Skip to comments.Foolish Fears / The Big Lie coming up on 20/20 with John Stossel
Posted on 12/10/2004 7:11:27 PM PST by FreedomPoster
Best-selling author Michael Crichton says environmentalists and the media are alarmists when it comes to global warming.
So often what you think you know may not be so. And it's a reason I love the book just out from America's top-selling thriller writer, Michael Crichton. He's the man who created the popular TV medical drama "ER," wrote "Jurassic Park," which ranks among the top 10 grossing films of all time, and much more.
Crichton's books and movies have grossed more than $4 billion. Now, he's tackling global warming in his latest techno-thriller, "State of Fear."
Crichton is an extraordinarily bright man. He paid his way through Harvard Medical School writing his thrillers. He told "20/20" he based "E.R." on what he witnessed as a med student at Harvard. "It was just experiences that I had had in the emergency room," Crichton said.
He says Anthony Edwards' and Noah Wiley's characters on "E.R." are based on him, describing them as "a little fumbling, not sure of themselves nice people."
When he wrote "The Andromeda Strain," the story of an organism from outer space that threatens to wipe out mankind, Hollywood came calling, and his medical career was over.
Ideas Ahead of Their Time
Thirty-five years later he is still meticulously melding fiction with cutting-edge science, which continues to open him up to criticism.
He was called anti-science when he wrote about the perils of manipulating DNA for cloning in "Jurassic Park." After writing "Disclosure," the story of a man who is sexually harassed by his female boss, he was labeled a sexist. But he was also prescient. At the time of "Jurassic Park," few people talked about cloning. Now it's often in the headlines. And sexual harassment of both women and men has been featured in newsmagazines.
Will he be similarly ahead of his time with his new book? "State of Fear" expresses skepticism of the claim that global warming is real and imminent.
The controversy the book is bound to stir up almost kept Crichton from writing the book. "I'm 62 years old. I've had a good life. I'm happy and I'm enjoying myself," he said. "I don't need any of the flak that would come from doing a book like this.
Environmentalists Fomenting False Fears?
He spent three years researching "State of Fear." It's a thriller with footnotes, graphs and scientific references. In it he argues that the threat of global warming has been exaggerated by environmentalists.
"I'm saying that environmental organizations are fomenting false fears in order to promote agendas and raise money," he said.
In "State of Fear," environmental groups set off terrorist acts to focus attention on global warming.
Crichton agrees the Earth is getting warmer. But he says there is little to worry about because the climate is always changing and there is no evidence to determine if the changes are manmade or natural. In fact he says, climate scientists admit they can't predict what temperatures will be in 100 years.
"My view of this is that the media is like the guy going down the street with a sign that says 'The End of the World is Near,' and he picks a date and the day comes and goes, and the world doesn't end. So he doesn't stop with the sign. He goes home, makes another sign, puts a new date on it, and starts marching again. That's the way the media is," Crichton said.
He argues that researchers who study global warming often exaggerate the problem in order to get grants, often using celebrities to promote their cause.
By taking on global warming, Crichton hopes to ease some people's worries.
"I don't know what it is. We seem to be very ready to think it's all coming to an end. At least take in the possibility that actually everything might be going to be OK," he said.
In response to the use of its public service announcement in this "20/20's" segment, the Union of Concerned Scientists sent the following statement:
We hope Michael Crichton fans enjoy his new science-fiction thriller, while keeping in mind there is a very strong consensus among the vast majority of climate scientists that global warming is under way and human activity is a primary cause. Every time we drive a car, use electricity from coal-fired power plants, or heat our homes with oil or natural gas, we release carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the air.
Technologies exist today that can cut emissions of heat-trapping gases and make a real difference in the health of our planet. These changes often have other positive benefits such as improving air quality, saving consumers money, reducing our dependence on oil, and creating new jobs and business opportunities.
Our political and business leaders have a responsibility to help move us toward a cleaner energy future. Public investments should shift away from polluting fossil fuels to support for clean renewable energy such as wind and solar power, more fuel-efficient vehicles, and more energy-efficient technologies. People from all walks of life can play a role in slowing global warming by advocating for smarter government policies, better corporate practices, and informed consumer choices.
sounds like something added on by a staffer - that doesn't sound like stossel at all.
THANKS for the heads up!
Have you ever read one of Crighton's books? Inside the the front cover you just might run across a page that says something like "Other Books by This Author".
(It's Friday after a long week and I'm in a foul mood.)
That was the statement by the Union of Concerned Scientists, since their PSA was used in the piece. I cut'n'pasted the full article from the 20/20 site, and that was part of it.
I used to think Carter was just mindless, but with further reflection and the wisdom that comes with age, I am now convinced he is and was actively evil.
They're an interesting community, and it would have been interesting to hear about what they think, but ABC just want's to trash them as wierdos.
I feel like a heal watching this waiting for Stossel's piece.
Some of the best authors wind up with movies made of their works that are really horrible. Tom Clancy, Steven King, and Michael Crichton come to mind.
While Speilberg is a master story teller, and Jurasic Park was a wonderful movie, it's nowhere near as good as the book. I was on a long flight, and had a chance to start reading Congo, but I had already seen the movie. Again, no contest there. The book was so much better. In fact, I seem to recall seeing an article about a new species of ape being found in Africa.
As a movie, I think Sphere really sucked, but the book was pretty good.
The exception to the rule is with "The Thirteenth Warrior." It was based on Crichton's "Eaters of the Dead." The story was pretty good, but I really loved the movie.
Just bought the book yesterday along w/ Dean Koontz's new one. Just started Koontz, can't wait to get at this one. "Timeline" is one of my all time favorites. They absolutely destroyed it in the movie, though.
In more ways than one ...
I know the feeling, I mnade the mistake of buying the book just before going on guard duty, had to read it by moonlight, no sleep that night, Had the moon not have been near-full that night, I would probably be blind!
I'd add Snow Falling on Cedars to your list - the book is extraordinary.
Yes, I have read some of Crighton's books. Thanks for asking.
And thanks for the stimulating round of "I-know-something-you-don't-neener-neener-neener". It's not often I get to stoop to the level of a teenager.
re: "People from all walks of life can play a role in slowing global warming by advocating for smarter government policies, better corporate practices, and informed consumer choices."
I'm all for a cleaner environment for the sake of people with asthma, for wildlife, etc. However, the whole point of this thread is that Global Warming is questionable.
Are things warmer than the were a few years ago? Yes. But... WHY? That's the real question. There is also global warming on Mars, Jupiter, and Titan. Did SUV's cause that as well? Are Martians using fossil fuels? Or are we looking at a solar event over which we have zero control? I personally think we're looking at a normal solar cycle. Things warm up and cool down when you look at the long term climate history. We STILL aren't anywhere near as warm as we were during the Medieval Warm Period!
One of the things that totally turned me off of the "global warming is caused by man" crowd is that they rely too much on Global Climate Models (GCM's). And that is a huge problem. It is nothing more than "gee whiz" hokum no more relevant than the infamous formula Crichton mentioned in the article two different people linked to above.
The problem with computer models is that they require PRECISE mathematics. You can't guess or fudge or hope that if you feed them emotionally satisfying or opinionated input they'll come up with a truthful answer. Computers are essentially very, very stupid, and will tell you what you tell them to tell you; nothing more, nothing less.
NASA's computer models for planetary orbits work because we know the mathematics of orbital paths, gravitational tides, etc etc etc. Mankind has been watching the planets since we were smart enough to look up and wonder about those strange "stars" that move. The mathematics of planetary movement are no longer a mystery, and haven't been for some time now. Thus the Voyager flew past Neptune precisely when it was supposed to and precisely where it was supposed to meet Neptune after a decades-long voyage. Unfortunately, entirely too many SCIENTISTS confuse NASA's precision mathematical modeling with other types of computer models.
The problem is that too many of the variables in climate modeling are unknowns. The programmer has to GUESS what the right values are, and as Crichton said above, guess=opinion. So what the GCM advocates are getting is prettied-up opinions no more valid than yours or mine. I'm not sure about climate, but I know what I'm talking about re: computers... I've been in the business, snuggled up to large mainframes since 1969. I know how and why they work, and they don't work when there are unknown variables in the equasion.
My considered professional opinion on using computers to predict climate change? It is not only not likely that GCM's are right, it is UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE for them to be right!
It would probably be more accurate to state that
"A Grand concensus among scientists, who receive their salaries from organizations funded by Global Warming grants, agree that global warming is a real danger."
Another novel idea of ecological terror:
Escalante Staircase by William J. Clinton
I love his books, and his honesty. He tells it like it is, although sometimes people don't realize it!
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