27 June – A Great Big Lie and No, We Won’t Fact-Check PZ Myers’s YouTube Vids

After Jordan Peterson hit it big in the US, we noticed an uptick in the release of PZ Myers’s YouTube videos. We weren’t keeping diligent notes back then so we can’t do a statistical analysis, but we surmised at the time that PZ was trying to replicate Peterson’s success. Trying, but failing.

Today was the first time he’s done a video since we’ve started PZWatch, and when we saw it we naturally asked ourselves, “Do we fact-check that?” And the answer came back a resounding no, for a few reasons. A) No. Just no. B) We don’t get paid enough (we don’t get paid anything, actually). C) Off-the-cuff remarks are often not intended to be precise, so calling him out for lying situation where lying might manifest itself unintentionally would be unfair.

So we get to have our cake an eat it, too. We don’t have to listen to PZ Myers talk, and we can appear magnanimous for having made that decision.

Hey, at least we’re honest.

Which is a quality PZ lacks. Today he went on another immigration rant and repeated a lie about concentration camps, but repeated lies still count. We have all the details, and more, below.

PZ Myers Lie:

“Instead, we exploit our neighbors and when they flee the conditions we have created, we bar the door and watch them die.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/27/fathers-and-baby-girls-and-our-nation-of-evil/

Facts:

In this post, PZ writes about Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his daughter, Valeria, who died trying to cross the Rio Grande River on their way into the US. We could quibble about his claim that the US has “exploited” El Salvador, where Ramirez and his family began their fateful journey, or created the conditions which exist there today, but that’s not why this sentence is a lie. The lie is PZ claiming that the US ‘barred the door.’

According to the Daily Mail’s account, Ramirez and his family arrived in Mexico two months ago, and “got a humanitarian visa which allowed them to work there for a year while awaiting news of their US asylum request…Tired of waiting, they made their way to the border on Sunday to try to push their case forward.” 

The US didn’t “bar the door,” they placed Ramirez and his family in a queue. The family chose not to wait in Mexico – where they were presumably safe from the conditions they fled in El Salvador – for the asylum process to conclude, in a decision that ended in tragedy.

Analysis:

The last time PZ wrote about immigration, just a week ago, we speculated that “he does not believe countries should have borders.” He says this specifically today: “Let them all in.” But we don’t think he means all countries, just the United States.

In any event, if the US isn’t doing something PZ wants it to do, then he resorts to what he does best: lying about what they’re actually doing and then criticizing the result. So, since the US doesn’t immediately grant citizenship to anyone who wants to come to the country, they are ‘barring the door’ and ‘watching them die.’

PZ Myers Lie #2:

The ones who make it across are thrown into concentration camps, and parents and children are separated, and kept in inhumane conditions.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/27/fathers-and-baby-girls-and-our-nation-of-evil/

Facts:

We’ve covered this ground before. It’s still a lie.

Analysis:

We were surprised to see this was the first instance of PZ repeating a lie in the month we’ve been following him. He always seems to find new and creative ways of lying, so we don’t think this is another statistic we’ll need to keep track of, but we will create a tag for lies like this, so if you’re every curious, click on ‘Repeat Lies’ in the sidebar.

PZ Myers Lie #3:

” We kill baby girls and the fathers trying to protect them.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/27/fathers-and-baby-girls-and-our-nation-of-evil/

Facts:

The United States did not – in any sense of the word – kill Ramirez or his daughter. They were in Mexico on a valid work visa, waiting to hear the outcome of their US asylum request when they decided to try to cross the Rio Grande River.

Analysis:

This is PZ at his despicable worst. What happened to the Ramirez family is a tragedy, and he is trying to capitalize on that tragedy to make a partisan political point. We don’t remember him being too concerned about Barack Obama’s immigration policies – or about Bill Clinton’s – and while that may seem like whatabouttism, in Clinton’s case it is absolutely relevant to this story.

Earlier, when we said we wouldn’t quibble with PZ’s assertion that the US had ‘created the conditions’ forcing the Ramirez family to flee, we did that for a reason. There might be a grain of truth to that statement, due to a late-90s policy of deportation for violent street criminals.

But PZ is nothing if not a partisan actor, and he’ll spare no words of criticism for Democrats if a Republican can also be blamed.

THE GREAT BIG LIE:

“We are an evil empire that builds prisons to control people, and maintains armies and guards to make them fear.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/27/fathers-and-baby-girls-and-our-nation-of-evil/

Analysis:

If the US is an “evil empire,” why are people like the Ramirez family risking their lives to get into the country?

That’s a question PZ won’t answer, because he can’t.

He wants to drastically and radically change the politics of the United States. But, to justify that kind of a change to himself and others, he must see a fundamentally evil version of the country, whether or not that version is grounded in reality.

We know that it’s not grounded in reality because there are still hundreds of thousands of people trying to get into the country. We’d say a good measure of how evil your society is would be how many people are trying to get in, and/or whether or not you have to build walls to keep them in or out. Nobody is trying to get into North Korea – a truly evil place – but they have to build walls to keep their citizens from leaving. Generally speaking, the US is on the opposite end of that spectrum. People might say they want to leave but few actually do, and are greatly outnumbered by those who want to get in.

But here’s the catch – if the US is a fundamentally good nation, then there’s no reason for radical political change of the kind PZ wants to see.

As a result, the reason why the Ramirez family so desperately wanted to get into a fundamentally “evil empire” will forever be a mystery to PZ and his followers. It’s not a question they are interested in either asking or answering, because it might cause them to re-think their worldview.

Final Tally:

Today: 2 science-related posts, 3 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 35 science-related posts, 83 non-science posts.

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

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 32 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

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