University of Graz Responds to Parncutt's calls for death penalty for "deniers"

UPDATE: 2PM PST After more complaints were lodged today by WUWT readers about the watered down version of Parncutt’s essay which had replaced the original on the University of Graz website, it was removed and replaced with an apology. See below in the body of the story. – Anthony

UPDATE2: 2:55:PM PST In an email received today from Skeptical Science contributor Dana Nuccitelli, he has flat out refused to distance himself or the SkS website publicly from the Parncutt essay. Readers may recall that Parncutt used SkS as a reference in his essay calling for the death penalty. No word yet on whether John Cook (owner of the website) agrees and no word yet from DeSmog blog. – Anthony

Readers may recall this particular bit of ugliness: Beyond bizarre: University of Graz music professor calls for skeptic death sentences

David M. Hoffer writes in comments:

=============================

2012/12/27 at 10:40 am

I sent a rather firm letter to the University which is reproduced upthread. I didn’t expect a response, but I got one. I reproduce their response here:

Die Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz ist bestürzt und entsetzt über die Ansicht und distanziert sich davon klar und deutlich. Die Universität legt größten Wert, dass die Wahrung aller Menschenrechte zu den obersten Prinzipien der Universität Graz gehört und menschenverachtende Aussagen mit aller Entschiedenheit zurückgewiesen werden. Die Universität weist zusätzlich mit Nachdruck darauf hin, dass eine rein persönliche Ansicht, die nicht im Zusammenhang mit der wissenschaftlichen Arbeit steht, auf universitären Webseiten nicht toleriert wird.

The University of Graz is shocked and appalled by the article and rejects its arguments entirely. The University places considerable importance on respecting all human rights and does not accept inhuman statements. Furthermore, the University of Graz points out clearly that a personal and individual opinion which is not related to scientific work cannot be tolerated on websites of the University.

Helmut Konrad

Dean, Faculty of Humanities and the Arts

===========================

Here is Hoffer’s letter to the University of Graz:

I’ve sent the rector a complaint as worded below. Should I receive a reply (I know, unlikely) I will post it here as well:

I [am] writing to you in protest of the remarks made by Richard Parncutt. While the university has done the right thing by removing these remarks from their website, that is hardly strong enough action. I’m sure you need no reminder that advocating for forced “re-education” and death penalties for one’s beliefs carries with it the stench of barbarism from history’s darkest chapters. I am not one of those who “deny” the science of global warming, in fact the opposite. But having studied the science closely, I’ve also concluded that many of the draconian measures proposed to mitigate global warming would themselves cause more harm than good. As a single example, we are already converting crops into bio-fuels, in essence burning the food while millions around the world are starving. Are the deaths of those people similarly on Richard Parncutt’s conscious? By his own standard, should he not be punished in the precise same manner he proposes to punish others?

The issues regarding climate science are many and complex. They deserve to be debated publicly. Indeed, it is crucial that they be debated publicly that facts, logic and science may prevail over politics, rhetoric, and in the case of those such as Richard Parncutt, hate speech reminiscent of last centuries darkest horrors.

The university owes the world not simply an apology for what appeared on their web site, but a strong and unequivocal statement denouncing this blatant attempt to silence the debate by threat of violence. – David M. Hoffer

===============================

I checked to make certain he is a representative of the university. He is listed on the University of Graz website here.

We are still waiting for DeSmog Blog and “Skeptical Science” to disavow this man’s ideas, since he lists them as references in his hate speech essay.  The original is archived here:

Richard Parncutt. Death penalty for global warming deniers?. University of Graz. 2012-12-24. URL: http://www.uni-graz.at/richard.parncutt/climatechange.html. Accessed: 2012-12-24. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6D8yy8NUJ)

One final note, Helmut Konrad in his statement says:

Furthermore, the University of Graz points out clearly that a personal and individual opinion which is not related to scientific work cannot be tolerated on websites of the University.

Despite that, Parncutt’s watered down opinion (changed after the uproar) still exists on the University of Graz website as seen here:

http://www.uni-graz.at/richard.parncutt/climatechange.html

Perhaps Herr Konrad should be reminded of what he wrote. His email is on his University page here.

UPDATE: WUWT readers get results. After more complaints were lodged today by WUWT readers about the watered down version (PDF here) of Parncutt’s essay which had replaced the original, it was removed and replaced with an apology. It seems Monckton of Brenchley was instrumental in the about-face. This is what is there now:

Global warming

I wish to apologize publicly to all those who were offended by texts that were previously posted at this address. I made claims that were incorrect and comparisons that were completely inappropriate, which I deeply regret. I would also like to thank all those who took the time and trouble to share their thoughts in emails.

In October 2012, I wrote the following on this page: “I have always been opposed to the death penalty in all cases, and I have always supported the clear and consistent stand of Amnesty International on this issue. The death penalty is barbaric, racist, expensive, and is often applied by mistake.” I wish to confirm that this is indeed my opinion. I have been a member of Amnesty International for at least 14 years, and I admire and support their consistent stance on this issue.

Richard Parncutt, 27 December 2012

The opinions expressed on this page are the personal opinions of the author.

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So, um, they’re going to give him a stiff talking to?

Doug Proctor

Good response from the University. Sure, he’ll get a stiff talking to. Fire him and you send him directly into the arms of fellow extremists. It is better that he become somewhat of a social pariah and then can come to understand his untenable stance.

I may be missing something obvious, but why is the thing still available at the first link?
REPLY: Because what is there now is a highly edited watered down version – Anthony

mitigatedsceptic

Of course the poor sod is entitled to express his opinion however odious but he should not claim special knowledge by using his title Professor outside his professed field nor implicate his University by posting on its web site. I do think he needs help but, after reading the Gummer narrative, I think he may not be alone in that. But how does one give them help without infringing the very axioms of freedom of expression?

nickleaton

They could always send him for a bit of re-education! 🙂

John from CA

“But having studied the science closely, I’ve also concluded that many of the draconian measures proposed to mitigate global warming would themselves cause more harm than good.”
Even a casual acquaintance with the WUWT heroes is a complete honor.
Wishing you all the Best and for a Happy New Year!!!

AllanJ

I particularly liked the comment about burning food while millions starve. I see hundreds of acres of corn in the Shenandoah Valley grown specifically for ethanol. You can’t blame the farmers. They are having a hard enough time to survive. But you can blame government policies that make make it more more profitable to grow fuel instead of food.
We will never be able to count the deaths caused and lives saved by this policy. But the deaths caused are now and certain and the lives saved are future and uncertain.

Bloke down the pub

Only time will tell how it affects his promotion prospects.

John Sutcliffe

We are still waiting for DeSmog Blog and “Skeptical Science” to disavow this man’s ideas. Wouldn’t it be more effective to simply ignore him completely? Why would you want to give his article further publicity?

@cui bono
Parncutt could be sacked over this, tenure or not.
In any case, t is not good when the head of school and the vice-chancellor publicly distance themselves from a professor, and over the Christmas holidays at that.

davidmhoffer

John Sutcliffe says:
December 27, 2012 at 11:43 am
We are still waiting for DeSmog Blog and “Skeptical Science” to disavow this man’s ideas. Wouldn’t it be more effective to simply ignore him completely? Why would you want to give his article further publicity?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Because evil grows in the dark.

Tom J

So, from what I understand, the good professor Richard Parncutt, professor of musicology (whatever the hell that is) at the rip roaringly batty, University of Gaz, in calling for the execution of climate change ‘deniers’ had this to say:
” I have always been opposed to the death penalty in all cases…”
So, Rick, are you opposed to the death penalty in all cases except when you’re not opposed to the death penalty in all cases? So, are there actually ‘some’ cases that do not fit the definition of ‘all’ cases? Is ‘all’ a limiting word? Or, is it an unlimiting word? Or, is the definition changed when it’s preceded by the word ‘always?’ Or, are ‘always’ and ‘all’ magnetic words, but one’s positive, the other negative, so they repel each other? Therefore, neither of them mean anything? Or, are they mysterious, magical words? Words that can be honest. Or deceptive. And it’s not true that they don’t mean anything. They just mean something other than what they mean. Parallel universe words? Tell me Rick, you deep thinker you, you paragon of wisdom, tell me, what do they mean?

jorgekafkazar

cui bono says: “So, um, they’re going to give him a stiff talking to?”
They’ve already eliminated Parncutt’s blatherings from their website and made it clear that they condemn his arguments. I’m not sure he has a position of any tenure; last I heard, he was a sort of visiting professor. Thus their authority to do any more is uncertain. I don’t think it’s productive to expect or endorse any further action by the University at this time. He seems to have had serious personnel issues in the past, and I suspect he may already be viewed as a loose cannon there. Let’s not give away any of the moral high ground by ill-considered calls for dismissal or suggestions that he be hoist by his own petard.

Arthur Dent

Don’t be so precious. Sure what he wrote is offensive but you guys are the ones that rejoice in the 1st Amendment. People should lose their jobs for expressing their opinions only in the most extreme circumstances. Otherwise the USA is no better than other totalitarian states.

DirkH

John Sutcliffe says:
December 27, 2012 at 11:43 am
“Wouldn’t it be more effective to simply ignore him completely? Why would you want to give his article further publicity?”
Or, we could also ignore professional tenured crackpot ethicists…
http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=6047
http://ethics-etc.com/category/environmental-ethics/
Maybe they’ll become nice fellows if we ignore them enough!

Werner Brozek

Before we discuss the death penalty for certain groups of people, should we not have a discussion as to whether or not ALL letters of CAGW are in fact true? I would suggest a good place to start would be to have a debate between Christopher Monckton and Al Gore.

AndyG55

“which is not related to scientific work cannot be tolerated on websites of the University.”
add , “in that specific discipline”
psycho musicologists, psychologists, arts professors etc etc… SHOULD NOT be making any sort of opinion statement on the Uni web site that are not related totally to their specific subject.

Considering Desmogblog was built around the writings of US anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan, whose 2004 “Boiling Point” book’s chapter 3 is titled “Criminals against Humanity”, it is doubtful Desmog would forcefully disavow Parncutt’s ideas out of a plausible fear that he might point to exactly where he got those ideas from.

pokerguy

“I am not one of those who “deny” the science of global warming, in fact the opposite.”
Sorry. Bugs me. I don’t know many who do deny it. Indirectly, he’s validating the term.

davidmhoffer

I’ve sent them a response as follows:
Konrad,
I would like to thank you for your clear and firm response on the matter.
However, I note that while the ugly remarks originally made by Parncutt have since been removed, they have been replaced. The current commentary, while more subtle, nonetheless proposes that punishment be meted out to those who have a specific opinion on the science, and that the death penalty should at least be considered as part of the range of options. Parncutt’s statement in his preamble that he is against the death penalty hardly rings true in that context. Further, your policy, as articulated in your reply to me, reads:
“Furthermore, the University of Graz points out clearly that a personal and individual opinion which is not related to scientific work cannot be tolerated on websites of the University.”
Parncutt’s statement as it currently stands on your web site hardly meets that standard. As a consequence, I regard your reply and the steps you have publicly taken in dealing with this matter to be inadequate.
Regards,
David M. Hoffer

Like the inventor of the guillotine who found it cut their own head off just as easily as anyone else, those making these silly comments to “cut off their heads” are likely to be setting the seeds of intolerance which champions their own demise.

davidmhoffer

The heavily watered down version has since been replaced by an actual apology by Parncutt.

Josualdo says: December 27, 2012 at 11:30 am
I may be missing something obvious, but why is the thing still available at the first link?
REPLY: Because what is there now is a highly edited watered down version – Anthony

I was considering what Dean Konrad wrote about the publishing of personal opinions on the U web site, as davidmhoffer also notes. But you cant have it all I guess.

johnb

Re: AllanJ –Where exactly in the US are farmers having a hard time “surviving?” They have had record income the last few years; farm land values have more than doubled in the last 4 years; they are the “wealthiest” group in the US, exceeding doctors, lawyers, CPA’s, dentists, etc.
[quite probably, but how about a link rather than just an assertion? . . thanks . . mod]

Curious Canuck

Oh! Looks like Herr Konrad is making good on his sentiments. I see that the watered down version of the Parncutt screed has been replaced with an apology.

davidmhoffer says: December 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm
The heavily watered down version has since been replaced by an actual apology by Parncutt.

If not just cynically and just meant to appease the Dean, it seems perfectly ok. Just read.

Jburack

Why would anyone want him to be ignored. He is a veritable gold mine, and I say let’s mine him for all it’s worth. I think it’s good to put his university on the spot, and I think it’s good they rejected his murderous mind set. But I do not think they should shut him up at all. He should be free to speak to all the world. Let Parncutt by Parncutt. A prime candidate for the freak show, let him swallow his swords and entertain us all.

Follow the Money

An Austrian calling for mass deaths? That seems to remind me of something….hmm…oh, yeah, the Hutus.

ba

If only Penn State were half as responsive…

Rick

In 2050 people will look back on him the same way they look back on any of the nutty eugenicists, the guy that invented frontal lobotomy, and the doctors collecting human physiology information during the Holocaust. Yeah, he’ll have a sore hand for a little while as he continues to brainwash another generation.

federico

Parncutt has some tradition in asking for executions. Look in Wikipedia and here:
http://www.wnd.com/2012/12/professor-says-execute-pope-benedict/
Is the University of Graz unaware of this???
It is not understandable why such a person can be on the payroll of an university and is not in jail.

davidmhoffer

I’ve since sent another email:
Konrad,
Since sending my email below it has been brought to my attention that the watered down version of Parncutt’s have also been replaced, now with a statement that he apologizes, rejects the death penalty, and is a member of Amnesty International. I fail to see what his membership in Amnesty International has to do with the matter. That he belongs to an organization that stands diametrically opposed to the very measures he advocated not once, but twice, on your web site hardly excuses him. I believe the expression “wolf in sheep’s clothing” may well be an apt descriptor, and Amnesty International ought to be embarrassed that they count among their membership one who abuses their cause by using them as a cloak to hide the sheep.
I do thank both you and the University however for the steps you have taken in response to his egregious remarks.

kim

Bravo Helmut Konrad and David Hoffer.
=========================

davidmhoffer

of course I just figured out that I misworded it, the cloak was supposed to hide the wolf, not the sheep. But I think they’ll know what I meant.

Gary

OK, the guy has apologized. Let’s accept it and move on. No need to continue punishing the repentant. Forgiveness tends to soften the offender so that he becomes more aware of his failings and learns not to repeat them; severity only embitters.

Ian E

Now we just need an apology from Gore for the deliberate ‘inaccuracies’ in “An Inconvenient Truth”.

John F. Hultquist

David,
Well done. Thank you.
————–
Several have mentioned tenure. I have no idea how such an issue is handled in other countries. In the US, tenure has morphed from protection for academic research and publication, unpopular as it might be to some, to a job security function, unpopular as that might seem to others.

AllanJ you write “But you can blame government policies that make make it more more profitable to grow fuel instead of food.”
I disagree Countries like the USA and Canada grow more food than is required by our populations. Why is food any different from any other resource that we might have an excess of? Should we be required to share all our excess resources with the rest of the world? For example, here in Canada we have a lot of fresh water, more than we need. Must we be forced to share it with others?
In any event, to me the proper source of ethanol is not food, but waste agricultural products. This may turn out to be economically viable, but on the other hand it may not. It is only because Poet has made a profit from food ethanol, and acquired a considerable amount of expertise in doing so, that they are now, with private money, trying to turn a small amount of the corn stover, into ethanol. All this waste product is not required for agriculture, and could be a substantial source of a renewable fuel which can be stored.

Adam Gallon

Sounds like he’s been summoned to the Headmaster’s study, been given 6 of the best and told to write a good letter of apology!

mpainter

Arthur Dent says: December 27, 2012 at 12:16 pm
Don’t be so precious. Sure what he wrote is offensive but you guys are the ones that rejoice in the 1st Amendment. People should lose their jobs for expressing their opinions only in the most extreme circumstances. Otherwise the USA is no better than other totalitarian states.
========================
Let’s have a look at this one, and see who is being precious.
First Amendment – this concerns freedom of the press in the US. Parncott is an employee of a public institution of Austria, posting on a university website which has disavowed his views and obviously forced his retraction of said views. The University of Graz would be justified in firing Parncutt for expressing neo-facist views or advocating the execution of the Pope. We are justified in our condemnation of him. Interesting that you yourself do not see it as such.
The University of Graz is in Austria, not in the USA. If Parncutt is fired, what does that have to do with the USA? If people from all quarters of the globe condemn Parncutt, how does that reflect on the USA? By other totalitarian states, I assume that you mean Australia under the Guillard regime.

Curious Canuck

Hopefully all the correspondences from those concerned at Parncutt’s behaviour are keeping in mind that the other people at Uni Graz are reacting to something exploding into their world a day or two after Christmas (a not business as usual day at Austrian unis I’m sure. Let’s try to embody a little of the generosity of the season and be understanding of their perspective too.
I remain impressed with the response.

thisisnotgoodtogo

The new comment says “OK, OK, no executions!”
🙂

Furthermore, the University of Graz points out clearly that a personal and individual opinion which is not related to scientific work cannot be tolerated on websites of the University.

Well, it’s their school, so they’re free to make up farcical rules. I would actually rather they kept the statement as-is, much like certain parts of Germany & Poland have a few museums to remind people of what goes on when certain political philosophies are unchecked by morality.

Arthur Dent says December 27, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Don’t be so precious. Sure what he wrote is offensive but you guys are the ones that rejoice in the 1st Amendment. …

So … 1st amendment freedoms should allow shouting “fire” in a crowded theater and is a) a good idea or b) a bad idea?
Calling for the imposition of the death penalty in civil society for contrary ideas is a) a good idea or b) a bad idea?
Haven’t we been through this before? Joseph Goebbels anyone?
.

Mods, a re-post b/c of a formatting muff … TIA _Jim

Arthur Dent says December 27, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Don’t be so precious. Sure what he wrote is offensive but you guys are the ones that rejoice in the 1st Amendment. …

So … 1st amendment freedoms should allow shouting “fire” in a crowded theater and is a) a good idea or b) a bad idea?
Calling for the imposition of the death penalty in civil society for contrary ideas is a) a good idea or b) a bad idea?
Haven’t we been through this before? Joseph Goebbels anyone?
.

Birdieshooter

Having dealt with warmists on a daily basis, none of this surprises me. Some may not be so blatant but the attitudes run along the same lines. Im sure most comments are in jest but there is an underlying subtext to the psychology of those who agree with him.

I disagree Countries like the USA and Canada grow more food than is required by our populations. Why is food any different from any other resource that we might have an excess of?

An excess of foodstuffs tends to reduce the price of those foodstuffs. & even if it doesn’t matter to you, as someone who cooks for himself, I enjoy spending less feeding myself:
I buy beans now for 99¢/lb., less than 8 years ago, they were 29¢/lb. Premium shortgrain rice was less than 10¢/lb & now is very close to $1/lb. Basically everything I eat or cook with is 3-20x what it was less than a decade ago. Some of that is the simple cost of transportation (fuel), the growing itself (more fuel, fertilizer, even more fuel for irrigation), & the overhead of business (electricity, etc), but quite a bit of it is the absurd waste of burning food in your car’s engine.

thojak

Maybe of some interest:
http://www.uni-graz.at/richard.parncutt/researchprofile.html#22
Cheers from Sweden

Bruce Cobb

His apology seems sincere, and I bear him no ill will. His statement about his opposition to the death penalty does seem bizarre though, given what he said initially.
I wish to apologize publicly to all those who were offended by texts that were previously posted at this address. I made claims that were incorrect and comparisons that were completely inappropriate, which I deeply regret. I would also like to thank all those who took the time and trouble to share their thoughts in emails.
In October 2012, I wrote the following on this page: “I have always been opposed to the death penalty in all cases, and I have always supported the clear and consistent stand of Amnesty International on this issue. The death penalty is barbaric, racist, expensive, and is often applied by mistake.” I wish to confirm that this is indeed my opinion. I have been a member of Amnesty International for at least 14 years, and I admire and support their consistent stance on this issue.
Richard Parncutt, 27 December 2012

DirkH

davidmhoffer says:
December 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm
“The heavily watered down version has since been replaced by an actual apology by Parncutt.”
He could work for the BBC. (Anyone who has ever seen a BBC article mutate over the course of a few hours will understand.)