17 Aug – PZ Myers Is…

…usually not telling the truth.

That’s why PZWatch exists, to document his lies. But, if we lacked integrity, we could regularly write the words, “PZ Myers is…” followed by any slur you could imagine to try to make PZ look bad. Would it have any effect?

To those who already think PZ is a somewhat less than admirable person, it will confirm their biases. To those who think PZ is a fearless truth-teller, it will inflame their righteous indignation. And what about those who are either undecided or have no idea who the hell PZ Myers is? They won’t care.

That’s why we try not to name-call here unless there is evidence to support the name. And then we spend an adequate amount of time detailing the evidence. For PZ Myers, no evidence is necessary. If you identify with his perceived political enemies, you could be called anything, whether you’ve earned the title or not. We dislike the practice, mostly because we think it’s grade-school level stuff, usually followed by the words, “I know you are, but what am I.”

But it’s also a lie.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Andy Ngo is a fraud and a right-wing provocateurNothing more. Ngo is an empty vessel who has found a way to gain the attention of right-wing chuds. He’s probably foaming at the mouth today at the opportunity to fire up violence in the streets of Portland, with the eager [sic] of his friends, the fascists.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/17/andy-ngo-is-a-fraud-and-a-right-wing-provocateur/

Facts:

PZ links to a piece in Jacobin, which is the self-professed “leading voice of the American left, offering socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture.” So…not a neutral arbiter of facts, it’s fair to say.

It’s useful to go back to PZ’s post about the dangerous antifa assault on Ngo in late June. In that post, PZ turned Ngo from a “faux-journalist” into a “fascist” in order to justify and celebrate antifa’s violence against him. That was a lie, and so is this. Even the Jacobin piece to which PZ links tacitly acknowledges this:

To be clear, the attack on Ngo should be condemned. It serves no political purpose, and the Left should not be attacking media makers, even if they use dicey methods. Some Antifa activists in Portland also admit the attack played into right-wing hands by elevating him.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/08/andy-ngo-right-wing-antifa-protest-portland-bigotry

That’s an interesting phrase, “media makers.” Jacobin wants to do the same thing PZ Myers did in June: disassociate Andy Ngo from the ranks of respectable journalists because he has the audacity to tell the truth about antifa. But Jacobin can’t quite bring themselves call him a fascist in the same way PZ did, so they have to make something up called a “media maker.”

Jacobin acknowledges that there is something to Andy Ngo besides being an empty vessel or a right-wing provocateur, even if they can’t bring themselves to describe who he is: a soft-spoken gay man from a Vietnamese immigrant family. These are facts PZ won’t acknowledge, either, because they make his claim that Ngo is either a fascist or a friend of fascists look silly.

Which it is.

Analysis:

PZ can be a little schizophrenic on the topic of antifa and violence. He wants a revolution to “erase the stain” that is the United States of America, but then condemns Ngo for “foaming at the mouth today at the opportunity to fire up violence in the streets of Portland,” then turns around and dares the ‘fascists’ to show up because “Portland Antifa has been doing an amazing job of making them afraid to show their faces — they’ll be mocked as cowards and clowns.”

Seriously, which is it? Does PZ want the fascists to go away? Or does he want them to rise up so antifa can start the revolution?

There is a certain political power in ambiguity. Andy Ngo is ‘bad’ in ways that are ill-defined or contradictory at times. Is he a journalist or a media maker or a fascist or a provocateur or an empty vessel or a fraud? It doesn’t matter, because the more vague you are, the harder it will be for your target to acquiesce to your demands. Is he reporting neutrally on an event that reflects badly on antifa? Then redefine journalism to mean something else. Is he not focusing on the events and facts you would like him to focus on? Call him a fraud or a provocateur.

Science abhors ambiguity like this. An experiment begins with a hypothesis and ends with that hypothesis either validated or discarded. It doesn’t end when you’ve massaged the data well enough to fit the conclusion you wanted to reach in the first place.

Antifa is good. That’s the conclusion PZ Myers has already reached, data be damned. Andy Ngo’s original sin is not accepting and promoting the progressive agenda and making antifa look bad as a consequence. All else flows from there. PZ will continue to massage and lie about the data in order to reach that conclusion over and over again.

Final Tally:

Last Two Days: 0 science-related posts, 4 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 86 science-related posts, 250 non-science posts.

25% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Last Two Days: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 89 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

16 Aug – No Lies and No Science

I hide I seek and I find
Truth in a fable faith in a rhyme

Final Tally:

Last Two Days: 0 science-related posts, 2 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 86 science-related posts, 246  non-science posts.

26% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Last Two Days: 0 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 88 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

15 Aug – A Lie! And Where Did the Science Go?

Six posts today, and no science for the second day in a row. A couple weeks ago the percentage of science posts on Pharyngula had ticked up to 30%, but now it’s back down again at 26%. Why?

We are of the opinion that people tend to write about what they care about. Awkward sentence construction aside, our hypothesis is that PZ Myers doesn’t care that much about science, preferring instead to focus on evangelical progressivism, politics, and social justice. We don’t keep tabs on exactly what subject PZ writes about in each post, for a number of reasons. 1) His posts often have multiple points of focus, and B) there is no clean delineation between politics and social justice, for example. So we decided to go with science vs. non-science with the understanding that some percentage of those non-science posts are actually just pictures of his grandkids standing next to a laptop.

A picture doesn’t lie, but PZ Myers has become quite adept at it. Today, he puts a lie in the title of a post in addition to the body.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Potato-nosed old man with no lips and a spray-on tan fears he’ll never get laid again if rape and incest are criminalized…He doesn’t stop to consider the virtues of treating women like people — the only way humanity could have survived is via rape and incest.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/15/potato-nosed-old-man-with-no-lips-and-a-spray-on-tan-fears-hell-never-get-laid-again-if-rape-and-incest-are-criminalized/

Facts:

Two lies here about Iowa Representative Steve King – a Republican, but that’s a tautology because PZ only deprecates Republican politicians. The first sentence is the title of the post, and in it PZ claims that King fears he will never have sex again if rape and incest are criminalized. There are at least two problems with this. A) King never said anything about his desire to have sex. 2) Rape and incest are already criminal acts.

It would be plausible to argue that PZ has his tongue firmly planted in his cheek here, but then we would respond with the second part of the snippet: PZ claims King thinks procreating via rape and incest is the only way humanity could have survived. That is most decidedly not what King said:

Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can’t say that I was not a part of a product of that…I’ve got 174 people who say they don’t want exceptions for rape and incest because they understand it is not the baby’s fault, to abort the baby, because of the sin of the father, and maybe sometimes the sin of the mother too.

https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/steve-king-abortion-rape-incest/2019/08/14/id/928582/

Analysis:

King is clearly not celebrating rape or incest. He’s clearly not saying he wants to see them legal so he can get laid. He’s making a point about the innocence of a child conceived of rape or incest. But, PZ Myers can’t or won’t see that point, however stupid or hamfisted it was presented by King. And that is because anti-abortion, pro-life positions like the one King was espousing will never get a fair hearing on Pharyngula. PZ will never argue against the best, most effective points from the other side. He will always try to marginalize, demonize, and lie about his perceived political enemies because he doesn’t care about truth. Making a good argument isn’t important to him. Power is.

Final Tally:

Last Two Days: 0 science-related posts, 6 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 86 science-related posts, 244  non-science posts.

26% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Last Two Days: 1 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 88 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

14 Aug – Pot, Meet Ket…Err…PZ Myers

No lies today, but PZ told a whopper of another kind. We’re a fact-checking site and not in the business of checking PZ Myers’s opinions, but sometimes he writes something so incredible we feel compelled to cover it. Please bear with us as we dissect this paragraph. The good bits are in bold:

What’s also sad about it is that overall, any kind of organized skepticism/atheism is on the decline. There are fewer meetings, attendance is down, and part of the reason for that is that any time someone sets themselves up as a Thought Leader, we know they’re going to fall and fall hard. We’re not going to have the equivalent of megachurches because authority must always be challenged, and human individuals are intrinsically imperfect. Humans also tend to overreach and grasp for more authority than they can handle.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/14/when-you-put-it-that-way/

The blog post this snippet is pulled from discusses the Atheist Community of Austin, which PZ recently banned and removed from Free Thought Blogs. We’ve been following that kerfuffle, of course, because we follow PZ Myers, but we never found any lies so we didn’t cover it here at PZWatch.

In his post, PZ describes the split as a collapse of credibility and links approvingly to another FTB post, but he never describes the core issue – alleged transphobia – in any detail. The post he links to doesn’t do that, either, instead linking to another blog post calling one of the members a “transphobe.” That post doesn’t provide any evidence, either, linking instead to another post supposedly containing this by now curiously absent proof.

But that post doesn’t explain the transphobia, either.

Is your head starting to spin a little? The Atheist Community of Austin is apparently run by transphobes but no one wants to document the transphobia and lay it out for a curious reader. Does this sound like, maybe, a “Thought Leader” has decreed someone is a criminal without any evidence to support it? Does it sound like PZ is trying to build a big tent of atheists at FTB who consistently challenge the authority of the intrinsically imperfect people in charge?

Of course not.

We almost choked on our latte when we read sentences in bold, because they describe PZ Myers perfectly. Pharyngula is a (tiny) version of a Megachurch with PZ as its prophet, asserting claims without evidence and banning people who have the temerity to challenge those claims. He has overreached, attempting to impose his version of social justice on the atheist and skeptical community, causing the movement to schism and splinter.

But, perhaps the most ironic thing of all – PZ is a socialist. If he actually thinks humans are imperfect and tend to grab more authority than they can handle, then why does he want to give them absolute control over his life?

We know PZ Myers can be an intelligent, thoughtful person, but sometimes we wonder if he ever thinks very deeply about some of the bullshit he writes.

Final Tally:

Last Two Days: 0 science-related posts, 5 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 86 science-related posts, 238  non-science posts.

26% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Last Two Days: 0 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 87 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

12-13 Aug – A Conspiracy of Lies!

We were away for a day working on another project and we came back to find…

…a sensible, skeptical post from PZ Myers.

On the off chance you’ve been digitally detoxing for the last few days, we’ll recap the news. Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein died in his jail cell in New York City from an apparent suicide. That’s the bland, vanilla version. Conspiracy laden versions have everyone from Donald Trump to Bill Clinton to Vladimir Putin paying off the guards and sending hitmen into Epstein’s cell.

PZ rejected all of those theories, saying “plausibility is not evidence, nor is your conviction that someone is a villain.”

That was the first post we read upon our return, and it filled us with hope.

Short-lived hope.

His very next post embraced a conspiracy theory we’ll cover in our first lie today, and a few posts later he embraced a conspiracy theory about Epstein, but only if it makes Republicans look bad:

If you want a conspiracy theory, you can have one…but it should revolve around the right-wing demonization of drugs and mental illness, the proliferation of for-profit prisons, and the awful people who run prisons as punitive pits for the unwanted.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/13/the-best-explanation-for-the-death-of-epstein/

Annnnnd he’s back. We knew the measured, skeptical PZ Myers couldn’t last long.

And we’re back! Covering three lies and one conspiracy theory today.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Joseph Grendys is…the underserving owner of big chicken processing plants, an enterprise desperate for cheap labor and loaded with terrible working conditions. One of the reasons they hire undocumented workers is because they can be paid little and compelled to work under inhumane, dangerous connections [sic], so that people like Grendys can make more money.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/12/eat-less-chikin-its-made-from-the-blood-of-labor/

Facts:

If you clicked on the sole link PZ provides as evidence for this post, you’d come away wondering where the charge of inhumane working conditions comes from. We don’t know, either. We think PZ made it up. There have been, according to this Reuters article, allegations of labor abuses spanning the years 2004-2008, which were settled by the company, but there were no charges of dangerous or inhumane working conditions. We did find one article from last year published by the notoriously left-wing SPLC describing the death of a worker in a poultry processing plant, but that appears to have been the fault of the worker for failing to turn a machine off before deciding to clean it. In other words, the charge that Joseph Grendys “compels” people to work under “inhumane, dangerous” conditions is a lie.

Analysis:

This lie is probably the result of PZ being lazy. He has a playbook when it comes to dealing with employers like Grendys which includes charging them with forcing people to work in dangerous conditions. No evidence is necessary as far as PZ is concerned. But there’s another part of this post that interests us, and that’s the conspiracy theory PZ advanced:

And, as it turns out, this raid occurred after the plant was penalized for harrassment, and after efforts to unionize. We here in America have a fine tradition of brutal union-busting, how convenient that the federal government provides thugs at no cost to the owner.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/12/eat-less-chikin-its-made-from-the-blood-of-labor/

PZ suggests that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids were payback for the workers’ efforts to unionize and for the lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the company.

Except this charge makes no sense.

As this Reuters article makes clear, Grendys’s plant is just one of five targeted in the ICE raids last week. And the EEOC lawsuit which resulted in a $3.75 million settlement was over complaints spanning the years 2004 to 2008. If the raid was payback of some sort, Grendys is an evil genius indeed. He managed to cover his tracks by waiting a decade and then making sure four other plants were included in the raids.

It’s amazing PZ was able to figure it out. It just goes to show the power of skeptical thinking!

#sarcasm

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

Poultry processing has become a sinkhole of unfair, criminal labor practices. All I can say is…stop eating chicken. It’s cheap protein where the filthy rich can degrade worker’s lives in its production, because it is poorly regulated.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/12/eat-less-chikin-its-made-from-the-blood-of-labor/

Facts:

Between his rant about Joseph Grendys and this lie, PZ went on a tangent about a group called Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery who, according to the two-year-old article he cites, has done some shady things in the past. CAAIR is a relatively small outfit in rural Oklahoma working hand-in-hand with the criminal justice system to rehab drug offenders to keep them out of prison. The article quotes a professor at UCLA saying there is “a very strong 13th Amendment violation case,” but nowhere in the article do they charge that their labor practices are criminal.

Similarly, Joseph Grendys’s operation has been thoroughly investigated by the EEOC for multiple years and they did not find any evidence of criminal labor practices. PZ just makes this claim up out of whole cloth.

And in neither of these cases do lack of regulations appear to be the issue. Again, in Grendys’s case, his plant has been investigated by not only the EEOC but ICE as well. And the CAAIR program exists only because judges in the criminal justice system of Oklahoma and neighboring states assign people to work there and oversee its execution. Both cases are evidence of the fact that this industry appears to be well, not poorly, regulated, making this yet another PZ Myers lie.

Analysis:

PZ is generally incoherent when he’s ranting about labor or economics or the rich, so it’s hard to get a handle on exactly what his issue is Joseph Grendys or the poultry industry as a whole. He’s pro-open borders. He wants to let anyone and everyone into the United States, but he’s also pro-union. And those two positions don’t mix, which is why Bernie Sanders (a Presidential candidate PZ has endorsed in the past) once said open borders was a libertarian Koch brothers’ plot.

But, we don’t get paid to check PZ’s opinions or coherence level. We don’t even get paid to check his facts, but that is all we do here at PZWatch.

PZ Myers Lie #3 [in bold]:

Daniel Povey gathered a group of like-minded conservative thinkers who weren’t affiliated with the university, grabbed some big ol’ boltcutters, and assaulted the protesters late one night. Punches were thrown. Povey and his friends were thrown back. He’s calling it a “counter-protest”, but protest movements don’t involve planned violence, and usually involve peaceful non-violence training, rather than angry mobs…I’ll spare you all the long defense of Nazi Germany in which he argues that Hitler might have been “a little bit triggered” by all those rich Jews. You can read it if you want. You probably don’t want to, not recommended.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/13/oh-dear-daniel-povey-has-been-fired/

Facts:

PZ helpfully links to Povey’s letter, which explains his actions and why he took them. Povey helpfully includes a link to the letter Johns Hopkins sent to him, and between those two descriptions of the events of that night you can get a sense of what happened.

PZ banks on the fact that his loyal followers will not read any of the underlying source material, however, because in this passage he lies twice about what it says.

Povey didn’t plan for violence to occur that evening, as confirmed by both his version of events and Johns Hopkins. To the contrary, Povey claims he did do non-violence training with the people who accompanied him into the building, telling them they should not retaliate even if they were attacked.

The second lie is easy enough to spot if you’ve read PZ Myers for any length of time. Would anyone in this day and age – who isn’t a nut – actually defend Nazi Germany’s treatment of the Jews? Of course not, and neither did Daniel Povey. He says the following:

It’s the same as if a gay Jew were to join the Nazi party and begin endlessly apologizing for his ancestors having lent money to Aryans at too-high rates of interest; and agreeing that he needs to recognize his “problematic Jewishness” and “toxic homosexuality”, stop talking, and make space for Aryan voices to be heard.

http://danielpovey.com/leaving

Povey was trying to make the point that fascist Nazi ideology demonized people in much the same way that proto-fascist progressive ideology demonizes people today. We take no position on whether or not this argument is valid, we’re simply pointing out that it’s the opposite of what PZ Myers portrays it to be, making it his third lie of the day.

Analysis:

We love the lies that are refuted by the actual source material to which PZ links. It’s as if he’s almost daring people to call him out as a liar, while knowing simultaneously that they won’t. The ones that do get banned. We know. We’ve been there.

And we’ll be here again tomorrow.

Maybe. We did skip yesterday.

Final Tally:

Last Two Days: 1 science-related post, 9 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 86 science-related posts, 233  non-science posts.

27% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Last Two Days: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 87 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

11 Aug – No Lies!

My God, it’s full of stars.

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 3 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 85 science-related posts, 224 non-science posts.

27% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 0 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 84 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

10 Aug – No Lies!

PZ is at a conference and has, thankfully, given us a momentary reprieve from dissecting his lies. His regular programming – and ours – should return in a couple days.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 3 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 85 science-related posts, 221 non-science posts.

28% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 0 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 84 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

9 Aug – No Lies!

You’re so vain. You probably think this song is about you.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 3 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 84 science-related posts, 218 non-science posts.

28% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 0 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 84 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

8 Aug – PZ Myers, The Bigot?

We think a good way to test if something you’re saying is bigoted is to replace whatever group you’re talking about with something else. For example, if we were to say:

The only thing that makes life hard for African Americans is other African Americans. Unfortunately, they also make life miserable for everyone else, too.

A Hypothetical Bigoted Example

We would rightly be called out for racism. Change “African Americans” to “women” and we’d rightly be called our for misogyny.

Change that to “white men” and you get the first two lines of a PZ Myers blog post today.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

We white men are catered to constantly, and we get upset if someone doesn’t bow down low enough to us. It’s getting embarrassing to be in this group.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/08/the-only-thing-that-makes-life-hard-for-men-is-other-men/

Facts:

The link PZ uses to bolster his claim that white men are catered to constantly goes to a polemical Medium post which includes exactly zero examples of phenomenon, much less evidence that it happens constantly. PZ doesn’t provide any evidence for the claim that white men get upset if someone ‘doesn’t bow down low enough.’ He just makes that up.

Analysis:

PZ is just clearing his throat. There is much more to come in this rant about white men.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

Yeah, all you have to do is go to Netflix or Amazon Prime and open up almost any movie — anything from the 1980s is particularly awful, but there’s contemporary stuff that does the same thing — to find Big Men bullying or demeaning women or minorities, solving problems by shooting people. And those are the heroes. 

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/08/the-only-thing-that-makes-life-hard-for-men-is-other-men/

Facts:

We challenge PZ Myers, or anyone else reading this post, to find us a single example of a hero from a 1980s movie who is a ‘Big Man,’ ‘bullying or demeaning women or minorities.’ We can think of some anti-heroes who might fit that bill, and plenty of antagonists, but no heroes. If you can think of one, shoot us a note at tips@pzwatch.com, but until we see evidence to the contrary, we’re going to call this another PZ Myers Lie.

Analysis:

A favorite PZ tactic is to find some idiot on Twitter saying something stupid and then try to make that idiot seem representative of his political enemies as a whole. But here, he doesn’t give a single example of a movie where his claim holds true. We think that’s because he can’t, and he knows no one among his readers will call him out for it.

PZ Myers Lie #3 [in bold]:

You do find shows that feature women or black people in intelligent roles, but those are mocked

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/08/the-only-thing-that-makes-life-hard-for-men-is-other-men/

Facts:

We’re just going to throw out two iconic series to refute PZ’s argument: Alien and The Matrix.

Analysis:

We came across variants of this argument when the last horrible Star Wars movie was released, and it’s as untrue now as it was back then. The Alien series features an incredibly strong female lead and basically anyone who has any sense in the Matrix is a female or black – or both. Yet both of these series are beloved by the very people PZ talks down to in this post.

It’s important to note, once again, that claims require evidence and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The idea that all white men get upset if they are not bowed down to is an extraordinary claim, but we wouldn’t have called it a lie if PZ had included ANY evidence at all. All of these lies today are simply assertions that not only fail to make his point, but actually do make one of the points Men’s Rights Activists like to make: you can spew all the hate you want at men and no one will call you a bigot.

We’ll leave this question open for you to answer: is PZ Myers a bigot?

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 3 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 83 science-related posts, 215 non-science posts.

28% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 84 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

7 Aug – No Lies!

Step out the front door like a ghost into a fog where no one notices the contrast of white on white.

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 2 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 82 science-related posts, 212 non-science posts.

28% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 0 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 81 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.