Oi! Crichton! Noooo!

I’m posting this mainly to annoy Stephen: a climate scientist says Michael Crichton has misused his research.

Our results have been misused as “evidence” against global warming by Michael Crichton in his novel “State of Fear” and by Ann Coulter in her latest book, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism.” Search my name on the Web, and you will find pages of links to everything from climate discussion groups to Senate policy committee documents — all citing my 2002 study as reason to doubt that the earth is warming.

[Via Digg]

3 replies on “Oi! Crichton! Noooo!”

That’s hardly controversial, since Crichton wrote something along the lines of “Not all scientists agree on what this research means; in fact, some of the scientists whose work I’ve quoted are on the opposite side of the debate to me and take different conclusions from their research to what I do.” No big deal: happens in science all the time. Just ’cause you’re the guy who unearthed the data and published it, doesn’t mean you’re the guy who’s figured out what it means. In fact, that’s why you publish it.

Of course it’s a bit absurd to write “Our results have been misused as “evidence” against global warming by Michael Crichton in his NOVEL…” (emphasis added): it’s a novel, for cripes’ sake. Bit jumpy, aren’t we?

In any event, the thrust of Crichton’s arguments (laid out in two appendices to the NOVEL, and in records of speeches on his site) go to the politicisation of scientific research, the over-reliance on computer models, the complexity of natural systems, and the attendant difficulties in “managing” them (particularly if you harbour some illusions about their “natural stability”), and the fact that resorting to claims of consensus has historically pointed to bad science. I don’t think any of that is effectively addressed by Professor Doran’s interpretation of his own data.

I loved this bit: “Our study did find that 58 percent of Antarctica cooled from 1966 to 2000. But during that period, the rest of the continent was warming.” Oh, so only the MAJORITY of the continent was cooling, then? And he then accuses the skeptics of picking the facts? Come on.

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