Mark Weber Met Michael Shermer

Published: 1995-08-01

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MARK WEBER, director of the Institute of Historical Review, met Michael Shermer of Occidental College and Skeptic magazine, to debate “Who’s Really Pushing 'Pseudo-History’” at the Countryside Inn in Costa Mesa on Saturday afternoon, 22 July. Greg Raven emceed the affair and I said a few words. Raven handled business very well, but I feel impelled to say that my own performance was weak and disorganized. Don’t know why it was, but there you are.

It wasn’t a formal debate between Weber and Shermer, but an “exchange.” Weber spoke for 30 minutes, Shermer for 30, Weber for 20, Shermer for 20, and that was followed by a Q & A session. Weber gave an introductory overview of revisionism, then Shermer told us why he believes the genocide story, which is: that in spite of a number of holes in the story, many of which revisionists emphasize, it can be shown that too many high-ranking Germans talked about getting rid of the Jews, too many Jewish communities and populations disappeared, and too many Jews are known to have been murdered to not believe that genocide took place. Shermer quoted from Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, Frank and others to make his point about a “consilience of evidence” proving the genocide. It disturbed me yet again listening to how top Nazis talked about Jews, the coarseness and brutality of their language and thinking. It was damning.

In his response Weber noted that there is a consilience of evidence demonstrating that thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of Jews were “gassed” at Dachau yet everyone agrees it didn’t happen. With that one example he blew Shermer’s 30 minute spiel out of the water. Weber then continued strongly about how neither Shermer nor his establishment associates will actually criticize revisionist theory directly.

Shermer, for his part, didn’t appear to be well prepared for his 20 minutes session, where he appeared weak. Weber dominated the Q & A as once again Shermer didn’t really appear to be prepared.

Shermer mentioned several times that during a recent tour of the camps he had gotten video tape that contradicted much of what David Cole uses in his own work, videotape that would suggest that homicidal gas chambers did exist at Auschwitz and other camps. Yet, when it was time to do so, he changed his mind, saying he was not yet ready to show his footage publicly.

I don’t know what Shermer hoped to accomplish by his appearance before an audience of revisionists. Compared to Weber, he appeared weak. That being so, his professional colleagues will not be happy with him helping to “legitimize” the IHR while losing a debate at the same time.

He’s already on the outs with Deborah Lipstadt and her gang.

I find Shermer to be an appealing and decent fellow. I fear the worst for him professionally and as a publisher. I think he gives the appearance of being in over his head because he does not have his intellectual priorities laid out. He has found a subject about which, for reasons I don’t understand though I am not without a theory, he is unable to maintain what he believes is his natural propensity for skepticism.

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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: Mark Weber Met Michael Shermer
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 25, August 1995, pp. 5f.
Published: 1995-08-01
First posted on CODOH: Sept. 21, 2015, 4:11 a.m.
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