Sports as a pedagogical tool
Roger Pielke Jr. has a post on using sports to examine “questions related to decision making, ethics, politics, prediction and more.” To that list I would add epistemology, science policy, expertise, and maybe even the sociology of science. I’ve advocated using sports analogies to explain science for a long time now (since at least January 17 of this year:)), and naturally I wish more people followed suit. So I’m happy that Roger jumped on this thread.
Most Americans understand sports whether or not they are fans, and the framework can therefore be illuminating. Delineating the relevant expertise in climate science would be easier if people realized that Freeman Dyson is to global warming as Michael Phelps is to basketball. The New York Times wouldn’t have interviewed Phelps for insightful analysis about the NBA Finals, and they similarly should not have interviewed Dyson about climate change. We can accept Dyson has crazy skills as long as we simultaneously recognize that it’s in a single sport. It’s really not that hard of a concept.