15 Oct – Rich People Get Bilked! A Story PZ Myers Should Love

We’ve had the misfortune of documenting PZ’s economic incoherence many times in the past. We’ve even described it in formulaic terms: PZ Myers + Economics = Lie. It seems to be a fundamental law of sorts in the Pharyngula universe, and it was validated again today.

PZ spent a lot of time commenting on Theranos, an infamous start-up that went bankrupt when its technology turned out not to be what the company and its investors thought it was. The end result?

In May 2018 John Carreyrou reported that American business and government leaders lost more than $600 million by privately investing in Theranos. Major investments had been made by the Walton family ($150 million), Rupert Murdoch ($121 million), Betsy DeVos ($100 million), and the Cox family (of Cox Media Group) ($100 million). The final liquidation of the company in September 2018 rendered these investments completely worthless.


Rich billionaires losing incredible amounts of money when a company goes under? You’d think PZ Myers would be all over that, especially when some of them – like Rupert Murdoch and Betsy DeVos – are conservative bête noires.

So when there is a choice between writing about conservative rich people getting screwed or bashing capitalism writ large, which does he go with?

Trick question. With PZ Myers, there is always a third option. Lie.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Holmes was trying to build a medical device that she imagined in the absence of actual knowledge about how it would work. I would like to imagine a perpetual motion machine. That does not mean that my enthusiasm makes it a good idea.



This is a neat, tidy little story, if true. Elizabeth Holmes simply imagined a novel new medical device and then used her extraordinary talent for persuasion to bilk rich people out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The only thing wrong with it: it’s a fantasy.

From its incorporation in 2003 until 2018, Holmes was the company’s chief executive officer. She recruited Channing Robertson, a chemical-engineering professor at Stanford, to be a technical advisor and the company’s first board member during its early years.


Who is Channing Robertson?

Robertson taught Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes when she was a student at Stanford, and he went on to become the company’s first board member. He convinced Ian Gibbons to work for Theranos in 2005. In 2017, Theranos named him the co-leader of their technology advisory board. Even as Theranos was coming under growing scrutiny, as of May 2018, Robertson still believed the company was successful in developing novel blood testing technology. 


Ok, cool. Who is Ian Gibbons?

Gibbons was British and held a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Cambridge. He spent 30 years working on diagnostic and therapeutic products at various technology companies including Biotrack Laboratories. At Biotrack, he worked with Channing Robertson, who later recommended him as the first experienced scientist hired by Theranos. Gibbons, Robertson and others invented and patented a mechanism at Biotrack to dilute and mix liquid samples, abilities which would become key in Theranos processes


Is the picture starting to come together? Holmes didn’t just conjure a medial device out of thin air and then convince people to invest in it, she had real, actual, experienced scientists working for and with her developing this technology. It didn’t work as expected/advertised, but to call it a fantasy, as PZ has done, is a lie.


PZ’s just getting started. Hold on, we’ll wrap it all up at the end.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

But Margaret Thatcher’s (and Ronald Reagan’s) fiscal policies were disastrous! They led to our current mess and only benefited the rich…oh. I guess from the author’s perspective that wasn’t disastrous at all.



Once again, PZ has to invert the truth in order to make the point he wants to make. There is so much disinformation in the first two sentences it’s hard to know where to start, so let’s begin with this.

What “current mess”?? The economy is expanding under Trump at a greater rate than it did under Obama. Unemployment is lower than it’s been since we’ve been alive. The inflation rate is a modest 1.7%. Consumer confidence is high, as are retail sales. And that’s just a small sampling of the good economic news we could cite to demolish the idea that we’re in any sort of mess today whatsoever.

Second, were Thatcher and Reagan’s fiscal policies disastrous? We’ll only deal with the claim about Reagan here, we’re not well versed in UK economic history.

The conventional wisdom is that after a recession in the early years of the 1980s, the US economy expanded at a fast clip throughout the rest of the decade in part due to lower taxes and the deregulation of many industries. But, did that actually happen?

Turns out the answer is yes.

The Great Expansion

But, PZ might say, none of that matters. Sure, the economy grew, but at the expense of the poor and for the benefit of the rich.

If that were the case, we should see a sharp uptick in poverty.


Instead what we see are poverty rates that are relatively stable from 1975 onward.


Wait for it – we have one more lie to go.

PZ Myers Lie #3 [in bold]:

This guy is a dangerous idiot. He goes on to argue that real business leaders just need enthusiasm and confidence to persuade investors to pour money into your dream so you can just keep on chasing it. If you’re not confident, the investors will abandon you, and Holmes was great because she was so confident.



It should come as no surprise to PZWatch readers that John Tamny, the author of the piece PZ critiques here, never says real business leaders only need enthusiasm and confidence. While he does argue that a “lack of confidence in front of investors is the path to investor flight,” and that one element of Holmes’s success stemmed from her confidence, in no way, shape, or form does he argue that confidence alone is what makes her – or business leaders in general – great.


PZ Myers has to make construct a very specific type of strawman out of this story in order to knock it down the way he does. He wants to denegrate capitalism, not academia, so he has to keep his focus on Holmes and not the academics and scientists who worked with her at Theranos. He wants to make the case that capitalism is worse for people than socialism, so free market policies – like those enacted during the Reagan years – have to be disastrous, despite what the actual numbers show. And by the same token, we currently have to be in an economic “mess” even though almost every indicator seems to tell a different story. And this is so important – discrediting capitalism is a big, big deal – that he can’t even bring himself to mention the rich, stooopid Republicans who invested the equivalent of a small nation’s GDP in Theranos and lost it all.

We’re always amazed at the sheer quantity of misinformation a creationist has to believe in order to validate their ideology. PZ Myers has to believe at least that much to validate his own.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 5 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 119 science-related posts, 477 non-science posts

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

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 150 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

23 Aug – PZ Celebrates a Death, Then Lies About That Person’s Life

The Koch brothers, both together and separately, have represented a particular kind of bugaboo for PZ Myers. The idea that someone could have both money and the courage of their convictions to invest that money to make their political ideas turn into reality isn’t a foreign one to him. Both George Soros and Tom Steyer are examples of people on the progressive left with whom PZ doesn’t take much issue. But the Koch brothers represent, for an evangelical progressive like PZ Myers, the Devil incarnate.

What does a good progressive do, then, when the Devil dies? Celebrate, that’s what.

But, if you’re PZ Myers at least, you have to lie about it, too.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

One down. David Koch is dead. One more malignant, poisonous criminal whose sole contribution to history is bringing the end of civilization a little closer is gone.



David Koch’s sole “crime” was having some political ideas that clash with the ideas preferred by PZ Myers. As we’ll see, they shared quite a few ideas and values.

PZ supports his claim that Koch is a “malignant, poisonous criminal whose sole contribution to history is bringing the end of civilization a little closer,” with a long quote from Jane Mayer about the supposed power Koch and his brother wielded to dissuade Congress from passing cap and trade legislation to regulate carbon in the US economy.

That’s an interesting take, to say the least, to suggest that the failure to pass cap and trade almost a decade ago has caused the end of civilization to advance just a little bit closer. PZ hasn’t, to our knowledge, established that the end of civilization is eminent at any point on the horizon. We have some plans to make if that’s the case, so we’d be interested to know the details.

Additionally, we suspect any contributions Koch makes to history will be as a result of his philanthropic endeavors:

In February 1991, Koch was a passenger on board USAir Flight 1493 when it collided with another aircraft on a runway at Los Angeles International Airport, killing 35 people. Koch survived and said in an interview in 2014 that it helped change his life and prompted him to become “tremendously philanthropic.”


A partial list of his donations is also documented on his Wikipedia page here:

Koch said his biggest contributions go toward a “moon shot” campaign to finding the cure for cancer, according to his profile on Forbes. Between 1998 and 2012, Koch contributed at least $395 million to medical research causes and institutions…In 2015, he committed $150 million to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City to build the David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care…From 1982 to 2013, Koch contributed $18.6 million to WGBH Educational Foundation, including $10 million to the Public Broadcasting Service(PBS) show Nova. Koch was a contributor to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., including a $20 million gift to the American Museum of Natural History, creating the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing and a contribution of $15 million to the National Museum of Natural History to create the new David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, which opened on the museum’s 100th anniversary of its location on the National Mall on March 17, 2010. He also served on the executive board of the Institute of Human Origins. In 2012, Koch contributed US$35 million to the Smithsonian to build a new dinosaur exhibition hall at the National Museum of Natural History.


Interesting little tidbit here about Koch’s political activism:

In July 2015 David Koch and his brother were commended by both President Obama and activist Anthony Van Jones for their bipartisan efforts to reform the prison system in the United States. For nearly ten years the Kochs together advocated for several reforms within the criminal justice system which include reducing recidivism rates, simplifying the employment process for the rehabilitated, and defending private property from government seizures through asset forfeiture. Allying with groups such as the ACLU, the Center for American Progress, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the Coalition for Public Safety, and the MacArthur Foundation, the Kochs maintained the current prison system unfairly targets low-income and minority communities at the expense of the public budget


In other words, PZ gets David Koch exactly backwards. Not only is he not a malignant criminal, but he is a huge supporter of science, medical research and many of the same political policies PZ professes to prefer.


PZ has been on an open borders tear recently, but so was David Koch. He and his brother were huge proponents of immigration and spent a lot of time and money working with immigrants. This is yet another issue – the Koch brothers, that is – which demands a nuanced, skeptical treatment anathema to what PZ Myers does nowadays. He’s an unskeptical evangelical partisan shill, and his next lie illustrates this especially well.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

They’re millionaires, by definition they’re contemptible parasites who have exploited others to obtain their excessive wealth.  



PZ was off to the races here in a long rant about science funding (in the context of Jeffrey Epstein, of course. We idly wonder sometimes if PZ would ever avail himself of a cure for cancer if he found out its discovery had been funded by the billionaire pedophile).

He’s gone on a variation of this rant before, but limited his criticism to billionaires. This time he lowers the bar by a factor of a thousand. We know this is a lie because PZ Myers has never called the following people “contemptible parasites who have exploited others to obtain their excessive wealth”:

  • Bernie Sanders
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Barack Obama
  • Joan Gabel

The first three names are recognizable. We’ll get to the fourth in a minute.

Sanders and Warren are PZ Myers’s preferred Presidential candidates. He’s endorsed Sanders in the past, and this time around he says he prefers Warren.

Both of them are millionaires.

Sanders is relatively poor, by comparison, at a mere $2 million net worth. Warren is doing much better, sitting at between $6 and $11 million.

Former President Obama is doing better than both of them combined, however. He and his wife Michelle just bought a Hampton’s estate valued at $14.85 million to go along with their Washington D.C. residence valued at $8 million.

We have never seen PZ Myers claim that any of these three politicians are contemptible parasites who have exploited others to obtain their excessive wealth.

The fourth name on the list is a little bit closer to home for PZ. Joan Gabel is the President of the University of Minnesota, the flagship institution of the University of Minnesota system which includes PZ Myers’s own institution, the University of Minnesota, Morris.

Just last December, the University of Minnesota unanimously approved Gabel’s salary: $640,000 a year. Gabel is contracted for five years which means, assuming she remains at the University for the entirety of her contract, she will make $3.2 million dollars.

A search of PZ’s website shows that he’s never written about Joan Gabel, therefore it’s safe to say, just like the other three people on our list, he’s never called her a parasite who has exploited others.


When is PZ Myers most incoherent, is a question we ask ourselves quite often. The answer might just be anything having to do with economics. The idea that someone who has made any amount of money in their lives has, by definition, exploited someone else is so foreign to textbook economic theory in addition to reality in everyday life that it approaches the incoherence of a religious belief. PZ abhors those beliefs in another context. Why can’t he see the fact that his thinking is infected in a similar manner? We have no idea, but it does make for some interesting reading.

And some astounding lies.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 88 science-related posts, 276 non-science posts.

24% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 98 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

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.


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.



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.


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.


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!


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.



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.


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.



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.


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.


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.

21 July – More Incoherence about Economics From a Biologist

PZ Myers reminds us with some regularity that having a PhD in one discipline doesn’t mean you know anything about an entirely unrelated discipline. It’s a shame PZ doesn’t seem to understand that himself. Today he tried to explain the economics of asteroid mining to…well, the billionaires who have studied asteroid mining extensively and are planning to do it. How does that work?

Easy, he lies about it.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

That’s Bezos. He seems to have a superficial understanding of the fact that we’re wrecking our home, but his excuse is that we can go get stuff from space to reduce our drain on the system, which is nonsense. There’s no oil in space. Mining is always going to be more difficult, expensive, and dangerous on asteroids. The kinds of resources that drive the material development of society are going to be more destructive to the environment if we haul in more of them.



PZ is regrettably vague in the mechanism by which these resources will be “more destructive to the environment,” however his choice of the title for the post and the fact that he lets a climate change scientist have the last word strongly suggest he is talking about greenhouse gasses here.

And it’s a lie.

A recent study from the University of Paris-Saclay calculated the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by a platinum mining operation on earth and the amount that might be emitted by an asteroid mining operation. Here are the results:

…economies of scale from large asteroid-mining operations could lower this to about 60 kilograms of CO2 per kilogram of platinum. That needs to be compared with the emission from Earth-based mining. Here, platinum mining generates significant greenhouse gases, mostly from the energy it takes to remove this stuff from the ground. Indeed, the numbers are huge. The mining industry estimates that producing one kilogram of platinum on Earth releases around 40,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide. “The global warming effect of Earth-based mining is several orders of magnitude larger,” say Hein and co.



Topics like this are why we like to call PZ Myers an “evangelical progressive.” There is a religious quality to his beliefs. He would likely dismiss this evidence out of hand and still maintain that asteroid mining would be worse for our environment than continuing to mine in our current fashion.

He gives up the game near the end of the post, when he says, “If you’re serious about saving Planet Earth, work to end capitalism and build sustainable, renewable institutions.”

Ending capitalism is the real goal. All the rest is just window dressing. It’s freedom, and free markets, that really bother PZ Myers. Which, for a scientist, doesn’t make much sense.

We wonder sometimes if he would rather be the richest person in the world 100 year ago or if he’d prefer to live near the poverty line today. His answer, we think would be revealing. In almost every way, those living in a first-world country near the poverty line today are far better off than the richest person in the world was in 1919, and almost every bit of that is due to capitalism.

We came across an old quote from PZ, which says:

If you’ve got a religious belief that withers in the face of observations of the natural world, you ought to rethink your beliefs — rethinking the world isn’t an option.

PZ Myers

His quasi-religious belief in socialism (or marxism, or anything other than the free market) withers in the face of the last 100 years of observations, but he’s not rethinking his world.

We find that curious.

Incidentally, we love the part where PZ tries to explain to the three billionaires who have invested millions of dollars in asteroid mining that what they’re doing doesn’t make economic sense. We’re sure none of them ever thought to crunch the numbers on this one, but they’ll certainly do so now, after reading PZ Myers’s insightful analysis.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 56 science-related posts, 149 non-science posts.

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

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 62 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

9 July – If You Have Money, You’ve Stolen It: Deep Thoughts and Three Lies From PZ Myers

Back when we used to watch Saturday Night Live, one of our favorite segments was Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey (who, we didn’t know until just now, is a real person). Here are some of Jack’s best lines. We think of him often when reading PZ Myers because they both write surrealistic sentences that are often funny. The only difference is, one intends to be funny, and the other doesn’t.

We had a Jack Handey moment today that we’ll go into in much more detail below.

We’ve discussed our prediction before (on the 3rd of July) that PZ would call Antifa “patriotic” the next day. He didn’t, but he’s been inching ever closer to that declaration. Today, he wants us all to “Support your local antifa” and posted a link to some pre-WWII articles about Nazis, all in an effort to analogize current events to the 1930s and compare his ideological enemies with fascists and Nazis. We stand by our prediction – sooner or later he’ll be saying it’s patriotic to beat up those people who disagree with him, because otherwise Hitler will rise again in the US.

Or something.

PZ Myers Lie:

I know, it’s early in the morning, my fellow Americans, and you’re still working on your coffee and cornflakes, but if I have to be exposed to this talking emetic, you get it too. He’s now calling people who demand greater diversity in congress “racists”.



PZ references an 80-second video of Tucker Carlson’s show posted to Twitter. In that clip, Carlson did not call those who demand greater diversity in congress “racists.” He was responding to a quote from Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who in turn was talking about giving more power to those people already in congress. Neither Carlson nor Tlaib were talking about increasing diversity in congress, they were talking about the balance of power for those minorities already in congress.


One day we might go back and tally all the PZ Myers’s lies we’ve found that have been exposed by the very source material he cites. This is another example. We were also surprised that PZ posted the entire clip, which was enough time to allow Carlson to state his point relatively well (here is the whole segment). PZ almost never allows actual conservative arguments to appear on the pages of Pharyngula, preferring instead to post only his caricatured, dishonest version.

One of our favorite Supreme Court quotes of all time came from Chief Justice Roberts in the 2007 Parents Involved decision, where he wrote, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” The issues in that case were not unlike the issues Carlson and Tlaib and even PZ are talking about, and while we can see the arguments on both sides, it remains nonetheless true that if X action is taken – whatever that action is – solely because Y person is of a certain race, X action is racist by definition.

PZ Myers Lie #2:

That’s perverse. So congress can go on for hundreds of years as a body consisting almost exclusively of white men, and that’s not racist, but anyone suggesting that there be a more balanced representation that includes more women of color is racist.



This is PZ’s first paragraph after the Carlson video and he’s responding directly to the video, calling it perverse in the first sentence. The second half of the second sentence is essentially repeating lie #1 above, and we won’t go into that in any more detail. What concerns us is the first half. Carlson makes no claim about congress consisting of white men for hundreds of years, and makes no claim that was not racist. Carlson does not even imply this claim in the extended transcript we link to above. PZ simply makes it up.


See lie #1. We’re growing weary, after only two months, of pointing out the number of times PZ lies about the very evidence he uses to reach some of his conclusions. We would find it amazing that the commenters on his site don’t call him out about it, had we not been banned on numerous occasions for doing exactly that. No one dare call PZ out on his lies, because if they start doing that their days are numbered.

PZ Myers Lie #3:

If you a [sic] filthy rich billionaire who has some liberal goals (you’re not going to be promoting leftist/progressive goals, because you’ve already demonstrated a life-long commitment to stealing from workers), I have a different suggestion: run for president on the Republican side. 



The claim that no billionaire could promote leftist/progressive goals is a novel one we’ve not encountered before, but we’ll admit to not having read everything PZ Myers has ever written. We considered this a candidate for a Great Big Lie, but the second half of this parenthetical claim is a more concrete lie that deserves to be counted. Tom Steyer, the billionaire PZ references, is a known person with known business career and known philanthropic endeavors we can examine. So let’s do it.

Steyer made most of his money because he founded an investment firm called Farallon Capital Management. Part of Farallon’s portfolio involved:

…finding distressed international companies and helping the businesses restructure. In 1999, Farallon bought a direct stake in an Argentine shoe company, which it helped stabilize to profitability as Argentina recovered from an economic crisis. And in 2002, Farallon bought control of Bank Central Asia (BCA), an Indonesian financial institution, for $531 million. At the time, many of Indonesia’s banks were on the verge of collapse because of bad loans made during President Suharto’s leadership and the country was seen as dangerous for foreign investment. Over the next four years, Farallon installed a new chairman and made necessary reforms. After Farallon sold its stake for a profit in 2006, many other institutional investors began to look to Indonesia for returns. In the year before Farallon’s investment in Indonesia, $286 million flowed into the country as foreign direct investment. After Farallon exited, that number grew to $1 billion in 2007 and $4 billion in 2008. According to Council on Foreign Relations economics fellow Sebastian Mallaby, “Farallon’s investment was a blessing for Indonesia.”


In sum, Farallon invested in companies that might otherwise have gone bankrupt, destroying the jobs of all their workers in the process. Far from “stealing from workers,” Steyer blessed his most vulnerable workers with good work and a steady income. PZ’s not only lying, he’s inverting the truth. Tom Steyer has helped more workers than PZ Myers could ever dream of doing.

But wait, there’s more. Steyer has also been involved in many charities throughout his business career and he and his wife have pledged to “give at least half their wealth to charitable causes during their lifetime.” So not only is he not “stealing” from workers, he will ultimately give back half of what he’s earned to people less fortunate than he.


This was our Jack Handey moment. If an economist had written this sentence, it would definitely be for laughs, but PZ is dead serious.

PZ Myers + Economics = Lie. Like the Einstein field equations, this appears to be a fundamental law of sorts in the Pharyngula universe. It’s always been amazing to contemplate the number of things a flat-earther or a creationist must believe in order to conclude their theory is correct. Likewise, the number of things PZ has to lie about to believe capitalism (or just making money, especially in the way Tom Steyer did) is somehow an evil endeavor is astounding. It’s one of the reasons we find it constantly fascinating to read PZ, and why we’ll be back tomorrow with more.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 42 science-related posts, 111 non-science posts.

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

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 49 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

10 June 2019 – Two More Lies and a Little More Science

A couple days ago, when we noted a PZ Myers lie about undermining capitalism, we quoted him saying this:

“One of the ways we’re undermining capitalism, at least, is that we avoid prepared foods even more. I’ve been getting hunks of raw vegetables and doing all the cooking myself.”


At the time, we thought to ourselves, “PZ must be on the paleo diet,” because the diet advocates avoiding prepared foods and eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables.

We were wrong.

PZ can’t stand the paleo diet – or perhaps doesn’t understand what it is – and that leads us to our first lie of the day.

PZ Myers Lie:

“I keep hearing about this imaginary paleolithic diet, and I wonder how they know, and also find it strange that there was apparently one people a [sic] 100,000 years ago, and they all ate the same things. Everything about it seems wrong.”



Like most things that PZ disagrees with, he doesn’t know much about the Paleolithic diet and doesn’t portray it in anything close to a truthful manner. The diet isn’t based on what people ate 100,000 years, but rather on the diets of contemporary hunter-gatherer societies.

Here’s National Geographic Magazine describing how the diet came about:

“After studying the diets of living hunter-gatherers and concluding that 73 percent of these societies derived more than half their calories from meat, [Loren] Cordain came up with his own Paleo prescription: Eat plenty of lean meat and fish but not dairy products, beans, or cereal grains—foods introduced into our diet after the invention of cooking and agriculture.


The Paleo diet isn’t based on a single diet, as PZ claimed. It’s not based on what people ate 100,000 years ago. And it doesn’t assume people all eat the same things. Everything about PZ’s description of this diet seems wrong to him because everything about it is wrong. And it’s yet another PZ Myers lie.


We have no idea why PZ has chosen the Paleo diet as a target for his uninformed ridicule, but we think it might have something to do with Jordan Peterson. Along with his daughter, Peterson has adopted a meat-only diet that helps address the health concerns they both share. PZ is merciless when ridiculing Peterson about this diet, and we’re not quite sure why he does that, either. But it’s something we’ll keep our eye on moving forward.

PZ Myers Lie #2:

“I’m kind of sympathetic to the idea of the big tech companies getting taken down a notch, but not because of the imaginary threat of vaccines or cellular networks or chemtrails or chemotherapy — but because they’ve evolved monopoly power.” 



It’s hard to get a precise handle on PZ’s claim here, because he uses the term “big tech companies” without specifying which companies he’s talking about, but we feel safe in saying there are not multiple tech companies who have monopoly power over anything. The only single example we could think of is Amazon and books and even that power, as we understand it, is beginning to wane.

The three tech companies PZ is most likely talking about in this post are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. They’re the only ones named at the beginning of the post. To say that each of them – or all of them together – has monopoly power strains the meaning of that term to the breaking point. All of them are powerful companies competing for users and ad revenue with each other, as well as dozens or hundreds of smaller, lesser known companies. They also compete with media organizations and television studios and movie producers and other technology companies like Apple. In no way do any of these tech companies meet the threshold of being a monopoly power.


Just two days ago on PZWatch, we reported on the fact that PZ Myers in no uncertain terms wants to overthrow capitalism. We think this is why he goes out of his way to lie about companies achieving monopoly power. Monopolies, in his mind, are an inevitable outcome of capitalism and – we assume this is his line of thinking – the more monopolies there are the sooner the people will rise up and overthrow their capitalistic masters.

Or something.

We haven’t read too many coherent thoughts about economics on Pharyngula so we’re not entirely sure what PZ is up to.

Except lying.

Final Tally:

Today: 2 science-related posts and 4 posts on other stuff.

Since 30 May 19: 11 science-related posts, 39 non-science posts.

22% of PZ’s posts on a “science blog” have been about science. 

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 18 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.