Article 6528 of alt.revisionism: Xref: kzoo misc.test:69049 alt.revisionism:6528 Newsgroups: misc.test,alt.revisionism Path: kzoo!k044477 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jamie R. McCarthy) Subject: Michael Shermer's reply to David Cole, 26-27 June 1995 Message-ID: <1995Jul1.email@example.com> Followup-To: alt.revisionism Organization: Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo MI 49006 References: <1995Jul1.firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Sat, 1 Jul 1995 02:04:46 GMT Since David Cole and I had been discussing Dr. Michael Shermer, the publisher of Skeptic magazine, I wanted to give him a chance to reply to some of Mr. Cole's allegations. He kindly returned my email and asked me to post it publicly: [email forwarded to me on Mon, 26 Jun 1995] Jamie: I do not have David Cole's e-mail address so you may pass this along to him and/or just post it where he might read it: Jamie McCarthy posted an e-mail message regarding a dialogue on the net between he and Holocaust revisionist David Cole. My response to McCarthy and Cole is as follows: Jaime, you are indeed correct in your assessment of our liberal letters policy. If I recall from my phone conversation with David Cole, as he whined incessently for over half an hour about my article, I told him that he would be free to write a letter to the magazine and that I would publish it. We publish dozens of letters, usually quite lengthy, and yet none of the revisionists we interviewed at length have replied: not Mark Weber, not Bradley Smith, not Ernst Zundel, and certainly not David Cole. I have never heard from Cole after that conversation that he has now admitted publicly was illegally taped. I could sue Cole and he could go to jail for his action. It is illegal in the State of California to tape a phone conversation without the other person's knowledge. There is a $10,000 fine and/or a six-month jail sentence. I would not bother with such actions against Cole, however, because he is not worth the time. I told Cole (again, from memory, since I did not record the conversation) that my inclusion of him in the list was a minor sentence structure mistake and not an intentional claim on his motives. I continue to hold fast to my analysis of him as someone who likes to stir things up, and his latest round of letters to you and everyone else on the net about me is further evidence of this. I will state publicly and for the record, that I do not think David Cole is a racist or an anti-Semite. If he wants a retraction in Skeptic, however, he is going to have to submit a letter like everyone else, and then I will respond. In fact, after talking to Mark Weber since my article I don't think I would put him in that list either, though I still believe he is wrong in his overall assessment of what happened in the Holocaust. The reason, I believe, David Cole thinks I am untrustworthy is that he was shocked I did not come down on his side. The reason I believe he was shocked was that I treated Cole with considerable politeness and I was always quite friendly to him. I even had him up to my home, bought him a pizza, made him coffee, and spent several hours with him there (not to mention many, many hours on the phone, in the plane coming back from the Donahue show, etc.). I actually got to like the guy, and I think he got to like me somewhat. But Cole confused niceness with intellectual responsibility. Just because I'm nice and polite to someone does not mean I agree with them. (E.g., I like Frank Tipler, but I do not think he has proved that physics proves the existence of God.) Cole was, I believe, hurt that he trusted me, liked me, and that I disagreed with him, which feels like betrayal. Further, he was especially upset that I did not directly address his "38 unanswered questions." There were several reasons for this: (1) Editorial space--this was already the longest article ever published in Skeptic and I did not want to abuse my position by going way overboard; (2) I was unable to get answers to these questions from any of my sources most of whom had never asked such questions or heard anyone else ask such questions; and (3) I suspected that most of these "38 unanswered questions" were nonquestions, and therefore irrelevant to the analysis. On point (3) I was right. Most of Cole's questions are a joke and demonstrate that (a) he either has a very limited thinking capacity (not true); (b) that he is asking them in order to stir things up; or (c) that he is so convinced that the gassings never took place he will look for and find anything to fit his paradigm (it is probably a combination of b and c). For example, Cole asks why don't the peepholes in the doors at Mauthausen have metal grids over them to protect them from being broken by the victims and letting the gas escape? Well, when you actually see the peepholes you know why they don't have protective grids. The glass is about 1/2 inch thick, nestled between two circular 1/2 inch thick steel shrouds, themselves welded to a one-inch thick steel door. It would take a ball-peen hammer to break such glass, and if I recall the Nazis did not provide these to the inmates for their "showers." True, some of Cole's questions are interesting and I was unable to answer a few of them, BUT THIS DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE UNANSWERABLE. It is going to take some more research, and this I am now doing. Such complicated, technical issues, especially in the area of such a sensitive subject as the Holocaust, must be handled properly, carefully, and, especially, thoroughly. The last thing I'm going to do is allow Cole or any other revisionist force me to rush to judgment when I do not have all the facts on a specific claim. And here is a bit of philosophy of science for you. Coming into the paradigm (the Holocaust) I knew very little beyond what any historian learns in a class or two on World War II. The mass gassings, shootings, etc., are all taken for granted by virtually everyone but revisionists. In my research for my article I was able to debunk most of their claims. The fact that I did not include Cole's questions was not part of some conspiracy, or intellectual cowardice on my part, or pressure from Jewish organizations to not talk about it, or anything like this. A couple of those questions need further research before conclusions that change the accepted history can be drawn. It would be irresponsible of me to ask the question without trying to answer it. That's all. In this now famous conversation that Cole taped this is what I tried to explain to him, but he obviously did not get it. I do recall him trying desperately to get me to say certain things, and had I been a bit more aware I might have realized he was trying to entrap me on tape. My colleague Pat Linse was sitting in the room when I was talking to Cole and she recalls my exasperation with him, repeating over and over the same points, which he would not accept because he wanted me to say something else. I honestly do not recall exactly what I said (who does in the course of a dozen casual conversations in a day) and so I suppose he could easily produce segments of a tape that might indeed sound damaging to me. And with modern equipment one could even edit someone's taped conversation to get them to say almost anything you want. This is probably why such a law prohibiting taping conversations exists. (I'm not saying Cole did this or would do it; or that Cole would even do something with it to try to damage my reputation [in which case he would be promptly sued and likely fined and jailed]; just that the possibility exists.) Cole as meta-idealogue v. idealogue. Difficult to say with Cole as he is slippery and sharp. I believe he came into the field of Holocaust revisionism as a meta-idealogue but has been drifting more and more toward an actual idealogue--that is, he had the option to do his Holocaust research without associating with the revisionists, which I think he did initially, but has more and more chose to call himself a revisionist and promote himself as a revisionist. He is taking a stand in this field, and that makes him an idealogue. Being an idealogue, by the way, is not inherently bad in my book. It just is. It is something different than science and thus I think one stands a better chance at finding truth as a scientist than as an idealogue, but it is more difficult to promote a position or belief, which is what idealogues do, and Cole is more and more doing. On the other hand, his break with Faurisson, dean of revisionism, could find him on the outs and push him back into a more neutral position. But since Holocaust historians do not tolerate revisionists so well, Cole is likely to find himself as a man without a country--a position, I suspect, he rather likes. Of all the revisionists I met I find Cole to be the most peculiar. Both Zundel and especially Weber have continually been exceedingly polite and kind to me, even after the Skeptic article. They seem to harbor no grudge and we have agreed to disagree with no hard feelings. Cole, on the other hand, cannot seem to handle the rough and tumble world of intellectual debate without getting emotionally involved and his feelings hurt. That's too bad because he does have a good mind. Michael Shermer [email sent to me on Tue, 27 Jun 1995] Jamie: Let me make a few remarks about David Cole's interview with Don Van Handel. You may post this anywhere or to anyone you like. Don Van Handel's interview with David Cole is vintage Cole--clever insights mixed with total nonsense. 1. Cole continues to portray himself as the disinterested scientist willing to just let the facts speak for themselves. To this extent he is rather naive. The facts never just speak for themselves, especially in history. Besides, if he doesn't take sides, then why does he call himself a revisionist? 2. Handel's question about his opinion of the fate of Europe's Jews was a nonanswer. Cole says, "If I ever publish again." Again? Where has Cole ever published anything? Cole does not appear to have the courage (or ability) to put anything down in print. He hints at his book. Ya, right. Cole cannot even write a letter to Skeptic in response to my analysis. He has never published an article or essay (or even a letter) in the Journal of Historical Review. How is he going to write a book? 3. Cole claims credit for getting the Auschwitz State Museum to tell tourists that Krema 1 is a reconstruction. That's news to me. I was just there and took the standard tour and the guide never mentioned that it was a reconstruction. When I asked about it, I was told it was a reconstruction and it was explained to me how this was done. But there was nothing being hidden. No conspiracy. 4. Cole claims that he has been called a liar and a fraud. I have never seen in print or heard anyone call Cole a liar or a fraud. I know Dr. Piper was very displeased with Cole's video, but not because of anything Piper said. It was that Cole pretended to be something he was not, including wearing a yarmulke. In the video he says he wore it so no one would think he was a revisionist. Call me old fashioned, but where I come from that is called lying. 5. Cole claims that historians denied there was a swimming pool at Auschwitz. Oh? How could they have done that since it is there and full of water, right outside one of the barracks that every tourists sees when they go through the tour? No one has ever denied there is a swimming pool at Auschwitz. It was used by the SS and for certain prisoners who were rewarded for certain acts of obedience. Everyone knows this. David Cole uncovered absolutely nothing. 6. Cole continues with this smug, holier-than-thou-historians attitude that is nauseating. His ego is beyond belief. He claims that historians are "afraid of having to say 'we don't know that yet." Who is afraid to say that? Not me. I'll say it publicly right here on the net: there are things about the Holocaust, particularly with regard to the gas chamber/crematoria aspects of the mass killings, that need further refinement. This is why I went to Europe to see the camps for myself and I am now conducting that very research. If any historian really believed that there was nothing further to study about a historical event, they wouldn't study it. Period. 7. Cole's attitudes toward race, and his openness to people different from himself is quite laudable and I will give him credit for being radically different from other revisionists on this account. 8. Cole's comment on Faurisson being "a complete fraud and liar masquerading as a historian" is amazing, to say the least. If Faurisson really thinks Cole is an agent for the "Jewish conspiracy," then my previous thoughts on Faurisson's reliability as a thinker are reinforced in spades. 9. Cole's comment about revisionists "who have never given an ounce of compassion to concentration camp survivors, even though these people have suffered far more than Faurisson ever has," is almost hard to believe it was said by a so-called revisionist. What's going on here? Why did Cole never express such sentiments to me in my interview with him. 10. I state again, that I have never avoided printing a retraction for Cole, that in the single sentence listing Weber, Zundel, and Irving I also listed Cole. I told Cole then and I tell him now (here on the net) that he has only to submit a letter to the editor, just like everyone else, and we will print it. As you can see from the above, Cole certainly elicites a mixed bag of thoughts and opinions, emblematic, I think, of his own uncertainty about his position in society and his goals in life. Michael Shermer -- Jamie McCarthy email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.kzoo.edu/~k044477/ I speak only for myself.
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