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Friday, October 26, 2012

Mann lawsuit marginalia

One incidental consequence of Michael Mann's defamation lawsuit is to underscore the folly of awarding Nobel Peace Prizes to organizations rather than individuals. That practice is an exercise in reification--similar to Time magazine choosing as Person of the Year "the computer" or "the protester" or some such. It also creates confusion as to who has, or has not, won the prize. (We will leave aside for present discussion that many Nobel Peace Prizes awarded to individuals were also pretty dubious, or worse.) But further blame attaches to the IPCC for handing out certificates saying so-and-so contributed to the prize, when the Nobel Committee apparently does not support such assertions.

I have no idea whether Mann will prevail or not in his lawsuit against the Competitive Enterprise Institute, National Review et al. What is clear to me is that calling anybody the "Jerry Sandusky of" anything, on matters unrelated to what Sandusky did, is contemptible. National Review's emphasis on the Nobel question, which is not at issue in the lawsuit, surely is an effort to distract from that point.

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