7 June 2019 – ElevatorGate! And PZ Myers Cares About Truth? Really??

We ran through a number of ideas for gags to introduce today’s post – we try to infuse as much humor into the site as possible, even though we know we’re not all that funny – but couldn’t come up with anything funnier that what PZ himself wrote:

“It’s so ironic that a community of atheists has decided that the truth is irrelevant.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/07/the-story-that-atheism-will-never-live-down/

We know what you’re thinking: truth is irrelevant to PZ, so why would he find it ironic that a community of atheists think truth is irrelevant, too? The easy answer is: he’s an asshole who knows he’s lying and doesn’t care.

The real answer is: we don’t know. We’ve written before on how PZ has created for himself a world where facts don’t matter, and it’s quite possible he actually believes himself to be telling the truth, so warped is the fabric of his reality.

Whatever it is, it’s entertaining. For us, at least. But it’s been pretty well established that we have no taste.

PZ Myers Lie:

It was, of course, that moment when a woman casually suggested that ‘guys, don’t do that’ when recounting a brief encounter with a guy who didn’t understand simple boundaries.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/07/the-story-that-atheism-will-never-live-down/

Facts:

Millions of words have been spilled in the aftermath of the single encounter in a Dublin hotel elevator PZ references here, and we’re not going to wade into that controversy. If you’re interested – or, like us, trying to determine whether or not PZ Myers is lying – it’s helpful to go back to what started it all.

Rebecca Watson, fellow atheist and founder of Skepchick.org, did a vlog in 2011, during the course of which she said this:

…except for the one man who didn’t really grasp, I think, what I was saying on the panel, because, at the bar later that night — actually at four in the morning, we were at the hotel bar, four a.m. I said I’ve had enough guys, I’m exhausted, going to bed, so I walked to the elevator, and a man got on the elevator with me and said “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting and I would like to talk more, would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?” Um, just a word to the wise here, guys, don’t do that. I don’t really know how else to explain that this makes me incredibly uncomfortable…

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Elevatorgate

PZ claimed the guy in this story “didn’t understand simple boundaries,” but we see no evidence of that from a plain reading of Watson’s words. Getting into the elevator didn’t cross a boundary. Addressing Watson in a polite manner, and even complementing her, didn’t cross a boundary. And, after being rebuffed, apparently going away and never speaking to her again can’t have crossed a boundary. So, the only boundary he could possibly have crossed was simply asking her to chat and have coffee in his room. In the context of a probably inebriated 4AM elevator ride, we think simply expressing that desire to someone you find interesting doesn’t cross any boundaries at all, much less a simple one. And neither does Watson, by the way, as we’ll detail below.

We believe her when she says the encounter made her incredibly uncomfortable, but that won’t stop us from labelling this yet another PZ Myers lie.

Analysis:

Human interactions are incredibly complex and there could have been a million different reasons behind the question Watson was asked in the elevator. We don’t really need to get into the particulars, except to note that Watson, in her initial telling of the story, did not seek to generalize this man’s behavior or her reaction to it. She didn’t say the man crossed a commonly understood boundary, or that all women would react the same way she did. She individualized the account and said she felt uncomfortable because of his specific actions. She drew a boundary for herself at that point, and it seems obvious to us that she was doing so in a way that would let potential future suitors – a population we guess would highly correlate with the population of people watching her vlogs – interact with her in a way that would not make her feel uncomfortable.

She drew that boundary after the fact – after the man’s question in the elevator – yet PZ indicates that this boundary was clear and simple before the man addressed Watson. It wasn’t.

If all anyone ever took from this story was a warning not to ask Rebecca Watson to share a coffee at 4AM, we wouldn’t be here today. Instead, battle lines formed very quickly and everyone in the community started hurling bullshit and invective at each other. We were on our way out of the skeptic/atheist movement at that point, and the reaction to this episode sealed the deal for good. PZ seems not to have learned a single lesson from it, which isn’t surprising to us, but we do find it sad.

Final Tally:

Today: 2 science-related posts and 2 posts on other topics.

Since 30 May 19: 7 science-related posts, 29 non-science posts.

19.4% of PZ’s posts on a “science blog” have been about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 15 PZ Myers Lies (this from a man who cares about truth, apparently)

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.