30 Aug – No Lies! And a Reminder About Our Process

For those visiting PZWatch for the first time:

  • We are a fact-checking operation.
  • Our principles can be found on the page formerly known as our FAQ page.
  • We don’t care about PZ Myers’s political opinions. For example, today he went on a weird rant about “the system of oppression” that we disagree with wholeheartedly, but as far as we can tell he didn’t write anything factually incorrect, so we don’t count it as a lie.
  • If you think we got anything wrong – tell us. We have updated posts based on new information brought forth by readers in the past.
  • We do not engage with or otherwise harass PZ Myers. He knows we’re here. If he wants to contact us, we set up a special email for his use alone: pz@pzwatch.com. We will acknowledge on our site any corrections or updates to lies made on Pharyngula.
  • We try, as much as possible, to have fun. We’re hampered in this endeavor by the fact that we’re naturally unfunny, but we make the effort nonetheless.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 2 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 91 science-related posts, 301 non-science posts.

23% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 0 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 105 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

29 Aug – Highway To The Lie Zone

We re-watched Top Gun for like the 50th time the other night, mainly because we were bored but also, who doesn’t love themselves a bit of shirtless Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer on the beach (while Anthony Edwards, wisely, keeps his on).

As a result, we have that bit of Kenny Loggins genius in our head and decided to use it as our title today. But, it’s not a completely irrelevant reference, PZ Myers has turned on the jets of his lies of late. He just crossed the 100-lie threshold and he shows no sign of stopping, while simultaneously hitting the brakes on any science content. That’s a recipe for more frequent lies than the 1.1 a day rate he’s maintained since the 30th of May.

We’ll see how long it takes for him to get to 200. Before Thanksgiving, perhaps?

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Over in that imperialist undemocratic monarchy across the Atlantic (we can be smug because we got rid of the “monarchy” part), people are wondering how the country got to the point that democracy can be suspended by a buffoon.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/29/but-it-isnt-even-a-question/

Facts:

We dismantled a kissing-cousin of this lie yesterday. PZ seems to think the British Prime Minister can suspend democracy in that country. That’s an interesting claim. We wonder if the Queen is powerless to prevent this from happening. If so, then what’s the point of having a Queen?

In truth, democracy has not been suspended in the UK. The democratic process, as far as Brexit is concerned, has already taken place. The referendum was held three years ago, with the Leavers emerging victorious. And just last year, the British Parliament passed the UK Withdrawal Act, which has been amended twice, extending the exit day, to manage the withdrawal.

The move by Boris Johnson is a parliamentary procedure which has been used in the UK before, most recently 22 years ago by John Major, with the aim of upholding the democratic votes which have already taken place. Once again, PZ isn’t only lying, he’s inverting the truth of this move. Democracy isn’t being suspended, it’s being served in the UK.

Analysis:

This is how partisan political polemicists write, not how a sceptical scientist who uses truth and reason as his guide would write. There are so many things wrong with PZ’s analysis, it’s hard to know where to end. Who listens to someone who argues like this? Who finds this persuasive?

Exactly no one, we suspect.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

There were other irregularities there, too. Let’s not forget the open dishonesty of gerrymandering, either.
It’s funny how the Republicans are fanatical about accusing Democratic voters of fraud and cheating, but they don’t want to fix these basic, obvious problems. It’s almost as if the accusations are a distraction to keep the electorate from noticing how blatantly they are cheating to stay in power.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/29/paper-ballots-everywhere/

Facts:

The title of this post is “Paper ballots everywhere,” and PZ is writing about alleged election irregularities in the last statewide election in Georgia. This is one of many areas where we are in agreement with PZ Myers.

Many on the conservative side of the aisle pine for paper ballots as well. Here is a summary of just one conservative/libertarian site saying many the same things about paper ballots that PZ does here.

But the lies in this snippet focus on two other claims. The first is that only Republicans use gerrymandering to influence the outcome of statewide elections. That is false. Both political parties have used gerrymandering in the past to influence politics in their state. It is a Republican problem, but it’s a Democratic problem as well.

The second lie is the claim that Republicans are “blatantly” cheating in Georgia and elsewhere to gain and maintain power. PZ offers scant evidence of cheating in the post, and no evidence that if indeed cheating did occur it was blatant.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution article PZ links to substantiate this claim says this:

The potential voting irregularities were included among 15,500 pages of documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that have also been turned over to the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is looking into Georgia’s elections. The documents, provided under the Georgia Open Records Act, offer details of alleged voting irregularities but no answers.

https://www.ajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/mystery-missing-votes-deepens-congress-investigates-georgia/

It’s hard to be “blatant” when over 15,000 pages of documents provide no answers.

Analysis:

This is another entirely partisan issue for PZ. He was not at all concerned about voting irregularities when Al Franken was elected to the Senate from Minnesota. And he’s not concerned with partisan gerrymandering in Illinois, to name just one example, because it favors his own progressive tribe.

PZ Myers Lie #3 [in bold]:

It was a sudden, violent act, but there’d been obvious signs and multiple warnings that this guy was going to snap. She survived, with serious scarring and pain, and she sued the Army for needlessly putting her life in danger. Guess what happened next? They have a rule that says the military can’t be sued!

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/29/facts-not-emotion/

Facts:

The United States Army most decidedly does not have a rule saying they can’t be sued. If PZ had read a little further down the page of the article he cites, he would have found this:

On April 18, 2019, the Army denied Blanchard’s claim for damages, citing the Feres Doctrine — a 1950 Supreme Court precedent which bars service members and their families from suing the military for injury or death brought on by their service. 

https://taskandpurpose.com/katie-blanchard-feres-doctrine

The Supreme Court held, unanimously in that case, the following:

The United States is not liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act for injuries to members of the armed forces sustained while on active duty and not on furlough and resulting from the negligence of others in the armed forces.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feres_v._United_States

1LT Katie Blanchard, the military officer in question in this case, has said she will fight to reform the doctrine, which we take to mean a willingness to either bring this case before the Supreme Court again or force Congress to enact changes to the Federal Tort Claims Act. We wish her well in that endeavour, but the sheer difficulty of the fight she has ahead of her underscores the magnitude of PZ’s lie. This isn’t a “rule” that can be changed on a whim. This is well-established law that was decided unanimously by the highest court in the land.

Analysis:

All of this information was available to PZ Myers if he had taken the time to look for it. But, when he has a point to make, he can’t let silly things like facts get in the way.

He is so well entrenched in the lie-zone – yes, we’ve still got Kenny in our head – it’s difficult for us to see a path for him back to the truth. What would he write about if he refrained from lying about politics every day?

Science?

Nah…he wouldn’t do that.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 90 science-related posts, 299 non-science posts.

23% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 105 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

28 Aug – Does PZ Myers Care About Freedom?

PZ spends a lot of time discussing freedom in the pages of Pharyngula, but you can never really be sure where he stands on the issue because it depends entirely upon his definition of the word, and that definition is nebulous. He likes abortion freedoms, of course, but he hates the freedom to own guns. He likes the fact that gay people have the freedom to marry, but he hates the fact that rich people can spend money the way they choose.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

The system is broken. When we’re dependent on the generosity of billionaires to get any science done, that skews the outcome — your funding is no longer coupled to any measure of merit, but on your skill at schmoozing and pandering to fat cats, and on your association with over-hyped organizations like Harvard. Taking money away from scientists does not fix the system. What we need to do is take that power away from the billionaires, and nothing in this solution is going to discomfit the unearned prestige and influence of the criminally wealthy.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/28/as-long-as-you-rely-on-billionaires-for-funding-you-are-participating-in-a-criminal-enterprise/

Facts:

PZ makes a specific claim here, that the “system” of science funding is “dependent on the generosity of billionaires to get any science done.” Is it true?

No.

Data from ongoing surveys by the National Science Foundation (NSF) show that federal agencies provided only 44% of the $86 billion spent on basic research in 2015. The federal share, which topped 70% throughout the 1960s and ’70s, stood at 61% as recently as 2004 before falling below 50% in 2013.


The sharp drop in recent years is the result of two contrasting trends—a flattening of federal spending on basic research over the past decade and a significant rise in corporate funding of fundamental science since 2012. 

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/data-check-us-government-share-basic-research-funding-falls-below-50

$37.8 billion is not a small amount of money, and that is what public, government sources spent, according to this source, on just basic research in 2015. This article from 2013, from Scienceogram UK, an organisation which claims to make sense of science spending, goes into more depth about the funding sources of science. And assuming we’ve read their data correctly (we think we have), only a minuscule amount of science funding comes from billionaires like Jeffrey Epstein, making this another PZ Myers lie.

Analysis:

We will admit to being a bit dumbfounded as to why PZ Myers thinks the way he does about this issue. So Harvard accepted millions of dollars from someone who was later convicted of sex crimes? So what?

We’re not sure we see the issue with Epstein donating money to science projects even after his conviction. Are convicted pedophiles to be completely shunned from all society? Are they not allowed to spend money how they wish? To the extend his donations to science-related projects bought “influence,” we don’t think it amounted to any more influence than a normal billionaire would have (although Epstein wasn’t quite worth a billion, in the end).

Our view is we should let pedophile billionaires give all the money they want to science, and whatever organisations they fund should be laughing all the way to the bank.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

That’s just weird. I thought Southern conservatives were all about states rights and opposing federalism, but here they are, trying to interfere in another state’s politics. OK then. Can Minnesota urge the immediate expulsion of Moscow Mitch from the Senate? I wouldn’t mind that at all.
I could also mention this bizarre move by Boris Johnson to suspend parliament in order to prevent anyone from stopping by democratic means his grand plan to sunder Britain from the EU.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/28/conservatives-dont-understand-this-democracy-thing/

Facts:

Two lies in this snippet. The first is PZ’s use of the term “federalism.” Conservatives in general support the idea of “federalism,” that states are sovereign and serve as a check on the power of the federal government. Progressives like PZ Myers oppose federalism because they prefer more centralised government power to solve problems. We’ll give that one to PZ, because it feels like a typo (one he won’t fix, nonetheless).

The other lie is more egregious. He claims Boris Johnson is suspending Parliament in order to “prevent anyone from stopping by democratic means his grand plan to sunder Britain from the EU.”

PZ has this exactly backwards.

Britain had a democratic referendum on the question of Brexit, and the Leave side came out victorious. The Remainers have been trying almost any means at their disposal to overturn the outcome of that referendum. Johnson, over three years after the referendum, plans to make good on the democratic choice Britain made to leave the EU. The people have voted. Johnson has vowed to honour that vote. It’s people like PZ Myers who want to use anti-democratic means to force Britain to remain.

Analysis:

Things like this serve to illustrate how shameless PZ is about his lies. He knows about the Brexit referendum, of course, he blogged about it at the time and has made it quite clear in the years since that he doesn’t approve of the outcome. But, to claim that leaving the EU is Boris Johnson’s plan alone and not the result of a fair, democratic referendum is frankly amazing.

He does it, we think, because he knows the commenters on his website will let him get away with it. If you cross PZ Myers by, say, correcting his lies, he gets cross and bans you from the site. As a result, he’s created a sycophantic echo chamber where even lies as fantastical as this are allowed to stand.

But they won’t stand here as long as we’re standing and still have the stomach to read PZ Myers every day.

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 5 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 90 science-related posts, 295 non-science posts.

23% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 102 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

The Top Ten Lies of PZ Myers (since the 30th of May)

We opened our doors on the 30th of May, 2019. That was only 91 days ago, but that’s all the time PZ Myers needed to reach the 100 lie mark. In celebration of this arbitrary three-digit round number, we’re celebrating today by counting down the Top Ten Lies that have appeared on the pages of Pharyngula in the last 3 months. None of these have been acknowledged or corrected by PZ Myers, and we think there’s almost no chance they ever will be.

But if it happens, we’ll report it here.

We don’t care about PZ’s political opinions. We don’t care if he’s a socialist or a SJW. We don’t care what he thinks about Trump or Republicans or anything else. We care that he tells the truth.

Too bad he doesn’t.

Top Ten PZ Myers Lies

#10

The most damning thing about antifa is that we have photographic evidence of them mixing up lots of milkshakes — it’s so pathetic that the fascists had to make up a lie about them adding quick-set cement to them, just to make it seem like maybe they were a little bit dangerous.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/16/antifa-we-have-a-missile-gap/

There are two lies in this one passage, but we counted it as one. The “most damning thing,” when PZ wrote this, about this violent progressive group was the fact that they beat a journalist so bad he suffered a brain hemorrhage. We go over this in more detail in Lie #1 below – lies about antifa are well represented on this Top Ten list.

The second lie is easy to refute. The fascists – whoever they are, PZ never says – didn’t make up a lie about antifa adding quick-set cement to their milkshakes. A Portland Police lieutenant based that assertion on direct evidence he observed.

A Portland Police Bureau lieutenant “saw a powdery substance that appeared to cause some irritation [when in contact with skin].” The lieutenant also said the milkshake smelled similar to wet concrete, a smell they were familiar with from “having worked with concrete before.”

https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2019/07/01/26734870/mayors-officer-portland-police-acted-responsibly-by-sharing-cement-milkshake-rumor

The Police never, to our knowledge, found independent confirmation of cement being added to any of the milkshakes produced that day, but it is nevertheless a lie to say “fascists” (again, who are these people?) made up that charge.

Top Ten PZ Myers Lies

#9

I keep hearing about this imaginary paleolithic diet, and I wonder how they know, and also find it strange that there was apparently one people a 100,000 years ago, and they all ate the same things. Everything about it seems wrong.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/10/what-paleo-diet/

Everything about the diet seems wrong to PZ because it is wrong. Every single part of his description of the paleo diet is wrong. Here’s National Geographic describing the origins of the diet [emphasis added]:

After studying the diets of living hunter-gatherers and concluding that 73 percent of these societies derived more than half their calories from meat, [Loren] Cordain came up with his own Paleo prescription: Eat plenty of lean meat and fish but not dairy products, beans, or cereal grains—foods introduced into our diet after the invention of cooking and agriculture.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/evolution-of-diet/

In other words, Cordain didn’t study people 100,000 years ago and didn’t assume there was a single monolithic people who ate a single monolithic diet.

PZ lied about it.

Top Ten PZ Myers Lies

#8

I first publicly criticized Jeffrey Epstein in 2011, and I didn’t even know him and have never met him! What took Pinker so long?

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/12/pinker-speaks-up-at-last-about-epstein/

We can find no record of PZ Myers publicly criticizing Jeffrey Epstein by name in 2011. The above quote most likely references this post, in which he criticizes Epstein’s crimes, but never names him publicly. In fact, we can find no record of PZ Myers publicly criticizing Jeffrey Epstein by name until 2015.

There’s another interesting thing about this lie. Epstein’s crimes became public in 2006. PZ criticizes Steven Pinker for waiting until 2019 to repudiate him, but what was PZ doing waiting until 2015 (or even 2011, as he claims)? PZ, by his own logic, should have denounced Epstein In 2006. Why did he wait 5-9 years?

Top Ten PZ Myers Lies

#7

If you [sic] a filthy rich billionaire who has some liberal goals (you’re not going to be promoting leftist/progressive goals, because you’ve already demonstrated a life-long commitment to stealing from workers), I have a different suggestion: run for president on the Republican side. 

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/09/another-billionaire-leaps-into-the-presidential-race/

Tom Steyer, the billionaire referenced above, is a known person with known business career and known philanthropic endeavors PZ could have examined.

But he didn’t. So we did.

Steyer made most of his money because he founded an investment firm called Farallon Capital Management. Part of Farallon’s portfolio involved:

…finding distressed international companies and helping the businesses restructure. In 1999, Farallon bought a direct stake in an Argentine shoe company, which it helped stabilize to profitability as Argentina recovered from an economic crisis. And in 2002, Farallon bought control of Bank Central Asia (BCA), an Indonesian financial institution, for $531 million. At the time, many of Indonesia’s banks were on the verge of collapse because of bad loans made during President Suharto’s leadership and the country was seen as dangerous for foreign investment. Over the next four years, Farallon installed a new chairman and made necessary reforms. After Farallon sold its stake for a profit in 2006, many other institutional investors began to look to Indonesia for returns. In the year before Farallon’s investment in Indonesia, $286 million flowed into the country as foreign direct investment. After Farallon exited, that number grew to $1 billion in 2007 and $4 billion in 2008. According to Council on Foreign Relations economics fellow Sebastian Mallaby, “Farallon’s investment was a blessing for Indonesia.”

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

In sum, Farallon invested in companies that might otherwise have gone bankrupt and destroyed the jobs of all their workers. Far from “stealing from workers,” Steyer blessed his most vulnerable workers with a purpose and a steady income. PZ’s not only lying, he’s inverting the truth. Tom Steyer has helped more workers than PZ Myers could ever dream of doing.

But wait, there’s more! Steyer has also been involved in many charities throughout his business career and he and his wife have pledged to “give at least half their wealth to charitable causes during their lifetime.” So not only is he not “stealing” from workers, he will ultimately give back half of what he’s earned to people less fortunate than he.

PZ Myers + Economics = Lie. Like the Einstein field equations, this appears to be a fundamental law of sorts in the Pharyngula universe. It’s always been amazing to contemplate the number of things a flat-earther or a creationist must believe in order to conclude their theory is correct. Likewise, the number of things PZ has to lie about to believe capitalism (or just making money, especially in the way Tom Steyer did) is somehow an evil endeavor is astounding. It’s one of the reasons we find reading him constantly fascinating.

Top Ten PZ Myers Lies

#6

We had Ben Shapiro give a talk at UMM, and if that dishonest twerp can get a platform here, you’ve got no grounds to claim that conservatives are censored.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/28/free-speech-is-the-new-religious-excuse/

Of course there are numerous grounds to claim conservatives are “censored” on college campuses. FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, keeps a running database of speakers who have been disinvited from giving a talk on campus. According to that database, twice the number of disinvitation attempts have been targeted at right of center speakers than have been targeted at left of center speakers, illustrating a clear bias against conservative ideas. Additionally, although we don’t consider Breitbart to be an unbiased news source, they have kept a running list of acts of violence and harassment against people who hold right of center views. The phenomenon has also been illustrated in the book The Coddling of the American Mind.

Even more interesting: as we were researched this lie, we had a vague memory of PZ being caught up in a free speech controversy of his own a few years back. So we looked it up. The College Fix has a good summary. We particularly liked this part:

The professor [PZ Myers] encouraged local readers back then to throw away copies of the NorthStar, comparing it to Ku Klux Klan flyers: “Treat their scattered papers as hate-filled trash and dispose of it appropriately.”

https://www.thecollegefix.com/atheist-activist-professor-tells-conservative-student-paper-fck-off-die/

NorthStar is a conservative student newspaper, and what PZ did sounds a little bit like an attempt to censor conservatives. Especially when you consider he is a professor – not an activist. He is paid to teach students, not tear them down. 

We also found another juicy nugget in our research for this lie. From earlier in 2019:

Students and even student workers [at the University of Minnesota Morris] have taken to stealing and vandalizing College Republican flyers and poster displays which support pro-life values and civil dialogue.

https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=11977

PZ regularly updates his readers on the goings-on in Morris so we were surprised that we had not heard about this incident, which apparently resulted in criminal charges. 

Then we remembered who we’re dealing with: PZ Myers, that’s who. And if there is a news story which reflects badly on his chosen tribe, he would not cover it even if you put a gun to his head. 

So – to sum up – not only are conservatives more likely to be disinvited from a campus speaking engagement, PZ himself has encouraged people to dispose of a college Republican newsletter and fails to mention the fact that just a few months ago, conservatives were being silenced on his own campus.

Top Ten PZ Myers Lies

#5

That’s Bezos. He seems to have a superficial understanding of the fact that we’re wrecking our home, but his excuse is that we can go get stuff from space to reduce our drain on the system, which is nonsense. There’s no oil in space. Mining is always going to be more difficult, expensive, and dangerous on asteroids. The kinds of resources that drive the material development of society are going to be more destructive to the environment if we haul in more of them.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/21/stop-talking-to-billionaires-start-listening-to-climate-scientists/

A recent study from the University of Paris-Saclay calculated the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by a platinum mining operation on earth and the amount that might be emitted by an asteroid mining operation. Here are the results:

…economies of scale from large asteroid-mining operations could lower this to about 60 kilograms of CO2 per kilogram of platinum. That needs to be compared with the emission from Earth-based mining. Here, platinum mining generates significant greenhouse gases, mostly from the energy it takes to remove this stuff from the ground. Indeed, the numbers are huge. The mining industry estimates that producing one kilogram of platinum on Earth releases around 40,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide. “The global warming effect of Earth-based mining is several orders of magnitude larger,” say Hein and co.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612311/asteroid-mining-might-actually-be-better-for-the-environment/

We love how PZ tries to explain to three successful entrepreneurs who have invested millions of dollars in asteroid mining that what they’re doing doesn’t make economic sense. We’re sure none of them ever thought to crunch the numbers on this one, but now, after reading PZ Myers’s insightful analysis, they’ll surely scrap their plans.

Except, that’s not his real goal. He gives up the game near the end of the post, when he says, “If you’re serious about saving Planet Earth, work to end capitalism and build sustainable, renewable institutions.”

Ending capitalism is his real goal. All the rest is just window dressing. It’s freedom, and free markets, that really bother PZ Myers. Which, for a scientist, doesn’t make much sense. 

We wonder sometimes if he would rather be the richest person in the world 100 year ago or if he’d prefer to live near the poverty line today. His answer would be revealing. In almost every way, those living in a first-world country near the poverty line today are far better off than the richest person in the world was in 1919, and almost every bit of that is due to capitalism. 

We came across an old quote from PZ, which says:

If you’ve got a religious belief that withers in the face of observations of the natural world, you ought to rethink your beliefs — rethinking the world isn’t an option. 

PZ Myers

His quasi-religious belief in socialism withers in the face of the last 100 years of observations, but he’s not rethinking his world.

Top Ten PZ Myers Lies

#4

…the reservations in Washington state are in many ways isolated, populated with poor people, but at the same time penetrated with highways and outsiders are encouraged to visit to buy cheap cigarettes or gamble, so some of the worst people from the outside are cruising through the placeColonialism isn’t over yet, it seems – it’s still exacting a toll.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/03/the-indian-wars-never-ended-they-just-changed-tactics/

PZ is correct about one thing in this paragraph, outsiders are encouraged to visit to buy cheap cigarette or gamble…by the Native American tribes themselves!

PZ maligns casinos, but they’re actually a boon to the economies of the tribes who run them. Here’s what the American Economic Association had to say:

Research shows that casino operations are correlated with declines in obesity, smoking, and heavy drinking, and increases in employment. The cash payouts that some tribal governments have disbursed to tribe members have been shown to boost school attendance and degree attainment in the poorest households. Overall, real income per capita for American Indians living on reservations increased nearly 50% in the twenty years from 1990 to 2010, far outpacing growth for Americans generally during this period.

https://www.aeaweb.org/research/has-tribal-gaming-been-a-boon-for-American-Indians.php

PZ’s original post spoke to an epidemic of Native American women who have either been murdered or gone missing in recent years – an epidemic he hasn’t spoken about since, by the way – and we agree that something is going on and a lot of women are getting hurt. But, it isn’t the case that a Colonialist American government forced casinos and tobacco shops on these tribes. These tribes are doing it themselves and benefiting from it greatly.

Top Ten PZ Myers Lies

#3

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/

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 evangelical progressives, 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 possibly libelous smear is beyond the pale. He offers no evidence that the founder of Quillette or any of the editors hold any racist positions whatsoever. This is pure, despicable name calling, that should be beneath anyone who claims to value free-thought, reason and evidence. PZ should be ashamed of himself.

But he’s not.

Top Ten PZ Myers Lies

#2

The differences are glaring: the women’s team is bringing in more money, is empirically better than the men’s team, and are playing more games than the men, yet they’re getting paid a lot less.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/08/im-not-even-a-sports-fan/

This was a lie when PZ wrote it. It’s an even bigger lie today.

The link he uses to substantiate the claim that the women’s soccer team brings in more money redirects to a three-and-a-half year-old article from FiveThirtyEight. A more recent analysis by the Washington Post concludes the following:

There was a long-standing gap between revenue generated by the men and women, but that has disappeared in recent years. The women’s team contributed close or more than half of the federation’s revenue from games since fiscal 2016. Overall, from fiscal 2016 to 2018, the women’s games generated about $900,000 more revenue than the men’s games. In the year following the 2015 World Cup win, women’s games generated $1.9 million more than the men’s games. And in recent years, the men’s revenue tally also includes the fees that opposing teams pay in order to play the United States.


The USSF points out that if this calculation is extended to fiscal 2015 — in order to include a men’s World Cup cycle — the men’s team brought in $10.8 million more for the federation. For the current World Cup cycle, the women’s team is likely to have higher revenue, since they won the championship while the men failed to qualify.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/08/are-us-womens-soccer-players-really-earning-less-than-men/

Additionally, the date of the FiveThirtyEight article matters because it predates the last women’s soccer collective bargaining agreement, which took effect in April 2017. This is one part of the sleight of hand PZ uses to claim players on the women’s team are paid ‘a lot less.’ The reality was, back when we first wrote about this lie, much muddier [bold added]:

The lawsuit from the women’s team sketched out the following scenario: If both teams played 20 friendlies in a year, a top-tier women’s national team player would earn $164,320 less, or “38% of the compensation of a similarly situated MNT player.” That was true under the previous collective-bargaining agreement that ended in December 2016.

The Fact Checker obtained the new agreement, which took effect in April 2017. Using the same 20-game scenario, we calculated the player on the women’s team would earn $28,333 less, or about 89 percent of the compensation of a similarly situated men’s team player. If both teams lost all 20 games, the players would make the same amount. That’s because the men earn a $5,000 bonus when they lose and the women have a $100,000 base salary.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/08/are-us-womens-soccer-players-really-earning-less-than-men

Members of the men’s team are not paid a base salary. Both PZ’s graphic and the Washington Post article mislead the reader into thinking they are paid ‘when they lose’, but in reality they’re simply paid to play (they get a bonus for a win) because they don’t make a salary otherwise. 

The other half of PZ’s graphic, which is supposed to substantiate his claim that women are getting paid a lot less, deals exclusively with World Cup earnings. This is the second part of PZ’s sleight of hand. The first two rows itemize things the USSF pays the players, while the bottom two itemize what FIFA, through the USSF, pays the players. We’ll let the Washington Post take it from here [bold added]:

Before we dive in, it’s important to understand how World Cup prize money works. FIFA sets the amount and awards any prize money to the winning country’s federation. The federation — in this case USSF — then distributes it to the players based on each team’s collective-bargaining agreement.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/08/are-us-womens-soccer-players-really-earning-less-than-men/?utm_term=.a7f7eb9aa54a

But it gets better.

US Soccer recently (after PZ wrote his post) 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 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

Top Ten PZ Myers Lies

#1

If you google “Heather Clark antifa” you will find lots of right wing sites crowing triumphantly over the young woman getting seriously injured. Some of the same sites are now aghast that Ngo has been injured. I guess there’s a peculiar asymmetry at work here — punching antifa is heroic, but punching fascists is bad

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/01/if-antifa-has-no-recourse-but-violence-how-can-you-condemn-them-for-taking-action/

This is the fifth lie in a six-lie spree PZ went on to justify the antifa beating of Andy Ngo, journalist and editor at Quillette.

Ngo is the fascist in PZ’s lie above. Earlier, PZ called him a faux-journalist, which was also a lie, but here he has to make the switch from faux-journalist to fascist in order to justify the beating. Antifa, you see, can do no wrong. They’re not violent unless their target is a fascist. It’s a No True Scotsman fallacy of the highest order and any skeptic worth their salt would spot it a mile away.

In the space of a little over a month, since just before we started PZWatch, PZ Myers went from claiming, falsely, that progressive groups are entirely peaceful to embracing the violence antifa demonstrated on the streets of Portland.

At no point during his rant does he condemn the Antifa attack against Andy Ngo.

At no point does he say there antifa should be peaceful and not dish out blood or broken bones.

PZ wants antifa to start the revolution that will “erase this stain [the United States of America].” And it doesn’t matter how many lies he has to tell to get it done.

Analysis:

We try to imbue this site with as much humor as we can – even if it’s bad humor most of the time – but, there is nothing inherently funny about a prominent skeptical atheist lying so freely and so often. It’s bad for everyone involved, and we wish it would stop.

That’s our true goal – to make truth and reason integral to discussions on these topics. This country is already divided on issues where we’re in agreement on the underlying facts. When we’re not in agreement, when someone advocating for one side lies about the underlying facts, there is truly no hope of a productive discussion.

We can’t accomplish our goal en mass. There’s no way to get ten thousand partisan voice stop lying at once. But there might be a way to get one voice to do it.

If we assume that voice has principles. And we assume one of those principles is adherence to truth, and another is a love of reason. And if we assume that voice is capable of adjusting their belief system to more closely match the observations of the real world. In other words – that voice must have skeptical values.

That’s a big ask, especially of our subject, but it’s not impossible. We’re natural optimists.

And, perhaps, fools.

27 Aug – Lie #100!

Jam packed day here at PZWatch. PZ Myers gave us reason to celebrate by writing his one-hundredth lie since we began this website, and that’s really the main event of the day, so we’ll blow through this lie about David Koch and get right to it.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

I would also add that even their good donations were tainted by an agenda. They funded a major exhibit on human evolution at the Smithsonian, but one of their goals was to play up how climate change affected human evolution. Why, we wouldn’t be here if not for climate change! Therefore, it’s all good for you.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/27/rich-people-using-charities-as-a-way-to-whitewash-their-crimes/

Facts:

The link PZ uses to substantiate this claim goes to a Pharyngula post from 2010, which goes into more detail about this lie. It’s not our (volunteer, unpaid) job to retroactively fact-check PZ Myers’s blog posts – if it was, we’d never leave the house – but, in this case we can do both at once, since he essentially repeats the same lie in both places.

I suppose it wouldn’t leap out at an evolutionary biologist because it is true: there have been temperature fluctuations and long term changes that have hit our species hard, and nobody is denying it. However, it’s a bit of a stretch to suggest that we should therefore look forward to melting icecaps and flooding seaboards and intensified storms. 

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/10/07/so-thats-why-koch-funded-a-maj/

Now, having set the stage with PZ Myers’s claims, let’s see what the exhibit has to say:

This exhibition is based on decades of cutting-edge research by Smithsonian scientists, and is the result of an international collaboration with over 60 research and educational organizations and over 100 researchers from around the world. The David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins offers visitors an immersive, interactive journey through 6 million years of scientific evidence for human origins and the stories of survival and extinction in our family tree during times of dramatic climate instability…Explore actual archaeological field sites at interactive snapshots in time, examine over 75 cast reproductions of real skulls from around the world, engage with an interactive family tree showcasing 6 million years of evolutionary evidence from around the world, and address pressing questions and issues surrounding climate change and humans’ impact on the Earth in the “One Species Living Worldwide” theatre and the “Changing the World” gallery.

http://humanorigins.si.edu/exhibit

We haven’t been to the Smithsonian since this exhibit opened, so we have no first-hand knowledge of what it does or doesn’t say, but then again, neither does PZ Myers. He gives no indication of having visited the exhibit, relying instead on evidence from ThinkProgress – a decidedly biased source of information.

However, based on what we read above, exhibit appears to address the issue of human-caused climate change head on, and not in a way that suggests it will be “good for you” it something to “look forward to.” It is highly unlikely that anyone would walk away from this exhibit thinking that we should look forward to melting icecaps and flooding seaboards. In fact, it’s hard for us to conceive of a world in which the Smithsonian, in conjunction with 100 researchers around the world, produces an exhibit claiming catastrophic climate change is “good for you.” That claim is, most decidedly, a lie.

Analysis:

PZ Myers gets a lot of mileage out of taking conservative Christians to task – rightly so – for their creationist beliefs. Here, he excoriates a conservative for funding and exhibition at one of the most prestigious museums in the world focusing on the science of evolution! PZ’s original post on this amounts to hand-wringing that, while the science was right, it suggests a conclusion he doesn’t like.

And that’s the real issue. It suggests PZ doesn’t really care about science that doesn’t support his evangelical political positions. It suggests he doesn’t care about truth unless it somehow supports his agenda. It is, in other words, the opposite of what a rational, science-based person should do.

Which may explain all the lies…

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 90 science-related posts, 290 non-science posts.

24% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 100 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

26 Aug – Finally, Some Science!

And a close call, but we’re feeling generous today so we won’t call it a lie. PZ remains at #99, not a bad number to have, if you’re a hockey player.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 89 science-related posts, 286 non-science posts.

24% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 0 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 99 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

25 Aug – No Lies!

Hast du etwas Zeit für mich
Dann singe ich ein Lied für dich
Von 99 Luftballons
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont
Denkst du vielleicht g’rad an mich
Dann singe ich ein Lied für dich
Von 99 Luftballons
Und dass so was von so was kommt

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 88 science-related posts, 283 non-science posts.

24% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 0 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 99 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

24 Aug – Wait…What Is The Foundation of Judeo-Christian Morality?

There is no reason we can think of for an atheist to lie about religion. It is such a target-rich environment for myth-busting and fact-checking that you shouldn’t have to go inventing things to get outraged about. But, for some reason – maybe because he’s bored and/or tired after decades of this – PZ Myers decided to make some shit up today about Judeo-Christian morality based on a comic-book misrepresentation of a weird story from the Old Testament.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

True story from 1 Samuel 18:25-27. This, of course, is the foundation of Judeo-Christian moralityMy wife is worth a lot more foreskins than that, but I don’t think she’d appreciate it if I went all serial killer and marched through Stevens County chopping off penis tips and bringing them back to her in a bloody sack.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/24/how-many-foreskins-are-you-worth/

Facts:

In between the second and third sentences above, PZ reproduces this comic:

Reading the story as summarized above, and seeing look on the King’s face in the accompanying drawing, you could be forgiven for wondering what the hell was going on. The answer would be found by reading the entire 18th Chapter of 1 Samuel, relevant snippets of which are below:

As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. And the women sang to one another as they celebrated,


“Saul has struck down his thousands,
    and David his ten thousands.”

And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David from that day on

…Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. So Saul removed him from his presence and made him a commander of a thousand. And he went out and came in before the people. And David had success in all his undertakings, for the Lord was with him.  And when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful awe of him

…“Thus shall you say to David, ‘The king desires no bride-price except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged of the king’s enemies.’” Now Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines

… And Saul gave him his daughter Michal for a wife.  But when Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, Saul was even more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy continually.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Samuel+18&version=ESV

The story is a warning about the pernicious and dangerous effects of jealousy and not having the Lord with you, whatever that means. Saul was not happy to have David as a son-in-law, he was fearful. Far from decreeing that his daughter was worth 100 foreskins, Saul chose that arbitrary number because he thought the Philistines would kill David in the attempt. The Philistines were at war with Saul and David, there is no suggestion that the latter plucked innocent people off the street and liberated their foreskins.

Finally, no reasonable person would read this story and conclude it is the “foundation of Judeo-Christian morality,” and PZ Myers makes no effort to support that claim. If anything could be said to be the foundation of Judeo-Christian morality, we think it would be the Ten Commandments – also from the Old Testament – but certainly not a story about 100 foreskins.

Part of our reason for taking PZ seriously – we don’t think he was joking here – is the way the story itself is presented. He doesn’t put it in context. He doesn’t say the comic is lying or winking to its audience. He’s using the story to mock the Judeo-Christian belief system – which is worth mocking, btw! – but he can’t do that unless the thrust of the story as presented is an integral part of that belief system.

It’s the kind of thing that not only turns us off, committed as we are to the truth, but also turns off Jews and Christians who might otherwise be open to atheist arguments. Someone on their side could easily link to this piece from “famous” atheist blogger PZ Myers and demonstrate without breaking a sweat he’s lying about this Bible story. Is this kind of thing going to win any converts? Is it going to advance atheistic principles in society? Or is it just going to turn people off and widen the gaps between us?

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 88 science-related posts, 279 non-science posts.

24% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 99 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

23 Aug – PZ Celebrates a Death, Then Lies About That Person’s Life

The Koch brothers, both together and separately, have represented a particular kind of bugaboo for PZ Myers. The idea that someone could have both money and the courage of their convictions to invest that money to make their political ideas turn into reality isn’t a foreign one to him. Both George Soros and Tom Steyer are examples of people on the progressive left with whom PZ doesn’t take much issue. But the Koch brothers represent, for an evangelical progressive like PZ Myers, the Devil incarnate.

What does a good progressive do, then, when the Devil dies? Celebrate, that’s what.

But, if you’re PZ Myers at least, you have to lie about it, too.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

One down. David Koch is dead. One more malignant, poisonous criminal whose sole contribution to history is bringing the end of civilization a little closer is gone.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/23/one-down/

Facts:

David Koch’s sole “crime” was having some political ideas that clash with the ideas preferred by PZ Myers. As we’ll see, they shared quite a few ideas and values.

PZ supports his claim that Koch is a “malignant, poisonous criminal whose sole contribution to history is bringing the end of civilization a little closer,” with a long quote from Jane Mayer about the supposed power Koch and his brother wielded to dissuade Congress from passing cap and trade legislation to regulate carbon in the US economy.

That’s an interesting take, to say the least, to suggest that the failure to pass cap and trade almost a decade ago has caused the end of civilization to advance just a little bit closer. PZ hasn’t, to our knowledge, established that the end of civilization is eminent at any point on the horizon. We have some plans to make if that’s the case, so we’d be interested to know the details.

Additionally, we suspect any contributions Koch makes to history will be as a result of his philanthropic endeavors:

In February 1991, Koch was a passenger on board USAir Flight 1493 when it collided with another aircraft on a runway at Los Angeles International Airport, killing 35 people. Koch survived and said in an interview in 2014 that it helped change his life and prompted him to become “tremendously philanthropic.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Koch#Philanthropy

A partial list of his donations is also documented on his Wikipedia page here:

Koch said his biggest contributions go toward a “moon shot” campaign to finding the cure for cancer, according to his profile on Forbes. Between 1998 and 2012, Koch contributed at least $395 million to medical research causes and institutions…In 2015, he committed $150 million to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City to build the David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care…From 1982 to 2013, Koch contributed $18.6 million to WGBH Educational Foundation, including $10 million to the Public Broadcasting Service(PBS) show Nova. Koch was a contributor to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., including a $20 million gift to the American Museum of Natural History, creating the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing and a contribution of $15 million to the National Museum of Natural History to create the new David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, which opened on the museum’s 100th anniversary of its location on the National Mall on March 17, 2010. He also served on the executive board of the Institute of Human Origins. In 2012, Koch contributed US$35 million to the Smithsonian to build a new dinosaur exhibition hall at the National Museum of Natural History.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Koch#Philanthropy

Interesting little tidbit here about Koch’s political activism:

In July 2015 David Koch and his brother were commended by both President Obama and activist Anthony Van Jones for their bipartisan efforts to reform the prison system in the United States. For nearly ten years the Kochs together advocated for several reforms within the criminal justice system which include reducing recidivism rates, simplifying the employment process for the rehabilitated, and defending private property from government seizures through asset forfeiture. Allying with groups such as the ACLU, the Center for American Progress, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the Coalition for Public Safety, and the MacArthur Foundation, the Kochs maintained the current prison system unfairly targets low-income and minority communities at the expense of the public budget

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Koch#Prison_reform

In other words, PZ gets David Koch exactly backwards. Not only is he not a malignant criminal, but he is a huge supporter of science, medical research and many of the same political policies PZ professes to prefer.

Analysis:

PZ has been on an open borders tear recently, but so was David Koch. He and his brother were huge proponents of immigration and spent a lot of time and money working with immigrants. This is yet another issue – the Koch brothers, that is – which demands a nuanced, skeptical treatment anathema to what PZ Myers does nowadays. He’s an unskeptical evangelical partisan shill, and his next lie illustrates this especially well.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

They’re millionaires, by definition they’re contemptible parasites who have exploited others to obtain their excessive wealth.  

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/23/maybe-we-need-to-think-more-deeply-about-the-ethics-of-science-funding/

Facts:

PZ was off to the races here in a long rant about science funding (in the context of Jeffrey Epstein, of course. We idly wonder sometimes if PZ would ever avail himself of a cure for cancer if he found out its discovery had been funded by the billionaire pedophile).

He’s gone on a variation of this rant before, but limited his criticism to billionaires. This time he lowers the bar by a factor of a thousand. We know this is a lie because PZ Myers has never called the following people “contemptible parasites who have exploited others to obtain their excessive wealth”:

  • Bernie Sanders
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Barack Obama
  • Joan Gabel

The first three names are recognizable. We’ll get to the fourth in a minute.

Sanders and Warren are PZ Myers’s preferred Presidential candidates. He’s endorsed Sanders in the past, and this time around he says he prefers Warren.

Both of them are millionaires.

Sanders is relatively poor, by comparison, at a mere $2 million net worth. Warren is doing much better, sitting at between $6 and $11 million.

Former President Obama is doing better than both of them combined, however. He and his wife Michelle just bought a Hampton’s estate valued at $14.85 million to go along with their Washington D.C. residence valued at $8 million.

We have never seen PZ Myers claim that any of these three politicians are contemptible parasites who have exploited others to obtain their excessive wealth.

The fourth name on the list is a little bit closer to home for PZ. Joan Gabel is the President of the University of Minnesota, the flagship institution of the University of Minnesota system which includes PZ Myers’s own institution, the University of Minnesota, Morris.

Just last December, the University of Minnesota unanimously approved Gabel’s salary: $640,000 a year. Gabel is contracted for five years which means, assuming she remains at the University for the entirety of her contract, she will make $3.2 million dollars.

A search of PZ’s website shows that he’s never written about Joan Gabel, therefore it’s safe to say, just like the other three people on our list, he’s never called her a parasite who has exploited others.

Analysis:

When is PZ Myers most incoherent, is a question we ask ourselves quite often. The answer might just be anything having to do with economics. The idea that someone who has made any amount of money in their lives has, by definition, exploited someone else is so foreign to textbook economic theory in addition to reality in everyday life that it approaches the incoherence of a religious belief. PZ abhors those beliefs in another context. Why can’t he see the fact that his thinking is infected in a similar manner? We have no idea, but it does make for some interesting reading.

And some astounding lies.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 88 science-related posts, 276 non-science posts.

24% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 98 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

22 Aug – Have We Become Jaded?

PZ Myers asks this question today, before denouncing a protester who shoved a privileged politician. A sharp eyed reader might ask: why would he care about violence? He’s been excusing antifa violence for months, hasn’t he?

The short answer is: the politician in question is a Democrat, and the issue in question isn’t one PZ supports. Violence doesn’t matter. In fact, as long as it’s directed against his perceived political enemies, violence can be a good thing. But when it’s used in an attempt to further a cause PZ Myers doesn’t like, well, then it’s a horrible, no-good, awful thing.

And this is why we get jaded sometimes reading PZ on a daily basis. Our outlook is generally happy and optimistic, but it’s hard to stay that way reading lie after lie and hypocrisy after hypocrisy. It’s almost enough to make us quit our (volunteer, unpaid) job.

But, we won’t. Today at least. We have at least two lies to cover.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

The fascists and capitalists and corporate goons and colonizers have been running the world for a few centuries now, and it’s time to overthrow the old order. There will be great pain in the churn.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/22/the-patriarchy-has-deep-roots-its-going-to-hurt-to-dig-them-out/

Facts:

PZ concludes a post about science-fiction with these words, and had he limited himself to “capitalists and corporate goons” we probably wouldn’t have called this a lie. We happen to believe the abundant evidence that shows capitalism (freedom) has greatly benefited the poor all over the world, and while wouldn’t have used the term “goon,” that word alone wouldn’t have made the sentence a lie.

Including the words “fascists” and “colonizers” in the group of people supposedly “running the world” does, however, change things.

To begin with, it sounds more than a little like a conspiracy theory to say that X group is “running the world.” Antisemites insert “Jews” into that equation and everyone readily identifies the racist sentiment. For PZ to charge that “fascists” and “colonizers” are running the world is equally silly. To the extent there is any global governance it comes in the form of the United Nations. Is PZ claiming they are “fascists” or “colonizers”? There are fascists regimes, like North Korea, that exist in the world, but they are isolated and no one with any sense would say they are “running the world” in any way. In fact, from one perspective, the history of the 20th century could be seen as a struggle between freedom and fascism, with the free side emerging victorious. There was a lot of pain in that churn as well.

And to the extent there are “colonies” anymore, they are mainly relegated to small communities of people who have been given the choice to become independent. We recently visited New Caledonia, a remnant of French colonialism in the South Pacific. They are part of France, have citizenship and voting rights, and have voted on becoming their own, separate entity. They rejected it. But, more importantly, because France had colonies at one point, does that mean they’re “running the world” at the moment? Of course not.

To sum up: to the extent anyone is “running the world” it certainly is not “fascists” or “colonizers.”

Analysis:

We’ve often tagged PZ with the “evangelical progressive” label, and lies like this are one of the reasons we think it’s a good fit. His worldview is pseudo-religious in nature and events like slavery and colonization are the “original sins” of mankind that we must pay homage to and atone for in order to move forward in the world.

It’s also the reason he has to attack Steven Pinker. If, as Pinker’s work has shown, the world is getting better over time, then there is no reason for the revolution PZ advocates for to “overthrow the old order.” People are bad. They’ve always been bad. Capitalism and fascism – whatever that is – are making them worse and the only thing to do is start a revolution to conjure the socialist utopia into being and the whole world will be better off.

It’s a fascinating, delusional worldview, and one that needs a lot of lies to maintain its edifice.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

Orac writes about an anti-vaxxer, Austin Bennett, who walked up to a California senator on the street and shoved him because he was insufficiently appreciative of his conspiracy-theory ravings. That that movement is working itself up towards more violence is troubling (they’re following the trajectory of the anti-choice movement, right down to screaming that they’re killing to protect the children), but what also bothers me is that the rhetoric is so unhinged. 

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/22/when-did-we-become-jaded/

Facts:

For the record, we abhor the anti-vax movement and the pseudo-science they use to further their claims, but that doesn’t mean we’ll give PZ a pass for lying about them. Here, he claims anti-vaxxers say they kill to protect the children, just like people associated with the anti-abortion movement have at various times over the years.

That’s a lie.

Anti-vaccine activists are not generally violent and have never been charged with killing anyone in the name of protecting the children. An internet search brings up only this incident. We found nothing else. Whereas anti-abortion activists have been very vocal about the fact that the crimes they committed were done to protect the children being aborted, anti-vaccine activists do not appear to have committed any violent crimes in the service of their activism, save this one.

Analysis:

Here’s a video of the assault. It’s interesting to compare PZ’s description of this event with his description of the attack on Andy Ngo in June. Go back and watch that video for comparison.

Here, it’s “troubling” that the anti-vax movement is “working itself up towards more violence.” In June, however, PZ said this:

But since everyone is currently very concerned about free speech, I think we need to be able to objectively discuss the pros of punching out fascist bigots. After all, any attempt to silence conversation about the virtues of antifa would be a violation of people’s free speech rights, and we can’t have that. I think also that Mr Ngo would want us to consider the benefits of seeing him punched in the face.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/01/if-antifa-has-no-recourse-but-violence-how-can-you-condemn-them-for-taking-action/

Compare/contrast: Democratic Senator gets pushed on the back, and that’s “troubling.” Journalist gets beaten to the point of a brain hemorrhage, and PZ thinks we should “consider the benefits” of that.

Interesting.

Definitely not a reason to become jaded.

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 5 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 88 science-related posts, 272 non-science posts.

24% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 96 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.