22 Sep – When Is PZ Myers Going To Lie Rehab?

He absolutely needs to fine-tune his veracity, and could use to time away to deal with it.

Instead, Jordan Peterson is in rehab to try to help him deal with an addiction to a specific prescription drug, and PZ Myers wants to crow about it. Always one to celebrate the foibles of those he considers intellectual enemies (we don’t think Peterson considers PZ at all), we predict he’ll bring this subject up every time he mentions Peterson moving forward. When he’s not lying about Peterson, he’ll be reminding people about this stint in rehab to try to score points.

Today, he did both.

I liked this angle on the story: going into rehab was the right thing for Peterson to do, and he is to be commended for reaching out for help. But it doesn’t change the fact that he’s one of those tedious self-help gurus, a conservative version of Oprah, who is always telling people that their attitude is the problem, that they should pull themselves up by their bootstraps, when there are systemic problems that require social cooperation to accomplish real change.



“Tedious self-help guru” is a pejorative way to describe a clinical psychologist who used to teach at Harvard, but PZ Myers has always shown a bit of flair for the unnecessary ad-hominem personal attack. While not technically a lie – Peterson did write a book called Twelve Rules For Life – it’s dancing all over the line.

The lie is later on in the paragraph – constituting the entirety of the blog post – when PZ describes what Peterson says. Accurately characterizing his opponents’ arguments is always a problem for him, and this is no exception.

We’ve listened to some of Jordan Peterson’s lectures and read parts of his book – we didn’t get through all of it – but we’re confident he has never said, nor would he ever think that someone’s attitude is “the” problem. Sixth among his twelve rules is this: “Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.” In other words, there are issues in the world to criticize, but before you do that you should make sure you’ve taken a good look at yourself. He does say there are things you can do to improve your life – he is a clinical psychologist, after all, it would be a surprising for him not to say that – he never denies the fact that there are problems in the world requiring social cooperation. In fact, we’ve heard him speak often on the need for social cooperation, just not quite in the way PZ Myers might think of it.

Additionally, in PZ Myers’s world, the phrase “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” is an insult that suggests poor people are poor because they don’t work hard enough. That is another sentiment we’re confident Peterson has never expressed. In fact, we’ve heard him say exactly the opposite.

All of which makes this yet another PZ Myers lie.


Peterson speaks often of the need for balance between ‘chaos’ and ‘order’, writ large. PZ blithely calls him a ‘conservative’, and while we suppose that’s mostly correct it also misses Peterson’s real message.

He thinks it would be a disaster if one side were to win.

PZ can’t wait for the “revolution.” He wants his side – the progressives – to win and would love to see conservatives eradicated from the face of the earth.

Peterson thinks that would be a disaster (and so do we). According to him, we need the left and the right to maintain a certain sense of balance between chaos and order. When one side – either side! – gets too powerful, the results are devastating.

That’s not a typical “conservative” or “progressive” sentiment, but then again the vast majority of what Peterson talks about has nothing to do with politics, which is one of the reasons we’re pretty sure PZ Myers has spent almost no time listening or reading what he has to say.

Which, come to think of it, makes Peterson just like every other person PZ criticizes on Pharyngula.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 4 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 109 science-related posts, 386 non-science posts.

22% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 124 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

13 June 2019 – Science and a Lie! What Is It About Jordan Peterson?

You might think a popular university professor whose lectures get millions of views on YouTube, had written a bestselling book based on his background as a clinical psychologist, and thinks the racist alt-right is wrong and tries to reach out and reform individual members would get some love on Pharyngula.

You’d be wrong.

If that same university professor also things the far left is wrong and speaks out forcefully on the subject, you can be sure PZ will have that professor in his rhetorical crosshairs.

PZ has a special dislike of Jordan Peterson, and since its hard to attack him for things he actually says, PZ almost always has to make something up.

PZ Myers Lie:

“Long-windedness won’t help, although I am not surprised that Peterson thinks rambling on and on is the same as erudition.”



PZ is referencing a story written about a podcast Peterson did with Joe Rogan in which Peterson announced the launch of a site called Thinkspot (once again, PZ won’t cite the source material he wants to criticize, he cites a friendly article about that source material). The story references an attempt by Peterson to balance the principles of free speech with the need to control trolls and quotes Peterson as saying “If minimum comment length is 50 words, you’re gonna have to put a little thought into it…Even if you’re being a troll, you’ll be a quasi-witty troll.”

Peterson does not say a long-winded comment is “the same as erudition.” Quite the opposite, actually. He suggests trolls will be forced to put some thought into any comment they try to leave on the site, so they might not be completely worthless. Far from thinking length = wisdom, Peterson predicts the rules will deter people from being stupid. Whether or not that will actually happen remains to be seen – Thinkspot is not yet open to the public – but in the meantime we can quite clearly label this another PZ Myers lie.


Yesterday, we covered two blog posts where PZ Myers lamented content control in one form or another. We said they have a word for that in Texas: cajones, and PZ has some huge ones. They’re growing bigger by the day because today we find PZ saying, “All this is going to do is reinforce the majority view. Actual dissenting voices will be swiftly downvoted into oblivion. It sounds like a formula for building the most sanctimonious and stupefyingly maundering heap of trollery ever.”

Where, you might ask, are the dissenting voices on Pharyngula? They don’t exist, because PZ deletes their comments or bans them entirely.

PZ doesn’t care about free speech (often mocked on the site as ‘freeze peach’). But he does care that Peterson cares about free speech, and wants to use this as an opportunity to mock him. The interesting thing about this particular lie is he didn’t have to do it. He could have mocked Peterson without lying about what he said, but once PZ finds a theme he hits it over and over again, and one of the themes he brings up constantly about Peterson is his supposed ability to be long winded.

The thing is, PZ himself can be fairly long winded when he’s writing about science – as he did today in a wonderful post. But while we’ve never found PZ to be particularly self-aware, we have found him to lie incessantly.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related posts and 3 posts on other stuff.

Since 30 May 19: 15 science-related posts, 49 non-science posts.

23% 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 he’s running. There have been precious few posts on anything else having to do with science. When the spider data gathering is complete, we’ll take a look at the numbers and parse out how much other science content he provides.

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 20 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.