In it, Crichton fails to understand how science deals with uncertainty. To him, any admission of uncertainty is tantamount to "mere guesswork," and research filled with uncertainty, like the search for extraterrestrial life, is "unquestionably religion."
The above observations, from a brilliant paper by Freudenberg, Gramling, and Davidson, reflect opposing uses of scientific uncertainty for political ends. In the first case, uncertainty prohibited an action that couldn't be proven safe and on the other one that couldn't be proven unsafe.
On December 21, 2004, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended against allowing the import of prescription drugs from Canada because it “could not be sure” that the imported drugs would be safe.
The next day, the Forest Service eliminated its policy for preparing Environmental Impact Statements, as well as the requirement for logging to protect all viable species in the National Forests, since such statements could not say "with certainty" what sort of harm would follow logging and development.