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Xref: oneb soc.history:11048 alt.censorship:9400 alt.activism:19732 alt.revisionism:2001
Newsgroups: soc.history,alt.censorship,alt.activism,alt.revisionism
Path: oneb!!destroyer!gumby!kzoo!k044477
From: (Jamie R. McCarthy)
Subject: Re: The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum: A Costly and Dangerous Mistake
Message-ID: <>
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: Kalamazoo College
References: <1r3n2i$>
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1993 21:28:51 GMT
Lines: 436 (Dan Gannon) writes:
>                         by Theodore J. O'Keefe
>To cite one characteristic example, the _U.S. Holocaust Memorial
>Museum Newsletter_ of May, 1992 featured a front-page attack on Holocaust
>revisionism by Professor Deborah Lipstadt of Occidental College in which
>the author decried the revisionists for producing material that looked
>scholarly, then lauded the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum as "among the
>most efficacious ways" of "combating this pernicious trend," *while
>neglecting to specify a single error of revisionist scholarship.*(10)

What's the point of doing so?  Any Holocaust-denier worth his or her
salt ignores any such attacks anyway, and anyone with half a brain can
find errors throughout the deniers' propaganda, or, as Theodore wants
to put it, "revisionist scholarship."

As evidence of how Mr. Dan Gannon responds to my specifying a single
error in his "scholarship"--namely, that HCN gas is too explosive to use
in an extermination gas chamber--I append to this article snippets from
a long discussion thread he and I had last year on his bulletin-board
system.  If anyone wants the full thread, all 45K of it, just email me.

The message thread is quite long, but serves well to demonstrate
Gannon's mentality on this matter.

>That an American institution,
>supported by the taxes of all Americans, should commit itself to inflexible
>historical orthodoxy--in the service of a single American minority--is an
>intolerable imposition on our First Amendment rights, as well as a mockery
>of the Western, and American, ideal of objective scholarship.


Just because someone says something with four-syllable words doesn't
mean it's not ridiculous.  The "inflexible historical orthdoxy" is
simply the truth.  No one who knows anything about history, and who is
not a bigoted liar, denies that the Holocaust occurred, any more than
they deny that the Civil War was fought.  Next thing you know, the IHR
might decide that Abraham Lincoln never lived, and that George
Washington was really a space alien.  We'll have to tear down the
Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, because those historical
orthodoxies are intolerable impositions on our First Amendment rights!

>-Dan Gannon
>dgannon@techbook.COM  Public Access User --- Not affiliated with TECHbooks
>Public Access UNIX and Internet at (503) 220-0636 (1200/2400, N81)

Dan Gannon, as I will be happy to demonstrate if he would care to deny
it, was and is the sysop of the BBS called "Banished CPU."  When I
pointed out that HCN, the gas produced by Zyklon-B, was not dangerously
explosive, he replied:

> So that's a lie, huh?  Go check the Merck index.  Zyklon-B is highly
> explosive.

On July 14, 1992, I responded:

> The _minimal_ concentration required for an explosion is 56,000 parts per
> million.  300 parts per million kills humans within a few minutes.
> That's nearly two hundred times under the minimum.

"Maynard"'s response:

>'ve contradicted yourself here.  First you say Zyklon-B isn't
> explosive, now you say it is.

I replied:

> This is wordplay.  HCN gas is explosive at high concentrations, but not at
> the concentrations that the Nazis were using.  How hard is that to
> understand?
> Do you concede that the IHR is wrong when they say the gas would have
> exploded because the guards were smoking cigarettes?

There it is--one simple point.  Disproven.  And all Gannon would have to
do is say "Gee, I guess you're right," and move on to some of the many
other issues we were also discussing at the time.  Instead, he wrote:

> would still be too dangerous, even at low concentrations,
> because the gas, being of a different density than the surrounding
> air, would form concentrated pockets.

...and, in another message...

> > Do you concede that the IHR is wrong when they say the gas would have
> > exploded because the guards were smoking cigarettes?
> Perhaps you are not taking into consideration that HCN gas, being of a
> different density than the surrounding atmosphere, forms dense pockets,
> which creates an explosive hazzard.
> No.  It's possible, but not a sure thing.  The dense pockets of gas
> probably would form rather unpredictably.  They would cause a hazard
> nonetheless.

My response:

> This is the same guy who told me to "look it up in the Merck index."
> You need to do some looking up yourself, Maynard, instead of _making_
> things up.
> HCN weighs 27 grams per mole.  Air weighs 28.  "Concentrated pockets"
> indeed.  It's just barely lighter than air. ...
> I remind the reader that all this still is irrelevant, because the
> chambers were ventilated, Maynard's evidenceless assertion
> notwithstanding.  But this is a good example of how utterly stupid the
> deniers' claims are:  that a gas 4% lighter than air will spontaneously
> form pockets of concentration 180 times denser than the surrounding
> mixture...this is how reason and logic work over at the IHR.

Maynard came back with:

> I'm not a chemist or a physicist, but I do know that HCN is of a
> different density than air, as you conceded.  Therefore it would
> begin to form concentrated, isolated pockets given any amount of
> time, particularly since the difference in density is quite
> significant, as far as atmospheric gasses and their commingling goes.
> You say the phrase "concentrated pockets" is a lie.  It is not.  We
> cannot know precisely how concentrated they would have been because
> of such factors as air turbulance, but it would be relatively
> concentrated and definitely not dispersed uniformly.

Around this point, I realized how absurd the line of reasoning had
become.  Gannon is asserting at this point that HCN will form
"concentrated pockets" of the gas, 180 times denser than the actual
concentration in the air.  For example, all the HCN in a ten-foot column
of air, somewhere in the room, is going to zoom up into a slice on the
ceiling less than an inch high.  Preposterous.

But I was interested to see what it would take to get even one idea
across to Mr. Gannon.  Quite a lot, as it turns out.  "Maynard"

> Listen very carefully now (or read very carefully.)  HCN has a
> molarity, as it is a compound.  Air does not, strictly speaking,
> because it is a solution.  The compounds present in air, in their
> average ratios, could be thought of as having an "average molarity",
> but strictly speaking, solutions (such as air) do not have molarity. 
> That's not my point though. Keep listening.
> ...even as
> Jamie admits, air and HCN have a mass difference of 4%, which is
> quite significant.  Consider how corn oil and water, which are not
> very much different in mass, will separate into layers when put into
> a container and allowed to sit for any amount of time.  Liquids of
> even closer mass/density will do the same thing.  And so will gases,
> even more so, because they have alower "viscosity" (they are more
> mobile, less solid.)

I wrote:

> ...we've established that HCN, at 27 grams per mole, is just a bit
> lighter than air.  (Previously, I said air was 28 g/mol, but a friend of
> mine who's presently doing work with gas diffusion at U of Michigan says
> he uses the figure 28.8 or so.  Let's call it that, and agree than HCN
> is 6% lighter than air.)
> ...first of all, corn oil and water differ in _density_ not mass.
> And I'll bet it's quite a reasonable difference too, probably more than
> six percent.  But let's pretend that's not important.  Let's also
> pretend that Maynard knows what he's talking about when he says that
> gasses will separate even more than liquids, although the exact opposite
> is true.
> So, gasses separate into layers given enough time.  Even gasses whose
> densities differ by as little as six percent.
> Maynard, do you smoke?  If so, are you aware that hydrogen gas weighs in
> at 2 g/mol?  Aren't you afraid of the thin layer of hydrogen on your
> ceiling right now?  Do you think, if you wave your cigarette in the air,
> the hydrogen (93% lighter than air) will explode?
> Maynard, do you breathe?  Have you ever lain on the floor?  Why didn't
> you suffocate in the layer of carbon dioxide (44 g/mol, 57% heavier)
> that's down there?
> Maynard, are you over 22 inches tall?  In a house with nine-foot
> ceilings, don't you think the 20% of the atmosphere that's oxygen (32
> g/mol, 11% heavier) will form a layer on the floor?  Of course, if
> your head were up in the 86-inch layer of nitrogen gas (28 g/mol, 1%
> lighter) that would be resting on top of the oxygen, that would explain
> a lot of things...

In reply, "Maynard" first does a little mock-self-martyring thing here:

> > OK, we've established that HCN, at 27 grams per mole, is just a bit
> > lighter than air.  (Previously, I said air was 28 g/mol, but a friend
> > of mine who's presently doing work with gas diffusion at U of Michigan
> > says he uses the figure 28.8 or so.  Let's call it that, and agree than
> > HCN is 6% lighter than air.)
> Well, at least you have finally caught me making a false statement.  I've
> been waiting for that.  In this case, it was due to my foolishness.  I
> shouldn't have taken your word on the mass of HCN.  Unfortunately, I was
> deceived.  I guess that's why I ever was an undoubting Holocaust believer
> and heart-bleeder in the first place.  I'm too trusting.

...then he goes on to dodge the explosiveness issue and retreat back to
"how could they not wear gas masks," another issue which we were also
discussing at the time:

> OK, I goofed, I should have written "density", not "mass".  And maybe
> I'm wrong about the gasses and their properties, too.  I'm not a
> chemist and it's been several years since I've learned that kind of
> stuff.  So why don't you and your experts tell us all about it?  And
> tell me how it's relevant to anything, too, please.  As I've already
> pointed out, it's irrelevant if the gas would have been at an
> explosive concentration, as the guards (who were not wearing gas
> masks) would have kicked the bucket from the toxicity of the gas in
> the "Holocaust" scenerio, especially as they (by the "eyewitness"
> accounts cited as "proof" of the "Holocaust") went in to "drag out
> the bodies" of the "gassed" "immediately" after "gassing."  I don't
> expect you to deal with the rationality of that, though, or even to
> attempt to analyze it rationally.  You haven't yet.  You've been
> avoiding all those types of things, in your attempt to keep your
> beliefs and try to look credible.

...projects his irrationality onto me...

> I feel sorry for you; dodging facts and issues in such an
> emotionally-laden issue for you must be rather uncomfortable.  Or
> doesn't it phase you?  You know, "faith" requires no logic.  Is that
> what we're dealing with here? It certainly seems that way to me.

...and, finally, admits he was wrong--or so I thought:

> I yield to you and your "expert" friend (on USENET I presume, probably
> another Holocaustomaniac, but perhaps I'm mistaken in my jaded
> assumptions) and your explanatory abilities.  You tell me why.

That was on July 31st.  I'd gotten tired of that stupid thread of
reasoning, I was discussing (or trying to discuss) other things at the
same time, and I interpreted that last quoted paragraph as meaning that
"Maynard" had admitted he was wrong.  It had taken about two weeks, but
I figured he'd finally given up the battle;  I didn't even care enough
to correct his jaded assumption about my at-the-time-not-even-very-
interested-in-the-Holocaust friend.

Then, over a month later, on September 8th:

> [Jamie quotes Maynard as saying:]
> > I yield to you and your "expert" friend (on USENET I presume, probably
> > another Holocaustomaniac, but perhaps I'm mistaken in my jaded
> > assumptions)...
> [Maynard replies:]
> As you know, but as you are hoping others don't know (since you cut off the
> most important part of my sentence above), I was yielding to your and
> your supposed expert friend's "explanatory powers" to explain how you were
> right and I was wrong, and how gases of 6% mass difference would (as you
> say) NOT separate and form relatively dense pockets or layers if allowed to
> stand for several minutes or more.  You and your friend failed to even try
> to explain anything about that.  So my yield was in vain.

Taken aback a little, I ever-so-politely replied:

> Ahhh, _that's_ what you meant.  So you _are_ still asserting that the
> gases will "separate and form relatively dense pockets or layers."  I
> apologize for misquoting you--I didn't realize I was doing it, as I
> misunderstood you. Right after I got through explaining everything,
> you said "I yield to you and your friend's explanatory powers."  You
> see how I could have misunderstood, I hope.
> (My dictionary lists definitions for "yield" as "give up under
> pressure," "surrender," "lose precedence, leadership, etc."  If what
> you mean is "I think I'm right, but have no proof, so I'm asking you
> to prove the opposite," please try to find English words which
> describe this situation.  Otherwise, you'll end up writing
> absurdities like "my yield was in vain.")
> Now.  I've already proved this.  But I'll do it again, because it went
> right over your head.  The proof is _reductio_ad_absurdum_, a
> venerable and respected technique.  Pythagorus used it to demonstrate
> that the square root of two is irrational...but I digress.

Here's my didactic little proof, which I include here only to
demonstrate the awful lengths I was willing to go to.  :-/

> Here we go.  Ready?
> First, assume that gases which differ in density by 6% or more will
> "separate and form relatively dense pockets or layers if allowed to
> stand for several minutes or more."  (Unless you're claiming that
> this separation will occur only with gases which differ by _exactly_
> 6%.  Perhaps you'll claim this next.)  I will also assume that
> heavier gases will separate _down_ and lighter ones, _up_.  Logical
> enough?
> Next, realize that oxygen's weight is 32 g/mol, and that nitrogen's is
> 28. We are taking the weight of air at 28.8 g/mol.  So oxygen is a
> little over 11% heavier than air.  HCN gas weighs 27 g/mol, which is
> 6.25% lighter than air--we'll call it 6%.
> Then, realize that 11 is larger than 6.  Proof is left to the reader.
> Next, realize that oxygen, by the initial assumption, will "separate
> and form relatively dense pockets or layers if allowed to stand for
> several minutes or more."
> Then, realize that our atmosphere is about 20% oxygen and about 80%
> nitrogen.
> Then, realize that human beings, being members of the animal kingdom,
> breathe oxygen.  If I'm going too fast for you, Maynard, just say so.
> Next, realize that, after the oxygen (which is almost twice as denser
> than air as HCN gas) forms a "relatively dense pocket or layer" on
> the floor of the room, no human being will be able to breathe.  Since
> my ceiling is ten feet tall, and since there's been much more than
> "several minutes" that the air in this room has been standing, the
> oxygen is in a "relatively dense pocket or layer" coming no higher
> than about two feet off the floor, and, since I am in fact almost six
> feet tall, I am presently dead.
> Finally, realize that dead people cannot type.  But I am typing this.
> This is a contradiction, hence the initial assumption is wrong. 
> Hence, gases do _not_ "separate and form relatively dense pockets or
> layers if allowed to stand for several minutes or more."
> _Now_ do you understand?
> If for some reason you doubt this reasoning (I'm sure you'll come up
> with something, probably just the assertion that I'm a "shitty
> debating partner" or somesuch), please find any Chemistry I textbook,
> look up "miscibility, gases" in the index, and tell us what you find.
> Or, if you haven't gotten over your case of bibliophobia, I'll clue
> you in:  gases and liquids behave very differently, and your
> hypotheticals about this difference are exactly the opposite of the
> truth.

Maynard's response?

> You didn't explain it before, nor did you explain it by repeating the
> same hasty generalization fallacy in the previous message (which I am
> responding to.)  You committed the 'argumentum ad ignorantiam'
> (appeal to ignorance, for the non-Latin-speaking) fallacy both times.
> Please EXPLAIN how and why gases do not separate, or under what
> circumstances they do or do not separate, and WHY they do or do not
> under those circumstances.  Are you claiming that gases never
> separate??
> ...
> Also, please define "reductio ad absurdum", as for some reason the
> logic texts which I possess do not list anything whatsoever under
> that name.

I replied:

> Faulty logic texts--there's an explanation I hadn't thought of.  Hm.
> ...this assertion of yours is nonsense.  I clearly, stepwise,
> demonstrated that, if what you say is true, then the consequences are
> alogical impossibility:  to wit, that I am dead.  It is now up to you
> to point out which step was in error.
> I have neither the time nor the desire to give you a refresher course
> in chemistry.  Of course gases sometimes separate.  What I am saying
> is that gases are highly miscible, and that the "separation into
> layers" to which you refer--gases nearly the same density forming
> pockets of high concentration within a few minutes--will never occur.

That was on 30 September.  On 3 October, I commented:

>                      "Address that which you are ignoring,
>                       if you wish to be taken seriously."
>                          - Dan 'Maynard' Gannon, 24 Sep 92
> Maynard, I can't help but notice that you didn't respond to my last
> message about gases mixing.  Allow me to repeat myself:
> > I clearly, stepwise, demonstrated that, if what you say is true,
> > then the consequences are a logical impossibility....  It is now up
> > to you to point out which step was in error.
> Do you wish to be taken seriously?

On 5 October, Maynard replied:

> Your argument was such that gasses do not separate at all.  You gave
> no information about what determines which gasses separate or not. 
> You merely speculated in the form of an overgeneralization.  Then you
> contradicted yourself and said that some gasses separate after all. 
> Now you want me to point out where you are in error.  Oh please.  The
> issue is nil now that you have contradicted yourself in such a way. 
> And although I do not have the concrete knowledge about which gasses
> separate and when, I recognized your overgeneralization fallacy as
> such when I first saw it.
> You can deceive better than that.  I know, I've seen you do it.

At this point, I gave the cause up as lost, and stopped calling his BBS
shortly thereafter, partly because I was totally convinced that
"Maynard" was incapable of rational discourse.  I remain so convinced.
Someone who claims to know about about physics and chemistry to lecture
me about how gases behave, and yet who asserts that some "separate"
while others do not, and that HCN happens to be one of those special
gases which form "concentrated pockets"...well, there just is no arguing
with such a person.

On 7 October, someone else wrote:

> Maynard, it does not make much sense to claim that gases form "layers"
> or "pockets" and that this would make the use of HCN gas (released
> from Zyklon-B) dangerous to use near the furnaces. The lethal
> concentration it about 200 smaller than the minial one which can
> result in an explosion.

And, on 12 October, "Maynard" replied:

> I don't recall claiming that, as much as Holocaust mythologists keep
> trying to attack that argument with your sweeping (and false) generalizations
> about gas never separating.  Anyway, it *is* true: HCN is explosive, and
> from what competent chemists have stated, it will separate and rise above
> the surrounding air.

If anyone else doesn't recall that claim, you can find it by searching
this article on the word "hazzard."

Dan "Maynard" Gannon is completely incapable of admitting that he is
wrong.  He will make up facts, pretend he is an expert on matters which
he is not, ignore what's presented to him, and lie about what he's
previously written.  My advice, based on the four months of my life
during which I wasted countless hours trying to argue logically with
this man, is:  don't bother.  Don't waste _your_ time.
 Jamie McCarthy 	Internet:	AppleLink: j.mccarthy

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