Skepticism about science and medicine

In search of disinterested science

Australian university fires climate-change dissenter: dissent is not collegial…

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2018/09/08

Just another bit of evidence of politically correct dogmatism in science; see Dogmatism in Science and Medicine: How Dominant Theories Monopolize Research and Stifle the Search for Truth, McFarland 2012

Tenured professor Peter Ridd, a marine scientist, was fired from James Cook University (Queensland, Australia), for sharing with a journalist his view that certain published work is misleading:

“Ridd’s expertise is in coastal oceanography and the impact of sediments on reefs and, for years, he has criticised research suggesting the Great Barrier reef is in serious trouble due to global warming and agricultural run-off, among other things. He claims the research lacks quality assurance, isn’t replicated often enough, and that the peer review system for research is inadequate. . . .
His trouble started in April 2016 when he received a ‘formal censure’ for ‘misconduct’. It was a curious incident: the university had got hold of an email that Ridd sent to a journalist a few months before. In it, he urged the journalist to look into work Ridd had done suggesting that photographs released by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority indicating a big decline in reef health over time were misleading …
the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies – based at James Cook University –‘should check their facts before they spin their story . . .’

This was enough for the university to censure Ridd on the grounds that he breached the code of conduct by ‘going to the media in your professional capacity in a way that was not collegial and did not respect the rights of others or uphold professional standards’. It was a warning. Ridd could make public comments but they ‘must be in a collegial manner that upholds the university and individuals’ respect’”.

In other words, don’t offer evidence that contradicts the mainstream view, especially if there are mainstream proponents in your own university.

Academic freedom to teach and publish?

Open-minded science that respects evidence?

Read the full article in The Guardian: Gay Alcorn, “Peter Ridd’s sacking pushes the limit of academic freedom”. Note that the journalist, Alcorn, takes human-caused climate change as Gospel truth, yet recognizes that the University fired Ridd because he sought media prominence for his views and refused to allow himself to be censored into not speaking publicly about the University’s actions against him. The Guardian, a stalwart supporter of left-leaning political correctness, could not quite bring itself to state straightforwardly that the university stepped way over the line as to academic freedom, but that’s a minor quibble; I congratulate Gay Alcorn and The Guardian for straight, unbiased reporting.

Ridd has sued the University and raised funds for his legal costs though crowd-funding; “the court hearing has been set for 12, 13 and 14th November”.


2 Responses to “Australian university fires climate-change dissenter: dissent is not collegial…”

  1. Vortex said

    The same situation in psychiatry:

    A quote from the article (between the lines):


    “I tried to question the psychoanalytic belief system, but it was not possible to argue with believers. Their argumentation didn’t follow any logic known to me. One colleague said that psychoanalysis must be a valid system because it had been there for so many years. Another said that my criticism of psychoanalysis must be caused by some mental health issue of my own. He said that I probably had some issues with attachment that made it difficult for me to commit to the kind of long-term relationships that are required for long-term therapy. A third one said that I was not in any position to criticize psychoanalysis because I was not sufficiently analyzed myself. Two colleagues, both psychoanalytic child psychiatrists, filed a complaint about me to the ethical committee of the Finnish Medical Association, accusing me of non-collegial behavior as I had publicly criticized child psychiatric treatment methods without being a child psychiatrist myself. According to the complaint — which was turned down by the ethical committee — adult psychiatrists like me were not entitled to present criticism toward child psychiatry. Criticism toward the field of child psychiatry, according to them, could only be presented by child psychiatrists, not adult psychiatrists.”


    Disagreement as “non-collegial behavior”. Accusations of mental problems (if not mental illness) and general personal faults. De-facto ban to criticise outside the confines of one’s narrow area of research and/or practice. Attempts to repress, censor and defame.

    Sounds so strangely similar to all other scientific and medical controversies, isn’t it?

    So it was quite hilarious when the Mad in America people were angry at you for telling them about the bigger picture (remember that, Dr. Bauer?). People tend to believe that it is only some specific area of the modern academia that faces severe problems, while in fact it is a pervasive systemic phenomenon.


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