Don Aitkin on the corruption of the universities

Don Aitkin is a national treasure and I hope everyone looks at his site and signs on to get a heads up on his columns. Today he posted on the way the universities have become slaves to research grants and they way this played out in the obscene treatment of Bob Carter and the threat to Peter Ridd at the James Cook University.

On this occasion, Professor Ridd decided he had had enough, and launched his own court case against the CEO, claiming conflict of interest, apprehended bias and actual bias. It happens that the University’s Vice-Chancellor is a director of AIMS, which produces an obvious conflict of interest. The University then told Ridd he was not to ‘disclose or discuss these matters with media or in any other public forum’. His lawyers pointed out that either the University was incompetent or it was guided by bias, which the University’s lawyers denied.

Peter Ridd was kind enough to write to me about the alleged misconduct involved in talking to the media about the misconduct allegation, and later alerted me to the fact that there was deemed to be further misconduct involved in writing to me! I wish him well in all of this, which is so unnecessary, and so inimical to the cause of scholarship, argument and the advancement of knowledge.

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19 Responses to Don Aitkin on the corruption of the universities

  1. bemused says:

    I used to work indirectly with a number of Australian universities and related research organisation some years back and all were driven by grant money. If there was the same money on offer to debunk AGW, they would be falling over themselves to prove AGW a myth.

  2. ACTOldFart says:

    In my time working in science, technology and industry policy in the Commonwealth public service in Canberra, I met only 2 people who I thought were first-rate minds – Don Aitkin and Ian Castles (economist and Commonwealth Statistician). They both thought Global Warming was a crock of shit (although they both would have put it in much more moderate language than that). Ian is no longer with us, but Go Don!!

  3. #justme says:

    Garth Paltridge and Harry Gelber, saved me and took me to Jack London

  4. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV) says:

    THe left have the anti-midas touch, everything they touch turns to shit.

  5. Roger says:

    Don Aitkin’s blog is a must read.

    I don’t comment but I read every post.

  6. manalive says:

    Those running tourist businesses that were damaged by the drop in trade concomitant with the adverse fake ‘reef dead’ publicity ought to organise and bring an action against the individuals and principals responsible.

  7. Biota says:

    I read and appreciate Don Aitkin, but not the comments which seem to be infested with some persistent trolls.

  8. cohenite says:

    Bob Carter was treated obscenely and what a loss he has been. Peter Ridd is showing he is made of the right stuff. Universities are now straight jackets, intellectually, morally and economically; they rank with the abc as blights on Australian society.

  9. Crossie says:

    Universities are now straight jackets, intellectually, morally and economically; they rank with the abc as blights on Australian society.

    I know well one of these cathedrals of knowledge and can tell you that it is the most straight-jacketed place of my experience. A far cry from the freedom loving universities of our youth.

  10. Louis Hissink says:

    The universities have simply reverted back to what they were – part of the ruling religion that is now Climate Change. Dissent was always a brave position to take then as now.

  11. Cynic of Ayr says:

    I’ve heard Peter Ridd speak at a small function, and boy! does he make a lot of sense.
    I’ve spoken to him regarding a mutual friend, and again he spoke well.
    A first class, knowledgeable bloke!
    If he has a fault by today’s standards, it is that he’s well aware of the corruption and bullshit in academic circles, and doesn’t feel he has to suppress his opinion.

  12. JamesS says:

    The benefit of a university education is no more. Too many unis, too many students produced, come out with a significant HECS bill, intellectual and cultural brainwashing. And another thing: over education and over credentialism is rife.

  13. Aynsley Kellow says:

    ACTOldFart: Agreed on both. It is some years since I saw Don in the flesh, and have had not much to do with him, but his blog is a treasure. Ian was the epitome of critical scholarship, polite but insistent on reason and evidence – despite having a career as a bureaucrat. He was responsible for my appointment to the Joint Academies Committee on Sustainability, on which he also served, and this experience helped sharpen my critical skills, especially in recognising activist scientists!

    #justme: Harry sadly passed last year, but was active until the end. Geoffrey Blainey launched his latest (and last) book on China earlier in the year. Having held until the end of 2017 the chair he once occupied I now find myself using the space he once occupied in a room full of emeriti and adjuncts!

    Garth is also to be valued. An Old School scientist who adheres to the scientific method. I have a new book on climate negotiations in press, and I use his (and his co-authors’) treatment at the hands of the editor of the Journal of Climate as a crucial case demonstrating the noble cause corruption of climate science – a reason why it has not compelled serious policy action by this lacking other interests. Garth et al decided to look at the radiosonde data to see whether water vapour had indeed increased with the warming since 1940 (the key feedback that gets 1.2°C in the models to something catastrophic). While acknowledging the deficiencies of the data (as I said, Old School) they found little evidence for this mechanism. One referee recommended rejection because the authors were clearly trying to get something in the peer reviewed literature that suggested lower climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide. The editor accepted this crock, rather than seeking another review. The editor was Andrew Weaver, now leader of the Green Party in British Columbia.

    Incidentally, Turnbull has just devoted $60m to addressing the ‘problem’ of agricultural run-off affecting the GBR, but apparently the evidence is that most silt comes from the steep rainforest slopes, rather than the sugar cane flats, and the prevailing SE current largely keeps it away from the reef.

  14. Mon says:

    There was a grant offered for research into “why people do volunteer work” to the tune of 600.000:00
    dollars. The University of Western Australia got the grant. I communicated with someone there and suggested the money could be better spent helping those in need. I was told that their intention was to start with the Scouts.

  15. James Hargrave says:

    James S ‘over education and over credentialism is rife.’

    No, it is under-education and over-credentialism. Bright enough to be brainwashed by all the post-modernist drivel and spout the fancy phrases, but… The modern university does not, except by accident, teach people how to think, it is too busy teaching them what to think. (I use ‘think’ as shorthand.)

  16. one old bruce says:

    Women have needs, men have responsibilities. The more universities cater to women’s needs, the worse this will get.

  17. egg_ says:

    ABCTV News Breakfast

    Deborah Elms, Asian Trade Centre:

    TPP gives Oz farmers access to Japan, very good market, displacing the US.

  18. David says:

    So to summarise
    Professor Ridd got a slap on the wrist from JCU for engaging in same ad hominem argument. Then instead of publishing some evidence to support his argument he, threw teddy from the cot, and decided to file a lawsuit. What a pussy!

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