This prestigious journal got it wrong
I recently told you about Dr Peter Ridd, the professor who was sacked by James Cook University after disagreeing with findings by some of his colleagues about the Great Barrier Reef. He is now seeking to appeal his dismissal in the High Court of Australia.
Dr Ridd’s research suggests that some studies claiming the Great Barrier Reef is dying are unreliable. However, such unreliability is no surprise.
A few years ago, a survey by the respected science journal Nature found that more than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist's experiments. A majority of those surveyed agreed that there is a “crisis of reproducibility”.
And last week we saw yet another example of untrustworthy science, this time on transgender treatment.
The Australian (12/8/20) reported that the prestigious American Journal of Psychiatry has had to publish an extraordinary correction to a 2019 US-Swedish paper.
This widely praised, peer-reviewed paper had claimed that transgender surgery – such as breast removal or genital reconstruction – reduced the need for mental health treatment. This claimed benefit of transgender surgery has been used to push for easier access to such treatment.
Dr Michelle Telfer, clinic director at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne has argued that mastectomies improve the mental health of “trans boys”. Lobbying by Telfer succeeded in securing funding of $6 million from the Andrews government in Victoria to cut waiting times for treatment.
But last month, the American journal retracted this claim. It published a correction, an editorial and letters from a dozen psychiatrists, clinicians and researchers in four countries. They identified multiple flaws in the 2019 paper. Faced with the criticisms, the authors of the original paper acknowledged that “the results demonstrated no advantage of surgery” for subsequent mental health.
As a leading researcher pointed out, the 2019 paper had ignored post-surgery suicides!
The correction has come not a moment too soon. The original US-Swedish paper had been hailed by Australian trans activists in their campaign to achieve full Medicare cover for all trans surgery.
Treatment guidelines from the Melbourne Royal Children’s Hospital transgender clinic argue for trans breast removal for girls as young as 16 with gender dysphoria (distressed by their biological sex).
This campaign comes at a time when the number of gender dysphoric children seeking treatment is rising faster than ever before. The spike in cases may be linked to “copycat” pressures from social media. Many of these children have autistic traits.
FamilyVoice has been alerting MPs about this worrying trend. We continue to urge federal health minister Greg Hunt to set up a national inquiry into the causes and treatment of childhood gender dysphoria.
This is a grim and ugly fact. Our civil government is no longer able to meet its first obligation — to protect the people — we are really in trouble. There is no question that civil government today is trying to do everything under the sun, and doing nothing at all successfully. In terms of efficiency and effectiveness, the only thing that civil government does at all well is to take money away from us.
Having said this, we must add that the fault is by no means entirely on the side of civil authorities. Lawlessness is so widespread and extensive that it is becoming impossible to control. I can still recall the whining of one man at a neighbourhood meeting about how the police were not doing their job. The fact was that his boys were the neighbourhood menace. We have no right to complain about the failures of the police if we are creating a part of their problem by failing to train our children properly.
The church has always been the main force for law enforcement. By the religious and moral instruction it gives, the church has been our greatest law enforcement agency. This, however, is not true now of many churches. Neither sound doctrine nor sound morals seem to be present in many Sunday-school lessons and pulpit expositions. To teach Sunday-school children about indigenous cultures and aspirations and nothing about the Ten Commandments is hardly sound teaching of morality. Instead of being a moral force in the community, such churches become a disintegrating force, and the children are robbed of the moral discipline and faith they so greatly need.
Moreover, government (like charity) begins at home. The failure of the family to discipline its children is a key contributing factor to our moral decline.
Today, government is indeed failing to protect its citizens, but the failure begins at more basic levels than the police. It represents the moral failure of the churches, families, and individuals of our country. Whatever else an election might do, and whoever we may vote in, we cannot alter or erase the moral failure. It begins where we live. The remedy also begins there.
Peter Downie - National Director
Safe Schools Manager Roz Ward (left)
I was tempted to let One Nation MP Mark Latham write this article.
He introduced his Parental Rights Bill in the NSW Legislative Council last week (5 August 2020). And –I can hardly believe that I am saying this – I agreed with every word he said.
He spoke more than 4000 words, so there’s no way I can quote them all. But I’ve included an edited selection to show why this Whitlam-mentored, former ALP leader now has conservatives cheering.
Hon Mark Latham MLC
The purpose of the Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 is:
The parliament should legislate to defend the family unit and the biological science of gender. Parents, not schools, are the teachers of the values of their children. There are some fine teachers in the education system, but at the end of the day they come and go while parents are there 24/7, loving, nurturing, and dealing with the problems late at night and on weekends.
I congratulate the Berejiklian government on removing the Safe Schools program from the New South Wales curriculum. The government has some good intentions, but good intentions are not enough. The state government has lost control of the education system. It is run by bureaucrats, the Teachers Federation and what I call the education establishment.
The Teachers Federation has on its website all the material that the government thought it had banned, including the Stand Out Minus 18 guide, written by Roz Ward in 2011 for the Victorian Safe Schools Coalition; the Gayby Baby curriculum guide, showing teachers how they can fit gender fluidity teaching into existing school syllabuses; and a series of Safe School information kits also written by Roz Ward.
Roz Ward has admitted that Safe Schools was never an anti-bullying program. Ward has said that it was only ever neo-Marxist indoctrination.
The University of Newcastle has issued a classroom practice manual for teachers, depicting gender and families as "socially constructed" and urging kindergarten children—five- and six-year-olds—to think of nuclear family structures as "problematic". Parents are being marginalised.
Since I was elected to this Parliament 16 months ago, my office has had a constant stream of complaints about politics in schools. Parents are sick and tired of their kids texting them to say that day's English class was actually gender studies again. Parents are sick and tired of teachers and school counsellors telling their children that gender is a choice. Parents are sick and tired of students being lectured about political issues, but with only one side of the story being told.
This bill is unequivocally on the side of parents and their children. The time has come to protect their rights in law.
I congratulate Mark Latham on his important research. The notorious “Safe Schools” program is far from dead, even in states that have supposedly banned it.
Mark’s office told us that his bill has been referred to a parliamentary committee to identify ways it can be most effective.
Please pray for him, and for us as we rally support for his bill.
Peter Downie - National Director
In recent weeks I have mentioned three people who have been denied freedom of speech: Israel Folau, Drew Pavlou and Dr Peter Ridd.
Each case is different. Israel Folau warned people of the consequences of sin. Drew Pavlou warned of undue Chinese Communist Party influence in the University of Queensland. Peter Ridd warned of flawed research about the Great Barrier Reef.
The common factor is fundamental freedom of speech.
For 27 years Dr Peter Ridd was a professor of physics at the James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville, Queensland. His research focused on the Great Barrier Reef.
He has had over 100 papers on his research published in peer-reviewed scientific journals across the world. His students liked and respected him.
But in May 2018, the university sacked him.
The university said a key reason was his lack of “collegiality”. He had publicly disagreed with some of his university colleagues, who claimed their research showed the Great Barrier Reef is dying.
Dr Ridd recently explained: “In the final analysis, I was fired for saying that, because of systemic problems with quality assurance, work from the JCU coral reef centre, which also publishes extensively on climate change, was untrustworthy. I believe what I said was true and have given plenty of published evidence to support the statement.
“After I was fired, it was proven beyond doubt that I was correct when a group of seven international scientists who audited eight of the major studies from the JCU coral reef centre found them ALL to be 100% wrong. You can’t get much more scientifically untrustworthy than that.”
Dr Ridd sued the JCU for unfair dismissal in the Federal Court last year. The judge found in his favour and awarded him $1.2 million in damages.
But the university appealed that decision. Last month two judges fully upheld the appeal, and a third wanted a retrial. The majority said that the university’s code of conduct takes priority over the academic freedom (or freedom of speech) guaranteed in Ridd’s employment contract.
In effect they said that academic freedom no longer means what it once did, and universities have the right to tell their employees what they can and can’t say, whether or not it is true.
Dr Ridd has now decided to appeal to the High Court of Australia. This action will be stressful, time-consuming, very costly – and vital.
“This case … ultimately affects what academics are prepared to say on controversial topics such as climate change, or the fate of the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.
I and many others are praying that the High Court upholds Dr Ridd’s freedom to speak the truth.“He was convicted of the need to warn people about the consequences of sin.”
Last week at our FamilyVoice webinar, committed Christian and former rugby star Nick Farr-Jones commented on Israel Folau’s sacking. “I believe there were better ways for Israel to express his faith, but I absolutely understand why he did it,” Nick said.
Nick said all the Tongans on Israel’s team felt marginalised by Rugby Australia’s action. “Rugby Australia botched it!” he said.
Two fundamental freedoms – of speech and religion – are now at risk.
Peter Downie - National Director
Enough is enough. The people and politicians must put an end to complaints before Queensland Human Rights Commission which are frivolous and/or vexatious and do nothing more than to try and silence everyday Mums and Dads.
Lyle Shelton is a Queensland father, husband and an average law-abiding Australian who is being dragged before a government commission for writing a blog about why drag queens are not for kids.
The Queensland Human Rights Commission is demanding that Mr Shelton appear before it for conciliation with a couple of aggrieved ‘drag’ queens – really?
Lyle posted last January about the dangers of putting LGBTIQA+ drag queens in front of children has triggered action against him under the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act of 1991. Under the law, it is compulsory that he turn up. If he does not, he could be forced to by court order. If he still refuses, he could go to jail.
In NSW Mark Latham MLC has taken steps to end the thought police with a bill to protect free speech online. For anyone keen to express their religious point of view online via social media, Latham’s proposed bill offers the much-needed protection.
What say you Queensland? With the State election just around the corner every politician needs to remember that family, faith, freedom of speech and life issues still swing votes.
Frivolous or vexatious claims made against Lyle Shelton is nothing less than using the QHRC as a weapon by certain activists to ‘silence’ those whom they disagree with – so much for free speech.
Drag Queen activists are using the legal system to try to score the political points they cannot achieve by democratic means, or even worse, they are using the legal system to try to destroy their opponents financially to break them with the cost of using lawyers and going through tribunals to defend themselves. This is not justice nor is it Australian.
“We have countless numbers of mums and dads such as Brisbane mum Katrina Tait, mother of four, Israel Folau, Brisbane dad Bernard Gaynor, and UQ student Drew Pavlou all being victimised by ‘socially spoilt’ LGBTIQA+ activists. Enough is enough,” said Greg Bondar, Spokesman for FamilyVoice Australia.
FamilyVoice will be contacting all its supporters in Queensland to urgently contact their MP asking them if they support Lyle Shelton’s freedom of speech and secondly, asking them if they are committed to putting an end to frivolous and/or vexatious claims being lodged with the Queensland Human Rights Commission.
FamilyVoice Australia upholds Christian values and the family: permanence of marriage, sanctity of human life, primacy of parenthood and limited government.
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