Former Aussie Prime Minister: Sacking Peter Ridd Was an Attack on Science

“Tony Abbott – 2010” by MystifyMe Concert Photography (Troy) – Opposition Leader Tony Abbott (16). Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons –

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The fallout is worsening for James Cook University over the scandalous termination of Professor Peter Ridd, for the crime of making inconvenient public statements about the scientific work of others.

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaking on the Bolt Report;

… I have no reason to think he hasn’t done his teaching and his research in a highly competent and professional manner he happens to question the politically correct orthodoxy about man made global warming.

If we can’t have debate, we can’t have true science. Because true science is not what 98% of scientists vote for, true science is what corresponds with the actual facts out there and that’s what we have to get to the bottom of. …

Read more:

Tony Abbott is not alone. The following is Assistant Minister for Science Zed Seselja speaking up for the right of scientists to publicly criticise others.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you think Professor Peter Ridd is right, the problem here is the act of terminating a scientist who spoke out against the work done by other scientists cannot help but have a chilling effect on the willingness of scientists to criticise the work of other scientists. That some of the bodies criticised by Peter Ridd were financially important to James Cook University just looks bad.

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May 22, 2018 8:23 pm

Open debate is crucial – otherwise “science” becomes religion!!!

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  tomwys1
May 22, 2018 8:54 pm

Science has already become religion. 50% of medical papers are frauds 97% of climate science papers are frauds. Most cancer studies are fraudulent. Most drug testing studies are fraudulent. Science is sick.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
May 22, 2018 8:56 pm

The peer review process has become pal review

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
May 22, 2018 10:22 pm

Big “S”cience is sick. Or rather it is corrupted by too much government money.
It has discovered alarmism pays, like a carnival barker trying to get people to pay to see the Freak Show wax monsters and bearded lady.
Little “s”cience will be just fine.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
May 22, 2018 10:50 pm

Science used to be a hobby for gentlemen of independent means.
Toady it’s just a another public sector career, and subject to the prevailing government orthodoxies.

Now and again, we would find some cheerful young commander or captain who was not affected by these scruples, who was as brave in the office as he was at sea. Commenting on such a regular officer and on his way of doing business we would say, “He’s a good one. I bet he’s got private means.” Invariably investigation proved that we were right. The officers who were brave in the Admiralty were the officers who had an independent income, who could afford to resign from the navy if necessary without bringing financial disaster to their wives and children. It started as a joke with us to say that a brave officer in the office probably had private means, and then it got beyond a joke and turned into an axiom. These were the men who could afford to shoulder personal responsibility in the Admiralty, who could afford to do their duty to the Navy in the highest sense.
Nevil Shute “Slide Rule”

This is a very interesting point, and it goes to the heart of the moral case for egalitarianism via government decree that is the heart of Left thinking.
Privilege, in the sense of private capital, means that a man is no longer responsible to his paymaster, but to his own conscience. It is a freedom to act.
How many alarmists have made careers and serious money out of alarmism, and how many skeptics, have lost their jobs?
That alone should tell anyone who stops to consider, which of the two camps is likely to be the more honest.
A few years ago James Delingpole – who has a degree in English – was challenged as to his credentials to oppose the AGW orthodoxy.
His reply, which I cannot remember exactly, was along the lines of ‘I am not judging it from a scientific perspective: I am judging it from the use of deception, manipulation of emotional ideas, and the use of Soviet style propaganda, ad hominem attacks and pressure being put on those who disagree. If it is not false, why is all that needed?’
Similarly I am not a climate scientist: I am a highly qualified electrical engineer, and when I undertook the analysis of ‘renewable energy’ it led me after many many re-checkings of the numbers and research to the inevitable conclusion that it was not a valid engineering solution to the problem of CO2 emissions.
It could be, however, and was, made profitable by government decree…
The last ten years have been salutary: I have encountered ‘professional’ after ‘professional’ – lawyers, medical specialists, bankers, local government officials, politicians – and have been struck again and again by the fact that all of them are moderately to massively incompetent, and as such are monumentally afraid of losing their jobs, so a huge amount of their time (and my money) is spent on covering their backsides by ‘playing by the rulebook’.
To the average middle class white collar worker, what counts is not the truth, but the paycheck that keeps his family fed. And the mortgage payments made.
The aim of the globalists and the oligarchy is to ensure his enslavement to their economic system, and to keep private wealth to a minimum except in the hands of their cronies. Socialism provides the ideal ideological basis for that – private wealth must be stripped and given to the government who then control utterly how and where it is dribbled back to the people, less the massive commission extracted by what amounts these days to a single Party, albeit having ostensibly opposed factions.
In this context, climate change has been described as ‘socialism in a white coat’.
Science – the theoretical exercise and study of ‘Natural Philosophy’ – is nothing to do with what Science, the public sector career in academia, has become.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
May 23, 2018 3:20 am

yup and allowing outright fabricated “science” on research like cancer etc to get by- be cited and then be used as a basis for other work..would have me wanting to catch up with the liars peronally if i then wasted my life and time and hard to get funding to try and find a solution./cure/ aid,relief etc for some nasty problem disease etc
and its NOT at all rare sadly
neither is fudged stats to approve meds that kill and maim while the lordly fda and pharmas scream about natural supplements being bad and risky
ha ha at the same time theyre buying up the supplement maker/herbal companies.
i tend to end up reading every available paper i can access to try n sort wheat from chaff.
the disgusting habit of sellling public funded research to Elsevier n Wiley et al who then block the info unless you pay sometimes exorbitant amounts to read for a day let alone be able to copy or print..should be halted immediately.
ditto the warmists refusing to show their data n methodology

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
May 23, 2018 4:14 am

“Leo Smith May 22, 2018 at 10:50 pm
Science used to be a hobby for gentlemen of independent means…”

Excellent summation and statement, Leo!
Great quotes.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
May 23, 2018 5:14 am

Leo Smith, excellent comment! You are very insightful to focus on the economic insecurity of so many white-collar workers who do not dare to make waves; and this is also doubled by the existence of the class of men named by Nick Taleb as “the intellectual yet idiot”.
also, this: “It started as a joke with us to say that a brave officer in the office probably had private means, and then it got beyond a joke and turned into an axiom. These were the men who could afford to shoulder personal responsibility in the Admiralty, who could afford to do their duty to the Navy in the highest sense.”
And THIS is why a man like Trump ended up being the ONLY man in America independent enough to lead a movement against the Deep State – no one else would dare.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
May 23, 2018 5:34 am

+1 Absolutely correct. Money and greed drives much of modern science.

Dr Deanster
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
May 23, 2018 6:07 am

Obviously, there seems to be a lot of people on here who have a beef with medical sciences, to include pharmaceutical science. To an extent I get the perspective, but the real issue is the same as is seen in climate science …… it’s the expression of data and statistics.
As they say, there are lies, damn lies and statistics.
Statistics was originally a powerful tool to assess the cause effect relationship, but now, it is the tool used by people to prove their point of view. All one need do is use creative statistics, and bam, you can make a claim.
To beat up on my own pharmaceutical field, the ASCOT trial showed a “relative” decrease in heart attacks for those taking Lipitor of a whopping 36% ….. wooo hooo ….. put more accurately, absolute risk went down from 3% risk to 2% risk …. not so impressive.
For climate science, …doesn’t look too impressive when we use degree C or K or F …. so let’s go for “anomaly”. I haven’t read all of Ridds stuff … but I imagine he is objecting to manipulations in data expression and statistical slight of hand.

Reply to  Dr Deanster
May 24, 2018 6:04 am

That expression is PRESTIDIGITATION or “sleight of hand ” !!

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
May 23, 2018 7:09 am

Leo Smith’s comments are good and would be true if the average government and university scientist didn’t get paid as well as they do and had little even any risk of getting fired so long as they stick to the orthodoxy. It no longer matters the quality of their science or even if their research is based on Scientific Methodology stick to the orthodoxy and you are guaranteed lifetime employment.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
May 23, 2018 10:43 am

“$$$cience” is usurping “science”.

Reply to  tomwys1
May 22, 2018 10:42 pm

Tommy ! SCIENCE has always BEEN a RELIGION !
( an alternative-religion perhaps , but the zealotry , fervour and proselytising and harsh consequences for the “dis-believers” is just the same ! ) BELIEF versus EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE :
“If it walks like a duck , it quacks like a duck , it looks like a duck….then it’s probably a duck ! ”
UNLESS …it has a government GRANT attached to it……in which case it is a climate threatening ,
horrendous , MAN MADE , Black Swan !

Reply to  Trevor
May 23, 2018 5:16 am

I would not say “always” – go back to the days of Fermi, and Planck, and more recently, the late, great Richard Feynman – they all did science that was honest, unafraid, and being done the way it was supposed to have been done. How far we have fallen.

Reply to  wws
May 24, 2018 6:14 am

“Feynman’s words prompt a key question: Are all true scientists destined to become atheists? The answer, I believe, is no, or at least that doesn’t seem to be the case judging by statistics.
Still, how is it that faith and science can co-exist? According to Feynman, the answer to this question lies in recognizing the limits of science:
I do not believe that science can disprove the existence of God; I think that is impossible. And if it is impossible, is not a belief in science and in a God — an ordinary God of religion — a consistent possibility?
Feynman responds to his query:
Yes, it is consistent. Despite the fact that I said that more than half of the scientists don’t believe in God, many scientists do believe in both science and God, in a perfectly consistent way. But this consistency, although possible, is not easy to attain…”

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Trevor
May 23, 2018 5:36 am

” SCIENCE has always BEEN a RELIGION ”
I think it is more accurate to say that absent religion, science becomes a superstition. Each new religion sets the moral and social codes for the emerging civilisation that follows. It becomes corrupted by superstitions introduced by the followers and later is in need of renewal.
The ethical behaviour of scientists is not rooted in ‘science’ it is rooted in religion (not personality cults etc). When scientists lose their moral and ethical foundation, they corrupt their efforts because there is no ethical code to be found in the material world. That is the problem with materialism. It cannot, and does not, self-correct. Calls to a higher ethical standard are calls to abandon materialism as a moral guide.
The story about the brave officer with the means to do what is right serves as testimony. Being able to abandon the purse and choose brave actions in the office demonstrates the point. Scientific pursuits absent a moral and ethical foundation inevitably lead to collapse by fire or a whimper because they lack a backbone with which to be upstanding in the true sense.
Human society is a social construct, not a material one. Outwardly it is material, but that is the point. Human society is inward. Having a heart doesn’t make you big-hearted.

Non Nomen
Reply to  tomwys1
May 22, 2018 11:25 pm

Open debate is crucial – otherwise “science” becomes religion!!!

Science becomes silencethen.

May 22, 2018 8:24 pm

And sacking Tony Abbott was an attack on all that has made Australia great.
I’m happy to say that my Oz relatives have never surrendered their guns to the Communist regimes that have hijacked the government of Australia for the past more than two decades.

Reply to  Felix
May 22, 2018 8:25 pm

Make Australia Great Again!
MAGA, Down Under.
Make the Antipodes Great Again!

Reply to  Felix
May 22, 2018 8:42 pm

Too many left wingers here in Australia.
Our company tax rate is stuck on 30% despite attempts to lower it.
UK is dropping theirs to 18%
The US rate will be slashed from 35 per cent to just 21 per cent.
Other countries are doing the same.
Their economies are booming.
The left wingers here are punishing the people they claim to be protecting.

Reply to  Felix
May 22, 2018 9:10 pm

It is sad, indeed sickening, how a great nation which started out so well in life has sunk so low.
Maybe too many of the best Australians were killed in the world wars.

Reply to  Felix
May 23, 2018 1:41 am

‘…how a great nation which started out so well in life …’
A convict colony, outpost of empire.

Reply to  Felix
May 23, 2018 12:20 pm

ironicman May 23, 2018 at 1:41 am
Australia became an independent, united nation and federal state, rather than six separate colonies, on 1 January 1901.

Reply to  Felix
May 24, 2018 1:39 am

Felix its about the culture, if not for the American War of Independence the Aussies would be French speaking.
We hung onto mother Britain until after WW2, then we joined the American Alliance, its strategic. This is set to change in the coming years as Beijing woos us to the new world order.
We were British but developed our own culture on this large island of drought and flood. This inhospitable place saw the people hug the coastline in fear and trepidation of this barren landscape.
Culturally, though US films, we became something else again, a deputy sheriff in the Alliance.
Thanks for taking an interest.

Reply to  Felix
May 22, 2018 11:23 pm

We’ve had five Prime Ministers, and three elections, go figure.

Reply to  Felix
May 23, 2018 3:25 am

i was told…sales of large polypipe n endcaps soared round this way back then too;-)
i have no personal knowledge but reckon the teller of it wasnt fibbing

Komrade Kuma
Reply to  Felix
May 23, 2018 4:53 am

Sorry Felix but while I agree with Abbott’s comments regarding Peter Ridd’s sacking and the need to retain coal fired power stations etc, he has made such a galoot of himself over the past couple of years and been so gratuitously treacherous to his own party, he is not a credible person to have on side. That’s no endorsement of Turnbull but just to say that Turnbull is in power because Abbott is a galoot.
Turnbull-Abbott is a bit like Clinton-Trump but in reverse. Clinton got done largely because she made a galoot of herself in the ‘Rust Belt” slagging off at the “deplorables”. Good thing though ‘cos Trump is giving the world a well deserved shake up. Abbott’s ‘Sir Prince Phillip’ thing was up there as far as moronic things to say go but Turnbull is hardly shaking things up.

Reply to  Komrade Kuma
May 23, 2018 8:18 am

On top of that Felix says commies took over Australia’s govt two decades ago? Well John Howard was PM untill mid-2007—only 11 years ago.
It’s the next Federal govt election in 2019 where the deep loonie left in Labor will try to become the mainstream ideologues.
For now Turnbull is a centre-ist who’s trying to appeal to labor-lite centre-lefties, as swing voters.
That’s what David Cameron did just before Brexit occurred. The Conservative-right has thus been renderd a power-vacuum—and it will be filled, but not by Turnbull Libs.
The socialists will only be overturned when a real Conservative party takes over, and gets rid of all the public service lefty infestations, especially ABC, SBS, the Unis, all public funder NGOs and .gov departments. Only control of both Houses will enable that to occur. But it wont be long before that’s what the majority want.

Komrade Kuma
Reply to  Komrade Kuma
May 23, 2018 9:04 am

and Felix then goes on about his rellies not surrendering their guns….In Oz that carries little weight in fact is basically an admission they are little more than goat bothering hillbillies. Dickless imbeciles for whom ‘open carry’ is more like permission to go about with a ‘strap on’ in plain sight to compensate for their ‘inadequacies’.
Our attitude is pick a fight with us and we well do you with whatever is to hand. Gun, ied, truck, pointed stick or your own pen shoved into your eye then brain. Our idea of a lethal weapon and weapon of last resort is our own imagination when we are pissed off. Guns are just so early 19th century.
Must be some sort of convict thing.

Reply to  Komrade Kuma
May 23, 2018 12:23 pm

Komrade Kuma May 23, 2018 at 9:04 am
When six million heavily armed Chinese tourists from the PLA descend on Australia, you’ll wish you had your strap on. Trucks won’t do it.

Reply to  Komrade Kuma
May 23, 2018 12:29 pm

Oz needs to adopt the Swiss militia system, in which every adult male has at least one of these in his home:comment image
And every fourth to tenth man one of these:
Plus as many women as who want one.

Reply to  Komrade Kuma
May 23, 2018 12:31 pm
Reply to  Komrade Kuma
May 24, 2018 6:11 pm

‘Must be some sort of convict thing.’
Being armed to the teeth is an accident of history and its turned out very badly indeed.

Reply to  Komrade Kuma
May 24, 2018 11:50 pm

Komrade the Prince Phillip idea came from the Palace and the Australian MSM savaged Abbott, go figure.
He is no galoot and will return to the Front Bench, possibly as PM.

Alfred (Cairns)
May 22, 2018 8:31 pm

I created a meetup group in Cairns to try and get the locals to understand better what is at stake
“Cairns Supporters of the Scientific Method”
Please join – even if you cannot make it to the meetings. Thank you!

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Alfred (Cairns)
May 22, 2018 8:57 pm

It sounds like it may turn out to be an angry, friendly get-together. Good luck to ya.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
May 22, 2018 10:25 pm

Offer Free beer and you’ll get an overflowing crowd.

Another Ian
Reply to  Alfred (Cairns)
May 23, 2018 1:59 am

Not sure if you know of this bloke from the JCU vet school?
Re the free beer mention below – in his earlier days close to perfection was
“Freeps, Coldps and Morps” – apply appropriate Oz expansion there
I wonder if the “modern JCU” would keep him on after such an accident

Robin Willows
May 22, 2018 8:34 pm

This is our moment to stand up and support Peter and proper science not the PC version. Let’s hope other scientists will be brave too. Australia is being forced into being a third world country by politicians following this scam. My local Federal Member in Tropical North QLD has said nothing so far as I know but there again he was part of the push to shaft former PM Tony Abbott.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Robin Willows
May 22, 2018 9:08 pm

Socialism never works, it just takes some countries longer to crash than others.

Reply to  Leonard Lane
May 22, 2018 11:05 pm

Leonard Lane :
“Socialism never works, it just takes some countries longer to crash than others.”
SO VERY TRUE ! Socialism is UNABLE and UNWILLING to create WEALTH !
Only free-enterprise Capitalism is able to deliver wealth and freedom and
the entire Judeo-Christian Western Lifestyle is built on that premise of :
” fair pay for a fair days work “(“the labourer is worthy of his hire” ) and
the right to OWN PROPERTY and POSSESSIONS. ( Incentive ! )
Socialism doesn’t believe in INDIVIDUALS or INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.
“Collectivism” is their mantra !
Socialism believes ( another ‘religion !! ) in WEALTH SHARING
even if that means STEALING from the productive to distribute to
the unproductive ! and if it has to KILL in the process it has no qualms !
THAT is why it crashes ! It disincentivises or kills the productive ,
distributes their wealth ( usually unequally and very much in the
favour of the leadership !! True communism !! ) and when IT
RUNS OUT OF WEALTH it crashes !
Look at ALL the others ! Nothing but death and destruction !
Take Venezuela as the most recent example !!
No stray dogs or cats in Venezuela……………guess why ?

Chris Schoneveld
Reply to  Robin Willows
May 22, 2018 10:02 pm

hi Robin,
Have you signed up for the Cairns Supporters of the Scientific Method?(See Alfred Cairns above)
A good initiative.
All the best, Chris

May 22, 2018 8:39 pm

The termination of Peter Ridd says more about the venality and cowardice of the University leadership than anything, and actually raises the Professor Ridd’s standing with the intelligent, though not with the intelligentsia.

Reply to  Richard
May 23, 2018 5:49 am


May 22, 2018 8:51 pm

So glad I could contribute to his defence and more so that public figures who should speak in his defence are funding their way to do so

Crispin in Waterloo
May 22, 2018 8:56 pm

Science is a method of assessing the way the world works, basically. Climate science is a belief system. They are not compatible.
If Cook University wants to hold people accountable to a belief system, that is their choice but people should know this before they are contracted to perform services. Firing someone over their scientific findings expressed in the course of their work in a conventional manner is immoral. For that reason there are usually laws in place to protect workers who render their professional opinion even if the management of that institution wants to hear something else.
The question of whether or not there was ‘science’ involved is a separate matter.
If an insurance adjuster investigates an explosion and determines that it was caused by carelessness on behalf of an employee, and the insurance company wants to hear that it was an accident of indeterminate origin, what does a professional do? They report what they found. If the company fires them for it, it is a matter for the Labour Court. Making the working environment so miserable that a person has to leave, that is constructive dismissal – back to the Labour Court.
It is clear that Cook University want science to be suborned by the beliefs of climate science.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
May 22, 2018 9:11 pm

Climate seance.

Bob Burban
Reply to  Leonard Lane
May 23, 2018 6:47 am


Ian Macdonald
Reply to  Leonard Lane
May 23, 2018 8:21 am

Well, nobody can prove that life after death does not exist, or that mediums cannot contact spirits. Some mediums have been caught cheating, but then so have some scientists. It does not necessarily imply that all do.
A significant difference though, is that mediums do not generally engage in ad-hom attacks on those who show skepticism. In fact, at any public demonstration it would be expected that the majority of participants will be sceptics, and the objective will be to convince a few of them. Not, to mock or deride them for their doubts. I think that could be important.

John harmsworth
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
May 23, 2018 8:01 am

Well put, Crispin. I was fortunate in my career that my superiors always respected and valued my input, even when I was harshly critical. If they had not been, I would have sought different pastures. This is, to me, a critical indication of what kind of outfit you work for. James Cook Uni. revealed their stripes.

May 22, 2018 9:00 pm

they’re using an old chestnut, that Ridd is supposedly breaching some code of conduct by disagreeing with someone. So the only acceptable conduct is to hold certain scientific views, and you must recant and not be allowed to say anything about it. They said the same thing to Galileo.

Reply to  thingadonta
May 22, 2018 9:13 pm

The disgusting fact is that many other so-called universities in the English-speaking world are hardly less F@scistic than JCU.
As a man of science, CPT James Cook, FRS, would want to chunder.

Reply to  thingadonta
May 22, 2018 9:24 pm

And yet it moves.

Reply to  thingadonta
May 22, 2018 9:26 pm

And yet CO2 above 300 ppm does jack shit, except help plants to flourish.

Reply to  Felix
May 23, 2018 1:37 am

Apparently it also makes mush out of the brains of a subset of humans.

Reply to  Felix
May 23, 2018 1:57 am

Correction: CO2 over 300 ppm allows thousands of lobbyists, Green activists, legislators and lawyers to earn large sums of money.

Bob in Castlemaine
May 22, 2018 9:46 pm

A culture of group think has been established pretty much throughout Australia’s universities, their role now has become little more than one of enforcers of PC scientific orthodoxy. The late Professor Bob Carter was another independent scientist also victimised by this same James Cook University.
The public face of Australia’s totalitarians of academia is far reaching and now inhibits any would be independent thought pretty much across the whole gamut of scientific research. We saw just a few years ago that even the slightly different response suggested by warming orthodoxy believer Bjorn Lomborg proved a bridge too far for the group thinkers of Curtain University in WA when they canned a proposed Lomborg run research centre at the university. Much earlier still we saw eminent geology Professor Ian Plimer, once Professor and Head of Earth Sciences (1991-2005) at The University of Melbourne, gradually frozen out as the alarmist group think narrative progressively overtook that once great institution.

John Bills
May 22, 2018 9:50 pm

Your thoughts Nick Stokes?

Reply to  John Bills
May 22, 2018 10:24 pm

Well, as mentioned earlier, he wasn’t fired for disagreeing. He was fired for a code of conduct violation. I haven’t tried to pass judgement on whether they had a proper case for that, but I remember his comment that first caused trouble back in 2007:
“Closer to home, there is a swindle by scientists, politicians and most green organisations regarding the health of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).”
Disagreeing is one thing, but when you call your colleagues “swindlers” (and by implication, their university), it is likely to not be within the code of conduct.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 22, 2018 10:28 pm

It’s not libel if it’s true.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 22, 2018 10:32 pm

He didn’t say they were his colleagues. He just spoke the truth, as we all know. Or are you telling us all scientists are honest and that there are no swindlers amongst them?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 22, 2018 10:37 pm

Definition from Oxford English dictionary.
Swindle (verb) – 1Use deception to deprive (someone) of money or possessions.
‘a businessman swindled investors out of millions of pounds’
No doubt Professor Rid saw a deception in play between the green-o’s, the scientist’s and the politicians handing out tax payer money regarding generating GBR alarmism to meet a politcal agenda.
A Swindle.

John Bills
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 22, 2018 10:47 pm

His comment, after more than 10 years (sic!) still holds.
“Closer to home, there is a swindle by scientists, politicians and most green organisations regarding the health of the Great Barrier Reef”

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 23, 2018 12:42 am

Yes, Ridd was claiming a lot without naming the names. However, I do think this kind of opinion is outside of his academic career; he may say so if he feels so – just as Mann may talk about Big Oil Consp without real backing with no consequences. When he says something about a named paper or a named person, then things become for delicate.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 23, 2018 5:34 am

If they had a case in 2007, then should had disciplined him then, not more than 10 years after the case went public. That’s 101 of disciplinary, and I was involved in some.
But they hadn’t. Your quote is far to broad and general to justify discipline action. Unless your quote miss some context that would obviously target someone who could personally complain. For instance “like the co-author of such and such paper [unnamed, but easily recognizable thanks for the ref]”. In which case, the personally targeted person would had to file for libel, and the university would had standing to discipline a member because of the bad name spread on the institution.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 23, 2018 6:14 am

That would not even be news in the daily attacks against Trump from university faculty today, every day.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 23, 2018 7:14 am

The code of conduct “violation” was publicly disagreeing with someone the university supported.

John harmsworth
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 23, 2018 7:37 am

How would you characterize the work of Michael Mann,then, Nick? Do you accept his major findings and methodology? Is he an honest “scientist”?

paul courtney
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 23, 2018 8:55 am

Mr. Stokes: My compliments for responding. My own alma mater did this to a tenured prof on a question of church teaching, abusing the code of conduct to squelch an accurate depiction of church doctrine. Your statement actually contains two implications: 1) that the reference to “scientists” was a reference to his colleagues; and 2) the one you recognize. Unless you can show some context for the first, the implication is not there, thus the second implication is not supported. I wonder if, since 2007, any of Prof. Ridd’s colleagues have said anything about him (like, he’s a den!er or in the pay of big oil) which, by implication, tarnished the University that employed him. Not directing any question your way, just curious if Cook U. has pursued code of conduct inquiries on other name callers.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 23, 2018 10:20 am

“Closer to home, there is a swindle by scientists, politicians and most green organisations regarding the health of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).”

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 23, 2018 10:49 am

The quote that you picked (as the best support for your argument?) was based on the context of “swindle” as it was used in the paragraph proceeding that quote … a movie called “The Great Global Warming Swindle”. He is saying that the BS and hype that is associated with the “Global Warming” meme is analogous in some ways to the BS and hype that is associated with the “Immediate Decline/Death” meme of the reef(s).
If you think that he is saying that his colleagues are actively swindling anyone, that’s on you … that is your inference.
But nowhere does Ridd say what you say he did … he did not call his university a swindler (either directly or by implication). You said he called his colleagues swindlers and implied his university complicit (is he a “colleague” of yours … should you be fired?)
If you have to exaggerate to make your point, then there is something wrong with your point (isn’t this really what you are getting at with all of your nit picky posts?).

Reply to  John Bills
May 23, 2018 9:06 pm

The Uni better have more that statement when they get to court. You may care to look up “Employee conduct outside work and unfair dismissal” and recent rulings on it.
Glen Stutsel vs Linfox over social media posts in 2012 started the ball rolling and there has been decisions made in the space ever since.
The whole uni contract and code of conduct may well be deemed to be “outside the law”, it will be interesting to see how enforcible the uni code of conduct policy is. I am sure any good legal representation is going to look long and hard at attacking it based on that.

Reply to  LdB
May 23, 2018 9:14 pm

Oh btw the current standard given in the Rose v Telstra Corporation Limited ruling

It is clear that in certain circumstances an employee’s employment may be validly terminated because of out of hours conduct. But such circumstances are limited:
the conduct must be such that, viewed objectively, it is likely to cause serious damage to the relationship between the employer and employee; or
● the conduct damages the employer’s interests; or
● the conduct is incompatible with the employee’s duty as an employee.
In essence the conduct complained of must be of such gravity or importance as to indicate a rejection or repudiation of the employment contract by the employee.
Absent such considerations an employer has no right to control or regulate an employee’s out of hours conduct.”

On quotes I have seen the gravity issue is definitely going to be a problem.

May 22, 2018 10:03 pm

Prior to my retirement, about ten years ago, I had for several decades lectured part time at one of Australia’s “prestigious” universities in Melbourne.
On the first day of class, I noticed that my statistics class was almost half Chinese. Being somewhat naive, and probably stupid, I asked for a show of hands of people who spoke English. None of the Chinese raised their hands. I asked a follow up question: “How many of you understood my previous question?”. None of the Chinese raised their hands.
A couple of days later I was called into the Chairman’s office and notified that my services were no longer required. “Bums on seats” was/is the operative philosophy of this university.
The relevance of this is the fact that JCU needs those “bums”; Peter Ridd’s attitude is threatening that cash flow. Pretty simple really, and all of us who hope that truth and integrity will prevail are bound to be disappointed.

Clive Bond
Reply to  William
May 22, 2018 10:34 pm

Prior to Tony Abbotts knifing by climate believer Malcolm Turbull, a Labor Prime Minister, Julia Gillard had a policy that all kids should go to university. The universities conveniently lowered their standards and were subsequently flooded with students and government money. The results were a disaster with very few employable and a severe shortage of tradesmen.

Bob in Castlemaine
May 22, 2018 10:14 pm

A culture of group think has been established pretty much throughout Australia’s universities, their role now has become little more than one of enforcers of PC scientific orthodoxy. The late Professor Bob Carter was another independent thinking scientist also victimised by this same James Cook University.
The public face of Australia’s totalitarians of academia is far reaching and now inhibits any would be independent thought pretty much across the whole gamut of scientific research. We saw just a few years ago that even the slightly different response suggested by warming orthodoxy believer Bjorn Lomborg proved a bridge too far for the group thinkers of Curtain University in WA when they canned a proposed Lomborg run research centre at the university. Much earlier still we saw eminent geology Professor Ian Plimer, once Professor and Head of Earth Sciences (1991-2005) at The University of Melbourne, gradually frozen out as the alarmist group think narrative progressively overtook that once great institution.

Reply to  Bob in Castlemaine
May 23, 2018 5:49 am

I fear you idealize the good old times and think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
The truth is, universities never were a place of science (can you tell me a single science breakthrough whose author is “people from the university of X”? ), and “school” also means “flock” for a reason. They are place were young people are molded into the current state of mind. The very opposite of science.

Clay Sanborn
May 22, 2018 10:49 pm

That 2400+ people in very short period put their collective money ($260,000+) where their beliefs are in grass roots support of Peter Ridd speaks volumes.

J Mac
Reply to  Clay Sanborn
May 23, 2018 12:17 am

Just so Clay. It’s called ‘charity’… and it’s the only form of collectivism that truly functions well, because it is comprised entirely of voluntary contributions generated from incentivized participation in capitalist activities.

Reply to  Clay Sanborn
May 23, 2018 12:26 am

mainly that there is a sucker born every minute. As others have pointed out Prof. Ridd is being fired for a code of conduct violation. Which means that irrespective of the merits of his scientific views he is almost certain to lose his case due to the technicalities of his contract. In Australia as in most other english speaking countries the destruction of the trade union movement has made it all to easy to fire people for whatever reason whether valid or not.

Reply to  Germinio
May 23, 2018 3:06 am

I think you miss the point of your own argument.
If Prof.Rudd were a member of a trade union, and made comments contrary to the groupthink of the union, he would not just have been fired, his broken body would have been found in a dark alleyway.
The “code of conduct” violation to which you refer to is known more commonly as “groupthink”.
As I discovered in my truncated university lecturing hobby, it does not pay to threaten the cash flow.

Reply to  Germinio
May 23, 2018 6:49 am

“Prof. Ridd is being fired for a code of conduct violation. ”
How do you know this is true? answer: You don’t.
All we know for sure is that Pr Riff harshly criticized alarmists (not even named) regarding GBR. Could be a code of conduct violation at greenpeace, but certainly not in a public institution.
If you know of other facts that would indeed be code of conduct violation, let us know.

Reply to  Germinio
May 23, 2018 7:17 am

For Germio, truth and falseness are determined by whatever the Guardian is printing this week.

Reply to  Germinio
May 23, 2018 6:44 pm

Have a look at the termination letter posted at “”
the clear implication is that he is being fired for having “deliberately breached on multiple occasions
… confidentiality directions” amongst other things. The university is I assume going down this route
because it is easy to prove and it can then claim that it is not firing him because of his views. I suspect
that Ridd does not have a leg to stand on when fighting this in court.

Clive Bond
May 22, 2018 10:55 pm

Curtin University rejected Lomborg because he was a climate change denier. They had students demonstrating in the streets to that effect. No other university offered to take him. Three weeks after that, the president of Universities Australia, at a televised National Press Club address, complained that the government was not giving the universtiesr enough money for scientific resarch. Hypocrisy rules.

Coeur de Lion
May 22, 2018 11:20 pm

I have a degree in railway engineering and I write steamy novels. Get the joke?

Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 23, 2018 1:51 am

Eric the heretics are active, Abbott and Joyce leading the charge against the orthodoxy. Liddell and now Ridd, the ginger group have nothing to lose and everything to gain by keeping up the pressure. Oh happy days.

Reply to  Coeur de Lion
May 23, 2018 4:44 am

Coeur de Lion May 22, 2018 at 11:20 pm
“I have a degree in railway engineering and I write steamy novels. Get the joke?”
ANSWER : Not unless your degree is higher than 100c you don’t !
“Coeur de Lion” ( Heart of a Lion !! )
MORE LIKE “HIDE OF AN ELEPHANT ! “………… but worth encouraging !!!

May 23, 2018 1:34 am
Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
Reply to  Menicholas
May 23, 2018 4:36 am

There is a big difference. Tony Abbott has credibility.

May 23, 2018 1:39 am

Hey, am I the only one wishing Abbott had not done his part to not only perpetuate the 97% of climate scientists nonsense, but then to go ahead and extend it out to 98%?

Clive Bond
Reply to  Menicholas
May 23, 2018 3:21 am

Abbott called the climate scam bullshit. He never supported it. One of the reasons he was knifed in the back.

May 23, 2018 1:43 am

There is an old proverb, “a fish begins to rot from the head first”.
Which goes a long way to describing what is happening in Australian universitiies and Institutions of Higher Learning and to university research in this country all the way down the line into the early education establishments in this nation.

Reply to  ROM
May 23, 2018 2:00 am

Hmmm, proverbs, eh?
I had thought it was down to basic biology: The source of horseshit is the horse’s patoot.

Reply to  ROM
May 23, 2018 3:33 am

helped along by cr@p like this from aunty
a mate from usa sent me this..i dont watch abc tv(any tv actually) so managed to miss it.
its a pandemic of stupid and its got global spread pity theres no vax for stupid;-(

May 23, 2018 2:37 am

He didn’t afaik criticize climate change, only the idea that it affected coral. This much has been very obvious to marine biologists just by noting that the coral in Cuba and off Western Australia is pristine and known to be so because fishing boats and sun-creamed bathers are prohibited there. The fake connection of coral to climate change (manmade or otherwise) has been mainly about funding right from the start. Ridd threatened that funding.

May 23, 2018 4:29 am

“Sacking Peter Ridd Was an Attack on Science”
Yes history repeats itself. Hypatia, the first woman scientist, was murdered by the mob in 415 ending 700 years of science in Alexandria. Euclid to Hypatia was longer history than Galileo to Feynman (400 years). The death of Hypatia marked the beginning of the Dark Ages in the West. The Age of Enlightenment coincided with the life of Emilie du Chatelet, the second woman scientist, who was born in 1706

Ian Macdonald
Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
May 23, 2018 8:31 am

Murdered for much the same reasons as the attacks on climate sceptics. The tenets of Christianity required that the public accept things which make no sense when analyzed.
For example, why should an omnipotent being send his son to be killed so that he could forgive humanity? If he was omnipotent then there would be no need for such extreme cruelty. To suggest that it was necessary, implies that he is not omnipotent. But, if he is not omnipotent, then he is a liar because he claimed to be so. In which case, he is not good. It is a paradox, and one which once recognized, brings the whole of the religion into doubt.
Hence the whole concept of analytical thinking had to be suppressed.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Ian Macdonald
May 23, 2018 9:51 am

Sorry, your prejudice is showing. Even a cursory read of the events surrounding her death reveals you are, charitably, ignorant. She got caught in a simple power struggle and wound up as collateral damage. The fact that the central characters were churchmen is distasteful but her philosophy played no roll in her death.

Reply to  Ian Macdonald
May 24, 2018 3:25 am

Years before her death, the mob burned the Library of Alexandria. Science was considered a pagan practice. Fanatics hated Hypatia because her knowledge of astronomy undermined the authority of the Bishop.

Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
May 23, 2018 9:50 am

And he-she cannot be both omnipotent and omnipresent, otherwise earthquakes and tsunamis cannot happen. One of those claims must be false. Unless he-she just enjoys watching the ensuing mayhem.

Mike Graebner
Reply to  ralfellis
May 23, 2018 10:45 am

He can if those events allows an earth where human civilization can grow.

Reply to  ralfellis
May 23, 2018 11:11 am

It was tough to let my daughter learn from her mistakes … to let her fail or fall and get back up.
One of her friends had parents that did everything for her … protected her from everything.
One of her acquaintances had parents that actually pushed her into failure situations to make her learn.
They were all ‘A’ students. They are all in college now. They will all likely be successful. But can you guess which one is strongest at this point in their lives?

Reply to  ralfellis
May 24, 2018 3:47 am

The problem of evil was first articulated by Epicurus circa 300 BC. Is evil necessary for a good purpose? The end justifies the means. I’m sure it’s from Machiavelli. I’m not sure if he got it from the Bible or the Pope.

Reply to  ralfellis
May 25, 2018 2:07 am

Chapter XVIII from the Prince
“if a Prince succeeds in establishing and maintaining his authority, the means will always be judged honourable and be approved by every one. ”
However, notice the next sentence
“For the vulgar are always taken by appearances and by results, and the world is made up of the vulgar, the few only finding room when the many have no longer ground to stand on.”
So actually Machiavelli doesn’t say that “The end justifies the means”, he says that this is the opinion of the vulgar, more interested in the appearance than in the reality, and you can feel his contempt for the vulgar, don’t you?
What Machiavelli says is that the ruler or would-be ruler must use just every REQUIRED means, including just every possible crime, but NO more than required, or he will attract contempt and hatred (chapter XIX), causing his ruin.

May 23, 2018 6:17 am

The Michael Mann Award in academic retribution goes to JCU.

May 23, 2018 9:47 am

And scientists themselves have become dumbed down. When my paper went for peer review at the Royal Society, one of the esteemed professors said my explanation of the precession of the equinox was incorrect (that the earths axis precesses like a spinning top). Instead I should have written:
At any point in the 22 kyr precessional cycle, the Earth’s rotational axis is oriented at some angle to the line from the south pole to the north pole. At one extreme, the axis is tilted from south toward north when the Earth is closest to the Sun and the axis is tilted from north to south when the Earth is farthest from the Sun. At this point, the summers and winters are least severe in the Northern Hemisphere(current state).
Yeah, the axis of the earth not aligned with the north and south poles…! This is what passes for science nowadays.

May 23, 2018 10:09 am

Attack on science and attack on facts. Already the climate community has seen the devastating Wikipedia editing used by people such as William Connolley and his little helpers -including Eli Rabett- against climate scientists who do not conform to their orthodoxy.
Now the same style of attacks are done against those who do not conform through the “Philip Cross” Wikpedia account. One can read the strange saga at

May 23, 2018 10:21 am

Here is a (partial) list of those forced from their institutions by global warming thugs:
Peter Ridd – James Cook University. Australia
George Taylor – Oregon State Climatologist
Sallie Baliunas – Harvard Smithsonian
Pat Michaels – University of Virginia
Murry Salby – Macquarie University, Australia
Caleb Rossiter – Institute for Policy Studies
Nickolas Drapela, PhD – Oregon State University
Henrik Møller – Aalborg University, Denmark
Bob Carter, James Cook University, Australia
Regards, Allan

Reply to  Allan MacRae
May 23, 2018 10:48 am

And many more have been silenced (or retired early) due to such pressure. Judith Curry is another example of such silencing from academic halls and lecterns.

Jim Heath
May 23, 2018 12:15 pm

Since the Turnbull Coup it’s been all downhill. We are controlled by Brussels simple as that.

Bob Fernley-Jones
May 23, 2018 2:21 pm

Don Aitken wrote today in The Australian:
Don’t you dare upset the money-making engine
Peter Ridd, who was sacked last week by James Cook University, is a well-published professor in coastal oceanography, reef systems and peer review, and a former head of JCU’s school of physics.
When he drew attention to what he saw as exaggerations in the way fellow academics at his university were describing the condition of the Great Barrier Reef, he was “disciplined” by JCU and was told that if he did it again, he would be charged with serious misconduct. He wrote to me about this matter, and that email was seen by the university to be a further sign of misconduct.
Ridd decided he had enough and launched a legal suit against the university, claiming senior staff had been biased and had not acted fairly or in good faith.
Ridd has now been fired. Not many professors in Australian universities have ever been fired, and sacking should require some extraordinary misbehaviour on the part of the professor.
Ridd is not accepting his dismissal quietly and has raised a good deal of money very quickly through crowd-funding. There is going to be a court case.
This is a sad event in Australian higher education, for all sorts of reasons, and at its heart is the working of a new engine in ­academe.
In 1990, I gave an address in England, subsequently reprinted in Britain and Australia, deploring the extent to which research had become the be-all and end-all of appointment, promotion and honour in our universities.
That trend has continued, despite the awards for good teaching, which did not exist when I gave that address.
The engine works this way. There is strong pressure on all academics to bring in research grant money for the department, 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.
The staff members also will be aware of the opportunity they have to advance their careers and names through writing another version of their published journal article for The Conversation, an online journal in which academics can write in more accessible language for an inquiring lay readership, and call for the urgent supply of further research money.
The output of the engine is heightened recognition of the name of the university, the academics and their area, and, of course, the likely arrival of more research money. All those in the engine room think they are just doing their jobs.
None of this is much of a problem in the more recondite areas of academic research; string theory in physics, for example, or ­advanced econometrics in the social sciences. But it is a problem, and a rapidly growing one, in areas of research where what is actually the case is contested vigorously by others.
An eye has to be kept on the source of the money, which in our country is the Australian government. In the past 40 years, governments have become interested in universities’ finding academic support for what they are proposing or have in place. We are in an era of policy-based evidence.
Nowhere is tension clearer than in the case of research on the Great Barrier Reef. A bucketload of money has been devoted to the reef, and another $500 million was forecast in the budget. The reef, as is frequently said, is an Australian icon. An icon is a religious object. Ridd is a scientist, not a priest.
To have people such as Ridd decrying the hyperbole with which some research has been couched is obviously to imperil ­future grant money, and it would be understandable if academics within JCU have appealed to their vice-chancellor to shut Ridd up.
Something like this was presumably the reason Bob Carter, an internationally distinguished geologist at JCU who died in 2016, was stripped of his adjunct status (which meant he could not use the university library’s resources, a real penalty). Carter, like Ridd, was concerned to point to the errors of balance and rigour in research and publication on the reef.
There is no likely good outcome from this. Early on, I wrote to the JCU vice-chancellor to suggest she move to settle the issues quickly and away from the court.
JCU’s reputation can only worsen as the trial continues, while Ridd will spend his entire time raising money and defending his position. In the meantime, his students and colleagues have lost a fine teacher and associate. And who is giving attention to the ­engine room?
Don Aitkin is a former vice-chancellor of the University of Canberra and was foundation chairman of the Australian Research Council.

May 23, 2018 7:00 pm

I think it was UWA, not Curtin that didn’t want Lomborg.

May 24, 2018 8:03 am

Mike seeing that you have corrected it may I add that UWA did want him ( his methodology) as there was a $4 million grant attached (courtesy of the Abbott Govt). It was student and academic staff who objected and finally succeeded in UWA having to withdraw from the agreement with he Govt.

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