The Court of Academic Opinion is Preferable to the Other Kind
An interesting column by Michael Hiltzik today reports on a lawsuit, filed and no withdrawn, by a Stanford professor who didn't like a critique of a published paper he had written.
Stanford environmental professor Mark Z. Jacobson made a big splash in 2015 with a paper predicting that renewable sources could provide 100% of the energy needed in the 48 contiguous states by 2050. But he made an even bigger splash last September, when he responded to a critique of his claim published in a leading scientific journal by filing a $10-million defamation lawsuit. After taking months of flak for what seemed to be an effort to stifle legitimate scientific debate by bringing it into the courtroom, Jacobson withdrew the lawsuit Thursday...
(As a result of the lawsuit) the discussion got sidetracked by the issue of whether research publications or courtrooms were the proper venues to hash out scientific issues. By withdrawing his case, Jacobson has given us an answer.