State of imbecility

Worst award in 2 million years: Michael Crichton's honoring by the AAPG

Topics: Environment, Globalization, Global Warming, How the World Works,

All props to the Quaternarians!

Back in February, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists gave its 2006 “Journalism Award” to Michael Crichton, in honor of the the aid and comfort that his most recent novel, “State of Fear,” lavished on the world’s least lamented endangered species: climate change skeptics. Never mind that “State of Fear” is a fictional work. As AAPG communications director Larry Nation declared, “It is fiction, but it has the absolute ring of truth.”

How the World Works didn’t learn about this ludicrous travesty until August, and was too embarrassed at coming so laggardly to the scene of the crime to note it then. But today Real Climate pointed us to a statement in protest of the award by the American Quaternary Association [AMQUA], published in Eos, the journal of the American Geophysical Union, and its Crichton smackdown is just too good not to pass along.

(The “Quaternary Period” encompasses the last 2 million or so years of Earth history, so we can forgive scientists who study trends on that time scale for taking a few months to craft their riposte.)

The best line: “‘State of Fear’ is mostly a blend of Scooby-Doo and The Lone Ranger, an extended chase scene in which a small team led by an intrepid government agent foils a plot of evil environmentalists to engineer artificial ‘natural’ disasters in order to promote their cause.”

The most telling, dueling-scientists-at-dawn throw-down lines: “In its Web site AAPG aligns itself with Crichton’s views, and stands alone among scientific societies in its denial of human-induced effects on global warming … Yet, the foundation of science is the belief that truth is not defined on the basis of support for a desired political outcome. It is hard to understand why AAPG would honor this endeavor, and thereby dishonor those scientists diligently working to understand rapid change in the making, and communicate the environmental consequences.”

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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