Nietzsche principle in action

Yesterday, as I was perusing Steve’s new site, I saw where, once again, political correctness had run amok against the skeptic camp.  Its latest victim was Dr. Pat Michaels.  Apparently, our friend Joe Romm received a draft of a Forbes article written by Dr. Pat Michaels.  Which stated, in part, It is doubtful that Irene will even cough up eight bodies,……” 

Dr. Michaels stopped by and commented on Steve’s site.  Here’s what he said about it…..

“The odd part here is that the text does not include what Romm said it did.  Here is what’s there:
A day later, the smart money is still riding a very Gloria-like track, but with a cyclone that will be weaker than projected (and hopefully kill fewer than the eight people who died in Gloria) though power outages east of where the center makes landfall (probably on Long Island) may be extensive.
Draft text did have the “cough up bodies statement”. I am wondering if somehow a draft was leaked onto the internet.  I am having Forbes look into it as I write this.
Pat Michaels”

Apparently, Anthony hadn’t seen that.  And, he included this event in his Scientists and activists behaving badly post.

This prompted Dr. Michaels to e-mail this statement.

While the text was in fact changed, the original was over the top. As anyone in this business knows, sometimes we don’t proof ourselves very well and say things that are hurtful, and that is not good and requires an apology to those unfairly hurt, which I offer sincerely. I will try to be more careful in the future, and I hope to have learned from this.”

– Pat Michaels (via email)

My goodness!  Has it come to this?

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. —— Friedrich Nietzsche

Dr. Michaels has carried the skeptic torch as long as anyone.  All of the skeptics of any note became notable only because they had to audacity to utter unsanctioned words.  Steve McIntyre, Dr. Michaels, Dr. Spencer, Dr. Lindzen, Steve Mosher,…. the list goes on.  In one form or another they have all been subject to the censorship PC brings us.  This includes Anthony Watts.  Have we fought so long to be able to utter unmentionable words that we’ve now engage in the same manner?  Have we fought the monster so long that we’ve become one of the same?  Should Dr. Michaels be made felt compelled to apologize for using the words “cough up” in this context?  I think not.  What was little noted, was that the article did not contain that phraseology, but rather it was in a draft not meant for public consumption.

Just to be clear, I’m not stating anyone should be angry at anyone for anything.  The people mentioned, Dr. Michaels and Anthony have done a great service to society in ways that can never be measured.  This is just a reminder of the admonishment Nietzsche left with us.  We should take great care to not become what we’ve fought so hard against.  In exchanging thoughts and ideas, we mustn’t limit our expressiveness to only approved vernacular.  To limit expressiveness limits the ideas one can communicate.  To place such constraints limits our ability to understand and exchange knowledge.

Best wishes to all,


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22 Responses to Nietzsche principle in action

  1. Latitude says:

    you know…………..
    I don’t think they could take us….if we dropped the political correctness thing

    • suyts says:

      lol, no, they probably couldn’t. But, gee, do some of the skeptics have to endorse the political correctness? Do they think we’ll be more accepted if we only speak in terms approved by Romm et al? I just thought it was a bit much to equate Dr. Michaels’ text with Gore’s profanity laden tirade or Hansen’s lawlessness.

      • Mark Reau says:

        Hey guys,
        In the Navy, effective cussing was required for advancement. Using the f word as an adverb, pronoun, etc., etc., etc. was on a chart in the maintenance control office. Calling Romm/ Gore a no good, dirty rotten, hairlipped, backward as*, co*keyed, SON OF A BIT*H, would be the best way to get the point across. Saying that today requires a forklift to get chins off the floor.:)

      • suyts says:

        Yes. I don’t mind a bit a swearing now and then, though its totally ineffectual when trying to convey an idea.

        But, what got me, was I kept reading what Dr. Michaels wrote, (though it wasn’t for public consumption) and I don’t see a damned thing wrong with it. That stated, I know there are some panty wearing effeminates out there on the CAGW side that would feign indignation to what Michaels wrote. What got mine in a wad was there were skeptics that agreed with the panty wearing effeminates, including Anthony. And, I think it was wrong to lump Dr. Michaels into the same group as those other two mental deficients.

        In one fell swoop, parts of the skeptic community diminished Dr. Michaels nearer the level of tweedle dee and tweedle dumb and enhanced the stature of Gore and Hansen nearer the level of Dr. Michaels………… with friends like that…….

  2. Mark Reau says:

    Swearing effectiveness depends on the class of people you may be trying to convey the message. In Gore’s case Bullspit repeated again and again conveys urgency. It clearly shows his idiotic followers the need to hype things up. He’s trying to create a fervor for his next attack on the skeptical community keeping money out of his pockets.

    I think that Anthony posting that was detrimental. A united front is usually a better defensive position. While being in the lead makes you a primary target, extra measures are necessary to avoid pot shots. Which, in my opinion this was- A real cheap shot. In this day and age anyone in the public eye needs to be all about spit and polish. A slip of the tongue in this day and age, whether made in confidence or not, goes viral.

    • suyts says:

      I totally agree, but sometimes you just got to tell them to STFU and quit being so hyper-sensitive. I mean really, “cough up dead bodies” hurts someone’s feelings? And that’s deserving of criticism from fellow skeptics? It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Oddly, this reminds me of an Adams quote—-“We’re in a war, dammit! We’re going to have to offend somebody!”

      While we’re not in a war, we are in a great and heated dialogue. I don’t think its reasonable to expect that we don’t offend someone’s sensibilities. I don’t advocate incivility, but this is an extreme case of contorting to the pleasure of our antagonists.

      • Mark Reau says:

        Point taken.
        I see this as class warfare, Gore’s spitting rhetoric supports this point I think. Civility stopped being an issue millions of dollars ago for that guy.

    • Mike Davis says:

      Paragraph two is BAU from my experience!
      Paragraph one: He is scared shitle$$ and has been since he released his movie. It was not long after he had all members of the audience vetted, no recordings of his talks and no debate! He is hiding in his tax loophole!

  3. Mike Davis says:

    I was surprised the original comment was not published and only became aware when Michaels posted at Steve’s.
    I have a problem with PC anyway and sometimes go out of my way to offend those that are guided by PC.
    Having been around this stuff on WUWT and CA along with other sites for a few years I tend to see things my own way and would disagree with your description of some of those people. But I am a Hard Core! If you think the science may be right but the delivery wrong, If you think the science does not matter the restrictions are necessary. If you would go along with the majority until someone proved them absolutely wrong, Humans are guilty until proven innocent!
    If any of the fore mentioned describe you, to are promoting the pathological science attitude of the climatology establishment!
    James: If you e-mail I will explain, but I will not on-line.

    • suyts says:

      🙂 Mike, very cryptic, but I think you know me well enough to know I’m not about the delivery of message, but about the content of the message.

      I’m in total agreement with this statement, “If you think the science may be right but the delivery wrong, If you think the science does not matter the restrictions are necessary. If you would go along with the majority until someone proved them absolutely wrong, Humans are guilty until proven innocent!
      If any of the fore mentioned describe you, to are promoting the pathological science attitude of the climatology establishment!”

      • Mike Davis says:

        I have read those very statements from some of the people you mention!

      • suyts says:

        Very true, but that doesn’t negate some of their other contributions.

        The problem is the diverse make-up of the skeptical camp. And the diverse reasons for engaging. Some are skeptical of the science but truly believe the worthiness of the cause. Others engage purely on the socioeconomic issue. Others yet, are there simply because they are contrarians. (We see them sliding the other way now, because alarmism has entirely lost the momentum.)

        I happen to oppose the hypothesis on a socioeconomic, scientific, and moral levels. But there’s less of us than what many would like to believe.

        I may get around to posting about some of the paradoxes some of our skeptical allies present.

      • Mike Davis says:

        Personally, and I am thinking about this, I can not say why I oppose AGW ACC or whatever name you want to give the cause other than it is wrong, and I mean morally wrong. The Environmental movement started as what I believed was a just cause but was taken over by extremists almost in the beginning. The health care field is another example of “Overkill”, but that while similar is another story.
        The underlying cause in both cases may well be the same, someone needs to be in control because they “Know Best”, Mommy State is about control over others.Maybe it is a symptom of a shift to a Matriarchal society, where we are enslaved by kindness by an all knowing government, from a patriarchal society where we need to stand on our own feet and take responsibility for our own actions.
        It is possible that the idea of a republic was an attempt to break out of the Matriarchal society and back to the patriarchal.
        When I was 18 years old I asked , “Why is it this way” and have not quit searching for the answer.
        Rambling over!!!
        Send money for more research! 😉

  4. Mark ro says:

    Mike Davis says:
    August 30, 2011 at 10:17
    Convoluted sarcasm, original. It works in music but not so much in dialog. When I was ten I asked my grandpa why the neighbor’s bouncing basketball was seen before it was heard, he chuckled and said, sound travels slower than light. I’ve learned some things here, but not today. If you’re not part of the solution, then, you’re part of the problem. The administration never did give nothing to the American, that he didn’t, didn’t already have. Convolutedly over!!!

    • Mike Davis says:

      When I was nine years old My uncle took me for a walk through the cyclotron at Lawrence Livermore and I learned about splitting atoms. I was a bit past the sound and speed of light by then.
      During that Summer with my Nuclear Physicist uncle in Walnut Creek I also visited Mt Diablo Planetarium to learn about the universe and things like “Light Years”.

      • Mike Davis says:

        Anyway! I think I earned the right to sit on the side of a hill and contemplate my navel while discussing the meaning of life.
        Years ago My brother told me that would be my destiny and here I am! I own half of one hill and a forth of the next on east. And it is time for my walk!

  5. Mark ro says:

    lost post to Mike?

  6. GregO says:

    I can’t quite remember where I read Patrick Michaels “coughing up eight bodies” line; but it impressed me not at all. Just some journalistic tough-guy words. So what? I have read books by Patrick Michaels and he is an excellent writer and he has an excellent grasp of climate science, read “Climate of Extremes”.

    In what position is Patrick Michaels in to have any influence whatsoever on those unfortunate souls that died from Irene; or were caused suffering from Irene? He is in no position of direct authority whatsoever. Not a governor of a state; not an adviser; not a government official, not in any position to help or hurt anyone. And in the context of his words, was simply, as a climatologist, making a comparison to another hurricane, in this case Gloria, as to intensity and by means of comparison the damage caused with fatalities as a measure. We look at charts of such numbers and express no outrage; but someone expresses the same data in somewhat tactless words and they are “callous”. What is callous about expressing data?

    James, great that you are into Nietzsche. Not a philosopher many Americans study or appreciate. Our loss. He was a great and penetrating thinker and wrote more than a few things we would find uncomfortable, that is, not PC, but true.

    • suyts says:

      Thanks Greg. I assume too much, often. In my estimation, Nietzsche is one of the greats. I assume that most are familiar. But, after reading your comment, upon reflection, there is no reason to believe most were.

      It isn’t that one or another had it mostly correct, but rather, it is that some had some correct and we should grab what we can from each of those that had some of it correct.

      I started with the Bible. After that, I desired to learn what the 3 Greeks had to offer…..from there, it took me to places unimaginable. I continued. I found I failed to learn from the Bible the first time. Its strange.

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