A Few Things Ill Considered

Michael Crichton dies of cancer

Michael Crichton has died of cancer. He was 66 years old.

Climate Progress has a lengthy obituary for those of you unfamiliar with his destructive role in the climate debate.

I enjoyed Jurassic Park.

Comments

  1. #1 paul
    November 10, 2008

    In that “obituary” you have inexplicably linked to, he picks on this quote:

    “If you just look at the science, I, at least, am underwhelmed. This may or may not be a problem, but it is far from the most serious problem. If you want to do something, [limiting emissions] is not what to do. We don’t at this moment have good technology to do this, if, in fact, it’s necessary to do it.”

    Even if you in fact disagree with the position, you can’t claim it is an unreasonable one. Yet this is described as the “the road to ruin. Those who advance such a view deserve the strongest of labels, the strongest of condemnation”.

    Well, I have my own thoughts on people who trample on the recently deceased for daring to make such reasoned statements, while themselves saying things like:

    “the overwhelming scientific understanding of global warming, to urge people not to take action against the gravest preventable threat to the health and well-being of future generations”

    “the unintended consequences of humanity’s dangerous experiment with unrestricted emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases”

    “heat-trapping greenhouse gases” – good lord, this is the kind of thing an 8 year old might say.

  2. #2 coby
    November 10, 2008

    What’s wrong with the phrase “heat-trapping greenhouse gases”?

  3. #3 paul
    November 11, 2008

    It’s just inane – “humanity’s dangerous experiment with unrestricted emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases” is the language of a tabloid journalist, not a scientist. Try and find me a single instance of Michael Crichton using such language.

  4. #4 Andrew Dodds
    November 12, 2008

    Paul -

    I haven’t seen many sentances like that in Tabloid newspapers over here recently. I don’t see any problem with it.

    Dangerous Experiment? How else could you characterise it?
    Unrestricted Emissions? Well, we are not exactly cutting back, are we?
    Heat trapping GFGs? Well, this is merely a statement of fact.. unless you disregard a fair bit of physics.

    As far as Crichton’s statement about the Science.. I don’t know what ‘underwhelms’ him, since he dosen’t appear to know much about it, and we’ve had the technical solution since the 1950s (we call it the fission reactor). It isn’t a reasonable position, it’s an ignorant one.

  5. #5 paul
    November 12, 2008

    Sorry for the time-wasting delay, I was just in the sun-obscuring woods trying out my bullet-firing gun.

    I won’t spend any time trying to show that it is a fact that statement is inane – it’s my opinion, one I would not normally have voiced except that the guy just died. He was a man loved by many and who had a family and fans, yet he of the heat-trapping comment is – right after his death while there are people grieving – saying he should be condemned in the strongest terms because he said:

    “If you just look at the science, I, at least, am underwhelmed. This may or may not be a problem, but it is far from the most serious problem. If you want to do something, [limiting emissions] is not what to do. We don’t at this moment have good technology to do this, if, in fact, it’s necessary to do it.”

    I can imagine even people who think humans are responsible for the global warming agreeing with this – it’s not very strong at all. And this is the example he chooses? And you think this statement is “ignorant” because of…the existence of nuclear fission? I think we’ll just have to agree to differ.

  6. #6 Richard Simons
    November 15, 2008

    I enjoyed Jurassic Park.

    I, too, enjoyed Jurassic Park. But I still gave an extract of it to students to see if they could find the 5 blunders on the one page. His abilities in science were not as great as some people seem to think.

  7. #7 paul
    November 16, 2008

    Hmm, now Mr Crichton is being slammed for the things he said in his book Jurassic Park. Now, just to refresh my memory, was this investigative journalism? Or an account of a research project of his? Or fiction?

    Attacking him for these views, while there are thousands of words of his reprinted on his website which are not, erm, fiction, is just absurd. If people want to slam him, can you point out something in particular that they take issue with – something that wasn’t fiction.

  8. #8 coby
    November 16, 2008

    paul, I don’t think Richard is attacking or slamming, it is a rather mild criticism of the science part of Crichton’s work. Scientific plausibility is part of good science fiction, IMO. And let’s face it, if the government of the United States was consulting this man about climate science it is because he was supposedly a knowledgable and accurate source of science. Unfortunately all incidations are that he was not.

    I agree it is a bit silly to be taking seriously the scientific accuracy of a science fiction book or author but he is the one who blurred the line with his bibliography in State of Fear. He clearly was trying to claim an unmerited degree of scientific content in a ridiculous tale.