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Day 2: James Cook Uni checks your emails but not the science

Posted By Jo Nova On March 28, 2019 @ 5:16 am In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Day 2: Jennifer Marohasy gives us an update on Peter Ridd’s battle for free speech

Today, Judge Vasta asked how it could be that James Cook University – a recipient of so many billions of dollars over the years – could leave no stone unturned in its disciplinary process against Peter Ridd, while doing absolutely nothing to address his complaints about the lack of quality assurance of its research.

Not once in court today, or yesterday, was there any defense by the James Cook University Team of “the science” that Peter Ridd has been so critical of.  The university is simply arguing that he doesn’t have a right to speak-out.

Let’s remember how important “quality control” is to JCU: One researcher at JCU was found guilty of fabricating results by Upsalla University. Peter Ridd reported the same researcher has presented photos of 50 fish that contained manipulated, flipped duplicates. These are serious allegations in science. In response JCU took a whole year to even name the people on the investigation panel, let alone start investigating. As I said at the time:

James Cook has done what any ambitious, money-hungry grant troughing institute would do, a very slow investigation of allegedly corrupt behaviour and a very quick sacking of the honest researcher who threatens to expose them. Any respectable Science Minister would freeze all grants to James Cook until this situation was resolved and reversed.

From Gideon Rozner of the IPA on the proceedings of Day 2


The words, “wild”, “bizarre” and “extreme” come to mind:

“Chris Cocklin, dep Vice Chancellor of JCU, tried to suggest that Professor Ridd was not a “distinguished academic” at the university and therefore was not covered by the academic freedom clause.”

– Gideon Rozner

Ridd has worked at JCU for over 30 years.

The Australian, March 27th: I had no choice, why sacked JCU academic Peter Ridd went public

Peter Ridd says he felt he had no choice but to publish information on the GoFundMe page because he was being gagged, had lost all faith in the disciplinary process and needed to raise funds to mount a legal challenge.

He explains why quality assurance is so important:

by Charlie Peel. The Australian

“I [Peter Ridd] was disciplined for saying these institutions were untrustworthy and that was referring to quality assurance in science.”

He argued the studies affected “a lot of people” because it informed public policy on legislation to cut fertiliser use in Great Barrier Reef catchments, shut down dredging and mining operations and was affecting tourism because visitors thought the reef was dying.

“The science needs to be rigorous because it affects a lot of people,” he said.

More from Jen Marohasy:

At one stage, it appeared that James Cook University were going to argue that Peter Ridd was unqualified to have an opinion on biological matters because he is a physicist, but so far, and after two days, James Cook University are not running that argument either.  They are simply claiming that the university’s code of conduct prevents its employees from being un-collegial, and specifically Peter Ridd from being so critical of his colleagues and their research.

Anticipating some attack on Peter Ridd’s credentials, I wrote a blog post explaining how and why a knowledge of physics is so relevant to understanding reef ecosystems:

What would a physicist know?

The arguments will continue in court tomorrow/Thursday, 28thMarch at the Harry Gibbs Commonwealth Law Courts Building, 119 North Quay, Brisbane CBD from 10am.

The stories of Peter Ridd and JCU:


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