From _Why People Believe Weird Things_, Michael Shermer, W. H. Freeman and Company, New York, 1997, pp. 131-132. It would be difficult to find a supposedly scientific belief system more extraordinary than creationism, whose claims deny not only evolutionary biology but most of cosmology, physics, paleontology, archaeology, historical geology, zoology, botany, and biogeography, not to mention much of early human history. Of all the claims we have investigated at _Skeptic_, I have found only one that I could compare to creationism for the ease and certainty with which it asks us to ignore or dismiss so much existing knowledge. That is Holocaust denial. Further, the similarities between the two in their methods of reasoning are startling: 1. Holocaust deniers find errors in the scholarship of historians and then imply that therefore their conclusions are wrong, as if historians never make mistakes. Evolution deniers (a more appropriate title than creationists) find errors in science and imply that all of science is wrong, as if scientists never make mistakes. 2. Holocaust deniers are fond of quoting, usually out of context, leading Nazis, Jews, and Holocaust scholars to make it sound like they are supporting Holocaust deniers' claims. Evolution deniers are fond of quoting leading scientists like Stephen Jay Gould and Ernst Mayr out of context and implying that they are cagily denying the reality of evolution. 3. Holocaust deniers contend that genuine and honest debate between Holocaust scholars means they themselves doubt the Holocaust or cannot get their stories straight. Evolution deniers argue that genuine and honest debate between scientists means even they doubt evolution or cannot get their science straight. The irony of this analogy if that the Holocaust deniers can at least be partially right (the best estimate of the number of Jews killed at Auschwitz, for example, has changed), whereas the evolution deniers cannot even be partially right -- once you allow divine intervention into the scientific process, all assumptions about natural law go out the window, and with them science.
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