13 Oct – Where is PZ’s List of Things He Got Wrong?

He doesn’t have one. We’ve had to create it for him.

PZ rips off multiple lies today about Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ben Shapiro in a blog post bemoaning the fact that celebrities don’t have principles. This left us wondering, what are Myers’s principles?

Social justice (however he defines that term today): Check.

And…what else?

Definitely not truth.

In a bonus irony moment, it turns out that Shapiro, a man PZ has called a liar on multiple occasions (pot, meet kettle) keeps a list of things he’s gotten wrong over the years. Who does that?? Definitely not one Paul Zachary Myers.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

I don’t expect much of a Kardashian, at least they’re just in the business of marketing themselves for money. I didn’t even expect much of Ellen Degeneres — she’s always just been a happy clappy talk show host, so I’m not surprised when she admits to her friendliness with corrupt mass-murderer George W. Bush.

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

Facts:

PZ offers no evidence to support his claim that the former President is a “mass-murderer,” but we assume he’s referencing the decision to invade Iraq and the subsequent counterinsurgency campaign waged in the country for years following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

Reasonable people can disagree about the invasion decision itself. We don’t personally think Saddam’s actions warranted the overthrow of his brutal, totalitarian regime, but we certainly understand those who look at the same facts and come to a different conclusion. PZ Myers, somehow, looks at those facts and sees “mass-murderer” when there is no evidence pointing to that conclusion. George W. Bush, to our knowledge, did not give any special instructions to the military to kill unarmed men, women, or children. He did not, to our knowledge, authorize unusual Rules of Engagement instructing the military to execute a disproportionately violent response to hostile acts on the part of Iraqi soldiers. He did not, to our knowledge, authorize the summary execution of prisoners or non-combatants. As far as we can tell, the former President ordered a military operation to be conducted against another organized and armed military force, and when that force was defeated and replaced with various plain-clothed insurgent groups, he authorized the military to respond.

Bush’s initial order was authorized by a large, bi-partisan margin in Congress and every subsequent request for supplemental funds to pay for the ongoing Operation Iraqi Freedom was also approved. Congress could have exercised its power at any time to withdraw authorization or funding from the Executive Branch, but chose not to do so. Additionally, allies from around the globe voluntarily participated in military and peacekeeping actions in Iraq in various forms. All of this constitutes a proper, legal military action.

None of it constitutes “mass-murder,” but it does constitute a great big lie from PZ Myers.

Analysis:

PZ’s son is a United States Army officer. We wonder sometimes what they talk about over the Thanksgiving dinner table. Do the words “baby killer” ever escape PZ’s lips? Or is that different because…well, we don’t know why that would be different.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

I never watched [Ellen’s] show anyway, and I will just continue to do the same. But jesus fuck, Neil deGrasse Tyson, I expected more of you than that you’d laughingly share a microphone with climate-change-denying, gay- and trans-hating, apologist-for-racists Ben Shapiro.

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

Facts:

PZ makes four claims here, all of which are lies. Let’s tackle them in order:

1. Climate change denier. Nope. Shapiro believes the climate is changing, he just disagrees with PZ Myers on what to do about it. Here’s Shapiro [some punctuation added to the Google transcript]:

So my perspective on climate change is: number one I’m not a climatologist, but accepting the IPCC reports, you have to take into account the fact that modelling has been wrong for 20 to 30 years. It’s always been overestimating the amount of climate change that’s actually taking place. But, virtually every reputable scientist including folks who are who are called Skeptics believe that the climate is warming. There’s an argument about as to how much. And that over 50 percent of that warming is probably attributable to human activity.  Now, that raises other questions, which is OK…so let’s say the Earth is warming. What kind of damage is that actually going do? And this is a serious question. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRk1p8Lzwvo

2. Gay Hater. Swing and a miss. Find evidence of gay hatred in this interview with Dave Rubin (a gay man) and we’ll change our minds.

3. Trans Hater. PZ is in the ballpark here, but we don’t think anything he’s said could reasonably seen as “hatred” towards trans people. Here’s Shapiro again:

I haven’t been unclear about this. Transgenderism is a mental condition. It is not about societal construction of gender identity or social disapproval of those who don’t “act like us.” If you are a biological man and you believe you are a woman, you suffer from a mental disorder. What I said in this video is factually correct. None of this is an argument for mistreatment of people who suffer from this mental disorder. Far from it. But pretending that male and female are completely malleable categories is a total and absolute, anti-scientific lie.

https://www.dailywire.com/news/so-heres-giant-list-all-dumb-stuff-ive-ever-done-ben-shapiro

4. Apologist for racists. No idea what PZ is talking about here, and he offers no evidence for the claim.

Analysis:

Take a look at the title of this piece up on Shapiro’s website: “So, Here’s A Giant List Of All The Dumb Stuff I’ve Ever Done (Don’t Worry, I’ll Keep Updating It).” He goes out of his way to point out the things he’s gotten wrong in the past.

We don’t ask that much of PZ Myers, but it would be nice if occasionally acknowledged an error or two.

PZ Myers Lie #3 [in bold]:

Furthermore, Tyson is touring accompanied by his own shadow, the harassment (and worse) accusations against him, which have been quietly buried.

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

Facts:

The quite public accusations against Tyson, which surfaced last November, were investigated not once but twice by his employers.

Fox Broadcasting and National Geographic investigated the allegations in early 2019 and subsequently cleared Tyson to return to his previous position.

New York’s American Museum of Natural History did the same in July of this year.

Analysis:

By “buried,” PZ means the investigators didn’t find what PZ wanted them to find. Like most of the people PZ Myers targets at Pharyngula, Tyson is much more accomplished and popular than him. That brings out the envy in PZ.

Also interesting is this – PZ has a sexual assault allegation of his own that may or may not have been “quietly buried.” We wonder if PZ sees his own shadow every time he talks about this subject.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 117 science-related posts, 465 non-science posts.

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

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 144 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

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?

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/09/19/neither-jewish-nor-christian-nor-western-ben-shapiro-is-just-full-of/

Facts:

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Nazi_Germany#National_Socialist_attitudes_towards_Christianity

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.

Analysis:

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.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/09/19/neither-jewish-nor-christian-nor-western-ben-shapiro-is-just-full-of/

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.

27 July – Including “And” and “The”

Novelist Mary McCarthy, when asked about playwright Lillian Hellman, had this to say on the Dick Cavett Show:

CAVETT: What is dishonest about her?


MCCARTHY: Everything. But I said once in some interview that every word she writes is a lie, including “and” and “the.”

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2016/09/18/every-word/

Seems like Lillian Hellman and PZ Myers have a lot in common.

Instead of quoting just a snippet of PZ’s blog post today, we’ve reproduced the whole thing.

It’s a masterwork of dishonesty.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

I’m gobsmacked. Ben Shapiro is spending $20K per week advertising on Facebook? PragerU, $80K? That’s a big chunk of change.


Two things come to mind. These right-wing figures are “fake news”. They’ve bought a claque, and their popularity is partly a sham.


But also…if you’re wondering why social media sites keep avoiding social responsibility, are being so cagey about not antagonizing fascists, all you have to do is ask who is paying them.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/27/whoa-those-goons-buy-their-popularity

Facts:

Above is the entire text of PZ’s blog post. In between the first and second paragraphs, he inserts this Twitter thread discussing how much organizations like Prager University and The Ben Shapiro Show spend on advertisements on Facebook. There are at least four lies interspersed throughout the post. We’ll deal with them one at a time.

Lie the first: The Ben Shapiro Show spent $489,662 on “ads about social issues, elections or politics” between May 2018 and July 24, 2019. The math on that is straightforward and works out to less than $8000 a week, not $20K. PZ confused what had been spent in the last seven days with how much they were spending per week.

Lie the second: The numbers for Prager University are similarly wrong. They spent less than $60K a week on average, not $80K.

Lie the third: We don’t know whether or not either of these organizations “purchased” followers in a way that’s been reported time and again in the media – and neither does PZ. That’s not what these ads do. Facebook does not allow people to purchase followers in this way through their platform. These ads appear to be simply advertising their existence and their content, like the Sierra Club, MoveOn.org, Planned Parenthood and a progressive billionaire PZ has written about before: Tom Steyer. You can see the full list of advertisers here, and it covers all sides of the political spectrum. Tom Steyer, incidentally, does spend an average of $80K a week on advertisements. Any bets on whether PZ will ever complain about that?

Lie the fourth: PZ once again claims that someone who disagrees with him is a fascist for no reason. Here, the charge is particularly interesting. Both Shapiro and Dennis Prager are practicing, orthodox Jews. If we were playing PZ’s name-calling game, we would have infinitely more evidence to call him an anti-Semite than he uses to brand these two fascists.

Analysis:

Once again, in keeping with our longstanding tradition to give PZ Myers the benefit of the doubt, we’ve rolled all of these lies up into one. And for the record, we actually don’t think PZ is an anti-Semite, but he is a liar. Both Prager and Shapiro describe themselves as classical liberals, and that’s kryptonite to an evangelical progressive like PZ. Their religion doesn’t matter, he would hate them even if they were atheist.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 69 science-related posts, 170 non-science posts.

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

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 72 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.