You’ve probably heard the conservative argument that the globe is actually cooling, not warming. In fact, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably heard it 58 gazillion times. You may have even read it in the craptacular new book Superfreakonomics.

Associated Press’s Seth Borenstein decided to test it out, and he came up with a fairly ingenious way to do it: he gave the data to four statisticians, without telling them what it represented, and asked them to look for trends. The result? “The experts found no true temperature declines over time.”

Turns out the only way you can show any kind of downward trend is if you start your trend line in 1998, an unusually warm year thanks to El Nino. Any other year, including 1997 or 1999, and your “cooling” trend disappears.

And just to emphasize the point:

“The last 10 years are the warmest 10-year period of the modern record,” said NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt. “Even if you analyze the trend during that 10 years, the trend is actually positive, which means warming.”

And again:

“To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous,” said Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution at Stanford.

Ben Santer, a climate scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Lab, called it “a concerted strategy to obfuscate and generate confusion in the minds of the public and policymakers” ahead of international climate talks in December in Copenhagen.

So, now that the experts have debunked these transparently deceptive attempts to create confusion, the “cooling” myth will go away, right? Conservatives won’t repeat it any more, right?

Heh. Good one.