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The Forum > Article Comments > Scientific fails and the Great Barrier Reef > Comments

Scientific fails and the Great Barrier Reef : Comments

By Peter Ridd, published 2/2/2018

The 'Replication Crisis', well-reported in peer reviewed articles, shows that when scientific papers are checked around 50% of recently published science is wrong.

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Scientific alarmism is only 50% wrong? It is a surprise to find that it is not more (and it probably is) as unethical and downright crooked scientists jockey for taxpayer grants to fabricate 'evidence.
Posted by ttbn, Friday, 2 February 2018 8:21:07 AM
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I have read some diatribes as unconvincing as this one, just not recently! There is a scientific fail and in my view in the article! Which I believe would fall if subject to unbiased peer review?
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Friday, 2 February 2018 8:22:09 AM
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The scary thing is the extent to which modernists believe scientific facts even though more than half are wrong. Like how what Twain said, 'it ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so'.
Posted by progressive pat, Friday, 2 February 2018 8:33:38 AM
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The 'scientific' consensus has been to accept the evolution' fantasy in order to brainwash kids so the gw scam is just another fraud along the lines of many others. It must be very sad to get to the top of academia only to find out what you poured your life into is fraud. Never have we had such a gullible generation. Talk about flat earthers!
Posted by runner, Friday, 2 February 2018 9:52:21 AM
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The GBR is in fine shape, hasbeen floated across it 30 years ago in his yacht, and it hasn't changed a bit!
Posted by diver dan, Friday, 2 February 2018 10:13:02 AM
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Off topic for ttbn..
I've posted a source for info re Muslim influence on aboriginal culture on forum topic applicable.
Posted by diver dan, Friday, 2 February 2018 10:19:38 AM
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Just another front man for the climate denier lot,IPA Marohasy Don Burke Cohen,
Not worth wasting time to read it same old crap from the same suspects,what will all the IPA fronts do once the Liberal Govt gets kicked out
I,m surprised Eargas & Sloan & the NEWS LTD mob are not there as well
Posted by John Ryan, Friday, 2 February 2018 12:03:30 PM
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Interesting article. The other notable recent comment on the veracity of the scientific literature was from Richard Horton a former editor of the world's pre-eminent peer reviewed medical journal, The Lancet, who was quoted in 2015 as saying:

“... much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance ...”

In my own area of forestry there is also a notable trend towards ecological research that is ill-founded on poor or wrong assumptions, errors of fact, and the big one of omitting critically important context that thereby leads to an errant implication that, for example, all forests will be logged. This is partly because the relevant ecologists are often reluctant to engage with forest scientists, forestry practitioners and timber companies whom they regard as 'the enemy'.

My own view, is that this is a cultural evolution stemming from decades of highly exaggerated portrayals of environmental catastrophe. Some of this may have been relevant to some developing countries (although Amazon rainforest loss has also been grossly exaggerated), but not to a developed country such as Australia which has the political stability and institutional and regulatory strength to manage environmental threats to a high standard (although not perfect). In the face of this, it is hardly surprising that today's (particularly younger) scientists are motivated by a desire to save the environment from thoroughly and often unfairly demonised villians such as timber companies and miners.
Posted by MWPOYNTER, Friday, 2 February 2018 1:54:22 PM
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Good luck with your case Peter.

A few points.

In the late 40s, & 50s fertilisers were cheap & subsidised by government. Farmers threw tons of it at anything that did not move. I know this supported massive weed growth in some inshore areas like the Whitsundays. Some reefs on either side of the passage were badly effected with weed growth, but not further out. I did not like cane farmers at the time.

By the early 2000s more careful use of now expensive fertilisers had corrected this, & most of those reefs were back to looking good.

On my first trip back up there in 1973 I first encounter those horrible hundred acre coral spore slicks. The brown ones were the worst, staining the boats white enamel paint of the day dreadfully. The yellow stuff not so bad. A reef fisherman, who had left school at 11, & spent 40 years fishing the Swains told me it was coral spore, & how the coral released it all one night. Isn't it a pity that the "scientists" never actually went out to the real reef, or talked to uneducated fisherman. They could have done more research in a few days that they did ashore in years.
Continued.
Posted by Hasbeen, Friday, 2 February 2018 2:37:26 PM
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Continued.
In 1984 I took 169 of the people from the park authority, James Cook & AIMS out to our tourist instillation at Hardy reef. The area was to be gazetted a park the next year. I had a couple of the "experts telling me that the crown of thorns would put us out of business with in a year or two. When I told them that the dive instructors who had dive classes on each trip, & my crew who lived out there 6 days a week had seen only 3 in a year, these experts told me they probably did not know what the starfish looked like. That from Scientists who played in fish tanks at AIMS in Townsville. I knew then that they were mostly a waste of time.

We also supported a couple of PHD students with transport & outer reef accommodation for their research trips. These youngsters were great & knowledgeable. I often wondered how this could be when so many senior scientists & professors were a waste of time.
Posted by Hasbeen, Friday, 2 February 2018 2:37:57 PM
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Yes Hasbeen, a lot of that crap fouling the inner reef, is just that, crap. Or human sourced effluent. And as a product of Green supported tourism, which sees northern coastal areas regularly swell three or four times their sustainable size for a reef that supports the tourist operators and the like.

Just as over fishing and granting too many fishing licences eats into sustainable natural fisheries, Unfettered open slather, every boy and his dog want to operate a dive boat on the reef? One can have too much of a good thing.

As alway the green movement are off with the fairies trying to blame the damage to the reef to farm sourced fertilizer runoff etc. When millions of annual tons of human effluent is just loaded with both phosphates and nitrates! And not an ounce returned inland!

That said the camera doesn't lie even if this or that activist does? The Author or this highly conflated article, which tries to treat coral bleaching and coral spawning as similar topics or connected, it would seem, when clearly they're not?

One notes that he is in dispute with the James Cook university? Whose research he seems to be calling into question, with little or no actual countervailing evidence that would stand proper peer review, to back up his allegations of wrongdoing by grant receivers? We used to call that, verballing or impugning.
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Friday, 2 February 2018 5:14:06 PM
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Alan, where do you live?

You obviously don't have a clue regarding the reef, it's size, the number of tourists who go to it, or the infinitival area of it that ever sees a tourist, or fisherman.

We took tourists to a 400 yard stretch of Hardy reef. The Hardy lagoon is 10 miles long & 6 miles wide, giving the surrounding reef a length of 32 miles. The enclosed area is 38400 acres. Less than 400 acres would have been visited by tourists.

Hardy is part of a complex including Hook reef, Line reef & Bate reef, with a combined area of about 3 times that of Hardy. The huge run of clear ocean water coming in through this area is so great that at big spring flood tide I have been unable to make headway against it in a boat doing 8 knots.

I also frequented Net, Knuckle & Kennedy reefs, about 15 to 20 miles north east, further out to sea from Hardy. Over 8 years I spent about 5 weeks total out at these, & never once saw another boat, or sign that one had ever been there.

Reefs like these continue over 1000 miles to Torres strait, & 500 south to Bundaberg. The Swains reef complex, off MacKay is over 100 times the size of all the above, & 70 miles off shore. How much effluent do you think a small city can produce.

If ever you get up that way, have a look at Refuge bay, north of MacKay. Fly over it at a spring ebb tide. You will find 400 square miles of natural pollution, as a huge run of water from the mangroves carries enough mud to make the whole area too turbid for coral to survive. The tides in most of the area run parallel to the coast, corralling this turbidity to this area. There is a line as sharp as a fence where the clear ocean water runs past. It is worth seeing simply as an amazing natural phenomena.
Posted by Hasbeen, Friday, 2 February 2018 7:10:19 PM
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If you subscribe to Graham's email notifications about new topics posted and material from other sites, you will see a post from Jennifer Marahasy concerning Prof. Peter Kidd who is being persecuted by his employer, James Cook University, for his scepticism about supposed damage to the Red.
Posted by ttbn, Friday, 2 February 2018 9:53:29 PM
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The Reef, not the Red. Bloody predictive text!
Posted by ttbn, Friday, 2 February 2018 9:55:32 PM
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ttbn Quote "Scientific alarmism is only 50% wrong? It is a surprise to find that it is not more (and it probably is) as unethical and downright crooked scientists jockey for taxpayer grants to fabricate 'evidence."

Perfect example on CNN few days ago group of scientist leaving America to take up positions in France just near the end they mentioned the Million dollar grants they were getting, there is big money to be made by scientists with regard to so called global warming.

One female scientist said "she could not possible work in a country with a President who was a climate change denier"

I would bet if Trump offered her a few million dollar grants she would have taken it.

Money talks BS walks.
Posted by Philip S, Saturday, 3 February 2018 12:08:13 AM
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Philip Seymour

The yanks are lucky to have got rid of the scientist who couldn't work in the same country as Trump, and France deserves her.
Posted by ttbn, Saturday, 3 February 2018 8:58:11 AM
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There's that predictive text again. I typed PhilipS and it comes up Philip Seymour. Does anyone know how to switch it off?
Posted by ttbn, Saturday, 3 February 2018 9:01:02 AM
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. One female scientist said "she could not possible work in a country with a President who was a climate change denier" ;

so she moves to a country where Islamic terrorism ( a real threat) is a major issue. How dumb can the swamp be. Thankfully for America she is gone.
Posted by runner, Saturday, 3 February 2018 10:20:07 AM
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Hasbeen, what is wrong with your ears/eyes, while I was critiquing the endless expansion of very obviously amateurish dive operators etc. Some who've seemed to lose their passengers? Their safety procedures and buddy system just downright sloppy? The real danger to the inner reef has been the outflow of human effluent, sometimes presented by diabolically disingenuous greens as farm fertilizer runoff?

There seems to be more and more of these annual hordes swelling our coastal towns and cities. You're there as usual as the barking junkyard dog in attack mode! And as usual without reason!

Sustainable development would allow these places to grow naturally, divert their runoff/effluent back inland and to serve the local populace first and foremost, rather than the white shoe brigade, realtors and exploitative tourist operators.

You're not the only seaman in the world. I haven't bothered to endlessly blow my trumpet they way you do, but I spent a considerable portion of my adult life operating an ocean going dredge and using it as the main pump, and shelter, while we built jetties and wharves up and down the coast. Built harbors and augmented islands, with recovered original sandy beaches that had been taken over by the endless expansion of mangrove swamps. Even built a couple of islands!

Pull your head in grumpy. I already knew the reef was big, as big as Victoria in fact and a submerged mountain range topped with islands and multiple reefs, lots!

Just because I spent a lot of time on a road, doesn't make me an expert on the surrounding terrain or landscape! Get over yourself genius!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Saturday, 3 February 2018 12:50:11 PM
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In that case Alan you know you could have the entire population of Queensland & NSW living on the Queensland tropical coast & the tidal system, & the east coast current would sweep the nutrients produced down to Fraser island, & beyond. Any not consumed gratefully by the marine system would be returned ultimately to Sydney & beyond.

Even Green Island which gets the greatest number of tourists of any reef area, & is the closest to any area of even moderate population is doing OK. I guess your Hordes aren't so great after all.
Posted by Hasbeen, Saturday, 3 February 2018 1:48:25 PM
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Richard Horton a former editor of the world's pre-eminent peer reviewed medical journal, The Lancet, who was quoted in 2015 as saying:

“... much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance ...”

What the Scientist at AIMS say is related to gaining their Grants. Create a Fear & the money will come.

Hasbeen: A reef fisherman, who had left school at 11, & spent 40 years fishing the Swains told me it was coral spore, & how the coral released it all one night.

They had been told of that event happening for years until they first saw it happen in the Townsville Aquarium. Then next year some Professor made an amazing discovery. They just happened to be out on the Reef waiting for it to happen when it did. Duh.

Hasbeen: You will find 400 square miles of natural pollution, as a huge run of water from the mangroves carries enough mud to make the whole area too turbid for coral to survive.

All the Rivers in the North are now Dammed or have great Weirs on them, since the 70's. This stops the Great Sediment runoff that used to happen & cover the Reef a few times a year. One only has to look at the mouth of Burdekin River. Boy has it changed since I was a kid. Groper Creek, is still good fishing, but the mud build up has gone from the islands, The Mangroves have shifted North towards Alva Beach & Pyotts Beach has gone. Oh, That's my Fathers Sister beach. The big Fish Farm is right behind it if you want to look on Google Earth.
Cont.
Posted by Jayb, Saturday, 3 February 2018 5:27:55 PM
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Cont
The mouth of the Don changes by a mile every time it gets a good Run. They say all the Northern Rivers are moving South. That probably has something to do with Australia moving North by 75mm a year. I lived on the Old Bank of the Burdekin, some 10K from where the River is now. It's moved 5.4 meters further north since I was born.

The water flowing towards the Reef from the Land is the cleanest it been in 64 million years. Then one has to mention the Fresh water from the underground that comes up inside the reef. Fresh water is no good for Coral.

AlanB: The real danger to the inner reef has been the outflow of human effluent, sometimes presented by diabolically disingenuous greens as farm fertilizer runoff?

Up until the mid 80's most towns along the northern Coast had "Outhouses" & the "Dunny Man" Then Septic had to be installed, as soon as everyone had Septic the Councils put in compulsory Sewerage. I lived through that. The latest in Human Waste Farms were put in place. I had a Belgian bloke staying with me for a while that had a European Waste Management Scheme that would have actually made a Profit from all the Waste made it's own Power to run the facility. It was a bit too advance for the Townsville Council though. What goes out to sea is pure water that should be going back to the Dams or to grow Crops.
Cont
Posted by Jayb, Saturday, 3 February 2018 5:29:01 PM
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cont.
I original come from Ayr, left at 17, travelled the World, then went back to Ayr for 10 years, then up to Townsville for 20 odd years. I was in around when James Cook was established and when AIMS was established.

One of the first things AIMS found was the Crown of Thorns Starfish in the early 70's. There was a great panic. The sky was falling & there would be no Reef in 20 years, eaten out completely by the CTS. Funds came in from all over the World to save the GBR, even Russia sent Scientists. Well the end of the World didn't come & Funds started to dry up. What to do? Create another panic. Global Warming shad just started to hit the News. The Big Freeze of the 70's didn't eventuate. Suddenly the Reef was drying again & Funds started to flow again. See a pattern here? create fear, advertise that fear, combine it with another fear &, Whalla! Funds!

They didn’t know where the Giant Manta mated until my brother turned up on their wharf with Photos of him swimming with them in Upstart Bay. They threw him off the Wharf. Next year some Professor made an amazing discovery. Giant Manta’s mating in Upstart Bay. Wow! Another Grant. Amazing! The Local Fishermen used to help the Scientists pout by pointing out what they knew. Then the Scientists would close down their fishing areas. They tell them nothing now-a-days.
Posted by Jayb, Saturday, 3 February 2018 5:36:03 PM
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