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I read this at the tail end of a massive environmentalism kick, and it served to remind me of what I was encountering daily in my research: there are a lot of freaking wackos out there pushing their agendas, and Crichton is one of them. This speech is all about our need to find the "truth", yet Crichton blatantly misrepresents the truth throughout the speech. I don't think it is intended to be ironic.
Those damned multiculturalists, apologists and blind-faith environmentalists are trying to distort the truth! Don't give in to their agendas. Accept the power of technology and the truth of science.
Science can explain many aspects of our impact on the environment, but the big environmental issues are going to be debated until it's too late to change our path (assuming it turns out the one we're on is bad/unsustainable). Doesn't the environmentalist perspective require a touch of blind faith?