Quoting a Motl

Among other things, that when you talk to string theorists in person, they’re much more open-minded and reasonable than you’d expect! Of course, when your de facto spokesman is the self-parodying Luboš Motl — who often manages to excoriate feminists, climatologists, and loop quantum gravity theorists in the very same sentence — it’s hard not to seem reasonable by comparison.

— Scott Aaronson (21 December 2006)

If you inhabit the same corner of the Network that I do (and you’re reading this right now, so that seems likely) you’ve probably heard about NASA Administrator Mike Griffin’s intemperate remarks about global warming. (For a refresher, see the dependable Phil Plait.)

Via Tim Lambert, I hear that a denialist “press release” collects some approving comments from the usual suspects. Apparently, the “Science and Public Policy Institute” saved the best quote for last:

Finally, Harvard University physicist Lubos Motl praised Griffin’s climate comments, calling them “sensible.”

This prompted James Annan to essay a coinage:

If “jumping the shark” refers to the point at which a TV series loses all credibility, perhaps “quoting a Motl” could be analogous in the context of coverage of climate science issues.

One could, of course, generalize: “quoting a Hovind” applies to creationism, “quoting an Easterbrook” and “quoting a Lomborg” for environmentalism, “quoting Strunk and White” for writing style, and so forth. The Gentle Readers are invited to offer their own contributions.

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