A shameless copy-and-paste of a great comment by Willis Eschenbach at Judith Curry’s blog, that ties up nicely with my “AGW is logically impossible” page. Who knows how many superb considerations are missed in the vast oceans of the internet simply because they are “just” comments?
it’s great that you have declared yourself to be against “magical thinking”, Judith. My suggestion is that you apply that excellent mantra to:
1. Moonbat. Anyone who plans to save the world through economic collapse is heavily into magic. Or mentally disturbed, but I’m going with the former.
2. CO2. The change in forcing from a doubling of CO2 is less than a 1% change in total forcing. The idea that a 1% change in a complex natural system will throw the system totally out of balance is “magical thinking” at its finest, and one that I would love to see you (or anyone) defend with examples. This one involves what I call “kid magic”. This is the kind of magic where we imagine ourselves to be much more powerful than we are, we are the “sorcerer’s apprentice” and we’re able to control things that we can barely understand.
3. Renewables. It would take a very heavy dose of magic for them to take over any amount of the requirements for just industrial power, much less total power requirements.
4. Climate mathematics. You see, you just substitute what you want, and the answer magically comes out the way you want it. (There is a subsidiary magic here, which causes problems in the mathematicians’ spines when it comes to objecting to this kind of nonsense … but I digress).
5. Climate models. Somehow, despite being unable to model the climate at annual or multi-decadal timescales, they magically can predict the climate at hundred-year scales … I see these as the modern version of “sympathetic magic”, where the power lies in the resemblance or similarity of the object to reality. If the model results look enough like the climate, it is just as magically effective (through “sympathy” or similarity) as sticking pins in a doll that looks kinda like your enemy … magical thought at its finest.
6. Mitigation of CO2. No one has ever shown that a) mitigation is practical or b) mitigation is cost-effective or c) mitigation will work. Experiments such as Kyoto have been a total failure. Despite that, mitigation is being pushed, and pushed hard, as a “solution” to your imaginary problem … and that is a point of view so heavily imbued with wishful and magical thinking as to not come close to passing the laugh test.
7. Fixing bad science through communication. This is what I call “modern magic”, where everything that is wrong is assumed to be a failure of communication. Believing that we can fix bad science through communication is magical ideation of the highest order.
And you claim to be agains “magical thinking”?
Because if you actually acted against that kind of magical thinking, Judith, you might be more credible. As it is, though, you believe in and espouse enough magical claims to give Chris Angel a headache or to make Teller speak out loud … and that’s heavy magic indeed.