Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cenk Rant On Gay Marriage & The Bible

Holocaust-denial: Convergence of Evidence

We know about the past through a convergence of evidence:

…there is an assumption by deniers that if they can just fine one tiny crack in the Holocaust structure, the entire edifice will come tumbling down. This is a fundamental flaw in their reasoning. The Holocaust is not a single event that a single fact can prove or disprove. The Holocaust was a myriad of events in a myriad of places and relies on myriad pieces of data that converge on one conclusion. Minor errors or inconsistencies here or there cannot disprove the Holocaust for the simple reason that these lone bits of data never proved it in the first place (Shermer & Grobman, 2009, p. 33)

There are several lines of evidence that proves the Holocaust (Shermer & Grobman, 2009, p. 33):

1. Documents –letters, blueprints, orders, bills, speeches, articles, memoirs, confessions.

2. Testimony – accounts from survivors, Nazis, local townspeople.

3. The Camps – concentration camps, work camps, and extermination camps

4. Inferential Evidence – population demographic

5. Photographs – official military and press photographs, civilian photographs, photographs taken by survivors, aerial photographs, German and Allied film footage

Holocaust-Denial: Why So Concerned?

Aren’t Holocaust-deniers just a small fringe group and harmless? Therefore, by answering their claims, you are validating them!?

Yes, that is a risk. But to let the arguments of deniers go unanswered presents a greater danger. Joseph Gobbles observed that, if you repeat a lie enough times, people will believe it.

The most prominent Holocaust deniers are very knowledgeable about the Holocaust (Shermer & Grobman, 2009). This means that anyone not versed in the specifics cannot properly question and answer their claims. For many people, the Holocaust is incomprehensible, unintelligible and untenable, and an explanation claiming that it did not happen may therefore be accepted with relief.

We can no longer ignore the deniers, calling them names and hoping they will go away. They are not going to go away. They are highly motivated, reasonably well financed, and often well versed in Holocaust studies. Like most fringe groups, denies may seem relatively small and harmless, but remember the adage: For evil to triumph it only requires that the good do nothing. We cannot remain silent anymore. It is time to respond (Shermer & Grobman, 2009, p. 17).

Holocaust historian Robert Jan van Pelt observed: "Academics who choose to ignore Holocaust deniers are like the crew of the Titanic straightening the deck chairs while the ship is going down" (van Pelt, 1996; Shermer & Grobman, 2009). I believe that the truth will prevail in the open marketplace of ideas.

Holocaust-Denial Debunked

’Holocaust’ is a designation for the attempted annihilation of the Jewish people. A plan carried out by Nazi-Germany during World War II called “the final solution to the Jewish problem”. Approximately 6 million Jews died, most of them in extermination camps.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived at the Buchenwald concentration camp on April 13, 1945, and declared that there was “indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality and ruthless disregard of every shred of decency”. With his foresight, Eisenhower spoke of how the Holocaust might come to be denied in the future:

I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position from then on to testify at firsthand about these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or assumption that “the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda.” Some members of the visiting party were unable to go through the ordeal. I not only did so but as soon as I returned to Patton’s headquarters that evening, I sent communications to both Washington and London, urging the two governments to send instantly to Germany a random group of newspaper editors and representative groups from the national legislatures. I felt that the evidence should be immediately placed before the American and British publics in a fashion that would leave no room for cynical doubt (Eisenhower, 1948, p. 409; In: Shermer & Grobman, p. 20).

Despite the evidence, the Holocaust has been and still is denied by many people. The key claims of prominent deniers are:
- The Nazis had no official policy or intention of exterminating Jews.
- Nazis did not use gas chambers to mass murder Jews.
- The figure of 5 to 6 million Jewish deaths is a gross exaggeration.

These claims and more are answered in the following posts:

- Why So Concerned? – Why I Respond

- Convergence of Evidence – How We Can Prove the Holocaust

- Revision and Denial – Telling science from Bunk

- Adolf Hitler – What Did He Know?

- Gas Chambers – Used for Delousing?

- Eyewitness – Are Testimonies from Survivors and Nazis Reliable?

- Death Toll – How Many Were Murdered?