Michael Crichton Exposed Greens' Junk Science

Talk about the courage of your convictions. Author Michael Crichton stood up to the Chablis-sipping, let-the-Third-World-eat-cake ecobullies while living right in their midst in Hollywood. Crichton died Tuesday, but his words live on and should be closely read by the incoming president and anyone else who cares about the economy and jobs.

Paul McDougall, Editor At Large, InformationWeek

November 6, 2008

3 Min Read

Talk about the courage of your convictions. Author Michael Crichton stood up to the Chablis-sipping, let-the-Third-World-eat-cake ecobullies while living right in their midst in Hollywood. Crichton died Tuesday, but his words live on and should be closely read by the incoming president and anyone else who cares about the economy and jobs.Crichton was a medical doctor who graduated summa cum laude from Harvard and who also lectured in anthropology at Cambridge. And he was one of the most outspoken critics of the global warming theory and lampooned the extent to which its supporters will go to defend it, at any cost, in his book "State Of Fear."

The book likened contemporary society's uncritical acceptance of unproven environmental theories to the belief in the occult in earlier times.

"Has it ever occurred to you how astonishing Western society really is? Industrialized nations provide their citizens with unprecedented safety, health, and comfort. Average life spans increased fifty percent in the last century. Yet modern people live in abject fear," Crichton wrote.

"They are afraid of strangers, of disease, of crime, of the environment. They are afraid of the homes they live in, the food they eat, the technology that surrounds them. They are in a particular panic over things they can't even see -- germs, chemicals, additives, pollutants. They are timid, nervous, fretful, and depressed. And even more amazingly, they are convinced that the environment of the entire planet is being destroyed around them. Remarkable! Like the belief in witchcraft, it's an extraordinary delusion -- a global fantasy worthy of the Middle Ages."

In testifying before Congress in 2005, Crichton -- more qualified than most to recognize junk science when he saw it -- said that a supposedly seminal study on global warming by American researcher Michael Mann, a study which informed a key United Nations' statement on the subject that in turn has forced corporations around the world to spend billions to reduce carbon emissions even as they lay off tens of thousands of workers, was deeply flawed.

Among other things, Mann's study "didn't show the well-known Medieval Warm Period, when temperatures were warmer than they are today, or the Little Ice Age that began around 1500, when the climate was colder than today," Crichton noted.

The study, hailed by vacuous and scientifically illiterate "eco-warriors" like Bono, also provided justification for the abandonment of industrial development projects meant to bring poorer nations out of poverty.

Yet when a pair of Canadian researchers attempted to recreate Mann's work, "they found grave errors," Crichton noted. "Calculation errors, data used twice, data filled in, and a computer program that generated a hockey stick [graph] out of any data fed into it," were among the study's flaws cited by Crichton.

"Why did the U.N. accept Mann's report so uncritically? Why didn't they catch the errors?" Crichton asked lawmakers. "I would remind the committee that in the end, it is the proper function of government to set standards for the integrity of information it uses to make policy," Crichton said.

President-elect Barack Obama, who says the U.S. must "re-engage" with the U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, and who wants the country to reduce carbon emissions by 80% no matter the cost, would do well to heed Crichton's admonition. It's Obama's responsibility now to ensure that U.S. environmental policy is based on facts, and not some Jurassic-sized fantasy.

About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

Paul McDougall is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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