Crichton: Against all Edens
[From Douglas LeBlanc at GetReligion.org ]
After Michael Crichton’s death last week, a few different obituaries hinted
at his iconoclastic questioning of global-warming certainties.
striking is that Crichton’s criticisms of global warming attracted more
hostility than his attacks on religion — a generic religion that stands
as the enemy of all things scientific.
New York Times science columnist John Tierney quotes from a speech, “Environmentalism as Religion,” which Crichton delivered in September 2003 at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club:
There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace
and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of
pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a
result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are
all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is
now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of
Just as organic food is its communion, that
pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs,
… Religions think they know it all, but the unhappy truth of the
environment is that we are dealing with incredibly complex, evolving
systems, and we usually are not certain how best to proceed. Those who
are certain are demonstrating their personality type, or their belief
system, not the state of their knowledge. Our record in the past, for
example managing national parks, is humiliating.
Our fifty-year effort
at forest-fire suppression is a well-intentioned disaster from which
our forests will never recover. We need to be humble, deeply humble, in
the face of what we are trying to accomplish. We need to be trying
various methods of accomplishing things. We need to be open-minded
about assessing results of our efforts, and we need to be flexible
about balancing needs. Religions are good at none of these things.