Jurassic Park

Jarasric Park

The Dinosaurs were not to blame for the destruction of Jurassic Park

\'Nature won\'t be stopped .......or blamed for what happens\'(Ian Malcolm ,Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton). Jurassic Park mystifies its critique even as it makes it; or rather, to be more precise, it offers us contradictory messages about whom to blame for what goes wrong. Science finally takes the blame. Near the end of the book, while the humans are fighting off the velociraptors, Malcolm (the mathematician) delivers a long and didactic speech about how science is to blame for messing up the world because it has no morality; science tells us how to do things, not what things are worth doing and why. Malcolm talks about how the inventions of science, like Jurassic Park, are fated to exceed our control, just as his chaos theory predicts. According to Malcolm, chaos theory was developed in response to problems like predicting the weather, and the theory says it simply can\'t be predicted beyond the space of a few days, because the forces involved are too complex and unstable. If everything in a popular narrative like Jurassic Park really means something else, then so too does chaos theory.
The basic plot of Jurassic Park is fairly simple. A Palo Alto corporation called International Genetics Technologies, Inc. (InGen) has become able -- through an entrepreneurial combination of audacity, technology, human ingenuity, and fantastic outlays of capital (mostly funded by Japanese investors, who are the only ones willing to wait years for uncertain results) -- to clone dinosaurs from the bits of their DNA recovered from dinosaur blood inside the bodies of insects that once bit the now-extinct animals and were then trapped and preserved in amber for millions of years. (This is, by the way, theoretically possible.) The project is the dream of John Hammond, a billionaire capitalist with a passionate interest in dinosaurs, who comes across in the novel as a bizarre combination of Ross Perot and Ronald Reagan -- part authoritarian martinet, part dissociated and childish old man. With the resources of his wealth and power, Hammond buys a rugged island a hundred or so miles off the coast of Costa Rica and turns it into Jurassic Park, \'the most advanced amusement park in the world,\' with attractions \'so astonishing they would capture the imagination of the entire world\': a population of living, breathing actual dinosaurs.
With the park just a year away from opening to the public (those rich enough to pay, that is), the nervous investors insist on sending a team to the island to determine whether or not the park is as safe and under control as Hammond continually insists. It isn\'t, of course, and most of the novel tells the story of everything getting completely out of control, most especially the incredibly fast, vicious and intelligent dinosaurs known as \'velociraptors,\' which are six-foot tall, bipedal and socially-organized pack hunters with teeth that can chew through steel bars, and whose only response to their human creators and captors is to attack and kill them. Velociraptors are the most dangerous dinosaurs because they are pack hunters -- they know how to work together. We also learn that in addition to their collectivism, they are characterized by bad attitudes and a talent for breaking out of their confinement (making them, I suppose, the bad subjects of the dinosaur population).
The team of experts includes Alan Grant, a famous paleontologist known for his theories about dinosaur infant-rearing behavior, and his paleobotanist graduate student assistant, Ellie Sattler; and also John Malcolm, a brilliant and idiosyncratic mathematician whose field of expertise is chaos theory, which deals with turbulence and unpredictability -- complex \'real world\' conditions that can only be described through non-linear equations. Malcolm, of course, predicts that the park is inherently unstable and its security precautions must inevitably break down. There are also Hammond\'s grandchildren, whose parents are getting a divorce: an eleven-year old boy, Tim, and his seven-year old, ceaselessly obnoxious sister Lex (if only the tyrannosaur had killed her halfway through, when it had the chance!). Hammond invites them for a \'fun weekend,\' and to demonstrate the safety of his park. There are other characters, of course, but these are the principals, all of them our heroes except