14 Oct – Perhaps The Biggest Lie PZ Myers Has Ever Told

A couple weeks ago, we identified what might be our favorite PZ Myers lie of all time. Today, we think we’ve identified the biggest lie he’s ever told.

In a post discussing epistemic humility, testing assumptions and how we “know” what we know, PZ dropped this bomb on his readers:

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

I’m a fan of testing my assumptions, mostly. We have this scientific method we use that allows us — even encourages us! — to examine and verify the stuff we don’t know, even if, to be perfectly honest, we can’t possibly examine everything. A scientist or a philosopher is going to inspect key assumptions now and then, and try to build better models of the world as they go, sometimes throwing out perfectly serviceable models, like religion, for others that get some, but never all, of the details better. 

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/13/if-we-must-have-celebrities-can-they-at-least-have-some-principles/

Facts:

Wow.

We have 147 examples – and counting – of lies PZ Myers has told since May 30th of this year. Many of those result from his continued refusal to examine and verify the gaping hole in his political knowledge: what his ideological enemies actually believe. He doesn’t know, not even a little bit, and shows no inclination to ever find out.

We have never, ever seen him inspect his key political assumptions and/or throw out his evangelical progressive ideological view of a subject because it does not get the details right. Consider economics. He is almost incapable of writing honestly about economics because it does not tell a doom-and-gloom story about capitalism. His key assumption is: socialism works better. And he wants a revolution to make socialism a reality. But, he refuses to throw out or reconsider his model of the world even when the other model gets more of the details right.

That’s just one example. We document four other examples below – and that’s just today! PZ’s lie here is staggering in it’s scope.

Analysis:

There’s two possibilities here. Either PZ is one of the least self-aware people on the planet, or he has so effectively insulated himself from facts and opinions that don’t comport with his ideology – which is consistent with his banning all those opinions from his blog and social media feeds – that he actually does think he is telling the truth.

Either way, the implications are astounding. He is, apparently with a straight face, telling us he inspects his assumptions in the hope of building a better model of the world, when the evidence we’ve collected in the last few months indicates that he’s doing the opposite. He’s holding on to false assumptions – lies – and building a worse model of the world.

Of all the lies he’s told over the years, including the ones we’ll cover below, this might be the biggest.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

Trump thinks he’s above the law. McConnell thinks he’s above the law. Cops think they’re above the law. Rich people think they’re above the law. So far I haven’t seen any evidence to the contrary. It’s pretty clear that there are some comfortable delusions we all hide behind.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/14/nobody-is-above-the-law/

Facts:

PZ makes five claims here, all of which are lies. And here’s the key thing – he knows they’re lies. These are blatantly partisan statements meant to advance a political agenda. They are assumptions about the world that he refuses to test because it is in his political interest not to do so.

There is no evidence Trump thinks he’s above the law. He heads the Department of Justice – an Executive Agency branch – and has many, many lawyers in his employ. Presidents have certain powers, and PZ and the media have a field day when Trump decides to use those powers, but suspending the laws of the United States is not one of them.

Senator McConnell has, as far as we know, never broken the law. In fact, he’s the Majority Leader of one of the institutions in the US Government charged with making laws. If he thought he was above the law, he wouldn’t have to worry about petty things like passing laws, would he?

There may be a tiny percentage of cops who think they are above the law, but do take note of this: they always hide their actions. Someone who truly thinks they are above the law should feel no urge to hide their actions. Why should they?

Ditto for “rich people.” And if PZ hasn’t seen any evidence to the contrary, it’s because he’s willfully blind.

Analysis:

In keeping with today’s theme of epistemic humility, we hereby formally request PZ Myers examine each of these assumptions about how the world works. Maybe there’s a better model, like maybe Trump’s an ass, but he really didn’t collude with Russia to steal an election from Clinton. Or, maybe McConnell isn’t doing anything Harry Reid didn’t do during his tenure as Majority Leader. Or, maybe cops do a lot more good than bad.

Maybe there is evidence out there that might give PZ a better model of how the world works.

If only he’d look.

PZ Myers Lie #3 [in bold]:

Thier little hate signs have gotten attention from Newsweek. That’s all they really wanted, was to be outrageous and stupid enough that they’d get written up and win their 15 seconds of fame.
One catch: the College Republicans are eager to disavow the flyers, while speaking out in favor of what the flyers said. So maybe some aren’t so thrilled at being in the spotlight over their regressive views.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/13/if-we-must-have-celebrities-can-they-at-least-have-some-principles/

Facts:

There’s an interesting omission in the first sentence of this lie. Newsweek did, indeed, pick up on the story we covered here about the flyers in the corridors of UMM, but not before a Twin Cities newspaper, the Star Tribune, did.

Why would PZ ignore the local article in favor of the national one? Two reasons. First, it helps make his point that all the College Republicans wanted was a little attention (not true). Second, the Star Tribune story exposes PZ’s lie. He wants to say the Morris College Republicans spoke out in favor of what the flyers said, but the exact opposite is true. Here’s the Star Tribune:

In a statement Friday, Lehmann said that Campus Republicans didn’t condone “the content of the poster.” But he added that free speech was “being attacked” on campus, and that “those who hold conservative religious beliefs are seen to be ‘inciting violence.’ ”

http://www.startribune.com/rape-joke-flyer-on-university-of-minnesota-morris-campus-gets-attention-of-president-gabel/562872952/?refresh=true

Analysis:

This is another absolutely amazing phenomenon. You would think a tenured college biology professor could engage with a group of college-aged Republicans without lying about them, but PZ seems incapable of doing that. Every post, every mention, has to include something he knows to be untrue. Who was it that said, if you’re catching flak, you must be over the target? The UMM College Republicans are catching a lot of flak from Professor Myers.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 7 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 118 science-related posts, 472 non-science posts

20% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 147 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

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