Tim Ball sues for $325,000

The Globe and Mail reports

CALGARY — The skeptic at the centre of the heated debate about climate change that has been taking place in Canadian newspapers is moving the dispute to the courts, where Tim Ball is seeking $325,000 in damages for a letter to the editor that he says amounted to a “malicious attack” on his reputation.

Mr. Ball, who is the country’s most well-known critic of global-warming theory, is suing the Calgary Herald and its editors, the University of Lethbridge and one if its professors, Dan Johnson, for defamation, according to documents filed this month with the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench.

The dispute stems from an opinion piece on global warming that Mr. Ball wrote for the Herald last April and a published letter written by Prof. Johnson, an environmental scientist at the southern Alberta institution, who subsequently questioned the credentials attributed to Mr. Ball at the end of his article.

Here is Johnson’s letter

Whatever one may feel about Tim Ball’s denial of climate change science, newspapers ought to report factual summaries of authors’ credentials. You note he “was the first Climatology PhD in Canada and worked as a Professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg for 28 years”. Ball received a PhD in Geography in the UK in 1982, on a topic in historical climatology. Canada already had PhD’s in climatology, and it is important to recognize them and their research. Examples include Kenneth Hare, who received his PhD in 1950, also in the UK. Climatologist Andre Robert (PhD from McGill, 1965) conducted research that laid the groundwork in atmospheric models and climate. Timothy Oke, a leader in the study of urban climate, received his PhD from McMaster in 1967. According to Ball’s website, he was not a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg for 28 years. How could he have? He did not even have an entry-level PhD until 1983, which would allow even Assistant Professor status. During much of the 28 years cited, he was a junior Lecturer who rarely published, and then spent 8 years as a geography professor. His work does not show any evidence of research regarding climate and atmosphere and the few papers he has published concern other matters. There are great gains to be made in science from conjectures and refutations, but sometimes denial is nothing more than denial.

The Globe and Mail continues:

Although Mr. Ball acknowledges that he only became a professor at the university in 1988, in his court documents he accuses the Herald of being negligent for not checking the accuracy of other contents of Prof. Johnson’s letter.

The letter suggests Mr. Ball “falsified his professional and academic credentials” and that he does not have the qualifications to make “serious comments” about global warming, according to the lawsuit.

So Ball admits he falsified his credentials but is suing anyway? The Calgary Herald is being sued despite publishing this “clarification”:

“Clarification On Sunday, April 23, 2006, The Herald published a letter from Dan Johnson, a professor in environmental science at the University of Lethbridge. Johnson was responding to an article of April 19, 2006, written by Dr. Timothy Ball. In his letter, Johnson criticized Ball’s lack of research regarding climate and said he rarely published while teaching at the University of Winnipeg. According to Ball’s curriculum vitae, he has conducted research on climate and has published 51 papers – 32 directly related to climate and atmosphere. The Herald wishes to clarify that information.”

However, hardly any of those 51 publications are in scientific journals but include things like gardening magazines. I looked in Web of Science and could only find four papers by Ball, all on historical climatology, none on climate and atmosphere. I don’t see how Ball can possibly win his case, but I guess that’s not the point.

Comments

  1. #1 mark
    September 14, 2006

    Ball sounds qualified to be a spokesman for Intelligent Design.

  2. #2 Ian Forrester
    September 14, 2006

    Hopefully, when this goes to trial, if in fact it does get that far, the result will do to climate deniers what the result in Kitzmiller v Dover did to the IDiots. We can just hope that the case goes before a judge as wise and knowledgeable as Judge Jones.

    Ian Forrester

  3. #3 stewart
    September 14, 2006

    Suing the Calgary Herald, which was far too kind to Dr Ball in the first place? He’s blind with rage. I’ve testified before some of the judges here in Calgary – they seem pretty sharp (Canada shares the UK and Aussie system of appointing, typically from a list recommended by the local law society). I hope he gets funding from ‘Friends of Science’ – it will stop it going to more harmful purposes. The facts are against him. Perhaps he will try and fudge the meaning of published – in which case I’ll have to start adding my posts here to my cv.

  4. #4 steve munn
    September 15, 2006

    How about a post on Andrew Bolt’s latest AGW denialist article, Mr Lambert?

  5. #5 Carl Christensen
    September 15, 2006

    when will Pat Michaels sue everyone for discovering that he isn’t the “Virginia state climatologist.”

  6. #6 per
    September 15, 2006

    It is always interesting to read Doltoid, and compare the viewpoint there with the rest of reality.

    Of course, much of Johnson’s letter (cited above) takes issue with a piece of text at the end of an article by Tim Ball, which is written in the third person, and is typical of material written by newspapers about guest columnists:

    “Tim Ball is a Victoria-based environmental consultant. He was the first climatology PhD in Canada and worked as a professor of climatology at the University of Winnipeg for 28 years.”

    If this text was not written by Ball, it hardly seems appropriate to criticise him for the content. Johnson’s phrase “Ignoring the adjustments to his CV…” could be read in context as suggesting falsification of Ball’s CV by Ball. If the piece of text in question is written by someone else, it is going to be a difficult point to substantiate.

    The globe and mail reported also:
    “The whole thing is a little disturbing,” Prof. Johnson said. “. . . I’m not wild that I’m being sued for a lot of money.”

    yours
    per

  7. #7 Louis Hissink
    September 15, 2006

    Per,

    precisely.

  8. #8 Tim Lambert
    September 15, 2006

    The text may not have been written by Ball, but it was based on information provided by Ball. And Ball makes the same claim in his own words, as I [pointed out in my previous post on this matter](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/06/dear_tim_ball_sue_me.php). Do try to keep up, Dr Bell.

  9. #9 per
    September 15, 2006

    The text may not have been written by Ball,…

    hmmm… Isn’t that quite important if you were to suggest that the statement is a deliberate falsification by Ball ?

    but it was based on information provided by Ball

    You do not even know who wrote the piece of text, and yet you are prepared to tell us categorically what information they had access to !

    I also read your previous piece; presumably you must be unaware that editors can and do change the text written by writers. And I was profoundly impressed by your analysis of Ball’s qualifications:

    ..I have a Ph.D, (Doctor of Science) from the University of London…

    I think that is perfectly fair use, explaining what a Ph.D. is to a lay audience. Your claim that he “further embellishes his qualifications”, “he’s claiming to be a Doctor of Science”, i.e. a D.Sc., needs no further comment from me.

    yours

    per

  10. #10 Eli Rabett
    September 15, 2006

    By suing, Ball has associated himself with the bio. There are three substantive statements in the letter

    1. Ball was not the first Canadian to hold a Ph.D. in climatology.

    2. Ball was not a professor at U Winnipeg for 28 years.

    3. Ball has published very little in the scientific literature.

    Anyone want to try and falsify 1-3?

    OK

    Now comes per and Hissick claiming that Ball did not write the professional description at the bottom of the article. That is irrelevant to the claim of defamation. Since Ball is suing he must be claiming that 1-3 are false and that

    1. Ball was the first Canadian to hold a Ph.D. in climatology.

    2. Ball was a professor at U Winnipeg for 28 years.

    3. Ball has published a lot in the scientific literature.

    In other words he is affirming what was written at the bottom of his opinion piece. There are interesting variations of 1-3 at various organizations that Ball is associated with. Google “Tim Ball” climatologist

  11. #11 John Cross
    September 15, 2006

    Per:

    hmmm… Isn’t that quite important if you were to suggest that the statement is a deliberate falsification by Ball ?

    Where in the letter does Dr. Johnson say that this is a deliberate falsification by Dr. Ball? All Dr. Johnson appears to be concerned about is that a newspaper reports “factual summaries of authors’ credentials.”

    Apart from correcting the credentials as published, the only other thing that Dr. Johnson says about Dr. Ball is that he has not published in the area of climate and atmosphere. This can easily be seen by looking at what he has published and from what I have dug up I must agree with Dr. Johnson.

    Might I gently suggest that you occasionally take a look outside of the alternate reality that you, Dr. Ball and Louis seem to inhabit.

  12. #12 Joel Shore
    September 15, 2006

    Per: Your arguments here are beyond ludicrous. I don’t think Ball would have a case even if Johnson had made the claim that it was Ball who said these things about himself. (And this is even if…and I would be shocked if this were true…the newspaper’s summary of Ball’s credentials were written by them independently rather than spoon-fed to them by Ball. It is standard practice in a newspaper to adopt the 3rd party voice and I know that in writing letters to the editor, I have even done it myself at the end of my letter: “The author is …”)

    However, in this case, Johnson never makes that claim. He actually blames the newspaper for publishing incorrect information without any implication of where this information came from. Your claim “‘Ignoring the adjustments to his CV…’ could be read in context as suggesting falsification of Ball’s CV by Ball” is so pathetically weak, it is beyond words. Do you know what the standard for proving libel is? It is not that something could conceivably read to suggest something negative about a person!

    I am quite sure this case will be laughed out of court. (It certainly would be in the U.S. In Canada, if it is more on the British model, libel law may be somewhat different.)

  13. #13 Carl Christensen
    September 15, 2006

    Ball presumably has enough money from his corporate backers to make a suit out of anything. Anyone can sue, actually winning is another thing. He’d have to show how this letter hurt him personally & financially etc. And anyway, reporting the truth isn’t that bad; maybe we should start a ballaudit.org blog! ;-)

  14. #14 John Cross
    September 15, 2006

    Joel, I am not sure what it is closer to, but I can’t see Ball having a case here. As Carl alludes to he would need to show that he was damaged. Under Canadian law, The remarks must be harmful (i.e. “defamatory”) and this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The judge will consider the situation of the person defamed in assessing the claim of defamation.

    Even if he was able to get this accepted, there are a number of standard defenses, two of which are applicable here:

    A defense can be based on claiming that The “defamatory” remark was basically accurate. Note that it does not say totally accurate but only basically accurate.

    Also, there is a second defense based on the idea of fair comment. Citizens are entitled to make “fair comment” on matters of public interest without fear of defamation claims. A good example of this is a letter to the editor on a matter of public concern. The author of the remarks may even go so far as to presume motives on the part of the person who’s actions are being criticized provided only that the imputation of motives is reasonable under the circumstances. The rule of thumb is that the fair comment must reflect an honestly held opinion based on proven fact and not motivated by malice.

    Based on this Ball doesn’t have a chance.

    Regards,
    John

    All quotes from this reference

  15. #15 per
    September 15, 2006

    Per: Your arguments here are beyond ludicrous…
    I am quite sure this case will be laughed out of court. (It certainly would be in the U.S. In Canada, if it is more on the British model, libel law may be somewhat different.)

    I am grateful for your legal opinion, and the qualification you immediately offer that you don’t even know what the relevant law is. I note that a lawyer thinks this case of sufficient strength to support.

    Your claim … is so pathetically weak,…

    I don’t feel obliged to provide a target for another defamation suit, merely to indicate what a possible claim might focus on. I notice you didn’t address the point yourself of how you can construe that phrase.

    I note two other issues in that letter which may require consideration; yet no-one seems to notice that they are there.

    Yet this board has so many high-powered lawyer types, who know who read what and when, offering advice on the prospects for the success of this case when the grounds are not identified here, and yet sometimes- it just seems like hot air. How can this be ?

    yours

    per

  16. #16 JB
    September 15, 2006

    “It is always interesting to read Doltoid, and compare the viewpoint there with the rest of reality.”

    It is always interesting to read sock puppertry** and compare the viewpoint with the rest of reality.

    **see Tim Lambert’s “Sock puppet Guide” on this page

  17. #17 Marlowe Johnson
    September 15, 2006

    I agree with most of the commenters here that the Ball’s case seems to be on very, very weak ground. Surely, Ball’s lawyers know this as well, which of course begs the question as to what his real motives are for doing this in the first place. Is it an ego thing ala Lott vs Levitt? Very weird, whatever the reason.

    Per, as a Canadian with some training and familiarity with Canadian law, I’m curious “you don’t even know what the relevant law is” what you think the relevant law is because the link john cross provides is appropriate IMO. I suspect the issue that Ball will try to raise has more to do with this part of the letter, which is addressed by Eli’s #3

    “Ignoring the adjustments to his CV for the moment, does his work show any evidence of research regarding climate and atmosphere? No, and the few papers he has published concern other matters. There are great gains to be made in science from conjectures and refutations, but sometimes denial is nothing more than denial.”

    However, perhaps he’ll try and argue that “sometimes denial is nothing more than denial.” is in someway defamatory…who knows..

  18. #18 Abe G
    September 15, 2006

    I wonder if this is a riff on the Scientology policy of suing the hell out of critics. As for Dr. Ball’s motives, it doesn’t matter if the suit will be successful, all that matters is that Dr. Johnson is intimidated. Now fewer people will want to write a letter to the editor if they might be sued and incur legal bills out the wazoo.

    So, my feeling is Dr. Ball is being a whining bully. But, since he’s not a good scientist, he’s probably not a good bully either.

  19. #19 per
    September 15, 2006

    I agree with most of the commenters here that the Ball’s case seems to be on very, very weak ground…Per, as a Canadian with some training and familiarity with Canadian law,…

    well, marlowe, seeing as how you are “familiar” with canadian law, how about you tell us what the specific grounds for defamation are ? I understand that you make such a categorical comment about the weakness of the case, without knowing what that case was…

    So, my feeling is Dr. Ball is being a whining bully. But, since he’s not a good scientist,…

    how come tim attracts all the most intellectual, cogent and penetrating analysis ? Obviously, Abe, I am just fascinated about how you know that Dr Ball is not a good scientist; presumably you are at least a Nobel laureate, so that you can pass such comment. And you will be aware that there are a great number of very eminent scientists who do not publish much in the literature for a whole variety of reasons ? And your rationale is ???

    Just out of interest, you aren’t writing from canada are you ?

    yours

    per

  20. #20 Robert
    September 15, 2006

    Per wrote:

    [snip]

    Poodle nip! You’re back!

  21. #21 John Cross
    September 15, 2006

    Per you ask “how about you tell us what the specific grounds for defamation are ?”

    OK, one of the grounds is that “Defamation must be a direct attack on an actual reputation, not an alleged reputation that a “victim” believes they deserve. A judge will assess the statement against the evidence of the victim’s reputation in their community. ”

    So the question boils down to what is Dr. Ball’s reputation in the area of climatology? Care to take any guesses how that one would hold up in a court of law! However I would pay money to see Jaworowski appear in his defense.

  22. #22 z
    September 15, 2006

    Does this mean I can sue the local paper for printing a letter by some brainwashee asserting that “According to all recounts, George Bush beat Al Gore”?

  23. #23 Graculus
    September 15, 2006

    I’m suprised that a Canadian lawyer would even touch this. However, it is Alberta, home of the free-range neo-con….

  24. #24 marlowe johnson
    September 16, 2006

    per,

    easy on the attack dog approach — it won’t win you many friends. I find it a little bit strange that you would use the word categorical in relation to my statement since i specifically used the qualifier “seems”, which is usually used to avoid categorical statements in the english language. Maybe it’s different in your country? Nevertheless, my question to you still stands: what do YOU think the grounds for his suit are? If he’s not suing on the basis of defamation/libel then what is he suing for? hurt feelings? Please, inquiring minds want to know…I notice btw that you haven’t argued about the content of the info john cross provided, which makes me wonder why you’re still asking for a ‘specific’ definition of defamation…

  25. #25 per
    September 16, 2006

    So the question boils down to what is Dr. Ball’s reputation in the area of climatology?

    as I understand it, Ball was a professor of climatology, and is now employed as a consultant in climatology. I would say that this seems to be evidence of considerable reputation, and that his current employment is dependent on that reputation. Any slights on his reputation might be held to impact on his ability to continue his employment; hence I would imagine that the damage aspect is very easy to satisfy.

    marlowe, I am not asking for a definition of defamation. I understand that a suit alleging defamation has been brought; I am asking you what the specific issues identified in that suit are. It strikes me as premature to comment on the merits of the case, unless one knows what the specific case is…

    yours, per

  26. #26 Michael Seward
    September 16, 2006

    “as I understand it, …ball is now employed as a consultant in climatology.”

    Climatology Consultant, or spinmeister, fake science reporter, disinformation expert, fact manipulator, public relations man posing as a working scientist? Some people have a hard time telling the difference.

  27. #27 Eli Rabett
    September 16, 2006

    Ball was a professor of geography, for indeed that was his department. As has often been the case, the department at UWinnipeg where atmospheric, environmental, oceanic and geographic sciences are taught is an historical artifact.

    Ball appears to have adopted a post professional designation of professor of climatology, or perhaps merely smiled as others called him that. There is no doubt that the latter designation is more useful to his consulting business.

    Yes, I am picking nits, but so is everyone else.

  28. #28 per
    September 16, 2006

    Eli

    Ball was a professor of geography…

    well, a professor in a geography department. I am sure that you are cognisant of the common practice of inviting professors to identify the field in which they specialise, so that they are designated “professor of X”.

    equally, you will be aware of the common usage of the word Professor, meaning “someone who is a member of the faculty at a college or university”.
    Marlowe

    re: the john cross cite on public interest. I just do not see how this can be relevant. For example, this exemption applies to politicians, and fair comment about their motivation in the newspapers. I see a world of difference between a politician enacting law or executing public policy, and someone writing a column for a newspaper.

    Let me quote the first line of the letter:
    Whatever one may feel about Tim Ball’s denial of climate change science…

    In my view, I suspect a lawyer could argue that the rest of the letter is written to give the impression that Tim Ball has deliberately exaggerated his CV, and that Tim Ball is not fit to comment on matters of climate science.

    I will be interested in the outcome of this case. The Adhominator doesn’t see how Ball can possibly win; but then and again, he seems to have specific knowledge about details of the case which are denied to the rest of us…

    yours,
    per

  29. #29 Robert
    September 16, 2006

    Per wrote:

    I am sure that you are cognisant of the common practice of inviting professors to identify the field in which they specialise, so that they are designated “professor of X”.

    Turtle snip:

    Hey! Why didn’t anyone tell me that was all it took? ‘Cuz instead of working on getting my work into peer-reviewed journals I’m off to make up new business cards right now!

  30. #30 John Cross
    September 16, 2006

    Earth to Per, Earth to Per – come in please.

    Sorry Per, but you are way off on this one. First Dr. Ball must show that he has a reputation as a climatologist. This by itself will be hard since that will be judged by experts in climatology. So will the typical climatologist think that someone who supports Jaworowski is creditable or not? Don’t forget, in this case the judge will go to currently acknowledged experts, not the Singers of the world. And he does not want to hear anything about tree rings – he will just go to who is currently considered an expert. So I doubt that Ball will get past this.

    However, if by some Mr. Bumble miracle he does then there are two defenses he must over come. The first is whether the statments that Dr. Johnson made are basically accurate. Not totally, or wholly, just basically. If Dr. Johnson has done his homework – as seems to be the case – then it is game over right here and now. It does not matter about anything else if the statement is true.

    However, there is also the point that you seemed to dismiss so easily about public interest. Let me play Per for a second and point out that in fact the law says nothing about this only being applied to politicians. Keep in mind that the rule of thumb is that the fair comment must reflect an honestly held opinion based on proven fact and not motivated by malice. Are any of the three applicable to Dr. Johnson – I doubt it.

    I suspect that you are posting views that you don’t really believe so lets put this to the test. I am willing to enter into a bet with you that Dr. Johnson will not be convicted in the end. I am further willing to give you odds of two to one. That should make it a no-brainer if you really hold the point of view you express on here. We can work out the terms later.

    regards,
    John

  31. #31 Eli Rabett
    September 16, 2006

    It kind of depends if Johnson can get someone to pay for the defense, which is the point of a SLAPP suit. OTOH, Canada may be a loser pays playground, and it appears that

    In that case, for a slam dunk situation, it actually pays for the defense to drag things out so as to increase the costs to the plaintiff. Ball could be in a world of trouble.

  32. #32 John Cross
    September 16, 2006

    Eli, I agree. Which makes it somewhat strange that he would sue the Herald as well. I suspect that the Herald would fight this as a matter of principle and would probably get some support by others in the print industry.

    Stranger and stranger.

  33. #33 Ian forrester
    September 16, 2006

    The ironic thing about Ball suing the Calgary Herald is that the Herald and the National Post (owned by the same chain) were the only supporters of Ball and his “Friends of Science” group of deniers. Maybe this lawsuit will deplete the FOS of their ill-gotten monies and they will be less visible in the national press.

    Ian Forrester

  34. #34 per
    September 16, 2006

    First Dr. Ball must show that he has a reputation as a climatologist…So I doubt that Ball will get past this.
    I think it is common ground that TB was a full Professor at the University of Winnipeg, and that he has employment as a consultant in climatology. It is very difficult to understand why you espouse your view that he does not have a reputation as a climatologist, or why a judge would not accept the university of winnipeg’s judgement.

    I do not see the public interest which arises from the statement about, e.g. “Tim Ball’s denial of climate change science…”. While climate change is of public interest, branding someone a denier of science is not a public interest issue; it is a straightforward statement about the person, which must be clearly justified.

    …Johnson will not be convicted…

    I think this covers your level of understanding of what is at issue. This is a civil, and not criminal, case; there is no realistic prospect of conviction.

    I briefly note that there are severe financial consequences for entering into litigation in a loser-pays framework. Legal costs are likely to be multiple tens of thousands of dollars. I would not proceed in a libel action unless I were to have received advice that I had an overwhelming likelihood of success in court. Likewise in defence,I am sure that the defence lawyers would be making clear to me the size of the financial consequences of losing in court. Risking 300, 000 dollars in a court case does sound like a high risk strategy to me, and one that I would personally wish to avoid.

    yours

    per

  35. #35 z
    September 16, 2006

    Yes that is the bizarre thing; right-wing shill sues right-wing rag.

  36. #36 Dano
    September 16, 2006

    Shorter standard per argumentation:

    “…must quibble and prevaricate…must quibble and prevaricate…”

    Best,

    D

  37. #37 per
    September 16, 2006

    Dano:

    it is a pleasure to see you addressing the argument in your usual style !

    per !

  38. #38 Robert
    September 16, 2006

    per claimed:

    I think it is common ground that TB was a full Professor at the University of Winnipeg, and that he has employment as a consultant in climatology.

    Tiddle bit:

    Is that all it takes? Being a professor in any field and having been paid by someone in a different one allows you to call yourself a professor of the second field? Um, no offense, but is that how things work at Nottingham University?

  39. #39 Eli Rabett
    September 16, 2006

    There is an additional letter from Prof. Johnson on deSmogBlog in which he says re Ball’s qualifications:

    “there are actually several science journal articles in the 80′s and 90′s (mainly Hudson’s Bay historical temperatures, his doctoral thesis, and one on geese migration). Clearly, these few were based on his own research, and passed science review. But, one would not call this extensive, or recent.

    The Calgary Herald ignored my advice on the phone regarding what science research and publishing mean, and apparently just added up his reports and talks to various groups, historical societies, newspapers, website opinions, abstracts, etc., counting them as science publications and evidence of research(!?!). ”

    Go read the thing.

    As to suing the paper, the point may simply be that the paper folds, prints an additional retraction and then leaves Dr. J hanging.

  40. #40 Eli Rabett
    September 16, 2006

    Cripes, why do we even bother. Ball has made exactly the same claims and Tim the Computerologist even blogged about it

    I was the first Canadian Ph.D. in Climatology and I have an extensive background in climatology, especially the reconstruction of past climates and the impact of climate change on human history and the human condition. Few listen, even though I have a Ph.D, (Doctor of Science) from the University of London, England and that for 32 years I was a Professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg.

    RTFR indeed

  41. #41 per
    September 16, 2006

    robert

    Is that all it takes?

    are you an academic, robert ? Do you have a PhD ? Are you even a full Professor ? I am just wondering about your intimate knowledge of academic customs.
    Do you know the full designation of Tim Ball’s academic position in the 1990′s ? I don’t; I have hitherto assumed it was a Professor of Climatology, but I would welcome your clarification.

    yours
    per

  42. #42 J Hamilton
    September 16, 2006

    Per

    As it turns out Dan Johnson is an academic in Canada and is well aware of the local custom. The contents of the Johnson letter are factually correct. Tim Ball became a full professor in 1988, he retired in 1996. He was a faculty member in the Geography Department at the University of Winnipeg, first as a Lecturer, then Associate Professor and finally as Professor. Tim Ball was not the first Canadian to earn a PhD in the subject matter of climatology. He has very few peer reviewed publications, and his publications are in the subject area of historical climatology and phenology.

    Why then would Tim Ball sue when there is no hope of success? To frustrate people like Dan Johnson so he and others might just hesitate a bit before they write that next letter to the editor. That rationale is one that you clearly employ as you attempt to outlast the other posters in this thread.

  43. #43 stewart
    September 16, 2006

    For what it’s worth, ball’s claims of his academic qualifications on his website (http://www.envirotruth.org/drball.cfm) includes: 28 years Professor of Climatology, University of Winnipeg. This is explained down the page as,
    # 1988-1996 Professor, University of Winnipeg
    # 1984-1988 Associate Professor, University of Winnipeg
    # 1977-1978 Acting Dean of Students
    # 1971-1982 Instructor/Lecturer, University of Winnipeg

    I’d agree that a lecturer representing himself as a professor is potentially overenthusiastic. My arithmetic says that, counting associate time, he’s qualifying himself for 12 years as a professor. They have the assistant/associate/professorships ladder, I don’t see lecturer as a synonym for assistant professor. Climatology at U of W is within the Department of Geography. Ball’s defense may be that he is technically correct, but just happens to use all these terms in ways that academics would vigorously dispute, and that inflate his qualifications relative to those who use the usual standards of academic self-presentation (peer-reviewed journal publications, that sort of thing).
    As for suing the Calgary Herald, my understanding is that they have vicarious responsibility, as they publish material for profit, so it seems to be required, rather than specific malice to the paper. Canada’s described as being between the UK and the US in libel law, more litigant-friendly than the US but less so than the UK.
    But what would I know about such things, being a mere adjunct assistant professor? (Can I add this to my vita?)

  44. #44 per
    September 16, 2006

    Dear J Hamilton

    thanks for your contribution, and my congratulations on regurgitating the information in Tim’s header.

    I note your expert opinion that the Johnson letter is factually correct, and that Ball has no hope of success. Naturally, you haven’t addressed the arguments that have been put in this thread about phrases that may be defamatory, and you certainly haven’t identified the basis for defamation in the court papers that have been filed.

    instead, you invoke a conspiracy theory. Thanks

    stewart
    google for “professor” and “definition”. The first definition is a member of university faculty, which would encompass a lecturer. I am clear that in the USA particularly, this is the common usage of the word.

    As you point out, Ball’s CV is online, and it sets out what level he was at and when. When he speaks to the public, he uses a simple phrase that the public can understand, rather than provide intricate and meaningless detail about his academic career. You have characterised his phrase as “technically correct”; so I am having difficulty following your criticism.

    I note also your comment about peer-reviewed journal publication being the usual standard of academic self-presentation. Can I correctly guess you are neither in engineering, or humanities ?

    yours

    per

  45. #45 Robert
    September 16, 2006

    Tootle bip:

    You’re avoiding the question. Are you claiming that it is customary at Nottingham for professors in one department to give themselves a title from another? If not, where is it customary?

  46. #46 Robert
    September 16, 2006

    per claimed:

    google for “professor” and “definition”. The first definition is a member of university faculty, which would encompass a lecturer. I am clear that in the USA particularly, this is the common usage of the word.

    Bootle crip:

    You’re not as familiar with US universities and their customs as you appear to think.

  47. #47 J Hamilton
    September 16, 2006

    Per

    The factual information is available online through third party sites. Have you some factual information that demonstrates the points in Dan Johnson’s letter are not accurate?

    If so provide it, otherwise stop wasting our time.

  48. #48 per
    September 16, 2006

    dear robert

    go to tim’s university, school of Bees. You will find that several of the professors have titles that reflect their speciality, e.g. Professor of Environmental Science, Gary Johnston Professor of Water Management, Professor of Biology. There are other examples; pick your university.

    i notice you are very quiet about answering my question to you :-)

    toodle-pip !

    per

  49. #49 per
    September 16, 2006

    Dear J Hamilton

    Naturally, you haven’t addressed the arguments that have been put in this thread about phrases that may be defamatory, and you certainly haven’t identified the basis for defamation in the court papers that have been filed.

    just in case you are having difficulty reading, i have highlighted the relevant bits. Feel free to scroll up the page, or just categorically tell us that Johnson is right; whatever you feel like.

    yours
    per

  50. #50 Robert
    September 16, 2006

    per wrote:

    go to tim’s university [...]i notice you are very quiet about answering my question to you

    Strudel bit:

    Your claim was that it was common in the US. I don’t believe Tim’s university is in the US. And you haven’t answered mine, and I asked first. Nonetheless, I’m a professor of molecular toxicology. Well, not really, but I am a professor and I just consulted with someone in molecular toxicology who was pretty confused so I guess according to your rules I’m now justified in calling myself that.

    Noodle-sip!

  51. #51 per
    September 16, 2006

    Your claim was that it was common in the US.

    you are wrong; but then and again, you seem to be making a habit of being wrong quite deliberately.

    yours,
    per

  52. #52 David Ball (no relation)
    September 16, 2006

    Stewart,

    They have the assistant/associate/professorships ladder, I don’t see lecturer as a synonym for assistant professor.

    Lecturer isn’t. Two of my colleagues, recently retired, are working as lecturers at the U of Winnipeg, both with MSc’s.

    Most of posters are right, Ball has little experience in climatology, his background being in matters historic. He certainly knows next to nothing about fundamental atmospheric processes, something that someone making the claims he does might want to know a wee bit about.

  53. #53 Eli Rabett
    September 16, 2006

    The Ball timeline raises some interesting questions. Especially if you can subtract.

  54. #54 Robert
    September 17, 2006

    per wrote:

    Your claim was that it was common in the US.

    you are wrong

    Kibble pit:

    Oh, so you were saying that it’s uncommon for academics to represent themselves as Tim Ball does. OK, I can live with that.

  55. #55 JB
    September 17, 2006

    One really has to wonder who is footing the bill for Ball’s suit.

    Is he paying for this suit out of his own pocket and will he bear the full cost if he loses (if, for example, the loser has to pay legal fees of the winning party)?

    Or is someone (or some group) helping defray the cost or possibly even footing the whole bill?

    Many corporations and groups have deep pockets and the lawyer’s fees associated with bringing a defamation suit on behalf of an individual would be peanuts for them (even if they lost and had to pay the legal fees of the winning party).

  56. #56 John Cross
    September 17, 2006

    Per, I would encourage you to return from your alternate reality (however briefly) to correct the fact that you are implying that I said things that I never did.

    I note that in regards to my arguments the only counter you have provided is that he was employed as a climatologist. Do you have any proof of this? I see him listed as being an environmental consultant.

    Of course my offer of a bet is still open! Think of it as a measure of the strength of your convictions.

    Regards,
    John

  57. #57 z
    September 17, 2006

    “The first definition is a member of university faculty, which would encompass a lecturer. I am clear that in the USA particularly, this is the common usage of the word.”

    US ladder is lecturer/instructor, assistant prof, associate prof, full prof. Very firm class distinctions between the levels.

    This has come up before, regarding Lomborg, who is universally billed as a professor of statistics although his university billed him as a lecturer in the poli-sci department. But…. it turns out that in Swedish universities, lecturer is comparable to assistant prof in the US, so that part does check out. As for being a professor of stats in the poli-sci department, that’s like being a professor of physical chemistry in a school of cooking.

  58. #58 Eli Rabett
    September 17, 2006

    Oh yeah, the other major problem for Ball is that if he goes forward with this thing he is open to discovery on all sorts of stuff, such as why he left Winnipeg, who pays him as a climatologist, etc., but even worse, the records of the organizations that support him are also subject to supeona.

    It is difficult to see what, if anything, Ball could drag out of Johnson.

    Not to beat my own drum, but the 23, 25, 28, 32 etc years as Professor and the first Climatologist in the Universe things are beloved clubs for lawyers. Ball will be beaten to a pulp in court if he persists.

  59. #59 per
    September 17, 2006

    the other major problem for Ball is that if he goes forward with this thing…

    he has gone forward with this thing, and after consultation with lawyers. That might give sensible people cause to reflect before announcing how ball is going to be crucified.

    Being the erudite law expert I know you to be, you will be familiar with the costs of pursuing discovery, the restricted nature of discovery, and you will be aware of the pitfalls. I am not clear why you think that Ball has anything to hide; it seems to me that you are engaging in baseless speculation.

    Ball will be beaten to a pulp in court if he persists.

    yet more legal punditry, when you don’t apparently know what the grounds for the defamation action are. The defendant has the onus to justify everything he said as true; for some of the material, I cannot find much independent information to corroborate the truth or otherwise of the statements. That would be a tricky place for a defendant to be in during libel action.

    yours

    per

  60. #60 Robert
    September 17, 2006

    per wrote:

    [Ball] has gone forward with this thing, and after consultation with lawyers. That might give sensible people cause to reflect before announcing how ball is going to be crucified.

    Nipple top:

    You’re saying that no one who has ever filed a lawsuit has ever been crucified when it went to court? Hmmm. I’m thinkin’ your opinions might give sensible people cause to reflect — on your sensibility.

  61. #61 Stewart
    September 17, 2006

    So – what did Dr. Johnson say about Dr. Ball that was not true? He doesn’t appear to be the first canadian climatology Ph.D., he wasn’t a professor of climatology for 28 years (let alone a Professor of Climatology – caps are meaningful in this context, just as a Ph.D. isn’t a Doctor of Science), etc. Anyone can sue anyone else, if they’re willing to ante up, no matter what the opinion of their lawyers. It’s up to the judge to decide if there was defamation, and if so, to assign a dollar value. Costs aren’t usually assigned in Canada, unless the lawsuit is seen as malicious (although this has the marks of a SLAPP suit). Where do we contribute to Dr. Johnson’s fund? – I suspect that U of Lethbridge won’t provide much for him, as he wasn’t writing as part of his official capacity (their lawyer’s job is to minimize the University’s liability – although they may be asked the standards for academic self-representation).

  62. #62 Eli Rabett
    September 17, 2006

    Stewart, I was under the impression that loser pays in Canada. Is that incorrect?

  63. #63 Abe G
    September 17, 2006

    per sniveled:

    “Obviously, Abe, I am just fascinated about how you know that Dr Ball is not a good scientist; presumably you are at least a Nobel laureate, so that you can pass such comment.”

    Per, my friend, I’m not even a scientist and I know that Dr. Ball is not a very good scientist. I can follow basic logic–I do enjoy the way you twist it in this thread–and I’ve read some of the nonsense that Ball has written.

    By the way, does your snarky comment suggest you trust nobel laureates? I wonder where they stand on this issue.

  64. #64 Abe G
    September 17, 2006

    “As you point out, Ball’s CV is online, and it sets out what level he was at and when. When he speaks to the public, he uses a simple phrase that the public can understand, rather than provide intricate and meaningless detail about his academic career.”

    And anyone who points out his “simple phrase” might be playing loose and fast with the facts is guilty of defamation. Please don’t sue me, Lord Professor Dr. Tim Ball, first PhD of climatology in science and non-bullying perfectly reasonanable lawsuit filing person!

  65. #65 Abe G
    September 17, 2006

    Sorry I keep picking on you, per-ky.

    “In my view, I suspect a lawyer could argue that the rest of the letter is written to give the impression that Tim Ball has deliberately exaggerated his CV”

    A lawyer _could_ argue that. It’s a very weak argument, however. I mean is this the substance of the case? He disagrees with me–along with most of science–and he made reference to a chnage in my CV without speculating on who might have made the changes (the paper or the esteemed Dr. Ball himself). I think you might wish this case had some merit, but there’s no defamation here. Only intimidation.

  66. #66 per
    September 17, 2006

    what did Dr. Johnson say about Dr. Ball that was not true?

    i do not know. Johnson seems to have relied on a web site (envirotruth) which has statements about Ball. I do not know that this is tim ball’s website, nor that ball has warranted those statements as true, nor that those statements are true.

    I can see that there are comments that Johnson has made that may require justification, such as “Tim Ball’s denial of climate change science”, “the adjustments to his CV “, and “then spent 8 years as Professor (of Geography, not of Climatology)”.

    Winnipeg appears to award chairs to recognise the specialities that people research in, e.g. Tom Carter, Canada Research Chair in Urban Change and Adaptation. You will notice that although he is a chair in the department of geography, his web page records he is a chair of urban change and adaptation. I don’t know what Ball’s chair was awarded in; but I certainly wouldn’t make a categorical declaration about this without knowing the facts.

    yours
    per

  67. #67 stewart
    September 17, 2006

    So far as I can tell (I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on television), costs can go either way. To quote one site I found: “If the case is lost, the plaintiff is responsible for covering his or her legal fees, and sometimes the defendant’s.” (http://www.rrj.ca/issue/2005/summer/567/)
    Dr. Ball will probably have more assistance with his costs than does Dr. Johnson. Not to worry, though, because Tim Lambert will probably be next, under some annoying constructions of Canadian law. As I can read this in Canada, and Tim has published it by presenting it here, he’s also liable under Canadian law. Does Uni of NSW cover your legal costs, when that arises?

    Abe and per, of course you know what nobel laureates say on the global warming issue, but as a reminder:
    http://dieoff.org/page123.htm

  68. #68 per
    September 17, 2006

    does your snarky comment…

    hmmm. Ball has worked in an academic department for 20+ years, served on local and government committees, and did a variety of things which most people would identify as science. You rubbish his entire professional career by saying that he is “not a very good scientist”; I can see no reason why you are so derogatory, other than maybe-that you don’t like his views on AGW. So you don’t mind handing out abuse.

    Yet when I ask you to find out if you know what you are talking about, you complain that I am snarky ? So you love to hand out abuse, and don’t even like a hint of taking any ?

    A lawyer could argue that. It’s a very weak argument…

    we have already established you are not a scientist, and I am going to make a wild guess that you are not a lawyer. My perspective is that the most natural reading of that sentence is that it means that Ball “adjusted” his CV, though there is some ambiguity. I don’t see that this phrase wins the case by itself, but in the context of several other phrases which may require detailed justification, it may be very damaging.

    yours
    per

  69. #69 Robert
    September 17, 2006

    per wrote:

    what did Dr. Johnson say about Dr. Ball that was not true?

    i do not know. Johnson seems to have relied on a web site (envirotruth) which has statements about Ball. I do not know that this is tim ball’s website, nor that ball has warranted those statements as true, nor that those statements are true.

    Saddle rip:

    Then take a look at [this](http://www.orato.com/node/398/). It’s an article authored by Tim Ball in May of this year. In the first paragraph, Ball describes himself this way:

    I was the first Canadian Ph.D. in Climatology and [...] for 32 years I was a Professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg.

    Um, 32 years?

  70. #70 per
    September 17, 2006

    As I can read this in Canada, and Tim has published it by presenting it here, he’s also liable under Canadian law.

    rather an appropriate point to make; it also applies in other jurisdictions. I consider it surprising when people make frankly defamatory comments about someone who is already pursuing a libel action. Just because it is on the internet, there is no protection against a case for defamation.

    I note that much of the Adhominator’s bile is reserved for people on the other side of the world. Civil suits are rarely enforceable across national boundaries. Now if timmy goes travelling…

    yours

    per

  71. #71 Eli Rabett
    September 17, 2006

    Whoa. Per how do you get that Johnson relied on envirotruth? It happens to be an easy source for us, but Johnson? Remember Johnson holds a chair in environmental sciences in Alberta, and has been active in the field for oh 32 years or so. He knows the players and the wanna bes up close and personal

  72. #72 Eli Rabett
    September 17, 2006

    Without playing a lawyer on the INTERNET, it is my impression that courts worldwide are not very happy with forum shopping.

  73. #73 David Ball (no relation)
    September 17, 2006

    Per,

    “Ball has worked in an academic department for 20+ years, served on local and government committees, and did a variety of things which most people would identify as science.”

    He also did a variety of things that most people would identify with stupidity. When his own colleagues distance themselves from his opinions, maybe they know something you don’t.

  74. #74 John Cross
    September 17, 2006

    My perspective is that the most natural reading of that sentence is that it means that Ball “adjusted” his CV, though there is some ambiguity.

    Some ambiguity? I would say considerable. However even if there is just some, it is enough to have this part thrown out.

    However in regards to his standing as a climatologist, I suspect that some of his posts on Climate Audit will quickly put that to rest. Supporting Jaworowski does not add to his creditability.

    What I find amusing is that more and more of Johnson’s letter is shown correct by Ball himself. By claiming to have been a Professor of Climatology for 28 years and then for 32 years adds points for Johnson.

    But the real question is still open. Do you really believe in what you say here or are you arguing for your own amusment. My offer of a wager still stands.

    Regards,
    John

  75. #75 per
    September 17, 2006

    Per how do you get that Johnson relied on envirotruth?

    i retract; the text simply refers to Ball’s own website, whereas tim’s text hyperlinks to envirotruth. My mistake.

    David Ball

    such a surprise to see you ! I remember you were going to repeat Mann’s study, and Mike and you were going to discuss it over a few beers. Did you ever get around to that, you and Mike ? That was when you were telling us that the very first M&M was rubbish, before the MBH corrigendum came out !

    John Cross

    in regards to his standing as a climatologist

    how come some of the loudest noises about Ball’s science come from people who have no standing whatsoever ? I suspect there are precious few people here who know what Ball’s track record of contributions is in science, yet no shortage of people who opine on an inadequate basis.

    If you really want to put your money where your mouth is, just go to canada and publish statements about Ball to your heart’s content. You can repeat Johnson’s letter, you can use AbeG’s phrase, or you can make up your own phrases. You could even write to the canadian courts, makingp plain your views about Ball. I am sure they will take you seriously.

    yours
    per

  76. #76 Ian Forrester
    September 17, 2006

    Ball’s Statement of Claim can be viewed at:

    http://tinyurl.co.uk/akri

    If anyone should be issuing lawsuits it should be Tim Flannery. Tim Ball was completely dishonest in his treatment of Flannery in the original op-ed piece to which both Dan Johnson and I responded.

    Ian Forrester

  77. #77 Robert
    September 17, 2006

    per wondered:

    how come some of the loudest noises about Ball’s science come from people who have no standing whatsoever ?

    Oodle drip:

    How come you were criticizing the tree ring studies when you have no standing whatsoever?

  78. #78 Joel Shore
    September 17, 2006

    Ian: Boy, that original op-ed really was really quite pathetic. In addition to Flannery, I imagine that Schneider (who Ball quotes completely out-of-context in regards to “scary scenarios” thing, as has been documented elsewhere) and possibly a few of the others who he quotes would have a better case than Ball has! Boy, would I give anything to be the judge in this case!

  79. #79 David Ball (no relation)
    September 17, 2006

    Per,

    No, cancer intervened, I’m afraid. I remember you too. You haven’t changed a bit. Still hiding behind an alias and posting utter nonsense.

    Dr. Ball was somewhat notorious for taking pot-shots at Environment Canada when he stilled worked at the U of W. He wasn’t content being the first professor of climatology in the universe, but also wanted to be a meteorologist. Of course, he was usually wrong, but it played really well with the local media, trying to find controversy where none exists. It got his name in the paper. He’s stilling do it.

    I couldn’t but notice that you’ve avoided answering several questions:

    1. Was Johnson wrong to correct the obvious errors in Ball’s CV?
    2. Was Johnson wrong to point out that Ball’s publishing record contains little or nothing climatological?

        Give the man his due, he did some interesting work early in his career mining Hudson Bay Company records, but that hardly qualifies him as poster-boy for Denialist’s Monthly.

  80. #80 per
    September 18, 2006

    Ian Forrester

    thanks very much for that. That should clarify some of the argument.

    I am quite clear that there is an arguable case here. The very first thing is that Ball’s lawyers allege that Johnson has made errors of fact. If true, Johnson will have to admit that. Then he is going to have to justify his stance in respect of a-e.

    It will be interesting to see if johnson defends, or settles out of court.

    David Ball, I am sorry to hear that you had cancer, and I wish you well.

    I would suggest to you that your questions are irrelevant; no matter what Ball’s cv or publication record, they do not affect the arguments he used. Just because you believe something different to someone else does not give you an automatic right to smear them.

    yours
    per

  81. #81 Jeff Harvey
    September 18, 2006

    Per has a way of assessing the qualifications of scientists. If they agree with his narrow and apparently pre-determined worldview (e.g. those who propound that AGW is a doomsday myth) then they are to be defended, no matter what their pedigree is. If, on the other hand, their views differ substantially from his (e.g. those who propound that there is plenty of empirical evidence for AGW), then they are to be ridiculed, reviled and smeared. Heck, I should know, speaking as a senior scientist whose views are in the latter camp.

  82. #82 Robert
    September 18, 2006

    Ian wrote:

    Ball’s Statement of Claim can be viewed at
    http://tinyurl.co.uk/akri

    Wow. Shorter Tim Ball: What Johnson wrote is true and that’s defamatory.

  83. #83 Jeff Harvey
    September 18, 2006

    Per wrote,

    “How come some of the loudest noises about Ball’s science come from people who have no standing whatsoever? I suspect there are precious few people here who know what Ball’s track record of contributions is in science, yet no shortage of people who opine on an inadequate basis”.

    As I recall, Per made a ‘loud noise’ about my ‘science’ in a different thread a few weeks ago, even though he had no knowledge of my ‘track record’ in scientific research. Basically, its a case of calling the kettle black. Translation: my views differ from Per’s, so my qualifications are irrelevant. They can be dismissed. Per’s views (on climate change, at least) are very similar to Tim Ball’s, so Ball’s qualifications are defended by Per. Simple hypocrisy.

  84. #84 Abe G.
    September 18, 2006

    “It will be interesting to see if johnson defends, or settles out of court.”

    This will be interesting. If Johnson settles, he loses, and Ball’s intimidation tactic works beautifully. If Johnson defends he loses the time and $ from a court battle–though it probably won’t get that far. And Ball’s intimidation tactic works, perhaps not as beautifully. Now do you see why Ball would file a suit even he knew was destined to lose?

    And do I need to be a lawyer to identify a weak argument? What’s the world coming to?

    And for the record, I never complained that you were being snarky, I only identified the comment as such (knowing that you would probably not want to hear from a nobel laureate either). As you rightly note, I love me some snark.

  85. #85 J Hamilton
    September 18, 2006

    The point of the Ball suit is to discourage credible people from engaging in debate on climate change in the public realm.
    The tactic has been employed because it is has the potential to be successful. The next time scientist A reads a piece of tripe published in the local rag will he or she will think twice before responding. Is it worth the potential hassle of being sued even if there is no basis for a claim? Given the state of the science and the general acceptance of reality by most governments (even the US administration is preparing an about face) some in the science community will pass on setting the record straight and allow the sceptics to twist in the wind.

  86. #86 Ian Forrester
    September 18, 2006

    J Hamilton said:

    “The point of the Ball suit is to discourage credible people from engaging in debate on climate change in the public realm. The tactic has been employed because it is has the potential to be successful. The next time scientist A reads a piece of tripe published in the local rag will he or she will think twice before responding. Is it worth the potential hassle of being sued even if there is no basis for a claim? Given the state of the science and the general acceptance of reality by most governments (even the US administration is preparing an about face) some in the science community will pass on setting the record straight and allow the sceptics to twist in the wind.”

    This is exactly their technique. I got an e-mail from the “Friends of Science” group threatening a lawsuit after a letter I wrote to the Calgary Herald regarding some of the nonsense put out by them.

    It is time for a concerted effort by all scientists, regardless of their areas of expertise, to confront the anti-science movement originating in the US but spreading to other countries. This anti-science movement is aimed at disputing any science which is against the neo-con/religious right and their industrial interests. Climate science is just one of the areas in which they are active.

    Ian Forrester

  87. #87 John Cross
    September 18, 2006

    Per:

    If you really want to put your money where your mouth is, just go to canada and publish statements about Ball to your heart’s content.< \i>

    In fact I live in Canada (Dr. Ball are you taking note) so in a sense I have put my money where my mouth is. Now, the real question is will you? Look forward to hearing from you.

    John

  88. #88 per
    September 18, 2006

    Per made a ‘loud noise’ about my ‘science’ in a different thread a few weeks ago, even though he had no knowledge of my ‘track record’ in scientific research.

    well, jeff, I would be grateful if you could quote the exact place I have smeared your scientific track record. I find it difficult to imagine that i would have made an adverse comment about your scientific ability or record in multitrophic interactions.

    I should know, speaking as a senior scientist..

    indeed, and are you modest as well ?

    The point of the Ball suit is to discourage credible people from engaging in debate…

    this is pathetic. If you want to engage in debate, you address the science issues that are raised. A stream of ad hominem comment about someone’s credentials and whether they are fit to to comment is not science.

    It is time for a concerted effort by all scientists …to confront the anti-science movement

    here’s your chance. Criticise those who make ad hominem argument, and address the science !

    yours
    per

  89. #89 Dano
    September 18, 2006

    I’m compelled to point out that it sure does look like when some prevarication or mendacicization is needed, here comes per and his careful language, designed to obfuscate.

    Good ol’ dependable per.

    Best,

    D

  90. #90 J Hamilton
    September 18, 2006

    Remember when dealing with a poorly socialized toddler there are three options: (1) give the offending party the attention that is craved, (2) scold, and (3) ignore. In my experience the third option yields the best results.

  91. #91 Robert
    September 18, 2006

    per wrote:

    here’s your chance. Criticise those who make ad hominem argument

    Puddle sip:

    Thanks! I’m doing my best but there are only so many hours in the day and I do have other things on my plate.

  92. #92 Marlowe Johnson
    September 18, 2006

    In Ball’s claim there is a reference to the “entry-level” PhD? Can someone clear up if there is such a thing? I thought they were all created equal :)

  93. #93 Abe G
    September 18, 2006

    “A stream of ad hominem comment about someone’s credentials”

    Please reacquaint yourself with what ad hominem is, at least in terms of the logical fallacy. Here the credentials are the issue. Ball says we should listen to him because he was a climate professor for 28 years. This is a best a disingenuous inaccuracy and at worst an out and out lie. If your opponent dissembles about a relevant point, drawing attention to it is not ad homnem.

  94. #94 per
    September 18, 2006

    Ball says we should listen to him because he was a climate professor for 28 years.

    hi abe

    perhaps you can point out the part of the Calgary Herald article where Ball makes that case?

    yours

    per

  95. #95 Abe G
    September 18, 2006

    “perhaps you can point out the part of the Calgary Herald article where Ball makes that case?”

    Forgive my imprecision. Ball does not explicitly state this. It is implied and constitutes the bulk of the ethos of his argument.

  96. #96 Robert
    September 18, 2006

    per asked:

    perhaps you can point out the part of the Calgary Herald article where Ball [says that he was a climate professor for 28 years]?

    Rutle hit:

    Man, when you’re right you’re right. His actual claim was that he had been a climatology professor for **32** years in [this article](http://www.orato.com/node/398/). That article was published in May 2006, i.e., *after* the Johnson letter was published in the Calgary Herald.

  97. #97 Dano
    September 18, 2006

    His actual claim was that he had been a climatology professor for 32 years in this article…

    Toodle pip!

    But, technically on an atomistic scale, per is sooo correct because Ball never stated in the Sun that he’d been a professor for 28 years.

    This allows per to control the discussion and sow doubt.

    I like JHamilton’s ‘ignorage’ suggestion above, as per can spam a comment thread better than anyone (as illustrated here).

    Best,

    D

  98. #98 per
    September 18, 2006

    I will just note that there seems to be some variability in some of the quoted text. Above it says:

    and then spent 8 years as a geography professor. His work does not show any evidence of research …
    at desmogblog and at the google cache for one of Tim’s pages it says:
    then spent 8 years as Professor (of Geography, not of Climatology). Ignoring the adjustments to his CV for the moment, does his work show any evidence of research

    wonder how that change happened ?
    yours,
    per

  99. #99 Robert
    September 18, 2006

    Fiddle riff:

    OTOH, here’s a letter from Ball which he signs, ["28 years Professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg."](http://www.john-daly.com/guests/martin.htm)

  100. #100 Robert
    September 18, 2006

    Poodle muff:

    That letter where Tim Ball describes himself as “28 years Professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg”? That was written in June 2003. In May 2006 he described himself with “for 32 years I was a Professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg.”

    Hmmm. Ball left Winnipeg in 1996 but he continues to accrue years as a professor even after leaving the university, and he accrues them at the rate of four years to our three. Holy cow, I’ve got it: Ball doesn’t live in the normal space-time continuum!

    OK, this is just my opinion and I know it’s a tad intolerant but I think that if you’re going to write an op-ed about our world you should at least live in this universe. But perhaps it explains why Ball thinks the planet is cooling: maybe he’s living backwards in time so our warming over time looks to him like cooling.