29 Oct – PZ Myers Spreads ANOTHER Hoax

Wow.

Just a few days after exposing PZ’s role in this internet hoax, we’ve discovered that he’s engaged in yet another one.

Lots of visual aids for this post, so let’s get started

PZ Myers Lie:

Fake Gary Varvel Political Cartoon

Facts:

We screencapped and reproduced the entire blog post here because we don’t know when or if PZ will decide to delete it. At issue is the political cartoon in the centre of the post. Myers presents it as a real political cartoon, drawn by a conservative artist. He says he’s had “a look at some of his other cartoons.” PZ presents it as the authentic work of Gary Varvel.

The only problem? It’s not. It’s a hoax.

Here is the real cartoon:

https://garyvarvel.com/galleries

The author of the hoax cartoon makes a number of changes:

  1. The “No Fly Zone” sign over Washington state has been changed to “Free Weed.”
  2. The “No Farting Cows” art has been removed.
  3. “Bureau of Printing Money” has been replaced with “Public Housing.”
  4. “No Gas Powered Cars” has been replaced with “Union Power.”
  5. “The Rich” in the Atlantic has been replaced with (it’s hard to read, but this should have been the giveaway) “Bourgie Pigs Being Fed to the Sharks.”
  6. “Navy” has been replaced with “MFing Pirates, Yo.”

The authentic cartoon makes much more comic sense – from a conservative perspective – than the fake one PZ reproduces, rendering nearly all of his commentary moot. And a lie.

Analysis:

We realised a few days ago that PZ had gone off the deep end, we just didn’t realise how far gone he was. He’s a parody of himself now, a sceptic spreading easily falsified hoaxes because they feed into his established biases.

We want to say something like, “Oh, how the mighty have fallen.” But, was he ever that mighty to begin with? We have a hard time believing that we ever respected him at all.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 126 science-related posts, 527 non-science posts.

19% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 170 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

28 Oct – Zero Lies

Also, PZ still hasn’t acknowledged his role in spreading the internet hoax we exposed over the weekend, and at this point there’s probably zero chance he ever will.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 125 science-related posts, 522 non-science posts.

19% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 0 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 169 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

27 Oct – PZ Inverts Yet Another Argument

No response today from PZ Myers regarding the hoax he helped to perpetrate yesterday. We’ll update you when or if it happens, but we won’t hold our breath. If PZ acknowledges the hoax at all, he likely minimize his role in it and say it doesn’t matter who edited the thing, the words inside were Peterson’s and that’s all that matters.

In the meantime, PZ continued his crusade against Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay (he, curiously, always leaves out Helen Pluckrose, the third member of the group). They appeared at the “Speaking Truth To Social Justice” Conference a couple weeks ago.

PZ doesn’t link to anything the trio has written or said, however. Instead, he uses one of his familiar ploys when he wants to engage with someone but doesn’t really want to talk about their ideas or arguments – he links to someone else’s summary of the event and argues against that summary instead. Usually it’s a friendly, progressively-minded summation of the arguments, but this time we don’t think he could find one, so he uses one written by an author sympathetic to Boghossian and Lindsay and Pluckrose’s views.

And then proceeds to lie about them.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

First off, none of those three are particularly prominent — they are all self-promoting hucksters who inflate their importance. Most people who have heard of them at all have heard about them because of their self-aggrandizing attention-seeking, nothing more. But I do like the irony of the three publishing bogus papers to highlight charlatanism. They succeeded. They are charlatans…Somehow, they’ve twisted around a belief in a knowable world into an appreciation of a simplistic, black-and-white universe where what’s valued is a willingness to close one’s eyes and engage in mutual dialogue with whatever nonsense the other side is espousing, as long as they let you talk (and pay the airfare and hotel bill).

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/27/an-account-of-the-sovereign-nations-conference/

Facts:

In the above snippet, PZ repeats what might be our favorite lie of all time: the idea that publishing bogus papers is somehow a strike against these three. That’s just pure comedy gold. What PZ is saying is that someone like us could completely make up an academic paper out of fairy dust and unicorns, submit it to a respected, peer-reviewed journal, have it be accepted and even awarded a special prize – due the quality of our work -and somehow the end result of all that is WE would be exposed as charlatans.

We really couldn’t make this up if we tried.

The other bolded claim above it simply refuted by the very article PZ cites in the post. Of course Boghossian, Lindsay and Pluckrose do not value closing one’s eyes and engaging in a mutual nonsensical dialogue. What they’re really after is this:

Principled-based rules of engagement create an environment in which dialogue can be fostered and cultivate a culture that values freedom of speech and dialectics that eschew ad hominem attacks and mischaracterization. They begin with, according to James Lindsay, ‘putting forth the best arguments from opposing and differing sides in the best-possible faith, and seeking understanding and communication across divides.’ To him, this is the way to preserve all that is good and effective about free liberal societies that tolerate and welcome differences of opinion. 

https://spectator.us/unholy-alliance-atheists-evangelicals/

“Putting forth the best arguments from opposing and differing sides in the best-possible faith,” sounds like the opposite of what PZ Myers does. No wonder he hates them so much.

Analysis:

There are several more lies in PZ’s post – he’s become so incoherent lately it’s almost not fair to criticize him. The true purpose of this site is to try to bring out the best in him – by telling the truth – but if this really is the best he’s capable of then maybe we’re in the wrong business.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 124 science-related posts, 519 non-science posts.

19% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 169 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

26 Oct – PZ Myers Falls For An Internet Hoax

UPDATE: See below. Mikhalia Peterson confirms the hoax.

There used to be a time, way back in the early 2000s, when PZ Myers was a sceptic. He used to revel in spotting and ferreting out hoaxes that might seem perfectly reasonable to ordinary people.

That day has long since past. Now, his ideology has blinded him to one of the most obvious hoaxes we’ve ever seen. Behold:

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

I read a curious book last night…well, more like skimmed an odd and repetitious assortment of short transcripts… It’s bad. The cover is a hint. It’s a poor Photoshop with sloppy layout, the kind of thing you’d see on a self-published romance novel with the smiling heroine in front in her best bikini, and in the background the brooding, rich Heathcliff she’s going to win over…except, oh dear, that’s her father in the swim trunks. Seriously, Dr Peterson, you’re rich enough to hire a graphics pro to do the design. Chuck Tingle could have done a far better job, and would have at least thrown in a few dinosaurs and a sentient physical manifestation or two… The second issue is that every chapter in their book is a repetitive recital of the same damn things: the same two people describing their complaints and their history, in nearly the same words, in public broadcasts over and over. If you repeat the same anecdote 11 times, it doesn’t magically transform into empirical data.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/25/weinstein-cancelled-right/

Facts:

There’s more in this vein, but you get the idea. PZ Myers presents this book as if it is actually written and published by Jordan & Mikhaila Peterson. The only problem is – they had nothing to do with it.

We’ve asked Mikhaila Peterson for comment, but in the meantime we’re 99% sure this book is a hoax.

The “editor” of this book is a guy by the name of Johnny Rockermeier. Mr. Rockermeier has several other “books” for sale on Amazon.com, in English and German, all of which are “translations” Dr. Peterson’s lectures that can be found online. Each book contains a voucher or coupon for websites Mr. Rockermeier operates, all of which try to monetize Dr. Peterson’s publicly available work.

In other words – it’s a scam. The Petersons were not involved in the creation of this book and are not profiting from it.

Analysis:

This is kind of a sad day for us, and may actually mark the beginning of the end of PZ Watch. Is it possible for us to continue to fact-check someone so oblivious to a hoax this obvious? What would be the point? There is either something seriously wrong, or PZ Myers is so blinded by partisan hatred of Jordan Peterson that he will literally believe anything anyone says about him.

The signs are all there. The cover is atrocious. The blurb for the book contains this:

This book contains the most important Information Nuggets by Dr. Jordan Peterson and his daughter Mikhaila Peterson regarding their carnivore diet – or their “lion diet”.
For every paperback sold, Mikhaila and her father Dr. Jordan Peterson will receive 1 $ directly.

https://www.amazon.com/Jordan-Mikhaila-Peterson-Depression-Transcripts-ebook/dp/B07YL4RCS1/

This is such an obvious fake, it’s hard to believe anyone – much less a once prominent sceptical atheist – took it seriously. But, it does illustrate just how obsequious his readership is – no one, either on Twitter or in the comments section of his blog, called this for what it is, a hoax. They all went along with it.

Very sad stuff.

UPDATE:

In a series of tweets, Mikhalia Peterson vehemently denied being involved in the production of the book.

She also posted a link to this article from The Post Millenial:

While Mikhaila has been vocal about her support for a thoroughly carnivorous diet, this book transcribes comments, interviews, and YouTube videos of the two Petersons and puts it together as a collection. It had no approval from either of the listed authors, no proceeds are heading their way, and fans have been fooled into buying the fake book with a horrendous, amateur photoshopped cover.

https://www.thepostmillennial.com/jordan-peterson-and-daughter-plagued-by-fraudulent-books-on-amazon/

So…what will PZ Myers do now that the hoax he helped perpetrate has been exposed? There are two options:

  1. Nothing. This is the most likely. In fact, he has so insulated himself from opposing views that it’s possible he may never passively hear about this (i.e., it may never hit his Twitter or Facebook feed).
  2. Double down. The book may be fake, he’ll argue, but it still contains Peterson’s words and those are horrible enough. It won’t matter that almost all of PZ’s criticism stems from editorial decisions made by the grifter who hawked the book on Amazon.

If you think PZ will come out with an apology and a retraction, we have some Viking’s Super Bowl tickets to sell you for their upcoming trip in February.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 123 science-related posts, 518 non-science posts.

19% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 168 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

25 Oct – Another Lie, And Where Did All The Science Go?

If we ran a site covering the Minnesota Vikings, but only nineteen percent of our posts were actually about the team, could we still call it a Vikings site?

Probably not. (Also, we wouldn’t expect too many people to read it if we lied and made up statistics about the players, but that’s beside the point.)

PZ Myers only talks about science nineteen percent of the time on Pharyngula, a number that’s been trending downward in the last couple months. It hovered in the low twenties in our first few weeks of data tracking, then pushed up to a high of thirty percent after a barrage of spider picture posts, but has dropped off a cliff in recent weeks.

This is something we expected to find – PZ hasn’t been primarily a science-blogger for quite some time, he’s much more interested in politics and general culture and that’s where he puts a majority of his blogging effort.

Which would be fine with us, as long as he generally told the truth about politics and culture.

He doesn’t.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Right. Except your version of “free speech” allows you to physically evict people exercising that right from your space if they criticize a media influencer you’re trying to flatter, while a man calling a woman a “cunt” was allowed to remain. This principle of free speech is a tough one to maintain, and in reality always requires compromises, but Laliberte just outright broke it.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/25/weinstein-cancelled-right/

Facts:

The person he’s talking to here is Alexandra Laliberte, a 26-year-old actor who organized an event Harvey Weinstein attended – the “media influencer” in question.

As usual with a PZ Myers lie, there is so much here to unpack, so let’s start with this: Harvey Weinstein is a “media influencer”?? In an of itself, that is a gargantuan lie. Exactly who is Weinstein influencing? What power does the man have? He is near-universally reviled. He has no job, no prospects, and will be going to trial shortly for rape and sexual assault.

Was Laliberte “trying to flatter” Weinstein, as PZ claimed? No. The opposite, in fact, is true. Below is a snippet from the Buzzfeed report PZ used in his post, and as per normal procedure, it exposes the lie he tells:

Alexandra Laliberte, the organizer of Actor’s Hour, told BuzzFeed News it was the second time Weinstein had turned up to one of her events. Laliberte added that she doesn’t have a security team, and rather than turn Weinstein away, she thought the community could address him.
“I welcome all walks of life into my space,” she said.
When asked why she allowed Weinstein to attend an event specifically intended to support and encourage young actors when he has been accused of sexually assaulting and harassing dozens of them, Laliberte told BuzzFeed News: “I protect them by freedom of speech.”
“Comedians made fun of him,” said the 26-year-old actor. “This one lady stood up and screamed at him. People walked out, which was fantastic.”

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/amphtml/amberjamieson/harvey-weinstein-heckled-comedian-event-women-actors

Laliberte reveled in the denigration of Weinstein during the event, which is about as far from “flattery” as you can get.

But what of PZ’s main claim, that Laliberte was being a hypocrite by allowing some people who said outrageous things to stay while escorting others from the building? Did she break her own principle of free speech?

Of course not, but PZ wants to make you think she did.

The bar at which the event was held posted this on their Facebook page – something also noted in the Buzzfeed report that PZ just skipped over:

Shortly into the evening, one guest began heckling another, causing a disturbance to everyone in attendance. After several requests to stop were ignored, we kindly asked the heckler to leave.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/amphtml/amberjamieson/harvey-weinstein-heckled-comedian-event-women-actors

PZ’s lie is also exposed by the fact that nearly everyone who took the stage that evening said something nasty about Weinstein. They weren’t escorted out. The only person who was asked to leave caused a disturbance and was asked to stop.

Analysis:

This is a lie we’re not supposed to expose. In PZ’s world you should be allowed to say anything and everything – truthful or not – about Harvey Weinstein because of the nature and sheer volume of his crimes. And here’s the funny thing – that’s exactly what Alexandra Laliberte thinks, too!

She allowed Weinstein in a room where people stood up and said whatever they wanted about the man, to his face. PZ would apparently prefer Weinstein spend his time around people who support him. He would deny Weinstein the opportunity to be ridiculed in public. Laliberte created that opportunity and we salute her for it.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 123 science-related posts, 516 non-science posts.

19% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 167 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

24 Oct – Three Classic PZ Lies

We’ve been accused of being weirdly “obsessed” with PZ Myers. We usually say three things in response:

a) Guilty as charged

b) Dedicated is another word for obsessed

c) The only thing we’re really obsessed with is the truth, and we just happened to pick perhaps the least truthful person on the planet (aside from Donald Trump) as our subject.

Besides, if you want to witness a weird obsession, look no further than PZ’s infatuation with Mikhaila Peterson, the daughter of Jordan Peterson, and what the father and daughter eat.

We’ve heard Jordan Peterson tell the story of how he and his daughter came to find this diet, and it’s an amazing tale. Mikhaila was very, very sick for most of her life and doctor’s couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. She, through a system of trial and error, figured out her troubles were diet-related and essentially cured herself, then passed the diet along to her father who also saw benefits from it.

That this specific diet has worked spectacularly well for these two people is not disputed by anyone except for PZ. He is so weirdly obsessed with the father-daughter pair, he has to lie about them.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

A diet of nothing but meat is something that no human society has ever tried, so you know that it’s not something we’re well-adapted to…but lots of individuals have tried all kinds of wacky combinations.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/24/classic-nutritional-quackery/

Facts:

In his zeal to proclaim Peterson’s diet an aberration, PZ completely passes over the Inuit diet, which was almost entirely meat.

Traditional Inuit diets derive approximately 50% of their calories from fat, 30–35% from protein and 15–20% of their calories from carbohydrates, largely in the form of glycogen from the raw meat they consumed.

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

If that wasn’t enough, in one of our favourite PZ Myers lies of all time, he denigrated the Paleo Diet without having the first clue how the diet actually came into existence:

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 [sic] 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/

The answer, of course, was everything PZ said about the diet was wrong:

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, if PZ is actually interested in a diet our bodies are “well-adapted to,” he should be looking at something like the Paleo – or Peterson’s – diet.

Analysis:

The only problem is PZ isn’t interested in finding a diet the human body is “well adapted to.” He’s only interested in poking his finger in Peterson’s eye.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

What’s really horrible about it are her exaggerated medical claims. It seems to cure just about everything. She hasn’t yet gone on to claim that it cures cancer, too, but give her time.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/24/classic-nutritional-quackery/

Facts:

Mikhaila Peterson doesn’t make any generalised medical claims about the diet. In fact, in a disclaimer at the bottom of her website, she says this:

The information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.

https://mikhailapeterson.com/

The medical claims Peterson makes are specific and anecdotal: as a result of her diet, she went into complete remission from severe autoimmune arthritis and depression. She does claim the diet will help other people, but what she never does is make specific health claims for anyone but herself and her father – something we’ll cover in the next lie.

Analysis:

Wait for it – there’s one more lie to go.

PZ Myers Lie #3 [in bold]:

She claims to have “cured” him of all kinds of problems… Sure. His emotional problems are all gone now.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/24/classic-nutritional-quackery/

Facts:

Following this snippet, PZ inserts a video snippet of Jordan Peterson having an emotional reaction to the way some people have responded to him on social media. He uses that video as “evidence” Peterson has “emotional problems.”

In between the three sentences in this snippet, PZ inserts this quote from Mikhaila Peterson:

My dad suffered from a number of health problems too. Not like me, but the same depression and similar fatigue and weight gain. Gum disease and skin problems and GERD. He’s fixed too. He lost 50 pounds in the first year on this diet. For anyone who watches his videos, you can see the difference from December 2015 to now.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/24/classic-nutritional-quackery/

Note that she never says all her father’s emotional problems are gone, nor does she ever claim her diet has or will stop him from having an emotional response ever again. PZ simply makes this up.

Analysis:

There are plenty of good reasons to criticise the Petersons, but how their bodies react to food is not one of them. PZ wants them to be quacks, but he comes off like the deranged quack instead.

We’re often left wondering this about PZ – if the people he criticises are so bad and so wrong, then why can’t he counter their arguments without lying?

Could it be that they are more right than he wants to admit?

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 122 science-related posts, 511 non-science posts.

19% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 166 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

23 Oct – Epistemic Humility From PZ Myers? Nah…

Really interesting day at Pharyngula. After a six-lie day yesterday – which included creating a fictional historical event out of thin air – PZ appeared to have learned some humility overnight. This is one of the first things we read today:

“Intellectuals” seems to be acquiring a new meaning here in the 21st century. It refers to well-off white people who use their illusion of academic prestige to defend 18th century ideas against all reason…

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/23/the-idw-is-fcking-embarrassing/

We wondered…is he talking about himself? He’s a well-off white male who uses the fact that he has a PhD in Biology and teaches at a small state school in western Minnesota to defend 18th century ideas like socialism against all reason and evidence.

Turns out he was actually talking about the so-called “Intellectual Dark Web” – except PZ, like a six-year-old, calls them the “Intellectual Dork Web.” Classic. He rails about “Pinker and Harris being bad scholars,” and is aghast that their “fellow travelers flock to defend even their more egregious errors.”

For realsies? We have 163 examples (and counting) of lies he’s told just since the 30th of May. PZ Myers is the last person on earth who should be complaining about someone else getting something wrong.

And speaking of getting things wrong, PZ tells another lie today:

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Can we all agree that this is totally antithetical to the principles of a free Republic? No one can be above the law. Trump wants to be an autocrat, like his heroes Putin, Kim, and Erdogan. This alone is sufficient cause to impeach him, kick him out of office, and toss his orange ass into jail.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/23/above-the-law-2/

Facts:

In between the first and second sentences above – which constitute PZ’s entire contribution to this blog post – he inserts this snippet from a Politico story:

A lawyer for Donald Trump argued in federal court on Wednesday that the president could shoot someone on 5th Avenue in New York City and not be prosecuted.

https://www.politico.com/news/2019/10/23/trump-lawyer-prosecuted-shooting-someone-055648

That in itself is a lie, as is PZ analysis of it. Trump’s lawyer, using an argument the US Department of Justice has made consistently since 1973, said a sitting President could not be prosecuted for a crime until after leaving office.

“Once a president is removed from office, any local authority” could prosecute him, Consovoy told a panel of three judges from the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals. “This is not a permanent immunity.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2019/10/23/trump-lawyer-prosecuted-shooting-someone-055648

Analysis:

This is much ado about nothing, and PZ knows it. He read the article, he knows the argument, and he was around during the last two impeachment efforts of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, when it last reared its ugly head. He knows what he posted is a lie, he just doesn’t care.

Except for us, nobody calls him on any of his lies, least of all the useful idiots who make up the bulk of his dedicated readership.

And still he has the balls to call the members of the Intellectual Dark Web “poseurs.”

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 122 science-related posts, 507 non-science posts.

19% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 163 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

22 Oct – Six Lies! And PZ Invents a War Out Of Thin Air

One of the good things about this (unpaid, volunteer) job is we’re never quite sure what we’re going to write about when we get up each morning. Every day is quite literally a new day and we often find ourselves researching things we’d never heard of before.

This is exactly what happened today. In the course of commenting on the new HBO series Watchmen, PZ mentions something called the Kirk-Holden War, which took place in North Carolina. Our ears perked up at the mention of the state – we lived there for years and never heard anything about a war with the KKK, especially not a war the KKK had won.

Because PZ Myers included no links or references to substantiate his description of the events, we did our own sleuthing.

What did we find?

PZ fabricated the entire thing. Almost nothing he wrote about the Kirk-Holden War – save the name – is correct. We could find no justification for most of his claims. He appears to have simply made them up.

Even by PZ’s standards, this is pretty outlandish.

PZ Myers Lie 1-5 [in bold]:

I had never heard of the Kirk-Holden War before. This was a real war in North Carolina, in which the Ku Klux Klan declared war against the state, the army was called in, and the KKK won, dictating terms to the government…terms that included allowing no Northern intervention in how they “regulated” elections, where “regulation” included murdering black elected officials. One outcome of that kind of action was that the victors celebrated by erecting Confederate monuments all over the place. Our country supported the oppression of a democratic majority! It still is.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/22/hbo-does-good/

Facts:

Where to begin…

The Kirk-Holden War was, first and foremost, not a war. There may or may not have been a gun battle at one point between the militia called into service by Republican Governor William Holden and a small faction of one KKK group active in central North Carolina at the time, the historical record is unclear on this point. But, what is clear is the following:

The term Kirk-Holden War is intentionally misleading. The Conservative press created the term to vilify Holden and destroy the Republican Party. Governor Holden’s militia campaign was in no way a war. There were no opposing armies, no battles, and no causalities…The name Kirk-Holden War is akin to two other deeply political terms: the “War of Northern Aggression” and the “War Between the States,” terminology that purposely misrepresents and distorts historical events and has served and continues to serve political and ideological ends.

http://dl.uncw.edu/Etd/2010-3/brissonj/jimbrisson.pdf

Did the KKK “declare war” against the state of North Carolina? Not in any formal sense, as far as we can tell. Klan groups in the state did commit hundreds of violent acts in the years immediately after the Civil War, and it was this violence that Governor Holden was reacting to when he authorized George Kirk, a former Union Officer, to raise and lead a militia to arrest the perpetrators.

Did that militia lose the Kirk-Holden War, as PZ claimed? Not even close.

Kirk’s militia “arrested over one hundred men suspected of having ties to the Klan, and under orders from Holden, Kirk held these men for several weeks, ignoring writs of habeas corpus issued by North Carolina judges.”

It was this legal wrangling which would prove to be the militia’s, and Holden’s, undoing [emphasis added]:

Governor Holden instructed Colonel Kirk to ignore the orders of the North Carolina Supreme Court, a critical political mistake. The matter was taken to federal court in Salisbury, where a federal judge ordered most of the prisoners released. The few not immediately released were never tried.

http://sites.rootsweb.com/~ncccha/memoranda/kirkholdenwar.html

Did the KKK “dictate terms” to the government of North Carolina? No, not unless “dictating terms” means following the Constitution and the laws of the State, then using the results of a democratic election to oust Governor Holden from office:

The militia campaign proved to be a political disaster for Holden and the Republican Party in North Carolina. Members of his own party in Washington abandoned the governor, and President Grant failed to support Holden’s suspension of habeas corpus because Grant’s attorney general advised him that Holden’s legal position on the issue was unsustainable. By late August, with no support from Washington and no legal grounds to sustain his position, Holden released the prisoners. The Conservatives used the now-named “Kirk-Holden War” as a rallying cry and swept to victory in the election of 1870, winning a heavy majority in the General Assembly. By December, Conservatives began impeachment proceedings against Holden. In March 1871, Holden became the first governor in United States history to be removed from office.

http://dl.uncw.edu/Etd/2010-3/brissonj/jimbrisson.pdf

What about PZ’s claims about “allowing no Northern intervention in how [North Carolina] ‘regulated’ elections, where ‘regulation’ included murdering black elected officials”? We have no idea. We could find no reference to this in any of the literature. PZ appears to have just made it up, along with the claim that “the victors celebrated by erecting Confederate monuments all over the place.”

Analysis:

Our normal procedure, when PZ packs multiple lies into a small amount of text, is to count them all as a single lie. But, because this case is so egregious – he made up an entire historical narrative out of whole-cloth – we’ll charge him with a total of five.

Why does PZ Myers feel the need to invent a horrific story about the KKK in North Carolina after the Civil War? Your guess is as good as ours. He begins the blog post talking about the Tulsa race riot, which is about as horrific as it gets. Apparently that wasn’t good enough.

PZ Myers Lie #6 [in bold]:

Lack of access to health care does lifelong harm…And it was treatable, especially if it could have been caught early. This is precisely why health care ought to be a human right.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/22/lack-of-access-to-health-care-does-lifelong-harm/

Facts:

Please don’t click on the link below if you have a queasy stomach or have just eaten. We include it only to provide context for the lie PZ tells above.

A 43 year-old male from Panama presented to the emergency department with fever, tachycardia, and increasing swelling and drainage from his scrotum. His medical history was limited. He had not sought medical care in many years. 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214442019302694?via%3Dihub

Panama, in case you were wondering, has plenty of low-cost access to health care.

The problem in this case was not access. This man – for some reason we cannot fathom – simply refused to go see a doctor. All the access in the world won’t fix anything if someone refuses to walk into the doctor’s office to begin with.

Analysis:

We won’t put too much effort into analyzing this lie. The only reason for the post was to provide another “data point” supporting PZ’s opinion that health care should be a universal human right.

Only it can’t be a “data point” if it’s a lie, can it?

He doesn’t care. End of story.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 121 science-related posts, 504 non-science posts.

19% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 6 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 162 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

21 Oct – How Does Truth Emerge At Pharyngula?

Apologies in advance to those Pharyngula readers who came here looking for an actual answer to the question we pose in the title of this post – we don’t really have one.

We do have a good idea how the “approved wisdom” emerges, however, which is a much different thing. The truth has boundaries. It may be hard sometimes to distinguish truth from lies, but there is a mechanism for going about it – one that we follow here at PZWatch. But “approved wisdom” is much more amorphous. It emerges, seemingly out of nowhere, like fog on a cool autumn’s morning, and is just as impossible to displace.

We see this effect – in microcosm – in the case of Tulsi Gabbard. A relatively new politician on the national scene, she has had the fortune – or misfortune – of being mentioned on Pharyngula only thrice. In the first mention, in February of this year, PZ says this:

I shall consider each candidate, be they Bernie, Kamala, Amy, Kirsten, Pete, Cory, Julian, Elizabeth, yea, even Tulsi, on the merits of their policies as presented in the primary campaign,

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/02/19/be-it-resolved/

In the second mention, PZ defends Tulsi, saying this:

The final article is about how Tulsi Gabbard is bad because she wants is to reduce military aid to to Israel and withdraw from Middle East hotspots, and that under it all she’s just another far left Democrat like Bernie Sanders. [SATIRE!] He almost convinces me to support her!

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/07/a-new-edition-of-morriss-own-north-star/

(We’ll ignore, for the moment, the fact that PZ and crew actually want more US involvement in the Middle East now that Trump has decided to pull back trooops.)

In the third and final mention, PZ lies about her:

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

She was never a serious challenger, she’s got a bizarre homophobic/racist background, she only seems to be supported by right-wingers, and yes, recently she had a freaky meltdown about being indirectly accused of being a Russian agent. Don’t care. She’s done. She was never going to get the Democratic nomination. All the attention being paid to this irrelevant distraction is meaningless, except as a tool to get you to ignore the slimeball-in-chief.
In every election, there is always an assortment of fringe kooks who make noise for a while, get the backing of some other fringies with money, and then melt away as the campaigning gets serious. She’s one of them. Move on.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/21/could-everyone-just-stop-about-tulsi-gabbard/

Facts:

Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? Tulsi has a background as a racist and homophobe. Are there any facts to support this charge?

Not at Pharyngula, and PZ provides no links to support his claim that Gabbard has this type of background. A little internet searching leads us to this Huffington Post piece:

[Gabbard’s past] returned in the form of homophobic remarks the congresswoman made over a decade ago. At least twice the Hawaii Democrat publicly called the LGBTQ community and supporters of same-sex marriage “homosexual extremists.”

https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/tulsi-gabbard-homophobic-remarks_n_5c3a6030e4b01c93e00a5952?ri18n=true

Gabbard was testifying, as a 22-year-old state representative, against a bill that would legalize same-sex civil unions.

Or, in other words, she held a similar position on gay marriage to Barack Obama at the same time in 2004. It’s not exactly “woke,” but it would be a lie to call it homophobic.

As for the racist charge – your guess is as good as ours. We don’t have a clue. The closest thing we could find is this Washington Examiner article basically wondering the same thing.

The final claim PZ makes is perhaps the most interesting. He claims Gabbard had a meltdown after being “indirectly accused of being a Russian agent.”

If you haven’t seen this news, get ready for a shock. Gabbard wasn’t indirectly accused of anything – Hillary Clinton, the former Democratic nominee for President, directly claimed Gabbard and Jill Stein are “Russian assets.”

That makes three different lies in this single snippet. But, giving PZ the benefit of the doubt, we’re only going to count it as one.

Analysis:

Pay careful attention to the language PZ uses. Gabbard is “bizzare.” She had a “freaky” meltdown. He’s “othering” her, signalling to the lemmings in the comments section that she can no longer be considered an acceptable alternative to Trump. Not for any policy reasons – not even when he explicitly said he would consider her policy positions – but because someone had spoken. It may have been Hillary, it may have been someone else. At this point it doesn’t matter. Like the fog that rolled in while you were asleep, there’s no use questioning how it got there in the first place. It just is.

And so it goes in PZ Myers’s world. Things just are. No explanation needed. No facts necessary. No truth required. Your agreement with this new accepted wisdom, however is mandatory.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

I did quickly discover that the author was a “nutty” science denialist who rejects the evidence for climate change and misrepresents the positions of those lobbying government to address climate concerns. OK, way to put your credibility worst foot forward, guy.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/21/thats-quite-the-hatchet-job-on-emily-grossmanshe-should-be-proud/

Facts:

This lie is about a freelance journalist who writes under the pen name Lance Welton for the website vdare.com. Welton wrote a piece titled “Extinction Rebellion’s Emily Grossman Is A Type—As Nutty As You Would Expect.” Immediately after the lie above, PZ quotes Welton saying this:

These “rebels”—motto: “Rebel for Life,” because, they claim, based on falsified climate science data, that a “mass extinction” will begin in twelve years—have vowed to continue their insurrection until their demands are met.

https://vdare.com/articles/extinction-rebellion-s-emily-grossman-is-a-type-as-nutty-as-you-would-expect

PZ claims this is a misrepresentation of the group’s position. Is that true?

If we’re asking, you already know the answer. Welton is right and PZ is lying. This is from the Extinction Rebellion’s own website:

Extinction Rebellion is a movement made up of people from all walks of life. It started in response to the IPCC report that we only have 12 years to stop catastrophic climate change and our understanding that we have entered the 6th mass extinction event. 

https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/faqs/

If anything Welton understates the position of Extinction Rebellion, who say we’ve already entered the 6th mass extinction. Welton quotes them as saying we have 12 years.

Also, there’s no support for PZ’s claim that Welton is a “science denialist who rejects the evidence for climate change.” The only thing Welton rejects is the idea that a mass extinction event either will occur or is occurring.

Analysis:

This is a weird one. We would think a biologist, under normal circumstances, would be all over the claim that the earth is presently experiencing a mass extinction event. What are the claims? What are the facts? Where does PZ fall on this debate? We don’t know, because he simply ignores the claim altogether. That leads us to believe the Extinction Rebellion doesn’t really have all the facts on their side, because if they did, PZ would do a thousand words on it.

PZ Myers Lie #3 [in bold]:

I guess he hasn’t considered yet that many people choose their partners on the basis of love, and kindness, and mutual interests, rather than the grasping calculus of capitalism. But that wouldn’t fit with his thesis, that rich Jews are acting to destroy society.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/21/thats-quite-the-hatchet-job-on-emily-grossmanshe-should-be-proud/

Facts:

There’s not much to say about this. It is plainly not Welton’s thesis that rich Jews are acting to destroy society. This is simply an unsubstantiated smear by PZ.

Analysis:

One of the benefits of having a well-cultivated, adoring readership is never having to answer questions about a smear like this. Like the received wisdom of the day about Tulsi Gabbard, Welton is an anti-semite because PZ Myers says he is.

No evidence required.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 121 science-related posts, 499 non-science posts.

20% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 156 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

20 Oct – Two Days Without a Lie

We saw a muted PZ Myers today. He let other people do his lying for him, but never crossed that threshold himself.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 121 science-related posts, 496 non-science posts.

20% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 0 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 153 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.