Scientists study for years to give us advances like computers. Lawyers sue scientists on behalf of people who can't operate computers, earn ten times as much and, in doing so, raise horribly relevant questions about which group is actually smarter. Here we see seven of the worst offenses of law against science:
7Flower Power Versus Particle Physics
Walter Wagner enjoyed a lot of media attention a few months ago, bringing a lawsuit against the Large Hadron Collider which he claims will destroy the world. While Wagner repeatedly pointed out that he's a scientist, he failed to mention that he's a botanist, also known as a "plant scientist," in the public circle (and "gay scientist" in the scientific one). Now, while we're sure Wagner knows his way around a tulip, it's important to note that his only recorded experience with nuclear science comes from working in a hospital that performed nuclear medicine and, unless they treated Galactus, that doesn't involve a lot of superstring ultrascience.
"Bees...pollen...bees- My God...the LHC will destroy us all."
Get over yourself, Wagner. Plenty of unqualified smartasses warn the world about the LHC, but they're not suing anyone.
While his website is quick to point out his impressive credentials ("wikipedia science editor"), as well as remind everyone how expensive his particular brand of scientific exploration is going to cost ("We expect to encounter expenses in excess of $100,000 in this action" ), it strangely fails to mention his 2004 indictment for first-degree identity theft and fraud in Hawaii. Also missing from the website: reasonable, non-retarded evidence to support his claims about the collider. Still, Wagner believed he was going to save the world, and if that meant getting totally rich and famous in the process, Wagner was prepared to carry that weight. He truly is a hero.
Or, at least he was: the judge in the Honolulu court he filed the case in had to explain that they don't actually have jurisdiction over Switzerland.
"Exhibit A, your Honor: A map of America that doesn't feature Switzerland. I rest my case."
Since Switzerland is pretty clearly not part of this country, that ruling may not surprise you. In fairness, though, Wagner's a flower doctor, so you can't expect him to understand something as complex as geography. You can, however, still donate to Wagner and his cause, in case you either support lunatics or just plain hate real science.
What a Victory Would Imply:
That one man with a lawyer is recognized as a better expert on a field than every expert on the planet in that field put together, with a billion dollar budget, working for over twenty years. Society itself would break down as every skilled worker in the world just gives up and either goes to law school or takes up professionally hurting themselves for money. Think Mad Max meets Jackass with lawsuits instead of gasoline.
6Voting Machine Makers Sue to Prevent Testing
Sequoia Voting Systems sued to prevent Princeton computer scientists from studying their voting machines on the grounds that it would damage their business. Which is fair enough, because scientific reports confirming that the machines can't count and often don't turn on probably would. Election clerks ordered the study when they found that the machines had miscounted the number of voters, and since the sole function of the machines is "count the number of voters" that's kind of a serious problem.
Sequoia's ominously-titled "Vice President of Compliance/Quality/Certification" issued this statement: "We will also take appropriate steps to protect against any publication of Sequoia software, its behavior, reports [sic] regarding same or any other infringement of our intellectual property."
Vice President of Compliance/Quality/Certification."
That means we're not even allowed to talk about the voting machines and when a "Vice President of Compliance/Quality/Certification" says "appropriate steps" we get a little nervous.
What a Victory Would Imply:
That companies can sell you things and you are legally barred from complaining if they don't work, or even checking if they do. Under this framework Apple could start shipping white-painted rocks in boxes saying "iPod" and you couldn't complain. Not that the Apple fanboys who waited in line for three days to get an iStone would anyway.