Friday, April 06, 2007

April Fools


I have to admit that my attempt at an April Fools joke fell a bit flat. My idea was that with so much of the chattering class, and so many "beautiful" people, buying into the notion that "questioning the science behind global warming is like denying the Holocaust" it would be very unlikely that anyone would commit to filming Crichton's controversial book, especially while Crichton is around to make sure his message is not inverted in filming. So unlikely, in fact, that people would click the link I provided (which would take them the the IMDB page for "The April Fools.")

I met a Holocaust denier once. Funny how much that sounds like saying that I met serial killer Ted Bundy*. The Holocaust denier was a historian whose research had led him to believe that the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust was properly about one million instead of the officially recognized six million. I really, really don't want to get into a discussion of his math here but my point is that his argument with the orthodoxy was a matter of degree not a matter of kind. But, because of the in-for-a-penny - in-for-a-pound, zero-tolerance popular view of the Holocaust he was generally lumped in with the idiots who claim that the Holocaust just a Zionist fantasy that never happened. Still, his version of Holocaust denial was the "Lite" version -- saying that Hitler was only responsible for the murder of one million innocents, instead of six, is not the same as letting Hitler off the hook altogether.

Similarly, Crichton's Gobal Warming Denial is also the Lite version. He doesn't deny, for instance, that it is happening, or that it is to some extent the result of human activity, or even that some of it might be caused by the man-made rise in CO2 levels. But he does suggest that much of the current alarm about it is based more on politics than on science and that, because of the politicalization if the issue, ad hominem attacks have replaced scientific debate, making it more difficult to evaluate the problem and place it sensibly in our priorities for managing the environment. Crichton's book targets not so much the science of Global Warming as Global Warming as a religion. And, since the movers-and-shakers in Hollywood are mostly "true believers" it strikes me as unlikely that the book will become a film any time soon, given its incurably heretical nature.

* It is likely that I met Ted Bundy at some point but I don't remember him. A good friend lived in the same boarding house in Tallahassee at the same time as Bundy did. It is likely that I saw Bundy in the hall of "The Oaks" while I was visiting my friend. I do remember Margaret Bowman slightly. She was one of Bundy's victims who, coincidentally, went to my parent's church in St. Petersburg.