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University extracts apology from death-sentence musicologist

Richard Parncutt, the systematic musicologist who called for global warming deniers to be executed, has been forced to apologise for his post by the University of Graz where he teaches and had his original post taken down.

richard parncutt

Here are the relevant documents, first the university’s statement:

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

And now the apology:

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

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  1. Peter - a different one from the other Peter says:

    Two thoughts come to mind: 
    1) Attacking the person rather than the argument,
    2) the trolley problem.

    This feels like a triumph for the thought police and the well funded, aggressive there-is-no-Global Warming lobby. The have successfully silenced a solitary systematic musicologist. Without addressing his argument at all, but distorting and caricaturing it.
    It rather reminds me of the cigarette-smoking-doesn’t-cause-cancer lobby a decade ago. Aggression against opponents works, and I am sorry to see this blog being part of it.

    It is almost universally accepted that killing people is wrong. And yet the majority of people live in countries which operate the death penalty (inc the US), where killing often as a punishment for killing – as though two wrongs made a right.
    A harder moral dilemma is: should one kill to save a life, or to save many ? This is difficult and controversial. A common Thought Experiment is known as The Trolley Problem (
    When asked to choose the lesser of two evils, people’s views are rather split. Often opting to kill unknown people so as to save known people, or kill outsiders to save their own children, family and friends. Humans are very tribal.
    Prof Pamcutt’s suggestion falls into this category – the moral defensibility of killing people now so as to save (he says, in the hypothesis that GW causality can be proven) millions of lives in the future.

    It is abhorrent. But is it the greater or the lesser of the two evils ?
    And is it right to pillory him, just for stating a view ?

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