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R.I.P. Michael Crichton


Joe Frickin' Friday

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Joe Frickin' Friday

Just found out that Michael Crichton died from cancer on Tuesday; he was 66. I didn't even know he was sick.

 

Pop culture will warmly remember him for the books he wrote, like "Jurassic Park" and "The Andromeda Strain," and also for the long-running prime-time series "ER." He will be more controversially remembered in other circles for his interest in robust scientific inquiry, particularly with regard to (among other things) climate change, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

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One of the first authors I followed. I would check bookstores for anything with his name on it.

 

One of my Favs.

 

"State of Fear"

 

:(

 

 

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When I was younger I really enjoyed Andromeda Strain and Terminal Man. Later, and after I became a scientist, I found his anti-science/anti-technology political stand, as expressed in his work, to be a hard to take. He seemed to fall squarely in with those who would cast science in a Frankenstienish role.

 

Where Arthur C. Clarke explored that role some in 2001, as have many scifi authors, Chrichton seemed to me to preach it. I grew to find him quite distasteful, much in the same way as I no longer read James Michener and Clive Cussler who also engage(d) in the use of fiction to sell prejudice, though theirs is more of the human kind.

 

I don't watch much TV, have never seen or heard of ER, and didn't know he was involved in TV. Interesting.

 

I'll give him credit for having the ability to write a riveting thriller, but I'm not sad to learn he shall write no more. Still, no one should have to live through the hell that is cancer. RIP.

 

Ohh, just looked at your link, looks like the AP touched on the same thoughts. Balanced write-up I'd say.

 

 

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I found his anti-science/anti-technology political stand, as expressed in his work, to be a hard to take.

Seems to me he wasn't anti-science / anti-technology so much as causing one to think through the possible ramifications of the practical application as well as the political aspects of the science.

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Wow - that is too bad - one of my favorite authors

 

Read many of his books, Prey and State of Fear are very good

 

Hopefully it was a quick passing

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I found his anti-science/anti-technology political stand, as expressed in his work, to be a hard to take.

Seems to me he wasn't anti-science / anti-technology so much as causing one to think through the possible ramifications of the practical application as well as the political aspects of the science.

He pretty much fell out of favor with the scientific community when he became branded as a global warming denier. Prior to that, he was much more respected.
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I found his anti-science/anti-technology political stand, as expressed in his work, to be a hard to take.

Seems to me he wasn't anti-science / anti-technology so much as causing one to think through the possible ramifications of the practical application as well as the political aspects of the science.

He pretty much fell out of favor with the scientific community when he became branded as a global warming denier. Prior to that, he was much more respected.

Yep. Global warming, a theory, not a proven fact, brought to you by the same scientists that in the last decade were pushing an oncoming ice age theory... Even if the theory (you choose which...) proves to be correct, the points raised in "State of Fear" do need to be addressed to get there.

As MC said, fact is not reached by consensus....

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"I found his xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx political stand, as expressed in his work, to be a hard to take."

 

I totally understand. The last couple Grisham books have made me feel the same way.

 

Like I was being told to feel and think a certain way.

 

It's hard for Sci Fi books to affect me the same way because by definition they are fiction and Crichton was a master.

 

Whip

 

 

 

 

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One of the first authors I followed. I would check bookstores for anything with his name on it.

 

One of my Favs.

 

"State of Fear"

 

:(

 

 

I've read most of his books; recently "Air Frame", "State of Fear", and an early abortion themed medical book written under a pseudonom. "State of Fear" was very thought provoking, but such a lousy plot. The only worse travesty from a known author would be the rest of the Rama series from A. C. Clarke and whoever the co-author (Gentry?) was that talked him into those storylines.

 

He tries to write books that can be made into movies and it shows. That said, I always look for his books and enjoy reading them. I also always believe he's right by the end of the book.

 

 

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In Crichton's own words:

 

The work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

 

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

 

 

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In Crichton's own words:

 

The work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

 

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

 

 

What a load of rubbish.

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In Crichton's own words:

 

The work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

 

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

 

 

What a load of rubbish.

Spoken like a true scientist!

The earth is flat!

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Spoken like a true scientist!

The earth is flat!

Spoken like someone who truly doesn't understand science.

 

I don't think Galileo would agree with you Seth. I think he would agree with Mr Crichton's definition of science.

 

But then again I've never been one of the collective so I don't know. I've always been more of a mutant.

 

:grin:

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I was only referring to the utterly simplsitic statement 'If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period' being used to insinute that science is dogmatic. Not only wrong, but kind of funny. Period. ;)

 

And flat earths, Galileo, etc., aren't really relevant because modern scientific inquiry wasn't practiced in those times. It's not perfect today either of course (nothing done by humans ever will be), but the two ages aren't really comparable.

 

Or so believes this mutant. :grin:

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I was only referring to the utterly simplsitic statement 'If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period' being used to insinute that science is dogmatic. Not only wrong, but kind of funny. Period. ;)

 

From one mutant to another. :dopeslap:

 

 

I think what he's tryin to say is true Science doesn't need consensus.....it either is or it isn't......and when someone describes science has "consensus science" they are tryin to hide somethin.....or jump on a band wagon without a clue where it's goin.

 

You can disagree if ya like.......it don't matter to us mutants.....we like being different.

 

 

:wave:

 

 

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Scientific fact doesn't require consensus, but modern science incorporates peer review in order to ensure that appropriate data is being used and proper procedures are being followed. In that way peer consensus is very much a part of the picture. Yes, it's always possible for this process to fail and support incorrect results but the amount of independent review involved makes that a lot less likely than trusting a single individual. But in any event saying that the mere existence of a consensus makes something wrong, or somehow 'not science', seems kind of silly. Mutual agreement doesn't guarantee correctness but it doesn't prohibit it either.

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Hmmm, bottom line : "What is relevant is reproducible results."

Yep. But remember, the point of these discussions isn't to get to the bottom line, it's to try to discredit science via some peripheral argument when it comes up with a conclusion you don't like. If we can succeed in centering a debate on 'consensus' semantics then we don't have to address annoying little factors like reproducible results.

 

BTW... what happens if you have a consensus and reproducible results..? :grin:

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So what is this in classical physics:

 

"momentum = mass x velocity"?

 

Is it a consensus? Is it science or politics? If no one believed it, then what?

 

Jan

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BTW... what happens if you have a consensus and reproducible results..? :grin:
Reproducable results should create concensus, the reverse is not true.
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Where Arthur C. Clarke explored that role some in 2001, as have many scifi authors, Chrichton seemed to me to preach it. I grew to find him quite distasteful, much in the same way as I no longer read James Michener and Clive Cussler who also engage(d) in the use of fiction to sell prejudice, though theirs is more of the human kind.

 

 

Sounds like why I have given up on the American media...

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russell_bynum
I found his anti-science/anti-technology political stand, as expressed in his work, to be a hard to take.

Seems to me he wasn't anti-science / anti-technology so much as causing one to think through the possible ramifications of the practical application as well as the political aspects of the science.

He pretty much fell out of favor with the scientific community when he became branded as a global warming denier. Prior to that, he was much more respected.

Yep. Global warming, a theory, not a proven fact, brought to you by the same scientists that in the last decade were pushing an oncoming ice age theory... Even if the theory (you choose which...) proves to be correct, the points raised in "State of Fear" do need to be addressed to get there.

As MC said, fact is not reached by consensus....

 

You can tell it's science because anyone who questions it is called a heretic and burned at the stake.

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I'd state it differently: the majority is always wrong at some point along the path of scientific discovery.

I don't think that's a very close restatement of the MC quote but it is perhaps what some people are trying to say. I would even tend to agree, except that I'd probably substitute 'sometimes' for 'always.'

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I found his anti-science/anti-technology political stand, as expressed in his work, to be a hard to take.

Seems to me he wasn't anti-science / anti-technology so much as causing one to think through the possible ramifications of the practical application as well as the political aspects of the science.

He pretty much fell out of favor with the scientific community when he became branded as a global warming denier. Prior to that, he was much more respected.

Yep. Global warming, a theory, not a proven fact, brought to you by the same scientists that in the last decade were pushing an oncoming ice age theory... Even if the theory (you choose which...) proves to be correct, the points raised in "State of Fear" do need to be addressed to get there.

As MC said, fact is not reached by consensus....

 

You can tell it's science because anyone who questions it is called a heretic and burned at the stake.

 

Russell,

The original punishment was placement in the stocks, but due to global warming accleration the guilty were incinerated by the intense rays of the noonday sun.

 

This whole what is Science hijack is funny.

Too funny.

Modern?

Please define that term.

I have textbooks from the 1940's that still say the atom can't be split.

Physics?

Recently scientists managed to accelerate light faster than "the speed of light".

I'm certain that at some point in time, this "modern era" we are part of will be generally perceived as anything but...

One constant among "scientists" is that at their time and place

in history, they were certain about what was scientifically true and all others were wrong.

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Yes, scientific concensus is always wrong and never truly objective and anyone who questions it is a heretic. Those scientists shouldn't be so damn sure of themselves, should they? :grin:

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Yes, scientific concensus is always wrong and never truly objective and anyone who questions it is a heretic. Those scientists shouldn't be so damn sure of themselves, should they? :grin:

There is no such thing as "scientific consensus." Sure, there may be consensus among scientists, but consensus is only central to the type of sciences where you need to put quotation marks around the word science. Creation "science," for instance.

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