Which is, of course, no big deal. Someone always says "show a little respect, you wouldn't act like this at the guy's funeral" when obituary-thread commenters not only omit the traditional moment-of-silence dot, but even say bad things about the deceased.
But Crichton's grieving family are probably not frantically refreshing Metafilter right now. And MeFi users are, overall, pretty enthusiastic about the advancement of human knowledge. And Michael Crichton did human knowledge a few significant injuries, especially with his later books.
A lot of commenters said they loved Crichton's books when they were kids. I bet I would have, too, but I think I just didn't read any. Maybe The Andromeda Strain, but I'm not sure.
I'm glad only the earlier, less anti-science ones would have been available then, though.
That's because I read State of Fear as an adult, and the only part of it that seemed obviously stupid at the time - never mind the implausible environmentalist Giant Conspiracy, stuff like that's normal in thrillers - was the magic gadget that caused enemies of the enviroterrorist baddies to be struck by lightning, in cheerful defiance of basic electrophysics.
(Enviroterrorists with the ability to suck lightning out of clouds wouldn't need to be enviroterrorists any more. They could just start building lightning power stations.)
The real scientific problem with State of Fear whistled right over my head, though. The book contains several Author Filibusters about climate change - or, more specifically, the allegedly poor quality of our knowledge about climate change - and all of those sounded plausible enough to me at the time.
(See also: Poor old Antony Flew.)
Crichton didn't seem to be very good at dealing with criticism. He famously named a throwaway character in a later book after someone who'd given State of Fear a very bad review. The throwaway character was a baby-rapist. Classy.
Anyway, I like to think that if I'd read State of Fear when I was twelve, I'd also have looked up the facts afterwards. But I bet I wouldn't have.
The world is, self-evidently, well-stocked with people who don't do any more due diligence on what they read than I would have when I was a kid. People believe bestselling thrillers that make statements about the nature of the world, especially when those statements are the core of the whole story, as they are in all of Crichton's works. If you're writing about things that happen on Planet Zarnax or in the Cthulhu mythos or whatever then that's one thing, but if a book's whole anvil-subtle thesis is that the scientific consensus about climate change is wrong, you need to take your share of the responsibility for everyday voters believing that you're right.
Heck, even utter garbage like Left Behind has an enthusiastic audience of people who don't even bother checking its statements against the Bible. Much less check to see whether, to name just one of a very long list of outrageous wall-bangers, the United Nations really does have the power to take over the whole world on a whim.
Given the power of popular books, it's simply irresponsible to put misinformation about matters vitally important to the whole world in books which you - and your bank account - know are read by orders of magnitude more voters than read the scientific papers that prove you wrong.
If you're the only loud voice that's talking rubbish, then it's not such a big deal. But when there's a genuine culture war going on about climate change, or evolution, or dear-god-now-they're-coming-after-neuroscience, the side you pick matters. State of Fear seems to have become a sort of easy-reading textbook for climate-change deniers. Look, for instance, at the whole-hearted support Crichton got from fellow bullshit artist James Inhofe.
People should be allowed to write, publish and read whatever the heck they like, no matter how contrary to fact it is.
But if you're in the business of lying to people about matters of grave global importance, I for one am not going to shed a tear when you die.
(On the subject of books that contain wise and wordy characters who entirely agree with the author, see also Robert Heinlein, whose books I loved as a kid. In my memory, Time Enough For Love is completely awesome. So I'm not going to make the mistake of trying to read it again now. Fortunately, kids' sci-fi that actually gets the science more or less right also exists.)