"I am trying to figure out what Mann is trying to accomplish with these lawsuits. I guess he is hoping to intimidate people into not saying negative things about him?"I don't get that at all. Simberg wrote that Michael Mann engaged in "data manipulation." Mark Steyn called his work "fraudulent." Those aren't merely "negative things" -- they are statements about Mann and his co-author's integrity.
Being wrong would be one thing. Being dishonest is something else entirely, and it seems to me Mann is here defending his integrity and personal reputation, not the correctness of his scientific findings. Who wouldn't do the same? Scientists, like everyone else, have the right to be wrong. That alone does not give anyone else the right to impugn their integrity.
And, just to be clear, I don't know of any evidence whatsoever that Mann et al were dishonest in their hockey stick work, or that it is obviously wrong. It seems important to me that several other groups, and completely independent mathematical methods, have found essentially the same results. Are there reasons to argue about the details of normalization, centering, etc? Sure -- that kind of thing is always part of any science and happens in science all the time. Besides the M&M papers, there is this one by Peter Huybers (and MM's reply). But Simberg and Steyn were not doing that, of course.
[I am at the point in all this where to say anything more I'd need to completely work through everyone's calculations, which isn't going to be my priority. Peter Huybers' calculations are here.]