State of Fear - Michael Crichton

  • #1
I've been reading State of Fear and am almost done with it. I'm sure that Crichton has references in the back of the book that I can go through and I may be able to find some articles here and there that treat his treatment of the topic of Global Warming.

I was wondering if anyone here has anything to say about the book and if you have any links to good rebuttals.

Crichton obviously has the tendency to thrillerize the topics he writes about so I am not really interested in discussions regarding the manner in which he portrays environmental activists as outright terrorists and terrorist supporters. I would also agree that the condecending manner in which he submits anti global warming theories through out the novel and the negative characterizations of environmental activists are rather juvenile. This has more to do with quality of writing though. If you want to discuss his writing ability I am game but please don't make bad writing into a point against veracity of fact.

I would like to focus on facts and what Crichton got right, got wrong, or took out of context. Did he cherry pick data? Did he utilize dubious sources? Did he misrepresent/interpret facts?

If you have read this book Andre I would be interested in your take. If you have not then I would not suggest the book as good reading material. Its pretty weak even for Crichton.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #3
Unfortunately most of those criticisms are from reviewers which is understandable since the book is really not very good. The rest give no substantive reason to believe that they are right and Crichton is wrong, they only criticise him and call him ignorant.

I just read a 'debunking' and it is not very convincing. It seems that the writer did not read the book since the majority of the articles objections are anticipated and responded to in the book itself. The writer has criticised Crichton for supposedly stating that nothing should be done about GW but in Crichton's afterward he states a belief in the phenomenon and a belief that more investigation into cause and proper intervention ought to be done. The writer links an apparently more extensive debunking so I'll read that next.
 
  • #5
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Unfortunately most of those criticisms are from reviewers which is understandable since the book is really not very good. The rest give no substantive reason to believe that they are right and Crichton is wrong, they only criticise him and call him ignorant.

I just read a 'debunking' and it is not very convincing. It seems that the writer did not read the book since the majority of the articles objections are anticipated and responded to in the book itself. The writer has criticised Crichton for supposedly stating that nothing should be done about GW but in Crichton's afterward he states a belief in the phenomenon and a belief that more investigation into cause and proper intervention ought to be done. The writer links an apparently more extensive debunking so I'll read that next.
there is scientific criticism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_Fear#Scientific

Sixteen of 18 top U.S. climate scientists interviewed by Knight Ridder said the author was bending scientific data and distorting research.[15] Several scientists whose research had been referenced in the novel stated that Crichton had distorted it in the novel.
I find it hard to tackle an argument without considering political input. The scientific body is always crippled by political sway.
 
  • #6
drankin
I read the book. I found it interesting, enjoyable, and of course, biased. But it's biased in my direction. :)
 
  • #7
Mech_Engineer
Science Advisor
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It's an enjoyable fictional novel, despite any biases or misinterpretations presented. If it at least makes you think about the issue and check into some refeneces presented, that's a good step IMO.
 
  • #8
DaveC426913
Gold Member
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Darn. I rmember while reading it that it brought up some excellent counter-arguments to global warming complainers, but it's been so long that I can't remember now what I liked about it.
 
  • #9
russ_watters
Mentor
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I would like to focus on facts and what Crichton got right, got wrong, or took out of context. Did he cherry pick data? Did he utilize dubious sources? Did he misrepresent/interpret facts?
A quick read of the first paragraph of the wiki blurb on the book implies that Crichton is using the book as a tool to push an unpublished personal theory. Being a sci fi writer - even a qualtiy one - is not a qualification for doing science. No doubt, you know this and that uneasy feeling led you to post this thread, however, this fact also has implications regarding the acceptability of this discussion on this forum.

I'll leave it open pending moderator discussion...
 
  • #10
A quick read of the first paragraph of the wiki blurb on the book implies that Crichton is using the book as a tool to push an unpublished personal theory. Being a sci fi writer - even a qualtiy one - is not a qualification for doing science. No doubt, you know this and that uneasy feeling led you to post this thread, however, this fact also has implications regarding the acceptability of this discussion on this forum.

I'll leave it open pending moderator discussion...
I published it in GD for a reason. I am certain that a fictional novel does not merit discussion in the actual science forums. Several persons take the book rather seriously though and most of the people I have talked to are rather off put by the influence of Crichton's novel. I must say that the arguements, and more particularly the evidence Crichton submits, are fairly compelling when they stand alone. I thought that dissecting the book may be a good excerise that could enlighten those who have read the novel, including myself.
 

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