12-13 Aug – A Conspiracy of Lies!

We were away for a day working on another project and we came back to find…

…a sensible, skeptical post from PZ Myers.

On the off chance you’ve been digitally detoxing for the last few days, we’ll recap the news. Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein died in his jail cell in New York City from an apparent suicide. That’s the bland, vanilla version. Conspiracy laden versions have everyone from Donald Trump to Bill Clinton to Vladimir Putin paying off the guards and sending hitmen into Epstein’s cell.

PZ rejected all of those theories, saying “plausibility is not evidence, nor is your conviction that someone is a villain.”

That was the first post we read upon our return, and it filled us with hope.

Short-lived hope.

His very next post embraced a conspiracy theory we’ll cover in our first lie today, and a few posts later he embraced a conspiracy theory about Epstein, but only if it makes Republicans look bad:

If you want a conspiracy theory, you can have one…but it should revolve around the right-wing demonization of drugs and mental illness, the proliferation of for-profit prisons, and the awful people who run prisons as punitive pits for the unwanted.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/13/the-best-explanation-for-the-death-of-epstein/

Annnnnd he’s back. We knew the measured, skeptical PZ Myers couldn’t last long.

And we’re back! Covering three lies and one conspiracy theory today.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Joseph Grendys is…the underserving owner of big chicken processing plants, an enterprise desperate for cheap labor and loaded with terrible working conditions. One of the reasons they hire undocumented workers is because they can be paid little and compelled to work under inhumane, dangerous connections [sic], so that people like Grendys can make more money.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/12/eat-less-chikin-its-made-from-the-blood-of-labor/

Facts:

If you clicked on the sole link PZ provides as evidence for this post, you’d come away wondering where the charge of inhumane working conditions comes from. We don’t know, either. We think PZ made it up. There have been, according to this Reuters article, allegations of labor abuses spanning the years 2004-2008, which were settled by the company, but there were no charges of dangerous or inhumane working conditions. We did find one article from last year published by the notoriously left-wing SPLC describing the death of a worker in a poultry processing plant, but that appears to have been the fault of the worker for failing to turn a machine off before deciding to clean it. In other words, the charge that Joseph Grendys “compels” people to work under “inhumane, dangerous” conditions is a lie.

Analysis:

This lie is probably the result of PZ being lazy. He has a playbook when it comes to dealing with employers like Grendys which includes charging them with forcing people to work in dangerous conditions. No evidence is necessary as far as PZ is concerned. But there’s another part of this post that interests us, and that’s the conspiracy theory PZ advanced:

And, as it turns out, this raid occurred after the plant was penalized for harrassment, and after efforts to unionize. We here in America have a fine tradition of brutal union-busting, how convenient that the federal government provides thugs at no cost to the owner.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/12/eat-less-chikin-its-made-from-the-blood-of-labor/

PZ suggests that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids were payback for the workers’ efforts to unionize and for the lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the company.

Except this charge makes no sense.

As this Reuters article makes clear, Grendys’s plant is just one of five targeted in the ICE raids last week. And the EEOC lawsuit which resulted in a $3.75 million settlement was over complaints spanning the years 2004 to 2008. If the raid was payback of some sort, Grendys is an evil genius indeed. He managed to cover his tracks by waiting a decade and then making sure four other plants were included in the raids.

It’s amazing PZ was able to figure it out. It just goes to show the power of skeptical thinking!

#sarcasm

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

Poultry processing has become a sinkhole of unfair, criminal labor practices. All I can say is…stop eating chicken. It’s cheap protein where the filthy rich can degrade worker’s lives in its production, because it is poorly regulated.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/12/eat-less-chikin-its-made-from-the-blood-of-labor/

Facts:

Between his rant about Joseph Grendys and this lie, PZ went on a tangent about a group called Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery who, according to the two-year-old article he cites, has done some shady things in the past. CAAIR is a relatively small outfit in rural Oklahoma working hand-in-hand with the criminal justice system to rehab drug offenders to keep them out of prison. The article quotes a professor at UCLA saying there is “a very strong 13th Amendment violation case,” but nowhere in the article do they charge that their labor practices are criminal.

Similarly, Joseph Grendys’s operation has been thoroughly investigated by the EEOC for multiple years and they did not find any evidence of criminal labor practices. PZ just makes this claim up out of whole cloth.

And in neither of these cases do lack of regulations appear to be the issue. Again, in Grendys’s case, his plant has been investigated by not only the EEOC but ICE as well. And the CAAIR program exists only because judges in the criminal justice system of Oklahoma and neighboring states assign people to work there and oversee its execution. Both cases are evidence of the fact that this industry appears to be well, not poorly, regulated, making this yet another PZ Myers lie.

Analysis:

PZ is generally incoherent when he’s ranting about labor or economics or the rich, so it’s hard to get a handle on exactly what his issue is Joseph Grendys or the poultry industry as a whole. He’s pro-open borders. He wants to let anyone and everyone into the United States, but he’s also pro-union. And those two positions don’t mix, which is why Bernie Sanders (a Presidential candidate PZ has endorsed in the past) once said open borders was a libertarian Koch brothers’ plot.

But, we don’t get paid to check PZ’s opinions or coherence level. We don’t even get paid to check his facts, but that is all we do here at PZWatch.

PZ Myers Lie #3 [in bold]:

Daniel Povey gathered a group of like-minded conservative thinkers who weren’t affiliated with the university, grabbed some big ol’ boltcutters, and assaulted the protesters late one night. Punches were thrown. Povey and his friends were thrown back. He’s calling it a “counter-protest”, but protest movements don’t involve planned violence, and usually involve peaceful non-violence training, rather than angry mobs…I’ll spare you all the long defense of Nazi Germany in which he argues that Hitler might have been “a little bit triggered” by all those rich Jews. You can read it if you want. You probably don’t want to, not recommended.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/13/oh-dear-daniel-povey-has-been-fired/

Facts:

PZ helpfully links to Povey’s letter, which explains his actions and why he took them. Povey helpfully includes a link to the letter Johns Hopkins sent to him, and between those two descriptions of the events of that night you can get a sense of what happened.

PZ banks on the fact that his loyal followers will not read any of the underlying source material, however, because in this passage he lies twice about what it says.

Povey didn’t plan for violence to occur that evening, as confirmed by both his version of events and Johns Hopkins. To the contrary, Povey claims he did do non-violence training with the people who accompanied him into the building, telling them they should not retaliate even if they were attacked.

The second lie is easy enough to spot if you’ve read PZ Myers for any length of time. Would anyone in this day and age – who isn’t a nut – actually defend Nazi Germany’s treatment of the Jews? Of course not, and neither did Daniel Povey. He says the following:

It’s the same as if a gay Jew were to join the Nazi party and begin endlessly apologizing for his ancestors having lent money to Aryans at too-high rates of interest; and agreeing that he needs to recognize his “problematic Jewishness” and “toxic homosexuality”, stop talking, and make space for Aryan voices to be heard.

http://danielpovey.com/leaving

Povey was trying to make the point that fascist Nazi ideology demonized people in much the same way that proto-fascist progressive ideology demonizes people today. We take no position on whether or not this argument is valid, we’re simply pointing out that it’s the opposite of what PZ Myers portrays it to be, making it his third lie of the day.

Analysis:

We love the lies that are refuted by the actual source material to which PZ links. It’s as if he’s almost daring people to call him out as a liar, while knowing simultaneously that they won’t. The ones that do get banned. We know. We’ve been there.

And we’ll be here again tomorrow.

Maybe. We did skip yesterday.

Final Tally:

Last Two Days: 1 science-related post, 9 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 86 science-related posts, 233  non-science posts.

27% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Last Two Days: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 87 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

1 Aug – PZ Myers Doesn’t Understand Alaska

To be fair, except for biology, he doesn’t understand much.

Alaska is a unique state, to say the least. We lived there for years and have received the Permanent Fund Dividend PZ lies about today. By no means are we experts, but had we not lived in the state, we might have, perhaps, done some research on the Permanent Fund before pretending to know something about it.

But that’s not PZ’s style. He knows what he knows – Republicans are all evil, all the time – and everything else flows from there.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

The only solution is to recall the governor and about half the legislature. That’s almost impossible. The governor is making these cuts while promising to mail out large dividend checks to the general Alaskan population, so he’s basically buying support for the evisceration of Alaskan education and Alaskan health and human services. Once again, Republicans are accusing Democrats of what they routinely do, draining the treasury to buy votes.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/31/not-at-my-university/

Facts:

This isn’t the first time PZ has lied about Alaska’s 2019 budget cuts. The first time, he generally confined his criticism of the Governor’s actions to how they would affect the university system in the state. Here he includes two other claims, both of which are false.

First, he claims the budget cuts will eviscerate “Alaskan health and human services.” Alaska doesn’t have a Department of Health and Human Services, but it does have a Department of Health and Social Services, which is what we think PZ is really talking about. So, the question then becomes, how will these budget cuts effect that Department? Here is Commissioner Adam Crum:

“The current path of state spending on Medicaid and health care in general is unsustainable,” said Crum. “As many of you know, Alaska has the highest health care costs in the nation. The Health Care Cost Institute actually shows that Anchorage—these major cities—is 65% above the national average for health care costs. That’s just Anchorage. So as you get further away from that—from the hubs into these smaller communities, those numbers actually go up even more,” Crum said.

The department is working with Public Consulting Group to determine whether moving portions of the Medicaid population into the federally facilitated marketplace will save the department money. The restructuring should benefit eligible Medicaid enrollees by connecting them to private coverage. Populations that will remain with Medicaid include the medically fragile, citizens with incomes below 50% of the central poverty level, those on dual Medicare/Medicaid, incarcerated individuals and those recently released from prison; and aged, blind, and disabled enrollees.


Crum said all current eligibility criteria will remain the same and no one will lose access to coverage…Crum said the changes will attract new insurance providers and increase competition among insurers to possibly lower the cost of health care in Alaska.

https://www.krbd.org/2019/06/25/health-social-services-commissioner-talks-medicaid-changes/

In other words, not only will the budget cuts not “eviscerate” the Department, they may actually improve the cost of health services in the state. PZ should like that, right?

The second lie comes as a result of PZ – willfully or not – misunderstanding the Alaska Permanent Fund. Established by the Alaska State Constitution in 1976, the Fund’s principal is not part of the State’s “Treasury” and cannot be spent on things like the University system or the Department of Health and Social Services, however the interest made from the Fund’s investments can be spent in that manner. The State of Alaska is fiscally sound in part because elected officials are prohibited by law from “draining the treasury” to buy votes. In other words, reality is once again the polar opposite of what PZ Myers portrays here. If the Governor wanted to “drain the treasury” to buy votes, he would maintain the University’s funding while simultaneously giving the proceeds from the Permanent Fund back to the citizens of Alaska.

Analysis:

PZ Myers should love the Alaska Permanent Fund. It is among the most progressive policies ever put in place by any State government – putting real sums of money into the hands of the poorest people in the state, but he apparently doesn’t care very much about that. He’s only worried about two things: maintaining the status of academics, like himself, and bashing Republicans.

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 6 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 76 science-related posts, 192 non-science posts.

28% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 78 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

31 July – Lies Are The Only Predictable Thing

After PZ Myers’s science spree yesterday, we made a prediction:

We’re excited about this development and hope it continues, but we’re also realists who know every time we’ve praised PZ, he’s immediately gone back to his old ways. So there’ll probably be no science for the next week, given our track record and his.

https://www.pzwatch.com/?p=527

There is an old saying that goes: professionals are predictable, it’s the amateurs you’ve got to worry about. With lies, PZ turned pro many, many years ago. He’s got a pattern now, and we’re just observers.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

In about a month, recent high school graduates will be entering the university after hearing in movies over and over that college is where you go to get laid, and they’ll find a system that encourages binge-drinking and wild parties, and they’ll meet all these other people who’ve been similarly fed with nonsense, and the worst of them will attempt to exploit the imaginary opportunities, and people will be hurt.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/31/not-at-my-university/

Facts:

PZ doesn’t offer any evidence for his claim that the university system encourages binge-drinking and wild parties. In fact, there is ample evidence to the contrary that universities try to curb the practice at every opportunity. The New York Times estimates there has been“decades of research, hundreds of campus task forces and millions invested in bold experiments” to reduce the prevalence of binge-drinking, which is the opposite of PZ Myers’s claim of a system which encourages that type of behavior.

Analysis:

Along with Republicans and billionaires, college-aged men are a frequent target of PZ’s wrath. We don’t think it’s all that surprising for a group of 18-year-old men and women, full of hormones and as yet unsure about their place in the world, to explore their boundaries a little. We certainly did, made a bunch of mistakes, and learned a lot of lessons. But PZ certainly seems to think teenagers should enter the university system as fully-formed humans with nuanced and semi-puritanical ideas about sex and alcohol consumption.

It’s weird, when we grew up it was the religious right who were the puritanical ones.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

I feel like Saini could have just said “Quillette!” in 144 point bold Impact font, it’s the same thing. They try desperately to pretend that they hold a legitimate scientific position, when they’re just the Daily Stormer with a facade to shield them from hate crime status.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/31/devious-racists-are-experts-at-hiding/

Facts:

PZ is discussing a woman named Angela Saini, who wrote a book about the return of “race science.” He turns that intro into a disgusting, possibly libelous, smear of Quillette, who have, to our knowledge, taken no even remotely racist positions, and PZ offers none up in evidence.

Analysis:

PZ has had his eye on Quillette almost since they were founded. We’re not quite sure why, but it may be that they’ve positioned themselves to be a forum for ideas that progressive authoritarians, like PZ Myers, refuse to discuss, and they’ve attracted some attention from people who still do identify as liberal or progressive.

Whatever the reason, this smear is almost beyond the pale, even for PZ.

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 8 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 76 science-related posts, 186 non-science posts.

29% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 77 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

26 July – Two Lies! And PZ Myers Targets an Academic Who Stood Up For Science

A good bit of the time, PZ Myers determines whether or not he’s going to like something based on the opinions of his perceived political enemies. For example, if Michael Shermer said he liked Rocky Road ice cream on Twitter, we can fairly certain PZ would, in the near future, say that if Shermer likes this kind of ice cream it can’t be any good.

He does a version of this today with his second lie, but first he does some lying about HBO and the creators of Game of Thrones.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Two white guys, Benioff and Weiss, were the show-runners for Game of Thrones, and they made a total botch of the last season because they were in such a rush to move on to brand new exciting projects…Unfortunately, the HBO show they were eager to do was Confederate, an alternate-history series in which they postulate a victorious Confederacy and the aftermath. The alt-right good ol’ boys were salivating over that, the rest of us were cringing, and everyone was wondering if the two guys who recklessly crashed HBO’s biggest cash cow had adequate sensitivity and nuance to handle that kind of story.
The answer is “no”.
 HBO has killed the project. Good.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/26/hbo-chose-wisely/

Facts:

The link PZ uses to substantiate his claim goes to a piece analyzing a Deadline report that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are trying to land a huge contract and will ultimately end up somewhere other than HBO. If that happens, HBO’s President of Programming said when asked about Confederate, ““I think anything they have with us would likely not go forward.”  In other words, HBO hasn’t yet officially killed the project. And they didn’t kill the project because Benioff and Weiss didn’t display “adequate sensitivity and nuance.” In fact, the opposite is likely true. HBO greenlit the project initially and, although we weren’t privy to internal HBO discussions about the project (and neither was PZ), most likely would not have done so were Benioff and Weiss not sufficiently nuanced in their writing.

Analysis:

PZ has been on this Confederate crusade since the show was announced, but we have absolutely no idea why. He says the alt-right good ol’ boys were salivating, but there is no universe in which Benioff and Weiss deliver a series that does not resoundingly reject the alt-right worldview. Just today PZ derided The Handmaid’s Tale as  feminist torture porn. Why wouldn’t those same alt-right good ol’ boys be salivating over the depiction of women in that show?

The other lie here is the idea that Benioff and Weiss botched the last season of Game of Thrones because they were in such a rush to move on to other things like Confederate. A few days ago PZ Myers was trying to tell billionaires how best to invest their money, here he suggests two television producers/writers at the top of their game, having just finished what might have been the most successful show in history, were worried about other things during the last season.

Again, PZ used to laugh at people who tried to make fantastic claims without any evidence at all to back them up. He’s one of them now.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

That’s some letter [Boghossian is] proudly waving around. It’s a gigantic black mark on his record that he’s advertising — if some person I didn’t know applied for a job at my university that included a university condemnation of their propriety and ethics, and prohibited them from applying for grant funding, that application would be round-filed so fast it would leave scorch marks as it exited the filing cabinet. That’s a kiss of death.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/26/our-own-little-basket-of-atheist-deplorables/

Facts:

Peter Boghossian was one of three people involved in what’s been called the Grievance Studies affair. They wrote fake academic papers and submitted them to various academic journals. When their hoax was revealed,

four of their 20 papers had been published, three had been accepted but not yet published, six had been rejected, and seven were still under review. One of the published papers had won special recognition.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grievance_Studies_affair

The trio made international news, and Boghossian and James Lindsay went on various shows and podcasts – including Joe Rogan’s – to advertise their results. They became famous – and attracted the attention of PZ Myers – because of these hoaxes. Boghossian was the only one of the three hoaxers employed by an academic institution, and therefore the only one who potentially faced disciplinary proceedings of this kind. For him to not share the results of those proceedings would have been strange.

You can read his tweets about the decision here. He does not gloat or take any pleasure in it. He simply states it as fact, then thanks the many people who wrote letters in support, making this yet another PZ Myers lie.

Analysis:

PZ Myers, one would think, as a champion of science, would welcome and praise an academic who risked his entire career to expose serious problems in academia. And were PZ Myers not an evangelical progressive, that’s how he might have reacted to the entire affair. But, politics defines PZ and Boghossian made the mistake of targeting academic journals which are allied with PZ politically. So Boghossian – who is on the left – must be destroyed, regardless of what he did for science.

PZ excommunicates him, along with those already excommunicated, like Richard Dawkins and Bret Weinstein and Dave Rubin, none of whom are conservative. But, all of them wrote blurbs for Boghossian’s book and if they did that, well, that’s not a book he’s going to read.

Scientists don’t do things like this. Rational, reasonable people don’t say to themselves, “I hate those people so if they like something, I must hate it.”

Children say things like that. And so do evangelical political ideologues like PZ Myers.

Final Tally:

Today: 3 science-related posts, 4 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 68 science-related posts, 167 non-science posts.

29% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 71 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

2 July – Housekeeping Finds Another Lie! And PZ Reiterates His Support For Antifa Violence

After we wrote yesterday’s piece, we had a moment of pause. We never want to personally attack PZ Myers on these pages – we strive to limit our criticism to his ideas – and we thought we might have blurred that line yesterday when we accused him of advocating “violence against journalists who report things he doesn’t like.”

We feel better about it today.

PZ Myers crossed a line yesterday, going from a scientist simply discussing ideas to a revolutionary advocating violence against people he hates. Today, he continues in that vein with a post titled, “Who are antifa?” PZ pasted long excerpts from a Haaretz piece by Stanislav Vysotsky, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (a school, unlike the University of Minnesota Morris, we had heard of before, and not in a good way) and at the end of the post, Myers says this:

Stanislav Vysotsky doesn’t make excuses for the fascists, unlike far too many people who are promoting the “never punch fascists under any circumstances” approach.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/02/who-are-antifa/

He tries to pull the same trick here as he did yesterday – equating punching a fascist with beating a journalist so hard his skull cracks – except he doesn’t specifically name Andy Ngo so we can’t call this another lie.

In other news, we were so wrapped up with PZ’s fascist lies yesterday that we missed a lie about higher education in Alaska. We’ll get into that below as well as a lie about gay rights from today. PZ Myers is back in top form!

PZ Myers Lie:

How could this happen? Easy. Elect a Republican governor who sees his role as taking punitive fiscal action against anything he doesn’t like. Like most Republicans, he despises higher education, so he takes a knife to it.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/01/the-alaskan-nightmare/

Facts:

Once again, there are multiple lies in this excerpt, but we’re scoring it as a solo home run. PZ is talking here about Governor Mike Dunleavy of Alaska, who cut $444 million from the state’s $8.3 Billion dollar budget using his line-item veto power. Except PZ doesn’t care about most of that money, he’s only worried about $130 million that was earmarked for the University of Alaska. That’s a big cut, to be sure, but the Governor of Alaska doesn’t need PZ Myers to tell him that:

Dunleavy said UA cannot “be all things to all people,” and he believed the university system could work through the reduction. “I do believe the University of Alaska is resilient. I do believe they have good leadership, and I’d say give them a chance,” Dunleavy said. “ I believe that they can turn the university into a smaller, leaner, but still very, very positive and productive university here in the northern hemisphere.”

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/education/2019/06/28/dunleavy-veto-is-devastating-says-university-of-alaska-president/

The lies here are easy to spot once you understand the state government was faced with a number of tough decisions, none of which were motivated by hate or malice. Most Republicans don’t “despise higher education” and there is no evidence Dunleavy does, either. The governor doesn’t see his role at “taking punitive fiscal action against anything he doesn’t like.” Rather, the Anchorage Daily News reports:

The governor has consistently said his goal is to craft a state budget that pays a traditional dividend and provides state services without higher state taxes or spending from savings.

https://www.adn.com/politics/alaska-legislature/2019/06/28/gov-mike-dunleavy-vetoes-444-million-from-alaska-state-operating-budget/

PZ Myers is angry about the budget cuts in Alaska, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But we believe there is something wrong with lying about it.

Analysis: Higher education is just one of many areas PZ lies about regularly. He argues in this post that:

Universities make major returns in the cost of investment. If nothing else, high-tech industries want a pool of educated workers, and they aren’t going to find them in Alaska.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/01/the-alaskan-nightmare/

If we assume that’s true, it still leaves the following questions unanswered: why should the State of Alaska pay for it? Why shouldn’t high-tech industries pay for it? And since when is PZ Myers on the side of high-tech industries? He hates capitalism!

PZ Myers Lie #2:

For example, [The Atlantic] just published The Struggle for Gay Rights is Over. Seriously, dude. It’s just a switch, gay rights are either on or off? Nuts to that. 

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/02/the-struggle-for-equality-never-ends-dont-let-anyone-tell-you-otherwise/

Facts:

James Kirchick, himself a gay man and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, writes this in the 6th and 7th paragraphs of the article PZ cites:

In many places it’s still dangerous to be gay. Homosexuals continue to face higher rates of depression than heterosexuals, and gay teenagers attempt suicide more frequently than their straight peers.

But trends are undeniably moving in the right direction. Since gays began organizing politically in the 1950s—meeting in secret, using pseudonyms, and under constant surveillance by the FBI—their movement for legal equality and societal acceptance has arguably advanced faster than any other in American history.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/battle-gay-rights-over/592645/

Kirchick never equates gay rights to a switch, and makes a nuanced, balanced argument, one that PZ turns into yet another lie.

Analysis:

This is twice in two days where a PZ Myers lie has been exposed by the very source material he cites. But it’s worse that that. We don’t think PZ even read Kirchick’s piece, because Kirchick describes the exact tactic PZ uses:

…left-wing activists are also exploiting the gay-rights movement to push agendas utterly extraneous to gay equality.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/battle-gay-rights-over/592645/

Here’s PZ, later on in the post:

I guess everyone has equal civil rights now, women have nothing left to complain about, black people can quit being uppity, the American Indian reservations have transformed into paradises, the poor are no longer slaves to capitalism?

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/02/the-struggle-for-equality-never-ends-dont-let-anyone-tell-you-otherwise/

If PZ Myers were an undergraduate in a political science course, he’d get a failing grade. To engage with an idea you have to understand that idea, and he has a unique ability to misunderstand and misrepresent ideas he doesn’t like.

It’s the reason PZWatch exists.

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 4 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 41 science-related posts, 93 non-science posts.

30% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 41 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

28 June – When is PZ Myers Most Incoherent? Answering an Age Old Question

We started our original draft of this post with the words, “PZ is at his most incoherent when…” But we stopped once we realized we’d written those words before – twice before, actually – in the month we’ve been open.

PZ Myers would podium at the Incoherence Olympics without breaking a sweat, but we started to wonder which topic consistently drives him the most insane? Is it economics? Immigration? Free speech?

We think one way to measure might be the total number of lies for each category. So if PZ were to lie fifteen times about capitalism in a six month period, for example, but only lie ten times about immigration, we might have an answer. But the severity of the lie could be another measure. And what about his Great Big Lies?

We haven’t decided yet how we’re going to make that determination, but if you have any suggestions, please send them to us at tips@pzwatch.com.

The topic PZ lies about today that generated all this debate is free speech. We do a deep dive on his lies, take a ride in the way back machine for a little PZ Myers history, and much more below.

PZ Myers Lie:

“We had Ben Shapiro give a talk at UMM, and if that dishonest twerp can get a platform here, you’ve got no grounds to claim that conservatives are censored.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/28/free-speech-is-the-new-religious-excuse/

Facts:

PZ is riffing on an piece written by Martha Gill about the threat to free speech on campus in America. He makes the claim that as long as Ben Shapiro can speak at UMM, that no one can claim “conservatives are censored.”

Of course there are numerous grounds to claim conservatives are “censored” on college campuses. FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, keeps a running database of speakers who have been disinvited from giving a talk on campus. According to that database, twice the number of disinvitation attempts have been targeted at right of center speakers than have been targeted at left of center speakers, illustrating a clear bias against conservative ideas. Additionally, although we don’t consider Breitbart to be an unbiased news source, they have kept a running list of acts of violence and harassment against people who hold right of center views. The phenomenon has also been illustrated in the book The Coddling of the American Mind, which is one of the things Gill’s piece responds to.

In other words, the claim that conservatives have no grounds to say their views are censored on campus is a lie.

Analysis:

As we were researching this lie, we had a vague memory of PZ being caught up in a free speech controversy of his own on campus a few years back. So we looked it up.

The College Fix has a good summary. We particularly liked this part:

The professor encouraged local readers back then to throw away copies of the NorthStar, comparing it to Ku Klux Klan flyers: “Treat their scattered papers as hate-filled trash and dispose of it appropriately.”

https://www.thecollegefix.com/atheist-activist-professor-tells-conservative-student-paper-fck-off-die/

That sounds a little bit like an attempt by PZ to censor conservatives. Especially when you consider he is a professor – not an activist. He is paid to teach students, not tear them down. If he were not the despicable man he is, that would have been a good opportunity for PZ to sit down with the College Republicans and have a chat, maybe change a mind or two. But he chose to hurl invective at them instead.

We also found another juicy nugget in our research for this lie. From earlier this year:

Students and even student workers [at the University of Minnesota Morris] have taken to stealing and vandalizing College Republican flyers and poster displays which support pro-life values and civil dialogue.

https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=11977

PZ regularly updates his readers on the goings-on in Morris, Minnesota so we were surprised that we had not heard about this incident, which apparently resulted in criminal charges.

Then we remembered who we’re dealing with. PZ Myers, that’s who. And if there is a news story which reflects badly on his chosen tribe, he would not cover it even if you put a gun to his head.

So – to sum up – not only are conservatives more likely to be disinvited from a campus speaking engagement, PZ himself has encouraged people to dispose of a college Republican newsletter and fails to mention the fact that just a few months ago, conservatives were being silenced on his own campus. That’s an impressive record for a single PZ Myers lie.

THE GREAT BIG LIE:

“You want to go on a college campus and argue for a white ethno-state, or that trans people are perverts, or that life begins at conception, or that evolution is Satan’s religion, you can do that — I’ve heard all of that.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/28/free-speech-is-the-new-religious-excuse/

Analysis:

Here is where PZ Myers performs the big switcharoo. Until this point in the post, the only names mentioned have been mainstream thinkers and writers: Jonathan Haidt, Jordan Peterson, and Ben Shapiro. And with the exception of “life begins as conception,” which Shapiro ascribes to (the others don’t) none of those people think or espouse any of the things on PZ’s list.

He wants you to think Ben Shapiro wants a white ethno-state, when he wants nothing of the kind and actively fights with alt-right personalities online. PZ wants you to think Jordan Peterson thinks trans people are perverts, when Peterson, who a clinical psychologist, knows the opposite is true.

This is the Great Big Lie at its most profound. PZ smears an entire corpus of ideas that he doesn’t want to engage with on their merits.

There is so, so much more in this post, like this tidbit:

Don’t worry, though: even as they rake in the cash from obliging conservative think tanks, they’ll keep on whining that they get no respect at the universities.
There’s a reason for that lack of respect, too

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/28/free-speech-is-the-new-religious-excuse/

So which is it, PZ? Should conservatives not whine because they are respected? Or is there no respect, therefore their whining is justified?

We don’t know, and we don’t think PZ knows, either. He was riffing, logic and truth go out the window when he riffs. But not here, which is why we’ll be back tomorrow with another edition of PZWatch.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 2 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 36 science-related posts, 85 non-science posts.

30% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 33 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

2 June 2019 – A Killing Field of PZ Myers’s Lies

We knew it wouldn’t last.

Yesterday was a good day for PZ – he didn’t tell any lies and actually talked about science for a change. But today – WOW- today, someone alerted him to an article in the New York Post (there is zero chance PZ reads that paper on his own) about conservatives criticizing higher education and it was off to the races. We have a new PZWatch record for most lies in a single post – 4! – and our first PZ Myers Great Big Lie to talk about.

PZ Myers Lie #1:

“ …what riles conservatives is that learning doesn’t look anything like the indoctrination they’re used to ”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/02/first-kill-all-the-professors-second-reap-the-rewards-of-knowledge/

 Facts:

PZ is referencing an article titled, “PC insanity may mean the end of American universities” and suggesting that it’s not political correctness, but rather learning itself that conservatives object to. This is another one of those lies we don’t need to spend a lot of time on. Conservatives have many critiques of higher education but one of them is not: “We don’t want to learn!” In fact, they make the same charge – indoctrination – that PZ levels at them. The NY Post article cited above only discusses concerns with free speech and an alleged hostility to conservative speakers and ideas. So in both the larger and smaller picture, this is a definite lie.

Analysis:

PZ is just cracking his knuckles here. There is much more to come and we’ll wrap it all up at the end.

 PZ Myers Lie #2:

“’More and more people are talking’… who are these people? Are there specific policy proposals? This sort of vague hand-waving about those people over there, not cited, just ‘talking’ about an idea that no one seems ready to stand behind is bad journalism. ”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/02/first-kill-all-the-professors-second-reap-the-rewards-of-knowledge/

Facts:

The NY Post article cites a piece in Quillette called “After Academia,” written by Allen Farrington – which includes specific policy proposals – as evidence of this fact.

Analysis:

Occasionally, PZ’s lies can be refuted by the very article he cites, and this is one of those times. He relies on at least two things to pull this off: he thinks the people who read his blog won’t read the article he cites or, if they do, won’t mention that it undermines a point he made. PZ has gotten away with this for so long, it’s probably second nature to him now.

 PZ Myers Lie #3:

“Flippantly proposing eradicating all universities is rather unseemly for a Cambridge graduate. He doesn’t have an alternative proposal, either, nor does he have a good reason. ”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/02/first-kill-all-the-professors-second-reap-the-rewards-of-knowledge/

Facts:

Earlier in this same blog post, PZ discusses what the NY Post article describes as Scruton’s ‘alternative’ proposal to ‘eradicating all universities.’

Analysis:

This is another classic PZ Myers lie, exposed by his own words a few paragraphs before. He puts words in Scruton’s mouth about what his alternative proposal would be, then expects his readers to forget he ever did that a few paragraphs later. This is pure stream-of-consciousness PZ Myers, not caring what the truth is or even what he wrote a few minutes before.

 PZ Myers Lie #4:

“I really get tired of these clowns saying the sciences are OK, because they want their medicines and their airplanes and their cell phones, but all those unproductive disciplines that teach mere art and literature and philosophy are garbage that can be thrown out.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/02/first-kill-all-the-professors-second-reap-the-rewards-of-knowledge/

Facts:

We want to take a second to note that this sentence is a direct refutation of PZ’s Lie #1 above – that conservatives don’t like learning. Here he argues they do like learning, just one specific kind. But there is a different lie here, and that is people like Sir Roger Scruton or, I would assume, the author of the NY Post piece, don’t like literature or philosophy. The fact is Scruton is a philosopher and a writer. The author of the piece, Roger Kimball, is an editor and publisher.  They obviously have an affinity for literature and philosophy. PZ wants to equate their specific critique of the humanities with a general hatred of the disciplines as a whole, and it’s a lie.

Analysis:

PZ understands full well one of the conservative critiques of the humanities. Over the course of several posts he covered the James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian ‘Sokol Squared’ hoax, in which they submitted fake papers that were accepted by academic journals (and in one case won an award!). Except, in those posts, PZ didn’t level any criticism at the academic journals themselves, but was rather nonplussed at Boghossian and Lindsay for their supposed research improprieties. He doesn’t want to admit there are any problems with any disciplines in the humanities.

Actually that’s not right, we’ll rephrase.

He won’t agree with any conservatives who criticize disciplines in the humanities. He will give those criticisms the time of day if he feels they come from someone who is sufficiently progressive.

THE GREAT BIG LIE

Four lies in one post is a lot, but we’re not quite done yet. The Great Big Lie is a special category of PZ Myers Lies that we won’t keep a running tally of just yet. Some of you might have wondered about the title of PZ’s post: “First, kill all the professors. Second, reap the rewards of knowledge.” The very last paragraph of his post makes his purpose clear: “Whenever I see people yapping about eliminating all the universities, except in those few disciplines that meet their approval, I think of the Great Leap Forward, and the Killing Fields, and the Siberian work camps, all places and times where academics met an unpleasant end. Perhaps Scruton and his cronies are actually closet Old School Communists? Their ideas about social engineering seem just as crude and blunt.”

We could have chosen this as the fifth lie of the day, but we believe something this stupid should be in its own category.

PZ doesn’t know or understand much about conservative or libertarian philosophy, so we wouldn’t be surprised if he’d never read anything about Scruton except what he’d seen on progressive blogs in the last few months (Scruton was recently sacked, wrongly). But to accuse Scruton of being a communist is about as laughable as accusing Stormy Daniels of being a virgin. Scruton has well-publicized views on totalitarianism and has never advocated sending academics to internment camps or anything of the sort. So what is going on here?

We ask that question a lot as it relates to PZ Myers.

PZ, as we will document over the next few months and years, is sympathetic to socialist/collectivist political solutions. It’s too cliché to simply label him a Marxist professor, but we don’t think it’s entirely inaccurate, either. We know PZ would bristle at the notion that leftist/progressive ideas could ever result in something like the Great Leap Forward or the Killing Fields, but there’s only one problem: they did.

China wasn’t, and isn’t, right-wing, and neither was the Khmer Rouge.  But PZ can’t say anything bad about the left. His target, his enemy, is the right. So he has to project all the failings of the left unto the right, whether or not it makes logical sense to do so. Yesterday, we covered the fact that PZ claimed libertarians are in favor of population control, when in fact it was Communist China who implemented the one-child policy. PZ doesn’t – can’t – see things like that clearly, so he has to invert them causally in his mind.

Progressives have never been evil, you see, it was always and everywhere those monsters on the right.

And that, friends and neighbors, is a PZ Myers Great Big Lie.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related, 3 posts on other topics.

Since 30 May 19: 3 Science posts, 13 non-science posts

Today: 4! PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 8 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.