“I am certain there is too much certainty in the world.”

– Michael Crichton

Meaning of the quote

We often put too much faith in science, believing it as literal fact, when in fact, many so-called scientific “facts” are based upon speculation or theories.

Almost anyone should be able to recall a time in their lifetime where “scientific facts” have changed from what was believed to be “a fact” years earlier. Knowing that such changes occur, should tell us that what scientists often claim as a “certainty” is often not “certain” at all.

This quote is best understood in the context of Crichton’s novel from which it is derived, which focuses on the conflicting interests that sometimes fuels scientific speculation. In the novel, Crichton says the science behind global warming is speculative and incomplete, and therefore, no concrete conclusions can be drawn regarding human involvement and climate change. Crichton argues that conflicts of interest by elites in various fields sometimes use real or artificial crises to misuse the “science” behind global warming to maintain existing social order.

Even though a fictional novel, Crichton uses numerous real-world charts and quotations from real-world data, including footnoted charts, to back up the point.

Crichton has argued for removing politics from science and used both global warming and real-life historical examples to make this argument.

In a 2003 speech at the California Institute of Technology, Crichton warned about the “emerging crisis in the whole enterprise of science — namely the increasingly uneasy relationship between hard science and public policy.”

Origin of the quote

This quote comes from Crichton’s 2004 techno-thriller novel, state of fear, which revolves around the subject of climate science and global warming, where eco-terrorists plot mass murder to publicize the dangers of climate change.

About Michael Crichton

John Michael Crichton (1942-2008) was a best-selling American author, screenwriter, producer, director and physician who is best known for his fictional works in the genres of science fiction, medical fiction and thrillers. His novels have sold over 200 million copies worldwide, with many being adapted into blockbuster films such as the Jurassic Park series, Westworld, Coma, Disclosure, Twister, Rising Sun, The 13th Warrior, The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Timeline, and more, as well as the television series ER.

After graduating from Harvard Medical School and obtaining an MD, Crichton’s writing career took off, and thus he never pursued obtaining a license to practice medicine.