11 July – PZ Approves of Science, When it ‘Exonerates’ antifa

Three disparate lies today. It might sometimes seem as if PZ Myers is a broken record, repeating the same lies over and over again, but he really does have a wide range.

Today it was more antifa image rehab (they’re really the good guys! Avert your eyes from the journalist they almost killed, because the real story is they couldn’t have mixed cement with milk shakes), private prisons (founded by Republican politicians, except don’t actually check that accusation because it’s not true), and a little ragging on Jeffrey Epstein and Harvard.

Our docket is full here at PZWatch, so let’s get right to it.

PZ Myers Lie:

The Adams County facility is run by CoreCivic, the largest such organization in the country, and which was founded by — hold on to your hats — a group of Republican politicians and lobbyists.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/11/ice-abhors-a-vacuum/

Facts:

PZ links to the Wikipedia page for CoreCivic, which lists three founders: Thomas Beasley, Don Hutto, and Robert Crants. Of those three, Thomas Beasley is the only easily identifiable Republican politician, serving as the chair of the Tennessee Republican Party.

Robert Crants (whose given first name is “Doctor,” really) does not appear to have had any political ties when he founded CoreCivic. He graduated from West Point and served two tours in Vietnam before going into the real estate and cable television businesses.

T. Don Hutto appears to be the only one of the trio with any correctional experience prior to founding CoreCivic, and there also doesn’t appear to be much politics in his background. He was, however, named as director of corrections for the state of Arkansas by Dale Bumpers, a Democrat.

In summary, the group that founded CoreCivic included one Republican politician, one apolitical businessman, and a correctional professional appointed to a state post by a Democrat, making PZ Myers’s claim – that they were “a group of Republican politicians and lobbyists” – a lie.

Analysis:

Ironically enough, this is one of the many issues where we agree with the general thrust of PZ’s criticism. While we stop at suggesting the country might be fascist because of the incarceration rate (yet another reason we need antifa, we suppose) we do think the over-criminalization of drug offenses is a serious problem. It’s one place we think people like PZ and the Trump administration could find common ground. But PZ trying to find common ground with Trump will happen around the same time as he stops lying and the Vikings win the Super Bowl: never.

PZ Myers Lie #2:

One of the arguments Lawrence Krauss used to try to dissuade me from criticizing Jeffrey Epstein was that he gives so much money to so many scientific enterprises. He’s a friend of science! He donated to Krauss’s Origins Project at ASU. He was dropping millions of dollars on various universities. Look at Harvard, they were happy to take cash from a child rapist.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/11/the-entanglement-of-science-with-money-and-crime/

Facts:

Jeffrey Epstein donated $6.5 million to Harvard in 2003, three years before allegations against him became public. Harvard has taken no money from him since that time. The Harvard Crimson reported on the story in 2006, quoting a Harvard spokesman as saying “The University is not considering returning this gift.”

PZ would have been on firmer ground had he claimed Harvard was “happy” to keep Epstein’s donation, but instead he falsely claims the University knew he was a child rapist at the time he made the donation.

Analysis:

PZ wants to use the Epstein case to smear a bunch of people he doesn’t like, Donald Trump, Alex Acosta, Lawrence Krauss and Steven Pinker among them. He quotes a long Twitter thread by Nathan Oseroff-Spicer alleging, among other things, a sleazy relationship between Epstein and Pinker. The problem? Steven Pinker says, “I have no relationship with Epstein & have taken no funding from him.”

As for Trump, the jury is still out on exactly what his relationship was with Epstein, however he did apparently kick Epstein out of Mar-a-Lago after Epstein assaulted a girl there.

And then there are the concerning Bill Clinton ties, but PZ won’t linger on those because Clinton is a Democrat.

PZ Myers Lie #3:

I approve this use of the scientific method to debunk the Portland police. They fed this stupid rumor that antifa was mixing quick-setting cement into milkshakes to do more harm to the fascists they were protesting. There was no evidence of such behavior, but it quickly became a right-wing talking point.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/11/sciencing-the-accusations-against-antifa/

Facts:

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s police liaison, Robert King, explained during a media call after the event:

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

Additionally, the Portland Police received an anonymous email containing a recipe for the milkshakes.

It turns out the police were wrong. There have been no confirmed cases of antifa protesters mixing quick-drying cement into their milkshakes, but that doesn’t mean there was no evidence of such behavior, or even that it didn’t happen. There was first hand evidence in the form of testimony from a police lieutenant and there was hearsay evidence in the form of an anonymous email. Both of which make this yet another PZ Myers lie.

Analysis:

PZ doesn’t want to dwell on the fact that antifa almost beat a journalist to death, but he does want to spend as much time as he can talking about this because it’s something he thinks he can use to malign antifa’s critics. He also wants people to think its silly that antifa would put cement in their milkshakes, but we’re not sure why this is so. We think people who wear all black, hide their faces, don hardened gloves, and assault journalists in broad daylight would be easily capable of something like that.

It’s weird. On one hand, PZ excuses and even advocates for violence coming from groups like antifa. On the other, when police say they have evidence antifa mixed cement into their milkshakes, PZ thinks it might be a right-wing plot. In our opinion, if their had been irrefutable evidence members of antifa did mix milkshakes with cement, PZ would be finding a way to excuse it anyway.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 44 science-related posts, 119 non-science posts.

27% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 53 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

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