Or should that be alarmist ignorance? (Or risking overkill but most accurate of all, ignorant alarmists spreading alarmism stemming from ignorance.)
Crichton is an excellent novelist, and also a pretty good speaker. In 2005, he made a speech at the Washington Center for Complexity and Public Policy. Click this link for the full text, with plenty of graphs and graphics. Excerpts I picked out follow at the bottom half.
Crichton gives lots of historical examples and documentation of past end-of-the-world scares. It’s amazing – and dusgusting – how incredibly similar the panicky language, poor data, demonizing of skeptics and sensationalist headlines are to today’s global warming fearmongering.
All in all, I am rebolstered in my opinion that the global warming champions of today consist of a mix of:
A) Hypocritical liars and conmen who purposeful midlead us for their own benefit;
B) Well-intentioned but misguided true believers in anthropogenic global warming;
C) Public and media who don’t know any facts at all but heartily follow the opinions of others;
D) People who are neutral or skeptical, but are cowed by the bullying and smearing tactics of the majority of global warming believers.
And 10 years down the road, whether the IPCC has bankrupted our economies and trashed our lives or not, nobody will remember what all the fuss over the disproven global warming theory was about. Just like how nobody thinks global cooling, the Y2K bug or DDT causing cancer are important issues anymore.
Crichton moves on to desribe how Yellowstone National Park was brutalized and irrevocably changed. Not by polluters or big oil… But by well-intentioned but totally inept, uninformed and arrogant environmental managers. And now the IPCC, with hardly an iota of real factual basis, wants to manage the entire world environment?
And the crux of Crichton’s speech: We must try and understand complexity theory, before we so haughtily (that means you, IPCC) attempt to manipulate the extremely complex system called the environment.
Except that it is haughtily arrogant to even think we, with our seevrly limited knowledge, could ever understand and predict the world environment.
For all we know (whichis exceedingly little), Al Gore’s solutions to climate change could bring about far more extreme climate catastrophe. Heck, his solutions ARE a catastrophe!
Edited excerpts from Complexity Theory and Environmental Management (by Michael Crichton):
In 1998, I set out to write a novel about a global disaster. In the course of my preparation, I rather casually reviewed what had happened in Chernobyl, since that was the worst manmade disaster in recent times that I knew about.
What I discovered stunned me. Chernobyl was a tragic event, but nothing remotely close to the global catastrophe I imagined. About 50 people had died in Chernobyl, roughly the number of Americans that die every day in traffic accidents. I don’t mean to be gruesome, but it was a setback for me. You can’t write a novel about a global disaster in which only 50 people die.
Once I looked at Chernobyl, I began to recall other fears in my life that had never come true. The population bomb, for one. Paul Ehrlich predicted mass starvation in the 1960s. Sixty million Americans starving to death. Didn’t happen. Other scientists warned of mass species extinctions by the year 2000. Ehrlich himself predicted that half of all species would become extinct by 2000. Didn’t happen. The Club of Rome told us we would run out of raw materials ranging from oil to copper by the 1990s. That didn’t happen, either.
All my life I worried about the decay of the environment, the tragic loss of species, the collapse of ecosystems. I feared poisoning by pesticides, alar on apples, falling sperm counts from endocrine disrupters, cancer from power lines, cancer from saccharine, cancer from cell phones, cancer from computer screens, cancer from food coloring, hair spray, electric razors, electric blankets, coffee, chlorinated water… it never seemed to end.
Familiar language, isn’t it? But it’s not about global warming, it’s about global cooling. Fear of a new ice age. Anybody here worried about a new ice age? Anybody upset we didn’t act now, back then, to stockpile food and do all the other things we were warned we had to do?
That one is talking about Y2K. By now everybody has forgotten Y2K. What actually happened on January 1, 2000? Essentially, nothing.
But notice the urgent language. The situation is desperate, unprecedented action is necessary, ordinary values must be pushed aside, anyone who disagrees is dangerous and reactionary. Terror, fear, and the end of civilization.
And for that matter, who believes that the complex system of our atmosphere behaves in such a simple and predictable way that if we reduce one component, carbon dioxide, we will therefore reliably reduce temperature? CO2 is not like an accelerator on a car. It’s not linear (and by the way, neither is a car accelerator.) And furthermore, who believes that the climate can be stabilized when it has never been stable throughout the earth’s history? We can only entertain such an idea if we don’t really understand what a complex system is.
Fortunately, studies show that we can learn to manage complex systems. There are people who have investigated complex systems management, and know how to do it. But it demands humility.
Along with humility, managing complex systems also demands the ability to admit we are wrong, and to change course. If you manage a complex system you will frequently, if not always, be wrong. You have to backtrack. You have to acknowledge error. [Scott: As if Gore and the IPCC would ever do so...]
And one other thing. If we want to manage complexity, we must eliminate fear. Fear may draw a television audience. It may generate cash for an advocacy group. It may support the legal profession. But fear paralyzes us. It freezes us. And we need to be flexible in our responses, as we move into a new era of managing complexity. So we have to stop responding to fear. [Scott: No more fearmongering means no more influence, fame, support and free cash for Al Gore - ergo, no way he's buying that!]
Is this really the end of the world? Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods?
No, we simply live on an active planet. Earthquakes are continuous, a million and a half of them every year, or three every minute. A Richter 5 quake every six hours, a major quake every 3 weeks. A quake as destructive as the one in Pakistan every 8 months. It’s nothing new, it’s right on schedule.
At any moment there are 1,500 electrical storms on the planet. A tornado touches down every six hours. We have ninety hurricanes a year, or one every four days. Again, right on schedule. Violent, disruptive, chaotic activity is a constant feature of our globe.
Is this the end of the world? No: this is the world.