Plain English Lost on the High Court of Australia

Reposted from Jennifer Marohasy’s Blog

October 13, 2021 By jennifer 

Coral reefs can be messy, and so can court cases. And so it is with the case of Peter Ridd, sacked by James Cook University because he exercised his intellectual freedom. The only thing that is neatly settled from this case is apparently ‘the science’, never mind that this is only because anyone who publicly disagrees with it is censored or sacked. In the case of Peter Ridd, even after he managed to raise over A$1.4 million to appeal his sacking by James Cook University all the way to the High Court of Australia, he lost.

In a unanimous decision handed down this morning, the Court concluded that Dr Ridd’s right to intellectual freedom is constrained by the procedural requirements of James Cook University’s Code of Conduct. The High Court found his freedom of speech is limited only to his area of expertise. Those freedoms do not extend to issues about how the University is run, or whether the pronouncements made by its research institutions are trustworthy.

These matters are apparently internal; the University’s academics are obliged to follow procedure over these and, in particular, must be mindful when disciplinary matters are deemed confidential.

This sends a very strong message to all politically astute academics: if they are likely to make findings that do not accord with the consensus, these findings should be hidden within phrases that are unintelligible gobbledygook. In other words, their findings should be communicated in language that is meaningless, or is made unintelligible by the excessive use of technical jargon. They should certainly not translate their findings into plain English, or, worse, air them on national television, because that way the average Australian would have some understanding of what they are actually funding with their hard-earned taxes.

The climate science literature is replete with hidden meaning and technical jargon. The extent of the gobbledygook is such that the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently concluded that humans are the main cause of global warming and the role of the sun is inconsequential, never mind that there is an extensive prestigious scientific literature that arguably comes to the opposite conclusion – which is that much of the global warming we have been experiencing can be explained in terms of solar variability. This extensive literature was recently reviewed by Ronan Connolly, Willie Soon and 20 of their colleagues from 14 countries and published in the international journal Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics (Volume 21). However, it appears that tenured academics are not allowed to argue, at least not publicly.

There was a sense of irony this morning that made me smile. As I waited for the High Court judgement, I looked through a paper by Peter Ridd’s former colleagues – Emma Ryan, Scott Smithers and others – entitled ‘Chronostratigraphy of Bramston Reef reveals a long-term record of fringing reef growth under muddy conditions in the central Great Barrier Reef’ published in the very respectable journal Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Palaeoecology (Volume 441).

It would be difficult for the non-specialist to decipher this jargon-filled technical analysis that essentially supports what Peter Ridd has been saying for some years – and which earned him his first censure by the University, but, in short, it says there is still healthy coral reef in Bowen Harbour. It’s cold comfort, by the way, for the High Court to find in passing that the 2016 censure was unlawful, especially when it led directly to the 2018 censure, which, in turn, resulted in Peter’s employment being terminated. Anyway, I’m told Scott Smithers is a very competent scientist and an all-round good guy. He never replies to my emails. Perhaps this is because I could translate his gobbledygook into plain English. His potentially subversive publications would then be understood by the intelligent layperson for what they are – which is that they back up what Peter Ridd is saying in plain English and provide a very detailed explanation of how many inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef have been in decline for more than 1,000 years because of falling (yes, falling) sea levels.

The deceleration of reef growth occurred long before European settlement of the Queensland coast and was driven by natural constraints, probably associated with limited accommodation space due to late-Holocene sea-level fall. Our results demonstrate that mainland-attached reef initiation and accretion can occur in muddy inshore environments over long timeframes (centuries to millennia).

Because academics are not allowed to speak freely about controversial subjects most people have no understanding of the cyclical nature of sea levels. The general public are under the misconception that the most important global trend is one of sea-level rise. There are cycles within cycles and the most significant cycle has been one of sea-level fall, by some 1.5 metres over the last 2,000 or so years, notwithstanding that there has been sea-level rise of some 40 centimetres since the industrial revolution, which coincides with the end of the Little Ice Age (circa AD 1303 to AD 1835).

To put all of this in some context, along the Great Barrier Reef there is a large and variable daily tidal range. For example, at Hay Point the tide varies by as much as 7.14 metres; at Mackay by 6.58 metres; and at Gladstone by 4.83 metres. Sea levels have changed even more dramatically over geological time frames. For example, just 19,500 years ago, during the depths of the last major ice age, sea levels were 120 metres lower (yes, lower) than they are today. And the Great Barrier Reef did not exist. This very long record shows changes in temperature precede their parallel changes in carbon dioxide by 800 to 2000 years. This vital point establishes that carbon dioxide cannot be the primary forcing agent for temperature change at the glacial-interglacial scale, but this reality is mostly hidden by the modern astute geologist and ice-core expert who arguably cares more for his career than the truth. If this were not the case, they would be marching on Glasgow.

The modern Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system to have ever existed on planet Earth, according to Peter J. Davies writing in the Encyclopedia of Modern Coral Reefs. It is but a thin veneer growing on top of at least five previous extensive reef systems, each destroyed by dramatic falls in sea level in the past. The modern reef has grown up on top of extinct reefs, the last of which existed 120,000 years ago. In some places the depth of the coral growth since the last ice age, which had begun by 100,000 years ago, is 28 metres – layer upon layer. This growth is now constrained by sea level.

Filming far offshore with Clint Hempsall at one of the Ribbon Reefs on 21st January 2020. Many of the Ribbon reefs have dead reef crests. What Peter J. Davies describes as flat-topped platforms with live coral growth only around the perimeter. The evolution of these barrier reefs, found a long way off shore, is explained in my short documentary film, ‘Clowns on the Ribbon’s Edge’.

Many of the nearly 3,000 reefs that make up the modern Great Barrier Reef have a crest that is flat-topped because the most recent 1.5 metre drop in sea level has sliced this much off their tops. So, the crests of these reefs are dead coral that is thousands of years old, sometimes capped with coralline algae. These reef crests were dead long before European settlement. Yet it is surveys that include exactly this reef habitat, taken from the window of a plane by Peter Ridd’s nemesis Terry Hughes flying at an altitude of 150 metres, which have made media headlines around the world, and which suggest that the Great Barrier Reef is more than half dead.

Worse, they were used in a recent Australian Academy of Sciences report (March 2021) to claim the imminent demise of the Great Barrier Reef due to carbon dioxide emissions and thus the need for a commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions in Glasgow. It is all nonsense, and politics. But beware the academic who explains as much in plain English, especially following this morning’s ruling by the High Court of Australia.

Jennifer Marohasy at the mudflat to the west of Bramston Reef on 29th August 2019. Professor Hughes showed a photograph of this mud flat to 2,500 marine scientists who attended a conference in Cairns on 9th July 2012 and told them that the mud now covers what was once healthy coral reef, and that this reef is an example of the ‘sad decline’ of the Great Barrier Reef. In fact, Bramston reef is prograding to the seaward side beyond this mudflat as shown in the feature photograph with Peter Ridd at the very top of this blog post. Both photographs were taken on 29th August 2019, on the very lowest day tide for that year at Bowen.
Beyond the mudflat is Bramston Reef, and beyond Bramston Reef is Beige Reef. I took this photograph at Beige Reef on 25th August 2019. Corals at most reefs across the world are beige in colour.

On 2 May 2018, Peter Ridd was sacked by James Cook University for serious misconduct. It all started when he called-out Terry Hughes, whom he believed was falsely claiming that the inshore coral reefs at Bowen, specifically Bramston Reef, were dead because of climate change and the deteriorating water quality. It is the case that Professor Hughes was showing photographs of the mud flat as though it had replaced the coral reef that still exists to the seaward side.

Professor Ridd had been complaining quietly for years. He had already published peer-reviewed papers explaining in detail some of the serious issues with the official science. It was nevertheless a tough decision to go public, which he made in full knowledge that there could be consequences. At the same time there was a feeling of optimism; eventually, the truth would win out and the University would acknowledge the importance of implementing some form of quality assurance over the various pronouncements made by one or two high-profile academics. These academics, whom he believed were speaking beyond their area of expertise and hammering the theme of the reef being dead in order to progress their own personal political agenda and, at the same time, their careers.

Former Chairman of the Institute of Public Affairs, Janet Albrechtsen, wrote in The Australian on 25 July 2020:

Remember that Ridd wasn’t querying the interpretation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. He was raising questions, in one particular area of his expertise, about the quality of climate change science. One of the fundamental challenges of our generation is to get the science right so we can settle on the right climate change policies. JCU told Ridd to keep quiet, then it sacked him.

Peter Ridd did win the first round in the Federal Circuit Court back in April 2019. Judge Salvatore Vasta found in his favour and order that the 17 findings made by the University, the two speech directions, the five confidentiality directions, the no satire direction and the censure and the final censure given by the University and the termination of employment of Professor Ridd by the University were all unlawful.

Then the University appealed, and the Federal Court of Australia overturned the decision of the Federal Circuit Court. That decision, according to Dr Albrechtsen, has sent intellectual inquiry down the gurgler in the 21st century at an institution fundamental to Western civilisation:

Is that to be the legacy of JCU’s vice-chancellor Sandra Harding? And what oversight has JCU’s governing council provided to this reputational damage, not to mention the waste of taxpayer dollars, in pursuing a distinguished scientist who was admired by his students?

Following this decision, no academic can assume that an Australian university will allow the kind of robust debate held at Oxford University in 1860 between the bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, and Thomas Henry Huxley, a biologist and proponent of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The Historical Journal records how this legendary encounter unfolded: ‘The Bishop rose, and in a light scoffing tone, florid and fluent he assured us there was nothing in the idea of evolution: rock-pigeons were what rock-pigeons have always been. Then, turning to his antagonist with a smiling insolence, he begged to know, was it through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed his descent from a monkey? On this Mr Huxley slowly and deliberately arose. A slight tall figure stern and pale, very quiet and very grave, he stood before us, and spoke those tremendous words … He was not ashamed to have a monkey for his ancestor, but he would be ashamed to be connected with a man who used his great gifts to obscure the truth.

Not for nothing, Ridd’s lawyers submitted this example of intellectual freedom during the first trial. In sacking Ridd, and to win in court, JCU had to argue against the means that seeks the truth – intellectual freedom.

In deciding whether to grant special leave for the appeal, the High Court considered whether the case involved ‘a question of law that is of public importance’. It was the first time the High Court had been called upon to consider the meaning of ‘academic and intellectual freedom’, a term that is used in enterprise agreements covering staff at almost all Australian universities.

We now have a judgement. For the High Court, it seems that intellectual freedom is like a delicate flower that does not survive being plucked. It can be contemplated from afar but cannot be held or given as a gift. Intellectual freedom survives in academia only if limited to gobbledygook that alludes to the truth in such a way that no member of the pubic could understand how deeply that truth contradicts the official scientific consensus. Perhaps I already knew that.

Some argue there are other legal avenues – not through the courts – that could, perhaps, have been pursued and may have achieved a different outcome, but which may or may not have provided some vindication. But as for the courts: if you have to raise A$1.4 million and put in a further A$300,000 of your own money, as Peter Ridd has done, just to run one argument all the way to the High Court, how much would you need to fight on the substance of each issue? For sure the lawyers did well out of this case.

The alternative strategy might have been to try and get the matter raised under the Queensland whistle-blower legislation. Peter Ridd would at least have been, theoretically, protected while an investigation was conducted. The focus would have been on science rather than a narrow construction of employment law and the procedures laid out in the University’s Code of Conduct. But given the determination of James Cook University to silence its critics, and the need for this to have included testimony from colleagues desperate to avoid controversy – lest they are admonished by their family and communities for failing to be respectable, thereby jeopardising their own careers – it is unclear this would have been any more fruitful.

And so to this day there has never been any consideration given by the courts or any other independent body to the actual state of the corals in Bowen Harbour, including at Bramston Reef, even though this was the reason for the first censure that the High Court has ruled should not have been issued in the first place. Yes, the ruling this morning clearly states, in agreement with Judge Vasta, that Professor Ridd’s initial comments about his colleague Terry Hughes and the state of the corals in Bowen Harbour were reasonable and that the censure should not have been issued. Yet that is where all the other allegations subsequently came from as Peter Ridd tried to defend himself in the public domain.

There is more than one coral reef in Bowen Harbour. I like to refer to Bramston reef as the one the other side of the mudflat, it is the muddiest. There is a much prettier reef the other side of the channel and in the northeast facing bay of Stone Island at the entrance to Bowen Harbour, a reef that I have named Beige Reef. I produced a short documentary film about the extent of the scientific misrepresentation of these corals, to watch it scroll down at this link. The film, Beige Reef, was funded by the B.Macfie Family Foundation through the Institute of Public Affairs. In the film, I let people see for themselves rather than engage in gobbledygook. But sadly that’s a freedom no longer available to any serving academic at an Australian University.

Following today’s decision, Peter Ridd has accepted an invitation to join the Institute of Public Affairs as a Research Fellow, without salary, to lead a newly established project for ‘Real Science’. The Project’s aims are to improve science quality assurance and to support academics speaking out for integrity in science and research. You can support this project by way of a tax deductable donation to the IPA. It is the case that long ago scientific inquiry was mostly privately funded, now is your opportunity to be a part of this new initiative for open and honest inquiry.

Peter Ridd and Jennifer Marohasy in front of the mud flats which are to the west of Bramston Reef just to the south of Bowen. While at James Cook University, Peter Ridd studied suspended sediments in the coastal zone as an important natural limiting factor for the growth and health of inshore coral reefs.

Peter released the following statement today, immediately following the decision by the High Court:

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that we have lost the appeal in the High Court. We lost, in my opinion, because JCU’s work contract, under which I was employed, effectively kills academic freedom of speech – and the contract is effectively the law.

So, JCU actions were technically legal. But it was, in my opinion, never right, proper, decent, moral or in line with public expectations of how a university should behave.

I often ask myself, if I knew what was going to happen, would I have handled that fateful interview with Alan Jones and Peta Credlin in 2017 differently. Would I still say that, due to systemic quality assurance problems, work from a couple of Great Barrier Reef science institutions was “untrustworthy”?

It has cost me my job, my career, over $300K in legal fees, and more than a few grey hairs.

All I can say is that I hope I would do it again – because overall it was worth the battle, and having the battle is, in this case, more important than the result.

This is just a small battle in a much bigger war. It was a battle which we had to have and, in retrospect, lose. JCU’s and almost every other university in Australia and the western world are behaving badly. We have shown how badly.

Decent people and governments can see the immense problem we have. The universities are not our friends. Only when the problem is recognised will public pressure force a solution.

The failure of our legal action, and JCU’s determination to effectively destroy academic freedom of speech, demonstrates that further legislation is required to force universities to behave properly – especially if they are to receive any public funding. The Commonwealth government introduced excellent legislation in parliament early this year, partly in response to our legal case, to bolster academic freedom of speech. It is an excellent step in the right direction. If my case had been fought under this legislation, I would have had a better chance of winning. But it would still have been far from certain. There would still have been a clash between the new legislation and the work agreement.

There needs to be major punishment against universities for infringement of academic freedom of speech, such as fines or losing their accreditation. There needs to be active policing and investigations of the universities to make sure they comply and do not threaten academics with expensive legal action to stop the university’s behaviour becoming public. Universities must be told that they cannot spy on academic’s email communications (this should only be done by the police) or use secrecy directives to silence and intimidate staff. And all this protection for academics MUST be written into the work contracts to put the matter beyond legal doubt.

I am very mindful that I asked for, and received, donations of about $1,500,000 (in two GoFundMe campaigns of around $750k#) for the legal battle – from over 10,000 people. And I lost. Some of those donations were from people who have very slender financial resources. All I can say is that it weighs heavily on my conscience, but I hope they agree that it was still worth the battle.

A last thank you

I would like to express, one last time, my thanks to Stuart Wood AM QC, Ben Jellis, Ben Kidston, Colette Mintz, Mitchell Downes, Amelia Hasson and the rest of the team. They were fabulous. They did everything that was possible.

Thanks also to John Roskam, Gideon Rozner, Evan Mulholland, Morgan Begg and the Institute of Public Affairs. They backed me when things got tough. They are one of the few institutions in the country that will fight on issues of freedom of speech. I’d like to make a special mention of the IPA’s Jennifer Marohasy. She has been a great support over many years and played a crucial role in the critical early days of this fight.

Thanks to the National Tertiary Education Union. They supported the cause in court, even though my views on the Reef may well be opposed to the views of many of their members.

There are many politicians who have gone into bat on my behalf such as Matt Canavan, George Christensen, Pauline Hanson, Bob Katter, Gerard Rennick, Malcolm Roberts, Dan Tehan, and Alan Tudge (in alphabetical order). They obviously could not interfere with the legal proceedings, but were instrumental in bringing in the new academic freedom legislation.
There are many journalists and bloggers who helped spread the word, but I would particularly like to thanks Graham Lloyd from The Australian, Jo Nova, and Anthony Watts (WUWT).

There are also many other people, far too many to list, that I am thankful to. They will know who they are.

And finally, thanks to my family, and especially Cheryl.

On 29th August 2019 a few of us gathered in the pub at Bowen with Peter to yarn about Bramston reef, and how you need to walk the other side of that mudflat to find the corals. Beige Reef is the other side of Bramston Reef, across the channel and around the headland. Skipper Rob McCullough (sitting between Peter and me) gave freely of his time for the filming of Beige Reef, and sadly passed away earlier this year. Vale to Rob McCullough, and thank you for your enthusiasm. You would have said about today: it is but one battle lost, we will keep fighting for the truth.

Your donation to Peter Ridd’s ‘Project for Real Science’ will contribute to the production of more short documentary films. Thank you for reading this far, and don’t forget:

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Beyond Bramston Reef, still in Bowen Harbour, is the very pretty Beige Reef. This photograph was taken at Beige Reef on 25th August 2019. You can watch a film about this reef on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqFFqBuFVqU&t=77s

If public policy is to be based on evidence, as opposed to myth, then there is a need for all of us to fearlessly seek out the truth. Beyond this there is a need for expertise to be recognised, and valued, and the claims of activists to be always tested against the evidence. If we turn the other way, and choose to ignore these facts, on the basis they offend or are unkind to those we hold in high esteem, we cannot honestly consider ourselves, or our community, to be very civilised or educated. And finally, I have explained the four myths behind Peter Ridd’s sacking in a short report, that can be downloaded here.

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Tom Halla
October 13, 2021 6:17 pm

Peter Ridd was badly treated, but as Australians are effectively subjects, with no enforceable civil rights, expecting redress is just something that the elites are not obliged to respect.
Given the measures that the authorities were willing to impose with COVID, there are very few rights they are not entitled to violate. As no one has pulled out the pitchforks and torches on earlier civil rights violations, they feel safe.

Randy Stubbings
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 13, 2021 6:58 pm

Human progress dies when free speech dies. Hopefully the legislation will be enacted and force changes to stifling employment contracts.

Thomas Gasloli
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 14, 2021 3:54 am

Let us be blunt, Australians have no more freedom than the people of Hong Kong. Australia has become an embarrassment to the english speaking world. Yah, I know, Joe Biden, but he is senile; what is Scott Morison’s excuse?

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
October 14, 2021 4:14 am

At least Biden has to contend with the Bill of Rights. Progressives may think the US Constitution is outdated, but most of us don’t feel that way. And fortunately the 2nd Amendment keeps that government at bay.

Dave-E
October 13, 2021 6:28 pm

So if we follow the judge’s logic everybody has to stay in their specialized lane (i.e. bow to experts, don’t challenge them unless you have the proper “credentials”). So where does the moron in robes get the authority to,opine on anything except the law?

gringojay
Reply to  Dave-E
October 13, 2021 6:57 pm

Challenging experts is so 1950s – the public needs to just follow the science. Well, except since quite recently that thing about all adults taking aspirin for cardio-vascular health.

E65D213D-A765-47FE-A92F-EF1EB44B57F4.jpeg
ATheoK
Reply to  gringojay
October 13, 2021 7:11 pm

No.
DDT was banned because a Director caved to pressure and banned DDT.
No real evidence.
No real studies.
Ignores decades of beneficial use.

gringojay
Reply to  ATheoK
October 13, 2021 10:36 pm

So ATheoK you are stating DDT being sprayed on kids, as pictured above, was stopped being done because some “Director caved to pressure” ignoring “decades of beneficial use” spraying children?

Where did I show or imply anything about other usage of DDT?

buggs
Reply to  gringojay
October 14, 2021 11:34 am

It is actually a really interesting topic. I do not know the actual reason they stopped spraying kids with DDT but I suspect it is more because they found Lindane based shampoos were just as effective at controlling lice in an easier to apply form.

DDT itself is of moderate mammalian toxicity (113-800 mg kg rat) but really only upon ingestion. I suppose if children were chewing their hair there could be some exposure, but otherwise that specific use should have been quite safe.

Lindane on the other hand is 88-190 mg kg rat, so still moderate but higher on average than DDT.

Both are organochlorines, both were useful, but organochlorines tend to bioaccumulate so not necessarily the best options for long term exposure, to put it mildly.

I am of the opinion that DDT suffered more from a usage pattern problem than a toxicity or bioaccumulation problem (though the usage led to bioaccumulation). It certainly suffered from political problems as well.

One thing we do know is where we ban it in the third world as a space spray to aid in prevention of malaria, brown people tend to die. Something wealthy nations generally have little concern about. Or so it would seem.

For anyone wondering, back in the old days we described toxicity on the basis of LD50:
High toxicity = LD50 of 50 or under (small number bad)
Moderate toxicity = LD50 range of 51-500
Low toxicity = LD 50 of 501 or higher

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  gringojay
October 14, 2021 4:17 am

They change their mind about aspirin every other week, so you just have to find the “expert” on the side you want.

LdB
Reply to  Dave-E
October 14, 2021 2:37 am

So most climate scientists have no right to have an opinion on climate science 🙂

The extension of that is reports on electricity grids, economics etc produced by climate groups and activists has no standing they have no expertise in that field 🙂

One could get to love this legal interpretation.

Scissor
October 13, 2021 6:34 pm

That’s lemonade running down your back, proclaims the court.

Brian Pratt
October 13, 2021 6:50 pm

While I share everyone’s outrage at the court decision, I do think Jennifer is being a bit harsh in her dismissal of the Ryan et al. 2016 paper. (It is in an Elsevier journal so not available for free, but can be requested from the authors via ResearchGate.) It is fairly par for the course in a somewhat charged subject matter like the GBR. As an editor I would have flagged the obvious examples of self-promotion and politically correct-sounding but not useful comments for clarification (e.g. “A growing number of studies have linked changes in inshore coral reef ecology on the GBR with water quality declines associated with European modification of catchments”). The latter implies that reefs are and were only impacted by anthropogenic activities and not natural phenomena, which has been claimed but of course is not true. The statement is basically true, but one can imagine they did not want to single out too many individual papers (they cited three, not a “growing number”). To some extent this bias might reflect the overall experience of the authors as well. To me the real significance is the absence of anthropenic effects which, as Jennifer notes, basically not only supports Peter’s take on the GBR but has implications for reefs in the Caribbean, for example, which exhibit a range of *health* that flummoxes reef ecologists. Geologically, we assume that land-derived detritus is bad for reefs, but the Ryan et al. paper questions that, so this is important.
Another moral to the story, never let lawyers and judges deal with anything related to scientific and technical subject matter… GMO, asbestos, baby powder, DDT, glyphosate…

DHR
October 13, 2021 7:10 pm

I would like to donate but do not wish to provide my name and so forth. Is there a way to donate anonymously?

Editor
October 13, 2021 7:19 pm

The Australian newspaper report4edly (it is paywalled) says:
Physicist Peter Ridd and those who value intellectual freedom on campus may be forgiven for thinking the outcome of his High Court case is perverse. In Wednesday’s unanimous rejection of his appeal, the judges nonetheless concluded that Dr Ridd’s whistleblowing about the integrity of marine research was protected by the intellectual freedom provisions of the workplace agreement with his employer, James Cook University. And JCU was wrong to argue Dr Ridd had to show “courtesy and respect” towards the researchers he was criticising. The judges rightly said the purpose of intellectual freedom – to seek truth among contested ideas – must prevail over otherwise desirable norms.”

I find it despicable that the high court can uphold the sacking of Peter Ridd on grounds which surely would not have been applied for anyone else. In other words, the grounds for dismissal were selectively applied to Peter Ridd. I think then court should have picked that, and ruled that the university can’t pick and choose who they apply rules to based on other very different criteria, and that if the university wants the court to uphold their rule then they should first demonstrate that it has been applied equally to everyone.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Mike Jonas
October 13, 2021 9:38 pm

Dr. Ridd was sacked for violating confidentially agreements. Something which happened after the original dispute. The issue is that Dr. Ridd claimed that academic freedom meant that he could violate confidentially agreements while the University argued that academic freedom was not being infringed by the confidentially agreement about the results of displinary agreements and the high court agree.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 13, 2021 10:15 pm

You might want to rewrite that in English.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Rory Forbes
October 13, 2021 11:11 pm

Rory,
The timeline appears to be:
2016 — Dr. Ridd is censored by the University. Something the High Court has explicitly stated was wrong since he his original statements were protected by academic freedom.
2018 — Dr. Ridd appeals and the matter is settled under a confidentiality agreement.
2018 — Dr. Ridd violates the confidentiality agreement on multiple times despite being warned by the university. This involves discussing it with reporters and students. Furthermore he goes beyond the facts of the case to make degatorary comments about the University.

He is then sacked as a result of violating the confidentiality agreement. Dr. Ridd then makes the “inexplicable” decision (according the High Court) to argue that such an agreement violated his academic freedom rather than on the merits of the case (such as the fact that the decision was in the public domain) and the High Court decided that his academic freedom was not being infringed and that therefore JCU could legitimately sack him.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 14, 2021 12:15 am

The “agreement” did violate his rights. Forcing a confidentiality codicil on an issue that should have been transparent should have been unenforceable. The “court” is an ass.

Richard Page
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 14, 2021 2:25 am

You cannot enforce a gagging order on comments made about publicly released papers. What’s next – firing someone for a bad peer review or comments made on a website or to a journalist. Will Mikey Mann now be fired from Penn state for his alarmist comments to reporters? If academics do not have the freedom to discuss other papers in their area of expertise then the scientific process is finished.

markl
October 13, 2021 7:20 pm

Control the media and the courts and you control the government. Right under our noses Democracy is being squashed.

Duker
Reply to  markl
October 13, 2021 11:32 pm

Don’t be silly .Australia has few rights in it’s constitution -apart from a few like right to practise religion and to own property etc.
This has nothing to do with covid.

LdB
Reply to  markl
October 14, 2021 2:38 am

Put up candidates and win the popular vote and you can do whatever you like because you govern … but it’s much easier to man and complain I guess.

Ruleo
Reply to  LdB
October 17, 2021 12:55 pm

Put up candidates and win the popular vote

ROFLLOLOLOLOL

Voting means nothing. It’s all a sham. Where have you been for 12 months?

Craig from Oz
October 13, 2021 7:27 pm

An expensive ‘Win’ for James Cook.

All they managed to prove is that whoever wrote their work place contracts was legally very good at their job.

The court case has NOT proved that Ridd was wrong in his research conclusions. It just proved that JCU had a legal right to control what their employees published while they were working for them.

If anything this court ruling further reinforces the point that Universities are BUSINESSES. They don’t exist for the unfiltered improvement of human knowledge, they exist to keep the Academic Class living in the standards to which they have become accustomed.

Personally I go further, believing that the only purpose for most of higher education is to keep the unemployable out of the job market for as long as possible.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Craig from Oz
October 13, 2021 8:25 pm

What the case proved was that if you tell a reporter confidential details about a disciplinary hearing despite having being repeated told not you, your employer can fire you. The high court stated explicitly that Dr. Ridd was entitled to express his opinion about other people’s research and even do so in unflattering terms. What he was not allowed to do was violate confidentiality agreements.

harry
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 13, 2021 11:22 pm

Normally HR confidentiality rules are to protect the individual’s privacy, they aren’t there to protect the institution. If the individual wishes to forgo their privacy it is their choice. Why should an institution want confidentiality regarding its own actions against an employee? Surely their actions are lawful and fair, so why do they desperately need to hide behind confidentiality? They have already acknowledged that he was entitled to criticise others’ research, so there is nothing that needs protecting in these proceedings.

It looks like they have invoked a technicality to sack him when the purpose of those confidentiality provisions are to protect him and therefore are of no actual consequence to the case.

This finding by the High Court of Australia reminds me of the black school attendant who was sacked by the school board for using the word ni**er. He intervened when a child was being racially abused and when recounting what was being said to the child he repeated the words used, which included the n-word. The School Board sacked him on the basis of their “zero tolerance policy for the use of the word” – sad but true.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  harry
October 13, 2021 11:34 pm

Harry,
This is what the High Court said about the reasons for the confidentiality agreement:

“Subject to these limitations, the confidentiality provisions serve the legitimate interests of all parties to JCU’s dispute resolution processes, and of JCU itself in maintaining the integrity and efficacy of those processes. Those processes are not inconsistent with cll 13 and 14 of the Enterprise Agreement. Observance of the confidentiality provisions ensures that a member of staff with a just grievance against another member of staff is not intimidated or reduced to silent resignation by the willingness of a colleague to ignore or disrupt the dispute resolution processes of JCU.”

So at least according to the High Court confidential agreements serves to protect all members of staff and so violating it is a legitimate reason to dismiss someone. And again whether or not this was a technicality is beside the point since Dr. Ridd decided to argue that such an agreement violated his academic freedom something that not only the High Court disagreed with but stated was “inexplicitable” and that there were in fact fairly solid grounds to dispute the University’s decision.

Richard Page
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 14, 2021 2:35 am

It’s not the fact that such a confidentiality clause exists as a shield for some people, but that in this case the University misused it as a weapon to beat an academic into submission. The whole point of the case, which you seem to have completely missed, was the misuse of a confidentiality agreement as a gagging order or as a means to bully someone.

harry
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 14, 2021 2:50 am

The High Court found that the initial reason for action by JCU – the criticism of research was invalid. Hence he shouldn’t have been under a HR hold to begin with.
The use of the confidentiality clause to dismiss him is therefore clearly just an excuse to sack him as they initially (and illegally) intended.
What Ridd revealed was the details of the process he was being persecuted under – there was no confidentiality issues with other staff members.

Izaak Walton
October 13, 2021 7:37 pm

The judgement is worth reading in full. It makes the point explicitly that Prof. Ridd was il-advised and argued the wrong case. Paragraph 9 states:

“Dr Ridd did not dispute that each and every instance of his alleged actions had occurred. One curiosity about the manner in which his case has been presented at first instance and on both appeals is that he also did not dispute that each and every instance of his actions was properly characterised by JCU as misconduct or as serious misconduct. It may be, for example, that some of the information revealed by Dr Ridd, and said to be confidential, was in the public domain and thus its disclosure by Dr Ridd could not have amounted to misconduct, still less serious misconduct. Nor was any issue raised about whether conduct of Dr Ridd was serious misconduct on the basis that, as the majority of the Full Court concluded, some instances “were undoubtedly trivial”. The Full Court considered this stance of Dr Ridd to be “inexplicable”. But Dr Ridd chose not to contest any of the findings of serious misconduct other than on the basis that he was protected by cl 14.”

Basically the court is saying that Dr. Ridd could have made a much stronger case against dismissal since some of JCU’s claims were “undoubtedly trivial” but instead for some “inexplicable” reason Dr. Ridd’s lawyers made the wrong arguments and so they had no choice but to rule against him.

The high court also states that JCU was wrong to censure Dr. Ridd originally. The issue was that Dr. Ridd repeatedly did not accept the confidentiality requirements imposed by the university. Again paragraph 40 states:

“In summary, contrary to Dr Ridd’s submission, cl 14 cannot provide any protection against breaches of the Code of Conduct which involve disagreement with JCU decisions or JCU processes where the expression of disagreement involves a failure to respect the confidentiality of the parties involved, or the confidential information gathered, in breach of the obligation imposed by cl 54.1.5.”

Then in Paragraph 55 the high court suggests how Dr. Ridd should have argued his case:

“One of the curiosities of the manner in which Dr Ridd’s case was conducted was that he accepted that, subject to the intellectual freedom in cl 14, this comment involved serious misconduct, which must have been on the basis that the comment contravened Dr Ridd’s obligations of confidentiality under the Code of Conduct. He made no submission that the exception in cl 54.1.5 was engaged because the information was “already in the public domain”. Nor did he make any submission that his response suggesting that letters be sent to the Vice-Chancellor did not impair the confidentiality of any of the parties involved in the management of the disciplinary process or reveal any confidential information gathered or recorded. His sole submission – accepted by the primary judge, but rejected by the majority of the Full Court – was that confidentiality could not be infringed, and directions concerning confidentiality could not be given by JCU, if the confidential matters, or the directions, fell within the scope of the intellectual freedom. That submission should not be accepted for the reasons expressed in the section of these reasons concerned with the interpretation of cl 54.1.5.

mike
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 13, 2021 9:00 pm

As the Charles Dickens character Mr Bumble said “the law is an ass — an idiot” a phrase attributed to George Chapman, the playwright in the 1654 work ‘Revenge for Honour”.
How slowly do the wheels turn, here we are almost 4 centuries later and not much has changed.

The only winner from this whole sorry mess are the lawyers, certainly not the truth.

I can only hope that Australia as a nation recognizes the perils it faces.

Duker
Reply to  mike
October 13, 2021 11:39 pm

Not at all. Dr Ride has lost the battle but won the war.
The High Courts unanimous decision on the academic freedom side means others will benefit. The court allows for robust discussions in the area of academic discourse, so this means in future Universities will have to be very careful to be using disciplinary reasons for stifling academic disputes

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 13, 2021 11:47 pm

Truly pathetic, Zak. Dr. Ridd wasn’t fired for breaching confidentiality. He was fired because he dared to question the Warmunista gospel. And he did so with strong and unassailable evidence. Gerbil Worming is NOT bleaching the Great Barrier Reef. The lying liars were caught in their lies.

Which is what so perturbs and bothers Warmunista trolls. They try to change the subject, point crooked fingers, and make specious claims to cover up the telling fact that CAGW is a hoax and a half. All the hoorah and authoritarian nonsense about Green New Deals, Zero Carbon, Hotpocalypse tipping points, the Planetary End Is Nigh, and other Chicken Little monkey wrenching of society in favor of Marxist Dystopia is a caterwaul of hokum perped by dregs.

Give it up, trollers. Your lies are transparent, your motives malevolent, your actions arsonistic. You are on the wrong side of history. Your legacy is mendacity on a global scale. Ta ta, losers.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
October 13, 2021 11:51 pm

Mike,
Find me a single statement in the High Court judgement that supports your claim about why he was fired?

Jennifer Marohasy
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 14, 2021 3:49 am

The opinion of my colleague Gideon Rozner is perhaps relevant:

Why did we lose?

My reading of the judgment is that the High Court is saying – as is so often the case – “we support freedom of speech, but…”

In essence, the High Court found that Peter did in fact have a right to publicly criticise the quality of JCU’s climate science – even if such criticism was ‘discourteous’ – and should not have been disciplined by JCU for doing so. But because Peter ‘went public’ with JCU’s allegations against him, he was still in breach of the university’s ‘confidentiality directions’ which in effect meant that several of the JCU’s findings of ‘misconduct’ were upheld.

This is the relevant part of the judgment, which I’ve edited for brevity:

The essential question is whether, in interpretation of clause 14 of the Enterprise Agreement [relating to intellectual freedom], the clause should be qualified (i) by a requirement to afford respect and courtesy to others in the expression of issues and ideas in one’s field of competence and (ii) by obligations of confidentiality in relation to JCU’s disciplinary processes.

The best interpretation of clause 14 is that intellectual freedom is not qualified by a requirement to afford respect and courtesy in the manner of its exercise. That interpretation aligns with the long-standing core meaning of intellectual freedom.

That conclusion does not affect the outcome of this appeal. The only conduct that falls within the intellectual freedom in clause 14 is the expression of opinion within an area of academic expertise and the criticism of JCU decisions and processes through applicable processes which include obligations of confidentiality. [Read here]

In other words, Peter lost his appeal this week not because of anything he said about climate change and the Great Barrier Reef, nor even ‘how he said it’, but because he publicly objected to the way in which James Cook University pursued him.

What the High Court’s decision means for free speech

Many people who have read the judgment who I’ve spoken to have mentioned the fact that, if you read the High Court’s judgment, there are some really decent passages in there about the importance of intellectual freedom and the mission of a university.

To be honest, that’s cold comfort to me. Anyone can – and plenty of people do – wax lyrical about free speech, but what matters is what we do to defend it. Justices Kiefel, Gageler, Keane, Gordon and Edelman had a chance to enshrine true intellectual freedom in Australian common law forever. They gave us, at best, a series of passing references to free speech riddled with caveats.

But I must say, Chris Merritt’s piece in The Australian today did offer a good counterpoint:

James Cook University has just learned a terrible lesson: it might have won its fight against Peter Ridd but its reputation will never be the same. The High Court has found unanimously that this regional institution was wrong when it twice censured Ridd, a world-class academic, for making honest and lawful statements on matters within his expertise.

Those findings are a mark of dishonour that will never be expunged.

Potential students and academics will be able to see that this organisation was wrong to censure Ridd in 2016 for what it said was the tone and manner of his honestly held views… Future generations will see that the university was wrong to… tell him his intellectual freedom did not extend to criticising ‘key stakeholders of the university’ in a manner that was not “respectful and courteous”. [Read here $]

So in the end, Ridd v James Cook University turned on what JCU alleged and what the High Court ultimately maintained were ‘confidentiality breaches’. Peter’s sacking was upheld by way of a kind of process crime, similar to where a person is railroaded by the justice system for what they say during an investigation, even though that investigation is itself predicated on an unsubstantiated allegation. In this case, the court held that Peter should not have been censured by JCU over his comments about climate change and the Great Barrier Reef, but they were within their rights to sack him for objecting in public to the way he was being treated.

Interestingly, the absurdity of this was noted in the dissenting judgment of Justice Darryl Rangiah when Peter’s case was heard in the Federal Court last year, in which he warned about ‘a Kafkaesque scenario of a person secretly accused and secretly found guilty of a disciplinary offence but unable reveal, under threat of further secret charges being brought, that he or she had ever been charged and found guilty.’ [Read here]

But that, unfortunately, is exactly what the High Court has done. In declaring – as the judgment did – that JCU’s stream of gag orders against Peter had ‘nothing to do with academic freedom’, the court has endorsed a culture of intimidation and censorship in our universities. As Morgan Begg wrote in The Australian today:

The implication seems to be that the university could launch an unlawful investigation against an employee, but it would be entirely lawful to force the employee to keep it a secret, in the eyes of the High Court. […]

But what the Court failed to recognise is that the entire campaign against Ridd flowed from the 2016 investigation. It was only then that Ridd fell within the crosshairs of censorious university administrators.

Moreover its endorsement of the university’s star chamber disciplinary system is a staggering rejection of natural justice, all the worse coming from the final court of appeal in the Australian legal system. [Read here]

Old Retired Guy
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 14, 2021 5:33 am

I think the point is, this persecution of Mr. Ridd would not have occurred if he had not been challenging the CO2 is bad religion.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Old Retired Guy
October 14, 2021 12:49 pm

Of course that’s the point. How many other world class scientists at JCU have been censored, kangaroo courted, and then fired for airing the facts? Answer: none.

The facts are not allowed. The Truth is subservient to the authoritarian monsters who throttle freedom. In the dark recesses of JCU’s inquisition torture chamber the Truth is a crime that will get the victim excommunicated with vengeance. One victim in particular, Dr. Ridd.

Galileo faced the same sort of star chamber in 1633. Recant or be cancelled, in his case a life sentence in prison with medieval torture devices. So Galileo recanted. He was 69 and frail. Instead he was sentenced to house arrest, locked down, banned from teaching or otherwise communicating the truth that the earth orbits the sun. The Church apologized in 1992, 359 years later.

Will JCU apologize in 359 years? It’s doubtful, because that hoax of a “university” is doomed to irrelevance and decadent atrophy that will end it’s sorry existence in the near future. I give it 10 tortured years and then the whole enterprise will be ash canned. A degree from JCU won’t get you a job flipping roo burgers. Not worth the effort let alone the expense.

Yossarian
October 13, 2021 9:24 pm

We know what’s wrong with Australia. The question is, what’s wrong with Australians?

Rory Forbes
October 13, 2021 10:13 pm

Australia is on track in setting up a police state that Goebbels would have been proud of. It seems they already have the Gestapo methods well in hand and are now employing the suitably obedient storm troopers to get the job done. The appropriately trained judiciary, necessary to maintain “order” is already fully functional. Well done Australia.

Duker
Reply to  Rory Forbes
October 13, 2021 11:42 pm

That is complete and utter nonsense. Invoking Godwin’s law doesn’t help

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Duker
October 14, 2021 12:00 am

You’re a little confused, son. I didn’t “invoke” anything of the sort. I merely connected an appropriate model to a shocking degeneration of a once civil society. Australia is a disgrace.

Rod Evans
October 14, 2021 12:33 am

A very sad outcome for Peter and for science in general.
The ruling is basically saying, you can be a scientist with an opinion, but that opinion must not be voiced unless the agent employing you, gives you permission to speak.
A more frightening method of censoring scientific investigation it would be hard to find.
The one thing we have learned from Peter’s fight is, the establishment will go to any length and spend any amount of public money to retain their perceived position of superiority.
I hope they fully realise how dangerous the society they are building will become.

Greg
October 14, 2021 12:50 am

This sends a very strong message to all politically astute academics: if they are likely to make findings that do not accord with the consensus, these findings should be hidden within phrases that are unintelligible gobbledygook. In other words, their findings should be communicated in language that is meaningless, or is made unintelligible by the excessive use of technical jargon.

Err, no. According to your previous paragraph, that is the exact opposite of what the ruling says.

The High Court found his freedom of speech is limited only to his area of expertise.

Rod Evans
October 14, 2021 1:06 am

When you take the stand in any Western court, you are commanded to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
That is what Peter Ridd did. He spoke the truth. As a consequence of him speaking the truth admitting the comments he made in public may have breached the confidentiality clauses in his contract. His reasons for speaking out however, were considered so important he was prepared to risk censure. The truth must be allowed to be pursued in science or there is no point in science. Without the truth, and without the ability to speak the truth which is the ultimate defence of conduct, we are left with nothing but beliefs. Beliefs exist for the believers, they are untested, because to test the belief is to question the authority behind the belief. That is called religion, not science.
Paraphrasing, In God we trust, everyone else bring me “real” data.

Mr.
Reply to  Rod Evans
October 14, 2021 7:29 am

It’s as if the employer institutions are asserting copyright/ ownership over scientists’ findings.

nankerphelge
October 14, 2021 2:19 am

How sad. I remember many maverick Professors and Tutors at University (1969-1972) and although I thought some were mad they had their fans and that was a productive, intellectual environment. You could actually debate things, not get shouted down as a witch or flat earther. I wish no-one suffering but maybe this European Winter might adjust thinking?

observa
October 14, 2021 2:27 am

The problem was Peter wasn’t inclusive enough and culturally sensitive with his findings-
Climate study linking early Maori fires to Antarctic changes sparks controversy (msn.com)
Actually he mightn’t even be of the appropriate culture at all. You have to contextualize all these climate science findings into the approved paleo reviewed Groupthink.

October 14, 2021 3:52 am

Totalitarian states use mass media scares and brainwashing to bring the people into compliance, so that rather than unwilling participants, even apparently reasonable people can become sycophants and supporters of the most appalling crimes.

We are clearly living through another example of Totalitarianism, but this time on a global and therefore utterly appalling scale … particularly as every previous example of Totalitarianism has ended in the mass deaths of millions.

bluecat57
October 14, 2021 4:35 am

And the attorneys’ fees. I’m sure the attorneys’ fees were neatly settled.

Mr.
Reply to  bluecat57
October 14, 2021 7:30 am

Never any arguments there.

Dean
October 14, 2021 4:57 am

Well the upside of him not being a part of the University is he can call out all the bullshit with no let up.

Olen
October 14, 2021 7:24 am

The court should be congratulated in that they have come a long way from burning people at the stake. They however have brought shame to the judicial system in that they ruled on protocol and rules rather than truth in science.

The question is, are hurt feelings the primary deciding factor or is it acceptable to have robust scientific debate. In other words are these men or not.

Andy Pattullo
October 14, 2021 9:26 am

The truth is our sustenance. Peter Rudd and Jennifer Marohasy are among the many heroes who bring it to our table, often at their own hazard. The world is a much brighter place thanks to their courage, integrity and intelligence.

Robert of Texas
October 14, 2021 12:44 pm

So if the Great Barrier Reef still exists in 10 years despite rising CO2, will the Univeristy review it’s ridiculous published research? Of course not. They can say anything and get away with it.

This is not intellectual freedom, nor is it scientifically supported research – it’s propaganda plain and simple. And the courts are allowing it.

tygrus
Reply to  Robert of Texas
October 22, 2021 9:05 pm

20 years later, the GBR will be listed as endangered because it may only have 10 years left..
Totally ridiculous but they don’t get funding if there is no problem.

JD Ohio
October 14, 2021 9:14 pm

80-85% of the Court’s decision seems to support free speech. However, apparently in Australia universities have the right to keep employment issues confidential until a lawsuit is filed. The University made a good number of allegations (I would bet that many were trivial) that Ridd did not challenge as being violative of university’s rules. He said he had a 100% right to ignore the confidentiality rules because of his right to free speech. (An all or nothing approach to legal argument which was noted by court) Court said some confidentiality rules are legitimate. You lose because you don’t have a 100% right to ignore the rules. I am not an Australian lawyer, but I can say in some analogous situations, it would make sense not to take the all or nothing approach, which in fact mystified this court.

My main take is that the decision in the bigger picture is wrong, but it is not catastrophically wrong. If you cross your “t”s and dot your “i”s you still have freedom of speech rights in Australia. An example of the flavor of the court’s ruling is below.

“At the high level of principle at which this appeal was argued, the essential

question is whether, in the interpretation of cl 14 of the Enterprise Agreement, the.

intellectual freedom should be qualified (i) by a requirement to afford respect and

courtesy to others in the expression of issues and ideas in one’s field of competence

and (ii) by obligations of confidentiality in relation to JCU’s disciplinary processes.

The best interpretation of cl 14, having regard to its text, context, and purpose, is

that the intellectual freedom is not qualified by a requirement to afford respect and

courtesy in the manner of its exercise. That interpretation aligns with the

long-standing core meaning of intellectual freedom. Whilst a prohibition upon

disrespectful and discourteous conduct in intellectual expression might be a

“convenient plan for having peace in the intellectual world”, the “price paid for

this sort of intellectual pacification, is the sacrifice of the entire moral courage of

the human mind”37. The 2016 Censure given to Dr Ridd was, therefore, not

justified.

That conclusion does not affect the outcome of this appeal. The only

conduct that falls within the intellectual freedom in cl 14 is the expression of

opinion within an area of academic expertise and the criticism of JCU decisions

and processes through applicable processes which include obligations of

confidentiality. This litigation concerned conduct by Dr Ridd far beyond that of

the 2016 Censure, almost none of which was protected by the intellectual freedom

in cl 14. That conduct culminated in the termination decision, a decision which

itself was justified by 18 grounds of serious misconduct, none of which involved

the exercise of intellectual freedom. Since this appeal was run on an all-or-nothing

basis, the appeal should be dismissed. There should be no order as to costs.

Michael in Dublin
October 15, 2021 8:53 am

There are essentially two reasons for using gobbledygook:
to sound learned but to conceal your real ignorance or
to disingenuously conceal what you are not willing to say in plain language.

As one who has grappled with a number of classical and modern languages, I cannot help but notice how climate alarmists abuse language. The one common feature of all languages is that there is a close correlation between patterns and meaning. We subconsciously use the patterns to get to the meaning. This works well when language is carefully used. We are also able to understand sloppily used language because of how it deviates from the expected patterns.

However, when language is used not to communicate clearly but to deceive, it can become far more difficult for the average person. Strictly a word without a context does not have a meaning but what often comes to mind then is the particular meaning that is most frequent – first in a dictionary. Those who abuse language conflate meanings or read in meanings that are never found in normal usage. How often do we see the phrase “climate change” clearly defined at the beginning of a discussion? How valid or accurate is the adjective “extreme” as in “extreme weather“? Why is the word “climate” used as if it were some amorphous or shapeless thing wrapped around our planet? We not only have different climates but within each climate zone we have day and night, seasons, rainfall, a whole range of weather conditions – a countless number of variables.

We need to make every effort to express ourselves clearly, to reason cogently and to challenge the flawed logic of our detractors.

Mervyn
October 15, 2021 7:00 pm

The problem with science and scientists is that when there is a government political agenda (climate change) funded by piles of taxpayer’s money to support that agenda, scientific credibility goes out the window as scientists forget their role and get on board that government agenda. Even the Royal Society seems to have forgotten its motto – Nullius in verbs – take nobody’s word for it.

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