These are our questions for Simon Chapman

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These are our questions for Simon Chapman, professor in public health at the University of Sydney.

1. From your extensive CV, we notice you don’t have a medically related qualification, or specialize in hearing and hearing disorders, nor are you an acoustic engineer.  Is that correct?

2. In the first paragraph of page 1 in your submission to the RENEWABLE ENERGY (ELECTRICITY) AMENDMENT Senate inquiry held late last year, you reported that your work has been cited 6600 times.

In your publication list of peer reviewed articles about wind turbines and noise, there is only one article you co-wrote, and it is currently under review.  While we are not questioning your assertion that your body of work has been cited 6600 times, mostly that work is not about wind turbines and noise, is it?

3. In the cold world of academe where numbers, tweets, research papers, peer reviewed and published articles, numbers of grants and the like mean everything professionally, you are not an established expert in wind turbines, engineering, noise, acoustics, or hearing are you?

4. While you may have opinions about wind turbines and noise, these opinions are not backed up by related professional qualifications or by you having a sizable body of original published research in the relevant field. Is that correct?

5. Despite having only one article, currently under review, about wind turbines and noise we note from your CV and submission that you have also published three or four opinion piece articles about wind turbines and health.  Is that correct or have we missed some?  We’re not including your “letters to the editor” in that number.

6. Although you don’t refer to it in your CV or submission, you recently presented to a meeting of an AGL sponsored wind farm committee in Coopers Gap, Queensland.  Is that correct?

We refer to the Minutes of that meeting held on 18th October, 2012, obtained from the AGL Coopers Gap wind farm project website.

7.  Have you seen these Minutes before?

8.  On page two of the Minutes, you are reported as making the following comments:

I believe people are annoyed by wind farms and they may feel sick because of the thought of them.  I can’t produce a paper that shows any evidence that is really worrying about wind farms relating to health.  There is one paper by Alec Salt, an audiologist who has shown that hair in the ears of rodents can be measured to be waving around when exposed to infrasound.  Some opponents to wind farms have used this paper to argue that infrasound has measurable physiological changes to the hair in the ears of rodents.

Are your comments correctly reported in those Minutes, Professor Chapman?

9. What’s your understanding of the professional status and areas of expertise of Alec Salt?

10. For the record, Alec Salt is a Professor of ear physiology at Washington University School of Medicine.  He did his doctorate in Cochlear Physiology. He is also a Master of Science in Neurocommunications and is a Bachelor of Science in Biology.  He has 35 years research experience in ear physiology.

On page 6 of your submission, you refer to the university ranking of Lusaphona University in Portugal as being number 5279 of 9805 universities globally.   Is that correct?

Using the same university ranking search engine that you cited in your submission, called Academy Rank, we searched for the ranking of Washington University in St. Louis, where Professor Salt works.  Professor Salt’s university came in at number 92 globally.

We also checked the University of Sydney where you work and it was ranked number 373, well below Professor Salt’s university.

We also checked the status of the hospital to which the Washington University School of Medicine is linked which is called Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

According to US News and World Report which ranks American hospitals, Washington University School of Medicine linked to Barnes-Jewish Hospital is one of the best hospitals in the US and was ranked the best in 2012-13 by the US News and World Report.

Do you think it’s misleading to describe an eminent, highly qualified ear physiologist and researcher working in one of the top medical research and teaching hospitals in the US as an academically anonymous “audiologist” who spends his time measuring hair waving around in the ears of rodents?

11.  If we didn’t know anything about Professor Salt, if we were one of those people at that forum, from your description we’d think he was a bit of a crank, and his work without much merit.  Professor Chapman, have you since contacted the Cooper Gap wind farm consultative group to correct the misleading impression you gave them about Professor Salt?

12.  The minutes of the meeting were published on the AGL Cooper Gap wind farm website for global consumption.  Are you content that they were freely available with your misleading comments, or will you now ask AGL to post a correction about Professor Salt’s qualifications and research?

13.  Have you ever heard of companies whose products or activities harm workers and/or members of the public and they try to cover that up?

14.  Are you aware of examples of companies covering up the effects of harmful products or activities by hiding the science, disputing the science of independent researchers and trying to discredit the researchers?

15.  Tobacco is one such product but there are many, many industrial carcinogens in the same category where workers are or have been exposed, health is harmed, company covers it up, independent research is contested.  This is a very familiar scenario, isn’t it?

16. In your comments to the Coopers Gap wind farm forum and elsewhere in your published opinion pieces, you argue there is no scientific evidence that the noise from wind farms hurts people.  Is that correct?

17.  Have you heard of a 2012 research paper called Wind Turbine Infra and Low-Frequency Sound: Warning Signs That Were Not Heard by Richard R. James?

18.  The paper appeared as an attachment to the submission of Emeritus Professon Colin Hansen to the Senate inquiry.

We commend this research paper to you Professor Chapman, because it reports some of the history of research into industrial sound and related health effects.

This paper includes research findings from the 1970s, 80’s and 90s about the effect on workers from audible and inaudible low frequency noise occurring in foundries and foundry processes, from diesel and other engines in industrial applications, and in high rise buildings created by heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems or HVAC for short.

19. Were you aware that some of the symptoms shown in your derisory list appearing as Attachment 4 to your submission, are the same as symptoms reported by workers and employers in earlier decades that were subsequently proven to be caused by modulated low frequency sound emissions in their workplace?  Some of these appear on page 4 and 5 of the James paper.

20.  Given the long history of research into industrial processes proving harm to workers caused by their exposure to low frequency and infrasound, do your assert that this science is now invalid and irrelevant to our understanding of industrial wind turbine impacts and if so, on what basis should it be dismissed?

19.  Do you contest the symptoms of workers described in the James paper arising from workplace exposure to low frequency and infra sound?

20. You have attached another list to your submission, Professor Chapman.  Appendix 3 is an untitled table.  For clarification, what is the status of this research?  Is it incomplete original academic research which you intend to complete, publish and have peer reviewed?  Is it personal opinion for the consideration of the committee?  Or is it for media consumption?

21. Did you get ethics committee clearance from your University to do this research?

22. You only partly explain this table in your submission.  We couldn’t find a clear, detailed explanation of your methodology.  Have we missed the details of your methodology and could you point them out to us?  What page are they on?

23. In case you’re not sure what we’re after, for example, in your submission you say you have been “in contact with the owners of all wind farms in Australia”.  Did you phone, post, email, use face to face interview to field your questions – how did you conduct your research?

24. Did you supply the committee with a list of the questions that you asked these companies?

25. Where are the details in your submission about the level of the representative in the company that you spoke to?  In terms of company hierarchy, where did they line up?

26. Did you ask for any details about the process or system used by the company to record and handle complaints from the public?   Where in your submission do you show details of the complaint handling processes of the various companies?

27. Did you cross check the complaint handling processes of companies with the various relevant State government departments as per their compliance requirements?

28. Did you cross check the number of complaints cited by the company with people living around these wind farms?

29. Did you cross check with the relevant State government departments such as the EPA, WorkCover, Health, or the local shire councils to identify the level of complaints they had received?

30. Is the assertion that only one person per wind farm made a complaint your assertion, or the company’s assertion?  If it’s your assertion, where are the details in your submission showing how you tested the information provided by the company to arrive at the conclusion?

31. On page 3 of your submission, you say and we quote “In the entire state of Western Australia, there are no records of health complaints being made about any wind farm”.  Whose records are you referring to, Professor Chapman?  Where are the details in your submission about these records?  Did you personally peruse these records?

32. Given the lack of detail about your methodology in your submission, by what process of verifiable and reproducible inquiry did you reach your conclusions?

33. In your submission you critique and dismiss the work of Nina Pierpont, in part for conducting her research by phone.

You go on to dismiss the work of researchers at a Lisbon University (quote) as “frankly embarrassingly amateur and scientifically primitive”.  While critiquing the work of other academics is central to your profession, isn’t it also your responsibility to ensure that you don’t also put forward amateur and scientifically primitive opinion?

34. In essence, what is the difference between what you are doing and what you accuse these others of doing?

(For reference only)

ORIGINAL ARTICLES IN PEER REVIEWED JOURNALS, IN PRESS and in preparation

Chapman S, St George A. A Disease in search of a cause: a study of self–‐citation and press release pronouncement in the factoid of wind farms causing “vibroacoustic disease”. (under review) preprint at Sydney University e-Scholarship Depository [Viewed 1198 Times by Nov 5, 2012]

CV non peer reviewed journals, reports, conference presentations

A Disease in search of a cause: a study of self-citation and press release pronouncement in the factoid of wind farms causing “vibroacoustic disease”. Sydney University e-Scholarship Depository 18 May 2012.

Chapman S. Psychosocial Mediators of reported annoyance and putative health-related symptoms associated with wind turbines. Paper Presented to NHMRC Forum On Wind Farms and human health. Canberra: NHMRC 7 June 2011.

Letters to the Editor

The Australian Wind farms and disease 2011 Mar 14

Ballarat Courier 2011 Dec 30 Wind farms

Journalism

Chapman S. There’s Still no evidence that wind farms harm your health. The Conversation Nov 2, 2012. (opened 2,229 Times by Nov 5, 2012)

Chapman S. Much Angst over wind farms is just hot air. Sydney Morning Herald 21 Dec 2011

Chapman S. Can Wind farms make people sick? Croakey 23 Feb 2010

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. I would like to know how many and what wind farms Simon chapman has visited and who has he spoken to about problems as he claims

  2. “STOP THESE THINGS” WEBSITE

    COMMENT ON BLOG – SIMON CHAPMAN

    BY “BIRDS, NOT BLADES”.

    Congratulations to “Stop These Things” for asking the questions that needed asking of Simon Chapman. They, in effect expose this person for what he is.

    To those of us who have had to endure the ever-increasing rantings of this ego maniac in recent times, we have become more and more puzzled by how a person who supposedly has no scientific degree, let alone a medical or biological science degree, could rise to his position and legitimately call himself a “Professor of Public Health”.

    Surely the academic standards of the University that employs him have never sunk so low before to let this happen and not correct it.

    The so-called “scientific papers” he constantly trumpets to be associated with seem mostly a ploy of his to tag his name onto the work of others. This is often related to topics like the collection of statistics on cigarette smoking. Robotic stuff really. The hard yards have largely all be done by genuine scientists before him, yet he insists on constantly creeping down from the spectator stands to insert himself into the team photographs, pretending he is part of the original team. Pathetic really. While he draws on huge amounts of scarce research funds to indulge these fantasies, it is apparent that the only taxpayer funds spent on this fellow should be reserved for much needed counselling.

    Now that his one previous topic, cigarette smoking, has been flogged to death from every possible pious angle, he is trying to forge further publicity for himself in another area, viz. by denigrating Wind Turbine Syndrome in affected victims.

    Actually, you would think logically that Simon Chapman would know better than to take the side of Big Wind. Why is this?

    Because he has spent much of his waking hours, since I first heard of him at least, in railing against the unethical, cunning, lying and obfuscatory tactics of Big Tobacco. We all know the story of how they pretended not to know the detrimental effects of their carcinogenic product, how they denigrated the early research as “inconclusive”, “not properly conducted”, by people with “dubious motives”, and perhaps even some of the papers not being properly “peer reviewed”. Ring a bell?

    It was a cruel farce, ruining many victims’ lives, but it worked for years. The greed for company profit remained paramount over consideration of unfortunate victims.

    We all know too, including Simon Chapman, how some of these despicable tactics were replicated by the asbestos industry.

    So you would think a so-called Professor of Public Health, above all people, would recognise and be suspicious of the tactics of Big Industry generally, when trickles show signs of turning into floods of health problems being reported in victims associated with a product.

    Or at the very least be open-minded of the problem – but remember, he has no scientific training to properly understand and evaluate these things.

    But no, he instead embraces Big Wind and its dubious tactics with all the enthusiasm of Satan advocating benefits of the warmth of the fires of Hell.

    How do we explain this paradox, apart from his lack of training?

    The replication, unwittingly or otherwise, of all tricks and deceptions of the above industry pariahs, in such a highly placed government funded public servant, even taking into account his lack of qualifications, is deeply disappointing.

    The pity is, if he had any semblance of wit, common-sense or scientific training at all, he could make a much need contribution in this relatively new, quite complex, and much need area for further impartial research.

    Instead, his total lack of scientific training finds him blundering forward with a plethora of completely untested, childish theories presented as settled fact.

    He, for example, has totally painted himself into a corner on his irrational obsession with the “nocebo” effect. All this concluded without so much as interviewing or examining even one of the many affected subjects of this syndrome. Then again, as someone pointed out to me, it would be illegal for him to examine a patient.

    Despite some scientists and other people, concerned at the route he is taking, gently trying to point him towards the correct scientific avenues of research with Wind Turbine Syndrome, he continues to embarrassingly charge forward like some demented banshee.

    We could all ignore this fellow as some harmless imbecile operating on the fringes of society, but his totally unscientific approach regrettably includes the insensitive ridiculing of vulnerable other people. This is very harmful. I refer to the Wind Turbine Syndrome victims who need all the support we can extend to them, rather than the bombastic and ignorant derision from the gormless Mr. Chapman (I use the title “Mr.” here as it distresses me to use what should be the respected title “Professor”, for this reason).

    His specific attacks on some members of society, including women, are of such a nature as to prove very hurtful, misogynist, and just plain wrong.

    Not only is he fast becoming a menace to society, he has used his position improperly to slow down the much needed research in this area that so many are working towards.

    Lastly, his inaccurate, demeaning and vicious attack on Professor (a real Professor!) Salt is beyond the pale for someone who presumably purports to be an authority in this area and a civilised human being.

    Chapman’s statement on the movement of hairs in rodent’s ears not only exposes his gross ignorance of even the most elementary kindergarten biology (a Professor of Health indeed!) but causes all the true scientists to wince in disbelief.

    He has become an acute embarrassment to Australia and is not fit to hold the position he occupies. Ignorance masquerading as learning should be exposed for what it is.

  3. Do you really think he will answer these questions. I asked him to reply to questions I asked about world experts on acoustics and medicine which he failed to answer instead telling me to read his CV and things he wrote. He is too arrogant to reply to questions on wind turbines as he is only interested in denigrating opponents of industrial wind turbines. Makes me wonder why he is so opposed when he is at Sydney Uni with health.

  4. Phineas T Windbag says:

    I did some research on Pr Simon Chapman and what his shtick is. Nocebo effect figures large. That is, if we think something could make us sick and we feel sick we’re not really sick, we just think we are.

    Two “M” words come to mind: Manipulation and Marginalization. The health of those affected by wind turbines is manipulated to portray them as psychosomatic complainers and they are marginalized out of any debate as such.

    Hey, Pr C, that’s pretty darn clever. Not many ways out of that paradox. But, do you have you some answers for these questions? Other than nocebo?

    Or maybe they only think they need to have answers?

    • Bird Brain says:

      Why do wildlife move away when low frequency emitters move in to their neighborhood? If it’s all in their minds, who put the idea there? and how? Twitter, wee-mails, or bat-phone, perhaps. Maybe Professor Chapman is conferring with Dr. Doolittle?

  5. Perhaps just another Chapmanian paradox: dying with dignity, but he feels very different about the dignity of those who don’t like the idea of “wind turbines installed in their backyards”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymK9gWdi8n8

  6. Just another Chapmanian paradox: dying with dignity, but those living with wind turbines imposed over their heads can just go to hell.

  7. George Papadopoulos says:

    Simon Chapman’s reputation may have more to do more with who he knows than what he knows. His role on the issue of wind turbines and health has been restricted to petty activism and opinion, rather than research.

  8. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Well done a very good and appropriate list of questions for Professor Chapman. I await his honest academically referenced and noted written responses, after all he is surely able to provide the references and methodology asked for and as an apparent professional I am sure he will be only too willing to apologise in writing for his mistaken judgements of other professionals capabilities.

  9. Murray May says:

    Of relevance to the above on Simon Chapman is this clip from his wiki entry: “He is lead singer with a Sydney-based rock covers band, the Original Faux Pas.” Am curious about who came up with this name. Was it Chapman himself, or one of the band members?

  10. Its no wonder the labor government used this enlightened individual to do its review of health effects from windfarms a few years back, isnt it also odd that he didnt want to be known to have been the reviewer, why was this not published in the press?

Trackbacks

  1. […] Does Chapman disclose that he speaks at wind industry conferences and at wind industry “community consultative committee” education (propaganda) sessions, and gives misleading information about the work of leading researchers in this complex area. (See this link.) […]

  2. […] short, Di Natale blames wind turbine syndrome on fear spread by the Waubra Foundation, lauds Simon Chapman for the “valuable” work he has undertaken in this area and says wind farms are […]

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