Patterson, Wente: bringing ideological blindness to the people

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In a laughable Margaret Wente column (forgiving the redundancy) in the Globe and Mail this week, we were called upon to feel sorry for Carleton University professor Dr. Tim Patterson:

Prof. Patterson never set out to be a global-warming dissenter. “It’s my bad luck. I just go where the research takes me.”

This may be true in some parallel universe, but Prof. Patterson is famously reticent to let his research take him beyond 1980, when the evidence for his favorite thesis falls to ruins.

Patterson’s shtick is to line up  sunspot records from the last century in a comparative graph with temperature variations. As Wente says, “He and other scientists have found an excellent correlation between these climate shifts and cyclical changes in the brightness of the sun.”

That’s absolutely true – until 1980, when all Patterson’s own graphs curiously stop. In the years since, however, the graphs diverge sharply.  Solar activity goes flat, temperature spikes to record levels. On this divergence, Patterson, who likes to congratulate himself for taking “a longer world view,” is devoutly silent.

However, the professor is quick to say: “There are more and more papers about celestial forcing, but you never hear about them in the media.”

Well, Tim, we’re not quite the Globe and Mail, but we will reprint or link prominently to any research you can produce that demonstrates celestial forcing – and not greenhouse gases – can be blamed for the current round of global warming.

In the meantime, we suggest that you use the consulting fees that you have received from energy-industry groups like the Natural Resources Stewardship Project and Friends of Science to take Peggy Wente to dinner. You can chat on merrily about views of science and social policy that are driven by stubborn ideology rather than, say, evidence.

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