Of twitter antics, diversions & sounds remarkably close to silence from a “jewel in the crown”

I’ve never been enamoured of twitter as a particularly useful forum for dialogue. And the person whose tweets were among the first to convince me of this was the oh-so-honourable representative of the UK Met Office (aka a “jewel in the crown“), Richard Betts.

Yesterday was one of those days when I could not resist venturing into the twitosphere. Here’s the tweet and response that caught my interest:

After following Shub’s link to Mann and Nuccitelli’s third-rate dreck, I piped in with:

.@sueimdone @shubclimate I’m sure @richardabetts will get right on it – with sounds remarkably close to silence! cf http://wp.me/pJtnm-1Oe [Calling out bad science (UK jewel in the crown edition)-hro]

To which sue had responded:

@hro001 @shubclimate @richardabetts I really hope someone does.He has authored papers that explains the pause but denies the pause! Weird..

Enter Betts. Does he address the main points of discussion, above?! Let’s take a look:

@hro001 Hilary, have I *ever* said anything you agreed with? Seems like you always find some way of disapproving ;) @sueimdone @shubclimate

YMMV, but I can certainly find no hint of relevance in Betts’ diversionary (and fact-free) barb! Can you?! Nah, didn’t think so! Nonetheless, sue diplomatically tried to get Betts back on track … to the actual topic under discussion:

@richardabetts @hro001 @shubclimate I’m not guilty Richard! Any comments on that article? :)

And I also attempted to reinforce sue’s gallant effort:

@richardabetts I don’t “disapprove”! Not my job! But you cd try to “skim” less, read more & reply w/ substance :-) @sueimdone @shubclimate

And while we waited for Betts’ reply, sue noted:

@hro001 @richardabetts @shubclimate He may claim purdah (sp) until after your election. Mann is probably counting on that :)

And here comes Betts (meandering even further afield than he had previously):

@hro001 Sadly I am unable to read and respond to the whole internet! Especially since you ask me not to “skim” ;) @sueimdone @shubclimate

sue gently reminded Betts:

@richardabetts @hro001 @shubclimate Richard it’s only one article http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2015/04/08/4207525.htm

Betts finally gets to the topic at hand (well, sort of!):

@sueimdone I was indeed about to point out that the article is clearly political, so I won’t comment on it at this time @hro001 @shubclimate

Betts was “about to point out …” as though no one else had already done so?!

Alas, perhaps more focussed on his fact-free meanderings, Betts must have missed sue’s very first tweet (see above) in which she had asked: “Any real climate scientist going to speak out about this blatant political piece?” But I digress …

sue expressed her “thanks” to Betts; then she reiterated:

@richardabetts @hro001 @shubclimate So clearly Mann & Dana have written a clearly political article not a scientific one for whatever reason

Jonathan Jones who (along with Ruth Dixon, his spouse) had recently made duly published mincemeat of (Nuccitelli mentor) Lewandowsky’s nonsense, had also entered the fray to observe:

@sueimdone perhaps because they are fundamentally politicians (albeit inept ones) not scientists? @richardabetts @hro001 @shubclimate

But since Betts had not made it clear whether or not he would actually take the initiative to publicly challenge Mann and Nuccitelli for their unscientific blatherings, I endeavoured to seek some clarity by asking and observing (in two consecutive tweets):

@richardabetts For the sake of clarity, point out to whom?! & would it be too much to add “unscientific”?! @sueimdone @shubclimate


@richardabetts Oh, come off it! Can U not think of *any* other ways of “responding” – when U do choose to do so?! @sueimdone @shubclimate

Betts’ “responses” (for want of a better word!):

@hro001 Point out to @sueimdone, who asked me if I had a comment. @shubclimate

and in answer to a question that – to the best of my knowledge – sue had not asked, Betts reverted to what appears to be his primary focus, i.e. that which has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of this particular “conversation”:

@sueimdone I was referring to @hro001’s blog post, where she complains that I didn’t join a discussion on another blog @shubclimate

Thus ended the conversation!

So – apart from the fact that Betts has yet to learn the lesson that factual and substantiated observations are not “complaints” – it certainly looks as though I wasn’t too far off the mark with my initial observation to Shub and sue, in which I had written:

I’m sure @richardabetts will get right on it – with sounds remarkably close to silence! cf http://wp.me/pJtnm-1Oe

Interestingly, in the (completely irrelevant to this particular twitter-thread) blogpost to which Betts appeared to be alluding and whining about during the course of most of his tweets above – including his finale – I had begun by noting and quoting Betts’ claim:

If you see me on Twitter you’ll see me call out bad science whenever I see it, no matter which side it comes from.

So if we are to construe Betts’ (much delayed) repetition of sue’s observation as “calling out bad science”, all I can say is … well … Amazing. Simply amazing!


On a somewhat related note, I see that Gavin Schmidt has contributed to the dreaded accumulation of CO2 in our atmosphere, by venturing beyond his home base to deliver some freebie speeches in my backyard.

CBC radio gave him some airtime, during which (a probably primed, albeit not in any remotely scientific way!) the host, Rick Cluff dutifully launched into gales of laughter at Schmidt’s very lame – and utterly misleading – claims about skeptics.

If you feel inclined to hear this pair in action, you can do so here.

4 thoughts on “Of twitter antics, diversions & sounds remarkably close to silence from a “jewel in the crown”

  1. Like you wrote, sometimes it’s more telling what Betts responds to than what he doesn’t. One has to wonder how bad a paper would have to be before he offered any criticism. The modus operandi seems to be of the ‘I see no ships’ style. Apart from PR, I can’t see why he engages at all.

    One of the papers written about sceptics v warmist communication, accurately concluded that the former use blogging and the later were more active on twitter. I can’t remember whether the author ventured a reason why but my guess would be sceptics want to debate but warmists want to have the last word.

    Warmist tweets feel like advertising slogans, where there’s no room for all the caveats and qualifications that make climate science so flimsy. A bit of bitching never comes amiss either and Mann et all are very good at jeering, especially when the comebacks can be blocked.

    Since the Meeting, as far as I can see Betts only bridge building has been to tell Tim Ball off and suggest warmists stop using denier as a label to the side they have to convince if they want to win. A cynic might say both of those were self serving.

    • Like you wrote, sometimes it’s more telling what Betts responds to than what he doesn’t.

      Actually, I think I wrote it the other way around … but in his case, it seems to work either way;:-)

      One has to wonder how bad a paper would have to be before he offered any criticism.

      Indeed. Even if he were not currently under some bureaucratic constraints (due to impending U.K. elections, as has been suggested to me), if he were truly committed to ‘calling out bad science whenever he sees it’, we would see far fewer fact-free sneer ‘n smear diversions emanating from his keyboard via his obviously “preferred” mode of “communication” (with or without smileys!)

      I haven’t noticed anything that I would call “significant” criticism of the party-line on his part during my five years on this particular battlefield. OTOH, I have seen him make many diversionary mountains out of virtually insignificant molehills!

      OTOH, he seems to be quite fond of pronouncing the work of non IPCC-niks as “unconvincing” OWTTE … without providing any reason whatsoever!

      And as you suggested, if this is Betts’ idea of “bridge building”, I can think of many other bridges I would buy rather than his particular choice of locations and constructions!

  2. Yeah I meant what you wrote, it just didn’t come out that way. Sigh. I’m selling a house at the moment so my mind’s working to it’s own agenda. Add dyslexia and I could write anything.

    This will be a key year for AGW. It all hangs on the El Nino and Paris. I don’t expect anyone to make any changes to the status quo until we find out what happens to those two. If the El Nino doesn’t translate into significant warming then I suspect Betts will be a lot more friendly. If there is middling warming then Paris will be much more unpredictable but warmists will be confident for another year or two. And if there’s a lot of warming…

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