Critique of Denying History

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Enquiring Minds
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Critique of Denying History

Post by Enquiring Minds » Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:00 am

I am interested in reading Denying History : Who Says The Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? by Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman which was originally published in 2000. In researching this book I have read many positive reviews so as balance I present 2 negative reviews by holocaust revisionists themselves -
Critique of Denying History by Paul Grubach - http://codoh.com/library/document/405/
Critique of Denying History by Carlo Mattogno - http://codoh.com/library/document/1756/
If you have read the book can you please provide an opinion on whether you agree or disagree with the above critiques. I am not interested in childish name calling or personal insults. In the words of Shermer and Grobman "We think it's time to move beyond name calling and present the evidence".

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Re: Critique of Denying History

Post by Colin Garner » Sat Jun 06, 2015 11:02 am

It's out of date but is a good summary of where things were at when it was written. Grubach and Mattogno have a long history of distorting the texts they critique, as the HC blog has shown.

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Re: Critique of Denying History

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Sat Jun 06, 2015 11:16 am

I read the book by Shermer & Grobman probably about when it was published, maybe a year or two after. I recall it as OK but not great. My gut feeling, having looked back at it once or twice only since then, is that it was, well, OK - and that it is very much out of date, in that it of course doesn't make use of the historical research done since 2000 (which is voluminous and impressive) and some HD issues have moved on. I agree with Colin Garner's comment - a good summary for when it was written, no more than that.

I've not read the critiques by Shermer & Grobman and Mattogno. I have read this piece ("Convergence of Evidence?: Proof of the Holocaust?") by Grubach quoted at CODOH. My thoughts on Grubach's arguments, replete with name-calling, are here. To put this into context, a denier calling himself been-there tried to use an argument made by Grubach, on "steam chambers" at Treblinka, to dismiss Shermer's arguments about convergence of evidence/consilience of inductions. A number of non-deniers - mostly me calling myself Statistical Mechanic - responded. So that will at least give you my reply to the core of Shermer's approach and one of Grubach's attempts to poke holes in it. The gist of Grubach's argument, addressed in the RODOH666 thread, is as follows:
The following examples will illustrate to the reader how questionable 'convergence of evidence' proofs for the traditional view of the Holocaust really are. In their article on the Treblinka Concentration Camp, historian Mark Weber and attorney Andrew Allen collected six pieces of evidence that point to the conclusion that Jews and others were murdered in steam chambers at the site. Let us list each of them.

- According to an 'eyewitness' account received in November 1942 in London from the Warsaw ghetto underground organisation, Jews were supposedly exterminated in death rooms with 'steam coming out of the numerous holes in the pipes'.

- In 1943 The New York Times published more 'eyewitness' testimony regarding the mass murder of Jews in the alleged Treblinka steam chambers. This account provided readers with essential details about the operation of these steam chambers.

- In The Black Book of Polish Jewry, a 1943 work sponsored by an array of respected dignitaries like Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt, the Treblinka steam story was again given in detail.

- Another book, Lest We Forget, published in New York in 1943 by the World Jewish Congress, describes how Jews were steamed to death and provides a diagram showing the location of the purported boiler room that produced the live steam.

- According to a 1944 'eyewitness' account compiled by the OSS, the principle US intelligence agency, Jews at Treblinka 'were in general killed by steam and not by gas as had been first suspected'.

- In 1945 the Polish government 'conclusively proved' the Germans operated these death chambers. They carried out 'an onsite, physical examination of the steam chambers', which was submitted by the Americans as an 'expert report' to the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Here we have a convergence of evidence from six sources. The eyewitness testimony is substantiated by the onsite, hands-on investigation of the Polish authorities. This convergence of evidence is even better ....because it has an onsite, expert study of the murder weapon itself that 'conclusively proves' the existence of the steam chambers. Therefore, the Germans must have murdered people in steam chambers at Treblinka. Lo and behold, the pitfalls of such a conclusion!
The RODOH666 discussion focused on these six points and how Grubach tried using them.

I'd recommend the HC White Paper as far superior to Shermer & Grobman, even though it has a more restricted focus. It has spawned a massive reply from Mattogno et al.

OTOH I think your topic idea is interesting. I myself am busy with some other stuff, which I want to keep going. Taking on a full critique of all three pieces is just not something I can do right now. But, rather than re-read Denying History and read Grubach and Mattogno, perhaps we could try tackling specific points that you find worth discussing.
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Re: Critique of Denying History

Post by Jeff_36 » Sat Jun 06, 2015 11:01 pm

I read Denying History about a year ago when I first started becoming interested in this topic. I must say that It is an excellent book for the beginner, but short on details. It is not intended for serious students of this issue, but rather those who have just become familiar with it.

Despite it's shortness on details, it's logic is impressive. I would only recommend it for a beginner though. I was about to recommend it to Ryu238 as a start but he left the forum before I could.

All six points collected by Weber are incorrect BTW.

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Re: Critique of Denying History

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:49 am

Enquiring Minds wrote:In the words of Shermer and Grobman "We think it's time to move beyond name calling and present the evidence".
This is a rather bizarre exhortation - as uncalled for as it is benighted. Scholars have been working in this area for nearly 70 years and don't need a self-styled skeptic to jump in and set things straight. Anyone reading the history produced during those decades - and approaching the work with an open mind and curiosity - will be impressed by the depth of scholarship, the voluminous evidence dealt with, and level of debate. To pretend that a few dust-ups people have with a small number of deniers and anti-Semites - who are not part of and not interested in the historical work - are an impediment to debate is the height of presumption and absurdity.
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Re: Critique of Denying History

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:56 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:All six points collected by Weber are incorrect BTW.
Well, yes, but that's not the point. The critical problem with the argument is that all six claims are based on a single (erroneous) and very early source. Today we do not know who was the witness reporting steam chambers to Wasser and Gutkowski of the Oyneg Shabes (Dowid Nowodworski? more likely Jacob Rabinowicz?). In addition, where convergence/consilience come into play - and ignored in the extract - was with other evidence that was brought to light both during and after the war - an the accumulation of multiple pieces of evidence about Treblinka of different types from a variety of independent sources. It's because of all this convergent evidence that we can be sure that the Oyneg Shabes's witness got it wrong and probably didn't possess first-hand knowledge of the workings of the gas chambers. Last, the variety of evidence puts the lie to the claims of primary-school-level deniers like our own Maryzilla who try putting across the lie that "all we have are witnesses" and "all the witnesses are a joke."

Btw, the extract is from Grubach, not Weber.
Last edited by Statistical Mechanic on Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:49 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Critique of Denying History

Post by iwh » Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:41 pm

Denying History was my second book on denial. At the time, I found it excellent intro into the world of denial. It is, as has been mentioned, a little out of date now. Denial, and counter denial has indeed moved on.
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Re: Critique of Denying History

Post by Nessie » Mon Jun 08, 2015 7:45 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:.......In their article on the Treblinka Concentration Camp, historian Mark Weber and attorney Andrew Allen collected six pieces of evidence that point to the conclusion that Jews and others were murdered in steam chambers at the site. Let us list each of them.

- According to an 'eyewitness' account received in November 1942 in London from the Warsaw ghetto underground organisation, Jews were supposedly exterminated in death rooms with 'steam coming out of the numerous holes in the pipes'.

- In 1943 The New York Times published more 'eyewitness' testimony regarding the mass murder of Jews in the alleged Treblinka steam chambers. This account provided readers with essential details about the operation of these steam chambers.

- In The Black Book of Polish Jewry, a 1943 work sponsored by an array of respected dignitaries like Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt, the Treblinka steam story was again given in detail.

- Another book, Lest We Forget, published in New York in 1943 by the World Jewish Congress, describes how Jews were steamed to death and provides a diagram showing the location of the purported boiler room that produced the live steam.

- According to a 1944 'eyewitness' account compiled by the OSS, the principle US intelligence agency, Jews at Treblinka 'were in general killed by steam and not by gas as had been first suspected'.

- In 1945 the Polish government 'conclusively proved' the Germans operated these death chambers. They carried out 'an onsite, physical examination of the steam chambers', which was submitted by the Americans as an 'expert report' to the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Here we have a convergence of evidence from six sources. The eyewitness testimony is substantiated by the onsite, hands-on investigation of the Polish authorities. This convergence of evidence is even better ....because it has an onsite, expert study of the murder weapon itself that 'conclusively proves' the existence of the steam chambers. Therefore, the Germans must have murdered people in steam chambers at Treblinka. Lo and behold, the pitfalls of such a conclusion!
The convergence of evidence above is that a form of gas was produced by an engine that killed people secured inside a chamber. That the actual gas used was wrong is not an issue for the evidence. The idea it was steam has been long dropped as an error but there is still an uncertainty as to whether or not it was diesel fumes or CO from a gasoline engine that was used.

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Re: Critique of Denying History

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:45 pm

Nessie wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:.......In their article on the Treblinka Concentration Camp, historian Mark Weber and attorney Andrew Allen collected six pieces of evidence that point to the conclusion that Jews and others were murdered in steam chambers at the site. Let us list each of them.

- According to an 'eyewitness' account received in November 1942 in London from the Warsaw ghetto underground organisation, Jews were supposedly exterminated in death rooms with 'steam coming out of the numerous holes in the pipes'.

- In 1943 The New York Times published more 'eyewitness' testimony regarding the mass murder of Jews in the alleged Treblinka steam chambers. This account provided readers with essential details about the operation of these steam chambers.

- In The Black Book of Polish Jewry, a 1943 work sponsored by an array of respected dignitaries like Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt, the Treblinka steam story was again given in detail.

- Another book, Lest We Forget, published in New York in 1943 by the World Jewish Congress, describes how Jews were steamed to death and provides a diagram showing the location of the purported boiler room that produced the live steam.

- According to a 1944 'eyewitness' account compiled by the OSS, the principle US intelligence agency, Jews at Treblinka 'were in general killed by steam and not by gas as had been first suspected'.

- In 1945 the Polish government 'conclusively proved' the Germans operated these death chambers. They carried out 'an onsite, physical examination of the steam chambers', which was submitted by the Americans as an 'expert report' to the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Here we have a convergence of evidence from six sources. The eyewitness testimony is substantiated by the onsite, hands-on investigation of the Polish authorities. This convergence of evidence is even better ....because it has an onsite, expert study of the murder weapon itself that 'conclusively proves' the existence of the steam chambers. Therefore, the Germans must have murdered people in steam chambers at Treblinka. Lo and behold, the pitfalls of such a conclusion!
The convergence of evidence above is that a form of gas was produced by an engine that killed people secured inside a chamber. That the actual gas used was wrong is not an issue for the evidence. The idea it was steam has been long dropped as an error but there is still an uncertainty as to whether or not it was diesel fumes or CO from a gasoline engine that was used.

We do not know for sure how stone age man got the stones to and put up Stonehenge. We know they did it.
Seriously, folks, there's no convergence of evidence here. All these documents spin up from a single source - the Wasser report (and Wasser most likely got the erroneous detail from Jacob Rabinowicz; subsequent witness-reports differed).

Convergence of evidence means independent sources and different forms of evidence, so, e.g., physical evidence, a German planning document, an eyewitness, an accounting report, a technical experiment and so on . . . NOT six different versions of what an eyewitness told Wasser and Gutkowski. To say that there's convergence of evidence in such a case is to butcher Whewell's concept of consilience beyond belief and to misunderstand the documents cited. 1. Consilience of inductions/convergence of evidence doesn't mean whatever we'd like it to mean. 2. These documents are known and rubbish any convergence here, sorry (Nessie's reasoning might apply to other, independent reports but not to these six.)

This is not convergence of evidence but Grubach being an ass and gullible been-there falling for the BS.
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