“You often hear scientists say, “Oh, this is peer-reviewed research,” and I think, you are joking aren’t you – is that all? There’s been so much peer-reviewed science that’s been shown to be completely rubbish and wrong.”

C.S. Lewis commented in a 1958 article titled, Willing Slaves of the Welfare State, that, “Again, the new oligarchy must more and more base its claim to plan us on its claim to knowledge. If we are to be mothered, mother must know best. This means they must increasingly rely on the advice of scientists, till in the end the politicians proper become merely the scientists’ puppets.”

“…I dread government in the name of science. That is how tyrannies come in. In every age the men who want us under their thumb, if they have any sense, will put forward the particular pretension which the hopes and fears of that age render most potent. They ‘cash in’. It has been magic, it has been Christianity. Now it will certainly be science. Perhaps the real scientists may not think much of the tyrants’ ‘science’– they didn’t think much of Hitler’s racial theories or Stalin’s biology. But they can be muzzled.

A highly celebrated thinker and philosopher of the last century, Lewis raises an important question that should continue to concern you and I today. Can science be corrupted without adequate quality controls, and if so, who would warn the general population that they were being manipulated?

Lewis argued that not only could science be corrupted, but that our governments certainly would manipulate us with conveniently interpreted science which our trendy emotions would give power to.

Extremist environmentalists are past masters at this, and the shrill alarmism with which they hyperventilate about imminent catastrophe for the Great Barrier Reef is a perfect example.

Politicians desperate to retain their white-knuckled grip on the reins power trumpet peer-reviewed science in the hopes that the 9% of willfully ignorant Greens voters in a handful of inner city seats will be gullible enough to worship the Golden Calf of scientism and grant them those one or two extra seats in Parliament needed to preserve their oligarchy.

And as C.S. Lewis observed, real scientists didn’t think much of the tyrants’ science, but they can be muzzled.

Dr Peter Ridd is one such real scientist who had the audacity to public call for better quality control of science being relied upon to determine public policy and billion dollar public expenditure. He raised the alarm last year that the science regarding the Great Barrier Reef has not been checked.

He explained that Australian coral reefs that have supposedly lost all their coral, are in fact covered in healthy coral. Reefs that are supposedly smothered in sediments are not. Reefs that have been damaged by cyclones and bleaching have rapidly recovered because these are natural phenomena.

And so, just as C.S. Lewis and George Orwell prophesied, Dr Peter Ridd was muzzled. The James Cook University where he’d studied and taught for nearly 40 years objected to his public discussion of the inadequacy of research surrounding the Great Barrier Reef, and they began disciplinary proceedings for professional misconduct. Wanting to provide context and explanation around their punitive actions and to mount a strong legal defense, he also discussed that publicly and opened a GoFundMe, which James Cook University also rebuked him for and forbade any further public comment about.

You and I should be concerned about academic freedom being replaced by academic authoritarianism, because the inevitable result of universities like James Cook firing professors like Dr Peter Ridd will be the lack of accountability for bad science, science which governments will then use to manipulate us into supporting bad government.

Joining me in this episode of Pellowe Talk is former James Cook University professor, Dr Peter Ridd, to discuss the difference between science we can trust and science we should question further, what’s really going on in the Great Barrier Reef, and his personal experience as a real scientist being muzzled for questioning tyrannical science, as described by C.S. Lewis.

James Cook University has publicly justified terminating Professor Peter Ridd. “He has sensationalised his comments to attract attention, has criticised and denigrated published work, and has demonstrated a lack of respect for his colleagues and institutions in doing so.”

Sounds to me like he’s doing his job, whether or not JCU likes his style. Freedom of speech is about a contest of ideas, and that necessarily includes robust criticism of other ideas. A link to the university’s official response to Dr Ridd is provided at the bottom of this post.

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Statement from Professor Iain Gordon regarding Peter Ridd <a href="https://t.co/fchnc6HCOY">https://t.co/fchnc6HCOY</a></p>— James Cook Uni (@jcu) <a href="https://twitter.com/jcu/status/997975312037101568?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 19, 2018</a></blockquote><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

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