Sunday, June 05, 2011

Let's sue academics

When a private company makes a claim that cannot be proven, then we are allowed to censure them: where they make a claim that can be absolutely proven to be a lie, then we can sue the fuckers.

So, why can we not sue academics—and the institutions that sponsor them—when they needlessly scaremonger and, yes, lie like sons of bitches?

This question—found via Bishop Hill—is one that Professor Mike Kelly ponders in a letter to the Taranaki Daily News...
Can I plead for temperate language in this debate as trillions of dollars are at risk of being misinvested?

I am involved in another area of controversy, namely nanotechnology, and when you add in controversies in biomedicine, there is enough around to suggest that the scientific process is being corrupted, and is in need of reining in. You will see my views on this when the Royal Society publishes the evidence it receives in its study of ‘Science as a Public Enterprise‘.

Engineers take legal liability for their work, and can be sued if they are wrong. This should also apply more widely to those who pronounce in the public domain on matters of policy. This would then confine statements to a more measured and nuanced standard.

I would like to make this absolutely clear: I believe in the rule of law, and that means that the law applies to everyone—including academics. If they back certain public policy decisions that have a cost, they should be sued when those benefits do not arise.

Take, for instance, the BSE scare: scientists predicted death tolls in the tens—maybe hundreds—of thousands. The measures taken in respect of this advice cost the farmers of this country many millions of pounds.

The estimated deaths failed to materialise—unsurprisingly, since the consensus science had (and still has) the vector wrong—and so the farmers and everyone else harmed in any way from this scare should be able to sue the scientists involved.

The same thing applies to climate change academics: since we have now, apparently, gone beyond the tipping point, if the promised destruction fails to arrive, can we sue the living shit out of these lying cunts? I believe that we should be able to.

Indeed, can anyone tell me why we shouldn't?

Would anyone like to join in a "class-action" suit against the scientists who promised a BSE* armageddon? And then, once we have won that, to wage war against the lying bastards perpetuating the CACC scam?

I believe that this would bring a whole new dynamic to our scientific and political lives: one of honesty. Or, to put it in the words of Professor Kelly, scientists might "confine statements to a more measured and nuanced standard".

At the very least, it would confine scientists to science, rather than making political prognostications that they bear no harm for when once they are found out. The politicians (sometimes) bear the blame when the public realises that they have been sold a pup (through the joke that is the ballot box): the evil scientists themselves simply carry on—as they increasingly so—using the media to scare us into the politicians giving scientists money.

These fuckers are charlatans—snake oil salesmen—and they should be tarred and feathered and run out of town.

And, of course, this needs to be extended to politicians: if their promised goodness does not arrive out of their policies, why should we not be able to sue the cunts for making us poorer and more miserable than we were before?

Or, in the words of your humble Devil, they might stop being a bunch of lying sacks of shit with no more excuse to live of this Earth than a fucking alien weevil.

* Yes, I know that the human form is CJD: I just couldn't be bothered to explain it in the middle of a rant.


john in cheshire said...

If you want to set up a fighting fund, I'll make a contribution.

Chalcedon said...

nvCJD indeed. As for farmers losing millions, I doubt that as the taxpayer always pays the farming tab. Plus it was bloody farmers and their vile intensive animal husbandry that turned herbivores into semi carnivores and caused the problem in the first place. Combined with governments messing with the rendering process parameters.

To be fair, transmission and infection with these agents is still a rather grey area with lots of unknowns. I still think the prion theory is utter crap though. You do not have strains of proteins but you do of microorganisms including viruses. even very weird ones.

Chuckles said...

With you all the way DK, the main problem I see is that their usual claims are mostly at the 'sun rises in the east' level.

The actual 'settled science' reduces to something like -
'It has warmed since 1880'
'CO2 levels have increased by some amount'
'Mankind produces CO2'
'Because of this we should do lots of things'

And thats it.

Everything else is so ring-fenced with 'could' and 'might' and 'projections' and 'models' that you couldn't touch them.

Anonymous said...

Most of these academics work in the public sector. So suing them is akin to suing ourselves (taxpayers).

I understand where you're coming from though.


Gladiatrix said...

Er, slight problem. You need to prove that the scientists directly caused the farmers' losses. This will be very difficult to prove.

Now, if you wanted to sue DEFRA for negligence in not seeking a second opinion you might have a more realistic case.