6 Aug – Another Mass Murder Lie

A few days ago we predicted PZ would never mention the mass murder that took place in Dayton, Ohio over the weekend because he can’t link that murderer to Trump or the right wing. That prediction still holds – PZ posted twice today on the topic of gun violence, but never mentioned the murders in Ohio.

Sometimes it feels good to say, “I told you so.” This time it just feels sad.

One of those posts on gun violence produced the lie we cover today, all because Neil deGrasse Tyson had the temerity to dissent from PZ’s evangelical orthodoxy on gun control.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

We require licensing and training before you are allowed to drive a car, and we pay fleets of police to enforce traffic laws. The police are also paid to prevent criminals from killing people and to arrest those who do. Those terrible deaths? Society is trying to do something about them.
Mass shootings, not so much. People are grieving and terrified and even, dare I say it, emotional about these incidents because they are so arbitrary, because we would be helpless in those situations, and because nothing is being done to prevent them.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/06/neil-degrasse-tyson-said-something-stupid/

Facts:

Of course society as a whole, and law enforcement in particular, are taking steps to prevent mass murders in the future. It is the FBI’s number one priority. Academics have studied the problem and have proposed solutions. But because the solutions that have been implemented don’t conform with PZ Myers’s narrow ideological preferences, he chooses to lie and say nothing at all is being done.

Analysis:

PZ already laid out his proposals to deal with the problem of mass murder in the United States, which included outlawing the Republican Party. He apparently defines anything short of that as inaction. This is one of those complex issues which demands a critical and skeptical eye. It demands someone who will take a deeper look at the underlying causes and come up with novel, possibly counter-intuitive solutions. It demands someone who is not ideologically driven and who will take an unbiased look at the evidence.

PZ Myers is not that person.

He demands evidence and skepticism when dealing with a creationism, for example, but demands dogma and ideological purity when dealing with political issues. It is absolutely fascinating to watch him contort his conclusions to get around this dichotomy.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 5 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 82 science-related posts, 210 non-science posts.

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

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 81 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

5 Aug – A Lie PZ Myers Will Never Correct

About a month ago, we noted two lies PZ Myers told about the US National Women’s Soccer team. We noted at the time he and the people at Skepchick used some dodgy numbers and articles that predated the current collective bargaining agreement.

Following up on those stories, US Soccer recently released an open letter addressing the charges of unequal pay made by the members of the World Champion women’s team. They were right, they are definitively not being paid the same as the men.

They’re being paid more.

At my request, U.S. Soccer staff conducted an extensive analysis of the past 10 years of U.S. Soccer’s financials.  Based on this analysis, we’ve produced the following fact sheet, which has been reviewed by an independent accounting firm…

Over the past decade, U.S. Soccer has paid our Women’s National Team more than our Men’s National Team.  From 2010 through 2018, U.S. Soccer paid our women $34.1 million in salaries and game bonuses and we paid our men $26.4 million—not counting the significant additional value of various benefits that our women’s players receive but which our men do not.

https://www.ussoccer.com/governance/board-of-directors/us-soccer-president-carlos-cordeiro/open-letter-july-29-2019-finding-common-ground

Were PZ Myers intellectually honest, he would cover this astonishing news, explain his error and apologize. Except he’s not, so he won’t. This news will sail past, unnoticed, like everything else that doesn’t conform to his evangelical progressive ideology.

Just one lie to cover today. Ho, hum, PZ Myers claimed the President of the United States is a white nationalist based on no evidence whatsover.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

We are in an intolerable situation. The president is a white nationalist bigot, and the senate is controlled by another greedy bigot. The Democrats are in denial and are avoiding doing anything about the putrid, rotting elephant in the room — impeachment proceedings are vital at this point.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/05/here-be-monsters-and-were-lacking-in-heroes/

Facts:

We’ve mentioned before that we’re not going to count PZ calling Trump a racist as a lie anymore, but this is different. PZ isn’t just claiming Trump holds racist views or tolerates those who do. He’s not claiming Trump takes it easy on white supremacists because he’s pandering for votes. No, he claims Trump is a white nationalist based on, well, nothing. This is an extraordinary claim and those usually require extraordinary evidence, but not in this case. Never with Trump. Any claim about Trump, no matter how extraordinary, apparently requires no evidence because PZ provides none.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, is just collateral damage here. We have no idea why PZ think’s he’s a bigot, and once again no evidence is offered in support of his claim.

Two lies, but given our longstanding practice to give PZ the benefit of the doubt, we’re counting it as one.

Analysis:

We note that PZ was on a rant here about the mass murder in El Paso, TX, but failed to mention – as we predicted he wouldn’t – the mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. That murderer was a progressive antifa leftist and as such will remain forever invisible to PZ Myers.

For the record, we don’t think that progressive political ideas had anything to do with the mass murders he committed, just as we don’t think conservative political ideas have anything to do with the murders in El Paso. But PZ Myers thinks one side of the political spectrum is guilty in that regard and the other is completely innocent.

And it’s a lie.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 4 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 81 science-related posts, 205 non-science posts.

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

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 80 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

4 Aug – A Mass Murder PZ Myers Will Never Mention

We sometimes make predictions here at PZWatch, and we have a pretty good success rate, if we do say so ourselves. So far, the only one we’ve gotten wrong is our prediction that PZ would call antifa “patriotic.” With all the rest, we’ve been more or less on the money. We have another one today.

Heavy.com, the same website PZ used to source his lie that a “child murderer was a white supremacist,” writes today about Connor Betts, the mass murderer from Dayton, Ohio:

[Betts was ] a self-described “leftist,” who wrote that he would happily vote for Democrat Elizabeth Warren, praised Satan, was upset about the 2016 presidential election results, and added, “I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding.”

https://heavy.com/news/2019/08/connor-betts-twitter-politics-social-media/

With the exception of praising Satan, Betts and PZ Myers are simpatico in their self-professed political views. As a result, our prediction is Betts’s name will never appear on the pages of Pharyngula. We will update this post if PZ ever mentions him.

We’ve been burned before when we’ve thought PZ would never do something, forgetting he always has the option to lie about it, so we’ll see if he makes that choice in the future.

In the meantime, we’ll cover PZ’s lie about the Senate today.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

There’s another political institution that does nothing other than enrich its members and allow a rich elite to throttle progressive laws.

Abolish the Senate, or at least reduce it to a purely ceremonial function. Right now, the Senate is nothing but a relic of an elitist era, when it was considered important to preserve a version of aristocratic privilege, and power was distributed based on arbitrary property lines. It’s undemocratic. It needs to go.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/04/a-few-radical-proposals/

Facts:

This is one of those lies quite a few people would gloss over while thinking to themselves, “Oh, well, that’s just PZ’s opinion.” Except, he’s not just stating his opinion, he’s also making claims to fact that are simply untrue. We understand the thrust of his argument – the Senate was designed to serve as a check on the House of Representatives, whose design and function better represent the “passions” of the people. PZ wants those passions to rule (but, we note, only when Democrats control that chamber).

The purpose of the bicameral Congress is fairly straightforward:

The drafters of the Constitution created a bicameral Congress primarily as a compromise between those who felt that each state, since it was sovereign, should be equally represented, and those who felt the legislature must directly represent the people, as the House of Commons did in Great Britain. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate

The Senate is not a relic of an elitist era, nor does it enrich its members or throttle progressive laws. It serves the interests of sovereign states and acts as a check on the power of the House of Representatives. PZ may not like the Senate, but that doesn’t mean he can lie about it.

Analysis:

In a previous post, PZ clearly states he wants a “revolution that erases this stain [the United States of America].” So it’s unclear why he limits himself here to just abolishing the Senate (and the electoral college). He should just say abolish the Constitution of the United States and get it over and done with. Maybe he thinks abolishing the Senate will be more palatable than abolishing the Constitution. We’re not sure.

We are sure it’s incoherent, and we wish PZ would do a little more studying on the Constitution and/or political science before he decides to opine on them, but we know that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

The Vikings will win the Super Bowl first.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 4 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 80 science-related posts, 201 non-science posts.

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

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 79 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

2 Aug – No Lies!

Talk among yourselves.

Final Tally:

Today: 2 science-related posts, 4 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 78 science-related posts, 196 non-science posts.

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

Today: 0 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 78 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

1 Aug – PZ Myers Doesn’t Understand Alaska

To be fair, except for biology, he doesn’t understand much.

Alaska is a unique state, to say the least. We lived there for years and have received the Permanent Fund Dividend PZ lies about today. By no means are we experts, but had we not lived in the state, we might have, perhaps, done some research on the Permanent Fund before pretending to know something about it.

But that’s not PZ’s style. He knows what he knows – Republicans are all evil, all the time – and everything else flows from there.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

The only solution is to recall the governor and about half the legislature. That’s almost impossible. The governor is making these cuts while promising to mail out large dividend checks to the general Alaskan population, so he’s basically buying support for the evisceration of Alaskan education and Alaskan health and human services. Once again, Republicans are accusing Democrats of what they routinely do, draining the treasury to buy votes.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/31/not-at-my-university/

Facts:

This isn’t the first time PZ has lied about Alaska’s 2019 budget cuts. The first time, he generally confined his criticism of the Governor’s actions to how they would affect the university system in the state. Here he includes two other claims, both of which are false.

First, he claims the budget cuts will eviscerate “Alaskan health and human services.” Alaska doesn’t have a Department of Health and Human Services, but it does have a Department of Health and Social Services, which is what we think PZ is really talking about. So, the question then becomes, how will these budget cuts effect that Department? Here is Commissioner Adam Crum:

“The current path of state spending on Medicaid and health care in general is unsustainable,” said Crum. “As many of you know, Alaska has the highest health care costs in the nation. The Health Care Cost Institute actually shows that Anchorage—these major cities—is 65% above the national average for health care costs. That’s just Anchorage. So as you get further away from that—from the hubs into these smaller communities, those numbers actually go up even more,” Crum said.

The department is working with Public Consulting Group to determine whether moving portions of the Medicaid population into the federally facilitated marketplace will save the department money. The restructuring should benefit eligible Medicaid enrollees by connecting them to private coverage. Populations that will remain with Medicaid include the medically fragile, citizens with incomes below 50% of the central poverty level, those on dual Medicare/Medicaid, incarcerated individuals and those recently released from prison; and aged, blind, and disabled enrollees.


Crum said all current eligibility criteria will remain the same and no one will lose access to coverage…Crum said the changes will attract new insurance providers and increase competition among insurers to possibly lower the cost of health care in Alaska.

https://www.krbd.org/2019/06/25/health-social-services-commissioner-talks-medicaid-changes/

In other words, not only will the budget cuts not “eviscerate” the Department, they may actually improve the cost of health services in the state. PZ should like that, right?

The second lie comes as a result of PZ – willfully or not – misunderstanding the Alaska Permanent Fund. Established by the Alaska State Constitution in 1976, the Fund’s principal is not part of the State’s “Treasury” and cannot be spent on things like the University system or the Department of Health and Social Services, however the interest made from the Fund’s investments can be spent in that manner. The State of Alaska is fiscally sound in part because elected officials are prohibited by law from “draining the treasury” to buy votes. In other words, reality is once again the polar opposite of what PZ Myers portrays here. If the Governor wanted to “drain the treasury” to buy votes, he would maintain the University’s funding while simultaneously giving the proceeds from the Permanent Fund back to the citizens of Alaska.

Analysis:

PZ Myers should love the Alaska Permanent Fund. It is among the most progressive policies ever put in place by any State government – putting real sums of money into the hands of the poorest people in the state, but he apparently doesn’t care very much about that. He’s only worried about two things: maintaining the status of academics, like himself, and bashing Republicans.

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 6 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 76 science-related posts, 192 non-science posts.

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

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 78 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

31 July – Lies Are The Only Predictable Thing

After PZ Myers’s science spree yesterday, we made a prediction:

We’re excited about this development and hope it continues, but we’re also realists who know every time we’ve praised PZ, he’s immediately gone back to his old ways. So there’ll probably be no science for the next week, given our track record and his.

https://www.pzwatch.com/?p=527

There is an old saying that goes: professionals are predictable, it’s the amateurs you’ve got to worry about. With lies, PZ turned pro many, many years ago. He’s got a pattern now, and we’re just observers.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

In about a month, recent high school graduates will be entering the university after hearing in movies over and over that college is where you go to get laid, and they’ll find a system that encourages binge-drinking and wild parties, and they’ll meet all these other people who’ve been similarly fed with nonsense, and the worst of them will attempt to exploit the imaginary opportunities, and people will be hurt.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/31/not-at-my-university/

Facts:

PZ doesn’t offer any evidence for his claim that the university system encourages binge-drinking and wild parties. In fact, there is ample evidence to the contrary that universities try to curb the practice at every opportunity. The New York Times estimates there has been“decades of research, hundreds of campus task forces and millions invested in bold experiments” to reduce the prevalence of binge-drinking, which is the opposite of PZ Myers’s claim of a system which encourages that type of behavior.

Analysis:

Along with Republicans and billionaires, college-aged men are a frequent target of PZ’s wrath. We don’t think it’s all that surprising for a group of 18-year-old men and women, full of hormones and as yet unsure about their place in the world, to explore their boundaries a little. We certainly did, made a bunch of mistakes, and learned a lot of lessons. But PZ certainly seems to think teenagers should enter the university system as fully-formed humans with nuanced and semi-puritanical ideas about sex and alcohol consumption.

It’s weird, when we grew up it was the religious right who were the puritanical ones.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

I feel like Saini could have just said “Quillette!” in 144 point bold Impact font, it’s the same thing. They try desperately to pretend that they hold a legitimate scientific position, when they’re just the Daily Stormer with a facade to shield them from hate crime status.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/31/devious-racists-are-experts-at-hiding/

Facts:

PZ is discussing a woman named Angela Saini, who wrote a book about the return of “race science.” He turns that intro into a disgusting, possibly libelous, smear of Quillette, who have, to our knowledge, taken no even remotely racist positions, and PZ offers none up in evidence.

Analysis:

PZ has had his eye on Quillette almost since they were founded. We’re not quite sure why, but it may be that they’ve positioned themselves to be a forum for ideas that progressive authoritarians, like PZ Myers, refuse to discuss, and they’ve attracted some attention from people who still do identify as liberal or progressive.

Whatever the reason, this smear is almost beyond the pale, even for PZ.

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 8 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 76 science-related posts, 186 non-science posts.

29% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 77 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

29-30 July – PZ Myers Goes On a Science Spree! And Two More Lies!

We took yesterday off due to other commitments and we came back to a stunning development: a scientist actually blogging about science! PZ Myers has been talking more about science these past two days than he has about politics, which is a first since we started keeping tabs here at PZWatch. We’re excited about this development and hope it continues, but we’re also realists who know every time we’ve praised PZ, he’s immediately gone back to his old ways. So there’ll probably be no science for the next week, given our track record and his.

But there will be lies. We have two to cover today.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Child murderer was a white nationalist

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/29/child-murderer-was-a-white-nationalist/

Facts:

The lie this time is in the title of the post, which goes on to discuss the recent murders at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. PZ linked to a Heavy.com article about the murders as substantiation of his claim, but there is a problem. Santiago William Legan, the 19-year-old who killed three people at the festival before being killed by police, does not appear to be a white nationalist.

Heavy.com does not make the claim that Legan was a white nationalist, PZ Myers does. And he bases it off a single post on Instagram that reads, in its entirety: “Read Might Is Right by Ragnar Redbeard. Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to make room for hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white twats?”

We’re not sure what to make of the second sentence, but it doesn’t seem to be typical of white nationalist talk. And we haven’t read Might is Right, but Leo Tolstoy apparently did and describes it as follows:

The substance of this book, as it is expressed in the editor’s preface, is that to measure “right” by the false philosophy of the Hebrew prophets and “weepful” Messiahs is madness. Right is not the offspring of doctrine, but of power. All laws, commandments, or doctrines as to not doing to another what you do not wish done to you, have no inherent authority whatever, but receive it only from the club, the gallows, and the sword. A man truly free is under no obligation to obey any injunction, human or divine. Obedience is the sign of the degenerate. Disobedience is the stamp of the hero.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Might_Is_Right

Others have described it as containing “open sexism and racism” or as a “proto-fascist white power manifesto.”

PZ apparently relies on this last description to base his claim, however he leaves something out. Legan self-identified as half Italian and half Iranian. Another of Legan’s Instagram posts contain a picture of his maternal grandfather, Ali Ashgar Vahabzadeh.

Additionally, this LA Times story contains the following tidbit:

Amid the screams, flying bullets and bloodshed that erupted on a warm summer evening at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday, someone shouted a pivotal question at the gunman: “Why are you doing this?”


Because I’m really angry,” the gunman replied, according to Jack Van Breen, who spoke with reporters after performing at the festival with his band, TinMan.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-07-29/gilroy-garlic-festival-shooting-suspect

All of which leads us to classify this as a lie. There is not enough information about Legan’s views for PZ to claim that he was a white nationalist.

Analysis:

This is a classic case of confirmation bias. PZ wants to see a connection – any connection – with white nationalism/fascism so he can claim once again that antifa are the good guys simply fighting for right. Except its unclear how antifa would have ever known about half Italian, half Iranian Legan, as there does not appear to be much of a digital/social media record of him.

But PZ doesn’t really care about these kinds of nuances. He has a point to make and he won’t let facts get in the way of that.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

Whoa. When my kids were starting college, I was making $40K/year, and we didn’t even own a home — we were renting. Yet we managed to scrimp and save and get all three kids through four years of college. So that family is bringing in a quarter million per year, and they haven’t managed to set aside any money for their kids’ education? What have they been spending their money on? 

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/30/the-rich-are-weird/

Facts:

PZ is discussing a Wall Street Journal article about wealthy parents transferring guardianship of their children in order to get legal aid. And the bolded questions above seem perfectly legitimate, except the article answers them in the exact snippet PZ posts in the blog.

One Chicago-area woman told The Wall Street Journal that she transferred guardianship of her then 17-year-old daughter to her business partner last year. While her household income is greater than $250,000 a year, she said, she and her husband have spent about $600,000 putting several older children through college and have no equity in their home, which is valued at about $1.2 million, according to the property website Zillow. She said she has little cash on hand and little saved for her daughter’s education.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/college-financial-aid-loophole-wealthy-parents-transfer-guardianship-of-their-teens-to-get-aid-11564450828

According to the article they had set over a half-million dollars aside for their kids education, but spent it on their older children. Note: we are in no way condoning what these parents did, we’re just saying PZ Myers lied about it.

Analysis:

PZ started off the post on another rant about Trump, and these people were just caught in the crossfire. And speaking of his Trump rant, it serves as a great example of the pettiness of PZ Myers. He tries to suggest Trump doesn’t understand that he has to hit the “heart” next to a tweet in order to “like” it. Instead, PZ quotes from a NY Mag column that says:

The president has even been known to sends printouts of tweets he likes. After he liked one Gaetz tweet, he had it printed by a staffer, signed it and requested that it be sent to Gaetz’s congressional office, where the now-framed tweet hangs.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/07/trumps-method-of-liking-tweets-is-needlessly-complicated.html

Except, there’s a perfect normal reason for Trump to not hit the “heart” button – everyone else will see it. He may not wish to advertise what Tweets he likes, simple as that.

Trump uses Twitter more than any other President and we find it unbelievable to suggest he doesn’t understand a key feature of the platform. But not for PZ.

Final Tally:

Today: 7 science-related posts, 4 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 76 science-related posts, 178 non-science posts.

30% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 75 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

28 July – So What You’re Saying Is…

We first took notice of Jordan Peterson following his extraordinary interview/debate with Cathy Newman. Probably the most astonishing part of that interview/debate was the way Newman tried to re-frame Peterson’s arguments in a dishonest way to make him sound like a nut. She did this by repeatedly using the words “you’re saying,” followed by Peterson generally saying, “no, I’m not saying that.”

PZ Myers’s intellectual dishonesty works in much the same way. He rarely, if ever, treats an opposing argument in good faith. He almost always uses a variant of the “you’re saying” tactic, framing the argument in such a way that it’s easy for him to refute.

This is exactly what happens in today’s lie.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

It’s funny how Big Tent Atheism only wants to share the tent with cis het privileged white people who only want to talk about the Constitution as holy writ.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/28/what-should-atheists-support/

Facts:

PZ is responding to an email he received discussing the priorities of American Atheists. He reproduces only the following snippet:

To use American Atheist (AA) resources to continue pressing issues that are predominantly LGTB is, in my opinion, a dereliction of duty, unwise
and possibly actionable…Please remember that AA members are, primarily and traditionally, interested in separation of church and state issues.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/28/what-should-atheists-support/

The argument here is fairly straightforward: AA resources should be uses primarily to further the stated goals of the organization, primary among them being the separation of church and state. PZ’s interlocutor does not argue for the exclusion of anyone except “cis het privileged white people.” PZ puts those words in their mouth with no evidence, making this yet another PZ Myers lie.

Analysis:

We suspect there is much more context to the story, and the email PZ posted, than he lets on. But what strikes us most is PZ’s display of soft bigotry. He wants to put LGBTQ people into a neat box and say they can only be represented by an organization that focuses exclusively on issues important to them.

Do LGBTQ people care about religion in the public sphere? Do they care about the separation of church and state? Or is their activism only limited to LGBTQ issues? We’re confused. We assume LGBTQ people are, well, people, like everyone else with a diverse range of opinions and interests. PZ appears to want to put them off to one side and say, “you can only be concerned about this and that.”

That’s what we think he’s saying, anyway. It’s the only logical way for him to conclude that the American Atheists want to exclude everyone except “cis het privileged white people,” when in reality they say nothing of the sort.

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 4 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 69 science-related posts, 174 non-science posts.

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

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 73 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

27 July – Including “And” and “The”

Novelist Mary McCarthy, when asked about playwright Lillian Hellman, had this to say on the Dick Cavett Show:

CAVETT: What is dishonest about her?


MCCARTHY: Everything. But I said once in some interview that every word she writes is a lie, including “and” and “the.”

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2016/09/18/every-word/

Seems like Lillian Hellman and PZ Myers have a lot in common.

Instead of quoting just a snippet of PZ’s blog post today, we’ve reproduced the whole thing.

It’s a masterwork of dishonesty.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

I’m gobsmacked. Ben Shapiro is spending $20K per week advertising on Facebook? PragerU, $80K? That’s a big chunk of change.


Two things come to mind. These right-wing figures are “fake news”. They’ve bought a claque, and their popularity is partly a sham.


But also…if you’re wondering why social media sites keep avoiding social responsibility, are being so cagey about not antagonizing fascists, all you have to do is ask who is paying them.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/27/whoa-those-goons-buy-their-popularity

Facts:

Above is the entire text of PZ’s blog post. In between the first and second paragraphs, he inserts this Twitter thread discussing how much organizations like Prager University and The Ben Shapiro Show spend on advertisements on Facebook. There are at least four lies interspersed throughout the post. We’ll deal with them one at a time.

Lie the first: The Ben Shapiro Show spent $489,662 on “ads about social issues, elections or politics” between May 2018 and July 24, 2019. The math on that is straightforward and works out to less than $8000 a week, not $20K. PZ confused what had been spent in the last seven days with how much they were spending per week.

Lie the second: The numbers for Prager University are similarly wrong. They spent less than $60K a week on average, not $80K.

Lie the third: We don’t know whether or not either of these organizations “purchased” followers in a way that’s been reported time and again in the media – and neither does PZ. That’s not what these ads do. Facebook does not allow people to purchase followers in this way through their platform. These ads appear to be simply advertising their existence and their content, like the Sierra Club, MoveOn.org, Planned Parenthood and a progressive billionaire PZ has written about before: Tom Steyer. You can see the full list of advertisers here, and it covers all sides of the political spectrum. Tom Steyer, incidentally, does spend an average of $80K a week on advertisements. Any bets on whether PZ will ever complain about that?

Lie the fourth: PZ once again claims that someone who disagrees with him is a fascist for no reason. Here, the charge is particularly interesting. Both Shapiro and Dennis Prager are practicing, orthodox Jews. If we were playing PZ’s name-calling game, we would have infinitely more evidence to call him an anti-Semite than he uses to brand these two fascists.

Analysis:

Once again, in keeping with our longstanding tradition to give PZ Myers the benefit of the doubt, we’ve rolled all of these lies up into one. And for the record, we actually don’t think PZ is an anti-Semite, but he is a liar. Both Prager and Shapiro describe themselves as classical liberals, and that’s kryptonite to an evangelical progressive like PZ. Their religion doesn’t matter, he would hate them even if they were atheist.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 69 science-related posts, 170 non-science posts.

29% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 72 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.