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Remarks to the Commonwealth Club Michael Crichton (Theme: Environmentalism is really Urban Atheism)
Michael Crichton ^ | September 15, 2003 | Michael Crichton

Posted on 12/06/2003 8:16:02 AM PST by FreedomPoster

Edited on 12/15/2003 11:31:15 AM PST by Lead Moderator. [history]

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To: general_re
Underneath the keywords is a link labeled "Bookmark" - hit that link, and this thread will be added to your list of FR bookmarks that you can access from your profile page.

Amazing. I've been doing it the hard way, by first accessing my profile page, then cutting & pasting to the "links" section, all the while muttering to myself that bookmarking is one of the clumsier features of this website. Good tip. Thanks.

151 posted on 12/07/2003 4:22:19 AM PST by PatrickHenry (Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.)
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To: PatrickHenry
FreeRepublic has amazingly feature-rich forum software. When you compare it to all the UBB-based, and UBB-knockoff-based, forums, it is just astounding how much more this system does. Quite an accomplishment by John Robinson et al.
152 posted on 12/07/2003 4:51:12 AM PST by FreedomPoster (this space intentionally blank)
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To: Windcatcher; Virginia-American; KC_for_Freedom
All three of you have touched on it.

The suthor is describing only one sub-set of environmentalists. Let me attempt to classify/catagorize/organize:

1. Mythists
1A Religionist- well described in the article
1B Polyannas - different from the religionists; the cute and cuddly crowd; bambi-ists; warm and fuzzy; highly motivated by the image of a harp seal being clubbed.

2. Watermelons- not actual environmentalists but use it to promote their socio-politico-economic goals. I'm sure this group could be sub-divided.

3. Capitalists- those that invoke environmentalism to promote their resource extraction over another competing resource extraction. A petro-chemical company will promote the use of natural gas in electrical generation by funding a foundation/enviro group to attack the use of coal as a fuel for electrical generation.

Feel free to futher classify or re-organize the above. After all, just as the the author points out that the human mind is likely hardwired for religion, the human mind is also hardwired to classify, catagorize and organize.

153 posted on 12/07/2003 6:52:12 AM PST by Ben Ficklin
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To: Ben Ficklin
I always categorize environmentalists by whether they have an agenda or not.

The ones who are closely aligned with the left, (Sierra Club Etc.) seem not to care so much about the environment as to whether it helps socialist causes. (Let the forests take care of themselves, don't log; this saves money for other social programs and makes housing expensive so the poor need to rely on government subsidies.) These you call watermelons, but I have not heard that slogan.

Then there are the other kind like the recyclers who separate their waste glass not realizing that the recycling centers just dump the glass in a land fill because it really is cheaper to make glass from sand, and there is a lot of sand available for glassmaking.

Thus one group is out to destroy capitalism, believing like Nader that it will lead to a ruinous world. Of course this group is used by the marx loving crowd and is aligned with the democratic coalition. The other group simply lacks understanding, and likes to go with the flow. This "feel good" group would well be served by Crichton's call for better environmental science, because they really believe MTBE is good for the world (as opposed to a harmful subsidy for big oil), and they worry that the oceans are rising not mindful of the fact that Holland is below sea level and has been for years. This group believes that fuel cell will save us without considering the environmental cost of making fuel cells and generating and distributing hydrogen.

I have not thought of capitalists as a sub group, but you are right when they use environmental images in their advertising, attempting to create good will for their industries.
154 posted on 12/07/2003 7:16:29 AM PST by KC_for_Freedom (Sailing the highways of America, and loving it.)
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To: Virginia-American
The lawyering of science is a big problem. Most proposed legislative actions do not follow from the scientific investigations. However, accusing those who misuse (or misinterpret) scientific evidence of merely being "religious" doesn't help; doing so abandons the idea of correcting scientific misunderstandings. Most of the people I know who are "environmentalists" are rather sincere but have little knowledge of the scientific data. They are rather like a jury trying to understand DNA or fingerprint or ballistic analysis.
155 posted on 12/07/2003 7:46:07 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: KC_for_Freedom
Of course nomenclature is important in classification. I'm surprised that you are not acquainted with "watermelon". Green(environmental) on the outside, red(socialistic) on the inside. Environmental morphs into environmental justice and becomes linked to social justice.

Those you mention in regard to seperating their garbage are known as the "self-decievers". The fact that curbside recycling is an economic net-loss to the environment is well documented most notably by libertarian Lynn Scarlett, former President of the Reason Foundation and now working in the Bush administration as Undersecretary of Policy and Budget at the Interior Dept. But you see, curbside recycling makes these people feel good about themselves. With that in mind, they could alternatively be called the "feel-gooders", which would make the a sub-set of the do-gooders".

Those that think that the un-attended forest will revert to pristine are known as the "benign neglectors".

I'm afraid that my previous grouping "Capitalist" is lacking. It is possible the the "capitalists" should be a sub-group of those that have an economic self-interest in promoting environmentalism. The Teamsters could hardly be called an environmental group yet they joined with environmental and social justice groups in the lawsuit over the environmental inpact of admitting Mexican trucks to the US, which would impact the earnings of the individual teamster and the political power of the Teamster Union. Another sub-group here would be the the NIMBY who really cares nothing about the environment but is opposed to development because of a percieved loss of his property value.

Perhaps I have opened a can of worms that would be best left to someone with 7 researchers and a $75,000.00 budget.

156 posted on 12/07/2003 8:48:40 AM PST by Ben Ficklin
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To: Ben Ficklin
Thanks for the watermelon explaination. As I read it I remembered having heard it before. Perhaps it was a senior moment (that I have from time to time).

My main thesis in categorizing has been that the democratic party is made up of a diverse group without common concerns. They are joined primarily by a desire to govern from the left. So you have envrionmentalists of all stripes joining minorities, illegal immigrants, homosexuals, jews, and out and out socialists. Of course their common agenda was to fleece the country's wealthy and mooch. The environmentalists are a strange ally in this group, because they don't get much out of socialism. No socialist country took care of the environment, so much of what they do is on faith. (The kind of faith Michael Crichton is talking about.)

Then you get strange results like the Sierra Club voting to remain neutral about unfettered immigration, when immigrants are stressing the social fabric and the environment. Likewise you see Nader running for office and stripping enough votes from Gore to hurt the democrats because the democrats are not strong enough on the environment.

Finaly you have clear thinkers like Carri-Okie proposing market based solutions to the environment which environmentalists cannot even look at for fear of disrupting the coalition.
157 posted on 12/07/2003 9:00:29 AM PST by KC_for_Freedom (Sailing the highways of America, and loving it.)
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To: KC_for_Freedom
My main thesis in categorizing has been that the democratic party is made up of a diverse group without common concerns. They are joined primarily by a desire to govern from the left.

Another common concern is that they all deny reality, one way or another. Socialism will make us happy, taxation will make us prosperous, unionism will make us productive, pacifism will bring peace, disarming will make us secure, diversity is strength, self-esteem is a right, poverty can be outlawed, etc. In these and maybe hundreds of other ways they are characterized by the delusion that wishing for something will make it so. Presumably those at the top of that foul heap are aware that it's all lies, but it's their gravy train. Yet even a few of them are probably fooled.

There's some of that in the Republican party too, but nowhere near as much.

158 posted on 12/07/2003 9:34:50 AM PST by PatrickHenry (Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.)
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To: oreolady
When Freepers say they are going to "bookmark" this article, how is that done?

Yes, if you look at the main body article... Just underneath you see Topics and Keywords... Just underneath that you will find a

Report Abuse and Bookmark link
(this is just above post number one on any thread). Simply click on the bookmark link. You will be presented with a page that allows you to name the bookmarked link what you like (useful if you're bookmarking it more for a comment that you want to remember). Once you choose "OK", the article will be added to your Freeper profile page. You can then access it whenever you like by going to your own profile page and clicking the "Links" option in the upper left.

I hope that helps.

159 posted on 12/07/2003 10:45:30 AM PST by Prodigal Son
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To: FreedomPoster
what more and more groups are doing is putting out is lies

Chrichton's writings stand because they are based on scientific and medical fact. You don't see any great environmentalist literature, not that they don't try. All it takes is one sour note in a novel and it drops from a NYT best-seller to a trade publication--1000 copies printed, 4 sold.

160 posted on 12/07/2003 11:54:21 AM PST by RightWhale (Close your tag lines)
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.
161 posted on 12/07/2003 11:58:33 AM PST by StriperSniper (The "mainstream" media is a left bank oxbow lake.)
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To: Swordmaker
However, it is not the scientists (The priests of environmentalism) but the congregations, those who BELIEVE, as opposed to understanding, in ENVIRONMENTALISM, that make this a religion.

That's a key point and one that is easily misunderstood. The religion aspect has less to do with the scientists than it does with the perspective of the practioners or the faithful of the religion (ie the masses who lap up the environmental prognostications).

162 posted on 12/07/2003 1:05:35 PM PST by Prodigal Son
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To: PatrickHenry
Heh - and all you had to do was ask. ;)

Anyway, I've pretty much dumped it myself, in favor of browser-based bookmarks. Keeps my cards closer to my vest that way - I'd much prefer an option to make the bookmarks not publicly-accessible, if one wished.

163 posted on 12/07/2003 2:13:42 PM PST by general_re (Knife goes in, guts come out! That's what Osaka Food Concern is all about!)
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To: Ben Ficklin
Another sub-group here would be the the NIMBY who really cares nothing about the environment but is opposed to development because of a percieved loss of his property value.

The only argument I have with this statement is the "perceived" loss of property value. Environmental impacts can have a REAL effect on property values. I, for one, would be extremely opposed to having a lead smelter constructed behind my house. I believe it would make the value of my property negative; I would have to pay someone to take it off my hands!

Certain forms of Nimbyism is acceptable... it is the Nimbyism that is based in ignorance, bad science, or elitism that should be condemned.

164 posted on 12/07/2003 2:34:01 PM PST by Swordmaker
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To: Swordmaker
Agreed.
165 posted on 12/07/2003 3:42:55 PM PST by Ben Ficklin
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To: PatrickHenry
I like how you put that.
166 posted on 12/07/2003 5:32:19 PM PST by KC_for_Freedom (Sailing the highways of America, and loving it.)
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To: Doctor Stochastic
Most of the people I know who are "environmentalists" are rather sincere but have little knowledge of the scientific data. They are rather like a jury trying to understand DNA or fingerprint or ballistic analysis.


Not a bad analogy. Enviros are ruining our liberties and prosperity on non-evidence they can't defend, just as some jurors are willing to ruin (or end) the life of an innocent man (or free an obviously guilty one on evidence they do not understand.
167 posted on 12/07/2003 7:01:18 PM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Police officials view armed citizens like teachers union bosses view homeschoolers.)
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To: general_re
FR bookmarks are sorted alphabetically and don't display the date and time. These two features make them nearly useless for me.
168 posted on 12/07/2003 7:01:47 PM PST by js1138
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To: liberallarry
I assume from your remark that you agree with the author that religious fundamentalists think they know it all. I would completely disagree. In fact, those who have a biblical worldview understand we don't know it all. We realize that we are "merely" human and that our minds have been affected by Adam's fall (noetic effects of sin, I believe is the theological term).

On the other hand, humanists (those who have a materialistic worldview) place themselves in the place of God and judge all things from a human perspective, thus tacitly (or in some cases blatantly) stating "I know everything, so I can judge everything."

The person with a biblical worldview who understands the devestating effects of sin and his own limitations must state "I don't know everything. Where God has spoken clearly, I proceed with confidence. Where God's word is not clear, I proceed with caution."

The one place God's word has certainly spoken clearly is in the area of sin and salvation. What better time of year than at Christmas than to see that the "Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

169 posted on 12/08/2003 4:32:24 AM PST by aardvark1
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To: aardvark1
I assume from your remark...

...that you haven't read, or have misunderstood, all my posts on this thread.

170 posted on 12/08/2003 7:25:01 AM PST by liberallarry
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To: liberallarry
You referred me to "post #12" the gist of which I responded to. When I got your response, there were 168 posts on the thread. You're right. I didn't read them all. If I misunderstood what you were referring to, my apologies.
171 posted on 12/08/2003 7:56:11 AM PST by aardvark1
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To: aardvark1
And my apologies to you if I misunderstood the intent of your first post.
172 posted on 12/08/2003 8:08:47 AM PST by liberallarry
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To: aardvark1
Perhaps, I should summarize.

In my reading, Crichton was complaining about rigid and intolerant people who claim special access to "the truth" - access which they feel is self-evident and not subject to criticism.

Crichton, as is the case with much of the secular world, characterizes this mind-set as religious - wrongly. There are many, many believers who are open-minded and tolerant and many athiests who are not. But he is not without justification. For centuries religious believers held power - and too often abused that power to suppress and persecute dissident voices.

173 posted on 12/08/2003 8:15:11 AM PST by liberallarry
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To: GladesGuru; HairOfTheDog; SierraWasp
A must read!!! Glades Guru, after reading this, I was walking on air!
174 posted on 12/08/2003 8:22:19 PM PST by Issaquahking
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To: Issaquahking
A must read!!!

Then I shall read it! - But tomorrow morning over coffee.... Thanks for the ping.

175 posted on 12/08/2003 8:49:30 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: Ben Ficklin
Just a slight addendum to your "7 researchers and $75,000 budget". Here in the Sheeples Republic of FloriDUH, an ex colleague said that he wouldn't bother with a grant of less than $1,500,000.

And this transparently veiled socialist was tenured faculty at Gainsville, not Harvard.

Inflation has hit even the Grove of the Academe. Well, in this case, arguably the scrub brush of the Academe.
176 posted on 12/08/2003 9:26:58 PM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon liberty, it is essential to examine principles - -)
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To: Issaquahking
Much of this was discussed at length on the Convoy drive, remember? Come to think of it, we made a rather long "detour" one night in the Nevada outback due to just this subject distracting my navigation..

Thanks for the ping.
177 posted on 12/08/2003 9:32:03 PM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon liberty, it is essential to examine principles - -)
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To: Issaquahking
This was a great article IK!

Thanks for the ping! (sip)
178 posted on 12/09/2003 4:30:19 AM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: GladesGuru
I realized that 75,000 was not adequate and only went with it on concept. I'm not sure that the mil and a half would be adequate.

A project such as this would take at least 3 years. Leasing offices and the knick knacks, furniture, utility deposits, etc, etc. I would need numerous computers. I would need administrative and technical staff, as well as staff directors. And of course an accountant to keep up with the money. Then there is travel and entertainment. The printers would likely overcharge me.

We also have to realize that my wage rates would require 600 thou for 3 years.

BTW, do you have any contacts over at the Ford Foundation? Interior Dept?

179 posted on 12/09/2003 4:39:45 AM PST by Ben Ficklin
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To: GladesGuru
Thought you would enjoy a great article, especially since the man did it SF to those who really needed to hear it most! Article sure put a smile on my face and renewed hope in returning the nation back on to the road of common sense.
180 posted on 12/09/2003 8:30:07 AM PST by Issaquahking
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To: FreedomPoster
This is a great article! It is very wise and full of insight, honesty and common sense.

P.S. I'm a religious fundamentalist, a philosophy which he somewhat denigrates, but he still hit the ball out of the park with this speech/article.

181 posted on 12/27/2003 7:57:31 PM PST by wife-mom
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To: FreedomPoster
I would vote for this posting as one of the "FR Top 10 Postings of 2003"!

If we don't have such a list of best posts of the year here, we should, but I'm not about to make a vanity posting.

182 posted on 12/28/2003 11:05:14 AM PST by StopGlobalWhining (Cheney - Rumsfeld in '08)
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To: FreedomPoster
The speech has been pulled from Crichton's site and from the Commonwealth Club site.

Here is another link.

http://www2.gol.com/users/coynerhm/michael_crichton_remarks_commonwealth_club.htm
183 posted on 02/05/2004 5:34:34 PM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: Beelzebubba; Lead Moderator
I just saved that off to my local drive. Very interesting.

Lead Moderator, I've pinged you, since you had "excerptized" the original, and since I find this sort of expunging of history interesting (see #183 just above). I've got to think it was done due to pressure MC received from the watermelon enviro-whacko Left, but maybe I'm being too tinfoil-hat-ish.

Was this at one time published in the LAT? And therefore they owned the publishing rights, leading to it be "excerptized" here, and perhaps causing it to be removed from MC's personal site?

If you could see fit to add Beelzebubba's link to the main post, instead of buried down here at # 183, that would be above and beyond the call of duty, and greatly appreciated.
184 posted on 02/06/2004 1:50:23 AM PST by FreedomPoster (This space intentionally blank)
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To: FreedomPoster
We were contacted by Chricton's attorney, who requested that we take down copies of the speech. Thanks, LM
185 posted on 02/06/2004 6:58:19 AM PST by Lead Moderator
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To: FreedomPoster
Fortunately, due to the Internet, one will ALWAYS be able to find the speech by Googling "Crichton Commonwealth."
186 posted on 02/06/2004 7:02:53 AM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: Beelzebubba
I hope you are right. Again, the whole thing just smells of Orwellian / Soviet-style expungement of history. Again, I'm probably being too tinfoil hat-ish, but that's how I see it.
187 posted on 02/06/2004 7:44:49 AM PST by FreedomPoster (This space intentionally blank)
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To: FreedomPoster

Hi all, I'm new to the forum...so excuse me if i've posted incorrectly...

I just wanted to make the point that although Crichton advocates the abandonment of the religion of environmentalism, his vision for a return to the SCIENCE of environmentalism itself appears to take on a similar omnipotent messiah-like quality. My issue is not with the arguments he raises in relation to the need for a new framework for environmentalism, but rather with what I view as his simplistic and naive perception of science as "truth". There are respected scientists on both sides of many environmental issues who use science to argue their hypotheses...to suggest that one scientist might be more or less driven by a religious-like belief in their world view than another scientist is problematic. Throughout history science has been used and abused to a variety of disparate ends. At the end of the day, who's there to referee the process? In reality the "science" of "science" is a lot more subjective than we may like to admit.

In conclusion, i think Crichton's claim that environmental science should replace the 'religion of environmentalism' is one that relies heavily on the idea that science in its pure form is purely objective...there's an interesting parellel there with this "pure science" model and his notion of idealised nature as held in the Eden-myth of purity.

Actually, another thought occurs to me...while certainly, under the banner of "environmentalism" i beleive there are many cases that contain less hard facts and more sentimentalities there are also many cases in which well researched, intelligent and I beleive scientifically correct facts are presented (by the way, there is I believe a place for spirituality and emotion in our perception of ecology anyway)... My thought is this....does Crichton's perception of these "other views" as a religion, become a way of discrediting their alternate ideas in one big sweep of the board?

Are we simply swinging from environmental-eden-isms to scientific ones?


188 posted on 02/14/2005 3:56:06 PM PST by treeker (SCIENTIFIC-EDEN-ISM?)
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To: treeker

Well, you've certainly managed to find an old thread to resurrect. But I guess despite that, it's still "timely", given the book release.

I guess the issue I have is that the area of environmentalism seems to be heavily influenced by the "religion of environmentalism" right now, and there isn't enough "science", in Pournelle's sense of the word, meaning "something you can put in a letter to a colleague and he'll get the same results you did." Instead, there seems to be a lot of bald assertion-making.

See the article about the "hockey stick" in today's WSJ for an example.


189 posted on 02/14/2005 4:02:00 PM PST by FreedomPoster
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To: FreedomPoster

Isn't the "religion of environmentalism" simply a term that's been coined by Crichton (or whoever) to group together a selection of views? While I understand where he's coming from - there is most certainly that element of fanaticism expressed by SOME under the very broad banner of "ENVIRONMENTALISM", however - equally so, there are SOME that express a comparable fanaticism in their greed for the holy dollar. Can't that be classed a religion too? I suppose my point is, ALL people are INTERESTED - by that I mean, have an interest, an agenda etc, in these issues...you might call the hippy a fanatical religious environmentalism, and you might call the scientist contracted by an INTERESTED corporation or collective a fanatical economically driven environmentalist. There's not a whole lot of difference in that way.

It's well known for example, that a government department who want to acheive a certain goal can contract an environmentalist who will tell them exactly what they want to hear, and prove it "scientifically" too. Another environmentalist without the same agenda, might be able to see those results and methods in a very different light. It happens all the time.... Let's not be naive.

The environment is a MULTI BILLION dollar industry...that fact alone brings a hell of a lot of people out of the woodwork and sets in motions a hell of a lot of political spin doctoring and propaganda.

I just think what Crichton is advocating is INCREDIBLY dangerous, and that is, an uncritical view of science as "truth". By his very lack of detail regarding the "politics of science" he has really missed the larger point I think. YES, some of the points he makes are true, (they are also one sided), however his conclusion is a off the mark in my opinion. What we need is not to abandon this so called 'religion of environmentalism' for science - it's to research scientific and cultural facts thoroughly and present environmental issues in a transparent way that allows us as the public (and policy makers etc) to more clearly identify stake holders, political forces, cultural and ecological impacts and the PROCESS of scientific research. It's a bigger picture and it goes WAY beyond the kind of finger pointing and then uncritical (shallow even), advocacy of "science" I feel Crichton allows his argument to degenerate into.

That's my 2 cents...


190 posted on 02/15/2005 3:35:45 PM PST by treeker (SCIENTIFIC-EDEN-ISM?)
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