5 Oct – PZ Lies About Sam Harris, Again

Sam Harris is a successful atheist, firmly on the political left, and a hater of all things Trumpian. In other words, you’d think he be someone with whom PZ Myers could find a lot in common. And maybe he does, but mostly what appears on the pages of Pharyngula are baseless smears and lies.

You see, like Bill Maher and Peter Boghossian and many, many others who have run afoul of PZ, Harris makes the mistake of holding insufficiently doctrinaire opinions on certain subjects, which has resulted in being kicked off PZ Island.

One of those opinions certain to draw the attention – and lies – of PZ Myers is believing IQ is a thing that’s measurable, predictive, and heritable. If you think that, watch out!

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

I often get brought up short when someone tells me that intelligence, for instance, is 80% determined by your genetics. I’m held up because that someone clearly doesn’t understand the magic word “heritability”, which every geneticist understands but every layman seems to consciously misunderstand, preferring to play games with folk etymology than actually understand the math, or the concept. So here’s a nice video that explains the background clearly, and as a bonus, show that Sam Harris doesn’t know diddly squat about the science behind the racism he endorses.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/05/what-heritability-actually-means/

Facts:

The video PZ cites is here, and it quotes Harris at length, saying the following:

People don’t want to hear the intelligence is a real thing, and that some people have more of it than others. They don’t want to hear that IQ tests really measure it. They don’t want to hear that differences in IQ matter because they’re highly predictive of differential success in life, and not just for things like educational attainment and wealth but for things like out of wedlock birth and mortality. People don’t want to hear that a person’s intelligence is in large measure due to his or her genes, and that there seems to be very little we can do environmentally to increase a person’s intelligence (even in childhood). It’s not that environment doesn’t matter, but genes appear to be 50-80% of the story. People don’t want to hear this. And they certainly don’t want to hear that average IQ differs across races and ethnic groups.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FcpNZ2BEgY

We’re not going to wade into the IQ debate here. We’re not claiming PZ lied when he said Harris “doesn’t know diddly squat about the science.” The lie here is claiming Harris endorses racism, which is nowhere to be found in the quote above, or quite frankly anything else we’ve ever heard Sam Harris say. For PZ, simply believing IQ is a thing which differs across races and ethnic groups is racist.

There are certainly race hustlers who use this argument to buttress their despicable claims – although those arguments, as well as PZ’s arguments, by the way, tend to ignore the relatively high IQ of ethnic Asians, something Harvard has recently run into with respect to its admissions policies. But Sam Harris is not a race hustler. He’s driven by facts and science, meaning that calling him a racist is another patented PZ Myers lie.

Analysis:

We often see PZ Myers complain about people he deems to be “unqualified” to speak in a certain area because they lack the requisite degrees or training. Yet, he seems perfectly comfortable opining on the subject of IQ even though it’s not his field. He accuses Harris of not knowing the science, but outsources the job of criticizing Harris to someone else. PZ doesn’t demonstrate in this post that he has any understanding of the science. The only thing he demonstrates is that he can lie about Sam Harris being a racist with the best of them.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 115 science-related posts, 436 non-science posts.

21% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 134 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

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