UPDATE: Funding target reached already. Thank you!
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, if there was a crisis in modern science, with a failure to replicate results or a lack objectivity, this could cost the nation billions, risk the reef, slow medical research, and hurt our children, but JCU have effectively said that no one they employ can talk about it. Does the state of science matter to JCU? Not as much as their right to issue prophecies, no hard questions asked, star on the tellie, and help their favourite political cause. (Science for Big-Government’s sake).
Obviously, Ridd is having none of this, and is determined to openly and brazenly breach both instructions. Tell the World! Furthermore, he’s taking the matter to the Federal Court, and raising funds to fight for free speech. (You can help!)
If Ridd loses, what person at any Australian university will be able to discuss systematic, cultural problems with the practice of science that are damaging our research and trashing the reputations of great institutions? JCU have a dismal record of isolating, blackbanning, and ousting people who disagree with the consensus (vale, Bob Carter!) This has to stop now.
Thou shalt not question the Cardinals of Scientificness!
From Peter Ridds site — the forbidden incriminating comment:
“The basic problem is that we can no longer trust the scientific organisations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies – a lot of this is stuff is coming out, the science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated and this is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions and the fact is I do not think we can any more.”
“I think that most of the scientists who are pushing out this stuff they genuinely believe that there are problems with the reef, I just don’t think they’re very objective about the science they do, I think they’re emotionally attached to their subject and you know you can’t blame them, the reef is a beautiful thing.” — Sky News with Alan Jones, August 2017.
On the basis of these comments I was accused of not acting in a ‘collegial’ manner.
Ironically, Ridd had submitted a paper on exactly this topic, which was published a few months later in November in the Marine Pollution Bulletin. It’s a peer reviewed paper on the problems with peer review (among other things). Eleven days after it was published, JCU wrote saying he had engaged in serious misconduct and issued him with a “final censure”!
So that which can’t be said on a Sky News chat show can be published in a peer reviewed science journal. It might be good enough to pass expert review, but don’t mention it to “a shock jock”. Imagine if the public started to question the words of certified, authorized scientists? (Imagine if the public realized that all those certified, authorized scientists are only certified and authorized as long as they speak the Uni-commissars approved lines?)
From Peter Ridd:
The way I have been treated, if they get away with it, will have a serious chilling effect on future research and public discussion.
I am putting myself on the line – this action will be costly in terms of time and reputation – but I have spent my whole life fighting for scientific truth and I do not intend to stop now.
A revised statement of claim alleges JCU trawled through private email conversations in a bid to bolster its misconduct case against him.
“This is as much a case about free speech as it is about quality of science,” he said.
“I am very keen that the trawling of emails to dig up more dirt becomes known.”
From The Institute of Public Affairs (who have been very supportive of Ridd from the outset):
JCU claimed that Professor Ridd’s comments denigrated the university and the university directed him to make no future such comments.
“The actions of James Cook University (JCU) follow a now-familiar pattern of behaviour by Australia’s universities. The search for truth has been replaced by unquestioning allegiance to consensus, group-think, and orthodoxy. The treatment of Professor Ridd by JCU is no different to what the University of Western Australia did to Bjorn Lomborg in 2015,” said Mr Roskam.
IPA research has found a worsening state of free speech on Australia’s university campuses. The IPA’s Free Speech on Campus Audit 2017 found 34 of Australia’s 42 universities are hostile to free speech on campus through their actions and policies.
Professor Ridd has launched a GoFundMe to fundraise the legal costs for action against James Cook University to protect his academic freedom to discuss integrity in science.
I spoke with Peter Ridd today. He’s calm, well spoken, and absolutely determined to get science back to where it should be. We can’t let the forces of groupthink win.
The group-thinking warmists who preach,
A consensus, will censure free speech,
And those who might dare,
Have their science laid bare,
They would gladly dismiss and impeach.
Larcomb, P. and Ridd, P. (2017) The need for a formalised system of Quality Control for environmental policy-science, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 126, January 2018, Pages 449-461https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.11.038
h/t Jim Simpson, George, Dave B, C Paul Barreria, Robber, and Martin Clark.