Discoveroids See Hope — From Australia

This one from the Discovery Institute is painful to write about because it’s so horribly scrambled. Their title is Judge Calls for Academic Freedom…in Australia.

To fully appreciate their ark-load of creationist babble, you need to understand what the Discoveroids mean by “academic freedom.” They already have the freedom to teach creationism in their churches, church schools, bible colleges, etc. They also have the freedom to write their books, crank out their podcasts, and promote them on their websites. No one is trying to interfere with those activities. But they want to go beyond that. They want the “freedom” to use government power and taxpayer funds to force-feed their Oogity Boogity to children in government-run schools and universities. We’ve written about their dishonest rhetoric before — see Creationism: Abuse of the Language of Rights.

Now that we’re straight on that, we can proceed. The new Discoveroid post was written by Sarah Chaffee, whom we call “Savvy Sarah.” This is her bio page at the Discoveroids’ website. Here are some excerpts from her blog post, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

It is always a delight to report on a victory for academic freedom in science, even it’s on the other side of the globe! Peter Ridd, former head of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University [JCU] in Australia, had been forced out of his university after critiquing claims that the Great Barrier Reef is almost dead due to global warming and other causes. An aggravating factor was that Ridd opposed scientific conclusions reached by his own colleagues at JCU.

Savvy Sarah links to this Discoveroid blog post that she wrote a year ago. Whatever Ridd’s case was all about, it wasn’t creationism and evolution. Then she says:

In April, Judge Salvatore Vasta ruled in favor of Ridd on some 17 counts, calling JCU’s action against him “unlawful.” In a ringing endorsement of academic freedom, Judge Vasta notes:

For her information about what the judge ruled, Savvy Sarah links not to his opinion, but to this article from a blog named Climate Conversation Group: Peter Ridd wins on all counts – so far, which says:

That is why intellectual freedom is so important. It allows academics to express their opinions without fear of reprisals. It allows a Charles Darwin to break free of the constraints of creationism. It allows an Albert Einstein to break free of the constraints of Newtonian physics. It allows the human race to question conventional wisdom in the never-ending search for knowledge and truth. And that, at its core, is what higher learning is about. To suggest otherwise is to ignore why universities were created and why critically focused academics remain central to all that university teaching claims to offer.

Regarding what she just quoted, Savvy Sarah says:

Wow! That is some stirring prose. The reference to Darwin is ironic, though. Note how nowadays the tables are turned, as it is the critics of evolutionary theory who seek to “break free of the constraints” placed on them by censors, bullies, and groupthink.

Ah yes, the heroic “critics of evolutionary theory” are so abused! When — oh when! — will there be justice? What Savvy Sarah doesn’t tell us is that right after what she quoted, that article says:

Some have thought that this trial was about freedom of speech and intellectual freedom. Others have thought that this trial was about the manner in which academics should conduct themselves. Some observers may have thought that this trial was about the use of non-offensive words when promulgating scientific ideas. Media reports have considered that this trial was about silencing persons with controversial or unpopular views.

Though many of those issues were canvased and discussed throughout the hearing of this matter, this trial was about none of the above. Rather, this trial was purely and simply about the proper construction of a clause in an Enterprise Agreement. … The clause in question is cl.14 of the James Cook University Enterprise Agreement. It is headed “Intellectual Freedom”. It, and it alone, is the focus of this judgement.

Frankly, we don’t know what that litigation was all about. It certainly didn’t involve the Constitutional issue of free speech as we know it in the US, and it has absolutely no applicability to any controversy in the US. But Savvy Sarah writes as if the handwriting is on the wall, creationists are now free to come out of the closet, and the evolutionist “bullies” in the US education system are in their final days. She finishes her post with gushing optimism:

This gives me hope…for Australia, anyway. These kinds of decisions can enable scientists who are perhaps slightly more sensitive to institutional pushback than Ridd to speak up about what they think on controversial scientific issues. What about the United States, where scientists with dissenting views are still largely masked? It’s time for a Science Uprising. [Link omitted.]

That link at the end was to a bunch of Discoveroid podcasts. They’re having an uprising, all right. But it has nothing to do with science — except destroying it.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “Discoveroids See Hope — From Australia

  1. The actual judgment is here: https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/cth/FCCA/2019/997.html. Not sure I agree it has nothing to do with US free speech protections – ideas and discussion on fundamental freedoms tend to spread from one legal system to another. But certainly it’s hard to see how it helps the Discoveroid cause.

  2. Thanks for the link, Steve.

  3. The advocates of “Intelligent Design” have had their opportunities, as you mention, to tell us about ID. They have, so we are told, a large number of qualified scientists and others thinking about ID, for at least twenty years.
    Yet nobody has managed to describe what happens, when and where, why and how, or who – with the excepton of Creationists naming God, and Young Earth Creatonists and their 6000 or so years – where they differ from the consensus of scientists about the role that evolution plays in the variety of life.
    It seems to be that nobody is interested in speaking out about.
    There is the statement from Dembski, where he seems to dismiss as a “patethic level of detail” the describing of ID. (I can’t find an original source for that quote.)

  4. Karl Goldsmith

    This is two months old news, did this really take Savvy Sarah two months to write. Trying to make it about something the judge said it wasn’t.

    “Some have thought that this trial was about freedom of speech and intellectual freedom. Media reports have considered that this trial was about silencing persons with controversial or unpopular views,” Vasta said in his judgement.

    “Rather, this trial was purely and simply about the proper construction of a clause in an enterprise agreement.”

  5. Michael Fugate

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/05/peter-ridds-sacking-pushes-the-limit-of-academic-freedom

    This is a good summary. Given the DI’s fear of engaging in academic exchange and conducting their campaign through the media often using derision, Ridd would seem to their man.

  6. Gidday Curmudgeon,
    The AGW meme has more to do with science…. namely it’s a piece of crap science… start here… https://thestandard.org.nz/farrar-peddles-climate-change-denial-nonsense/#comment-1520473
    Further down in that conversation, this comment clarifies the LACK of any “greenhouse effect” in Earth’s atmosphere… https://thestandard.org.nz/farrar-peddles-climate-change-denial-nonsense/#comment-1521081
    And in this thread, discover that adding more CO2 to the atmosphere, actually has a very slight COOLING effect…
    https://thestandard.org.nz/we-need-to-push-back-on-leighton-smith/#comment-1523235
    Following out my links, don’t neglect to see this comment, Curmudgeon..
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/05/time-for-the-slayers-to-put-up-or-shut-up/#comment-78670
    So … enjoy the read. we can all breathe a lot easier now. This is great news, so cheer up, start living, and stop being so curmudgeonly.
    Mack.
    Sky Dragon Slayer’s Chief Public Relations Officer

  7. Savvy Sarah says “speak up about what they think on controversial scientific issues. ” In formal terms Sarah, this concept is called conducting research and writing successful peer reviewed research papers.
    Y

  8. Savvy Sarah exclaims: “speak up about what they think on controversial scientific issues”

    Our dear SC correctly points out: “it has nothing to do with science.”
    Indeed. IDiocy by definition is not science. It’s a parasite. Even within their own domain IDiots are totally incapable of setting up research programs, let alone getting them going.
    Let me compare parapsychology. For a few decades the University of Utrecht had a professorship. It was terminated due to a total lack of tangible results.
    First see, then believe. The academic world will wake up as soon as Annie Green Screen stuns the world and publishes her revolutionary results. Pardon me for not holding my breath.

  9. @FrankB
    It’s a parasite. Its arguments against evolutionary biology – a new idea – are drawn from the arguments of the past against old ideas. It has nothing of its own to draw on. Arguments against Epicurean atomism. Preformationist arguments against reproduction. Perhaps the “Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism” is the only original argument.
    Along with parasitism: Vacutity – the lack of positive, substantial content – and Discontinuity – the frequent contradictions and other changes in argument.

    BTW, about parapsychology. In the USA, parapsychology research is still carried on by the “Rhine Research Center”. It is named after J.B. Rhine, who was the most famous academic researcher in parapsychology. (See the Wikipedia article.)