Thursday, February 15, 2018

Climate science denial dismissed - Judge finds Tim Ball too wacky to be believed

Sou | 9:52 AM Go to the first of 18 comments. Add a comment
Over at WUWT, Anthony Watts has gleefully announced to his climate conspiracy mob that a Canadian judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Tim Ball. What Anthony didn't (and probably won't) tell his readers, is that the judge dismissed the complaint because:
Simply put, a reasonably thoughtful and informed person who reads the Article is unlikely to place any stock in Dr. Ball’s views, including his views of Dr. Weaver as a supporter of conventional climate science.

Now we know that no-one who is a fan of WUWT is a "reasonably thoughtful" or "informed person". And we also know that about 99% of them won't bother reading any judgement, and most don't read DeSmogBlog (or HotWhopper) either. Still, I thought it might be useful to spread the word, thanks to Richard Littlemore - who wrote about this first.

If the argument put by the judge is extended, it means that he regards most fans of Anthony Watts' wattsupwiththat blog as unreasonable, lacking in thinking power, and distinctly uninformed. He also holds a large minority of the US population in contempt, the ones who still believe anything their authoritarian idols tell them to believe.

Another key quote was how the Judge found Tim Ball intended to harm then climate scientist Andrew Weaver:
The judge agreed, saying, first of all that Ball’s intent to injure was adequately established in the evidence:
These allegations are directed at Dr. Weaver’s professional competence and are clearly derogatory of him. Indeed, it is quite apparent that this was Dr. Ball’s intent.
That's why I think Andrew Weaver stands a chance if he chooses to appeal. Even though I agree with the judgement in its essence, it's also not unreasonable to argue that something like 30% of the US population might be "reasonably thoughtful" despite being wrong about climate science, and are instead merely "uninformed". (That's not the case for probably most WUWT commenters. The long term fans can only be considered as unscrupulous disinformers who deliberately spread lies, or are wilfully ignorant, because they've had ample time and means to find out the facts for themselves.)

Now will Anthony keep his promise and perhaps post the judgement (pdf) or not. Any bets?

By the way - I did predict that Tim Ball was trying for the insanity defense, back in April last year. He must be very pleased his efforts have come to this!

As an aside, sorry for being tardy in getting back to blogging. Other commitments mean articles will be a bit slow coming for a little while yet. Sorry about that. I shall return in full swing shortly.

Further reading

Is Tim Ball wanting to try the "insane" defense in his court cases, with the help of Anthony Watts? - HotWhopper article from April 2017

More about Tim Ball from HotWhopper


  1. This took 6 year? Blimey!

    I think Andrew Weaver will appeal. The judge let Tim Ball off.

  2. Thanks for the link to the Desmogblog article and pdf of the judgment, Sou. I wasn't aware that the original publisher retracted Ball's obscure comment piece and apologized in 2011, or that Ball had apologized in writing to Weaver in 2011 as well. Weaver probably should have let the matter drop there.

    Note that this is quite different from Mann v. Steyn, Simberg, NRO, and CEI, who have been far more defamatory, more widely published, and without a hint of apology. In fact while Simberg has kept an extremely low profile, Steyn keeps doubling down on defamation. You can only lose your house once, I suppose.

    1. The deniers have been able to defame at will for a decade or two. Time to nail some of them to their words.

    2. NASA’s Dr Gavin Schmidt has pointed out, the IPCC’s implied best guess was that humans were responsible for around 110% of observed warming (ranging from 72% to 146%), with natural factors in isolation leading to a slight cooling over the past 50 years.

  3. The appeal should note that the judgement relies on there being few people out there who cannot be described as "reasonably thoughtful and informed". The recent Brexit and Trump votes would indicate they are, in fact, legion.

  4. Hmm, reminds me of the supposed Adlai Stevenson retort.
    "Governor, you have the vote of every thinking person!", "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority".

    Given Trump is president, I think the judge is being optimistic.

  5. Having some experience in matters like this. In my opinion ,the Judge seemed to be seeking to head off a malicious prosecution case against Weaver by Ball. Possibly diminish Balls'chances at recovery of legal costs as well .
    Really a tempest in a teapot from my perspective .
    Real reason I am here is Sou was following Oceans 2k 2015 2,000 year SST reconstruction which was supposed to publish the 20th century bin data last May . Never happened that I can find and site seems to have folded ..
    Anyone on here know where or when this will be available ?

  6. While from a point of view that says that that the more nut-case deniers should be slapped down, one can see the rationale that the judge used.

    I think he was probably wrong but that implies that he would need a massive knowledge of the climate denial world.

    Still saying that Ball is so mad/incompetent that no reasonable person would believe his writings is not that bad.

    Did anyone notice than Ball cannot stop lying even in Court?

    From the decision:
    Dr. Ball is a retired professor from the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg, who holds a PhD in climatology and who taught in the field for many years.

    One wonders why Weaver's legal team did not challenge this.

  7. What I love about this story is there is no need to have any scientific knowledge to be able to get the true story. You just need to understand plain English. And the conclusion from that is Watts sets out to misinform and his fanboys choose to be misinformed.

  8. Unbelievable! The Wikipedia article on Tim Ball described the judge's decision like this:

    In February, 2018 the lawsuit of defamation of Weaver was dismissed completely. The judge also agreed with Ball that many views by Weaver were extreme and not borne out when the words are considered from the perspective of a reasonable, right-thinking person. Weaver has said he will consider an appeal.

    That took some pretty advanced rhetorical ju-jitsu. Among other things, what the judge characterized as "extreme" were Weaver's complaints about the article. What was "not borne out" was the defamatory aspect of the article. Because, as Sou notes, it was apparently badly written. Not Weaver's climate views.

    I fixed up that Wikipedia paragraph, with newspaper citations. (It already had one citation, from which words were carefully snipped and rearranged.) But looking over the Tim Ball Wikipedia article, I notice that the section on his various legal imbroglios contains some similarly dubious propositions.

    I'm thinking that some of the readers here may have the knowledge and inclination to fix it up.

  9. I believe Stoat is active on Wikipedia: you might give him a heads up.

  10. Yes, the Wikipedia article on Time Ball is being got at by a climate change denier. Just after the stuff about Weaver it now contains some hockey stick stuff which links to the merry folk at Principia.

  11. Hi Sou,

    I thought you might be interested in this influencers list:


    I see WUWT is ranked 148th, ahead of more than 2/3rds of the top 500 pack.

    Even ahead of DeSmogBlog, Dana Nuccitelli, and many more.

    I also notice HotWhopper is not even on the list.

    Just thought you might want to know who the real opinion leaders are, in case you want to try emulating one of them.


  12. It's amazing what you can find on the internet: are you in hiding from the lizardmen?

  13. Weirdly, the comment comes from the same guy who in 2017 said Hotwhopper wasn't worth trolling. And yet, here he is: trolling.

    Also weird is the apparent influence of Paul Beckwith.

    Still, if we were to put any perspective on this ranking, denialism is just a little side show, and Fred doesn't even realize it.

  14. Well, to be fair to the troll, I am quite happy to accept that WUWT (and other "alternative fact websites", including some managed by the Russian Govt.) have had sufficient influence to put Donald Trump in the White House. That's not something that any intelligent person would be proud of, and it seems increasingly likely that it is something WUWT will be trying to forget not too long from now.

  15. "I see WUWT is ranked 148th ..."

    I see Greenpeace is in 1st place.

    And Al Gore in 2nd! Despite putting on a bit of weight.

    And what does that prove?

  16. What does that prove? Either that Al Gore put Trump in the WH or our new bestest friend Fred is full of himself.


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