Thursday, September 15, 2005

Says who?

Finished reading Crichton's new book, 'State of Fear'. I'm rather fond of Crichton to be honest. He's the anti Dan Brown: while his action is also driven by a deadline, he actually knows how to write a good book, not just re-hash the same notion in different surroundings. (That said, he's never going to win the Nobel literary prize either.)

I remember people completely destroying the book, saying that Crichton fabricated evidence and misquoted people to make it look like global warming doesn't exist. If that's all they got from the book... well. Much more important is the realization that there are huge areas of life which human kind generally doesn't have the first idea about. This point is driven home painfully if you read Bryson's 'Short History of Nearly Everything'. He quotes a famous brain saying that "all science is either physics or stamp collecting", and that seems to be the general attitude: we have studied atoms and particles down to the wire (or string, as it may be), but there are many infinitely more pertinent subjects that have completely escaped our attention.

In Crichton's book, people keep throwing scientific references at each other. Truth be told, my meager three years at college have been enough to show how a lot of scientific research is pure, unadulterated bullshit. So I am naturally wary of arguments like "Professor Z.'s study shows that..." Instead, shall we please actually read professor Z.'s paper and try and understand what made him reach that conclusion? Not all science is based on evidence, and history ought to teach us pretty damn well that not all science is fact.

There are more things in Heaven and Earth, friend Horatio, than are dreamt of by our philosophers.


Anonymous said...

FlasherT, Crichton has repeatedly claimed that environmentalism is a religion. That feeds into the bushista fantasy that everyone has a religion: "ours" and "the enemies'."

While I agree with some of the statements made in crichton's speech, the claim that environmentalism is a religion is false. It is also the entire premise of his book "state of fear."

antyx said...

Environmentalism is certainly an ideology, and its ability to override common sense is undeniable. I don't see that much difference between a religion and an ideology, at least applied to these matters.

To reiterate: I am wholly of the opinion that we need to find viable means of energy production other than fossil fuels, and make cars cleaner in the process. I just don't like to see mass hysteria based on guesstimates and assumptions that cannot be proven.


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