creedal minimalism vs Skeptic magazine

Lyle Burkhead (
Fri, 27 Dec 1996 04:47:42 -0500 (EST)

Michael Lorrey wrote,

> Such photos are in existence, and can be accessed in the US Army
> archives, probably at your local National Archives.

I'll ask you again: Have you been to the archives yourself? Have you
seen these photos? If not, what is the basis for this statement?
I think you're lying, Mike. I think you are pretending to have evidence
that you don't have.

Obviously, if photos of the gassing operation existed, they would have
been published a long time ago. A lot of people would like to make
revisionism disappear, and publishing such photos would be the easiest
way to do it. If Michael Shermer had real, direct, explicit evidence,
he wouldn't need to go through all that rigmarole about "convergence
of evidence."

I will bet you five thousand dollars that you can't produce, from
the archives or anywhere else, genuine photos of people being killed
in gas chambers at Auschwitz or Birkenau. Wanna bet?

>: I'll check that out too. There is of course a remote possibility
>: that the US Army had its own agenda, and was more concerned with
>: propaganda than with veracity. Likewise for your social studies
>: teacher. Nevertheless, I will check out all leads.
>Why would they be in need of propaganda at that point? we had
> won the war...

Your naivete about politics continues to amaze me.

> Einstein, a well known pacifist, became the father of the atom bomb,
> against his highest principles, rather than sit and allow such horror to
> continue.

Einstein sent his letter to Roosevelt in 1939.

> Take soil samples, as well as samples of the grout in the concrete in
> the chambers.

That's been done. Fred Leuchter went to Auschwitz, Birkenau, and
Majdanek, took samples from the alleged gas chambers, and sent them
to a lab to be tested for traces of toxic gas. If the results had been
positive, I wouldn't be writing this.

> I am personally disgusted with people who keep claiming
> that the Holocaust never happened.

I agree that lies are nauseating. The question of *who* is lying
remains to be determined.

There are two explanations for the disappearance of European Jewry.
One is that they were killed in gas chambers. This is the conventional
view, accepted, apparently, by almost all historians. The alternative
explanation, put forward by the revisionists, is that they were uprooted
and driven out: some of them were shot and buried in mass graves,
and many died of disease, starvation, or exposure, but many others,
perhaps the majority, emigrated or were deported, and they ended up
in the Soviet Union, America, or Israel.

The two explanations agree on everything else. They differ only on the
question of gas chambers. Both sides agree that World War II occurred,
that concentration camps existed, that a large number of Jews were sent
to the camps and never returned, that a large number (half a million?
or more?) were taken out and shot and buried in mass graves, and that
most of the Jewish people of occupied Europe were uprooted from their
homes and turned into prisoners or refugees. In other words, the Nazis
practiced "ethnic cleansing" on a continent-wide scale. All of this is
*not* in dispute here. The only question is: Were there gas chambers?

Promoters of the conventional view make fun of the revisionists (or
profess themselves to be disgusted). They try to make it appear that
the revisionists are denying the obvious, and saying "It didn't happen,"
where "It" refers ambiguously to the gas chambers *and* to the whole
phenomenon of deportation of Jews, bodies in mass graves, scenes of
starving prisoners at the end of the war, etc, etc. As I just pointed out,
the revisionists don't deny all that. They only deny the gas chambers.
But their opponents use the argument-by-equivocation shamelessly, and
it's very hard to resist.

This equivocation is the key to the whole subject.

As with many things in life, you have to keep your eye on the ball.
As soon as you let yourself get drawn into an argument about whether
"it" happened, all is lost. The only way to get anywhere with this
investigation is to focus on one well-defined question, preferably a
simple question about physical facts, and stay focused on that question
until it is settled. The question that suggests itself for this purpose is:
Were there gas chambers? There is nothing subjective or nebulous
about this. It is a straightforward Aristotelian situation: either there
were gas chambers at Auschwitz, or there were not. We aren't talking
about Schroedinger's cat. This is a simple thing.