As Schiller wrote, Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens. Anyone engaging in debate with Roberto Muehlenkamp is well advised to keep this saying in mind. The effort of painstakingly correcting his errors only to receive yet another batch of nonsense is not a good investment. Therefore while I will reply to the latest installment of his response to my observations on some of his nonsense about cremation, I will be brief, confining myself to the essential corrections without spelling out the context at length. I will also ignore a number of stupid things that Muehlenkamp says so as to keep some focus to the debate.
Regarding the fact that he bungled his comparison of the energy density of green and seasoned wood, Muehlenkamp – amazingly – still fails to get the point. He reiterates his comparison between the energy content of wet and dry cords, not realizing that they have different weights so that this difference does not translate to an equal difference in energy density, despite the fact that I explained this fact quite clearly. Perhaps an analogy will make things clearer. The Smith family buys a 100-square-inch pizza, while the Jones family buys a 110-square-inch pizza – a difference of 10% – and the members of each family split their respective pizzas equally. Is it then true that each member of the Jones family gets precisely 10% more pizza (in area terms) than each member of the Smith family? Not if the Smith family has six members while the Jones family has only four members – then the difference is considerably larger. Perfectly simple – but Muehlenkamp has proved unable to work out simple problems like this – even when his errors are explained to him.
Regarding the fuel requirements for Indian funeral pyres, Muehlenkamp quotes a number of sources alluding to the fact that they are fuel intensive. This, however, merely reflects a general truth about pyre cremation. Consider, for example, these experimental cremations, or Jacqueline McKinley’s use of 700-900 kg of wood for her experimental pyre cremations (see The Analysis of Burned Human Remains). Their fuel requirements are even higher than Hindu funeral pyres, because pyre cremation is fuel intensive in general. Hindu funeral pyres are “inefficient” only in the sense that all pyre cremation is inefficient.
Regarding the Mokshda Green Cremation System, Muehlenkamp bumbles about looking at newspaper articles and fails to find the reference which I cited perfectly clearly from Mattogno, namely this:
It’s a request for funding for the project (hardly a source likely to understate said project’s achievements) and it reports a fuel consumption of 150 kg per body, as I stated. The newspaper or magazine accounts which Muehlenkamp sets against this are of little value in dealing with such a question. Furthermore, the system is entirely different from the kind of open air burning alleged to have taken place at the Reinhardt camps, making it useless for Muehlenkamp’s purposes.
Muehlenkamp’s main line of argument – or rather line of defensive speculation – is that AusVetPlan’s statement regarding the 1:3 fuel ratio between cremating unshorn sheep and cattle, and the 1:4 ratio between cremating pigs or shorn sheep and cattle must have been based on very high assumed weights for the pigs and sheep. In fact, these ratios were observed in actual cremations during the 2001 UK FMD epidemic:
According to a USDA veterinarian who helped during the U.K. outbreak, a 200-meter funeral pyre was used to incinerate 400 cows or 1,200 sheep or 1,600 pigs. Such a pyre required 1,000 railway ties, 8 tons of kindling, 400 wooden pallets, 4 tons of straw, 200 tons of coal, and 1,000 liters of diesel fuel.
The ratios of 1:3 and 1:4 match those given in AusVetPlan for unshorn sheep and pigs to cattle. Yet weights of cattle/pigs/sheep were estimated at 500/100/50 kg during the 2001 UK FMD epidemic, not at the much higher figures that Muehlenkamp wants to assume. Thus, Muehlenkamp’s assumptions that AusVetPlan’s statements regarding fuel requirements are founded on the assumption of giant sheep and pigs is unfounded. On the contrary, these fuel requirements were observed in real-life cremations during the 2001 UK FMD epidemic, with ordinary-size sheep and pigs, with weights generally estimated at 50 and 100 kg. In fact, one source (report on Throckmorton) gives weight estimates of 500/80/40, which is even more in my favor.
No doubt Muehlenkamp will persist in his unreasonable assumptions despite this information. Such is his custom. As the facts close in around him, he resorts to more and more absurd speculative numbers to make things work, at least in his fantasy world. Such is the case not only with his cremation analysis, but also in his discussion of burial space. After all, some time ago he was making much more reasonable assumptions on burial space:
How much space does a dead body occupy? […] I’ve done some calculations in this respect and reached the following conclusions [blah] the average volume of a deportee taken to Treblinka, in cubic meters, would be [blah] 0.12, which means that one cubic meter of burial space could take ca. 8 dead bodies
In short, in 2002 Muehlenkamp endorsed a maximum burial density of 8 corpses per cubic meter – the same figure revisionists have used. His more recent – and absurd – figures are the result of making stuff up as he goes along in order to defend his a priori conclusions.