JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks


Advertising


Australian Speakers Agency



GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Archives

Books

That’s compassion: Making students mentally ill for your own political gain

Tony Thomas has been reading academic papers so you don’t have to. Dr Blanche Verlie at the Uni of Sydney explores “the affective geographies of eco-anxiety” and seems to help create victims to study at the same time. A good business model maybe, but at the expense of mental health.

The more young people suffer, the more useful they are as political activists:

Getting Kids’ Climate Misery Just Right

Tony Thomas, Quadrant

Dr Blanche Verlie,Uni Sydney

Verlie correctly concedes that “climate anxiety can intersect with and contribute to clinically diagnosable mental illness” born of “hopelessness, disillusionment or apathy”. But she explains helpfully (if I might paraphrase) that the more kids suffer the better chance they’ll become green activists. In her own words,

climate anxiety is not an illness or disorder, but an appropriate and even valuable source of discomfort that can provide an important lens to help people re-evaluate what is important to them and find meaningful ways to inhabit the world. Education’s remit for cultivating critical thinking and empowerment thus makes it an exciting realm for supporting young people to contribute to what Verlie (2019a) [she is speaking of herself in […]

Peter Ridd wins right to take appeal to the High Court

Former Professor Peter Ridd was sacked for criticizing his university colleagues at James Cook Uni. He won a $1.2m claim for wrongful dismissal, but JCU appealed, and won the appeal. So Ridd is taking his case to the High Court. Today’s small win merely means they will hear his appeal.

Meanwhile academics all over Australia know that right now, if they spotted fraud, poor reasoning, or incompetence they can’t point that out publicly. Our academic system is corrupt to the very core, seeking not the truth, but just more grants and to act as a machine to elect the kind of governments that will give them more money, easier conditions and suits most of their personal political tastes too. James Cook Uni has wasted a million or two of taxpayers funds seeking to protect the Vice Chancellors ability to sack anyone she damn-well likes for spurious reasons like “not being collegial” or daring to write a sarcastic line in an email. A few months ago, JAmes Cook still hadn’t got far investigating the actual alleged fraud, nor in releasing data about the Great Barrier Reef that they profess to care so much about. What matters to JCU? Not science.

Peter […]

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 […]

“A climate of fear on campus” — Susan Crockford Polar bear expert excommunicated

Add Susan Crockford’s name to the list of scientists being tossed out of the academic cathedral because they dare speak the truth. University of Victoria give no reasons for suddenly ending her long unpaid role as adjunct professor, but if they had evidence of incompetence, misinformation, deceit or poor performance, you can be sure they would say so.

The academic casualty list includes Peter Ridd, Bob Carter, Murry Salby, Bjorn Lomborg, David Legates, Nick Drapela, Pat Michaels, Mitchell Taylor, and now Susan Crockford. Outside academia those expunged from screens include David Bellamy, Johnny Ball, Phillip Vernier. Forced out of institutes were Caleb Rossiter and Lennart Bengtsson. The threat of RICO investigations drove Roger Pielke into a different career. Read “my unhappy life as a climate heretic“. Likewise Al Gore sacked Will Happer.

Others put up with the bullying and stay silent til they retire like Dr Rex Fleming from NOAA or they report anonymously after working for 40 years at the National Weather Service. Sometimes the bullying even follows people home, like Dr Fisher, economist and former ABARE manager who’s house was egged. All he did was model the costs of climate policies. Art Robinson ran for Congress and his […]

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 […]

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 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, […]

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:

“…we can no longer trust the scientific organisations like the Australian […]

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, […]