Michael Crichton spent his whole career writing books that warned of succumbing to the delusion that “we are in control.” Many of them were best-sellers; but there’s no evidence that anyone ever believed him.
In Prey, the scientific golden calf is nanotechnology; but really it could be anything. And we have the usual Crichton scenario of cocksure scientists totally losing control and being devoured by their own creation. Shades of Frankenstein. He gives the reader a few memorably creepy scenes, while he’s at it.
Crichton ultimately lost faith in these idols–if he ever had any faith in them in the first place: The Andromeda Strain, his first best-seller, suggests he was always skeptical of that “Ye shall be as gods” sales pitch.
And how the Loving Left reviled him when he died! All because he had too much integrity to hop aboard their Global Warming bandwagon. But that’s the Diversity crowd for you: death to everyone who isn’t them.
What Crichton had to come to grips with was the history of science: today’s settled science, which you question at the risk of your reputation and your livelihood, is tomorrow’s quaint and pitiable error. Crichton wound up seeing science as a succession of “newer and better fantasies.”
Well, who ever just slightly loses faith? Many of us have been there. It would have been a good thing, had Crichton lived long enough to know Jesus Christ, his Savior. Often we don’t have as much time as we think.
It’s been done on purpose, by wicked and ungodly people, many of whom are not quite sane. The poison brewed in our colleges and universities always seeps out into the rest of our society, tainting it, then maiming it.
“Educating” ourselves to death… but I guess it depends on what “is” is.
I lost a big chunk of this morning because, as I was peacefully, innocently typing the last post some two hours ago, the computer suddenly decided it didn’t want to type anymore. Hit the keys, tap-tap-tap, and nothing happens. The screen did display a warning box of some kind, which flashed on and off in just a second, much too fast for me to read it. Something about “filter keys,” whatever that is.
So I went and did our weekend’s banking and grocery shopping alone while Patty stayed here and fixed the computer. The keyboard was locked, she had to unlock it: shut the computer down, then start it up again, easy as pie.
Michael Crichton had a pet peeve about stupid design in technology, which he mentioned in several of his books. Here, one of my fingers must have touched whatever key locks the keyboard–I have no idea which, and certainly never did it on purpose. The computer keyboard provides all kinds of opportunities for disaster. All it takes is one little slip-up. I once lost five chapters of one of my books because I hit a wrong key somehow, and that whole great big job of work simply disappeared forever. Maybe some Martian has it. I had to do the whole job over again. How wise I was! to decide to type up my books in limited-size chapter sets, and send them to the editor as I finished each one. It could have just as easily been the whole 80,000-word novel. But if I go on about it any more, I’m going to wake up screaming.
All right, here’s the plan: one more blog post after this one, and I’m going back to bed. I got a little sleep last night, which is better than none. My head still hurts.
I probably won’t bring my toy dinosaurs into bed with me, but I’ve got the next best thing: Michael Crichton’s The Lost World (his sequel to Jurassic Park)–in which the author seems to have discovered that Settled Science isn’t really all that settled. I love it when the bad guys try to avoid getting eaten by the Tyrannosaurus by standing as still as statues. “They’re just standing there! Are they crazy?” And Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum in the movies) answers, “No, not crazy. They are misinformed.” Turned out what they “knew” about dinosaurs wasn’t true, after all. But no going back to the drawing board for them.
Hopefully I will read myself to sleep with this and move another two or three hours closer to normalcy. That’s what I’m praying for, at any rate: and thank all of you for your prayers for me.
Michael Crichton spent his adult life writing best-sellers and expanding his knowledge of the sciences. When he rebelled against Global Warming dogma by writing State of Fear, the Left turned against him viciously. But I wonder what they thought of these paragraphs from his Jurassic Park sequel, The Lost World:
Last night I selected Michael Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead to read in bed, and I stumbled over this passage in Crichton’s”Factual Note” in the back of the book. Please bear in mind that this was written in 1992, twenty-four years ago.
“… [T]he tendency to blur the boundaries of fact and fiction has become widespread in modern society. Fiction is now seamlessly inserted in everything from scholarly histories to television news. Of course, television is understood to be venal, its transgressions shrugged off by most of us. But the attitude of ‘post-modern’ scholars represents a more fundamental challenge. Some in academic life now argue seriously there is no difference between fact and fiction, that all ways of reading text are arbitrary and personal, and that therefore pure invention is as valid as hard research. At best, this attitude evades traditional scholarly discipline; at worst, it is nasty and dangerous. But such academic views were not prevalent twenty years ago, when I sat down to write this novel…”
In 1972 interllecturals still admitted there was such thing as truth. By 1992, they’d changed their tune. And here, in 2016, they never tell the truth if they can help it.
Saying that there’s no such thing as truth, no such thing as an objective fact–well, I guess they think it makes them sound smart.
But there are an awful lot of stupid smart people on the loose today.
Michael Crichton wrote a lot of books. Prey, which first came out in 2002, is not among his most famous works. All the same, it still makes fascinating reading.
What would happen if nanotechnology were used to create a kind of artificial life that could learn and change and remember, that would have artificial intelligence–and that would soon evolve an agenda of its own? What if it quickly passed beyond our control?
“Science” as an ideology, and more than an ideology– a belief system, a species of religion, a way of relating to the world–and technology, which is the instrumentality of Science: hey, everybody, these things can be dangerous. Michael Crichton, a close student of many sciences, and a close companion to many scientists, sounded this warning all his life. Even the scientists themselves oversimplify incredibly complicated things, leading them into a false sense of security and finally into a delusion that “we are in control, nothing can go wrong.”
And we all know what happens when you think that.
So Prey is another one of these stories about what happens to those who succumb to that delusion. Folly can be fatal. It’s a thriller, it’s a page-turner… and something more than that.
Michael Crichton wanted to believe in Science. In the end, he couldn’t: his integrity would not let him blind himself to its false claims and pretensions.
But he also most emphatically did not want to believe in God, nor did he accept the salvation held out to him by Jesus Christ. I don’t know why.
Instead, he sought for some other myth that would turn out to be true, something with which to bind together the sheaves of reality. We see him groping for this in Prey, with the notion that nature somehow “organizes itself” without conscious direction by God. But again Crichton is tripped up by his own honesty. As he writes about scientists and profit-seekers trying to imitate the self-organizing dynamic that they think they find in nature, he can’t help writing it up as a disaster. “Nothing can go wrong” just never comes out right.
I’m not much interested in the science behind Prey, but I am intrigued by the author’s inner struggle. I wish it had turned out better for him.
Michael Crichton never found God. But there is always hope that somehow God found him.
Yul Brynner was the out-of-control robot gunslinger in 1973’s Westworld movie.
Please don’t ever think I enjoy reporting on this schlock. I am trying to convince people that wrecking the culture is not something you can get away with. The Bible should have already convinced them of that. But how do you convince a heart of stone, a wooden head?
Nevertheless, I carry out my duty to sound the alarm.
Remember Westworld? Written by Michael Crichton and starring Yul Brynner, this movie came out in 1973. It was all about a big theme park where you could go for the experience of living in different “worlds” of history–like the Old West, or Europe in the Middle Ages–where the inhabitants were super-realistic robots and the paying guest could be a big cheese. This was Crichton’s theme park from hell, before he wrote Jurassic Park. Of course the gunslinger robot in Westworld gets out of hand and starts killing the guests. You can take it from there.
Not to filth up my page, click the link and see what they want their extras to do in front of the cameras. Crikey–with all that sex free-for-all going on, how did they ever find the time or the energy to arrange the gunfight at the OK Corral? “Westworld,” in its new incarnation, might be more fittingly named “STDworld.”
And this is the toxin that the audience are expected to pump into their brains. “Fill ‘er up”–not with gas, but with slime.
One shudders to imagine what pornographers must have to do, to stay ahead of this curve.
This is not good for you and not good for your culture.
You are not going to like the desert island upon which all this stuff maroons you.