This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
Anyone notice that fluctuations in solar activity are being used by the AGWers to account for the "cooling" we have seen in the last 5 years?
Didn't they just tell us that fluctuations didn't have anything to do with climate change?
The best that can be said for the AGWers is that, like a dog barking in the night, they have alerted us to the possibility that there might be a problem. Like the dog, however, they exhibit more persistence than intelligence. They cannot tell us whether there actually is a problem, nor what we should do about it.
(Note that I have not ticked the box that says 'Disable Similes')
I haven't really noticed that Brad though I vaguely remember New Scientist publishing an article a year ago or so about how reduced solar activity might buy some time in the fight against climate change. My understanding of the position of pro-AGW climate scientists is that they regard the sun as only having an effect on earth temperatures due to a variation in the 'solar constant' and changes in the solar constant are too small and aren't affected by the number of sunspots.
The idea of sunspots affecting earth's climate from historical observation is to me an example of attempting to use 'induction', the scientific method advocated by Newton. Climate scientists don't seem to me to believe in induction, they have a 'thought experiment' kind of way of scientific thinking that is most often associated with mathematicians. Up until the time of Newton and the Royal Society being formed, the thought experiment approach to science was prevalent, so for example Galileo's famous 'guinea and feather experiment' wasn't a real experiment, it was a thought experiment in which he happened to predict the right answer. The thought experiment approach came back into fashion in the 20th century through Einstein, and the availability of powerful desktop computers in the last few decades has boosted this approach even further.
I regard consistency as being an attribute that people almost always pick up and tend to follow if they work or have worked in a 'proper job'. If you've spent your life working for NGOs you may never pick up the idea of being consistent. There's an increasing tendency nowadays for politicians not to have had a proper job, so I think politicians are showing an increasing tendency to be inconsistent.
To expand on my point about pro-AGW scientists tending not to believe in induction, I remember seeing a good example in the comments section of a New Scientist news article last year:
The article was about Antarctic sea ice growing but naturally this got explained away as an "unusual side-effect of global warming". A ding-dong battle between AGW sceptics and proponents then broke out in the comments section. An AGW proponent called Jim came out with this rant against induction:
"The difference in response between skeptics and scientists is easily explained as the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning. Skeptics look for evidence to prove their conclusion and ignore any that does not fit what they believe. This makes it possible for them to believe in revealed religion and ignore anything that disputes it. I guess inductive reasoning can best be classified as deliberate ignorance. My condolences to practitioners of inductive thinking for your lack of logical ability. You don't know what a pleasure it is to be able to think things through."
The way I see it, the AGWers are not only seeking to de-industrialise us, they even want to get rid of the Newtonian scientific thinking that led to the Industrial Revolution. They would like us to go back to practising science through a bunch of authority figures carrying out thought experiments, except these thought experiments are in the more subtle diguise of computer simulations.