13 Sep – Two Unfortunate Lies

This is one of those days when it sucks to be a fact-checker.

We agree with much of the thrust of PZ Myers’s criticism of Ken Ham today. But he was angry, and angry people sometimes say things that aren’t true.

We can’t chalk all 119 of his lies up to anger, of course. His reasons for lying are varied and complex. Being mad at Ken Ham is a sentiment with which we can sympathize, but it’s our (volunteer, unpaid) job to sniff out the falsehoods.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Ken Ham is a man who lies to children about the simplest concepts in science, and he was handed hundreds of millions of dollars to build a stupid fake boat in the middle of Kentucky. He’s a liar and a con artist, and he is economically rewarded to a degree most of you are not (definitely more than I am).

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/09/13/ken-ham-and-the-spiders/

Facts:

The city of Williamstown, Kentucky did issue bonds to subsidize the building of the Noah’s Ark park, but only in the amount of $62 million. Even assuming the most generous interpretation of all government actions taken in relation to the park – including highway improvements which may or may not have been done otherwise – the number still comes in at well below $100 million, and is nowhere close to the multiple hundreds of millions of dollars PZ claims.

Analysis:

His heart was in the right place, but he got the magnitude of the subsidies wrong. If PZ had any humility whatsoever, he could make a simple correction and move on. But he won’t.

It’s also interesting to note the tinge of envy here. This has become a common theme with PZ – he will reliably take note of, and compare himself to, people with either more notoriety or more money. Almost every mention of Jeffrey Epstein contains a reference to how PZ Myers doesn’t get donations from billionaires. Almost every mention of Sam Harris notes how much more popular Sam is.

This is another reason we think PZ will never publicly acknowledge either our existence or our critique of his writing – we’re nobody, with almost no scholarly credentials and a small, but growing, audience. We have no power, in other words. It doesn’t matter whether or not what we’re saying is true. Truth has no currency for PZ Myers unless it can be used in furtherance of his evangelical political preferences.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

After stumbling through some transparently stupid evolution denial, he moves on to equally stupid arguments against climate change…”Some scientists” and “sunspots.”Goddamn you to hell, Ken Ham. You’re a liar for Christ, you contemptible, shallow little man.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/09/13/ken-ham-and-the-spiders/

Facts:

Someone unfamiliar with the PZ Myers Method of Lying might skip over these two sentences and never click on the link he provides. But, we are very familiar with him, so we did.

We’re going to compare what PZ quotes Ken Ham as saying with what the Scientific American article PZ cites as evidence says.

First, Ken Ham:

Are these storms (such as Hurricane Dorian, the storm that devastated the Bahamas and parts of the United States in recent weeks) really the result of man-made climate change? Well, climates do change—that is observational science. But the cause of climate change isn’t straightforward. Some scientists have suggested that it may be dependent on the sun and cycles of the sun (such as sunspots), with humans only playing a very minor role.

https://answersingenesis.org/environmental-science/climate-change/angry-spiders-climate-change/

And here is a snippet from the article PZ cites:

Many climate scientists agree that sunspots and solar wind could be playing a role in climate change, but the vast majority view it as very minimal and attribute Earth’s warming primarily to emissions from industrial activity—and they have thousands of peer-reviewed studies available to back up that claim.
Peter Foukal of the Massachusetts-based firm Heliophysics, Inc., who has tracked sunspot intensities from different spots around the globe dating back four centuries, also concludes that such solar disturbances have little or no impact on global warming. Nevertheless, he adds, most up-to-date climate models—including those used by the United Nations’ prestigious Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—incorporate the effects of the sun’s variable degree of brightness in their overall calculations.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sun-spots-and-climate-change/

Two things make this another PZ Myers lie: Ham is not arguing against climate change. He explicitly says climates do change. He is suggesting the effect of human activity on climate change may be relatively minor. And what Ham says about solar activity turns out to be correct. The Scientific American article PZ cites says almost the same thing word for word. Ham isn’t lying, as PZ claims, according to the very evidence he uses to back up that claim.

Analysis:

PZ could have made a scientifically accurate, nuanced argument outlining why solar activity likely plays an overall minor role in climate change, but he was angry with Ham and decided to lash out instead.

We do think it’s interesting that PZ called Ham a liar multiple times throughout the post – it shows he does care, at least superficially, about the truth. If he cares about it that means he can – perhaps! – be shamed into actually telling the truth himself.

We’d like to live to see that day.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 103 science-related posts, 347 non-science posts.

23% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 119 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

14 June 2019 – The One Where PZ Forces Us to Defend a Creationist

We started reading PZ Myers for the atheism, before we were turned off by all the other lies he was peddling, so we opened Pharyngula today and thought, “Oh goodie! PZ’s taking on Ken Ham again.”

We were underwhelmed, to say the least.

We could run KenHamwatch.com standing on our head, but that wouldn’t be very interesting to us. He is a true believer. He won’t be swayed by facts or reason or truth. He thinks he knows what the truth is – the Word of God – and he follows it to the letter. That strikes us as a little sad but not very compelling.

PZ, on the other hand, claims to value facts and reason and truth, although we have our doubts. So when Ken Ham decided to take credit for ‘solving’ a “great paleontological mystery” there were any number of ways PZ could have chosen to truthfully attack him.

He chose to lie instead.

PZ Myers Lie:

“I am sorry, Mr Ham, but your flood, if we postulate that it even happened, was a prolonged, violent event of unimaginable magnitude. Your own site describes it as a year-long global catastrophe that destroyed the pre-Flood world, reshaped the continents, buried billions of creatures, and laid down the rock layers. Yet when it’s convenient, you now claim that it was a delicate, swift event that froze animals in motion. It reshapes continents, but it leaves a few fish unperturbed.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/14/read-your-bible-ken/

Facts:

Both Ken and PZ are writing about a pretty cool article describing a school of 259 fish seemingly frozen in time. In the article, there is some dispute over how the fish were fossilized in such a manner, which leads to the dispute here. The scientists who have looked at the fossil aren’t sure how the fish got that way, but Ken Ham thinks he knows.

PZ unfortunately doesn’t represent that proposal in anything close to an honest manner. Here is Ham’s explanation:

“Since I start with the history in God’s Word, I have the proper lens with which to view the world. This school of fish was catastrophically buried by water-borne sediments during the immediate aftermath of the global flood of Noah’s day. It’s no great mystery!”

https://answersingenesis.org/fossils/how-are-fossils-formed/ken-ham-solves-paleontological-mystery/

Ham does not call it a “delicate” event. To the contrary, he calls it catastrophic. Additionally, PZ quotes Ham’s site as saying the flood “buried billions of creatures.” We think that’s pretty consistent with what he’s saying here, that these 259 fish were “buried by water-borne sediments.” In other words, the quote PZ uses to try to discredit Ham actually bolsters Ham’s argument – such as it is. We want to stress here that Ham’s argument is, in a sense, magical. He’s saying that falling sentiment from a flood a few thousand years ago can explain those fish fossils, when it doesn’t come close to doing any such thing.

We’d like to give PZ the benefit of the doubt here, we really, really would, but any objective observer would conclude that he lies about Ham’s argument here. That doesn’t make Ham’s argument right, but it does make PZ’s argument a lie.

Analysis:

Forget the fact that these 259 fish were fossilized over 50 million years ago. Forget all the other geologic and biological evidence discounting the idea that these fish were NOT buried in a flood a few thousand years ago. Forget all that – PZ has a mission.

He badly wants to catch Ham in a lie that is contradicted by both the Bible and Ham’s own site. It’s effective when we do it with PZ’s own words, but PZ is used to lying, not ferreting out the truth, so he has to make stuff up to get where he wants to go.

If anyone ever accuses us of running up the score (like the women’s soccer team) on PZ, we’re going to point them to posts like this. There are easily three or four lies about Ham in this post, but we chose to aggregate them all into one post that shows, among other things, how pathological PZ’s lying has become.

He had a lay-up here, but he chose to back off and shoot a three and then lie about it going in when it never even touched the rim. (Ok, that’s the last sports metaphor for us for awhile)

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 17 science-related posts, 51 non-science posts.

25% 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: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 21 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.