Among other things, that when you talk to string theorists in person, theyâ€™re much more open-minded and reasonable than youâ€™d expect! Of course, when your de facto spokesman is the self-parodying LuboÅ¡ Motl â€” who often manages to excoriate feminists, climatologists, and loop quantum gravity theorists in the very same sentence â€” itâ€™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.)
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.