Patterico's Pontifications

4/6/2007

The Debunking Fallacies Series, Vol. 1: Hitler Didn’t Kill 600 Million Jews

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:00 am



The more you blog, the more you find yourself needing to make the same arguments over and over, to respond to fallacies raised time and time again by commenters and bloggers.

Today’s fallacy is one I will call the “Hitler Killed 600 Million Jews” fallacy. Some of my political opponents seem to think that they are entitled to say inaccurate things about anyone who has done something wrong. Then, if you dare to point out their inaccurate statement, they simply accuse you of “defending” the bad person. Let’s watch this fallacy in action:

Commenter: Hitler killed 600 million Jews.

Patterico: No, he didn’t.

Commenter: Defending Hitler again, are we?

The point is so obvious it should not have to be stated. But this post is for the logic-challenged, so I’ll spell out the obvious: just because I point out an inaccuracy in your argument about x, doesn’t mean that I am defending x, or that I support x in any way.

All it means is that you were wrong in what you said about x. No more, and no less.

I find myself having to make this point repetitively nowadays. If, for example, I point out that a Big Media organization has misstated President Bush’s “16 words” claim, some logic-challenged leftist cretin will crawl out of the woodwork and tell me that my defense of the war is getting desperate. If I note a distortion in Big Media about the U.S. Attorney firings, someone will ask me why I’m defending an Administration that declared its intent to lie to Congress.

I’m tired of responding to these ridiculous arguments anew every time they’re made.

In the future, my response to such arguments will be simple. I will say: “Hitler didn’t kill 600 million Jews” — hyperlinked to this post.

43 Responses to “The Debunking Fallacies Series, Vol. 1: Hitler Didn’t Kill 600 Million Jews”

  1. Or when the going gets tuff the tuff get [comment deleted] :)

    Look I know what you are saying and why you say it. I argued, and pointed out the Heritage Foundation bit of extremist propaganda.

    Conservative think tanks are run by people whose sole support is directed research to garner donations.

    Given the fact that they live on donations is like getting stock tips from brokers who are selling house stocks – its highly loaded information –

    given the fact that there were no relative comparison data like everyone below 100,000 dollars in income gets more benies than they pay in taxes – would have shot the wind right out of their report

    so in essence, they lied, flagrantly even the most rudimentary survey of the Federal Budget would have pointed out the fact that the many live off the few.

    Now, saying that we are a nation of laws and we have the sovreign right to control immigration would have been a better use of Heritage Foundation research money and resources and would have been an interesting and insightful report.

    But, lamely trying to “Goebbel” the hispanics (which lets be realistic – thats what they were doing) discredited themselves in my eyes

    EricPWJohnson (695c44)

  2. Thanks for that, Patterico…
    I am not a lawyer, but my debate team in high school was coached by a law student and I took additional classes in logic and debate in college. Even with this limited experience it is sometimes frustrating when somone who never studied the subject comes up with an unconnected response as you mentioned.

    tyree (837a75)

  3. […] Patterico’s Pontifications » The Debunking Fallacies Series, Vol. 1: Hitler Didn’t Kill 600 Mil… The point is so obvious it should not have to be stated. But this post is for the logic-challenged, so I’ll spell out the obvious: just because I point out an inaccuracy in your argument about x, doesn’t mean that I am defending x, or that I support x in any way. […]

    Patterico still defending Hitler at politburo diktat 2.0 (4aa448)

  4. It is very, very difficult for most people to hear a new idea. Every idea first gets misfiled in an existing well-worn mental folder, such as the Holocaust Denial folder. There is no folder for errors of fact or exaggerations associated with the Holocaust. It takes great mental effort for many people to create one.

    I have found that new ideas must be presented multiple times, and each time they must be defended against misfiling. It’s a form of the straw man fallacy, but it is probably more a result of rusty thinking that follows the wheel ruts of past ideas than deliberaty illogical opposition to a new idea. Sometimes I want to grab people by the collar and shout this is new, you have not considered it before! to break the mental momentum that goes only in prearranged directions. Thinking takes effort, and we are lazy.

    Also, our educational system tends to teach habitual thinking, not reasonable thinking. Mental agility is not valued. It does not respond well to propaganda or advertising (but I repeat myself).

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  5. Those wheel ruts are particularly slick when they are greased with the emotional intensity of the Holocaust.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  6. But why are you still defending Hitler?

    /humor

    I know what you mean. Any discussion with someone who doesn’t think exactly like you about subject x leads to an irrelevant but emotionally charged left/right divide.

    It’s as if people feel before they think. Is this something new in history?

    steve miller (18030e)

  7. And as the pingback in #3 proves, some people don’t understand the difference between “defending fact” and “defending the Administration”. I can disagree with every single thing an Administration does, but still have a problem with people who will openly lie about things in order to discredit said Administration. I guess the commissar still hasn’t learned semantics?

    Rick Wilcox (bb4b76)

  8. Flirting with Holocaust denial might not be the best example to demonstrate your point.

    Some are so reflexive about it on both sides, you might get attacked for two fallacies.

    jpm100 (851d24)

  9. Denying that 600 million Jews were killed is not flirting with Holocaust denial. That’s twice the population of the US – today. It’s off by orders of magnitude. I think it is a perfect example to make the point. It’s the reflexivity that is the issue. There is a difference between 6 and 600 million, I think one should be allowed to point it out. Otherwise the very issue one defends becomes a joke, as we saw with the recent Palestinian exaggerations.

    This reminds me of past arguments with my sister who I suspected would always take the side of the argument that expressed the strongest feelings, regardless of reason.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  10. #7:

    The Politburo Diktat 2.0 is a satire site.

    The pointy end of the hat goes UP.

    Random Numbers (642128)

  11. OOPS ! Pass the hat back…..I was looking at the wrong Diktat.

    Random Numbers (642128)

  12. Shorter jpm100: Defending Hitler again, are we?

    Patterico (6a6e69)

  13. Ah, defending Godwin again, are we?

    /subltler humor

    steve miller (18030e)

  14. Next time somebody comes up with the “600 million Jews” argument, yell out “200 POINTS TO THE FIRST POSTER TO SPOT THE LOGICAL FALLACY!” and let slip the dogs of war.

    Socratease (64f814)

  15. Who said “600” million?

    Isn’t the truth, 6 million Jews murdered under Hitler, enough?

    From Armenian Genocide, http://www.parev.net/armenian-genocide-fact-sheet.shtml:

    “..German consuls stationed in Turkey, including Vice Consul Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richner of Erzerum [Erzurum] who was Adolf Hitler’s chief political advisor in the 1920s, were eyewitnesses. Hitler said to his generals on the eve of sending his Death’s Heads units into Poland, “Go, kill without mercy . . . who today remembers the annihilation of the Armenians.”

    “The history of “world opinion” regarding the greatest mass murders and cruelties on the planet is one of relentless apathy.
    Ask the 1.5 million Armenians massacred by the Ottoman Turks;

    or the 6 million Ukrainians slaughtered by Stalin;

    or the tens of millions of other Soviet citizens killed by Stalin’s Soviet Union;

    or the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their helpers throughout Europe;

    or the 60 million Chinese butchered by Mao;

    or the 2 million Cambodians murdered by Pol Pot;

    or the millions killed and enslaved in Sudan;

    or the Tutsis murdered in Rwanda’s genocide;

    or the millions starved to death and enslaved in North Korea;

    or the million Tibetans killed by the Chinese.”

    Dennis Prager – “World Opinion is Worthless,”
    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/DennisPrager/2006/08/01/world_opinion_is_worthless

    psannie (e0f2df)

  16. Lord.

    Sometimes I feel like I should just give up.

    Patterico (309446)

  17. Psannie, did you read Patterico’s original post?

    lc (1401be)

  18. Patterico, you insist on defending the indefensible.

    /do I need to?

    You know, it’s almost like shooting fish in a barrel.

    Do people even THINK about what they post?

    steve miller (6d8e9d)

  19. Patterico, this is all very well but if you consistently attack claims that Hitler killed 600 million Jews while ignoring claims that Hitler killed 60,000 Jews, people might start to wonder about you.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  20. Fish
    Barrel
    Boom

    steve miller (6d8e9d)

  21. Patterico, perhaps if you used a different analogy, like say:

    Moonbat: Nixon assassinated JFK.
    Patterico: No, he didn’t.
    Moonbat: Defending Nixon again, aren’t we?

    or

    Moonbat: Moonies crucified Christ.
    Patterico: ‘fraid not.
    Moonbat: Still the Unification Church’s mouthpiece, aincha?

    then people might get the point.

    DubiousD (d5d032)

  22. JBS,

    If the media has been distorting the facts in *favor* of the Bush Administration, it’s news to me. Comments are open if you want to point out examples.

    I have pointed out examples of things the Administration has said that seem suspect, and don’t be a Dishonest Diktat type and pretend otherwise. If you have more examples, then (did I say it already?) comments are open.

    Patterico (5e2f4f)

  23. Raise your hand if you’re a logic-challenged leftist cretin! [wildly raises BOTH HANDS]

    Patterico…

    Yes – jumping up and down to keep the record “straight” over the sixteen evil words uttered FOUR YEARS AGO while setting the stage for our national disaster in Iraq does indeed reek of desperation.

    Whether or not Saddam BOUGHT or SOUGHT uranium from Africa is beside the point. The Bush Administration has already conceded that the inclusion of these sixteen words in the SOTU was a grave and egregious error. What is important is whatever those sixteen words were, they were employed to strike terror in the hearts of Americans over Saddam’s imminent nuclear attack on The Homeland while in reality the nuclear program we were being persuaded to fear no longer existed.

    I realize that the collapse of your dreams of martial glory in Iraq puts you in a position of perpetual defensiveness, and I feel for you. I wouldn’t want to have to put lipstick on that pig, either.

    Stay strong, Patterico. You guys will eventually figure out a way to pin the entire blame for the lost war on us leftists. That’s what you guys do best!

    The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2)

  24. Stay strong, Patterico. You guys will eventually figure out a way to pin the entire blame for the lost war on us leftists. That’s what you guys do best!

    No, LA, that won’t happen because we aren’t going to lose this war.

    DRJ (d57665)

  25. Shorter Liberal Avenger:

    “I am too goddamned stupid to understand the post.”

    Oh:

    “The Bush Administration has already conceded that the inclusion of these sixteen words in the SOTU was a grave and egregious error.”

    Bullshit. They said (incorrectly, in my view) that the language should not have been included. The rest of it is your exaggeration of their narrow admission.

    Proving once again that you can’t argue using accurate facts. But then, you’re an admitted and well-known liar, so this comes as no surprise.

    What surprises me is how much Stephen at Politburo Diktat is just like you.

    Patterico (4b8d2c)

  26. What surprises me is how much Stephen at Politburo Diktat is just like you.

    We were both cloned from the same egg.

    The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2)

  27. What surprises me is how much Stephen at Politburo Diktat is just like you.

    What, Stephen is retarded too?

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  28. 22

    On Meet the Press Orrin Hatch said of Carol Lam “… She was a former law professor, no prosecutorial experience, and the former campaign manager in Southern California for Clinton …” which as lefty blogs have pointed out is all wrong. I expect you would have been all over a similar error by say Ted Kennedy.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  29. Patterico –

    I don’t know how you keep a straight face. Is LA really serious? No one thinks like that and keeps a day job, does he?

    steve miller (b356eb)

  30. JBS,

    Even if I weren’t on vacation, I might not have heard about that. But if he said it and it’s not true, it should be denounced. Sounds like it’s already been handled quite adequately. I kind of think Hatch is a bonehead anyway, so don’t expect me to defend him.

    I’ve made a lot more points against the Administration than any ten randomly selected lefty blogs have made in the Administration’s favor. Meanwhile, I’m sure you’re on the lefty blogs lecturing them for letting innumerable Big Media distortions slide.

    My regular readers know I call ’em as I see ’em, and — the dishonest portrayal of my stance by Politburo Diktat notwithstanding — I have made plenty of points against the Administration.

    Patterico (9b1f65)

  31. The Bush Administration has already conceded that the inclusion of these sixteen words in the SOTU was a grave and egregious error.

    I’d love to see that quote.

    What is important is whatever those sixteen words were, they were employed to strike terror in the hearts of Americans over Saddam’s imminent nuclear attack on The Homeland while in reality the nuclear program we were being persuaded to fear no longer existed.

    “Saddam sought uranium” was supposed to bring America trembling on it’s knees? On whose planet?

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  32. OMG, Patterico, is this ever true. I have a particular troll at Common Sense Political Thought (Dana’s site) who commits this logical fallacy all the time. Of course, as I’ve proved here and elsewhere, I haven’t grown up enough yet to ignore their ignorance and so I get into 50-comment arguments when it is clear they have a reading difficulty and can’t argue honestly. I think I’ll start referring to this post, too.

    sharon (dfeb10)

  33. What gets me, sharon, is how the sorts of people the post was directed at, can just read it and breeze on making the same arguments as if I didn’t just explain why they’re crap.

    Sometimes trying to argue logic with these people is pointless. It really is.

    Patterico (2190fa)

  34. STALIN KILLED MORE THEN HITLER

    krazy kagu (79fc72)

  35. Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish – Euripides

    Jen (77f7f7)

  36. LiberalLeftist A

    Please point out the phrase “egregious error” in the document you link too.

    Indeed

    Because as I’ve said, as I’ve stated here in the NIE that there was information that was similar to what the British government was reporting. The specific cases as outlined in the NIE reflect that three different countries in Africa, that he was seeking it. It did not say that a transaction had taken place, that it had been completed, but this information was this type of ingredients were being sought by the Iraqis.

    And the British government is a very respected intelligence agency; that information they had, as I said, was public. We thought it was important that the public be able to, when possible, that we could share with them public documents that would illuminate the case and show why we made certain judgments. The U.N. was cited and various — the IAEA, when possible, we could do that.

    But the information, itself, if there were overall concerns about the general statement of seeking uranium in Africa, the fact-checkers and the way that process worked — but we have to rely upon the documents we have at the time and the clearance process that was in place. And that’s what we did.

    So continue to obsess about something that the President never said except in your fevered perception

    cuz to Lefties, just as the personal is the political, so is perception is reality

    which does explain both why the fraud TANG memos that Rather and Co tried to use to influence a Presidential election still gets apologies/conspiracy ramblings from the Left and why dKos, Firedoglake, et al, got pwned by an April Fool’s joke.

    Darleen (187edc)

  37. The Looney Avenger,

    [Link]White House briefing on egregious error

    So, the supporting quote for the acknowledgment of a “grave and egregious error” is a document that contains neither the word “egregious”, nor the word “grave”, but does contain this:

    Q The administration has acknowledged a mistake was made. Can you tell me precisely what the mistake was? Was the mistake based on the facts of the judgment? Or was the mistake simply the fact that we included British intelligence in the State of the Union speech? What was the error that was made, so I’m clear?

    SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think that — what we’ve said, of course, if we had the benefit of hindsight and we know today what we knew then, it’s a combination of the forged documents; it’s an element of the overall case on reconstitution. But, obviously, if you’re writing a speech, at the juncture we were in when we were talking, why would you put something that was not core to your central argument if there was — if you knew there was forged document and a critic could hold that up, you wouldn’t put that in a speech. It wouldn’t make sense to put that in a speech.

    It’s also a presser from July ’03, and it makes absolutely no mention of the fact that the British, to this day, stand behind the claim.

    Pretty funny, LA. So, since we’re lacking the admission of that grave and egregious error, perhaps you could tell us just what it was. Because it seems that the “smoking gun”, the use of which comprises this “grave and egregious error” is a forged document which, ironically enough, really is “fake but accurate”.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  38. Paterico I read post 16 which i take it was a follow up to 15 and I know exactly how you feel!!!! Amen to you!!!

    ..but this point you are trying to make is a good one and the technique you are refer to is an old one..In its broader sense its just misstating your opponents arguement.

    I am not going to try to say that none of the anti Bush people did did that but Bush is a master at it. When Democrats demanded that Bush obey the law regarding wiretaps and get a court order, our beloved President, told people that the Democrats did not want us listening in on terrorists!!!

    If I say I dont think the war in Iraq is helping the US, I am asked why I am on the terrorist side.

    And if I demand an explination for this stupidity we are engaged in I am told I am not supporting the troops and that I want everyone to forget 9/11.

    If I express a concern about species disappearing I am told I am more concerned about fish than people.

    I think this somewhat like is the kind of thing you are talking about, dont you.

    We will always have those kinds of deep thinkers with us..:(

    I think we both realize that logic is not what causes most people to think as they do. They just use logic to justify what they WANT to believe..

    What really caused people to think as they do would be an interesting study.

    By the way,, How ome you love Hitler and dont care about Jews.. (ONLY JOKING!!!!)

    Charlie (55cd2b)

  39. I thought you were on vacation, Patterico.
    After dealing with posts #’s 15 and 23 you’re going to need a longer one.

    Re # 16, He knows how you feel. (See Matt. 17:17)

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  40. Liberal Avenger,

    There’s a new development in television sets, you can actually watch a second channel. Think of it, you’re no longer restricted to one sourch of news. Tomorrow I’ll introduce you to newspapers.

    Alan Kellogg (20d77e)

  41. Hitler was a staunch anti-communist. Isn’t that the most important thing to be? Can’t understand why he gets dissed so much.

    David Ehrenstein (2da653)

  42. DE, I know you missed the /sarc tag on your comment.

    Let me helpfully provide it for you:

    /sarc

    Yours,

    steve miller (0fb51f)


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