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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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, [...]

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 [...]

Profs tell students “no debate” on climate. Unbelievers should “Drop out”

Welcome to Higher Education 2016: Whatever you do, don’t ask questions, don’t ask for evidence, and don’t discuss your doubts on class forums.  “We will not, at any time, debate the science of climate change’” All outside sources for research must be peer reviewed by the IPCC.

Students in the University of Colorado expressed concern about the first online lecture in “Medical Humanities in the Digital Age”. All three Professors together replied via email that students should Drop class if they dispute man-made climate change

“The point of departure for this course is based on the scientific premise that human induced climate change is valid and occurring. We will not, at any time, debate the science of climate change, nor will the ‘other side’ of the climate change debate be taught or discussed in this course,” states the email, a copy of which was provided to The College Fix by a student in the course.

“Opening up a debate that 98% of climate scientists unequivocally agree to be a non-debate would detract from the central concerns of environment and health addressed in this course,” the professors’ email continued.

“… If you believe this premise [...]

At the zoo: Interpreting academics trying to interpret Christians and conservatives

Geniuses at Rice made a breakthrough and discovered that Christianity reduces the “negative” effect of being a conservative. Conservatives, see, are less likely to buy things that are “pro-environment”. The academic mindset assumes this is a personality flaw. Instead it’s an attribute. The environmental movement has a record of hurting the poor, razing forests, and destroying family businesses. There is a reason “environmentalist” has come to be a dirty word.

Supersize that condescension:

Obviously the true evil people are the people who watch Fox.

“Put more colorfully, Americans who are watching Fox News instead of attending church on Sunday morning appear to be particularly uninterested in buying with the environment in mind,” said Ecklund, who is also director of Rice’s Religion and Public Life Program. “It would stand to reason that those who participate in their houses of worship and who tend to be more engaged in civic life may have less time to be exposed to such media and therefore be less likely to follow the politicized conservative ‘line’ with respect to the environment.”

So, both Christians and conservatives are dump people who are fooled by Fox. But Christians are a bit more useful, not because they [...]

Turnbull axes Lomborg Centre. No one who questions the holy power of Wind and Solar allowed in Australian academia.

The Turnbull government has announced that that the offer of funding has now been withdrawn for the The Lomborg Consensus Centre in Australia. The bullies, and emotional hysterics win this round. At UWA he was called “dangerous”. At Flinders Uni people were “repulsed” by Lomborg . But the irrational emotional language means the fear of the freeloaders is on display. They are very very scared of critical press releases from any credible sources. No one who questions the holy power of the Wind and Solar Gods can be employed in Australian academia. Can wind-farms stop the storms? Thou shalt not ask!

We’ll spend $10 billion on “Clean Energy” but not even $4 million to analyze whether that money was well spent. Did it change the global climate? Anyone?

Lomborg accepts the establishment science, but even with a $4 million sweetener he is too threatening to the monoculture of Australian universities. Turnbull must know that Lomborg’s economic analysis would have awful news for the renewables industry and would show up the emissions trading scheme for the pointless waste of money that it is. This tells us exactly how much Turnbull cares about academic freedom, the Australian taxpayer and the environment.

Should we [...]

SA Government won’t allow any non-leftist research — attacks Lomborg Centre

How easily it could collapse. What more proof do we need that the climate-crisis facade is maintained by hiding the counter arguments. Evidently the worst possible thing is for the public to be exposed to little pieces of paper with a message that runs against the creed.

The South Australian (SA) government is very very afraid, issuing statements yesterday, designed to intimidate Flinders University into rejecting the Lomborg Consensus Centre. They know that they can’t defend their “wind power” and “climate” policies, and the public will be up in arms when they realize how much money has been burned. (In 2012 Hamish Cumming estimated South Australian windfarms have saved 4% of their rated capacity in fossil fuels at a cost of $1,484 per ton.)

But it’s not about the environment or the economy,  it’s about prestige, popularity and status.

If the SA government fails to stop the Lomborg Centre at Flinders University, they know they will be called nasty names by their peers. They admit as much in their bizarre statements, which effectively use political pressure against a university to keep it free of “political pressure”, and admits researchers can be bought to support an agenda. Flinders Uni will look [...]

Flinders Uni in panic, “repulsed” by hint of semi-skeptic, Bjorn Lomborg

What’s scarier than an Endless Global Drought? The fear that the public might… hear from a skeptic. Skeptical arguments are so dangerous that even the whiff of one will kill a $4million dollar project stone dead at conception. Be Gone Freak! Guess who has no answer to the questions skeptics ask? How they do advertise the dire state of their intellectual ammo? You might think I’m exaggerating.  Bjorn Lomborg believes the IPCC science 100%, and uses the “denier” term to distance himself from the scientific skeptics. It’s like cloaking himself in garlic, except it doesn’t work — true believers still hate him and seek to shut him down.  Lomborg wants to stop fossil fuel subsidies, the arch-enemy in the believers world, and that’s not enough. Furthermore he wasn’t going to work at the Australian Consensus Centre and it wasn’t going to discuss the climate, but two steps of purification is not enough. Lomborg commits the unforgivable sin of wanting to spend enviro-gravy in ways that actually help the poor and protect the environment. He wants measurements and accountability. And that makes him “repulsive” — just ask the students of Flinders University. The modern University needs no logical reason, [...]

Carbon tax and Sydney Uni economics, both slugs on the economy

Michael Harris,  Senior Fellow in the School of Economics at University of Sydney, has the impossible job of defending the monstrously ineffective carbon tax against the pointless-but-efficient “Direct Action” program. The carbon tax cost $15b, and cut emissions by 12 million tonnes. The Direct Action plan cost $660m, and is projected to save 47 million tonnes.

Having no numbers remotely on his side, Harris goes quantum semantic. Watch the leap. A tax is not a cost, only a transfer. That makes your tax bill so much easier to pay:

There is also a difference between costs to the economy, and transfers within it. The amount of revenue raised through any tax is not a cost; it is simply a transfer from one “pocket” to “another”. The money has not been destroyed, and it remains available to be spent on something.

Now it seems to me that if I buy a beer, it’s a transfer from one “pocket” to another pocket and if that money is destroyed in the process, that would be the end of the bottle shop. The world of economics rather depends on that money not being vaporised and being available for the shop owner [...]

Lomborg’s Centre cancelled: UWA caves in to bullies who use anger to silence debate

There is no saving our universities. The Lomborg Consensus Centre has been axed in response to pure emotional hysteria. The Abbott government should immediately set up the Centre anyway, make it independent from the universities, which don’t deserve another cent.

Bjorn Lomborg, who believes the IPCC science but disagrees with their economics, is too “dangerous” for UWA. Poor petals! He wants to get more environmental and human benefit from government spending – which is a disaster for the Green Gravy train.  Lomborg commits the unforgivable sin of failing to feed friends of big-government. So he had to be punished, nothing is more scary that “funding a skeptic”. (See Tim Flannery’s reaction). But ponder how they have overplayed their hand: Lomborg is not a skeptic of the science, the Consensus Centre wasn’t going to write on climate change, and yet, it was unthinkable?

ABC news:

UWA cancels contract for Consensus Centre headed by controversial academic Bjorn Lomborg

The University of Western Australia has cancelled the contract for a policy centre that was to be headed up by controversial academic Bjorn Lomborg after a “passionate emotional reaction” to the plan.

There is no free speech in academia, only the illusion of it.

If UWA taught students [...]

UQ’s Denial 101x : Putting the stink in distinction

Guest Post By Tony Thomas*

A keen student, I have just completed Week One of John Cook’s MOOC at Queensland University: “Denial 101x – Making Sense of Climate Science Denial.”

A MOOC is a Massive Online Open Course, and Cook’s course has 13,000 students so far.  He is a Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University  and author of the notorious 2013 study purporting to find a 97% climate consensus in the science literature.

One normally gets a buzz from study. But my brain needs a shower and scrub to feel clean again.

I was not intending to write about my studies so early, in case that got me prematurely expelled. But one week of it is enough.

For example, in case I forget elements of Cook’s denialist ideation, he provides an acronym FLICC. This covers Fake experts, Logical fallacies, Impossible expectations, Cherry picking and Conspiracy theories.

Worse is in store. Cook says, “Next week’s interviews are equally exciting, as we speak to Phil Jones from the University of East Anglia…” Jones is the author of   “pretty awful emails” (his words) in Climategate. Other stars in the Cook course firmament will be Michael “Hockey-stick” Mann and [...]

What stage of climate grief are you locked in?

What if you lost, say, the Great Barrier Reef? No seriously, what if you woke up one morning and it was gone? Celeste Young is paid to worry about that and she’s written a whole article on climate grief. It has no data, and uses models and namecalling which makes it a perfect fit for The Conversation.

A variety of losses can be experienced. People may grieve due to the perceived future loss of something; for example, the type of grief often expressed via social media over the potential loss of the Great Barrier Reef. Individuals and communities may grieve for the loss of a loved landscape damaged by drought, fire or flood.

She adapts the famous Kubler Ross Five Stages of Grief (doesn’t everyone) to to deliver clichés in table form. But don’t rush to knock it, I think this is a new form of grieving, where people project the grief of their collapsing religion onto something else instead, like “the environment”. Let’s call it Parody-grieving. Does Young realize the parallels? The Climate-club are still stuck at stage one. They know something is wrong but the cognitive dissonance is killing them: their heroes hide declines and data, [...]

Study namecalling at Queensland University

UPDATE: See Tony Thomas’s views on the course as it runs: UQ’s Denial 101x : Putting the stink in distinction. The course is living up to all expectations!

Would you too like to learn how to misinform people, mangle English, and toss cherry-picked factoids that avoid the real point? How about studying to be an apologist for scientists who take your taxes, but hide their data? Or perhaps you’ve always dreamed of being an obedient useful fool for the State, to help promote propaganda that governments can change the weather if the people just pay enough money?

Are you looking for a cause to pick up that you can brag about at parties to prove your social superiority, impress teenage girls, or hide your low self-esteem? Do you crave an outlet where you get the thrill of being a namecalling bully, but with the excuse that you are “saving the planet” and “being scientific”?

Good news, Queensland University is dumping any pretense that its science faculty uses logic or reason or has an interest in observable evidence. The university is advertising that abusing English definitions and words meets its standards of higher education. After all, no one [...]

ANU spurns Fossil Fuel investments, why not be a Fossil Fuel Free Zone too? Demand action now!

The Australian National University (ANU) created a bit of media storm in Australia in the last week when it declared it would divest itself of “socially irresponsible investments“, with a focus on fossil fuel use.  ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young was emphatic:

“I have repeatedly said climate change is the most serious issue ever to have faced humanity.”

And later, “fossil fuel-reliant companies will not survive the next 20 to 30 years unless they diversify into new energies.”

Applause and recriminations followed.

Sinclair Davidson rather callously suggested this was just a token gesture of pointless political symbolism. (Golly. You are such a cynic Sinclair.) Obviously, if climate change is THE most serious issue, the next step for ANU is to light the way, and stop using the products of fossil fuel companies too. It is surely time for a Fossil Fuel Free Zone (FFFZ) on campus. Like a Nuclear Free Zone, all forms of  Fossil Fuels and Fossil Fuel Bombs will have to keep away.

All petrol and diesel powered machines would be barred at the gates. Truck deliveries will have to be by electric and solar powered trucks. Hey, other trucks can drop [...]