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A S Marques writes from Portugal on Wednesday, April 26, 2000

Van Pelt's "moral certainty" about Auschwitz

Van Pelt countered that argument, and similar ones, saying that evidence and testimony in the years since World War II made it a "moral certainty" that gas chambers were the main instruments of murder at Auschwitz between the summer of 1942 and fall of 1944. His report explains at some length the difference between "moral certainty" and other types of certainty. Moral certainty is based on quality of evidence and is the best certainty a historian can have, he said. "It's a very particular technical term."
-- The Van Pelt interview in Canadian Jewish News


WONDERFUL stuff. During the trial, Van Pelt actually says his expression "moral certainty" is taken from Bishop Wilkins. And Wilkins clearly meant a certainty that God exists through the observation of his works and "natural laws". Some "technical" term for a supposed historian debating historical problems! I have this moral certainty that Napoleon lost at Waterloo. Sounds very, very technical historical jargon.

A S Marques

Website comment: In fact Van Pelt (fee: £109,000) used the term in his Report [download as pdf]; Mr Irving mocked this in his closing statement on March 15 (Day 32) | To write to Van Pelt

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