Climate scientist compares NFL to global warming alarmism, big tobacco

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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What do the NFL, global warming alarmism and the tobacco industry have in common? They all used academics to make sure dissenting voices were kept out of the debate and out of peer-reviewed journals, argues University of Colorado climate scientist Roger Pielke, Jr.

The science issues of NFL/concussions has some similarities w/ tobacco/industry & also with those in climate science— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) January 30, 2014

Big NFL & Big Climate both had academics serving as gatekeepers of peerreviewedjournals 2 preserve a favored narrative & keep out dissenters— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) January 30, 2014

Pielke’s comments come after ESPN reported that the NFL conducted a two-decade campaign to whitewash the link between brain damage and playing football. A book by two investigative reporters called the “League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth,” found that the NFL tried to discredit independent scientists whose research posed a threat to the league.

The book shows that “the NFL used its power and resources to discredit independent scientists and their work; that the league cited research data that minimized the dangers of concussions while emphasizing the league’s own flawed research; and that league executives employed an aggressive public relations strategy designed to keep the public unaware of what league executives really knew about the effects of playing the game.”

There’s a lot of similarity between League of Denial & The Hockey Stick Illusion by @aDissentient in how leading academics behaved -not good— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) January 30, 2014

Pielke’s says that on global warming, many academics will keep dissenting voices out of peer-reviewed journals to advance their own research and political agenda. This type of behavior has been criticized by climate scientists who may not agree with the alleged consensus that global warming is driven by mankind’s burning of fossil fuels.

This is what Massachusetts Institute of Technology climate scientist Richard Lindzen refers to to as the “Iron Triangle.” This cycle begins with scientists who make “meaningless or ambiguous statements” on global warming, which used by activists to generate alarm alarmist declarations, which is then used for political fundraising and shoveling money back to the scientists for more research.

“This immediately involves a distortion of science at a very basic level: namely, science becomes a source of authority rather than a mode of inquiry,” Lindzen wrote. “The real utility of science stems from the latter; the political utility stems from the former.”

A similar phenomenon happened with the tobacco industry in the 20th Century as more evidence began to come out that it increased the risk of cancer. Companies used medical professionals and scientists to ostensibly  that it was not, but the industry eventually lost the public debate to health advocates and anti-smoking groups.

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