16 July – Two Lies! And Where does PZ Myers Stand on Violence?

Yesterday, PZ sang the praises of a man who could have murdered all the staff and detainees housed at an ICE facility in Washington State. On the 1st of July, he wrote that he trusts antifa to fight for right, even if it results in broken bones and blood.

Today, he’s back to claiming that antifa are just peaceful activists mixing up milkshakes.

He’s lying.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

The most damning thing about antifa is that we have photographic evidence of them mixing up lots of milkshakes — it’s so pathetic that the fascists had to make up a lie about them adding quick-set cement to them, just to make it seem like maybe they were a little bit dangerous.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/16/antifa-we-have-a-missile-gap/

Facts:

There are two lies in this one passage, but our longstanding tradition is to give PZ Myers the benefit of the doubt so it counts as one. The first lie is obvious, given our previous coverage. The “most damning thing,” of late, about antifa is the fact that they beat a journalist so bad he suffered a brain hemorrhage.

We’ve covered the second lie before as well. The fascists – whoever they are – didn’t make up a lie about antifa adding quick-set cement to their milkshakes. A Portland Police lieutenant based that assertion on direct evidence he observed. The Police never, to our knowledge, received confirmation that cement was added to any milkshakes, but it is nevertheless a lie to say “fascists” made up that charge.

Analysis:

Repeat a lie enough times and it becomes reality, that appears to be PZ’s strategy here. The only thing is, we’re not quite sure why he wants to try to claim, again, that antifa is all sunshine and light. He has no problem with violence in the name of fighting “evil.” Why does he care about rehabbing antifa’s image?

PZ Myers Lie #2:

That “know your rights” info is a little discouraging, because it tells you all the things ICE is not allowed to do, yet as this example shows, they go right ahead and do them anyway.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/16/it-can-happen-here/

Facts:

PZ helpfully posts a link to the “know your rights” info, however, nowhere in the English version of that pamphlet is there any information relevant to the example he cites. ICE agents do not appear to have acted in a way the pamphlet describes as unlawful.

Analysis:

This is an unforced error. PZ could make the point he wants to make about ICE raids without claiming the agents did anything illegal. But, he doesn’t care. And to put it in perspective, yesterday he was fine with the guy who could have murdered everyone in an ICE detention center, so going from that to just lying about ICE agents is, from one perspective, an improvement.

Final Tally:

Today: 2 science-related posts, 4 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 51 science-related posts, 137 non-science posts.

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

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 59 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

15 July – PZ Myers and Terrorism

It’s been an interesting couple months for PZ Myers. On May 26th, he was touting the peaceful nature of progressive activists. On July 15th, he’s writing fondly about a progressive terrorist.

There’s plenty to get into today, so let’s dig right in.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

There’s an argument to be made that he was committing acts of violence and that he was a terrorist. I’d disagree; a terrorist is trying to intimidate civilians with fear, while Willem Van Spronsen was targeting the tools of institutional oppression to stop terror. 

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/15/if-you-dont-like-punching-nazis-youre-going-to-hate-this/

Facts:

Correctly defining terrorism is, as the Wikipedia page makes clear, fraught with challenges. Like “concentration camp,” “Nazi,” or “fascist,” it only means what the writer wants it to mean. So while we disagree with PZ’s definition here, we won’t call it a lie. The bold portion of his claim, however, is a different story.

PZ is commenting here on a Washington Post article about an attack on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Tacoma, Washington. As the E in the acronym makes clear, ICE is an organization charged with the mission of enforcing United States immigration law. These laws were passed by a constitutionally elected body of representatives, signed into law by an elected chief executive, and upheld as lawful by the third branch of the United States government, the judiciary. Additionally, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution…

…granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States—including former slaves—and guaranteed all citizens “equal protection of the laws.”

https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/fourteenth-amendment

Institutional oppression, according to Wikipedia:

occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oppression#Institutionalized_oppression

Does a nation enforcing its lawfully passed and enacted immigration laws constitute an act of institutional oppression? If it does, then the words institutional oppression have no meaning. People living outside of the United States cannot be oppressed by its institutions. Those who make the choice to enter the United States without following the law as it pertains to immigration cannot then truthfully claim to be oppressed when the institutions of the United States government enforce those laws.

Analysis:

We have emigrated, on two different occasions, to countries outside the US, so we have some first-hand experience in this area. We also roughly agree with PZ Myers’s open-borders stance, to a point. But lying about what ICE does is no way to bring about immigration reform that benefits the families of those escaping brutal leftist regimes in Central and Southern America.

We also want to touch on PZ’s embrace of violence, but we’ll go more in depth after the next lie.

PZ Myers Lie #2:

There is the truly criminal act, the state terrorism we stand by and watch: private companies paid by the government to imprison innocents for being born in the ‘wrong’ place.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/15/if-you-dont-like-punching-nazis-youre-going-to-hate-this/

Facts:

ICE does not imprison innocent people for being born in the wrong place. ICE temporarily imprisons people born in a country other than the US who make a conscious decision to enter the country in violation of immigration law.

Analysis:

At the outset of this post we said PZ has had an interesting couple of months. In late May, he was trying to persuade us that progressives were:

…still not doing real physical harm against opponents who have shot people, murdered them with cars, or dispatched roving gangs to assault people on the street. They are throwing dairy products or eggs.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/05/26/comrades-to-the-barricadeserrm-the-dairy-queen/

Today, he borderline celebrates a man armed with a gun and incendiary devices, whose actions could have…

…resulted in the mass murder of staff and detainees housed at the facility had he been successful at setting the tank ablaze,” Shawn Fallah, who heads the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility, said in a statement. “These are the kinds of incidents that keep you up at night.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/07/14/armed-man-throwing-incendiary-devices-ice-detention-center-killed-officer-involved-shooting-police-say/

PZ says this about him:

Will Van Spronsen is a human being who acted against evil.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/15/if-you-dont-like-punching-nazis-youre-going-to-hate-this/

We’re mostly stunned. Normally, when an unstable individual commits some act of madness armed with a gun that either could have or did result in massive loss of life, PZ is beside himself with righteous indignation, yelling at the NRA and stupid Republicans for enabling them. Today, he seems to have turned over a new leaf, welcoming this kind of violence as long as it’s directed against “evil.”

And once again, that “evil” is an entirely lawful organization enforcing the entirely lawful immigration laws of the United States.

We got a little too heated in our analysis of PZ’s post excusing the antifa violence against Andy Ngo, so we’ll stop here. But something has happened over the last two months, and we’re not sure where it will lead.

AN ALMOST PZ Myers Lie:

This is not the first time Trump has gone on a racist tirade.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/15/asked-answered/

Analysis:

“Racist” is another word without a meaning in today’s political climate. The four-tweet “tirade” PZ refers to from Trump today says not one word about race, but people all over the country are calling it racist, up to and including NY Times columnists. So, it would be unfair for us to call this a PZ Myers lie.

We do reserve the right to investigate any claims PZ makes that other people are racist, but for now we’ll let him get away with calling Trump a racist not because it’s true, but because the word has been redefined to mean exactly anything the speaker intends it to mean.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 49 science-related posts, 133 non-science posts.

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

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 57 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.

19 June – PZ Herds All His Lies Into a Concentration Camp

We had a few leisurely days here at PZWatch while our namesake liar was away at a conference actually talking about science. We noted yesterday that he was back, but today he’s back with a vengeance. Five lies! The most we’ve see in a single day.

We have a LOT of work ahead of us – and we’re away at a conference of our own – so we won’t even try to work out a gag to illustrate the absurdity of all of today’s lies, we’ll just get started with the first one.

PZ Myers Lie:

“This is one holiday that Trump and his ilk won’t be appropriating to turn into a campaign rally for white nationalism, unlike the 4th of July.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/19/its-juneteenth/

Facts:

PZ – a 62 year-old bearded biology professor – links to a story in Teen Vogue about a holiday called Juneteenth, which celebrates the last slaves being freed by the Union Army after the Civil War. This is the context for the lie we quote above.

PZ attempts an interesting sleight of hand here evade the charge of a lie – he tries to make it predictive. You can’t lie about the future, or so the saying goes, and saying Trump will not be doing X is a good way of getting a shot in at Trump or his supporters without technically crossing the lie barrier, even if there is no truth to the charge of X. Here, PZ slips up and makes a concrete prediction that Trump will turn the 4th of July holiday into a campaign rally for white nationalism.

There is no evidence for this charge. In fact, the schedule for the 4th of July holiday in Washington, D.C. has just been released and there is no mention of white nationalism at all (another sentence we’d never thought we’d write. Thanks, PZ!). Additionally, according to a recent poll, 36% of African-Americans approve of Trump, and we find it impossible to believe that many people approve of a President who either is a white nationalist or supports white nationalist causes. All of which adds this to the growing list of PZ Myers lies.

Analysis:

PZ hasn’t talked much about Trump lately, but when he does it’s against the backdrop of a steady drumbeat of racism. Nothing Trump actually does matters to PZ – meeting with Kanye West, backing sentencing reform, etc. – the only thing that matters is how Trumps words can be twisted to fit PZ’s conservatives-are-racist narrative. This is one of the more shameful narratives PZ pushes on a regular basis without evidence. But there is so much more to come today, so let’s crack on.

PZ Myers Lie #2:

The US has concentration camps. This country has always had concentration camps.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/19/a-concentration-camp-by-any-other-name-is-still-a-concentration-camp/

Facts:

Many of PZ’s lies come from his practice of redefining words to suit his political purposes, and this one is a perfect example. Here a good definition of a concentration camp, and one that is very close to the definition PZ uses elsewhere in his post. Under this definition, the US has only had concentration camps at discreet moments in its history, and currently does not have any right now. A group of people detained at a country’s border for crossing that border illegally cannot truthfully be said to be in a concentration camp.

Analysis:

PZ doesn’t like US immigration policy. He’s something of an open borders advocate, although pinning him down on an exact policy prescription on this issue is as difficult as it is on any other. So as long as there are immigration laws preventing people from freely entering the United States – other nations can have immigration laws, as far as we can tell, but not the US – then those people who attempt to enter the country without following those laws are by PZ’s definition put into “concentration camps.”

But hold on – we’re only a few sentences in, there are many more PZ lies to come!

PZ Myers Lie #3:

We are the world’s greatest master of concentration camps and ethnic cleansing.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/19/a-concentration-camp-by-any-other-name-is-still-a-concentration-camp/

Facts:

There is little ambiguity to this statement. PZ is speaking about the United States, and making the claim that the country is the greatest “master” of concentration camps and ethnic cleansing. One could argue that this claim in entirely dependent upon PZ’s definition of the word master, but we are going to use the definition we think PZ means in the context of this blog post, which is: “a great figure of the past (as in science or art) whose work serves as a model or ideal.”

Now that we have the basis to evaluate PZ’s claim, let’s dig into the specifics. Has the US used concentration camps in the past? Undoubtedly yes, as we discuss above. Has the US employed “ethnic cleansing” in the past? PZ argues that the country has, specifically in their dealings with Native Americans, and given a plain reading of the definition, we would agree. But does the fact that the US has done each of those things in the past mean they are the “world’s greatest master” in each?

The answer is plainly no. The concentration camp article we cite above gives only a brief mention of the US’ history before detailing a much longer and more prolific history of concentration camp use in, for example, the Soviet Union. Turning to the present day, China uses a network of concentration camps to manage ethnic minorities in the name of countering terrorism.

Turning to the ethnic cleansing charge, the Wikipedia article we cite does not even mention Native Americans when giving examples of past instances of ethnic cleansing, even though it meets the definition. It seems improbable that the “world’s greatest master” at something would not be included in the most basic description of the history of that thing, therefore we have added this to the growing list of PZ Myers lies.

Analysis:

But wait, there’s more.

PZ Myers Lie #4:

“But America used [concentration camps] to round up and imprison people of Japanese descent in WWII, and we’re also using them now to isolate people of Latin American descent.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/19/a-concentration-camp-by-any-other-name-is-still-a-concentration-camp/

Facts:

We don’t think we need to spill too much ink on a refutation here. The United States is not using concentration camps to isolate people of Latin American descent. There are 58 million people of Latin American descent living all over the US, and none of them are isolated in concentration camps.

Analysis:

This is an especially despicable lie from PZ Myers, but we’re not done yet. There’s still one more to go.

PZ Myers Lie #5:

“We are throwing people who have committed no crime into crowded, inadequate facilities on the basis of their ethnicity, and people are dying.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/19/a-concentration-camp-by-any-other-name-is-still-a-concentration-camp/

Facts:

It is a crime to enter the Unites States illegally. And to the extent these prospective immigrants are placed into detention facilities, it is because of their actions crossing the border, but because of their ethnicity.

Analysis:

This is technically two lies, and given our longstanding practice of giving PZ the benefit of the doubt we’ve lumped those two into one lie here.

We’ve said before that we think PZ is at his most incoherent when he’s talking about economics – we may need to revise that opinion after today’s performance. Four lies about immigration and concentration camps is a lot to fit into one post, but PZ almost managed to squeeze a couple more in as well.

You might surmise from PZ’s post that he does not believe countries should have borders, but we honestly have no idea. We did a search for “immigration” on Pharyngula and came up with nothing but PZ Myers ranting about X or Y, and perhaps if we read everything he’d every written on the subject we might be able to cobble together a coherent policy position, but it’s more likely that we’ll find a bunch of contradictory statements and not much actual substance.

Such is life when you’re trying to figure out the enigma that is PZ and why he lies so much. Suffice to say, our hope that his renewed interest in science would decrease the number of lies he tells was unfounded. PZ is who he is, and won’t be changing – for better or worse – anytime soon.

Final Tally:

Today: 3 science-related posts and 3 posts on other stuff.

Since 30 May 19: 22 science-related posts, 61 non-science posts.

26% of PZ’s posts on a “science blog” have been about science. 

Note: Most of PZ’s posts on science since 30 May have been dedicated to a spider data gathering initiative. There have been precious few posts on anything else having to do with science. When the spider initiative is complete, we’ll take a look at the numbers and parse out how much other science content he provides.

Today: 5 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 27 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.