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 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 [...]

Facebook finds truth by “Groupthink” — may the deepest pockets win the info war

In a flash of insight, or possibly rank capitulation, Facebook has announced last week that it will “fight misinformation” with censorship.  Seems Facebook thinks Facebook-users are too stupid to figure out the misinformation themselves. Besides, fighting misinformation with the truth is especially hard if the misinformation is true:

Facebook crackdown on groups spreading misinformation

Barbara Ortutay and Rachel Lerman, The Australian

Facebook says it is rolling out a wide range of updates aimed at combating the spread of false and harmful information on the social media site – stepping up the company’s fight against misinformation and hate speech as it faces growing outside pressure.

 And it’s not even transparent censorship but the the most weaselly hidden kind:

The updates will limit the visibility of links…

How does Facebook define misinformation?  Wait til you hear this: Groupthink = truth?

…limit the visibility of links found to be significantly more prominent on Facebook than across the web as a whole, suggesting they may be clickbait or misleading.

So that pretty much rules out Facebook spreading the word of whistleblowers, rebels, new theories, suppressed ideas, oppressed people and anything controversial, interesting or not completely predictable. [...]

Justice! Prof Peter Ridd wins on all counts against James Cook Uni

Professor Peter Ridd

Brilliant. There is still some free speech in Australia, as long as you are willing to risk your career, 12 months out of action and a huge legal case. Peter Ridd wins on all counts.

Presumably James Cook will have to reinstate him, and he is now free to talk about the failure of replication in science and how our institutions may not be trusted. How many taxpayer dollars were fritzed defending the indefensible? Will Ridd get compensation? Will JCU staff get punished or sacked for  their war against science?

Thanks to Peter for fighting on when so many would have given up, and thanks to everyone who helped fund the case!

UPDATE: In reply, the Provost of James Cook Uni says Ridd was never gagged or silenced, nor sacked for his scientific views. Which would be great if it were so. But there’s a pattern here — how many skeptical scientists do they employ? Is that zero? We all know they went to great lengths to blackball, evict, and practically erase skeptical Prof Bob Carter too. If there are any skeptical scientists left at JCU, they are probably too afraid to speak out. Which is rather [...]

Peter Ridd versus James Cook Uni — Free Speech on trial in two weeks

Peter Ridd in Brisbane getting ready for the trial.

Peter Ridd’s court case is set for 26 to 28th March in Brisbane. He invites  you to watch the proceedings (Jennifer Marohasy says she’ll be there, all three days!). Go on…

If James Cook Uni (JCU) wins, they lose. Whatever happens, the taxpayer lost a long time ago.

On a philosophical note, in my opinion JCU will lose the ethical argument even if they manage to win on some narrow legal definition. If they win, it will mean that a judge has decided that a university has set up legally binding contracts that give them the power to effectively take away the right to intellectual freedom of an academic and silence him/her. That would be something of a pyrrhic victory. The university hierarchy may feel vindicated but the general public, especially those in North Queensland who are most affected by the questionable Great Barrier Reef science, will take a different view. But without getting over-confident, I reckon the chances of us winning are considerably above average, so we will see. — Peter Ridd, March 2019

Ridd’s employment contract says he has the right to speak freely, [...]

Ross Cameron you have been Deleted — how the Delete-People-Tactic destroys discussion

UPDATE: People are still angry over this on Twitter.Sign the petition. Unpermitted words have a Weapons-Grade power over useful words at a rate of a billion to one

Speak a Forbidden Term and your entire career can be neutralized instantly. It doesn’t matter how many other useful ideas or contributions you make. Any breach unleashes a tidal wave of unrighteous indignation.  Then the honest players fold like daffodils in a breeze and leap to carry out the judgement of twitter mobs. Why do good people help the Lynch Mob every time?

The permitted word list is defined by the PC mob, it changes at random, and post hoc, and only applies to people who threaten collectivist power. Eminent scientists can be called “deniers” as if they are mental morons, they can be likened to pedophiles, asbestos-pushers and Hitler, and that’s not only OK, those people get lavish taxpayer funded careers and prizes. (Not mentioning any names Stephan Lewandowsky and Robyn Williams.)

Freedom of Speech is under threat –  we have to stand up to this

Tuesday, Ross Cameron said the four forbidden words “slanty-eyed, yellow-skinned“. Rude, yes, dynamite, no. They were better left unsaid, and potentially offensive, but not a [...]

Google is “the good censor” protecting civility by censoring conservative badthink

“Lucky us” Google has appointed itself as the unelected Decider Of Truth (and hopefully election results)

Google says it is unbiased, but a leaked memo explains to staff that free speech can be “a political weapon”, is a “utopian idea” and “users behaving badly” will allow “crummy politicians to expand their influence”.  And we can’t have that.

For your own safety, you are not encouraged to think, judge or read the wrong views.

‘THE GOOD CENSOR’: Leaked Google Briefing Admits Abandonment of Free Speech for ‘Safety And Civility’

by Allum Bokhari

The 85-page briefing, titled “The Good Censor,” admits that Google and other tech platforms now “control the majority of online conversations” and have undertaken a “shift towards censorship” in response to unwelcome political events around the world.

It acknowledges that major tech platforms, including Google, Facebook and Twitter initially promised free speech to consumers. “This free speech ideal was instilled in the DNA of the Silicon Valley startups that now control the majority of our online conversations,” says the document.

Research into what? Good excuses?

Responding to the leak, an official Google source said the document should be considered internal research, [...]

Silence to save the Planet! Stop debates, chuck hissy-fits, and hope no one notices.

The alarmist case is so strong they will Not Discuss It.

Right now, the world is going to hell and expert scientists need to convince the doubting masses that they face a dire threat. They have rock solid evidence. Do they:

Patiently answer questions with graphs and data.  or Shout “fire” and ask for 89 trillion dollars, then tar those who disagree as pedophile-nazi-loving-idiots, throw a tanty and refuse to answer questions.

Obviously, expert scientists make mistakes.

Michael Bastasch | The Daily Caller

Climate Alarmists refuse to debate skeptics:   “We are no longer willing to lend our credibility to debates over whether or not climate change is real. It is real. We need to act now or the consequences will be catastrophic,” reads the letter signed by 60 self-described “campaigners.”

Beware — balanced articles can kill people, cause floods! Run, Run…

From the letter:

In the interests of “balance”, the media often feels the need to include those who outright deny the reality of human-triggered climate change.

Balance implies equal weight. But this then creates a false equivalence between an overwhelming scientific consensus and a lobby, heavily funded by vested interests, that exists simply to sow [...]

The week of the social media purge: Facebook, Apple, Youtube, Spotify, Linked-in sure look like a wing of Democrats.

Just in case you missed it. In the last 24 hours Facebook, Apple, Spotify and Youtube banned Infowars. Suddenly, overnight all five major “platforms” noticed hate-speech they need to censor from the group which was influential in helping Donald Trump get elected. Mid-terms are coming. Coincidence?

This is a free speech line in the sand:

You don’t have to like or agree with Infowars — if they can be banned, anyone could be next:

[Breitbart] The UK Independence Party (UKIP) has urged citizens to defend free speech in the West after big tech firms allegedly coordinated to remove right wing voices, including InfoWars and Tommy Robinson, from social media.

On Monday, Apple, Facebook, Pinterest, Spotify, and Google-owned YouTube permanently removed content from InfoWars and its owner Alex Jones, saying he and the website violated their policies against hate speech and harassment.

Proponents of the ban say Mr Jones is a conspiracy theorist who deserves to be silenced, while critics have claimed the purge is an attempt to interfere in the U.S. midterm elections and described it as a form of “political censorship”.

The monopolistic giants say they are just “enforcing the rules” but so far they’re not quoting any specific content that “broke [...]

James Cook Uni goes nuclear on free speech: Professor Peter Ridd sacked

UPDATE Watch Peter Ridd on Sky News. I’ll be on the show myself next Sunday. – Jo

Peter Ridd as a first year undergraduate science student at James Cook University back in 1978.

This is so much bigger than just one man and one university. Academic staff everywhere will be watching, most to see if they can say what they really think, but others, conversely to see whether James Cook University can get away with this. Can they squelch opinions they don’t like this easily?

James Cook Uni needs to be punished, mocked and heads should roll. We didn’t ask for this test, but it’s here. JCU don’t deserve a single dollar of taxpayer funds while they maintain this ridiculous anti-intellectual and political pogrom.

Peter Ridd wants his job back and he’s willing to fight to get it. Let’s help him!

Peter Ridd’s new website.                             Donate at his GoFundMe page.

Summary of Allegations with brief explanation

First they tried to punish Peter Ridd for daring to question divine institutions and sacred peer review. These are the words JCU wanted banned: [...]

JCU bans Prof Peter Ridd from criticizing scientific institutions. Defiant, he refuses, fights on!

UPDATE: Funding target reached already. Thank you! I am astonished, very relieved and most importantly incredibly grateful for the support. I would also particularly like to thank Anthony, Jennifer Marohasy, Jo Nova, Willie Soon, Benny Peiser and many others for getting the issue up on blogs and spreading the word. Kind regards, Peter _________________________ JCU is trying (and failing) to gag Peter Ridd from discussing why we can’t trust scientific organisations

Last August Professor Peter Ridd said the unsayable — that we can no longer trust scientific institutions. His employer, James Cook University (JCU) could have explained why they were trustworthy, but instead they fired back with a formal censure and ordered him to be silent, effectively to stop him criticizing the current state of science or scientific institutions. Then knowing exactly how respectable, ethical, and scientific this is, they also ordered him not to mention the censure too. Let’s censor the censure!

If there was a crisis in science, what academic would be allowed to point it out?

It gets dirtier, apparently now they are even trawling through his private emails as well, hunting for more ammunition for their misconduct case. Who’s a bit desperate?

Hypothetically, [...]

Uni NSW Journalism lecturer gives advice on how to cleanse your news sources

Christopher Kremmer, Senior Lecturer in Literary & Narrative Journalism, School of the Arts & Media, UNSW, wants to help you shield yourself from worldviews that you don’t like, so he provides a detailed “how to” list of ways to make sure you filter out, specifically, news.com.

This man lectures in journalism. Instead of teaching journalism students on how to logically outplay and counter arguments and spot the flaws, he’s teaching them to cleanse their feeds lest they be exposed to inconvenient worldviews.

The team that has no evidence and no answers has to find a way to compensate for their intellectual vacuum.

Taking control of who gets to send us news

… before I had even typed in my search terms, it was apparent that my options had been narrowed. The news list that the aggregator threw up was dominated by websites whose idea of what constitutes news is very different to my own.

It takes a lot of effort to build an information silo:

One by one, I began blocking offending mastheads, then refreshing the browser to check the progress of my censorship. It takes a while because news websites use multiple addresses to maximise reader access. [...]

Professor Peter Ridd facing misconduct charges for not selling peer review as sacred unquestionable testimony

Professor Peter Ridd has made the mistake of putting scientific standards ahead of collegial comfort. What was he thinking? He seems to feel he should serve the people of the Queensland instead of helping the careers of co-workers and admin staff.

Ridd is being accused of “Not acting in a collegial way” (or something like that, no one is allowed to say for sure) and is now under investigation for serious misconduct.

 Jennifer Marohasy has more details. Apparently, in The Australian, he dared suggest that we need a group of scientists to check other scientists pronouncements on the Great Barrier Reef:

The federal government is set to spend more than $1 billion on the Great Barrier Reef in the next few years to mitigate the effects of climate change, based largely on research that is claimed not to have been subjected to proper scrutiny.

James Cook University physics professor Peter Ridd writes in a new book that the credibility of key research papers driving investments in the reef rest on “a total reliance on the demonstrably inadequate peer-review process’’.

Professor Ridd argues for the establishment of a properly funded group of scientists whose sole job [...]

Prof Peter Ridd: the Great Barrier Reef recovers, our science institutions are failing us, science needs to be checked

Alan Jones, interviews Peter Ridd,  James Cook university professor of physics about the state of the Great Barrier Reef

The coral reef recovers.

Peter Ridd: Coral Reefs recover — “the scientists make hay when it dies in a spectacular way but they are quiet when it recovers.”

On symbionts — “There is a large variety of symbionts and some allow coral to grow faster but are more sensitive to bleaching.”

All the corals on the Great Barrier Reef live and grow much faster in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Thailand where the water is much hotter than it is on the reef and the corals just juggle these symbionts.   4:20

Corals have a little thermometer built in them, when you take a core of them from many years ago we know what the temperature of the water was back when Captain Cook sailed up the coast, it was actually about the same temperature then. It was colder 100 years ago, but it has recovered from that. The temperatures on the reef are not even significantly warmer than average on a hundred year timescale.

Corals that bleach in one year will [...]

This is not a tribute

On Candlelit vigils for the people in Nice

What Tim Blair says: Ditto

After so many repetitions, these events are now actually insults. They are not about the victims. They are about the mourners. They are indulgent displays of emotion that serve only to generate soothing feelings of moral comfort and to mask what should be a united and righteous fury.

Tonight’s attendees should consider this. While you see every lit candle as a poignant reminder of life’s tragic fragility, Islamic State sees them as post-game bonus points.

I know people want to talk about the atrocity in France. I wish. But thanks to Section 18C you will have to talk in other nations where offending someone is not an offence.  Or perhaps if you are lucky you might be able to discuss this somewhere in Oz where they have paid staff to moderate and lawyerate. See also Andrew Bolt’s: We cannot keep living in this fear.

Heartfelt thoughts to the victims and their families on a dark day.

Don’t drive, you encourage terrorists

If only we had more electric cars and windmills, lives could’ve been saved.

Ponder that air conditioners can cause people to do random acts of murder.  They might keep people in the room calmer, but outside that pollution* travels, heats the world, and lo, a terrorist is made.

(Call me a skeptic, but I tend to think that if we turn off all the air-conditioners (or run them on solar power, which is almost the same thing) we might get more acts of terror rather than less, but what would I know?) Bernie Sanders says that we should stop terrorists by reducing our carbon emissions. Somehow, there were people who did not laugh at him.

Time Magazine : “Why Climate Change and Terrorism Are Connected”

Drought in Syria has contributed to instability

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders used the terrorist attacks in Paris to call for action to address climate change at a primary debate Saturday. But, while the plea attracted ridicule across the political spectrum, many academics and national security experts agree that climate change contributes to an uncertain world where terrorism can thrive.

U.S. military officials refer to climate change as a “threat multiplier” [...]