18-19 Sep – PZ Myers Uses This One Weird Trick

Busy day for us yesterday, and thankfully PZ decided to give us the day off and not tell any lies. Today, however is different.

As we’ve well documented in the past few months, actual conservative or libertarian (or even centrist) political ideas never get a hearing on Pharyngula. PZ never cedes any space on his blog to ideas or people who could upset the ideological purity of his hand-picked audience. But, we imagine it also gets boring to bat around the same old evangelical progressive ideas day after day, so from time to time he decides to use this one weird trick to bash his perceived political enemies.

Instead of engaging directly with their ideas, PZ Myers engages with someone else’s (always a progressive) characterization of those ideas. It’s kind of like wanting to comment on the latest Brad Pitt movie, but not wanting to actually see it, so you read a hostile review instead and then bash it.

This is what PZ did to Ben Shapiro today.

Shapiro has a new book out, one that PZ Myers will never, ever read. How can we say that with so much confidence? Because the act of reading Shapiro’s book would force PZ to engage with his ideas, and we think that might make him melt faster than a vampire in sunlight.

Instead of reading the book, PZ read this review instead and decided it would be the perfect foil to ridicule Shapiro’s ideas.

We wonder what grade he would give to one of his students if they did that?

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

I wouldn’t argue that the Nazis were moral in the slightest, but they were definitely part of Western Civilization (is Shapiro going to argue otherwise?), they were definitely Christian, and the Germans are definitely rooted in Western/Christian philosophy — in fact, contributing largely to it — so how does that ignorant twerp get off claiming that Nazi philosophy was a rejection of the social values of a culture they were strongly part of?



We’ve covered a similar lie before, but here PZ’s claim is stronger.

So, too, is the refutation.

The Nazi Party in particular, and Hitler’s philosophy in general, was antithetical to Judeo/Christian philosophy. We’ll once again reproduce these two paragraphs from Wikipedia:

Christianity remained the dominant religion in Germany through the Nazi period, and its influence over Germans displeased the Nazi hierarchy. Evans wrote that Hitler believed that in the long run National Socialism and religion would not be able to coexist, and stressed repeatedly that Nazism was a secular ideology, founded on modern science. According to Evans: “Science, he declared, would easily destroy the last remaining vestiges of superstition.” Germany could not tolerate the intervention of foreign influences such as the Pope, and “Priests, he said, were ‘black bugs,’ abortions in black cassocks.’”

During Hitler’s dictatorship, more than 6,000 clergymen, on the charge of treasonable activity, were imprisoned or executed. The same measures were taken in the occupied territories; in French Lorraine, the Nazis forbade religious youth movements, parish meetings, and scout meetings. Church assets were taken, Church schools were closed, and teachers in religious institutes were dismissed. The Episcopal seminary was closed, and the SA and SS desecrated churches and religious statues and pictures. Three hundred clergy were expelled from the Lorraine region; monks and nuns were deported or forced to renounce their vows.


Nazis may have come from Christian stock, but their actions upon joining the Party and Hitler’s plans for the future make it quite clear they repudiated their old philosophy.


We laughed out loud when we saw PZ had written the words “Western/Christian philosophy.” Up until that point he’d used “Judeo-Christian” exclusively, but even he realized he couldn’t say the Nazis held Judeo-anything views, because of the whole genocide thing, so he switched it to ‘Western.’

Making that switch is also a tacit admission that he knows the point he’s making is wrong. How would it be possible for the Nazis to have Judeo-anything views if one of their goals was the extermination of all Jews? Wouldn’t they kinda-sorta-havta repudiate at least some of Jewish philosophy if they wanted to kill all of them?

Untangling the answers to those questions would require some deep thinking about the points Shapiro makes, which, in turn, would require actually reading the points Shapiro makes.

We’ve already established PZ Myers will never, ever do that, which makes the last paragraph of his post especially delicious:

Maybe a better approach would be to note that being Christian, Jewish, or Western does not make one good, by any means. That is the deep hole in the middle of Shapiro’s assumptions.


PZ has no idea what Shapiro’s assumptions are! All he knows is what a hostile reviewer has said about them.

Sad, amazing stuff.

Final Tally:

Last Two Days: 2 science-related post, 9 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 107 science-related posts, 375 non-science posts.

22% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 123 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

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