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Holocaust Revisionism and Creationism: Shermer's Faulty Analogy
By Paul Grubach
In his regular column of the February 2002 issue of Scientific American, Dr. Michael Shermer, one of Holocaust revisionism’s most dedicated opponents, claimed that Holocaust revisionism (or, as he labels it, “Holocaust denial”) is on par with and in the same league with Creationism (or, as he labels it, “evolution denial”). As we shall soon see, this is an excellent example the fallacy of “faulty analogy.”
Regarding evolutionary theory, Shermer stated: “The preponderance of evidence from numerous converging lines of inquiry (geology, paleontology, zoology, botany, comparative anatomy, genetics, biogeography, etc.) all independently point to the same conclusion—evolution happened. The nineteenth century philosopher of science, William Whewell, called this process of independent lines of inquiry converging together to a conclusion a ‘consillience of inductions.’ I call it a ‘convergence of evidence.’ Whatever you call it, it is how historical events are proven.”
Shermer then added that “evolution denial [is] the doppelganger of Holocaust denial, using the same techniques of rhetoric and debate—see my book—Why People Believe Weird Things—for a comparison…”
Here, Shermer is implying that the traditional view of the Holocaust is based upon the same type of solid scientific evidence that evolutionary theory is based on. Just as the different forms of scientific evidence converge on the conclusion that evolution happened, so too, the different forms of evidence converge on the conclusion that “the Holocaust happened.”
This is an excellent example of the fallacy of “faulty analogy,” because the supposedly analogous things have more differences than similarities.
Evolutionary theory is indeed based upon scientific evidence from botany, zoology, embryology, etc. (Even Creationists own up to much of the scientific evidence, but they will give a different interpretation to that evidence.) The traditional view of the Holocaust has absolutely no scientific evidence to bolster it. At the first “Holocaust” trial of German-born publisher Ernst Zundel, the premier Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg admitted that there is no scientific evidence to support the existence of the “Hitler gas chambers.”1
At the famous Irving-Lipstadt libel trial in London in winter-spring 2000, it was shown once again that there is no scientific evidence to prove the existence of the “Auschwitz gas chambers.”2 In fact, Holocaust revisionist scholars have shown that the the traditional view of the Holocaust is based on extremely dubious “eyewitness testimony,” forced confessions, confessions taken under duress, and documents with equivocal meanings. Evolutionary theory is not based upon questionable “eyewitness testimony,” forced confessions, confessions taken under duress, and the dubious interpretation of equivocal Nazi documents.
Nor can Shermer use a "convergence of evidence" to prove the traditional view of the Holocaust, because it has been shown that one can come to false conclusions using the traditional evidence to "prove" the Holocaust."3
For a thorough discussion of these issues, the reader is referred to my two essays that expose the fallacies, errors, omissions and falsehoods in the work of Michael Shermer.4
1. “Scientific evidence of Holocaust missing,” The Sault Star, January 18, 1985, p.A-11. The article is reprinted in Michael A. Hoffman II, The Great Holocaust Trial, 3rd ed., (Wiswell Ruffin House, 1995), p.88.
2. For a discussion of this matter with appropriate documentation, see Paul Grubach, “Convergence of Evidence: Reflections on the Irving-Lipstadt Affair,” online: http://www.codoh.com/revisionist/tr09irving.html
4. See Paul Grubach, “A Revisionist Response to Shermerian Exterminationism, Part I: Why Does Michael Shermer Weird Beliefs About the Holocaust?,” online: http://vho.org/GB/c/PG/111200.html. Paul Grubach, “In Defense of Holocaust Revisionism: A Response to Shermer and Grobman’s Denying History,” online: http://www.codoh.com/revisionist/review/tr09denyhist.html.
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