A Poor Reflection on Sound Science

Published May 3, 2005

Dear Skeptical Inquirer:

I was an avid subscriber to The Skeptical Inquirer for more than a decade, and more recently I have been reading it online.

I was surprised to see how harshly you dealt with Michael Crichton’s new book, State of Fear, in the current issue. The reviewer acts as though Crichton’s medical degree from Harvard does not entitle him to any scientific opinions because he earns his living as a novelist. You have treated the many flim-flam artists you debunk with greater courtesy than you afford Crichton.

Skeptical Inquirer has every right to come down hard on the side of anthropomorphic global warming being a crisis in the making for the entire population of planet Earth. However, the tone of Chris Mooney’s critique borders on character assassination.

He quotes a number of groups that disagree with Crichton and others who are convinced man’s role in global warming is significant, but Mooney makes no effort to refute the actual data Crichton presents. Your organization has a strong reputation for sound scientific investigation and thoughtfulness. The reviewer of Crichton’s book does not reflect your usual excellent record.

Jay Lehr, Ph.D.
[email protected]

Jay Lehr, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is science director of The Heartland Institute.