Pulling numbers out of thin air: on a fabrication underlying Muehlenkamp’s cremation analysis

In his contribution to the HC manifesto, Roberto Muehlenkamp based his analysis of the Reinhardt cremations on a 1902 paper by the veterinarians Lothes and Profé, who he falsely supposes achieved complete cremation of certain anthrax carcasses. Leaving aside his error concerning these authors’ results, there is another concern in how he applies their numbers. He simply arbitrarily assumes that the body composition of the subjects of the Minnesota starvation experiment corresponds to the body composition of Lothes and Profé’s carcasses:

Table 8.7 shows the original weight of the Minnesota Starvation Experiment (MSE) test subjects, broken down into water, fat, protein and other substances according to the ratio applied earlier by MGK (64 % water, 14 % fat and 15.3 % proteins, other substances the balance between the sum of these three substances’ weight and the test persons’ original weight of 69.4 kg). It is assumed that burning such corpse on a grid with the method applied by Dr. Lothes & Dr. Profé, and arguably on a much larger scale at the Aktion Reinhard camps, would take 0.56 kg of wood per kg of corpse weight

Muehlenkamp offers nothing to support his assumption. In effect, he has just pulled out a body fat percentage for certain large carcasses out of thin air. Just like Muehlenkamp’s invented BMI figures, which are unsupported by any empirical data on the average BMI of any population whatsoever, the attempts to calculate cremation fuel requirements rest on the unsubstantiated assumption that the conscientious objectors in the Minnesota starvation experiment had the same levels of body fat as the large anthrax carcasses with which Lothes and Profé worked. Such cross-species extrapolation from a single data point is obviously unsustainable. How can anyone take seriously an analysis that is based on just making stuff up in this way?

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