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Michael Crichton (1942-2008)

I learned about this very sad news from you - from the commenters at TRF.

It's doubly shocking for me because my refspect for Michael Crichton has been tremendous - and sometime in late 2006, when we were in e-mail contact, he was a "constant reader" of this blog. For example, here he had to reject an offer communicated through Bob F.:

From mcrichton@ear**** Sat Nov 18 22:15:57 2006

Subj: Hi, Lubos
I am a constant reader of your blog.

I appreciate your offer to run the fantasy commentary but I am trying, for the next few weeks, not to talk about global warming so that I can have a window to talk about something else, ie genetics, when I do my press for the book right after Thanksgiving. I don't want to inflame the situation just now.

One month later, a kid asked him what Crichton was reading for inspiration. As you can guess, he didn't read any fiction because he didn't have time to do so. He was doing serious research most of the time. That was his style.

Nevertheless, on Tuesday, he lost his courageous and private battle against [throat] cancer, as his website,, puts it.

Crichton graduated summa cum laude from the Harvard College and later from the Harvard Medical School. I believe that physicians tend to be extremely pro-science. There have been quite a few doctors enthusiastic about string theory, too - which is not the best description of Michael Crichton.

At any rate, he began to write his famous novels in the late 1960s. At the beginning, he chose pen names that encoded his height (206 cm or 6 feet 9 inches in 1997): John Lange (from German, "long one") and Jeffery Hudson (a famous dwarf of a 17th century English queen).

There are many stories about his writing. For example, as a college student at Harvard, he decided that a professor was giving him bad grades. Is this hypothesis testable? You bet. Crichton plagiarized George Orwell and received "B-" for the text. ;-)

Although the scientists in his novels are not the best examples of ethics, Crichton was in no way anti-technology. He viewed the scientific and technological progress as a fact that he wanted to understand and whose worst-case implications he wanted to warn against. His attitude to answering the questions about the world was as scientific as you can get - see e.g. the video below. Among novelists, he was definitely a scientist par excellence.

Everyone knows the Jurassic Park and a couple of similar novels (and movies) where Crichton shows what can arise out of bioengineering. However, I think it is fair to say that since 2002 or so when he began to write the State of Fear, he was more worried about the climate alarmism and the recent trend of media's selling of superstitious speculations that are convenient for someone as the scientific truth.

Could you tell us why you count environmentalism as a religion? Sure.

Remarkably enough, Crichton has also written a textbook of programming in BASIC (Electronic Life) and a text graphical adventure computer game (Amazon, with John Wells). Crichton is also the unwilling father of RealClimate.ORG: this loony website was created by far-left NGOs specifically to fight against Crichton's book on global warming. His last novel will be published posthumously in May 2009. The title is not yet known to the public. At any rate, Michael Crichton will be missed...

Crichton on TRF

There are 34 pages that mention his name here but let me mention The State of Fear (see a Language of Fear video), Environmentalism as Religion, Skeptics beat alarmists 46:42 (see his main speech in the IQ2 debate), and Aliens Cause Global Warming (about consensus science). See an hour of Crichton with Charlie Rose: climate begins at 22:00.

If you have strong enough a stomach to see how the far-left climate alarmists celebrate the news, see e.g. Climate Progress. Yes, these individuals are scum.

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