State of Fear

I finished the book State of Fear by Michael Crichton this afternoon. I enjoyed the book. It is timely because it uses the growing environmental change paranoia as the basis for the book. Since I had watched the recent 60 Minute segment on the environmental change, it was even more interesting.

This is the first novel I can remember reading that was heavily footnoted. It also contains three sections at the end of the book that are interesting. (Author’s message, Appendix I, and Appendix 2). Followed by at least 35 pages of bibliography.

I recommend the book as very entertaining and it will give you plenty to think about. There are enough sources presented by the author for you to do your own evaluation and draw your own conclusions.

5 thoughts on “State of Fear

  1. I agree – it is an excellent book and addresses many of the issues & impacts around environmental paranoia and doomsday scenarios. I want to emphasize your comment that many of the footnotes are references to various scientific articles and journals – they are not made up. I recommend to my Environmental Science students that they read this “novel.”


  2. Here is a comment from the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide & Global Change (see

    concerning recent articles in Science Magazine (a refereed journal of the American Association for the Advanment of Science) that feed some of the global warming paranoia. The CO2 Center concludes:

    “With respect to the bigger picture of the vast bulk of the continent, the nine climate scientists remark that “of the 19 stations examined in this study for which annual trends could be computed, 11 stations have experienced warming over their whole length, seven stations have cooled, and one station had too little data to allow an annual trend to be computed.” Considering that four of the stations that warmed are associated with the Antarctic Peninsula, however, there is little that can be said about the temperature trend of the entire continent, which issue they skillfully skirt. However, they do report “there has been a broad-scale change in the nature of the temperature trends between 1961-90 and 1971-2000.” Specifically, they report that of the ten coastal stations that have long enough records to allow 30-year temperature trends to be computed for both of these periods, “eight had a larger warming trend (or a smaller cooling trend) in the earlier [our italics] period.” In fact, four of them changed from warming to cooling, as did the interior Vostok site; and at the South Pole the rate of cooling intensified by a factor of six.

    These observations reveal that over the latter part of the 20th century, i.e., the period of time that according to climate alarmists experienced the most dramatic global warming of the entire past two millennia, fully 80% of the Antarctic coastal stations with sufficiently long temperature records experienced either an intensification of cooling or a reduced rate of warming; while four coastal sites and one interior site actually shifted from warming to cooling.

    In light of these facts, it is clear there is a serious disconnect between reality and the virtual world of climate modeling; and since everything else in the 24 March 2006 set of glacial ice Science papers pertains to climate modeling, there is not much else that need be said about them … except, perhaps, to note that the modeling pertains primarily to the prior interglacial, which makes it essentially meaningless for two additional reasons. First, if the models can’t replicate what happened in earth’s polar regions over the past few decades, there’s surely no reason to give any credence to what they tell us about something that occurred 130,000 years ago. And second, one can easily get the right answer to a computational problem for any number of compensating wrong reasons, so that even a “correct” replication does not imply that the mechanics of the modeled phenomenon are correctly understood.”

    In short the science of global warming is in its infancy and most predictions and models are open to many interpretations. It is still too early to panic, but cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions is still a “good thing.”


  3. It may be in its infancy, but I am in my autumn. I think I will just enjoy what I have and try not to do anything that would jeopardize the future of others.

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