The sacking of Professor Peter Ridd by James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville, Australia is outrageous and will do irreparable harm to the international reputation of Australia’s universities according to the free market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs.
Peter Ridd, a professor of physics at JCU has been sacked by the university for misconduct following his public statements about the science of climate change.
“What the university has done is outrageous and will stain its reputation forever. JCU has shredded the idea that Australian universities have any sort of commitment to scientific integrity and free academic inquiry. JCU’s actions prove the depth of the crisis confronting Australia’s universities. The search for truth has been replaced by unquestioning allegiance to group-think,” said John Roskam, Executive Director of the IPA.
On 1 August 2017 Professor Ridd was interviewed by Alan Jones on Sky News Australia about his chapter in a book Climate Change: The Facts 2017 published by the Institute of Public Affairs. In his chapter, The Extraordinary Resilience of Great Barrier Reef Corals, and Problems with Policy Science, Professor Ridd wrote:
Policy science concerning the Great Barrier Reef is almost never checked. Over the next few years, Australian government will spend more than a billion dollars on the Great Barrier Reef; the costs to industry could far exceed this. Yet the keystone research papers have not been subject to proper scrutiny. Instead, there is a total reliance on the demonstrably inadequate peer review process.
In the interview of Sky News Australia on 1 August 2017, Professor Ridd said:
The basic problem is that we can no longer trust the scientific organisations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies – a lot of this is stuff is coming out, the science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated and this is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions and the fact is I do not think we can any more…
…I think that most of the scientists who are pushing out this stuff they genuinely believe that there are problems with the reef, I just don’t think they’re very objective about the science they do, I think they’re emotionally attached to their subject and you know you can’t blame them, the reef is a beautiful thing.
Dr Jennifer Marohasy, IPA Senior Fellow and Editor of Climate Change: The Facts 2017 said, “It could never possibly have been envisaged that asking Peter to write for Climate Change: The Facts 2017 would result in his sacking. He wrote the chapter so that ordinary Australians would understand the truth about the Great Barrier Reef – it is very sad if it has cost him his job.”
Professor Ridd has launched a GoFundMe to support his legal costs.
The IPA’s Climate Change: The Facts 2017 has sold over 10,000 copies. It can be purchased from Connor Court.
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