More evidence that rightwingers have no interest in science:
No doubt you have heard about Michael Crichton's latest novel, State of Fear, a pulp thriller which exposes global warming as a plot orchestrated by human-hating environmentalists. He's been on this kick for awhile, such as in this talk two years ago at Cal Tech and then another a few months later at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. (I won't dissect these speeches here, though they cry out for it; let's save that for the group discussion.)
He rests his credentials to speak authoritatively on matters related to environmental science on the fact that he's an MD and once lectured on anthropology at Cambridge, and provides footnotes and a bibliography to give his novel a sheen of authority in support of his belief that global warming is, well, fiction. Of course, once he's pressed on his highly selective use of data to buttress his case and to defend his choice not to engage the scientific community directly, he retreats to say that he is not a climate scientist but a novelist, as he did in this interview on Talk of the Nation. Apparently he can't make up his mind what he is.
The capper is that Senator James Inhofe, in a speech on the floor of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body, said that he was so taken with the arguments of the book, in which the National Environmental Resource Fund (NERF) sets off natural disasters which it can blame on global warming, that he recommended all his colleagues buy a copy and take it to heart. Showing his all-too-familiar thin grasp on reality, Inhofe says:
Dr. Crichton, a medical doctor and scientist, very cleverly weaves a compelling presentation of the scientific facts of climate change-with ample footnotes and documentation throughout-into a gripping plot. From what I can gather, Dr. Crichton's book is designed to bring some sanity to the global warming debate.
Throughout the book, "fictional" environmental organizations are more focused on raising money, principally by scaring potential contributors with bogus scientific claims and predictions of a global apocalypse, than with "saving the environment." Here we have, as the saying goes, art imitating life.
Perhaps Sen. Inhofe, defender of torture and American patriot, would like to recommend these other Crichton novels to his colleagues as well:
- Rising Sun, which shows that evil and inscrutable Japanese industrialists are about to take over the country
- Jurassic Park, in which dinosaurs walk (and sometimes fly) on earth still
- Disclosure, in which sexual harassment is a fabrication by spurned women
- Sphere, in which an alien ship on the bottom of the ocean tells us more than we'd like to know about ourselves
Of course, all Inhofe and the rest of us need to know about Crichton's commitment to science comes from his memoir Travels, in which he equates psychics and exorcists and other paranormal hucksters with scientists. But when you're a pulp novelist, or a rightwing senator from Oklahoma, that's all the same anyway.