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.

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