25 Sep – PZ Lies About Random Dude On Twitter

We haven’t seen this in a while from PZ, but he did something today we think is the laziest, least serious thing someone can do: find a random oddball tweet, criticize it, then suggest the sentiment is representative of X group.

It’s a good way to take shots and score partisan political points at the expense of X group, but it’s at best dishonest and at worst a disgusting slur (both of which are in PZ Myers’s wheelhouse).

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

He’s not even being provocative! He just thinks girls can’t have credible opinions if raping them makes you a pedophile. That’s probably the Catholic side of his bio speaking. Well, maybe the Libertarian side, too. By the way, he’s quite proud of his tweet, and is bragging that Twitter didn’t see any problems with it, either.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/09/25/children-are-to-be-sold-quietly-to-billionaires-not-heard/

Facts:

The target of PZ’s ire is the following tweet by someone named Justin Murphy:

Not even being provocative but if you think Greta Thunberg has the maturity to guide global policy-making then you cannot object to Jeffrey Epstein paying 16-year-olds for sex.

https://twitter.com/jmrphy/status/1176703990056267777

We’ll ignore the part where he claims he’s “not even being provocative,” because it’s fairly obvious he was trying to do exactly that. But what of the rest of the tweet?

He’s trying to make a general point about the maturity of a 16-year-old. As a society, we have collectively decided that, before someone turns 18, they are not entitled to do certain things: vote, enter into a contract, consent to sex with an adult at least 4 years older. By extension, Murphy is trying to point out that Greta Thunberg – who is 16 – should not be mature enough to “guide global policy-making.”

Let’s go back to what PZ said: “He just thinks girls can’t have credible opinions if raping them makes you a pedophile.”

There are multiple ways this a lie, so we’ll start at the beginning. Murphy didn’t say “girls can’t have credible opinions,” the specific thing he said was “guide global policy making,” two very different things. Everyone has an opinion about climate change, vanishingly few people have the power or reach to effect global policy.

Epstein certainly committed statutory rape multiple times, which by definition makes him a pedophile, but that is irrelevant to Murphy’s point.

According to the indictment filed in US District Court, Epstein paid all of his victims “hundreds of dollars” for each encounter and used them to recruit new victims using the promise of cash. The indictment does not accuse Epstein of using violence or threats of violence to coerce his victims (neither “violence” nor “force” appear anywhere in the document), so the entirety of the moral case against Epstein rests on the idea that a sixteen year old is not mature enough to consent to having paid sex with a sixty-year-old man.

And if a sixteen-year-old isn’t mature enough to give consent, can they be mature enough to guide global policy on climate change? That’s the provocative question Murphy asks, and PZ lies about.

Analysis:

Murphy describes himself as a “Libertarian communist Catholic.” We’re going to assume there’s a story behind this, as two of those things (libertarian and communist) are diametrically opposed and neither one plays very well with the third (Catholic). In other words, we don’t believe he simultaneously has a foot in all three camps, but PZ wants to use the opportunity of this tweet to take a swipe at two of them – libertarian and Catholic. Somehow we’re supposed to think libertarians are bad because Murphy used the word in his Twitter bio. Ditto for Catholics.

We’re not persuaded, and can’t imagine who would be, but this appears to be the only reason PZ chose this tweet to post on his blog. Why else highlight some random person on Twitter if you can’t make a broader point about two groups you hate? Would PZ have gone on a rant about some random 16-year-old’s tweet if they had no political or religious affiliation in their bio?

We don’t think so.

This is simply an extension of PZ’s argumentative style: never, under any circumstances, correctly describe a political position your ideological opponents hold. Always lie. Always obfuscate. Always exaggerate. In this way, you’ll always be arguing against a straw man you can easily set alight.

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 3 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 109 science-related posts, 395 non-science posts.

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

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 125 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

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