Friday, April 22, 2005

Crichton Speaks

Michal Crichton give us a lot to think about in this speech.

Here are some thoughts:

(1) You cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of man

That’s a more literal truth than he may think, especially since there are parts of the brain in which religious fervor is based. An atheist would say that this proves that religion is only a hallucination. A deist would argue that man’s physiological ability to believe in God is proof, and not disprove, of God’s intelligent design of man.

(2) What was that Eden of the wonderful mythic past? Is it the time when infant mortality was 80%, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? When one woman in six died in childbirth? When the average lifespan was 40, as it was in America a century ago.

I hate it when people have this view of early man as constantly knocking on death’s door. The uniform legends of ancient history and mythology were that people were larger and lived longer in pre-historic times. Anthropological evidence also shows that pre-agricultural, hunter/gathers people were in much better physical condition than their farming, carb-consuming descendants.

(3) Crichton makes the analogy that radical environmentalism = doomsday, blind-faith religion. Yet we’ve seen that both of these phenomena, and other destructive beliefs, have some unknown common root: a philosophy that is anti-life, anti-reason, subjective, cynical, and has a strong aversion toward human virtue and achievement. On paper, the wacko religious nut and the wacko environment nut have extremely different beliefs, but exhibit almost identical psycho-epistemological motivation as they cheer for the world to come to an end. A teenage “goth”, a aging Maoist hippy, and a Hamas jihadi all share that same metaphysical flavor—an unnamed fear and loathing toward the idea of a benevolent universe and the good, happy people who would inhabit it. I don’t know why people end up that way. I also wonder why large portions of mankind choose this course toward extinction.

(4) Environmentalism needs to be absolutely based in objective and verifiable science, it needs to be rational, and it needs to be flexible. And it needs to be apolitical.

Well, this certainly makes my spidey-sense tingle! In other words, we need someone who knows all fact, who’s supremely rational, and with lots of discretion and power . . . without any of those smarmy politicians or judges getting in the way. Would Crichton like to recommend himself for this job?


At 10:59 AM, Blogger Tom said...

The legends also continued into the Middle Ages- human history has been uniformly praised before the invention of Capitalism, and following it condemned.

The sad thing is, you need not look to millenia-old corpses for evidence. The standard of living of humans up into the 18th century was little better than thousands of years before- you would cry if you had to live like Croesus. 20-year famine cycles continued in France a century after they disappeared in England. Those statistics he cites were not limited to cavemen- they were the facts for the entire world up to only 200 or so years ago. Those places which do not embrace freedom, still possess similar statistics.


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