confirmed that
Nobody believes I support Michael Mann in his lawsuit against Mark Steyn. I've been writing a series of posts with a stated intention of showing Steyn's remarks were justifiable, if not correct. However, unlike Steyn and most of his supporters, I believe this case ought to go to trial.