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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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 honest ones.

[...]

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 [...]

Peter Ridd: The Great Barrier Reef has about the same amount of coral as in 1985

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 [...]

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’s Court Case — Free Speech versus James Cook Uni

The court case is on Day Two of a three day process.

For the latest see GideonRozner on twitter

Also discussing JCU’s search of Peter’s email account.

Judge: ‘Isn’t JCU going through Professor Ridd’s emails itself a breach of confidentiality that is meant to apply in the disciplinary process? This is totally contrary to the spirit of the EBA.’

— Gideon Rozner (@GideonCRozner) March 27, 2019

 

Peter Ridd Challenges James Cook Uni Sacking

Charlie Pell in The Australian, 2016

The first alleged breach of the code occurred in April 2016, when Professor Ridd emailed a journalist to allege that images given to the media by the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority were misleading.

Professor Ridd said the images of bleached coral reefs near Stone Island, off the coast of Bowen in north Queensland, were misleading because they showed poorly affected corals, which were selected over nearby healthy coral and used to show “broad scale decline” of reef health.

Field technicians working for Professor Ridd took photos in the same vicinity as the bleaching pictures supplied by the university and GBRMPA which showed [...]

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, [...]

Fake science on fake fish from James Cook Uni?

Third World Science with First World Funding

Is James Cook University a grants machine or a research institute?

James Cook University reviews ex-student’s ‘fishy’ findings, by Graham Lloyd, The Australian

Oona Lönnstedt has been prolific, writing alarming papers on microplastics, acidification, and reef degradation. But her work looks like a trainwreck. One paper has been withdrawn, in another it was “found that Lonnstedt did not have time to undertake the research she claimed.” She’s been found guilty of fabricating data on the microplastics study. Now Peter Ridd has pointed out that the photos of 50 Lionfish appear to contain a lot less than 50 fish. Images have been flipped, spun or “manipulated” so the same fish appears more than once.

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.

Send your thoughts to The Hon Karen Andrews. Contact her here: karen.andrews.mp AT aph.gov.au. There is a crisis in Australian science. Who is going to [...]

JCU staff too scared to use their uni email – this is what “academic freedom” looks like

Academic Freedom in Australia: Academics are free to use hotmail at work

For the first time in months the ABC suddenly finds time to mention Professor Peter Ridd — but not because he got sacked for an email with the illegal line “for your amusement”.  That new development in academic freedom was not newsworthy on the billion dollar ABC site.  Nor did the-blob’s-ABC feel Australians needed to know that the international outcry over his sacking was so strong that Ridd raised $160,000 in donations in a mere couple of days. However now things are apparently “serious”: other academics at JCU have given up using the official email network, hiding their thoughts on hotmail and gmail instead. Finally, 27 days after he was sacked, the ABC have arrived…

Management of JCU insists Ridd’s sacking was not about academic freedom. But everyone at JCU acts otherwise. Staff at JCU now know exactly how free they are — if they say something the management doesn’t like, they too could be victims of a personalized email trawl. Anyone could lose their job at any time for falling foul of a selectively enforced and unknowable “code of conduct”.

James Cook University staff avoid using emails [...]

Don Aitken: Peter Ridd was sacked because he threatened the Money Making Engine at Uni

The university grant engine is just a part of the whole Green Scare Machine. Click to enlarge.

Science Funding is monopsonistic, one-sided and poses a real threat to science. Governments are strangling research. The more money governments throw at politicized science, the tighter the deadly grip.

Read the cutting commentary from Don Aitkin — the former vice-chancellor of the University of Canberra and foundation chairman of the Australian Research Council. There’s a vested interest here, rarely discussed, that has ballooned in the last thirty years to billions of dollars.

In The Australian and on Aitken’s blog

Don’t you Dare Upset The Money Making Machine

The engine works this way. There is strong pressure on all academics to bring in research grant money for the department, the faculty and university. Those who do it well find their careers advancing quickly. To assist them there are media sections in universities whose job it is to frame the research work of academics in a way that will gain the attention of the media. Such media releases will come with as arresting a headline as the media section can devise. Buzzwords like ‘breakthrough’, ‘crucial’, ‘cutting edge’ and ‘revolution’ will [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]