Month: August 2017

‘Actual’ Climate Scientist Michael Tobis Thinks I Don’t Exist


I thought about writing a post on this and then thought, meh, boring. So what if a paranoid scientist thinks I’m a sock puppet for fossil fuel interests? No big deal really. But he’s pushed his paranoid conspiacist ideationĀ  so far, I thought I had better write something, not least because this person is supposedly a representative of the ‘climate science community’. As far as I know, nobody in that community has publicly criticised his bizarre, obsessive behaviour.

It started with an innocent tweet:

This sparked off a 2 day twitter stream (currently ongoing) so bizarre, I can scarcely believe it. Tobis apparently took great offence at my quote tweet.

For my sins, I suddenly found my identity being questioned:

Quite a few people got involved with the argument, mainly to suggest that Tobis was going over the top. He fired off a post on his own blog on the incident here. I quote one of his comments from that post:

“Let me be very plain. The profile picture is me.”

This carries precisely no information, as it is exactly what a sock puppet would say.

“So I will leave you with your somewhat obsessive ‘concerns’ and I will promise not to quote tweet you again.”

It’s not an obsession. It’s a hunch developed when I first encountered you yesterday. You have not convinced me that my hunch is incorrect, though it would be easy to do so. I would love to hear from someone who has met you to assuage my concerns.

Again, in the event that what you say is true, I sincerely apologise.

If it ain’t, though, if you’re not this one honest (if rather misguided) person but a dishonest person trying to be half a dozen or so trying to stoke the artificial anger at climate science, for whatever reason, I don’t have anything to apologise for.

I don’t propose to follow Jaime Jessop around trying to claim that the identity is a sock puppet. So if you’re real, please rest easy; I don’t intend to harass you, and I am genuinely sorry for the misunderstanding.

But *if* you’re not Jaime Jessop, I make no such promise. I will pay no more mind to Jaime Jessop, specifically, in future than I have in the past, as long as Jaime Jessop also leaves me alone. However, I’m now interested to find similar accounts with other identities attached, identities which the actual you (per hypothesis) might be using to encourage an environment which unfairly distrusts climate scientists.

You could save me the trouble if you like, just by talking to me for even a minute. But apparently you don’t want to do that. Yet you’ve already spent much more than a minute at this. I find this interesting.

To me, that is a downright weird comment for anybody to come out with, let alone a supposedly sober, rational scientist. Shub agreed:

Here’s a selection of Tobis’ other crazy comments on Twitter:

Note how they get increasingly suspicious and conspiratorial, like he’s feeding on his own feverish imaginings. Apparently, he’s got previous form. He accused at least one other person, Brandon Shollenberger of being a sock puppet too:

But he doesn’t seem to have obsessively followed up his accusations in anything like the manner which he has done with me.

I’m rather torn between being angry, bemused, unamused and highly amused that anybody would have the audacity to doubt my existence and question my honesty in such a blatant and passively aggressive way. I don’t intend to put him out of his misery any time soon by publicy acceding to his demands, but I will say that my existence is not privately in question, whereas Tobis’ state of mind does seem to be.