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State of Fear vs. the truth

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Michael Crichton, a science fiction novelist, has written the very misleading State of Fear, a book published by this non-scientist to counter what he sees as the scare tactics of environmentalists and scientists concerned about global warming.

The climatologists at Realclimate.com have been taking on these false and misleading claims, and with them Crichton’s sycophant George Will who is an ABC News commentator and writer for the Washington Post.

Crichton’s opinion is that global warming is not a problem. Gavin Schmidt at Realclimate.com takes him on first, deflating Crichton’s claims about the cooling period between 1940 and 1970, his claim that selected cool spots negate global warming and other scientific points. The upshot of Schmidt’s argument is that in several important ways Crichton has either misrepresented the science or failed to appreciate its nuances, and that the science, done properly by actual scientists, is well-represented by the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report published in 2001. Michael Mann has more to say about Crichton here.

Along comes George Will, who is not a scientist either, to opine on Crichton in particular and global warming in general. Surprise, surprise, but Will also fails to understand important scientific points and mischaracterizes the situation; Realclimate also responds to his blabber about Crichton providing graphs and charts and the general belief that the idea of global warming is so conventional that it seems to require no supporting data. No supporting data?

Why the world is willing to pay attention to what novelists and political pundits think about the complex science behind global climate change is a subject that is very interesting and scary too. Scientists unfortunately don’t have the following or the access to media as does someone like Crichton and it is a shame. Hopefully you can pass on the word about RealClimate.com where real climate scientists give you the facts and the truth, not opinion and beautifully written fiction.

Michael Mann from RealClimate.org has more to say about them here.

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  • I agree with eric. Anyone who thinks what micheal crichton is saying in state of fear is obviously an Ultraconservative looking for another excuse to bash hollywood,liberals, and greenpeace

  • darg franklin

    I just finished reading “State of Fear” yesterday. Lest us say I am deep dodo technologist and I have personally worked exceptionally complex to simple systems at all levels design, analysis, inplementation and maintenance. Based on all the true referenced data presented by Dr. Crichton in State of Fear, the absolute truth that any person “believing any data exists supporting the notion man made co2 is causing or will cause global warming” is technology, science, system and reality ignoramus is proven beyond any doubt.

    The vetted facts and data presented is used in an amusing fiction of how some people just think stupid.

    If anyone is interested in hearing true analysis about science and politics. From the link below a link to a video of Dr Crichton’s comments is present.

    Science Policy in the 21st Century

    Debates on scientific issues from genetically modified organisms to climate change have been intense, especially when data are scarce or difficult to interpret. As a society we have trouble resolving these debates in part because the issues are politicized and in part because we lack objective procedures for setting policies based on sound science. Since we can expect many more such controversies in the twenty-first century, it makes sense to consider new mechanisms and institutions that could reduce controversy and lead to more effective policies. At this Joint Center conference, renowned author Michael Crichton will discuss these issues, which are an integral part of his new book, State of Fear.

  • I read an interesting piece recently, possibly in Slate, which discussed Crichton’s writing career. It was argued that Crichton’s writing, which for so long rode the edge of technology and fiction and speculation, is now at the mercy of his conservative political beliefs. There was also some intriguing background on Crichton: for instance, that he was a very successful doctor before taking on writing full-time.

    I don’t know enough to agree or disagree. The last Crichton book I read, Timeline, was a supremely good premise (like many Crichton novels) that devolved into boring action and forgotten story/premise (also like many Crichton novels).

    Eric Berlin
    Dumpster Bust: Miracles from Mind Trash

  • Interesting juxtaposition of two opinion pieces! I didn’t see a reference to Red Sky At Morning anywhere in your review, though.

    Chrichton usually takes a science-scare topic and inflates it to provide a foundation for his fiction. How bizarre that this time his non-fiction is written to debunk the climate crisis.