January 13, 2005

Truth through fiction

Debra J. Saunders reviews Michael Crichton’s State of Fear for The Weekly Standard:

Much of his protagonist’s argument can be found in a speech Crichton made last year at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, in which he took on “the disinformation age.” Challenging the belief that this is “a secular society in which many people—the best people, the most enlightened people—do not believe in any religion,” he argued that the religion to which they in fact give themselves is “environmentalism,” a faith-based fact-lite creed. State of Fear is that 2003 speech in a novel.

In response to the book, as if to prove how right Crichton is, the Natural Resources Defense Council sent out a press release that warned media minions not to be fooled. Enviros are quite used to global-warming scare flicks, like The Day After Tomorrow. When the tables are turned on them, however, they feel compelled to warn “media and policymakers” not to “confuse science fiction with science.”

In fact, according to the group, it is as wrong to question whether global warming is human-induced as it once was wrong for Galileo to believe the earth is not the center of the universe. “Journalists can help keep State of Fear from producing a state of confusion by keeping their focus on the real debate: How will we act to solve this problem?” the council scolded. Translation: You’re not supposed to ask questions. Good people keep the faith.

When the Natural Resources Defense Council reverently cited “climate models” and scientists’ “projections” of more warming, as if models and projections were fact, they were behaving just the way Crichton’s fictionalized versions do. And Crichton’s scientist Kenner takes great joy in referring to the predictions made by enviro darlings that didn’t come true.


The Natural Resources Defense Council criticized Crichton for his “peculiar contrarian take on global warming.” It shows you how establishmentarian the environmental lobby has become.

Anyone else in their 30s and beyond remember the sweeping wave of “scientific proof” in the 1970s that the Earth was headed toward another ice age? I certainly do. What is it in the higher brain functions of seemingly intelligent people that has them trying to prove that every bad thing that happens to the environment is a result of humanity’s “intrusion”? Can we not simply accept the fact that nearly all the time, the Earth is simply continuing on as it has since its creation?

I’ve been looking forward to State of Fear since purchasing it up a couple of weeks ago. Having just finished another novel, this review galvanized me to begin it today.

[The link above requires a paid subscription to view the whole article. Sorry. —R]

Posted by retrophisch at January 13, 2005 02:10 PM | TrackBack