The IPA team interview Peter Ridd. He explains that what’s happening on the Great Barrier Reef with coral bleaching is a normal cycle. He tells his story of being censured at James Cook university, but admits the state of free speech at universities in Australia is non-existent — even after his win. They discuss how we might reform science with audits (universities are almost a lost cause). We’ll probably never know how many scientists think similar thoughts to Peter Ridd. We know that they’ll need a $250,000 legal fund if they say so.
UPDATE: Importantly — Ridd says that the admin are still utterly convinced they are right. They have no remorse, no recognition of why they were wrong. Does this mean admin staff now decide what science is, not Profs? Apparently so. They hold the purse strings, not the Profs. Power follows the money. Indeed, JCU has no commitment to free speech; they’ve now removed the clause that ensured Ridd won. In their minds, their mistake was not in being draconian, but being careless with legal clauses. The Deep State tightens its stranglehold on science.
Peter Ridd: Of all the ecosystems in the world, the reef is one that’s best at adapting to climate change.
My jotted notes:
6:00 mins: Bleaching statistics
- In 2016, 8% of the reef died, but regeneration is rapid — it can recover in a year.
- The general rule for corals is the hotter the better. If you want to see the worst corals, go and see Sydney Harbour. There are even corals in Scotland. If it was warmer, there would be more corals. Temperatures for coral go right up to 38C in the red sea and corals are happy with that.
11:00 mins: The story of him starting to speak out in the media
17:00 mins: The replication crisis in modern science
- The problem is that there are no consequences when scientists are wrong. There is a drive to publish, and the more the better, but as much as half the research may be wrong, and there are no consequences for that.
- If you can’t replicated it, it’s not science, but the ARC (Australian Research Council) has a policy of only supporting new work, and thus won’t fund a replication study. Ridd tried to get funding to replicate other work, but the ARC wouldn’t do it.
- At its core it’s about quality assurance. If you don’t have a process you can rely on, even if you turn out to be right, you don’t have something worth having, you can’t rely on it if you can’t trust the process.
21:00 mins: the story of how James Cook Uni started to clamp down.
27:00 mins: The court judgement.
35:00 mins: what Peter Ridd’s learnt about academia
- That sadly, most academics don’t care about academic freedom. There’s no contrition. No remorse. The university system is in need of massive reform.
- The lesson from my case is that no academic can speak up.
- The professors have no power any more, no budget. Universities are controlled by administrators.
- We have to get other people into academia – diverse views.
- Peter Ridd relied on a clause 13.3, which has now been removed from JCU. It’s worse at Sydney Uni.
- How do we reform science…
h/t Jennifer Marohasy