Best-selling novels are not often praised in Senate floor speeches. Of course, it is not often that best-selling novels offer riveting discourse on important scientific research and public policy matters.
On January 4, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, recommended Michael Crichton’s latest novel, State of Fear, to people wishing to learn about the science of climate change theory.
Crichton, who holds a medical degree from Harvard University, is the author of such best-selling novels as Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain.
Inhofe noted, “popular author Dr. Michael Crichton, who has questioned the wisdom of those who trumpet a ‘scientific consensus,’ released a new book called State of Fear, which is premised on the global warming debate. I’m happy to report that Dr. Crichton’s new book reached number 3 on the New York Times bestseller list.
“I highly recommend the book to all of my colleagues,” Inhofe continued. “Dr. Crichton, a medical doctor and scientist, very cleverly weaves a compelling presentation of the scientific facts of climate change–with ample footnotes and documentation throughout–into a gripping plot. From what I can gather, Dr. Crichton’s book is designed to bring some sanity to the global warming debate.”
At several points during his speech, Inhofe quoted directly from State of Fear.
“In the ‘Author’s Message’ at the end of the book,” Inhofe noted, Crichton “refreshingly states what scientists have suspected for years: ‘We are also in the midst of a natural warming trend that began about 1850, as we emerged from a 400 year cold spell known as the Little Ice Age.'”
Inhofe continued, “Dr. Crichton states that, ‘Nobody knows how much of the present warming trend might be a natural phenomenon,’ and, ‘Nobody knows how much of the present trend might be man-made.’ And for those who see impending disaster in the coming century, Dr. Crichton urges calm: ‘I suspect that people of 2100 will be much richer than we are, consume more energy, have a smaller global population, and enjoy more wilderness than we have today. I don’t think we have to worry about them.’
“For those who do worry, or induce such worry in others,” said Inhofe, “State of Fear has a very simple message: Stop worrying and stop spreading fear.”
Powerful Story, Science
State of Fear, which peaked at number 2 on the New York Times best seller list and is currently in its 18th consecutive week in the top 20, is not only leaving an imprint on popular culture; it is changing the way people view the global warming debate.
While the story is told in Crichton’s usual gripping manner, it is the science presented in the novel, complete with charts, footnotes, and a bibliography, that jumps to the forefront. No open-minded person can read the novel without, at the very least, gaining a newfound skepticism toward the doom-and-gloom claims of global warming alarmists.
“State of Fear is, in a sense, the novelization of a speech that Mr. Crichton delivered in September 2003 at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club,” observed Reason Foundation science correspondent Ronald Bailey in the December 10, 2004 Wall Street Journal. “He argued there that environmentalism is essentially a religion, a belief-system based on faith, not fact. To make this point, the novel weaves real scientific data and all too real political machinations into the twists and turns of its gripping story.”
Inhofe took the occasion of his floor speech to mention how Crichton discredits environmental fear-mongers.
“Throughout the book,” noted Inhofe, “‘fictional’ environmental organizations are more focused on raising money, principally by scaring potential contributors with bogus scientific claims and predictions of a global apocalypse, than with ‘saving the environment.’ Here we have, as the saying goes, art imitating life.
“As my colleagues will remember from a floor speech I gave last year, this is part and parcel of what these organizations peddle to the general public,” said Inhofe. “Their fear-mongering knows no bounds. Just consider the debate over mercury emissions. President Bush proposed the first-ever cap to reduce mercury emissions from power plants by 70 percent. True to form, these groups said he was allowing more mercury into the air. Go figure.”
Inhofe embraced Crichton’s book as a welcome challenge to the extremists, concluding, “Despite the bias, omissions, and distortions by the media and extremist groups, the real story about global warming is being told, and, judging by the welcome success of Michael Crichton’s State of Fear, it’s now being told to the American public.”
James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
For more information …
The full text of Sen. James Inhofe’s January 4 floor speech is available online at http://www.globalwarming.org/article.php?uid=878.
Inhofe’s July 28, 2003 floor speech critiquing global warming theory was published, in two parts, in three parts in the November 2003, December 2003, and January 2004 issues of Environment & Climate News, available online at http://www.heartland.org/Publications.cfm?pblId=1.
State of Fear is available through Amazon.com for $18.45.