Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Michael Crichton and Science

Earlier I was chatting a bit with a couple of buddies about global warming... and I was reminded of a lecture given by Michael Crichton (yes, the author/scientist/medical doctor) some number of years ago. So, I dug up that lecture, and re-read it. I think it's very good and thought-provoking.

Aliens Cause Global Warming by Michael Crichton

Here are some bits and pieces that will hopefully pique your interest enough to read it.

I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

. . .

Meanwhile, ever-larger studies failed to confirm any association. A large, seven-country WHO study in 1998 found no association. Nor have well-controlled subsequent studies, to my knowledge. Yet we now read, for example, that second-hand smoke is a cause of breast cancer. At this point you can say pretty much anything you want about second-hand smoke.

. . .

Let's think back to people in 1900 in, say, New York. If they worried about people in 2000, what would they worry about? Probably: Where would people get enough horses? And what would they do about all the horseshit? Horse pollution was bad in 1900, think how much worse it would be a century later, with so many more people riding horses?

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