April 21, 2006

Orson Scott Card and Michael Crichton, Bad for Humanity

Media, and authors especially, must be very responsible, knowledgeable people about the topics they write about. It's too bad that Orson Scott Card and Micheal Crichton, two very famous science fiction writers, have no idea what they're talking about. These two are nothing more than very good writers, but they are not scientists, have no idea what science is, and are both doing a disservice to actual science for the public.

Let's start with Micheal Crichton. Skip past his books, which, while entertaining, are mere stock science fiction. Let's go to his public advocacy, in this case, of global warming (or lack thereof). His views, shown in his book State of Fear, include evidence, but not strong evidence, as it has been refuted by specialists in the field, including Dr. Jeffrey Masters, chief meteorologist at The Weather Underground. His evidence, therefore, is still very much under dispute.

The problem is that people are beginning to accept what he says as fact, simply because he wrote it into an "action-thriller" book. He has been called to testify in a Senate committee hearing. He has giving speeches attacking not just global warming, but the entire idea that the environment needs to be protected. But with his evidence itself still under dispute, how can he claim them as definitive sources?

As for Orson Scott Card, I think the essay I linked to says it all. What gives Card the authority to dismiss all of science as "invent[ing] plausible stories of automatic processes by which natural events, systems, and objects come to be as we see them"? What gives the authority to dismiss science, the process, as science, the Aesop's Fables of the Modern Day? Nothing. He creates a straw man position of science, and proceeds to "destroy" it. No wonder, considering that he is indeed an active member of the Church of Latter Day Saints.

Leave the theories of what might happen to the earth and what has happened to those who have actually studied the subject. Gain an actual background first, see their reasoning, and you'll see why evolution has become a dominant theory in science. It's not because it's convenient or because it's the atheists pushing it out. It's because rationally, it has been shown to be the best explanation for the data collected.

Even science fiction authors have a responsibility, and that responsibility is to not purposely destroy the foundations of science. Every time Chrichton writes an implausible story about the spread of a deadly virus, panic can ensue. Every time Card writes for the creationists, they get more irrational.

2 comments:

  1. It's why we call them trash sci-fi.

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  2. I'm quite surprised you aren't attacking Dan Brown for his religious garbage, or even JK Rowling for fooling people in believing in witchcraft.

    I did a search on "State of Fear," and interestingly enough found that "[t]he final pages of State of Fear include an "Author's Message", listing the author's personal conclusions and concerns, including a request that we consider the evidence and do our own research before blindly chanting the usual misinformation, that we become a better informed public." You seem to have forgotten that "State of Fear" is a novel. Fake. Not real. Additionally, how can we criticize Crichton for being believed by other people? If the population is too ignorant to realize that a novel's contents are not to be taken as true, I would argue that it is their fault that he has gained so much political sway as you claim.

    I also really don't see any difference between Card and a priest in their views. They believe that science holds little value. Quote a Dan Brown book to refute this, I dare you.

    Don't whine that authors have influence over people. They are free to write whatever they wish; the impact their works have on people is out of their hands. For you to say that an author's creativity should be limited because of the possibility that a few ignorant individuals will take it to heart is foolish in itself.

    Man, I really don't like Dan Brown books.

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