Great Barrier Reef Marine Scientist Dr. Peter Ridd has halted donations to his GoFundMe page, after it reached the necessary financial target, allowing him to seek an end to a long running court battle over freedom of speech.
The scientist was sacked from James Cook University after the University claimed he’d breached “codes of conduct” by criticising other scientists for being too ‘emotional and not objective’ enough.
Ridd challenged the decision, and originally won his case of unfair dismissal, but that ruling was overturned by the Federal court, and is now being challenged in the High Court of Australia.
The cancelled (alleged) “climate denier’s” crime was challenging groupthink assumptions about Climate Change which hinders the scientific method, and taints research.
Since then, offended activists, whose apocalyptic climate change beliefs were challenged by Dr. Ridd, have been falling over themselves to reduce damage done to apocalyptic predications (read: narrative) which they say justifies cancelling Dr. Ridd.
Ridd’s opposition to the standard hegemonic Climate Change party-line is summed up in an article for The Australian in 2020, where Dr. Ridd criticised a report from The International Union for Conservation of Nature which he said, ‘blames climate change, agricultural pollution, coastal development, industry, mining, shipping, overfishing, disease, problematic native species, coal dust — you name it, [for allegedly] killing the reef.’
The report didn’t take important factors about the life of the reef into account, such as that,
‘The reef occasionally conspires to give the impression it is dying. All these events are entirely natural and are part of life on the reef. Sixty years ago, when these cycles of death and destruction were first being discovered by scientists, it was legitimate to be concerned about whether they were unnatural. But there is now abundant evidence, almost totally ignored by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, that the reef is fine. The coral always recovers vigorously after major mortality events.’
The Marine Scientist damned the report as a ‘rehash of old, mostly wrong or misleading information produced by generally untrustworthy scientific institutions with an activist agenda and no commitment to quality assurance.’
The Leftist cancel Ridd campaign hasn’t subsided.
Witnessed by responses to his criticisms, chief among them being his assertions in The Australian, that ‘the amount of coral, while fluctuating dramatically from year to year, is about the same today as when records began in the 1980s.’
An AAP Factcheck, funded by the NGO, Australian Conservation Foundation and published by The Courier, claimed Ridd’s statement was “partly true,” but emphasised that ‘annual surveys of the reef show significant fluctuations in coral cover, and for this reason it may be difficult to assess the reef’s future health based on the readings alone.’
Consequently, the Factcheck accused Ridd of making “baseless” generalised statements, because he only ‘provided figures which combined the three regions in the annual surveys to show the coral cover on the reef as a whole.’
Thus, Ridd’s claim was written off as “mostly false” based on what they asserted was a consensus among “experts and officials” whose counter-claim is that while ‘average coral readings for the past decade have been well below both long-term averages and those from the 1980s. In sum, the condition of the reef [suggests] its health had deteriorated and continued to decline.’
In addition, the AAP Factcheck seemed to imply that Ridd’s professional assessment was reckless because it took the spotlight (the cynic in me reads this as potential funding) away from those who claim that ‘climate change was predicted to negatively affect the growth and recovery of the reef. Its likely impacts included more frequent storms and bleaching events.’
In his defence Dr. Ridd pointed out the problems of statistical data: it can be loosely applied to forge an image that misrepresents the reality.
In response, the AAP Factcheck tu quoque’d Dr. Ridd, suggesting that he has ‘made similar comparisons in his column when he argued that there had been essentially no change in reef cover since the 1980s.’
The AAP Factcheck’s conclusions appear, in the end, to be based on confirmation bias regarding apocalyptic climate change predications, and only loosely on the historical data Dr. Ridd was referencing.
Historical data that Jim Steele’s expositional piece ‘Coral Bleaching Debate’, published on Judith Curry’s ‘Climate Etc.’ in 2016 appears to back up.
Peter Ridd faces the same ready-made Leftist gallows as cancelled Climate Scientist, Judith Curry, and Australian Geologist Ian Plimer, who’s against-the-stream facts, and straight talk threaten the gargantuan amounts of dollars being plunged into NGOs, from people who’ve been conditioned by the Climate Change Apocalypse narrative, to fear the worst, and “follow the science.”
Fear easily separates a fool from his or her money, and the well-oiled (no pun intended) marketing machine that is today’s fashionable “climate emergency,” is big business.
It’s no wonder “follow the science” activists are so eager to cancel Scientists for doing that very thing.
As Dr. Ridd explained, I was ‘fired for saying that, because of systemic problems with quality assurance, work from JCU coral reef centre, which also publishes extensively on climate change, was untrustworthy. I believe what I said was true and have given plenty of published evidence to support that statement.’
He added, ‘the case has already demonstrated a major problem with Academic Freedom of Speech at a university. This may be the most important long-term implication of the case.’
Peter Ridd’s case is set to be heard by the High Court of Australia at 10:00am on Wednesday, 23 June 2021 in Court No. 1, Parkes Place, Canberra, with the final judgement being handed down sometime after.
First published on Caldron Pool, 16th April 2021.
©Rod Lampard, 2021.