New York, NY -- November 8, 2005. The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) presented Dr. Michael Crichton with the 2005 Sound Science Award for his defense of sound scientific principles and critiques of junk science. The ceremony and luncheon, which took place at the Union League Club in Manhattan on Friday, November 4th, drew an impressive crowd and featured remarks from such prominent individuals as ABC News's John Stossel and former White House Chief Counsel, the Honorable C. Boyden Gray, in addition to the guest of honor.
"If you're going to be concerned about exposure to minute levels of pesticides, then you might want to start being concerned with the effects of excessive fearmongering," Dr. Crichton stated before an audience of over 150 scientists, journalists, policymakers, and representatives of several nationally renowned thinktanks.
Such a statement encapsulates the work of ACSH, a non-profit public health organization that strives to educate both the media and consumers about real -- as opposed to hypothetical or alarmist -- health dangers. The latter all too frequently are the subject of news headlines, despite having no sound scientific basis. The result is undue anxiety, costly regulation, unnecessary bans of chemicals, medications, and technologies that when used appropriately can have a positive effect on human health. A perfect example, as both ACSH and Dr. Crichton have pointed out, is the banning of the insecticide DDT, a move responsible for the death of tens of millions of people worldwide, mostly children, due to malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
"We need to stop the mythic fantasies, and we need to stop the doomsday predictions. We need to start doing hard science instead. 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," Dr. Crichton stated in a 2003 speech to the Commonwealth Club. All too often, this is not the case.
Dr. Crichton is the author of many works of fiction, including Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, and most recently, State of Fear. He has also authored many non-fiction works and has delivered several talks on the insidious effects of junk science and of politics interfering with hard science. He was recently called upon by the U.S. Senate to deliver expert testimony on the topic of global climate change.
Dr. Crichton was presented with an inscribed silver compass by ACSH president Dr. Elizabeth Whelan to symbolize the fact that "sound science will always lead us in the right direction, and only junk science can lead us astray."
For photos from the ceremony, see the Events page about it, here.