When SF Authors Think They’re Real Scientists…


Ok, I haven’t read it myself; the following commentary is based on reviews and reports released so far.

The odd thing about this book is that Crichton seems to be pretending to defend “science” and the world from the threats posed by “eco-terrorists” and those who over-hype the threats to our world from human-caused global warming. While this seems a change of course from his past books of warning, in fact it is as anti-science as any of them. Though while his earlier books seem to have been at least wise cautions against technical hubris – unleashing genetically restored dinosaurs is probably less likely to happen thanks to Crichton’s novels – this new one seems unfortunately simply to be a call to continue ignoring what really is the worst case of human technical hubris yet exposed…

The scientific case for human-caused warming has strengthend substantially in the last few years – see for example the Discovery of Global Warming site we covered here this past summer. The odd thing is that this strong scientific case seems to have put those who wield power in the US into some sort of state of panic, sponsoring biased online sites and think tanks and individuals to try to confuse the public discourse. The corporations running the energy industry may be right to feel threatened – the real question is why an MD science fiction author like Crichton (or Jerry Pournelle, who has also attacked climate change) feels obligated to spread the corporate line.

A couple of interesting rebuttals have been posted on the realclimate.org blogMichael Crichton’s State of Confusion, and Michael Crichton’s State of Confusion II: Return of the Science.

Unfortunately this is all working very well for Crichton – despite poor reviews (the plot and narration suffer from the polemics, according to Amazon reviews) it’s currently #2 on the Amazon best sellers list….