October 09, 2005

Michael Crichton vs. Science

A novelist with a medical school background was just called to testify about global warming before the Senate.

... Many prominent scientists, no friends of Mr. Crichton, to be sure, believe that man-made greenhouse gases are causing the earth to warm and are urging lawmakers to pass new regulations that govern carbon dioxide emissions.

But after considerable study of his own, leading to "State of Fear," Mr. Crichton has concluded that the science is mixed at best, and that lawmakers should take that into consideration when they decide what they might do about it.

His is an unpopular and contrary stance when measured against the judgment of groups like the National Academy of Sciences. But it was not those organizations that asked Mr. Crichton to Washington to counsel Congress on how to consider diverse scientific opinion when making policy. It was the committee chairman, Senator James M. Inhofe, a plainspoken Oklahoma Republican who has unabashedly pronounced global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."

In Mr. Crichton, a Harvard medical school graduate who never practiced medicine, he had found a kindred spirit - and a star witness for his committee.

"I'm excited about this hearing," Mr. Inhofe said, nodding toward Mr. Crichton as the proceedings began. "I think I've read most of his books; I think I've read them all. I enjoyed most 'State of Fear' and made it required reading for this committee." ...

And the Republicans, party of Sonny Bono and Arnold Schwarzenegger, accuse the Democrats of playing the celebrity card too often. Thing is, how often does the media play along when celebrities aligned with Democrats put in an appearance? The novelist, described by the article as though he were an edible confection, is here paired with a 'plainspoken, unabashed' Senator against 'groups' like the National Academy of Sciences.

They don't even make you study nutrition at med school and if you want to do research, you have to actually take separate training in that. You definitely don't get out of training to be a doctor with an automatic ability to evaluate other branches of science, like advanced genetics or electrical engineering. I don't know where any serious journalist gets off making it sound like something other than a joke that a Senate committee chair called in a fiction writer to testify on a matter of serious scientific import.

They'll have Bjorn Lomborg in there next, presuming the Republicans can unwad their panties long enough not to hate him for being European. I can just picture the headline, 'Novelist, Economist Agree: Thousands of Environmental Scientists Way Paranoid.'

Posted by natasha at October 9, 2005 03:05 PM | Environment | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

Yes, but what I want to know is what steps the Senate intends to take to protect America from the terrible danger of rogue dinosaurs? Surely the threat that these man-eating behemoths pose to the nation is a much more pressing concern than debunking that global warming nonsense? Oh, that and banning evolution from our schools, since the existance of live dinosaurs clearly disproves that Darwin claptrap once and for all.

Posted by: felice at October 9, 2005 06:21 PM

If we do not expect expertice in the president, we have no right to ask it of our congressmen.

Posted by: Richard at October 10, 2005 03:21 PM