Climate science’s ‘masking bias’ problem

Climate Etc.

by Judith Curry

How valid conclusions often lay hidden within research reports, masked by plausible but unjustified conclusions reached in those reports.  And how the IPCC institutionalizes such masking errors in climate science.

View original post 2,521 more words

Advertisements

Al Gore Serial Science Denier

Science Matters

Everett Piper writes in the Washington Post Times The party of science deniers. Excerpts In italics with my bolds.

This past Wednesday, May 29, former Vice President Al Gore spoke to the graduating seniors at Harvard University. A summary of his talk? There is an “assault on science” that threatens “the capacity of the human species to endure” on planet Earth.

Mr. Gore proceeded to warn both students and faculty at Wednesday’s annual Class Day convocation, stressing that “reason” and “rational debate” were under threat from what he called “ideology of authoritarianism” by those who disagree with him and his political agenda.

Science “is now being slandered as a conspiracy based on a hoax,” Mr. Gore said. “The subordination of the best scientific evidence is yet another strategy for controlling policy by distorting and suppressing the best available information.”

This is the man who told us in 2006 that…

View original post 667 more words

Required Reading: NIPCC 2019 Summary on Fossil Fuels

Science Matters

Those who seek the truth about global warming/climate change should welcome this latest publication from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). Excerpts from the Coauthors’ introduction in italics with my bolds. H/T Lubos Motl

Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels assesses the costs and benefits of the use of fossil fuels (principally coal, oil, and natural gas) by reviewing scientific and economic literature on organic chemistry, climate science, public health, economic history, human security, and theoretical studies based on integrated assessment models (IAMs). It is the fifth volume in the Climate Change Reconsidered series and, like the preceding volumes, it focuses on research overlooked or ignored by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

NIPCC was created by Dr. S. Fred Singer in 2003 to provide an independent peer review of the reports of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Unlike the…

View original post 500 more words

Scientific Hubris and Global Warming

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Scientific Hubris and Global Warming

Guest Post by Gregory Sloop

Notwithstanding portrayals in the movies as eccentrics who frantically warn humanity about genetically modified dinosaurs, aliens, and planet-killing asteroids, the popular image of a scientist is probably closer to the humble, bookish Professor, who used his intellect to save the castaways on practically every episode of Gilligan’s Island. The stereotypical scientist is seen as driven by a magnificent call, not some common, base motive. Unquestionably, science progresses unerringly to the truth.

This picture was challenged by the influential twentieth-century philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn, who held that scientific ”truth” is determined not as much by facts as by the consensus of the scientific community. The influence of thought leaders, rewarding of grants, and scorn of dissenters are used to protect mainstream theory. Unfortunately, science only makes genuine progress when the mainstream theory is disproved, what Kuhn called a “paradigm shift.” Data which conflict with the mainstream paradigm are ignored instead of used to develop a better one. Like most people, scientists are ultimately motivated by financial security, career advancement, and the desire for admiration. Thus, nonscientific considerations impact scientific “truth.”

This corruption of a noble pursuit permits scientific hubris to prosper. It can only exist when scientists are less than dispassionate seekers of truth. Scientific hubris condones suppression of criticism, promotes unfounded speculation, and excuses rejection of conflicting data. Consequently, scientific hubris allows errors to persist indefinitely. However, science advances so slowly the public usually has no idea of how often it is wrong.

Reconstructing extinct organisms from fossils requires scientific hubris. The fewer the number of fossils available, the greater the hubris required for reconstruction. The original reconstruction of the peculiar organism Hallucigenia, which lived 505 million years ago, showed it upside down and backwards. This was easily corrected when more fossils were found and no harm was done.

In contrast, scientific hubris causes harm when bad science is used to influence behavior. The 17th century microscopist Nicholas Hartsoeker drew a complete human within the head of a sperm, speculating that this was what might be beneath the “skin” of a sperm. Belief in preformation, the notion that sperm and eggs contain complete humans, was common at the time. His drawing could easily have been used to demonstrate why every sperm is sacred and masturbation is a sin.

Scientific hubris has claimed many. many lives. In the mid 19th century, the medical establishment rejected Ignaz Semmelweis’ recommendation that physicians disinfect their hands prior to examining pregnant women despite his unequivocal demonstration that this practice slashed the death rate due to obstetric infections. Because of scientific hubris, “medicine has a dark history of opposing new ideas and those who proposed them.” It was only when the germ theory of disease was established two decades later that the body of evidence supporting Semmelweis’ work became impossible to ignore. The greatest harm caused by scientific hubris is that it slows progress towards the truth.

Record keeping of earth’s surface temperature began around 1880, so there is less than 150 years of quantitative data about climate, which evolves at a glacial pace. Common sense suggests that quantitative data covering multiple warming and cooling periods is necessary to give perspective about the evolution of climate. Only then will scientists be able to make an educated guess whether the 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit increase in earth’s temperature since 1930 is the beginning of sustained warming which will negatively impact civilization, or a transient blip.

The inconvenient truth is that science is in the data acquisition phase of climate study, which must be completed before there is any chance of predicting climate, if it is predictable [vide infra]. Hubris goads scientists into giving answers even when the data are insufficient.

To put our knowledge about climate in perspective, imagine an investor has the first two weeks of data on the performance of a new stock market. Will those data allow the investor to know where the stock market will be in twenty years? No, because the behavior of the many variables which determine the performance of a stock market is unpredictable. Currently, predicting climate is no different.

Scientists use data from proxies to estimate earth’s surface temperature when the real temperature is unknowable. In medicine, these substitutes are called “surrogate markers.” Because hospital laboratories are rigorously inspected and the reproducibility, accuracy, and precision of their data is verified, hospital laboratory practices provide a useful standard for evaluating the quality of any scientific data.

Surrogate markers must be validated by showing that they correlate with “gold standard” data before they are used clinically. Comparison of data from tree growth rings, a surrogate marker for earth’s surface temperature, with the actual temperature shows that correlation between the two is worsening for unknown reasons. Earth’s temperature is only one factor which determines tree growth. Because soil conditions, genetics, rainfall, competition for nutrients, disease, age, fire, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and consumption by herbivores and insects affect tree growth, the correlation between growth rings and earth’s temperature is imperfect.

Currently, growth rings cannot be regarded as a valid surrogate marker for the temperature of earth’s surface. The cause of the divergence problem must be identified and somehow remedied, and the remedy validated before growth rings are a credible surrogate marker or used to validate other surrogate markers.

Data from ice cores, boreholes, corals, and lake and ocean sediments are also used as surrogate markers. These are said to correlate with each other. Surrogate marker data are interpreted as showing a warm period between c.950 and c. 1250, which is sometimes called the “Medieval Climate Optimum,” and a cooler period called the “Little Ice Age” between the 16th and 19th centuries. The data from these surrogate markers have not been validated by comparison with a quantitative standard. Therefore, they give qualitative, not quantitative data. In medical terms, qualitative data are considered to be only “suggestive” of a diagnosis, not diagnostic. This level of diagnostic certainty is typically used to justify further diagnostic testing, not definitive therapy.

Anthropogenic global warming is often presented as fact. According to the philosopher Sir Karl Popper, a single conflicting observation is sufficient to disprove a theory. For example, the theory that all swans are white is disproved by one black swan. Therefore, the goal of science is to disprove, not prove a theory. Popper described how science should be practiced, while Kuhn described how science is actually practiced. Few theories satisfy Popper’s criterion. They are highly esteemed and above controversy. These include relativity, quantum mechanics, and plate tectonics. These theories come as close to settled science as is possible.

Data conflict about anthropogenic global warming. Using data from ice cores and lake sediments, Professor Gernot Patzelt argues that over the last 10,000 years, 65% of the time earth’s temperature was warmer than today. If his data are correct, human deforestation and carbon emissions are not required for global warming and intervention to forestall it may be futile.

The definitive test of anthropogenic global warming would be to study a duplicate earth without humans. Realistically, the only way is develop a successful computer model. However, modeling climate may be impossible because climate is a chaotic system. Small changes in the initial state of a chaotic system can cause very different outcomes, making them unpredictable. This is commonly called the “butterfly effect” because of the possibility that an action as fleeting as the beating of a butterfly’s wings can affect distant weather. This phenomenon also limits the predictability of weather.

Between 1880 and 1920, increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were not associated with global warming. These variables did correlate between 1920 and 1940 and from around 1970 to today. These associations may appear to be compelling evidence for global warming, but associations cannot prove cause and effect. One example of a misleading association was published in a paper entitled “The prediction of lung cancer in Australia 1939–1981.” According to this paper, “Lung cancer is shown to be predicted from petrol consumption figures for a period of 42 years. The mean time for the disease to develop is discussed and the difference in the mortality rate for male and females is explained.” Obviously, gasoline use does not cause lung cancer.

The idea that an association is due to cause and effect is so attractive that these claims continue to be published. Recently, an implausible association between watching television and chronic inflammation was reported. In their book Follies and Fallacies in Medicine, Skrabanek and McCormick wrote, “As a result of failing to make this distinction [between association and cause], learning from experience may lead to nothing more than learning to make the same mistakes with increasing confidence.” Failure to learn from mistakes is another manifestation of scientific hubris. Those who are old enough to remember the late 1970’s may recall predictions of a global cooling crisis based on transient glacial growth and slight global cooling.

The current situation regarding climate change is similar to that confronting cavemen when facing winter and progressively shorter days. Every day there was less time to hunt and gather food and more cold, useless darkness. Shamans must have desperately called for ever harsher sacrifices to stop what otherwise seemed inevitable. Only when science enabled man to predict the return of longer days was sacrifice no longer necessary.

The mainstream position about anthropogenic global warming is established. The endorsement of the United Nations, U.S. governmental agencies, politicians, and the media buttresses this position. This nonscientific input has contributed to the perception that anthropogenic global warming is settled science. A critical evaluation of the available data about global warming, and anthropogenic global warming in particular, allow only a guess about the future climate. It is scientific hubris not to recognize that guess for what it is.

Bramston Reef Corals – The Other Side of the Mud Flat

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

0-feature-IMG_6427

Reposted from Jennifer Marohasy’s blog

May 6, 2019 By jennifer

THE First Finding handed down by Judge Salvador Vasta in the Peter Ridd court case concerned Bramston reef off Bowen and a photograph taken in 1994 that Terry Hughes from James Cook University has been claiming proves Acropora corals that were alive in 1890 are now all dead – the fringing reef reduced to mudflat.

Meanwhile, Peter Ridd from the same university, had photographs taken in 2015 showing live Acropora and the need for quality assurance of Hughes’ claims.

Both sides were preparing evidence for over a year – with the lawyers apparently pocketing in excess of one million dollars – yet there was no interest in an independent assessment of the state of Bramston reef.

It more than once crossed my mind, that with all the money floating around for reef research and lawyers … there could perhaps be some mapping, or just one transect, at this most contentious of locations supposedly indicative of the state of the Great Barrier Reef more generally.

In his judgment Judge Salvadore Vasta was left to simply conclude that it was unclear whether there was now mudflat or coral reef where an extensive area of Acropora coral had been photographed back in 1890, but that Peter Ridd nevertheless had the right to ask the question.

Indeed, the court case and the appeal which must be lodged by tomorrow (Tuesday 7th May), is apparently all about ‘academic freedom’ and ‘employment law’, while the average Australian would perhaps be more likely to care if they got to see some coral and some fish – dead or alive.

I visited Bramston Reef over Easter because I couldn’t wait any longer to know if the corals in Peter Ridd’s 2015 photographs had been smashed by Cyclone Debbie that hovered over Bowen two years later, in April 2017.

As I drove into Bowen, I took a detour towards Edgecombe Bay, but I didn’t stop and explore – because I saw the signage warning of crocodiles.

Peter Ridd had told me that his technicians had approached from the south south-east in a rubber dinghy to get their photographs. The day I arrived (April 18, 2019), and the next, there was a strong south south-easterly wind blowing, and no-one prepared to launch a boat to take me out.

On the afternoon of Easter Friday – ignoring the signage warning of crocodiles – I walked through the mangroves to the water’s edge. I found the mudflat which Terry Hughes had claimed now covers once healthy Acropora coral and walked across it. The other side of the mudflat there was reef flat with beds of healthy Halimeda. This area of reef flat over sand extended for nearly one kilometre – before it gave way to hectares of Acropora coral.

Professor Hughes had just not walked far enough.

When, with much excitement, I showed my photographs of all the Acropora to a Bowen local. He described them as, “rubbish corals”. He seemed ashamed that the corals I had photographed at Bramston reef were not colourful.

For a coral to make the front cover of National Geographic it does need to be exceptionally colourful. Indeed, for a woman model to make the cover of Vogue magazine she needs to be exceptionally thin. But neither thin, nor colourful, is necessarily healthy. Indeed, Acropora corals are generally tan or brown in colour when they have masses of zooxanthellae and are thus growing quickly – and are healthy.

White corals have no zooxanthellae and are often dead, because they have been exposed to temperatures that are too high. Colourful corals, like thin women, are more nutrient starved and often exist in environments of intense illumination – existing near the limits of what might be considered healthy.

Such basic facts are not well understood. Instead there is an obsession with saving the Great Barrier Reef from imminent catastrophe while we are either shown pictures of bleached white dead coral, or spectacularly colourful corals from outer reefs in nutrient-starved waters … while thousands of square kilometres of healthy brown coral is ignored.

Peter Ridd did win his high-profile court case for the right to suggest there is a need for some quality assurance of the research – but I can’t see anyone getting on with this. The Science Show on our National Broadcaster, hosted by a most acclaimed scientist journalist, has reported on the case just this last weekend. Rather than launching a dinghy and having a look at Bramston Reef, Robyn Williams has replayed part of a 2008 interview with Peter Ridd, and let it be concluded that because Peter Ridd holds a minority view he is likely wrong.

Understanding the real state of the Great Barrier Reef is not a trivial question: it has implications for tourism, and the allocation of billions of dollars of public monies … with most currently allocated to those properly networked – but not necessarily knowledgeable or prepared to walk beyond a mudflat to find the corals.

Signage warning of crocodiles.

Signage warning of crocodiles.

Photographs of the Acropora out of the water where taken about here.

Photographs of the Acropora out of the water where taken about here

There is a mudflat to the west of Bramston Reef.

There is a mudflat to the west of Bramston Reef.

That mudflat is teeming with life, as expected in an intertidal zone.

That mudflat is teeming with life, as expected in an intertidal zone.

This Porites coral is a healthy tan colour.

This Porites coral is a healthy tan colour.

After the mud flat there was reef flat, with coarse sand and lots of Halimeda. All healthy, and typical of an inner Great Barrier Reef.

After the mud flat there was reef flat, with coarse sand and lots of Halimeda. All healthy, and typical of an inner Great Barrier Reef.

Halimeda is a green macroalgae, it was healthy.

Halimeda is a green macroalgae, it was healthy.

Acropora corals with a view to Gloucester Island.

I did find one bleached coral.

I did find one bleached coral.

Most of the Acropora was a healthy brown colour suggesting good growth, rather than beauty.

Most of the Acropora was a healthy brown colour suggesting good growth, rather than beauty.

There were also corals to the south east.

There were also corals to the south east.

Looking across to Gloucester Island, in front of the mangroves when the tide was in, early on 19 April.

Looking across to Gloucester Island, in front of the mangroves when the tide was in, early on 19 April.

Looking towards Gloucester Island, the day before.

Looking towards Gloucester Island, the day before.

To be sure to know when I post pictures at this blog, and to get the latest news regarding the Peter Ridd court case including the possible appeal by James Cook University, subscribe for my irregular email updates.

NY Times Climate Reporter Admits Paper ‘Categorically’ Excludes ‘Deniers

PA Pundits - International

By Julia A Seymour ~

It’s clear The New York Times has its mind made up about climate change and the debate is over — at least in their newsroom.

Speaking on a journalism panel on April 30, International climate change reporter Somini Sengupta boiled down scientific dissent on the subject of climate change to the insulting and loaded phrase “three climate deniers.”

“What we don’t do is engage in a false debate. We don’t turn to the three climate science deniers on every story. And no one has ever asked me as a reporter to do that. We don’t categorically do that,” she said.

Sengupta was one of several journalists participating in Columbia Journalism Review’s event demanding the media “transform” coverage of climate change.

She said the job of the “Times climate team” was “to make it compelling, to make it rich, to make it personal. That…

View original post 201 more words

Fake climate science and scientists

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Alarmists game the system to enrich and empower themselves, and hurt everyone else

by Paul Driessen

The multi-colored placard in front of a $2-million home in North Center Chicago proudly proclaimed, “In this house we believe: No human is illegal” – and “Science is real” (plus a few other liberal mantras).

I knew right away where the owners stood on climate change, and other hot-button political issues. They would likely tolerate no dissension or debate on “settled” climate science or any of the other topics.

But they have it exactly backward on the science issue. Real science is not belief – or consensus, 97% or otherwise. Real science constantly asks questions, expresses skepticism, reexamines hypotheses and evidence. If debate, skepticism and empirical evidence are prohibited – it’s pseudo-science, at best.

Real science – and real scientists – seek to understand natural phenomena and processes. They pose hypotheses that they think best explain what they have witnessed, then test them against actual evidence, observations and experimental data. If the hypotheses (and predictions based on them) are borne out by their subsequent findings, the hypotheses become theories, rules, laws of nature – at least until someone finds new evidence that pokes holes in their assessments, or devises better explanations.

Real science does not involve simply declaring that you “believe” something, It’s not immutable doctrine. It doesn’t claim “science is real” – or demand that a particular scientific explanation be carved in stone. Earth-centric concepts gave way to a sun-centered solar system. Miasma disease beliefs surrendered to the germ theory. The certainty that continents are locked in place was replaced by plate tectonics (and the realization that you can’t stop continental drift, any more than you stop climate change).

Real scientists often employ computers to analyze data more quickly and accurately, depict or model complex natural systems, or forecast future events or conditions. But they test their models against real-world evidence. If the models, observations and predictions don’t match up, real scientists modify or discard the models, and the hypotheses behind them. They engage in robust discussion and debate.

They don’t let models or hypotheses become substitutes for real-world evidence and observations. They don’t alter or “homogenize” raw or historic data to make it look like the models actually work. They don’t hide their data and computer algorithms (AlGoreRythms?), restrict peer review to closed circles of like-minded colleagues who protect one another’s reputations and funding, claim “the debate is over,” or try to silence anyone who dares to ask inconvenient questions or find fault with their claims and models. They don’t concoct hockey stick temperature graphs that can be replicated by plugging in random numbers.

In the realm contemplated by the Chicago yard sign, we ought to be doing all we can to understand Earth’s highly complex, largely chaotic, frequently changing climate system – all we can to figure out how the sun and other powerful forces interact with each other. Only in that way can we accurately predict future climate changes, prepare for them, and not waste money and resources chasing goblins.

But instead, we have people in white lab coats masquerading as real scientists. They’re doing what I just explained true scientists don’t do. They also ignore fluctuations in solar energy output and numerous other powerful, interconnected natural forces that have driven climate change throughout Earth’s history. They look only (or 97% of the time) at carbon dioxide as the principle or sole driving force behind current and future climate changes – and blame every weather event, fire and walrus death on manmade CO2.

Even worse, they let their biases drive their research and use their pseudo-science to justify demands that we eliminate all fossil fuel use, and all carbon dioxide and methane emissions, by little more than a decade from now. Otherwise, they claim, we will bring unprecedented cataclysms to people and planet.

Not surprisingly, their bad behavior is applauded, funded and employed by politicians, environmentalists, journalists, celebrities, corporate executives, billionaires and others who have their own axes to grind, their own egos to inflate – and their intense desire to profit from climate alarmism and pseudo-science.

Worst of all, while they get rich and famous, their immoral actions impoverish billions and kill millions, by depriving them of the affordable, reliable fossil fuel energy that powers modern societies.

And still these slippery characters endlessly repeat the tired trope that they “believe in science” – and anyone who doesn’t agree to “keep fossil fuels in the ground” to stop climate change is a “science denier.”

When these folks and the yard sign crowd brandish the term “science,” political analyst Robert Tracinski suggests, it is primarily to “provide a badge of tribal identity” – while ironically demonstrating that they have no real understanding of or interest in “the guiding principles of actual science.”

Genuine climate scientist (and former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology) Dr. Judith Curry echoes Tracinski. Politicians like Senator Elizabeth Warren use “science” as a way of “declaring belief in a proposition which is outside their knowledge and which they do not understand…. The purpose of the trope is to bypass any meaningful discussion of these separate questions, rolling them all into one package deal – and one political party ticket,” she explains.

The ultimate purpose of all this, of course, is to silence the dissenting voices of evidence- and reality-based climate science, block creation of a Presidential Committee on Climate Science, and ensure that the only debate is over which actions to take first to end fossil fuel use … and upend modern economies.

The last thing fake/alarmist climate scientists want is a full-throated debate with real climate scientists – a debate that forces them to defend their doomsday assertions, methodologies, data manipulation … and claims that solar and other powerful natural forces are minuscule or irrelevant compared to manmade carbon dioxide that constitutes less that 0.02% of Earth’s atmosphere (natural CO2 adds another 0.02%).

Thankfully, there are many reasons for hope. For recognizing that we do not face a climate crisis, much less threats to our very existence. For realizing there is no need to subject ourselves to punitive carbon taxes or the misery, poverty, deprivation, disease and death that banning fossil fuels would cause.

Between the peak of the great global cooling scare in 1975 until around 1998, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and temperatures did rise in rough conjunction. But then temperatures mostly flat-lined, while CO2 levels kept climbing. Now actual average global temperatures are already 1 degree F below the Garbage In-Garbage Out computer model predictions. Other alarmist forecasts are also out of touch with reality.

Instead of fearing rising CO2, we should thank it for making crop, forest and grassland plants grow faster and better, benefitting nature and humanity – especially in conjunction with slightly warmer temperatures that extend growing seasons, expand arable land and increase crop production.

The rate of sea level rise has not changed for over a century – and much of what alarmists attribute to climate change and rising seas is actually due to land subsidence and other factors.

Weather is not becoming more extreme. In fact, Harvey was the first Category 3-5 hurricane to make US landfall in a record 12 years – and the number of violent F3 to F5 tornadoes has fallen from an average of 56 per year from 1950 to 1985 to only 34 per year since then.

Human ingenuity and adaptability have enabled humans to survive and thrive in all sorts of climates, even during our far more primitive past. Allowed to use our brains, fossil fuels and technologies, we will deal just fine with whatever climate changes might confront us in the future. (Of course, another nature-driven Pleistocene-style glacier pulling 400 feet of water out of our oceans and crushing Northern Hemisphere forests and cities under mile-high walls of ice truly would be an existential threat to life as we know it.)

So if NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio and other egotistical grand-standing politicians and fake climate scientists want to ban fossil fuels, glass-and-steel buildings, cows and even hotdogs – in the name of preventing “dangerous manmade climate change” – let them impose their schemes on themselves and their own families. The rest of us are tired of being made guinea pigs in their fake-science experiments.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and author of articles and books on energy, environmental and human rights issues.

Nudging a Climate Illiterate

Excellent post.

Science Matters

Mark Hendrickson writes at The Epoch Times March 28, 2019 Open Letter to a Journalist About His Paper’s Position on Climate ChangeMark patiently lays out information and context for someone to think more deeply about superficial opinions on global warming/climate change. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Commentary

Mark Trumbull, Staff Reporter
The Christian Science Monitor
Boston, MA 02115

Dear Mr. Trumbull,

Last month, in your introductory remarks to The Christian Science Monitor Daily online news stories, you addressed the issue of the Monitor’s coverage of climate change. Your challenge is how to report when you and your Monitor colleagues believe that “human emissions of CO2 are triggering dangerous climatic conditions” while some of your readers do not.

You wrote, “Part of good journalism is to seek out a range of viewpoints rather than just present a story through one lens. But a corollary journalistic responsibility…

View original post 1,092 more words

Dr. Peter Ridd vs. James Cook University – Arguments Completed

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Professor Peter Ridd writes:

We finally got home from Brisbane where the court hearing was held about 1200 km to the south, and it has been good to reflect on events. I am very hopeful and Judge Vasta seemed to indicate that he would try to hand down his judgement around Easter. So, until then we should wait and see.

As mentioned, the case delivered by Stuart Wood QC was brilliant. He did not focus on legal technicalities but instead concentrated on the concept of Intellectual Freedom. This was a very deliberate decision – if we are to win, it had to be on this point because in the end this was the root cause of the problem and the reason that there was wide public interest. Academics with controversial ideas on anything, including climate change and whether the damage to the Great Barrier Reef is being exaggerated, should be allowed to speak. In fact, they should be encouraged to speak. In addition, the focus on the wider problem might mean that the final judgement will have broader implications to the way our universities operate.

We contend that I had my Intellectual Freedom taken away under the context of a vague Code of Conduct. Stuart Wood QC argued how this was legally in error. He also demonstrated how this was totally contrary to the way a university should work. One of many highlights was when Wood QC used the JCU barristers’ own words that described my offending comments as “inappropriate” to show how the Code of Conduct could restrict any controversial comment. Who decides if my words are inappropriate – the university. “Inappropriate” sets a very low bar and a sensible academic knows that the best strategy is to either say nothing or make sure it is in agreement with the university administration – i.e. there is no freedom. By the Code of Conduct, a challenge as insignificant as a nasty look or a steely glare could be defined as a breach. And by JCU’s construction, the intellectual freedom clauses in our work contract are no protection.

Wood QC started with a discussion of the centrality of debate and disagreement in the rise of western civilisation and science. He quoted interesting examples of famous debates, which if they had occurred today at JCU and most other universities, would have resulted in both sides of the debate being fired for breaking what boils down to the Code-of-Politeness- Political-Correctness-and-What-the-University-Administration-Decides.
I must get a full transcript of Wood’s address for more detail but he then narrowed down to the specifics of my misdemeanours. These boiled down to 9 main categories and Wood took his time on each one. He gave the background and context, he looked at the detailed evidence (generally email trails from JCU’s search-for-dirt), and then demonstrated how in every case the University had broken its obligation to intellectual Freedom.

Wood QC finally considered the confidentiality directions that JCU used to try to keep everything secret and considered the clause in my work contract that was there to protect me against JCU releasing my information without my consent. This was completely opposite to JCU’s interpretation which was that it ALWAYS gave them the power to ALWAYs keep matters secret. One has to wonder why they are so ashamed that they needed to keep it secret.

The way the legal team worked was remarkable. Wood QC is by general agreement the top Industrial Relations lawyer in Australia and he had two barristers and two solicitors backing him up and feeding him the documents as he talked. He spoke non-stop for 4 hours in the final afternoon and it was like watching the reloading and firing of a 15 inch naval gun at the JCU ship. It was withering, relentless, and merciless. I wish there was a video of it. In my opinion, and let’s hope the Judge agrees, by the time he had finished JCU’s position was a sinking hulk. I felt sorry for their barristers (but maybe they will have the last laugh)

In the final analysis this case will be decided on whether the Code of Conduct trumps Intellectual Freedom or vice-versa. If JCU is correct, then it can no longer be considered to be a proper university and the government will have to do something about the way universities are governed and funded. If we are right, we will have to then look at how similar work contracts are likely being misused in most other Australian universities, and I suspect, around the western world.


John Roskam explains why Dr Peter Ridd deserves to continue his vital work at JCU and what JCU are costing themselves and Australia with their actions. WATCH:

It’s about time to review the evidence for man-made global warming

Tallbloke's Talkshop

Scales of Justice
[image credit: Wikipedia]
Unless there are accepted ways of testing for attribution of climate effects (e.g. human-caused, natural variability or a measureable mixture), who can be sure they know the truth? Reliance on climate models, known to be strongly biased towards levels of warming that are not observed, can’t be the way forward.

Some seem to think man-made global warming is proven. Others believe there’s no evidence for it.

Neither is correct, argues John McLean at American Thinker.

Evidence exists, but, as people familiar with courts of law will know, what’s submitted as evidence is not automatically proof.

View original post 355 more words