Muehlenkamp on the run

Roberto Muehlenkamp has updated several posts. The quality of his comments is, in general, low as usual. There is one aspect where he is correct, namely that one passage in my update on Leningrad birth weights was poorly phrased; it has been updated. Other of his comments are simply stupid rhetoric, and will be ignored. A few ongoing issues are developed below.

14.84 rounded to the nearest tenth is 15?

We return to the matter of Muehlenkamp’s data-free, purely invented numbers for BMI (he would prefer that you call them assumptions rather than inventions, but it comes to the same thing). As I previously proved, Muehlenkamp tried to pull the wool over his readers’ eyes by misrepresenting my argument. He has now come up with another round of transparent nonsense designed to cover up his errors. He writes:

The BMI values on the page that Jansson links to were obviously calculated based on the height and weight values in the Gewichtstabelle nach BMI, and not the other way round, for the page mentions that BMI is calculated as “Körpergewicht in Kilo, geteilt durch Körpergröße in Metern im Quadrat” (body weight in kg, divided by the square of body height in meters).

This is a pure non sequitur. The statement about how BMI is calculated is just the definition of BMI. It says nothing about the direction in which the calculations ran.

Muehlenkamp then offers a piece of speculation:

My hunch is that he followed the upper link on top of my source, found values matching his claim there (which I’m looking at for the first time now, unsurprisingly so as they are on the lower part of the page and I only used the Gewichtstabelle as a source), and is now making a post-hoc claim based on the fact that the zero decimal and one decimal rounding of BMI values on this page happens to be the same as that of the BMI values he had calculated on the basis of the height and weight data given on p. 417 of the HC critique.

This can be settled very simply. The question is: in which direction were the calculations done on this website? Were the numbers in the Gewichtstabelle nach BMI derived from the BMI ranges (my position) or were the BMI ranges derived from the Gewichtstabelle nach BMI (Muehlenkamp’s position)? First of all, the answer is obvious from the page title “Gewichtstabelle nach BMI” – the “nach BMI” clearly says that my position is correct. One might well ask: just how were the numbers in the Gewichtstabelle nach BMI obtained if not via a BMI range? However, the matter can be easily resolved just from the information which I posted in my very first post on this matter:

he gives the figures of 38 and 48 kg (corresponding to BMIs of 14.84 and 18.75 at a height of 1.60 meters)

Now, recall that the BMI range given is 15-18.8. Now, Muehlenkamp (as quoted above) suggests that “zero decimal and one decimal rounding of BMI values on this page happens to be the same as that of the BMI values he had calculated on the basis of the height and weight data given on p. 417 of the HC critique”. It’s truly moronic to think that I would round one of the values to the nearest integer and the other to the nearest tenth. Obviously had I operated in the way Muehlenkamp imagines, I would have rounded both figures to the nearest tenth and obtained the range 14.8-18.8, not 15-18.8. Now, Muehlenkamp is free to suppose that I operate in this very silly way (arbitrarily rounding two figures which are on equal footing to different numbers of decimal places) but he is not equally free with respect to the website which forms his source. They certainly did not do this. Why not? Well, they give the range below the “15-18.8” range as “<15", which shows that the lower threshold is indeed 15 on the dot, and does not include 14.84. Therefore the calculations were not done from the Gewichtstabelle nach BMI to the BMI ranges, but in the only sensible fashion: the Gewichtstabelle nach BMI was derived from the BMI ranges.

Therefore my position (which has been my position from the beginning) is correct. Muehlenkamp, having rashly misinterpreted my initial post, launched an ill-thought attack. When caught in this, he made the fateful decision not to admit his error, but to seek to obfuscate the matter through lies and derailments. Thanks to his continued emphasis on the issue, and his refusal to simply admit his error, he has turned what was initially simply an embarrassing error on his part into an ongoing meltdown, as he is forced to put his dishonesty on display again and again.

Ausrottung yet again

First, Muehlenkamp begs for a reference to the Luther bible’s non-homicidal use of the verb ausrotten. You would think that it wouldn’t be too much to ask him to find it himself. After all, the text is online and easily searchable. Is CTRL+F really too much for Muehlenkamp’s research skills to handle?

Regarding the book Der Gelbe Fleck, Muehlenkamp advances the thesis that the reference to Ausrottung in the title is an allusion to “the precarious living conditions forced upon the Jewish population, the reduced birth rate and increase of suicides due to these conditions”. That is to say, he believes that the use of Ausrottung was a reference to the subreplacement Jewish birthrate – and suggests that this somehow supports his interpretation of Ausrottung (of people) as necessarily homicidal. This a truly astonishing argument. Guess what other country has a subreplacement birthrate? Well, how about… modern Germany! Now, if Muehlenkamp wants to argue that the current German government is implementing the Ausrottung of the German Volk, I won’t object – but this seems to be rather contrary to the interpretation of Ausrottung as implying killing.

As Muehlenkamp has not even read the book which he purports to interpret (on the basis of a single short excerpt), he cannot know that, for instance, the book has a whole chapter on “Die Austreibung.” If he could only overcome his phobia of libraries he might inform himself better, but alas, it seems that despite his experience with medication for mental illness, he has been unable to conquer this fear.

Muehlenkamp misses the point on burial density

In a recent post, I cited information on the density of the carcass mass in 2001 UK FMD epidemic mass graves. To repeat: this was information on how much space the carcasses themselves took up, not on the overall excavated volume. In his typical method in dealing with inconvenient information, Muehlenkamp responds with an attempted derailment, talking about peripheral matters before rushing to ignore the information in the study. His one actual argument is a lie. Remember: I posted data on the density of the carcass mass itself, not in terms of total excavated volume. Yet Muehlenkamp twice assumes the contrary. First:

Jansson further weakens his argument by pointing out that in all mass burials he has “studied”, “the volume of the carcass mass is considerably less than the total excavated volume” – unless, of course, he can demonstrate that it is impossible to completely fill a mass grave’s excavated volume with corpses or carcasses, especially when there are no constraints to burial density such as may result from environmental considerations in mass burial of animal carcasses.

Second:

Despite not having demonstrated that the carcass burial volumes he established were the limit of what was practically achievable (the mentioned use of only a part of the excavated volume alone already speaks against this notion), Jansson ends his blog proclaiming that “Muehlenkamp overestimates the practically achievable value by over 50% – a truly enormous error”.

Did I mention that I posted data on the density of the carcass mass itself, not in terms of total excavated volume? In fact, I posted data on the density of the carcass mass itself, not in terms of total excavated volume. How many times do I have to repeat it before it sinks into Muehlenkamp’s thick skull?

Of course, Muehlenkamp also reiterates his comical claims to have “mathematically demonstrated” various crap. News flash: making up numbers and performing arithmetical operations with them doesn’t “mathematically demonstrate” anything. The only things that get mathematically demonstrated are mathematical propositions. For statements about this world, we need empirical input, and even assuming that a particular piece of mathematical deduction is sound, it’s only as good as the assumptions that went into it.

Thus, on one side of this issue (my side, naturally) we have actual empirical data on mass burials, while on the other side we have Muehlenkamp whimpering “I made up some numbers mathematically demonstrated it… if only Provan’s subjects had ducked… of course they could have… never mind that it was a doll, never mind that its weight was simply invented, never mind that the other measurements are full of errors… of course corpses are capable of deliberate action to fit into the smallest possible volume… *sniff* I *snuffle* mathematically *sob* demonstrated it.” Gee – which should we choose?

Ettling once again

As has been established, Muehlenkamp, whose beliefs imply that the very fat sheep in Ettling’s experiment should have self-cremated, has no use for the actual results of Ettling’s experiments. He likes the fact that Ettling (an arson investigator) mentions that he read Steiner’s book “Treblinka”, though, and in order to keep bringing that up he needs to invent some pretexts for why he ignores the fact that Ettling’s results refute his beliefs. This time he’s trying to support his contention that the external fuel did not contribute significantly. Recall that he had tried to demonstrate this from the comparative results of Ettling’s two experiments, which only proved that he didn’t know the contents of Ettling’s paper. Naturally he doesn’t confess to this blunder. Instead, he focuses on Ettling’s statements on the fact that the slow process of “spontaneous combustion” lasted longer than the period of more intense combustion when the external combustibles were consumed. Certainly it lasted longer, but so what? The energy release in the shorter, highly energetic first phase of the fire will have been larger than that in the longer, more sedate portion (as one may readily calculate from the appropriate sources). There are no grounds whatsoever to say that the external combustibles (equivalent in energy content to hundreds of kilograms of wood) did not make a significant contribution. Furthermore, a vehicle fire with extensive fuel creates a kind of crematorium on wheels for a time. As Muehlenkamp and his blogging colleagues believe that at Auschwitz, one small crematory muffle could cremate several bodies in some 20-30 minutes, he should believe that the initial 30 minute period of intense combustion would have been able to cremate the ewe entirely.

Finally, on the basis of Ettling’s statement that “the bodies found in the car in Idaho could have been consumed by their own fire without someone else adding fuel” Muehlenkamp concludes that “it is evident that Ettling considered the external fuel to have made but a small or negligible contribution to the carcass’s being mostly destroyed by fire.”

This is wrong. Ettling was an arson investigator. He was looking at questions about whether certain physical evidence from a car fire implied anything about foul play versus a “natural” car fire. When he refers to “their own fire” he is talking about a normal, “natural” car fire without extra fuel. This is obvious to anyone who has read about fire forensics an arson investigation. If a body from a car fire is quite well burned, does this imply that, for example, someone added fuel to the fire? Perhaps (and this is the classic question with a car fire) the person was killed first, then put in the car and burned to dispose of the evidence, with some additional fuel included to make sure the burning was sufficiently destructive? Ettling is saying that a “normal” car fire can account for a high degree of burning, and is not referring to a fire with no external combustibles. Yet again, Muehlenkamp has misinterpreted a text because he couldn’t be bothered to actually read anything significant in the literature on the subject. Despite his sloth, you would have imagined that Muehlenkamp would have picked up on the fact that this is explained in the paper’s first paragraph, which begins by referring to a case where a burned out car was found, and in that car were two bodies sufficiently well burned to make identification difficult. Then comes the motivating question for the whole paper:

Questions arose concerning how much fuel would be required to burn the bodies so thoroughly and whether additional fuel had been added during the fire.

This is the question which all of Ettling’s discussion refers back to. Had Muehlenkamp realized this fact, he would not have made the foolish misinterpretations which he did. We have yet another case of Muehlenkamp’s famously poor reading comprehension.

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One Response to Muehlenkamp on the run

  1. Pingback: Spoonfeeding the Mule | Holocaust History Channel

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