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Your example of peak oil is a good one, because the peak oil theory has been around for a long, long time--as I'm sure you are very much aware. The people who claim or claimed that it was invalid had a vested interest in having people think that way so that they could maintain a profitable industry, whether carmaking, oil drilling, plastics manufacture, fertilizing, etc.
Another example that you didn't mention, but that frequently comes up, is that continental drift was disbelieved by geologists for decades but then proven to be true, thus they all changed their mind. Which is not what happened, what happened was that nobody could explain it until they got decent magnetometer readings of the ocean floor.
What troubles me is that the global warming "debate" (if you can expect a bunch of frothing-at-the-mouth talk show radio hosts to be capable of debate) is between the non-believers (see comment above about the role of belief in science) and the CONSENSUS of the atmospheric science community. The important thing here is that the consensus is what you can get all of them to agree on; it's not even the median or mean of the models or observations but just the lowest common denominator of what everybody agrees about. That means that there are plenty of perfectly reputable models and scientists who think that things are a LOT worse than the IPCC reports say. MUCH, MUCH worse, in fact.
I'm sure you've seen this picture, for example.
During the 2008 melt season, Arctic sea ice declined by 10.58 million square kilometers (4.08 million square miles). This was slightly more than the previous record for loss over an entire melt season, set in 2007, which was 10.51 million square kilometers (4.06 million square miles).
Just a couple of days ago there was a report that the tipping point concentration of CO2 was more like 350 ppm, not the 450 ppm that has been proposed as an almost unbelievably unachiveable "withough immense economic disruption" level.
I look forward to hearing about the problems you have with the atmospheric models, and assume that you will have vetted them at http://www.realclimate.org before exposing them here--just to avoid the first level of foolish argumentation... :-)
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