Monday, 1 July 2013

'The Skeptic' Article Extract + Full References

So, the lovely people down at The Skeptic Magazine were nice enough to publish a hefty piece I did on Wind Turbine Syndrome, causal gaps and the demarcation of science. I've posted an extract below, but you can read the whole thing by buying the June edition of The Skeptic. 

Below the extract is a list of references I used for the article, for your joyous perusal. 



Five years ago, Calvin Luther Martin hated the wind industry. ‘Hate’ in the palpable sense – a frothing, unchecked revulsion that cannot be feigned. He remarked, in 2009:
“The wind sharks fabricate their own [evidence], using whorish little companies to perform noise measurements and do environmental impact studies…Companies often consisting of four guys with sweaty balls and BS degrees from nondescript bullshit state colleges.”
Martin stated that he had been ‘fighting the wind bastards well over 4 years’ – which would place the commencement of his activism in late 2005. Incidentally, his wife Nina Pierpont, an NYU-trained paediatrician (with a PhD in ornithology), put out the following advertisement in early 2006: 
“Dr. Pierpont is asking anyone living near wind turbines and suffering ill health effects of whatever sort which he/she suspects are a result of the wind turbines -- asking these people to contact her”
With these words, Pierpont placed a flag firmly in the venerated soil of pseudoscientific endeavour. Pierpont uses the term ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’ in the advert, and specifically requests to hear from individuals who have attributed their ill-health to wind turbines. From the very inception of ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’, the conclusion was scratched deeply in stone. Pierpoint wrote soon after her study was released:
“I never set out to prove that wind turbines cause Wind Turbine Syndrome. This was already obvious. Instead, I chose to study and document the observations made by people who had already figured it out and proved it on their own.”
This ambitious, unashamed inversion of the scientific method is a major characteristic of her legacy. Pierpont claimed in her 2006 advert that her work ‘will be published in a leading clinical medical journal sometime within the next 12 months’. 88 months later, her work is yet to be published in any peer-reviewed journal. Instead, she chose to self-publish – you can buy the book from her website for the princely sum of $18 AUD, plus shipping and postage. The New South Wales Department of Health was unreserved in its criticism of Pierpont’s study:
“This 'study' is not a rigorous epidemiological study; it is a case series of 10 families drawn from a wide range of locations……This work has not been properly peer reviewed. Nor has it been published in the peer-reviewed literature. The findings are not scientifically valid, with major methodological flaws stemming from the poor design of the study."
With the inception of ‘wind turbine syndrome’, Pierpont and Martin found a viable alternative to profane hyperbole and impassioned vilification. And with a conclusion etched firmly in stone, Pierpont simply had to nominate a cause.


Information on Aspartame safety

Calvin Luther Martin’s thoughts on wind energy

Pierpont’s remarks on her research

Pierpont’s original call for subjects

The article in The Independent, covering Pierpont’s research:

Todd et al’s research into substrate-borne vibration

Todd et al’s response to Pierpont’s appropriation of their work

Interesting piece from Four Corners on wind energy, including quotes from Sarah Laurie

The Laplace Principle - Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

Long document by Laurie, opposing NSW Collector wind farm, including statement about Pierpont’s PhD in Ornithology:

ABC report on South Australian EPA study, including interview with Sarah Laurie

Background Briefing story on King Island wind farm, and interviews with Laurie


  1. That looks great, Ketan. Would love to read the whole piece, but The Skeptic doesn't seem to be on newsstands. Or have I missed it?

  2. Some day, when our children look back on this time, they will wonder how anyone paid any attention at all to these people and groups using bogus pseudo-science to advance their selfish mandate of delaying and stopping progress for renewable energy. They will pay a higher cost than we already are, for allowing climate change to advance more rapidly due to these sorts of anti-wind actions. Shame and scorn on all those who cling to the 20th century ways and still think the earth is flat.