Friday, April 18, 2014

My concise definition of institutional education


Institutionally imposed "study" is unpaid forced labour done by adults and minors. It is as dehumanizing as any regime of forced labour, and it is not only unpaid but it imposes life-long personal debt and health deterioration. Its ancillary benefits (socializing) are only tolerated as a necessary management allowance.


Links to Denis Rancourt's essays about the student condition and student liberation HERE.

Links to Denis Rancourt's essays about the student condition and student liberation



And on transforming education:
  • TVO interview

  •  
    Other social theory essays by Denis Rancourt HERE.

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    Defamation law must be abolished -- Join the effort to abolish defamation law


    Defamation law can't be fixed. It is the only common law tort (cause of action) that presumes guilt. It is a legal abomination, a persistent residue from Star-Chamber England.

    Other torts are enough. This one must go.

    Read this report published by the Ontario Civil Liberties Association:

    OCLA position paper on Bill 83 – The tort of defamation must be abolished in Ontario

    Listen to this radio interview on The Corbett Report:

    Interview 862 – Denis Rancourt Dissects the Tort of Defamation

    Public pressure and civil society can cause governments to legislate this abhorrent stain out of the courtrooms of free and democratic nations.

    For a start, join OCLA, and join the OCLA Facebook group and follow OCLA on Twitter.

    Sunday, February 23, 2014

    Climate science is a "Zombie science"


    By Denis G. Rancourt

    Dr. Bruce G. Charlton recently (2012) wrote an informed and polemical book entitled "Not even trying... The Corruption of real science". In this book, Dr. Charlton defines what he calls "Zombie science".

    I submit that Dr. Charlton's definition of a "Zombie science" eminently applies to today's climate science. I predict that today's climate science enterprise will, in some future, be universally adopted as a textbook example of Zombie science by historians of science, who will emerge in a next generation of honest academics.

    Here is the definition of Zombie science given in the on-line version of Dr. Charlton's book:

    When a branch of science based on incoherent, false or phoney theories is serving a useful but non-scientific purpose it may be kept-going by continuous transfusions of cash from those whose non-scientific interests it serves.

    For example, if a branch of pseudo-science based on a phoney theory is nonetheless valuable for political purposes (e.g. to justify a government intervention such as a new tax) or for marketing purposes (to provide the rationale for a marketing campaign) then real science expires and a ‘zombie science’ evolves.

    Zombie science is science that is dead but will not lie down. It keeps twitching and lumbering around so that (from a distance, and with your eyes half-closed) zombie science looks much like real science.

    But in fact the zombie has no life of its own; it is animated and moved only by the incessant pumping of funds.

    *
    Real science is coherent – and testable (testing being a matter of checking coherence with the result of past and future observations).

    Real science finds its use, and gets its validation, from common sense evaluation and being deployed in technology.

    Real science is validated (contingently) insofar as it leads to precise predictions that later come true; and leads to new ways of solving pressing problems and making useful changes in the world.

    But zombie science is not coherent, therefore cannot be tested; its predications are vague or in fact retrospective summaries rather than predictions.

    *
    In a nutshell, zombie science is supported because it is useful propaganda; trading on the prestige which real science used-to have and which zombie science falsely claims for itself.

    Zombie science is deployed in arenas such as political rhetoric, public administration, management, public relations, marketing and the mass media generally. It persuades, it constructs taboos, it buttresses rhetorical attempts to shape opinion.

    Furthermore, most zombie sciences are supported by moral imperatives – to doubt the zombie science is therefore labelled as wicked, reckless, a tool of sinister and destructive forces.

    To challenge zombie science is not merely to attack the livelihoods of zombie scientists (which, considering their consensus-based power, is itself dangerous) – but opens the attacker to being labelled a luddite, demagogue, anti-science, a denialist!

    For all its incoherence and scientific worthlessness, zombie science therefore often comes across in the sound bite world of the mass media as being more plausible than real science; and it is precisely the superficial face-plausibility which in actuality is the sole and sufficient purpose of zombie science.

    In contrast to objective reality, the warmist spin is spectacular.

    Climate science is overwhelmingly supported by the establishment and by global finance which is hard at work installing a  multi-trillion-dollar carbon economy for its profit and to assist in extortion via a development tax against any regime that insists on economic independence. The public opinion battle appears to have been largely won. Valiant resistance is tolerated as a quaint demonstration of freedom of expression in the US. All other civil and societal sectors are aligned, by virtue of the mega-snow-job that equates ecological destruction with CO2 gas (a growth limiting plant nutrient), as opposed to its actual causes. (The cause of ecological destruction is ecological destruction!)

    It is glaringly obvious that carbon "logic" is a major emerging instrument of global control and fortified exploitation that, like US dollar standing in the purchase of strategic resources, will be backed with military might. Yet, "deniers", including dedicated top scientists, are targeted as pure evil, being paid by destructive interests.

    The holy apparatus of "peer review" is advanced as a truth detection instrument, where it is objectively known to be an establishment opinion imposition structure, which was rejected as such by none other than Albert Einstein, and which did not exist when science made virtually all of its greatest advances.

    The climate models are opaque and not testable, and when the "predictions" from these models fail dramatically, multiple clouds of spin erupt from both the modellers and those who generated the "measurements". Most historic climatologists are intimidated into sheepish silence. Government scientists mostly tow the line. Official politically contrived reports (IPCC, etc.) fall over themselves to declare a CO2 crisis, year after year.

    By contrast, simple and rigorous physics calculations conclusively show that other factors are orders of magnitude more important than CO2 in determining mean global surface temperature. The "other factors" (land use, water management) are made subservient to the CO2 gospel. 

    I mean, it should be thoroughly embarrassing to all professional climate scientists. How can they be so silent?

    And there are armies of opportunists. The ecologists cite imperceptible global warming rather than denounce direct habitat destruction, which would put them into harsh conflict with immediate "economic interests". Green energy and environmental remediation (carbon storage, etc.) charlatans are only too happy to accept funding for bogus and unsustainable technologies. And on and on.

    When global finance has a project that aligns with global geopolitical interests, present First World civil society and all professional employees are, in turn, easily aligned. At least for now, dissidents will continue to be mobbed by hoards of zombies.

    ***

    Dr. Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured and Full Professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is known for his applications of physics education research (TVO Interview). He practiced various areas of science (environmental geochemistry, soil science, spectroscopy, condensed matter physics, materials science) which were funded by a national agency, has published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals, and has written several social commentary essays. He is the author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism. His articles and views about climate science include: LINK.

    Thursday, January 30, 2014

    Arbitrator rules that University of Ottawa's dismissal of tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt was justified

    Denis Rancourt on campus in 2007-2008, file photo: La Rotonde

    The University of Ottawa's 2009 dismissal of tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt has been upheld in a binding labour arbitration award released to the parties on January 28, 2014.

    The full text of the 32-page decision is posted HERE (direct link to PDF file HERE).

    A final paragraph in the arbitration award reads:

    [105] Finally I want to note that I am in no way passing judgment on the value of Professor Rancourt’s teaching method, which calls for removing a student's stress by not grading. It may very well be that such a method of teaching results in improved learning for the Physics students. A number of researchers have written books on this teaching approach applied by Professor Rancourt. The University, however, has the right to decide and manage its institution in a manner in which students are objectively evaluated and graded comparatively one against the other. It has the right to determine that the grading method applied by its professors must conform to the general practice of universities which is the benchmark for determining the students' progression in their studies and for the attribution of bursaries and grants.

    The first media report about the arbitration award is this one: Arbitrator upholds University of Ottawa’s firing of tenured professor -- Ottawa Citizen

    The following report was written about the conflict by academic workplace mobbing expert Kenneth Westhues in 2009: Ottawa's dismissal of Denis Rancourt

    Rancourt's 2011 description of the broader conflict is here: This is what targeting a dissident tenured professor looks like in Canada
     
    TV-Ontario 2009 interview with Denis Rancourt about his teaching method and grading:

     

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014

    Dr. Denis Rancourt files application to the Supreme Court of Canada for his right to an impartial court


    An Ontario superior court judge had strong personal, family, emotional, and contractual financial ties to a party intervening for the plaintiff in [the] case, and also to the law firm representing the party in court, and did not disclose any of these ties. This party was also the employer of the plaintiff in the lawsuit, and funded the plaintiff’s litigation. The judge was tasked with determining the propriety of the party’s funding of the plaintiff, which was done with public money. The judge’s ties made it inconceivable that he would rule against the party. When the defendant discovered the judge’s ties and presented the evidence, the judge lost decorum, threatened the defendant with contempt of court, and recused himself, but refused to consider whether there was an appearance of bias, and continued to release decisions. The judge’s in-court reaction and walkout further confirmed his ties with the party in the lawsuit. The defendant raised the matter with six more judges, up to the court of appeal [for Ontario], but all of them refused to duly consider and properly apply the facts. As a result, all the decisions of the judge in the lawsuit stand to this day, even the decisions he released after recusing himself.

    --Summary, Memorandum of Argument, Application Book, page-34


    Denis Rancourt has filed and served an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, for leave to appeal from the dismissal of his appeal at the Court of Appeal for Ontario, appealing from the lower court dismissal of his champerty motion to end the defamation action funded by the University of Ottawa with public money.

    The full application book (with arguments and evidence), dated January 6, 2014, is posted HERE, and alternatively HERE.

    The whole matter is very disturbing. The judge recused himself for real bias moving forward, while refusing to make a judicial determination of an apparent bias that would have negated all his past decisions, then continued releasing findings from the bench and written decisions after the events said to have caused his real bias. And seven judges have refused to make a proper consideration on merits of the complaint.

    Rancourt is arguing that the Supreme Court of Canada has a Charter obligation to grant leave to appeal:

    Thus, in the facts of this case, the applicant’s right to an impartial court has been infringed or denied in the courts below, such that s. 24 of the Charter can be satisfied, in application and principle, solely if the [Supreme] Court grants the instant leave to appeal. Without the Court’s intervention and express directives, the infringement or denial of the applicant’s right to an impartial court will stand without ever having been properly heard on merits, and the right to judicial impartiality will continue to be denied in Canada’s lower courts, by the same means as in the present case, and in other ways.

    --Paragraph 41, Memorandum of Argument, Application Book, page-48


    The Executive Director of the Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) has provided an affidavit in support of the application: See Application Book, starting at page-290.

    OCLA also heads a campaign against the public funding of the defamation lawsuit, entitled: "Public Money is Not for Silencing Critics: University of Ottawa must end its financing of a private defamation lawsuit".

    If an egregious and documented case of apparent bias of a judge cannot be properly heard on merits in any court, then there is something wrong in Canada. It would mean that we do not have the legal system that many imagine and hope that we have. 

    Given the egregious and factual nature of this case, it would mean that circumventing complaints of judicial bias is a systemic problem in Canadian courts: If there is even only one Mack Truck in the living room then this necessarily implies that there is an entrance to the living room large enough to accommodate the truck's drive-in.

    Court documents in the action and its appeals are HERE.

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

    Will freedom of expression come to Canada?

    OCLA's principled letter to the AG of Ontario...

    By Denis G. Rancourt

    Political agents across the left-right spectrum in the USA, including left public intellectual Noam Chomsky, positively advance the USA as being the modern society with the greatest protections for free speech.

    In the USA, expression of opinion is absolutely protected, as is all expression except in limited areas (LINK):

    Criticism of the government and advocacy of unpopular ideas that people may find distasteful or against public policy are almost always permitted. There are exceptions to these general protections, including the Miller test for obscenity, child pornography laws, speech that incites imminent lawless action, and regulation of commercial speech such as advertising. Within these limited areas, other limitations on free speech balance rights to free speech and other rights, such as rights for authors and inventors over their works and discoveries (copyright and patent), protection from imminent or potential violence against particular persons (restrictions on fighting words), or the use of untruths to harm others (slander). Distinctions are often made between speech and other acts which may have symbolic significance.

    Canada, on the other hand, has not been so fortunate. It is stuck with a far more backward remnant of the common law tort of defamation (LINK):

    Libel law developed in an ancient era which we would today consider backward, tyrannical and repressive. It is rooted in 16th and 17th century criminal statutes protecting nobility from criticism. Cases of political libel and eventually damages actions were handled by the infamous Star Chamber until its abolition in 1641. By the end of that century, many elements of the common law of libel we would recognize today had been established.

    Under the common law of defamation in Canada, when a plaintiff claims defamation for some insult or opinion, then damages and malice are presumed (malice of defamation versus express malice), and the defendant has the onus to prove his or her innocence based on strictly limited defences allowed in the common law.

    In Canada, the courts had the occasion to significantly reform the common law of defamation when the legal landscape was changed by the introduction of the 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but have steadfastly refused to do so, in ruling after ruling.

    Instead, incremental changes have been installed that further entrench the common law of defamation in its egregious reverse onus stance, such as the new "responsible journalism" defence -- introduced with great fanfare, after most other common law jurisdictions (UK, Australia, etc.) had seen this particular light.

    The common law tort of defamation is the only cause of action which assumes damages without any requirement to prove damages in the court. Other torts that address harm to reputation, such as the tort of malicious falsehood, do not assume damages.

    Is there any hope that freedom of expression will ever come to Canada?

    I can report recent evidence that may justify some hope: THIS RECENT LETTER of the Ontario Civil Liberties Association (independent from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and the CCLA position on the same matter) to the Attorney General of Canada's province of Ontario.

    OCLA's letter is strong and principled. OCLA is refusing to ignore the elephant in the room.

    Thus, there is hope. This (OCLA's letter) may be a start that could lead to the downfall of the Star Chamberesque jurisdiction of Canadian courts in matters of individual expression?


    Denis G. Rancourt is the Self-Represented Litigants Workgroup Coordinator of the Ontario Civil Liberties Association. He is a former tenured and Full Professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is known for his applications of physics education research (TVO Interview). He practiced various areas of science which were funded by a national agency, has published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals, and has written several social commentary essays. He is the author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism. He has self-represented himself in several courts and tribunals: labour relations board, access to information appeals, municipal court, Superior Court of Justice for Ontario, Court of Appeal for Ontario, and filed motions at the Supreme Court of Canada.