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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Winning! Australian Govt writes laws to protect people like Peter Ridd at universities

The Australian government admits Peter Ridd should never have been sacked for criticizing standards of James Cook University

Peter Ridd is still fighting for his right to speak

Great News: In an era of absurd censorship, it’s good to get a win. Thanks to all those who wrote letters and emails, and obviously, thanks to the IPA, the government is insisting that Professors be allowed to decide what professors say, rather than Vice Chancellors. Soon, if fraud should occur at James Cook Uni, people will be able to suggest it gets investigated without getting fired for being “uncollegial.”

As Education Minister Dan Tehan told Sky News this morning:

“[James Cook University] wouldn’t have been able to prosecute Peter Ridd if these laws had of been in place.”

“By defining academic freedom in legislation, Education Minister Dan Tehan is ensuring the dismissal of an academic like Peter Ridd can never happen again,” said Mr Rozner.

– Institute of Public Affairs (IPA)

To recap Peter Ridds crimes: he said “for your amusement” in an email once. (Illegal satire). He said “ We can no longer rely on our science institutions.” He [...]

Half the Reef destroyed but they won’t release the data

The future of the entire 350,000 km2 Great Barrier Reef hangs in the balance — as the coralapocalypse has wiped out 50% of the coral in just 25 years. Lordy! If only we’d built some off-shore wind farms on the reef to protect it! We could cover whole islands with solar panels? What are we thinking!

But as Peter Ridd points out, AIMS (The Australian Institute of Marine Science) surveys around 100 reefs every year — and for the last 35 years — and they find things are roughly the same. See the graph below.

Don’t look now, but corals are doing fine. From Jennifer Marohasy and Peter Ridd.

Somehow Terry Hughes — and the Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies — gets up to $4 million each year to report on the reef but won’t release the data behind the mass media campaign.

The ABC — which gets nearly $3 million dollars every single day — can’t even pick up the phone to interview AIMS or Peter Ridd and ask one hard question of Terry Hughes’ “Excellent” centre. (We all know why they had to put the word “excellence” in the title, it was the only [...]

Peter Ridd will take the fight for free speech to the High Court

For Peter Ridd, it would have been so much easier if he had gone quietly. This battle is not for him, but for our Australian Universities. He shouldn’t need to take this to the High Court, or even the Federal Court. The Scott Morrison government could turn off the tap to every institution which won’t guarantee free speech and enshrine it in their employee contracts. Dan Tehan is reviewing the university model code, but they don’t need a review. They know, we know, everyone knows, without free speech our universities are just Big Government advertising agencies, or victims of the latest FashionThink trend. Those funds could be frozen tonight, and watch how fast the universities can rewrite their contracts. At the speed of light…

Donations are already flowing in for the High Court Battle. Thank you to all who can help his GoFundMe Campaign.

From John Spooner, The Australian.

Peter Ridd Seeks High Court Appeal

Charlie Peel, The Australian

Sacked James Cook University professor Peter Ridd will go to the High Court over his controversial sacking for publicly criticising the institution and his colleagues over their climate change science.

A week after the Federal Circuit Court overturned [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]