Another Look at Michael Crichton’s ‘State of Fear’ – Part 1

SUBTITLE: Nobody Knows How Much of the Global Surface Warming from 1861 to 2005 Is Human-induced or Naturally Occurring. Climate Scientists Are Only Guessing. And Their Guesses Are Based on How They Program Their Computer Models to Meet the Expectations and Political Agendas of the Politicians Providing the Funding for the Computer-Modeling Efforts


It had been more than a decade since I first read Michael Crichton’s 2004 novel State of Fear. I purchased an e-book edition recently, and I’ve just finished reading it. I enjoyed State of Fear thoroughly the second time around. Now, though, with my much more-detailed understanding of the subject and the global politics behind it, it was interesting to see Michael Crichton arguing points in 2004 that heretics of the religion of human-induced global warming/climate change are still arguing today, 14 years later. I took a few notes, too, this time, when I found something interesting.

State of Fear is described at the HarperCollins Publisher webpage as (my boldface):

New York Times bestselling author Michael Crichton delivers another action-packed techo-thriller in State of Fear.

When a group of eco-terrorists engage in a global conspiracy to generate weather-related natural disasters, its up to environmental lawyer Peter Evans and his team to uncover the subterfuge.

From Tokyo to Los Angeles, from Antarctica to the Solomon Islands, Michael Crichton mixes cutting edge science and action-packed adventure, leading readers on an edge-of-your-seat ride while offering up a thought-provoking commentary on the issue of global warming. A deftly-crafted novel, in true Crichton style, State of Fear is an exciting, stunning tale that not only entertains and educates, but will make you think.

Apparently eco-fearmongers didn’t want to be entertained, or educated, or made to think…or want anyone else to be entertained, or educated, or made to think. Examples:

  • Union of Concerned Scientists here
  • Weather Underground here
  • The New York Times here
  • The Guardian here
  • RealClimate here (Yes, Gavin Schmidt added his 2 cents. Oy vey. Didn’t you have something better to do with your time, Gav?)

Now for the meat of this post:


Near the end of State of Fear (p. 569-570), under the heading of AUTHOR’S NOTES, Michael Crichton’s 4th, 5th and 6th bullet-pointed conclusions read:

  • Nobody knows how much of the present warming trend might be a natural phenomenon.
  • Nobody knows how much of the present warming trend might be man-made.
  • Nobody knows how much warming will occur in the next century. The computer models vary by 400 percent, de facto proof that nobody knows…

(Thank you HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition. It’s so easy now to copy and paste.)

The first two of the quoted bullet points reminded me of a graph I included as Figure 2.11-7 in my free ebook On Global Warming and the Illusion of Control – Part 1 (700+ page, 25MB .pdf), and later presented in my blog post The Illusions Provided by Time-Series Graphs of Climate Model Ensembles and Model Spreads. (WattsUpWithThat cross post is here.)

The graph being discussed, Figure 2.11-7 below, illustrates the highest and lowest warming rates of the simulations of global surface temperature anomalies from 1861 to 2005 along with the model spread. The model spread is how climate scientists (better said, computer programmers) prefer to present their models. On the other hand, the ensemble members with the highest and lowest trends shown in Figure 2.11-7 bring to light what the climate scientists are hiding when they present the model spread.

The graph is based on the 81 ensemble members of climate models stored in the CMIP5 archive, using historic forcings to drive the number crunching in the computer simulations of climate on virtual planets. And it must always be kept in mind that the computer-generated climates in those virtual planets are no more real than computer generated imagery (CGI) of dinosaurs in the science fiction movies based in Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel Jurassic Park.

Note: As you’ll recall, the models in the CMIP5 archive were used by the United Nation’s supposedly scientific entity called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for their 5th Assessment Report published in 2014. And as you’ll further recall, the IPCC was founded to supply “scientific” support for the political agendas of the unelected politicians who make up the UN. [End note.]

The dataset referenced in the following text is the global land+ocean surface temperature data from Berkeley Earth.

As described in the ebook and blog post:


Figure 2.11-7 presents the ensemble members with the highest and lowest long-term (1861-2005) warming rates. I’ve also furnished the annual high and low values of the ensemble as a reference.

The ensemble member with the lowest warming rate from 1861 to 2005 has a very low linear trend of about 0.01 deg C/decade, while the ensemble member with the highest trend shows global surface temperatures warming at a very fast rate of 0.082 deg C/decade, noticeably higher than the observed warming rate of 0.055 deg C/decade.

[End Reprint.]

In other words, based on the climate modelers’ hindcast simulations of global warming, the human-induced portion of global warming from 1861 to 2005 might be as low as 0.01 deg C/decade or as high as 0.82 0.082 deg C/decade. And that leaves a wide range of natural variability to explain the differences in the warming rates between the models and observations-based data.

So let me merge and rewrite the 4th and 5th of Michael Crichton’s concluding bullet points and add a paraphrasing of the second sentence of the 6th bullet point.

Nobody knows how much of the global surface warming from 1861 to 2005 might be human-induced or naturally occurring. The global surface warming rates of the CMIP5 climate model hindcasts are such that the warming rate of the ensemble member with the highest rate is more than 8 times higher than the warming rate of the ensemble member with the lowest one, de facto proof that nobody knows. Climate scientists are only guessing. Their guesses are based on how they program the computer models to meet the expectations and agendas of the politicians providing the funding for the computer-modeling efforts. A computer-aided guess is still only a guess.

Michael Crichton’s 6th bullet point reads in full:

  • Nobody knows how much warming will occur in the next century. The computer models vary by 400 percent, de facto proof that nobody knows. But if I had to guess—the only thing anyone is doing, really—I would guess the increase will be 0.812436 degrees C. There is no evidence that my guess about the state of the world one hundred years from now is any better or worse than anyone else’s. (We can’t “assess” the future, nor can we “predict” it. These are euphemisms. We can only guess. An informed guess is just a guess.)

That’s it for this post. I have a few more notes from my recent reading of State of Fear, and I’ll publish posts about them over the next few weeks.


Please purchase my recently published ebooks. As many of you know, this year I published 2 ebooks that are available through Amazon in Kindle:

And,  Michael Crichton’s 2004 novel State of Fear. is available on Amazon too.

To those of you who have purchased them, thank you. To those of you who will purchase them, thank you, too.



UPDATE:  Corrected typo.

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October 30, 2018 5:38 am

I read State of Fear soon after it came out. Being inquisitive myself, I bothered to fact check some of the references in the book. While all the ones I checked were accurate, some were out of context. This being about 14 years ago, I don’t remember which. I do remember that I didn’t think it was a very good story. I liked his story about microbots becoming a hive mind better (I think that was Prey).

Regardless, my takeaway message from the book was that science needs to be verified and not taken at face value. There is a lot of emotion and corruption in science but people believe scientists are pure and so trust the corrupt. I believe Michael Crichton used global warming (he could have easily used medical studies) to make this point. I think he chose global warming because of the emotional attachment to the belief. Because of this book, I now verify every scientific belief. I tell people every so often that I am environmentalist worst nightmare because I have the audacity to demand scientists follow the scientific method (which requires all their work to be verifiable).

One book I really liked was Cyberstorm by Matthew Mather. It is a story about a family survived when the grid of Manhattan went down in the middle of winter for weeks. I feel it is an accurate depiction of what life would be like if the developed world suddenly didn’t have electricity. (Life would be hard and the young leftists who believe in socialism and environmentalism would have to do something they cannot do: work hard.)

ferd berple
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
October 30, 2018 6:08 am

I said I might get killed for this.
4 years after publication he was dead at age 66.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
October 30, 2018 6:25 am

Thanks to Crichton’s book, I have a nephew who escaped the groupthink. Sadly, he is one of the few.

I understand Crichton’s dilemma. I can’t be too vocal locally or else it’s very possible that doing so would harm the family businesses. Hence, Don132.

Reply to  Don
October 31, 2018 2:06 am

When my nephew was in high school 10 years ago, his teacher asked the class what caused global warming and climate change. He raised his hand and said ‘the Sun’. The entire class erupted in laughter.

His teacher politely informed him that humans are the cause of global warming and changing climate.

This episode scarred him.

However his opinion has not changed.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
October 30, 2018 9:26 am

I didn’t know that is how the story came about. Thanks.

Regardless, I already didn’t believe in CAGW before State of Fear. I do remember thinking as I read it that those that do will not like this book. Another one of my pity sayings is that the quickest way to make someone angry is to be right. I remember looking at the reviews I saw on the book. Those reviews clearly showed they did not read most (or any) of the book and especially not the epilogue where Michael Crichton talks about the corruption in science.

John W. Garrett
Reply to  Wade
October 30, 2018 6:28 am

Back in 2004 I, too, found the plot of State of Fear somewhat lame.

What made the book absolutely invaluable were the graphs and Appendix II which directed me to the source data. This was the guide that started me down the path of investigating the CAGW conjecture for myself rather than naively accepting the word of anxiety-disordered superstitious world-savers, corrupt demagogues and complicit media.

Aaron Watters
Reply to  Wade
October 30, 2018 6:55 am

“…Life would be hard and the young leftists who believe in socialism and environmentalism would have to do something they cannot do: work hard…”

I know a lot of young leftists who believe in socialism and environmentalism who work
quite hard and they are also nice people with their hearts in the right place. They have been
mislead by people in positions of power and authority who should face consequences for
betraying the trust of the young (and the young should learn to be less gullible too). By the
way I consider myself to be one of them (with some caveats), but older.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Wade
October 30, 2018 7:28 am

The Big Bang is a BUST
There is no cosmic background radiation. What the researchers thought they found was in reality IR from the world’s oceans.
There are no black holes
There is no dark energy
There is no dark matter.
The galaxies were not created by gravity.
Einstein was wrong. Space cannot be curved nor deformed because to curve or deform something; that something has to be either matter or energy. Space is neither. At most the near vacuum of space is composed of a ground level of energy of virtual particles which come in and out of existence in less than a pico second.
Therefore gravitational waves are impossible and the LIGO experiment was a fraud.

Until physics recognizes that nobody knows what gravity really is, then it can’t march forward.
Physics has gone down the same path as climate global warming theory with mathematics and models which are not based on reality. Mathematics can lead you down rabbit holes and computer models then take you into the world of Alice and Wonderland.

To top everything off the editor of Lancet said in 2015 that 50 % of all medical studies had false conclusions. A subsequent study found that 70% of all false conclusion studies were actually fraudulent false conclusion studies. At least if the patient dies, we have a clue that the diagnosis might have been wrong.

Also the engineering field is in much better shape. If a bridge or building falls down, that proves that the engineer got something wrong. Alas; not so in the social science, climate studies, and astrophysics fields. Unfortunately they are contaminating everything.


Reply to  Alan Tomalty
October 30, 2018 9:07 am

Great, denying all science as hoax and fraud is a great way to burnish your credibility, dude.


Anthony Banton
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
October 30, 2018 10:08 am

“Also the engineering field is in much better shape. If a bridge or building falls down, that proves that the engineer got something wrong. Alas; not so in the social science, climate studies, and astrophysics fields. Unfortunately they are contaminating everything.”

Typical bizarre logic found here.
Engineering is building things of matter that MUST stand up after the fact.
Massive over engineering for safety where required.
Sciences dealing with distant/future discovery can only be done via proxy. With developed and repeated experiment/theory and observation along with computational models.
The planet cannot be put in a lab.
The science is as good as current empiricism makes it.
Sorry about that.

The whole purpose of this Blog is to appeal to and engender the “disbeliever” into deeper disbelief.
That you do not “believe” the science” and seek to compare it to engineering is no comment on the science my friend.
No does it have any effect.
Empiricism has to find out it’s faults.
It’s not going to be changed by angry, noisey naysayers, just because they dont like it.

If you say so.
Or even shout.
You obviously lost sight of the top of the rabbit-hole a long time ago.

R Shearer
Reply to  Anthony Banton
October 30, 2018 8:42 pm

There is nothing wrong with logic in stating fact. You can draw your own conclusions. The fact that a large percentage of studies cannot be replicated is indeed problematic and speaks to corruption in my opinion.

Reply to  Anthony Banton
October 30, 2018 10:08 pm

Mr Tomalty, Mr Banton,

Sometimes engineers do the best possible job and a particular item (e.g., one given aircraft) fails owing to faults other than engineering – manufacturing or maintenance faults do creep in.

And, no, in aircraft / launch vehicle / spacecraft, we don’t have the luxury of “massive over engineering” – weight and product cost are critical attributes of our products.

Doc Chuck
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
October 30, 2018 12:50 pm

Alan, as you suggest, it would surprise many people that science is properly ever a humbly tentative work to enhance human understanding, and the grand accounts they get often much exceed what has been operationally demonstrated. Of course verities are certain to be obscured where its best tools are abandoned in the service of personal motives hired out for some unscientific effect. A further element that can only trouble its credible transparency is the social bullying that has emerged among its organizations that are ready to wield an inappropriately toxic pride in their hunger for power.

Nonetheless I can assure you that in the end every patient dies — most by that time with an apt diagnosis. So knowing is not to be conflated with controlling.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
October 31, 2018 10:00 am

Allen, you are probably on pretty firm ground to cast doubt on all of these current enthusiasms. In the sense that any scientific pronouncement is almost guaranteed to be wrong at some level. I think about it this way. There will only be one way for you to be right and unlimited ways to be wrong, so the odds are against any specific view. The farther away a thing is in time or space, as well as the level of scale difference from out middle size world, the less reliable will be the observations, and therefore the conclusions. Also, as you pointed out, the lack of a laboratory level ability to check the data allows imagination to intrude on any data set, like canals on mars.

Imagine having a time machine that would allow direct observation of the earth 65 million years ago. Would there be dinosaurs? If you went forward and back 1 or 2 million years from that point would you see a giant asteroid hit the planet? Probably not, but science is about trying to get as close to a good explanation and description as possible. Everything is up for debate and new observation can always overturn old assumptions, at least in the long term. Science isn’t perfect, and scientists are human, but it’s the best thing we have to get as close to reality as possible.

So, no, I don’t think it’s fair to accuse you of denying science, but I also don’t think it is fair to paint all scientists with the same brush as the Climate Crazies.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
October 31, 2018 5:19 pm

Yes, Alan Tomalty, and live is but a dream.

Would you please disclose by what is Alan Tomalty dreamt.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
November 4, 2018 2:45 pm

I was rocked to read exactly your statement on medical science. I recommend “Rigor Mortis” -with dense detail on how the state of funding/grant survival/jobs drives bad studies which don’t get changed even with proof of issues, and so billions $$ wasted on useless medical/drug results. And millions of lab animals wasted, for nothing. Even when presented with proof that (for example) one breast cancer study had cancer cells contaminating hundreds of tests from another body part (Henrietta Lacks’ cancer cells) the scientists refused to admit to the problem or redo/change their study. ( How this happens in labs all over is well described. Several leading scientists are begging for a standard that insists any study first register all details/methodology, but few will, they ‘protect’ their funding, or ability to ‘get to market’ first. Simple variations in test equipment produced false, IRREPRODUCIBLE results. This is a massive problem with no ‘fix’ in sight.

Reply to  Wade
October 30, 2018 9:47 am

I liked all of Michael Crichton’s books. The aspect I liked the most was that many things and events he described in his novels that were integral to the story were true, believable and verifiable. They are a perfect example of a story, theory, ideology (like Global Warming) that is verifiable by all available sources and complete FICTION. Sort of like True Lies.

Reply to  Wade
October 30, 2018 1:44 pm

Wade you might want to check out “One Second After” and the two follow up books in the series. Another good look at how society could react to a long term loss of the grid.

Reply to  Wade
October 30, 2018 8:16 pm

Wade – you are absolutely right. The one about the microbots was better – Crichton mentioned one of my books in his notes. Not that I noticed, too lazy to read the notes, but my brother did. Made my day, but did nothing for my career.

I read all of Crichton’s techno-thrillers as soon as they came out in paperback, but by State of Fear I was buying the hard copies. The plots were always great, but it was hard to identify with any of the characters. Maybe they are too much like real people and it is always nice to have a protagonist to identify with – but too much like a scientist observing ants I thought . Still, they were still fun even if I disagreed with the basic premise. That would have been me in 2004: I was still in a state of denial about denialism. I had noticed that all the climate change papers in my field were crap, but I assumed that was because opportunists had glommed on and the basic premises were true. It was until Climate Gate that I realised CAGW was snake oil and not science. Probably I should follow Bob’s suggestion and give SoF another go.

Mike Miller
October 30, 2018 6:10 am

I also read “State of Fear” when it came out (was it THAT long ago?) – and yes, I miss Michael C. too. I didn’t think much of the storyline either…except that it did portray the environmentalists as the immoral bad guys.
But some things are left out of the discussion on global warming that need updated. Geoengineering, for one. Whatever the real purpose of geoengineering, the result is that it exacerbates global warming. Since WATER VAPOR is the primary greenhouse gas, i.e. clouds, the artificial making of clouds (of whatever kind, for whatever purpose) results less in the reflection of daytime sunlight, and more in the retention of heat during the nighttime. Since temperature rise associated with the greenhouse effect is due mostly to the retention of heat during the nighttime…geoengineering is doing the OPPOSITE of what it claims to be doing. Also missing from “State of Fear” as I recall is the role of solar UV radiation on heating the upper atmosphere. Since solar UV radiation follows the cycle of sunspots there is an important graphic overlay which has to be added to all calculations of temperature change – and there’s a lag time for upper atmosphere heating to reach the planet’s surface that must also be added to the mix. We can do ALOT to reduce human contribution to global warming: like paint the streets green, and the rooftops white; like figure out what to do usefully with the heat from car engines and air conditioners, etc…

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Mike Miller
October 30, 2018 7:31 am

Where is the human contribution to global warming?

Reply to  Mike Miller
October 30, 2018 1:10 pm

“. . . things are left out of the discussion on global warming that need updated. Geoengineering, for one. Whatever the real purpose of geoengineering, the result is that it exacerbates global warming.”

Speculative lead-up by the boys behind the curtain as to why this is true.

Laugh at our global warming claims, will you? Well, watch this biffy. We’ll show you what real global warming is and hose the planet down in the process with nanoed aluminum, strontium, barium and a few of our special ingredients. We’ll lower the planet’s IQ and fallow the land with the aluminum, starve a few of the useless eaters in the process, sterilize the rest with genetically modified food, scramble genes and incapacitate the young with hundreds of vaccines and mandatory jabs and when we’ve reduced humanity to an acceptable level [to those financing and “approving” the spraying], why, we can open our arctic seed vault [ ], break out our 100% natural, non-genetically modified organic seeds, replant safe staple foods, and resume in our lives in the pre-Internet manner of which we were accustomed with all the gold, silver, minerals, resources and robots without having to worry about four-fifths of the commoners consuming everything. What’s not to like?

Question: Who and what laws allow a monied group of globalists to do this? Under what authority are they operating? Who has the authority to stop it?

Duane below comments: “. . . these “scientists” are not “beaker” [scientists] – they are in many cases organized criminals, engaged in crimes of fraud and worse, no better than mafia thugs in some instances.”

100% correct. And would add the people bankrolling these scientists and the spraying of earth and its atmosphere behind a debunked global warming facade and deception have been outed and are much more than organized criminals, fraudsters, and mafia thugs. They’ve exposed themselves as the calculating, cold-blooded, deceptive killers they’ve always been, and are using their trillions to fund projects like the spraying of the globe’s atmosphere “. . . to help cool the earth and protect humanity from global warming. . .” as part of a two-minute drill to save the plan they had in mind for humanity, now that humanity is awakening to their true nature.

October 30, 2018 6:12 am

Talking of Michael, where are Mann’s emails?

Tom in Denver
October 30, 2018 6:21 am

So what Michael was saying, is that the climate modelers exist in the space somewhere between WAG and SWAG

Reply to  Tom in Denver
October 31, 2018 11:26 am

Wild arse guess and stronger wild arse guess. I like it.

Mike Bryant
October 30, 2018 6:59 am

Thank God for a president that is not in the pockets of the globalist thieves. Thank God our president doesn’t fall for the talking points of the “snob mob” of social justice parrots. We still have a chance to bring sanity back to this beautiful world. However the window is closing fast.

John Bell
October 30, 2018 7:07 am

To see the history of climate change in vivid color, look at photos of the grand canyon. I love deep time!

Tom Halla
October 30, 2018 7:12 am

The backround set for State of Fear was right on, but the actions of the terrorists didn’t really follow what the green blob was doing. There were a few memorable speeches where the protagonist is disabused of his former conclusions, but it suffered from what could be called the Atlas Shrugged syndrome, of Crighton selling his birthright for a pot of message.

October 30, 2018 7:16 am

In three days, there will be an inflow of freezing air far to the south in the central US.
comment image
The area of ozone growth is the area where the temperature will drop the most.

R Shearer
Reply to  ren
October 30, 2018 8:45 pm

I feel that it arrived today.

October 30, 2018 7:26 am

Bob I still think in your graphical analysis you should have mentioned the new adjusted climate forcing number settled on is supposed to be 0.22°C/decade. You give the high 0.82 deg C/decade and the low 0.01 deg C/decade but it is also fair and reasonable to give the value they are predicting.

I know some are using the 0.82 deg number to make up scary stories simply because the 0.22°C/decade is not problematic enough for anyone but die in the wall activists to care about.

October 30, 2018 7:31 am

The good old days…

A Question of Motives
State of Fear: A DEG View

February 2005

“Everybody has an agenda. Except me.”

So ends Michael Crichton’s latest science-based thriller, State of Fear (HarperCollins, 603 pages, $27.95). Crichton’s statement comes at the end of a novel that makes important and rarely heard points concerning the global warming debate.

The question may be asked: “Why is an earth science organization reviewing a work of fiction?”

First, much of what passes for science is actually fiction.

Second, State of Fear, which is on the “Best Selling” list, is not an ordinary work of fiction. It is meticulously footnoted and has 34 pages of bibliographical material with commentary on each reference by the author, together with two appendices. Many papers presented in esteemed journals of science cannot make equal claims.

Third, Crichton has real science credentials. He has both an undergraduate degree in anthropology and an M.D. from Harvard University.

A genus of ankylosaurus is named after him: Crichtonsaurus bohlini, a late Cretaceous, three-meter long fossil, discovered in China in 2002.

Most importantly, State of Fear is a wide-ranging exposition on the status of climate and earth science.

However unlikely the plot (left), the book does make a number of extremely important points concerning the science of global warming. Kenner’s repeated exposition of scientific studies shows that there is a substantial amount of evidence that the planet is not warming at all. In spite of the dire pronouncements we hear from the mouths of reporters, musicians, actors and fellow scientists, the science of climate change is not nearly as clear as could be wished. In fact, a case might be made that the earth is actually cooling. As many may recall, an impending ice age was widely predicted by many of these same celebrities and assorted luddites in the 1970s. As noted by Oscar Wilde: “The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

Crichton is obviously outraged by the mis-allocation of resources and the human misery and environmental destruction that have resulted from the misuse of science and the misunderstanding of our environment. He debunks many of the more popular myths of our age: Alar, DDT, the power-line cancer scare and others. Through his character of Professor Hoffman, Crichton argues that the true agenda is “control.”

If correct, the thought is chilling. Environmental considerations color nearly every conceivable issue. If anything, Crichton understates the impact of the environmental movement.

The lesson for us all is that science should be left to the scientists and protected from misuse by the unscrupulous. Advocates have perverted science through ignorance or outright misrepresentations. This mistaken or maligned advocacy diverts available resources to nonexistent problems. The result, in Crichton’s words: statistical murder.

Crichton’s tongue is firmly in his cheek in his disavowal of an agenda; however, many of his forthright suggestions in the “Author’s Message” are right on target.

The point to be taken is not whether global warming is in fact occurring, or even whether or not man’s activities are having an effect. The point is that at present we simply don’t know if the earth’s climate is changing. It is even less clear whether any action we can take, no matter how drastic, will make one whit’s worth of difference. The earth has been both much cooler and much warmer many times before in its over six billion year history. Humanity has not even been witness to the vast majority of those events.

Geologists know that fact. The earth science community has largely stayed on the sidelines during the environmental debate that has raged for the last 30 years.

State of Fear is a wake-up call.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Division of Environmental Geosciences (Login required)

October 30, 2018 7:40 am

Despite the temperature rise on the equatorial Pacific, the wind does not change direction.

October 30, 2018 7:42 am

It seems strange to say that a fiction book changed my beliefs, but, back in 2004 when I first read it I was an anthropogenic climate change believer. Reading this book, and I’ve always loved his stuff, made me start thinking, and the Internet gave me the opportunity to do research of the other side of what we’d been told by the media and such. Especially since the big idea from the book was that this was really primarily about politics, not science. It was about elitist climahypocrites trying to tell us what to do, and politicians trying to get more control over people, private entities, and economies.

Once that idea was planted, I was able to see this in a different light. I’ve been blogging for over 10 years noting that this isn’t about science.

And, heck, even if the current climate change is mostly/solely caused by Mankind, every policy prescription offered by Warmists revolves around authoritarian Big Government solutions.

Toby Nixon
October 30, 2018 8:10 am

Isn’t the ratio of 0.82 to 0.01 actually 82 rather than 8? We’re talking about 8200%, not 800%?

Marc Mueller
October 30, 2018 8:38 am

RealClimate had a dramatic build up to a forthcoming debate between Michael Crichton and Gavin Schmidt plus several others. The debate audience was polled before the debate and then afterwards. Basically, Crichton trounced Schmidt and the audience post debate warmed up to Crichton’s opinion that global warming is not a crisis. The debate and results here:

October 30, 2018 9:13 am

Crichton’s novel achieved two very important objectives in the minds of his readers:

1) He made it clear that there actually is a scientific debate, and the subject of AGW is not one of scientists vs. knuckledragging bible thumpers, but is one of normal, actual, scientific debate

2) He personified the evil of those persons who deliberately try to deceive.

Some of the commenters here state that they disliked his plotting, but I think he did an effective job of illustrating exactly how some propagandists go beyond talk and take actions to deceive. Unless something like this gets personified, people find it very difficult to believe or understand how scientists with advanced degrees could act in anyway that is not serious and ethical These “scientists” are not “Beaker” – they are in many cases organized criminal, engaged in crimes of fraud and worse, no better than mafia thugs in some instances.

Joel Snider
October 30, 2018 9:30 am

Crichton really seemed to have a good, practical handle on what was going on in this country – and he pretty much outlined Climategate before the fact.
He also had a good direct insight on the propaganda machine, as he operated within it, as well as the internal nature of academia.

We lost a lot when we lost him.

Russ Wood
Reply to  Joel Snider
October 31, 2018 10:05 am

“Next’ – Crichton’s last book, is extremely funny – until you realise that all of the biological stuff is very close to happening. The late Terry Pratchett described it as “take something real or historical, then turn it up until the knob falls off”.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Russ Wood
October 31, 2018 2:23 pm

I”ve always said, your worst experiences make your best stories – this is particularly true of comedy – Richard Pryor’s life story is not funny at all when you watch, say, ‘Jo Jo Dancer’ – it’s only funny when he’s telling the story – not going through it.

October 30, 2018 9:45 am

[End Reprint.]

Thank you Bob.

If I have one complaint about WUWT it’s that it is sometimes difficult to know whose words I’m reading. Is it Anthony? Is it a guest author? Is it someone being quoted? I seem to remember an occasion when Anthony was accused of horrible things because the commenter didn’t understand that what they were objecting to weren’t Anthony’s words.

Reply to  commieBob
October 30, 2018 2:00 pm

Well, none of this post was from Anthony. This is Bob Tisdale’s post. Most of his quotes are in blockquote. The quote you mentioned was Bob Tisdale quoting his own book.

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
October 30, 2018 5:17 pm

Just to be absolutely clear, I am thanking Bob for finding a way to make it obvious where a section of text comes from.

My observation about confusion about who’s talking refers to many previous stories. There’s no problem with the current story.

Reply to  commieBob
October 30, 2018 6:14 pm


Ditto, and I would like a better protocol for defining other’s words and those of the thread/article author.

Gums asks…

Gary Grubbs
October 30, 2018 11:41 am

I read the book soon after release. I gave it as gifts to many friends and relatives to open their eyes. I even used it to open the eyes of a fellow engineer. He had been challenging me to watch An Inconvenient Truth for some time. I agreed to watch the movie if he would read State of Fear. We agreed. He had his eyes opened and started doing his own research and became a skeptic.

October 30, 2018 12:07 pm

Sorry y’all. Michael Crichton has been one of them from the beginning. Propaganda adjacent, that is. It’s there, for the moment. Look it up.

Besides, State of Fear. What kind of name is that? Not my kind, I’ll tell you that for free.

October 30, 2018 12:42 pm

I still have my hard-cover edition of State of Fear. It occupies a prominent place in my living room bookcase, where visitors can see it. 🙂

October 30, 2018 1:11 pm

I bought a copy of State of Fear from a used book sale in Ithaca NY. There were lots and lots of copies…… I think people had bought expecting another anti-technology rant (Ithaca being a outpost of California in upstate NY) and instead got a bit of real science dressed up in a somewhat contrived story.

It certainly changed my opinion of Michael Crichton. I had found his books verging on the luddite at times and usually quite misanthropic (with the exception of his single heroic character exposing the evil deeds of whoever was the big bad corporation this time). Entertaining, but they usually left me with a bad taste in the mouth.

I can certainly see where he would have had an issue writing State of Fear as it goes against much of the underpinning of his previous work. Bob’s comment above ( is very revealing – he knew before he wrote the book what the response would be. I think it was very brave of him to write this book and he deserves a lot of respect. Such a shame that he has not been able to continue the fight.

October 30, 2018 1:45 pm

What a great one-liner:
“The computer models vary by 400 percent, de facto proof that nobody knows”.
Yet we now have the IPCC claiming that they know that we are doomed because they predict that there will be a further 0.5 degrees of warming by 2030. The end is nigh, trust me (and my 96 friends agree). /sarc

Patrick MJD
October 30, 2018 4:02 pm

I have been trying to find an official reference to how the earth is initialised in these models. I read many moons ago that the earth is initialised as an idealised black body radiator but we know the earth isn’t a black body. Any ideas?

October 30, 2018 4:12 pm

Cavitation occurring in soils, lighning being drawn to moving targets, cannibals eating movie stars, what’s not to like? I don’t know how many skeptics were created by this novel, but up-thread we have heard from several, so it was effective, without commenting on the quality of the prose.

R Shearer
Reply to  Michael Moon
October 30, 2018 8:51 pm

I’d like to see a few seasoned prior to cooking that is.

Steven Mosher
October 30, 2018 5:26 pm

” Climate Scientists Are Only Guessing. And Their Guesses Are Based on How They Program Their Computer Models to Meet the Expectations and Political Agendas of the Politicians Providing the Funding for the Computer-Modeling Efforts”

wrong. just wrong Bob, you dont even know the literature that has been quoted here

1. There are two methods A) GCMs.. B) emprical methods such as flucuation analysis
Now, you may disagree with B, However it is flat out wrong to ignore it as you did.
here is and example
“Although current global warming may have a large anthropogenic component, its quantification relies primarily on complex General Circulation Models (GCM’s) assumptions and codes; it is desirable to complement this with empirically based methodologies. ”

2. the models are not programmed to meet the goals expectations of policy makers. The basic Core models
(like the ocean models were first implemented DECADES before AGw became and isue. And the radiative
cores ( yup the engineering code that make c02 warm the planet) is directly descended from fricking
engineering models.

3. There is a wide range of results ( from ECS 2.1 to 4.4) which is not what you would expect if folks were merely trying to satify polciy makers.

your comments are factual wrong, historicially ignorant and frankly beneath you

Reply to  Steven Mosher
October 31, 2018 7:47 am

Engineering code? No, there is no engineering code that makes CO2 warm the planet. Radiative cores? Yes, CO2 absorbs 15-micron radiation from the surface and thermalizes it in the first 10 meters of the atmosphere, but it always has, and this effect has been saturated for millenia. Mann and his ilk can go on and on about “shoulders” and “pressure broadening” but all that does is slightly lower the 10 meters to maybe 9.9.

Anyone who has studied physics knows this. The question is what effect, if any, INCREASED CO2 has. Show us the engineering code of the radiative cores for THIS, Steven Mosher, please…………………

Reply to  Michael Moon
October 31, 2018 10:41 pm


Nothing from Steven Mosher. It appears to take you a while to process what I said when I school you.


October 30, 2018 8:00 pm

In the early editions Chrichton warned that GISS and NOAA would cleanse data and graphs of temp records previous to 1850 (the end of the Little Ice Age)from their sites so that all future graphs would start at the coldest time in the historical record… they did soon after. He also noted, as Anthony Watts believes, that the growing urban heat island effect at long term thermometer sites in cities could account for much of the warming in data sets, maybe a majority. Kudos to MC and AW for giving me better insight to climate change and the alarmists politicizing CO2, similar to the political psuedo science used to convince the public that eugenics was a morally defensible policy… which lead to the Holocaust and Planned Parenthood… nearly half of black pregnancies are still being terminated by abortion today in the USA. The eugenics movement is back in the closet but the policies are still in place with little discussion of the ‘science’ that lead to the policy.

Tom Kennedy
November 1, 2018 10:42 am

I watched the video on the Michael Crichton site from 2005 :

States of Fear: Science or Politics? Speech
Michael Crichton discusses Chernobyl, the origins of the novel State of Fear, the language of ecological scare-tactics, the ongoing, 150-year trend toward energy decarbonization, and the concept of “information invalids”-people sickened by bad information.

The Independent Institute
November 15, 2005

Right on que this comes up:

“The Australian Conservation Foundation CEO says recent warnings from scientists and two decades of climate inaction mean the gloves are off.

“If we continue to burn coal and gas for decades to come, we will kill the 1.5 degree target, we will not have a habitable planet and hundreds of millions of people will die,” she told the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday.”

The constant crying of wolf is an industry that won’t quit. People are sickened by bad information.

Reply to  Tom Kennedy
November 5, 2018 12:42 pm

Mark Steyn touched on this when he revisited “State of Fear” recently. Crichton actually wrote him a thank-you note in response to this passage from his original review:

“… His protagonist makes a quietly sensible point – that activist lobby groups ought to close down the office after ten years. By that stage, regardless of the impact they’ve had on whatever cause they’re hot for, they’re chiefly invested in perpetuating their own indispensability. That’s what happened to the environmental movement.”

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