Monday, January 14, 2008

Michael Crichton on Gene Patent Lunacy and Global Warming Myths

In this great conversation with the mind that brought you Jurassic Park, Crichton discusses why genetic patents need to be eliminated, why the global warming "consensus" and its mouthpiece Al Gore are wrong, and why real science has nothing to do with consensus anyway. Watch the video and if you think Crichton's got it wrong, I'd be interested in knowing why.


The Doc said...

I have a slightly sceptical question about his inability to predict the future. Under that model, in its complete form, no one knows anything will happen... I doubt, therefore, that evolution will continue, gravity will continue to hold etc etc.
There are things which we can predict. I agree, weather is not one of them, because weather is a subtle variation on a grand theme, but the grand theme may well be predictable.
His view of 'consensus science', I think, is narrow. Just because everyone agrees with something doesn't make the one guy who disagrees right. I wholeheartedly support his comment that a whole bunch of opinion doesn't make the opinion right... but it doesn't make the one dissenter right, either.
Also, he comments that he can't disproove the climate models. Isn't that what good science is supposed to do?
Good video... interesting comments.

rob said...

I like how he insists that everyone look at the data independently and not talk to expert opinion. Yet he doesn't offer up any data and is presenting himself as an expert. He insists somethings are wrong yet doesn't even say why.
I do however think that the point that there are more pressing matters is a totally legitimate opinion.

kamel said...

I guess, since he won't give sources for his data, that he's referring to the data he presented in his book State of

Fear (for those who haven't read it, it's a fictional novel about eco-terrorists that contains a good number of real

references to the literature, including reproductions of figures from peer-reviewed). There are a number of

rebuttals to the conclusions he draws in that book out there on the web, including by at least one of the scientists

whose work was referred to. Having read the book, I think in this interview Crichton is backing off some of the

claims he made in that novel.

I have to agree with Rob's assessment - he does present himself as an expert (while warning us off listening to experts). But is he?

He says that Hepatitis C is 'owned', and nobody can do research on it. Is that true? A simple pubmed search shows that there's still plenty of HepC research going on so either he's overstating his case or the company that 'owns' it is quite liberal with licensing. (More likely he's referring to a particular diagnostic that is dependent on proprietary primers or something similar)

He says that no scientists were involved in the IPCC's 4th Assessment Report. Again, you only have to look at the list of 150+ authors and it's quite easy to pick out several scientists involved in authoring or reviewing that document. (Yet he holds his position even when challenged by Charlie Rose).

Still, he's right about science not being a democracy but a 'dictatorship of facts' and his approach of looking at actual data vs. solely listening to 'experts' is a good one. The gene patent debate is an interesting one without his overstatements. I like Crichton as an author and he explores some interesting ideas in his novels, but I think there are maybe better people to listen to on some of the issues he's addressing in this interview.