Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Realclimate vs. Crichton

Michael Crichton, a mere science fiction novelist, has written State of Fear, a supposed countermeasure to what he sees as the scare tactics of environmentalists concerned about global warming. The climatologists at Realclimate have been taking on Crichton’s false and…
December 27, 2004

Michael Crichton, a mere science fiction novelist, has written State of Fear, a supposed countermeasure to what he sees as the scare tactics of environmentalists concerned about global warming. The climatologists at Realclimate have been taking on Crichton’s false and misleading claims, and with them his sycophant George Will.

Crichton’s conclusion is that global warming is not a problem. Gavin Schmidt at Realclimate takes him on first, deflating Crichton’s claims about the cooling period between 1940 and 1970, his claim that selected cool spots negate global warming (which is concerned with globally defined averages), his mischaracterization of the particulars of sea-level rise, and other scientific points. The upshot of Schmidt’s argument is that in several important ways Crichton has either misrepresented the science or failed to appreciate its nuances, and that the science, done properly, is well-represented by the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report published in 2001. Michael Mann has more to say about Crichton here.

Along comes George Will, who is not a scientist either, to opine on Crichton in particular and global warming in general. Surprise, surprise, but Will also fails to understand important scientific points and mischaracterizes the situation; Realclimate responds here and here.

Why the world is willing to pay attention to what novelists and political pundits think about the complex science behind global climate change is a subject for another day.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

mouse engineered to grow human hair
mouse engineered to grow human hair

Going bald? Lab-grown hair cells could be on the way

These biotech companies are reprogramming cells to treat baldness, but it’s still early days.

Death and Jeff Bezos
Death and Jeff Bezos

Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley’s latest wild bet on living forever

Funders of a deep-pocketed new "rejuvenation" startup are said to include Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner.

ai learning to multitask concept
ai learning to multitask concept

Meta’s new learning algorithm can teach AI to multi-task

The single technique for teaching neural networks multiple skills is a step towards general-purpose AI.

conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned
conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned

A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click

Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.