See update below
This article isn't about science, it's about behaviour. It's about blog and twitter spats. So unless you're interested in blog bickering, don't read on. It's boring and mundane.
After a hiatus, Anthony Watts has decided to blog in the one area in which he can be called an expert. Name-calling. (Archived here.)
From what I can gather, a UK dendrochronologist called Robert Wilson in a lecture referred to a recent paper (?) by Michael Mann as a "crock of shit". This was picked up on a the website of a UK denier Andrew Montford (archived here). It might have been left there except that someone drew it to Michael Mann's attention and he responded in a tweet, using the word "denier", which he later deleted and retracted saying he'd wait for confirmation. The confirmation came from Robert Wilson in a comment on Montford's blog, but Michael Mann didn't retweet his deleted comment.
The only reason I'm writing about this is to comment on the behaviour of scientist Tamsin Edwards. It's not unexpected, given her previous behaviour. (I smell curry.)
Tamsin put on her concern troll hat, or was it her "scientist police" hat. However, she didn't direct her concern trolling comments at Robert Wilson, who made the "crock of shit" statement and confirmed it in a comment on the UK denier blog. No. She got stuck into Michael Mann. And she didn't just do it on twitter, she did it on Montford's denier blog (saying she was "so shocked") and then again at Anthony Watts science denying blog.
So much for her holier than thou sermons to climate scientists!
(IMO, Michael Mann is kinder to Tamsin Edwards than she deserves. Maybe he tweeted this before she entered the fray at WUWT. Or maybe he sees some of himself in her outspokenness, though not in what she says or whose favours she courts.)
Climate scientists are under a perpetual spotlight. I don't think there is any other scientific group whose every public utterance is dissected and misinterpreted and blown up out of all proportion by the denial machine and regurgitated year after year. It's not fair but life isn't fair. Robert Wilson's comment in a lecture is one thing. He used an unprofessional turn of phrase but I'm sure worse comments have been made in public in all fields of science. However, he didn't need to repeat it on a denier blog. And Tamsin Edwards definitely didn't need to buy into it and certainly shouldn't have picked sides the way she did. And while Michael Mann's reacting was understandable and justifiable, it pays to pick your battles.
Back to science soon.
UpdateI've just seen that Tamsin Edwards tweeted that she thinks I unfairly represented her views but didn't elaborate. That may be so, I cannot tell. I only commented on the facts of the matter and what happened in sequence. People can judge for themselves. In any case, I wasn't writing about her views so much as her actions and how they are taken in all the different quarters but especially in the deniosphere. I find it hard to accept that she could still be so naive after all this time (especially given all the feedback to her from more experienced climate scientists).
(And FWIW, Richard Tol has adopted the language of the scientific illiterati, with its very limited vocabulary. I doubt that will come as a surprise to anyone who follows the personalities in the climate blogosphere.)
Sou 22 Oct 13 6:59 pm AEDST