"Climate is a statistical science."
No, climate is the temperature, pressure, and humidity measurable to the degree of the precision of our instruments and how accurately the instrumentation can be read and results recorded. Imposing imaginary decimal point precision upon pronouncing a conclusion was never in the cards. But if you are looking for "Statistical Sciences", you want to head on over to politics and religion, or perhaps omphaloskepsis if you're the quieter type. Sorry if I sound skeptical of things commonly espoused by an intellectually handicapped media and other dogmatic institutions, but you'll get taken for a ride if you believe everything they tell you. The public has a rather short termed memory, but I still vividly remember the "bad science" of Ponns & Fleishmann, how quickly the Russians and French duplicated their results and then quietly retracted those proclamations when poor methods and misstated precision cast doubt on the "reality" of cold fusion.
"You're not going to search the individual records for that variance, you're going to use statistical methods."
And then one day you find out that the custodians for said records destroyed all of the original data, wrote programs to filter the remaining data to fit a proposed model, and in spite of emails informing their colleagues of their wholesale abandonment of empirical methods, the pre-destined conclusions were made and agenda driven sycophants and legions of the naive and bewildered cheered on an extreme agenda that was not only misplaced, but maligned at best. I'm not sure how you can find room for "science" in such flurry of activity, so it's probably moot to ask for properly stated decimal point precision other than to see it as a red flag for detecting bad "science".
But to address the larger topic, "Global Warming 'Confirmed' by Independent Study", I would have to assume that the "new" study re-collected the old data from uncompromised sources or preferably generated an entirely new set of untainted data, and upon conclusion, stated results fitting the actual data instead of the proposed model, and did so with decimal point accuracy no greater than the accuracy of the worst of the data points. This is how "scientists" earn their pedigree and engender the trust of the greater community. Once someone has blown that trust, their research is tainted and there's very little worth salvaging. It's kind of a Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker moment.
"If a study such as BEST which had two statistical scientists on its team and two known climate skeptics (Muller and Curry) is willing to express their results in fractions of a degree then I accept that they know what they are doing and the results are valid."
False assertion. I judge the results not based by who made them (other than wholesale disregarding exposed charlatans), but on the rigor of the means by which the data was gathered, the integrity of methodology by which results were synthesized, and a peer review. Prior research tainted by bad actors isn't made whole simply by a peer review, even by skeptics. Individually, I don't want to look over a million data points to draw personal conclusions about the state of the world, but upon discovery that the research is contaminated, it needs to be tossed wholesale and started again. It's like when someone pees in the pool, there's no way to sequester the urine, separating it from the good water. Rather, you drain the pool and start again. Yah, it spoils the party but at least no one ends up in the ER with urinary tract infection.
"Events like the raising of the Isthmus of Panama leave clues to their age that geologists can interpret."
Again with the omphaloskepsis.
"Cutting off the currents between the Atlantic and Pacific as the Isthmus did leads to evolutionary divergence of the species in the area."
Oh, so we're going to use one unproven science ("evolutionism") to provide the foundation upon which to support another science? But wait a minute, the "evolutionists" use the age of the rocks and the land formations to support their conclusions. Sounds a bit circular,... I wouldn't think you could get away with that in a high school debate class. I hope there's something more substantive and logical than that upon which you base your belief in the age and formation of the isthmus (or more important things in life), because I could get quicker readings from a circus gypsy or television evangelist and save a lot of taxpayer money.
"Radiometric dating can tell you how long ago a particular formation was formed."
I don't have time to get into the problems inherent to radiometric dating techniques here, but suffice to say that AR-AR or AR-K doesn't tell you the age of the geological formation, it tells you the age of the composite material (igneous rock) under presumed conditions, and as recent as 2009, the effect of pressure, temperature, and cavitation on nuclear half-life calculations has thrown any portended accuracy into question. But, the beauty of science isn't in its conclusions, but the willingness to discard prior conclusions when facts point in a new direction. It's a critical facet of promoting discovery over settling into stagnation, apparently an enigma to many. Somehow, outside of material and practical sciences, this concept has been lost in the last 100 years, turning what should otherwise be pillars of discipline into smarmy and dogmatic ideologies in the pattern of Lysenko.
"I guess you don't believe the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago either."
I don't know that I really care, but the key word here is "guess", and what I believe is of no import on whether or not it was 60 million years or 70 million years (again, with your false assertions of precision!), a million years or a billion years, or just a couple of thousand. I accept as fact that there are calcified (or "siliconized") remnants, but to venture further than that, guessing their age or how they came to being, or how they ceased to be, or that they are in fact extinct (I refer to the Coelacanth as an example of a dinosaur that was once heralded as being "wiped out") is no more profitable than navel gazing until such time as conclusions cease to rely on statistical conjectures, outlandish extrapolations, and circular reasoning. I welcome those that wish to study such things (and are self-funded) as it gives for interesting conversation if not controversy, but those earnestly seeking truth would be prudent to set aside pre-conceived notions and allow the jury to deliberate before making conclusions.
True, we may not be able to draw any meaningful conclusions in this generation or the next, but no conclusion is better than a false one. Posing great danger, a false conclusion can stubbornly prevail because of individuals and groups that have invested heavily into the fallacy. Piltdown man, "discovered" in 1912, wasn't discredited until the 1950's, but along the way, had over 250 thesis quality peer review papers supporting it. But the real travesty is that "he" remained in the collection of the London Museum of Natural Sciences until the 1970s. Aside from the obvious tainting of "evolutionism", how much were other fields of study distorted through citations of said "evolutionary divergence of the species in the area"?
"Science isn't about TRVTH."
You don't have to convince me that "evolutionism" and "climatology" isn't about "truth" (any reason why you're spelling that out in Greek?), but you speak out of place in referring to science on the whole.
"You're asking for a level of exactness that seldom if ever exists in science."
You need to stop hanging out in the "soft" sciences (or perhaps give up on sciences entirely and find a section of town to "occupy" with some hippies) and look at the "hard" sciences, like physics, chemistry, and biology (biological physics and genetic biology, staying clear of "evolutionary biology" and "population genetics" that, by creep*, have inserted statistical fallacies into the fold). For example, over 10 years ago, IBM wrote out their logo in atoms on a Silicon substrate. Both the formation and observation (by electron microscope) required exactitude that persists throughout material and practical sciences that would (should) make a "climatologist" blush.
* Gould, in responding to Phyletic Gradualists jesting that Punctuated Equilibrium was forwarded by "jerks", retorted that it was a better explanation of life than the one forwarded by "creeps".
"24 hours in a day is a useful average but it's not exact."
Which is why we don't misrepresent the accuracy by saying 24.0 hours in a day, or rather 24.00000 hours in a day. We are always free to understate the precision, but it's tantamount to fraud to state accuracy beyond that which you can measure precisely.
"The earthquake in Chile changed the length of a day by nanoseconds. Should we all go out and get new clocks because of that?"
Short answer is yes. But I actually have experience with this one, so I'll elaborate. In the 1990's, while working for Motorola, a software program we sold for "personal information management" had to be re-calibrated because of a leap "second" that through accumulation of microseconds over the decades, needed to be addressed for synching with external services. Of course, computer science is a bonafide "science" and we pay attention to those sorts of nuanced details.
"The tilt of the Earth varies over time. Should we get new maps every year because the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn and the Arctic and Antarctic Circles are constantly changing by millimeters per year?"
Where to begin with this one...
First, to get it out of the way, if the earth is tilting, then maybe AGW isn't the elephant in the room we think it is, other than as a political albatross. If the earth is tilting, what we can change in our limited influence over the troposphere is negligible compared to what the earth is doing that we can't change. Second, there's no reason why, especially with digital mapping technology, dynamic storage, computational speed, on-demand delivery, update our maps. To question either our ability or the need to do that smacks of naivete and misplaced priorities. Every time a Croat or Serbian farts in Sarajevo we reposition thin red lines on our political maps, but we're not going to account for gross geological changes?!
But, in conclusion, I want to address your final words, asserting "millimetres". Again, pardon my skepticism, but until I see otherwise with my own eyes, I don't believe that in the midst of a tilting earth shaken by Chilean earthquakes, that we have the ability to measure with millimeter precision a 1.4 Billion hectare area of land that spans 3250 km (3 x 10^9 mm) and at some points is covered by ice over 1 km (1 million mms) thick.
Don't fool yourself into thinking that Climatology (or Evolutionism, or Environmental Disorders) are pure or objective sciences any more than Sociology and Religion are. Understanding their limitations is key to deciding their usefulness, and something as insignificant (or significant) as decimal point precision as stated in the results can be a key indicator of how seriously to take these things. For my part, it's not worth a dime of my taxes to fund someone else's political enterprise void of any scientific integrity and I profoundly object to the insertion of fiat dictates of an enlarged government based on any findings pushed by such politically motivated bodies.
To quote Greenday, "Question everything or be a victim of authority."