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December 10, 2004

Crighton's Smackdown

I finished Michael Crighton's latest (audio) book 'State of Fear' this story yesterday afternoon. I thought I had gotten to the didactic part that morning, but he was just getting warmed up. He delivers a blistering critique of sloppy thinking and hidden agendas which borders on stentorian. By the time you get to the end of the book, it sounds like a stern lecture from Professor Bullfinch *and* Dr. Grimes. His appendix is a dramatic summary judgement on the massive errors of the Western world's romance with the deadly pseudo-science of Eugenics. It makes this book something more than I originally guessed, and it just might take America for a little controversial ride.

Crighton has basically outed academic whoredom and cults of certainty. He has called into question our motivations for seeking knowledge and free inquiry. There have been plenty of folks, like by buddy Tim, and the Invisible Adjunct, who have called into question the ethics and reasonableness of some (if not most) of what goes on in the American Academe. Crighton dramatizes the results of the madness. It's a fairly slamming broadside. Let's see what shakes loose.

Posted by mbowen at December 10, 2004 08:56 AM

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i just finished crichton's book ( i actually read it rather than listened to it, which allowed me to stop and think about his ideas - i prefer to think about what i'm reading rather than waiting until after i finish listening to it - i always hated lectures for this reason, even when i was given them as a physics professor). anyway, i think hoffman's ecology of thought was a very intriguing idea. it applies not only to environmental movement and the post 9/11 movement, but to many other areas. eg., the entire concept of memes is is utter nonsense butg the ability to predict something has long ceased to be a criterion for believing something. it calls to mind a dilbert cartoon where he is on a date where the woman says she believes in the power of crystals even thought there is no scientifc evidence to support it, to which dilbert replies "since when is ignorance a basis for an opinikon?" the crichton b ook is a must read (the fact that the ny times wrote a scathing review of it only gives it more credibility.

Posted by: richard gaylord at December 13, 2004 10:00 AM