JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Peter Ridd case: James Cook University wins, proving we can’t trust their research as staff can’t speak freely

James Cook University won a Pyrrhic victory at the High Court today. By spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars (how many exactly?), all they have proven is that we can’t trust any research done by that university.

Even if the professors there are being sincere and honest, we will never know whether they are only telling us what their Vice Chancellor, Supreme Ruler Sandra Harding, wants them to say. The government should not be funding this sort of institution. It serves its administration, not the Australian taxpayer.

Two years ago, JCU had already spent $600,000 to make sure all their staff know they can’t criticize the uni.

Peter Ridd was JCU’s best asset until they sacked him. He helped expose manipulated photos of reef fish by a JCU researcher, Oona Lönnstedt, who had already been caught fabricating data in Sweden. Yet JCU “investigated” and sacked Ridd faster than it investigated her suspicious lionfish shots.

Every JCU employee’s work is tainted by this. We will never know what any JCU researcher really thinks, or which results were dropped in the bin, no matter what they say, because we know employees of JCU will be afraid to report bad behaviour, fraud, […]

Peter Ridd wins right to take appeal to the High Court

Former Professor Peter Ridd was sacked for criticizing his university colleagues at James Cook Uni. He won a $1.2m claim for wrongful dismissal, but JCU appealed, and won the appeal. So Ridd is taking his case to the High Court. Today’s small win merely means they will hear his appeal.

Meanwhile academics all over Australia know that right now, if they spotted fraud, poor reasoning, or incompetence they can’t point that out publicly. Our academic system is corrupt to the very core, seeking not the truth, but just more grants and to act as a machine to elect the kind of governments that will give them more money, easier conditions and suits most of their personal political tastes too. James Cook Uni has wasted a million or two of taxpayers funds seeking to protect the Vice Chancellors ability to sack anyone she damn-well likes for spurious reasons like “not being collegial” or daring to write a sarcastic line in an email. A few months ago, JAmes Cook still hadn’t got far investigating the actual alleged fraud, nor in releasing data about the Great Barrier Reef that they profess to care so much about. What matters to JCU? Not science.

Peter […]

Winning! Australian Govt writes laws to protect people like Peter Ridd at universities

The Australian government admits Peter Ridd should never have been sacked for criticizing standards of James Cook University

Peter Ridd is still fighting for his right to speak

Great News: In an era of absurd censorship, it’s good to get a win. Thanks to all those who wrote letters and emails, and obviously, thanks to the IPA, the government is insisting that Professors be allowed to decide what professors say, rather than Vice Chancellors. Soon, if fraud should occur at James Cook Uni, people will be able to suggest it gets investigated without getting fired for being “uncollegial.”

As Education Minister Dan Tehan told Sky News this morning:

“[James Cook University] wouldn’t have been able to prosecute Peter Ridd if these laws had of been in place.”

“By defining academic freedom in legislation, Education Minister Dan Tehan is ensuring the dismissal of an academic like Peter Ridd can never happen again,” said Mr Rozner.

— Institute of Public Affairs (IPA)

To recap Peter Ridds crimes: he said “for your amusement” in an email once. (Illegal satire). He said “ We can no longer rely on our science institutions.” He […]

Half the Reef destroyed but they won’t release the data

The future of the entire 350,000 km2 Great Barrier Reef hangs in the balance — as the coralapocalypse has wiped out 50% of the coral in just 25 years. Lordy! If only we’d built some off-shore wind farms on the reef to protect it! We could cover whole islands with solar panels? What are we thinking!

But as Peter Ridd points out, AIMS (The Australian Institute of Marine Science) surveys around 100 reefs every year — and for the last 35 years — and they find things are roughly the same. See the graph below.

Don’t look now, but corals are doing fine. From Jennifer Marohasy and Peter Ridd.

Somehow Terry Hughes — and the Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies — gets up to $4 million each year to report on the reef but won’t release the data behind the mass media campaign.

The ABC — which gets nearly $3 million dollars every single day — can’t even pick up the phone to interview AIMS or Peter Ridd and ask one hard question of Terry Hughes’ “Excellent” centre. (We all know why they had to put the word “excellence” in the title, it was the only […]

Peter Ridd will take the fight for free speech to the High Court

For Peter Ridd, it would have been so much easier if he had gone quietly. This battle is not for him, but for our Australian Universities. He shouldn’t need to take this to the High Court, or even the Federal Court. The Scott Morrison government could turn off the tap to every institution which won’t guarantee free speech and enshrine it in their employee contracts. Dan Tehan is reviewing the university model code, but they don’t need a review. They know, we know, everyone knows, without free speech our universities are just Big Government advertising agencies, or victims of the latest FashionThink trend. Those funds could be frozen tonight, and watch how fast the universities can rewrite their contracts. At the speed of light…

Donations are already flowing in for the High Court Battle. Thank you to all who can help his GoFundMe Campaign.

From John Spooner, The Australian.

Peter Ridd Seeks High Court Appeal

Charlie Peel, The Australian

Sacked James Cook University professor Peter Ridd will go to the High Court over his controversial sacking for publicly criticising the institution and his colleagues over their climate change science.

A week after the Federal Circuit Court overturned […]

Busted: Reef fish aren’t bothered by “acidification” and James Cook Uni isn’t bothered by potential fraud.

“Clark et al. (2020) found 100% replication failure. None of the findings of the original eight studies were found to be correct.”

Scientists tried to repeat eight experiments that showed “acidification” would make reef fish get hyper, act like their predators smell nice, and generally swim in the wrong circles, behave weirdly and need therapy sessions. Turns out the fish will be OK, but James Cook Uni’s reputation may never recover. The original junk experiments and press releases came out of the coral reef centre at JCU.

This is the “replication crisis” Peter Ridd warned us about. He was fired from JCU in 2018 after stating that work from JCU’s coral reef centre (ARCCoE) was not trustworthy. He also helped expose manipulated photos of reef fish. Obviously this latest reef research shows he was right to be concerned about quality assurance at JCU. One JCU researcher, Oona Lönnstedt, had already been caught fabricating data in Sweden, and yet JCU “investigated” and sacked Ridd faster than it investigated her suspicious lionfish shots. Indeed, two years on, JCU has not even officially appointed the committee to investigate her potentially fraudulent work. It seems JCU would rather employ untrustworthy scientists than […]

Global Mystery: Barrier Reef dying, total panic, but no one cares enough to measure growth for last 15 years?

Fifteen years of missing data tells us everything we need to know

Peter Ridd and Jennifer Marohasy are continuing to follow up on the death of the Great Barrier Reef. Strangely, while everyone professes to care, and cry, and Malcolm Turnbull casually tossed half a billion at it, we see the extremely radioactive oddity that no one is worried enough to bother measuring the actual supposed decline of the seventh wonder of the modern world. Fifteen years is a long time to overlook that. Many panicked press releases have gone under the bridge yet apparently AIMS (and all the others) just want to keep quoting the shrinking growth rates, but not keep track of them.

On top of that, Peter Ridd and Jennifer Marohasy have spotted a pretty major flaw in the methodology for that much quoted study that claims growth on the reef has slowed by 15% from 1990 to 2005. If that number is right, the reef will have ground down to a 30% decline by now [in growth rate]. Disaster, disaster. Worthy of a hundred press releases and a thousand grants. So either it just hasn’t occurred to AIMS et al to keep studying the reef they […]

JCU appeals Ridd decision: James Cook Uni vows to waste more funds in quest to stamp out opinions

JCU protects reputations not the reef

….

Despite losing on all 17 points in a case that should never have gone to trial —

Sarah Elks, The Australian:

James Cook University is appealing a decision … Federal Court documents reveal JCU has briefed one of Australia’s top barristers, Bret Walker SC, to argue it was legal for the north Queensland university to sack Dr Ridd last year after he publicly criticised its climate change science.

Physics professor Dr Ridd will on Monday launch an online bid for crowd-funding to help pay his legal costs, asking for an extra $1.5m, after supporters already tipped in $260,000 to help fund his unfair dismissal claim. Dr Ridd has spent $200,000 of his own money.

“It’s diabolically expensive because we expect it to go all the way to the High Court,” he said. “In the end, this is a battle for academic freedom. It’s about not allowing universities to stifle free speech.

James Cook Uni will dig deeper into taxpayer funds instead of doing research, in order to protect the reputation of overpaid bureaucrats:

Liberal senator James Paterson tells Alan Jones: “It looks like, so […]

Breaking: James Cook Uni ordered to pay $1.2m to Peter Ridd. Judge Vasta is scathing.

….

Heads must roll at JCU for the incompetent mismanagement, and for acting as “science” rulers and trying to suppress a scientific view they personally didn’t like. They’ve already wasted $630,000, and now another $1.2m — all so they could stop Ridd saying there is a replication crisis in science and our institutions can no longer be trusted:

James Cook Uni ordered to pay $1.2m to Peter Ridd

Charlie Peel, The Australian

James Cook University has been ordered to pay reef scientist Peter Ridd $1.2 million for unlawfully dismissing him after he publicly criticised the institution’s climate change science.

The judge lambasted the university, saying it had “failed to respect (Dr Ridd’s) rights to intellectual freedom”.

JCU has said it will appeal the finding that the dismissal was unlawful and declined to comment further on the judge’s ruling.

In a scathing judgment handed down on Friday, Justice Vasta criticised the university for an “blatantly untrue” and “appalling” public statement it issued after the April ruling.

“Professor Ridd was entitled to say that he had been vindicated by the court.”

This is the most important […]

Peter Ridd update: James Cook University wasted $630,000 defending the Bureaucrat Rulers of Science, and plans to appeal

The battle continues for Peter Ridd.

James Cook Uni lost every single point against Peter Ridd. Today at the penalty hearing we find out they plan to appeal.

The fake fish uni has learnt nothing:

Charlie Peel, The Australian

James Cook University risks contempt rap for response to verdict

James Cook University is poised to appeal against the Federal Court finding that its sacking of physics professor Peter Ridd was unlawful.

JCU’s response was so far from the mark, apparently Justice Vasta is considering whether to refer it to the Federal Court Marshall. Vasta said the statement attributed to Chris Cocklin of JCU was “almost contemptuous”.

The IPA, bless them, filed an FOI to find out how much money was burnt in the quest, and says it’s high time JCU stops:

Gideon Rozner: The details of a freedom of information request lodged by the Institute of Public Affairs with James Cook University and released today reveal the University has already spent at least $630,000 on legal fees in the Dr Peter Ridd case.

“The very fact that an Australian university is willing to force the weight of an entire […]