RIP: Michael Crichton - skeptic - 'Aliens Cause Global Warming'

He passed away on 11/04 at pretty youthful 66. I knew him more from as a science fiction potboiler machine but this article in the Wall Street Journal 'Aliens Cause Global Warming' gave me new-found though posthumous respect for the scientist.

"The Drake equation (which was posited about sentient life in the universe in the first 1960 SETI conference) can have any value from "billions and billions" to zero. An expression that can mean anything means nothing. Speaking precisely, the Drake equation is literally meaningless, and has nothing to do with science. I take the hard view that science involves the creation of testable hypotheses. The Drake equation cannot be tested and therefore SETI is not science. SETI is unquestionably a religion. . . ."

This is a pretty clear line and, though I would love SETI to be true, this line of probability-based scientific-ish thinking is what leads, and have led, to the scientific-posing about "Intelligent Design" and the equally probable "FSM Intelligent Design"


  1. Anonymous1:23 PM PST

    In a more complex and pervasive way, probability-based investing and valuation has lead to the credit / mortgage / leverage crisis that we are trying to dig ourselves from under. We can cause plenty of problems ourselves without alien help! DB

  2. And the funny thing is that we will forget how we got into the financial problems we are in and we'll fall into similar "something-from-nothing" schemes again.


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