William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Holocaust Survivor Compares Climate Skeptics To Hitler Deniers

Micha Tomkiewicz is a physicist who tells us he was a child in the Warsaw Ghetto and Bergen-Belsen during World War II when the Nazis (and Soviets) were gleefully murdering millions. He said that the Holocaust “killed most of my family and deprived me of my childhood.”

His is one more awful story from a century filled will awful stories of what happens when people assume Utopia can be had by all-powerful central government. His story and the story of his fellow survivors becomes far worse when we consider that there are some who deny the Holocaust occurred, that there are exist people who actively impugn evidence that is plain to the simplest idiot.

We hear these denials, but all of us know that these statements aren’t denials at all. It is clear that the people who deny that millions upon millions of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, and others who were slaughtered by state power think it a fine thing that these souls died. Holocaust deniers, as everybody knows, don’t deny and instead have a secret (and sometimes an open) desire that the killing should begin anew.

Tomkiewicz knows what we know. He understands what the term denier means; he knows it is a code-word for evil.

But even knowing all this, and living the life he as lived, he cannot stop himself from using this word to describe people who do not fret as much as he does about climate change. He is so consumed with his passion that he was able to write this:

In 1933, very few people believed that Hitler would seriously try to accomplish what he preached and almost no one could imagine the consequences of his deadly reign. Although there was evidence available — Hitler was clear about what he wanted to do in Mein Kampf — why did people not pay attention? These “deniers” might as well have been called skeptics in their day.

This is well worth spending a moment to unpack. He begins with a truth: it is true that in 1933 “very few people believed that Hitler” would become the menace he was to become. Tomkiewicz follows this true by claiming the truth was false and that there was enough evidence for all, or at least a majority, to have predicted with certainty that Hitler would eventually come in third as Leader With The Highest Body Count (Mao still holds the title, followed closely by Stalin; thank you socialism!). With loving hindsight, Tomkiewicz condemns the world for being filled with “deniers.”

Which makes it strange that he next says,

But what I am suggesting is that even though it’s hard to see a genocide — any genocide — coming. The future is hard to predict, but we can see this one coming. This genocide is of our own making, and it will effect everyone, not just one group or country.

It is hard to tell that climate change will be a genocide, but it is also easy to tell. Just as he claims it was hard to see that the Holocaust was coming but also easy to see. Just as he paradoxically claims that skeptics, whom he calls “deniers”, cannot see as sharply as he can. He says that skeptics pine for “unattainable certainty” about the coming “climate change genocide.” But he also claims to possess this certainty, or enough of it so that he can demand the government “do something.”

To call a skeptic a “denier” is rank abuse, because as we have seen the word is a stand-in for vile intent. To compare “climate genocide” “deniers” with those who—what exactly? Supported Hitler? Enabled the man? Remember Tomkiewicz implied “deniers” in 1933 were responsible for Hitler—ah, the whole thing is asinine.

A far less serious crime to logic is his begging of the question. Skeptics claim, via arguments and evidence, to be less certain about climate change than Tomkiewicz. Tomkiewicz claims to be more than sure; he says he is certain. But he also implies that because he, Tomkiewicz, is sure then everybody should be, when the point at issue is how certain anybody should be. To attempt to bypass this debate by casting foolish aspersions and distasteful comparisons is a sign of weakness.

Update See this and this.

12 Comments

  1. My mind reels at the horrors these Holocaust victims endured. Your remark, that “these statements aren’t denials at all,” is obviously true, even though I never thought of Holocaust denial in this way. So, a big thank you for throwing that out there.

    Certainly, a survivor of that terrible time has the right to speak or not, as the spirit moves him. However, he’ll garner no new support for his argument, framing it in such inflammatory terms.

    We’ve heard from the Democrat brain-trust that Republicans want dirty water and dirty air. Tomkiewicz’s ranting is just more vituperation along the same lines. As an attorney might say, “Objection, Your Honor! This testimony is more prejudicial than probative.”

  2. In 1983, very few people believed that James Hansen would seriously try to accomplish what he preached and almost no one could imagine the consequences of his deadly reign. Although there was evidence available — Hansen was clear about what he wanted to do in 1000s of paid interviews that he flew to on carbon spewing airplanes — why did people not pay attention? Hansen clearly wanted to de-industrialize most of the world. These “deniers” might as well have been called skeptics in their day.

  3. That Tomkiewicz is a Holocaust Survivor does not give him the right right make these claims. He may wish to say it SEEMS that climate “deniers” are engaging in the same activity as Holocaust deniers but he can hardly claim to KNOW that the two activities are even closely related. His surviving the Holocaust does not give him any expertise in identifying deniers or anything else outside of Holocaust Surviving.

    His claim to Holocaust Survivor status is little more than Special Pleading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_pleading.

    It also is a form of “if X is true then so is Y” — another fallacy. If you don’t think it’s a fallacy, substitute “vanilla ice cream has no bones” for X and anything else for Y. It also fails to prove Y when X= “I’m a Holocaust Survivor” and Y=”you are a Denier”.

    It’s sad to see a physicist engaging using these logical fallacies.

  4. The future is hard to predict, but we can see this one coming.”
    Amazing. He claims he can fortell the future. That is the same claim the AGW zealots like Hansen make. That is an astonishing claim and requires strong evidence. When you ask for some exampes of futures they have foretold, they don’t have any and call you a denier. Even better, they claim they can control the climate by dickering with a few parts per million of a trace gas in the atmosphere. Call me a denier.

  5. From Tomkiewicz: “”[W]e are talking about the potential genocide of billions of people,” he said.”

    Well, yes, we are. In fact, at the pointy end of the Climate Scientist Pyramid, it generally accepted that a necessary (but insufficient) action that MUST be taken to stabilize the climate is to reduce the population of the world from its current (approximately)7.5 billion to a ‘sustainable’ .5-1 billion.

    In my opinion, eliminating 6-7 billion people to stave off a climate disaster for which the only evidence is the output of computer models produced by scientists paid by governments to produce computer models which predict climate disaster would most certainly qualify as genocide.

  6. I copied this from a different blog ’cause it made me laugh:

    [quote]
    “Despite the fact that Obama published the first volume of his manifesto, “Dreams of My Father” where he laid out his philosophy, he was, nevertheless, democratically elected as president in 2008,” Tomkiewicz explained. “Few people believed in 2008 that he would seriously try to accomplish what he preached or anticipated the consequences that resulted from his actions.”

    . . . “Although there was evidence available – Obama’s long associations with Marxist and domestic terrorists – why did people not pay attention?” he asks, rhetorically. “These ‘deniers’ might as well have been called RAAAAACISTS!!1! in their day.”
    – RedNewEnglander
    [/quote]

  7. Noblesse Oblige

    17 May 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Does surviving the Holocaust give one a special power to devine subsequent emerging menaces? Of course not.

    What it does do is make a survivor alert for the rest of his life to the real possibility that humans can do evil on a gigantic scale and justify it by crackpot ideology. In fact National Socialism and Socialism have piled the body count into the tens of millions, the only difference between them is that the former was based on race and the latter on class. But a survivor ought not to map that fact on to a matter of science, whose policy proponents would extend the body count yet further. You lose moral authority when you do that.

  8. GoneWithTheWind

    17 May 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I don’t believe it is true and It appears to simply be a dirty trick or political tactic to win even when the facts are against you. That is truely sad that anyone especially a holocaust survivor would stoop this low. Having said that Mr Tomkiewicz needs to understand that if his theory has any validity then if and when AGW is disproved then it is the AGW believers including him who are acting like Hitler deniers.

    This natural and cyclical global warming, the 33rd global warming since the last ice age isn’t even a particularly warm cycle. The 32nd cycle in the 11th and 12 century was much warmer. However the 32 global cooling cycle during the 15th century was colder then the previous cooling cycle and the warmies have used those lows and the enormous glaciers and ice at the poles resulting from those lows to support their theory. The cyclical global warmings are generally more benign then the cyclical cooling cycles. So don’t fear the warming but beware the next global cooling cycle.

  9. C’mon give him his due. He survived the Hitler, as a child, through presumably no great skill of his own and now he is pontificating on another topic without demonstrating any skill in the subject matter.

  10. The funny thing is: a warmer Earth would be a Garden of Eden. Rather than billions dying, the Earth would be more productive and able to support many more people.

    Warmer means more rain, longer growing seasons, more bio-productivity.

    For the last 1.8 million years the Earth has been colder than at any time in the last 250 million years, since the Karoo Ice Age. Almost all lifeforms evolved when it was warmer than it is today. Life prefers it warm. Ice sheets are lifeless.

    Dr. Tomkiewicz played the Hitler card. He certainly has the right to do so. But he grossly errs when he compares a warmer earth to a mass-murdering madman. One is a boon to Life; the other is consummate Evil.

  11. Greg Cavanagh

    20 May 2012 at 10:39 pm

    One side of this argument is not like the other.

    One event is part of history and happened 60 years ago. The other is supposed to happen about 60 years in the future.

    I find take exception to the claim that I’m denying something that hasn’t happened yet.

  12. Gregory Norton

    22 May 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Cheers to Uncle Mike!

    A quick survey of the last 5,000 years or so can yield the conclusion that warmer is better for humans. We are, after all, tropical apes.

    The Minoan and early Egyptian civilizations flourished during a period of warming. As did Mycenaean Greece. Cooling after the Trojan war corresponded with the dark age of Greece – between the Mycenaean and Hellenist civilizations. Classic Greece and Imperial Rome thrived during a warm period. Rome fell as the world cooled (and perhaps because the world cooled). European populations collapsed during the cold period of the Dark Ages. Then it got warm again – High Middle Ages into the Rennaisance. I am aware of no cooling periods that were good for humans, and no warming periods that were bad. But my data is limited.

    One could make the case, backed by actual data, that the Warming-Is-Good deniers are attempting crimes against humanity.

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