Another try at defining "Holocaust Denier" Part II

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
Tyrian
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Post by Tyrian » 09 Jan 2006 02:01

It appears so. It is especially relevant because of the forum's rules. I want to know where I step. I also think that the rules automatically exclude discussion of the holocaust. I'm not a denier. I'm seeking the truth, just like everyone else. I'm also a pacifist, and abhor violence against eveyone and every living thing. But a forum should be open to free speech, by definition. so, I think this discussion should be reopened.

Tyrian
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Post by Tyrian » 09 Jan 2006 02:10

And I'm a new member (joined today!) so, this forum is new to me. I like to have interesting discussions. But this topic is usually too hot for everyone (it usually ends up with someone insulting and being insulted), which definitely makes me want to discuss it more. I really hate historical blindness and dogma, it makes me want to change things. Cheers!

Dan
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Post by Dan » 09 Jan 2006 03:35

Post away, then.

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WalterS
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Post by WalterS » 09 Jan 2006 05:34

Tyrian wrote:It appears so. It is especially relevant because of the forum's rules. I want to know where I step. I also think that the rules automatically exclude discussion of the holocaust. I'm not a denier. I'm seeking the truth, just like everyone else. I'm also a pacifist, and abhor violence against eveyone and every living thing. But a forum should be open to free speech, by definition. so, I think this discussion should be reopened.
Don't worry about it. The rules regarding Holocaust denial aren't enforced, anyway. Post anything you like :D

Tyrian
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Post by Tyrian » 09 Jan 2006 06:21

Well, after browsing several threads, I can see that cool discussion of this subject is highly unlikely in this forum. And I don't think I can, at this point add a lot to what has been said. I'm a little surprised at how unscientific historians can be (I'm an undergraduate physicist, so I see everything with a healthy skeptical eye). But I really am interested in doing justice, and finding the truth about historical events. Well, at least I haven't been insulted yet, which is nice...

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Post by Larry D. » 09 Jan 2006 15:14

Tyrian -

It seems to me that if you are working on an undergraduate degree in physics you would have little time for the Holocaust. The body of primary and secondary resources is immense - more than you could read in several lifetimes if you gave up physics and worked on it full time. Before reading a few books and then jumping into an internet forum on the subject, I would respectfully suggest that you have a lot of homework to do. It's a huge subject that takes a lot of time and study to get a grasp of sufficiently so you can begin to form an opinion. Some of the threads here on Holocaust & 20th Century War Crimes that relate to the subject are quite good and might merit reading. But I don't think this is where you are coming from. I think your issue is free speech. In regard to the Holocaust, most of us believe the body of evidence is empirical and further discussion about whether or not it happened is just a waste of valuable time that could be better spent doing something else.

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iwh
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Post by iwh » 09 Jan 2006 17:57

I agree, you need to put the time in to actually reading some texts. Forget the internet, try going down to the local library and getting hold of some works on the subject.

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R.M. Schultz
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Post by R.M. Schultz » 09 Jan 2006 18:08

Tyrian wrote:So, if a historian puts the 6 million figure in doubt, he is automatically a denier. If he actually puts anything about it in doubt, he is a denier ...
Well, my idea was to require three criterion to establish a pattern of denial. This would allow, I think, sufficient “wiggle room” for genuine doubt.
Tyrian wrote:So the holocaust is a dogma, a religion which we have to follow, because it was written in stone ...
By no means I am I seeking to establish a “dogma” about the Holocaust, just a useful definition of “Holocaust Denier.”
WalterS wrote:Don't worry about it. The rules regarding Holocaust denial aren't enforced, anyway. Post anything you like.
Not enforced? I think Penn would disagree with that.

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R.M. Schultz
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Post by R.M. Schultz » 09 Jan 2006 18:12

Just in case you haven’t read it yet, here’s my idea of “Holocaust Denier:”
R.M. Schultz wrote:Why don't we start again with the definition in “Denying History: Who Says The Holocaust Never Happened And Why Do They Say It?” by Michael Shermer & Alex Grobman (Berkeley, University of California Press, 2000). This book proposes the following definition:

A Holocaust Denier is anyone who asserts that fewer than six million Jews perished during WW2, and that gas chambers were never used to execute prisoners, and that there was no intention of genocide.

Good as this is, I would refine it thusly:

A Holocaust Denier is anyone who asserts at least three of the following propositions:
— That fewer than six million Jews perished during WW2
— That gas chambers were never used to execute prisoners
— That gas vans were never used to execute prisoners
— That there was no intention of genocide
— That the massive die-off of Jews was due to "wartime conditions"
— That Germany was "forced into war."
— That Allied "war crimes" are in any way on par with the Holocaust.


I think this definition is both flexible and precise. Do you have a better one?

tonyh
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Post by tonyh » 09 Jan 2006 18:37

R.M. Schultz wrote:Just in case you haven’t read it yet, here’s my idea of “Holocaust Denier:”
R.M. Schultz wrote:Why don't we start again with the definition in “Denying History: Who Says The Holocaust Never Happened And Why Do They Say It?” by Michael Shermer & Alex Grobman (Berkeley, University of California Press, 2000). This book proposes the following definition:

A Holocaust Denier is anyone who asserts that fewer than six million Jews perished during WW2, and that gas chambers were never used to execute prisoners, and that there was no intention of genocide.

Good as this is, I would refine it thusly:

A Holocaust Denier is anyone who asserts at least three of the following propositions:
— That fewer than six million Jews perished during WW2
— That gas chambers were never used to execute prisoners
— That gas vans were never used to execute prisoners
— That there was no intention of genocide
— That the massive die-off of Jews was due to "wartime conditions"
— That Germany was "forced into war."
— That Allied "war crimes" are in any way on par with the Holocaust.


I think this definition is both flexible and precise. Do you have a better one?
Yep........thats flexible alright. By those criteria I can shout "holocaust denier" at just about 90% of the people on the board. But, after all.........isn't that what the catchphrase was designed for in the first place. :wink:

Tony

Tyrian
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Post by Tyrian » 09 Jan 2006 20:24

How do you do, Larry?
I may be a physicist, but of course, that does not mean that my whole life should revolve around it. I have yet to know a scientist who dedicates himself exclusively to one subject. Yes, I do have the time to do physics and read about history, and engineeering, among other things. However, it is not my intention to become a professional historian. I am just seeking the truth. Is this forum directed towards historians exclusively? If it is, I apologize for intruding (and will make a quick exit). If it is not, then, I would like to give my humble opinion.
I do think that the definitions given are way too broad to be of any real use. They simply polarize all the different opinions into two fields: the believers, and the deniers. That is clearly too simplistic. It clearly excludes almost everyone with an opinion on it. The world is not black and white. It has all shades of gray and all colours ( that's what makes it beautiful ). I would propose the following definition , with all respect:

Believer: 6 million jews and non-jews died in concentration camps, by gassing, starvation, abuse, hard-labour,etc...for political reasons.

Skeptic: Many jews and non jews died in german copcentration camps, by a variety of means. Not sure about the total number of dead( who is?) or the details of some means of execution.

Denier: no jews died in german concentration camps, but if any did, there was no political reason.

I think this is a lot more balanced, because you will have a middle-ground category, where people may agree or disagree, without actually offending anyone. I don't think people should be offended by numbers and/or technical details, but that's just my opinion. I would place myself in the skeptic category.
I do not come from any specific camp, or have any agenda. I have never followed others simply because they all agree on something. I look at everything from a scientist's point of view, and make my own opinion. I think history as a whole as a lot to gain from applying (more) scientific methods to its research, it should become a lot more multi-disciplinary.
Free speech is of course non-existent if we have a taboo on the subject. I understant that talking about it may offend people, so, and given the respect for the forum and its administrators, I will refrain from discussing it here, unless they find my definitions useful in finding a rich middle-ground for discussion.
Just one question. Is the human-soap story true or not? If it is not, when was it disproved?
( this relates to the denier definition ). Thanks for your patience, and peace to everyone!

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R.M. Schultz
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Post by R.M. Schultz » 09 Jan 2006 21:00

tonyh wrote:Yep........thats flexible alright. By those criteria I can shout "holocaust denier" at just about 90% of the people on the board. But, after all.........isn't that what the catchphrase was designed for in the first place.
Glad to see you want to help clear up this matter, Clearly 90% of the Forum members are not Holocaust Deniers and so I suppose this definition is far too broad. What would your criterion be?

Uh — you do want to clear this up, right?
Tyrian wrote:I would propose the following definition , with all respect:

Believer: 6 million jews and non-jews died in concentration camps, by gassing, starvation, abuse, hard-labour,etc...for political reasons.

Skeptic: Many jews and non jews died in german copcentration camps, by a variety of means. Not sure about the total number of dead( who is?) or the details of some means of execution.

Denier: no jews died in german concentration camps, but if any did, there was no political reason.

I think this is a lot more balanced, because you will have a middle-ground category, where people may agree or disagree, without actually offending anyone.
What you have here is a middle-ground where everyone gets to hide! What we need is to separate the sheep from the goats not to provide a safe-haven for the morally bankrupt.

Tyrian
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Post by Tyrian » 09 Jan 2006 21:07

Everyone gets to hide what? People are free to think what they wish. Are you a priest? Is it morally wrong to debate numbers? What do numbers have to do with morals? Are you hunting someone? Opinions have their own worth, regardless of who presents them. And what about the final question I posed? Or is asking questions forbidden too? Respectfully

Tyrian
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Post by Tyrian » 09 Jan 2006 21:12

But I also understand your reaction. You probably get a lot of nuts and crackpots on the forum. I'm not one of them, though.

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DXTR
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Post by DXTR » 09 Jan 2006 21:21

Tyrian wrote:How do you do, Larry?
However, it is not my intention to become a professional historian. I am just seeking the truth. Is this forum directed towards historians exclusively?
Sorry for pointing this out but one of the first issues that historians dispense with is the idea that somehow the truth is out there, only to be discovered by the quick minded. The truth is more or less always in the eyes of the beholder. Of course some things can be ascertained for example that Pearl Harbour was bombed. But when it comes down to the how and why questions, historians must realise that the closest he can get to establishing this elusive truth is to interpret information his own way. A great deal of history is based on interpretation, and when you interpret events you simply project your own views on things. A postmodernist would argue that even the way we use words can be understood differently throughout time, semantics change over time, and so does the historian and his views on cause and effect, therefore seeking the 'truth' as some deterministic crusade is a lost cause. If you can't count the number of bodies, which for obvious reasons is not possible, then what? does this mean that 6 million was not murdered? No of course not, but you would then have to go through eyewitness accounts, shipment reports, public census and so one until you would have correlated a certain amount of sources to come up with an estimate, but that estimate would be made by you, and therefore there is no 'truth'. You can speculate and produce a case that some would say was beyond doubt but since we never personnally killed all the victims of the holocaust we can never be sure and therefore as I said there is no 'truth' as an end result only interpretation.

History is an interpretation and we will go on interpreting certain events just as the holocaust...

Of course the above claim is based on the schooling that I received. A marxist historian for example would see things differently

regards

David

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