I’ve been reluctant to write about Expelled from the perspective of their abuse of the memory of the Holocaust. Ever since I learned that they were going to recycle the ludicrous Darwin-caused-Hitler argument I’ve been sending out emails to asking other experts their take on whether or not it constitutes a serious affront. Now reading Orac’s coverage of Art Caplan’s review of Expelled I think it’s something that needs to be discussed.
Let’s start with very clear statements of fact that are at issue here.
1) The Holocaust was a direct result of racism and anti-Semitic hatred that existed througout Europe for centuries. This was the motivation, this is clear and obvious to non-Holocaust denier.
2) The statement that the Holocaust sprung from the scientific theory of natural selection is absurd, Orac again does the best job of tearing this one apart. Hitler never once mentioned Darwin, rather Koch and Pasteur seemed his scientists of choice in his rhetoric against the Jewish people.
Previously the ADL has attacked those who have made this comparison. Why they have been quiet this time is inexplicable. I’ve sent them multiple missives asking for a similar reply to Expelled but no reply has been forthcoming. This is unfortunate. But I think their previous argument abotu D. James Kennedy’s use of the Holocaust to attack Darwin stands:
:”This is an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust. Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. Trivializing the Holocaust comes from either ignorance at best or, at worst, a mendacious attempt to score political points in the culture war on the backs of six million Jewish victims and others who died at the hands of the Nazis.
So I’m left with the following observations. Stein and the makers of this film have ignored the factual inaccuracy of their claims about Hitler and the Holocaust to present a false-history of how these events happened. They have attempted to score political points against science by shifting the blame for the Holocaust from the racism of the Nazis to an English scientist.
Does this constitute Holocaust denial? It certainly is denialism – it is the promotion of false history to attack science. It also includes the denial of a specific and important facet of the history of the Holocaust – that European racism is what facilitated the Nazi campaign of extermination against the Jews. While it doesn’t minimize the number of victims, or deny the actual events like more classic Holocaust denial, what does one call it when one lies about the reason for the Holocaust? Without the specific anti-Semitic intent I’m not entirely sure this qualifies.
I don’t know. We should ask experts like Deborah Lipstadt what they think. I do know one thing for sure. It is despicable.