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.

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