Mar 26 2015
I have been a fan of professional football since my college days (go Pats) but I also recognize that it is a brutal sport prone to injuries. In recent years awareness of the true neurological risk of concussions, especially repeated concussions, has been increasingly coming to light. This may cause some cognitive dissonance among fans, players, and anyone involved with the NFL, including broadcasters.
Recently Fox News published and article in which Dylan Gwinn writes:
Don’t look now, but concussions have become the new global warming: a debate where “consensus” trumps evidence, and heroes and villains are determined by their stances on an issue where the science is bogus at worst and murky at best.
This is classic FUD – fear, uncertainty, and doubt, the primary tactic of those who find reality not to their liking in some particular aspect.
Gwinn creates the classic false dichotomy between consensus and evidence. What if the consensus is based upon scientific evidence, and in fact the consensus of experts is the best way for non-experts to understand what the evidence actually says.
Further, all science is murky, at least to some degree. The clarity of a scientific conclusion exists along a spectrum from genuinely controversial to rock solid, but scientific evidence is always complex, subject to multiple interpretations, and incomplete. It doesn’t take much creativity to portray any scientific conclusion (even those at the rock solid end of the spectrum) as murky. Creationists are evidence of that.