Saturday, November 26, 2011

Malcolm Hughes on creeping skepticism in 2003 among colleagues and grad students; "they respond better to the heavily referenced articles by Idso or Soon than to 'ex cathedra' statements"

ClimateGate email 276 [2003]

date: Thu, 24 Jul 2003 09:38:13 -0700 from: "Malcolm Hughes" < subject: Re: letter to Senate to: "Michael E. Mann" <>, Michael Oppenheimer <omichael@Princeton.EDU>

Colleagues, I'm very torn between being drawn into endless exchanges outside normal scientific discourse (e.g. tit-for-tat with the Idsos group) and leaving the field open to them. They clearly have the resources to do fairly careful literature searches, even if there are some serious conceptual problems in their writings, and there is a real audience for their kind of materials, both in print publication and on the web. I fear that you would find more colleagues and grad students than you would like to think read their materials and are influenced by them. Apart from anything else they respond better to the heavily referenced articles by Idso or Soon than to "ex cathedra" statements like the recent editorial by Barnett and Somerville. I know this to be the case in the paleo community, although there the picture is complicated by the differences in scientific approach of those working on interannual to century time scales (i.e. folks like us) and those working on millennial and longer time scales (notably Wally Broecker, Wijbjorn Karlen, but many others too). One consequence of this intersection of differing sources of scepticism (sensu stricto) is that an appeal to the NAS could be counterproductive - remember the poor treatment of high-res paleo in the NAS report requested by the White House the other year. Let's learn from these guys. We don't have to strain to publish in the peer- reviewed literature - it's our normal way of working. We do have to find a more effective way of publicizing and interpreting these publications, when appropriate, to a wider audience, including policy makers. How best to do this? Cheers, Malcolm

Papal infallibility - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In connection with papal infallibility, the Latin phrase ex cathedra (literally, "from the chair") has been defined as meaning "when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, (the Bishop of Rome) defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church

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