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.

27 June – A Great Big Lie and No, We Won’t Fact-Check PZ Myers’s YouTube Vids

After Jordan Peterson hit it big in the US, we noticed an uptick in the release of PZ Myers’s YouTube videos. We weren’t keeping diligent notes back then so we can’t do a statistical analysis, but we surmised at the time that PZ was trying to replicate Peterson’s success. Trying, but failing.

Today was the first time he’s done a video since we’ve started PZWatch, and when we saw it we naturally asked ourselves, “Do we fact-check that?” And the answer came back a resounding no, for a few reasons. A) No. Just no. B) We don’t get paid enough (we don’t get paid anything, actually). C) Off-the-cuff remarks are often not intended to be precise, so calling him out for lying situation where lying might manifest itself unintentionally would be unfair.

So we get to have our cake an eat it, too. We don’t have to listen to PZ Myers talk, and we can appear magnanimous for having made that decision.

Hey, at least we’re honest.

Which is a quality PZ lacks. Today he went on another immigration rant and repeated a lie about concentration camps, but repeated lies still count. We have all the details, and more, below.

PZ Myers Lie:

“Instead, we exploit our neighbors and when they flee the conditions we have created, we bar the door and watch them die.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/27/fathers-and-baby-girls-and-our-nation-of-evil/

Facts:

In this post, PZ writes about Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his daughter, Valeria, who died trying to cross the Rio Grande River on their way into the US. We could quibble about his claim that the US has “exploited” El Salvador, where Ramirez and his family began their fateful journey, or created the conditions which exist there today, but that’s not why this sentence is a lie. The lie is PZ claiming that the US ‘barred the door.’

According to the Daily Mail’s account, Ramirez and his family arrived in Mexico two months ago, and “got a humanitarian visa which allowed them to work there for a year while awaiting news of their US asylum request…Tired of waiting, they made their way to the border on Sunday to try to push their case forward.” 

The US didn’t “bar the door,” they placed Ramirez and his family in a queue. The family chose not to wait in Mexico – where they were presumably safe from the conditions they fled in El Salvador – for the asylum process to conclude, in a decision that ended in tragedy.

Analysis:

The last time PZ wrote about immigration, just a week ago, we speculated that “he does not believe countries should have borders.” He says this specifically today: “Let them all in.” But we don’t think he means all countries, just the United States.

In any event, if the US isn’t doing something PZ wants it to do, then he resorts to what he does best: lying about what they’re actually doing and then criticizing the result. So, since the US doesn’t immediately grant citizenship to anyone who wants to come to the country, they are ‘barring the door’ and ‘watching them die.’

PZ Myers Lie #2:

The ones who make it across are thrown into concentration camps, and parents and children are separated, and kept in inhumane conditions.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/27/fathers-and-baby-girls-and-our-nation-of-evil/

Facts:

We’ve covered this ground before. It’s still a lie.

Analysis:

We were surprised to see this was the first instance of PZ repeating a lie in the month we’ve been following him. He always seems to find new and creative ways of lying, so we don’t think this is another statistic we’ll need to keep track of, but we will create a tag for lies like this, so if you’re every curious, click on ‘Repeat Lies’ in the sidebar.

PZ Myers Lie #3:

” We kill baby girls and the fathers trying to protect them.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/27/fathers-and-baby-girls-and-our-nation-of-evil/

Facts:

The United States did not – in any sense of the word – kill Ramirez or his daughter. They were in Mexico on a valid work visa, waiting to hear the outcome of their US asylum request when they decided to try to cross the Rio Grande River.

Analysis:

This is PZ at his despicable worst. What happened to the Ramirez family is a tragedy, and he is trying to capitalize on that tragedy to make a partisan political point. We don’t remember him being too concerned about Barack Obama’s immigration policies – or about Bill Clinton’s – and while that may seem like whatabouttism, in Clinton’s case it is absolutely relevant to this story.

Earlier, when we said we wouldn’t quibble with PZ’s assertion that the US had ‘created the conditions’ forcing the Ramirez family to flee, we did that for a reason. There might be a grain of truth to that statement, due to a late-90s policy of deportation for violent street criminals.

But PZ is nothing if not a partisan actor, and he’ll spare no words of criticism for Democrats if a Republican can also be blamed.

THE GREAT BIG LIE:

“We are an evil empire that builds prisons to control people, and maintains armies and guards to make them fear.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/27/fathers-and-baby-girls-and-our-nation-of-evil/

Analysis:

If the US is an “evil empire,” why are people like the Ramirez family risking their lives to get into the country?

That’s a question PZ won’t answer, because he can’t.

He wants to drastically and radically change the politics of the United States. But, to justify that kind of a change to himself and others, he must see a fundamentally evil version of the country, whether or not that version is grounded in reality.

We know that it’s not grounded in reality because there are still hundreds of thousands of people trying to get into the country. We’d say a good measure of how evil your society is would be how many people are trying to get in, and/or whether or not you have to build walls to keep them in or out. Nobody is trying to get into North Korea – a truly evil place – but they have to build walls to keep their citizens from leaving. Generally speaking, the US is on the opposite end of that spectrum. People might say they want to leave but few actually do, and are greatly outnumbered by those who want to get in.

But here’s the catch – if the US is a fundamentally good nation, then there’s no reason for radical political change of the kind PZ wants to see.

As a result, the reason why the Ramirez family so desperately wanted to get into a fundamentally “evil empire” will forever be a mystery to PZ and his followers. It’s not a question they are interested in either asking or answering, because it might cause them to re-think their worldview.

Final Tally:

Today: 2 science-related posts, 3 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 35 science-related posts, 83 non-science posts.

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

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 32 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.