9 July – If You Have Money, You’ve Stolen It: Deep Thoughts and Three Lies From PZ Myers

Back when we used to watch Saturday Night Live, one of our favorite segments was Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey (who, we didn’t know until just now, is a real person). Here are some of Jack’s best lines. We think of him often when reading PZ Myers because they both write surrealistic sentences that are often funny. The only difference is, one intends to be funny, and the other doesn’t.

We had a Jack Handey moment today that we’ll go into in much more detail below.

We’ve discussed our prediction before (on the 3rd of July) that PZ would call Antifa “patriotic” the next day. He didn’t, but he’s been inching ever closer to that declaration. Today, he wants us all to “Support your local antifa” and posted a link to some pre-WWII articles about Nazis, all in an effort to analogize current events to the 1930s and compare his ideological enemies with fascists and Nazis. We stand by our prediction – sooner or later he’ll be saying it’s patriotic to beat up those people who disagree with him, because otherwise Hitler will rise again in the US.

Or something.

PZ Myers Lie:

I know, it’s early in the morning, my fellow Americans, and you’re still working on your coffee and cornflakes, but if I have to be exposed to this talking emetic, you get it too. He’s now calling people who demand greater diversity in congress “racists”.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/09/sorry-its-tucker-carlson/

Facts:

PZ references an 80-second video of Tucker Carlson’s show posted to Twitter. In that clip, Carlson did not call those who demand greater diversity in congress “racists.” He was responding to a quote from Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who in turn was talking about giving more power to those people already in congress. Neither Carlson nor Tlaib were talking about increasing diversity in congress, they were talking about the balance of power for those minorities already in congress.

Analysis:

One day we might go back and tally all the PZ Myers’s lies we’ve found that have been exposed by the very source material he cites. This is another example. We were also surprised that PZ posted the entire clip, which was enough time to allow Carlson to state his point relatively well (here is the whole segment). PZ almost never allows actual conservative arguments to appear on the pages of Pharyngula, preferring instead to post only his caricatured, dishonest version.

One of our favorite Supreme Court quotes of all time came from Chief Justice Roberts in the 2007 Parents Involved decision, where he wrote, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” The issues in that case were not unlike the issues Carlson and Tlaib and even PZ are talking about, and while we can see the arguments on both sides, it remains nonetheless true that if X action is taken – whatever that action is – solely because Y person is of a certain race, X action is racist by definition.

PZ Myers Lie #2:

That’s perverse. So congress can go on for hundreds of years as a body consisting almost exclusively of white men, and that’s not racist, but anyone suggesting that there be a more balanced representation that includes more women of color is racist.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/09/sorry-its-tucker-carlson/

Facts:

This is PZ’s first paragraph after the Carlson video and he’s responding directly to the video, calling it perverse in the first sentence. The second half of the second sentence is essentially repeating lie #1 above, and we won’t go into that in any more detail. What concerns us is the first half. Carlson makes no claim about congress consisting of white men for hundreds of years, and makes no claim that was not racist. Carlson does not even imply this claim in the extended transcript we link to above. PZ simply makes it up.

Analysis:

See lie #1. We’re growing weary, after only two months, of pointing out the number of times PZ lies about the very evidence he uses to reach some of his conclusions. We would find it amazing that the commenters on his site don’t call him out about it, had we not been banned on numerous occasions for doing exactly that. No one dare call PZ out on his lies, because if they start doing that their days are numbered.

PZ Myers Lie #3:

If you a [sic] filthy rich billionaire who has some liberal goals (you’re not going to be promoting leftist/progressive goals, because you’ve already demonstrated a life-long commitment to stealing from workers), I have a different suggestion: run for president on the Republican side. 

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/09/another-billionaire-leaps-into-the-presidential-race/

Facts:

The claim that no billionaire could promote leftist/progressive goals is a novel one we’ve not encountered before, but we’ll admit to not having read everything PZ Myers has ever written. We considered this a candidate for a Great Big Lie, but the second half of this parenthetical claim is a more concrete lie that deserves to be counted. Tom Steyer, the billionaire PZ references, is a known person with known business career and known philanthropic endeavors we can examine. So let’s do it.

Steyer made most of his money because he founded an investment firm called Farallon Capital Management. Part of Farallon’s portfolio involved:

…finding distressed international companies and helping the businesses restructure. In 1999, Farallon bought a direct stake in an Argentine shoe company, which it helped stabilize to profitability as Argentina recovered from an economic crisis. And in 2002, Farallon bought control of Bank Central Asia (BCA), an Indonesian financial institution, for $531 million. At the time, many of Indonesia’s banks were on the verge of collapse because of bad loans made during President Suharto’s leadership and the country was seen as dangerous for foreign investment. Over the next four years, Farallon installed a new chairman and made necessary reforms. After Farallon sold its stake for a profit in 2006, many other institutional investors began to look to Indonesia for returns. In the year before Farallon’s investment in Indonesia, $286 million flowed into the country as foreign direct investment. After Farallon exited, that number grew to $1 billion in 2007 and $4 billion in 2008. According to Council on Foreign Relations economics fellow Sebastian Mallaby, “Farallon’s investment was a blessing for Indonesia.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farallon_Capital

In sum, Farallon invested in companies that might otherwise have gone bankrupt, destroying the jobs of all their workers in the process. Far from “stealing from workers,” Steyer blessed his most vulnerable workers with good work and a steady income. PZ’s not only lying, he’s inverting the truth. Tom Steyer has helped more workers than PZ Myers could ever dream of doing.

But wait, there’s more. Steyer has also been involved in many charities throughout his business career and he and his wife have pledged to “give at least half their wealth to charitable causes during their lifetime.” So not only is he not “stealing” from workers, he will ultimately give back half of what he’s earned to people less fortunate than he.

Analysis:

This was our Jack Handey moment. If an economist had written this sentence, it would definitely be for laughs, but PZ is dead serious.

PZ Myers + Economics = Lie. Like the Einstein field equations, this appears to be a fundamental law of sorts in the Pharyngula universe. It’s always been amazing to contemplate the number of things a flat-earther or a creationist must believe in order to conclude their theory is correct. Likewise, the number of things PZ has to lie about to believe capitalism (or just making money, especially in the way Tom Steyer did) is somehow an evil endeavor is astounding. It’s one of the reasons we find it constantly fascinating to read PZ, and why we’ll be back tomorrow with more.

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 6 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 42 science-related posts, 111 non-science posts.

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

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 49 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

3 July – Three Lies! And How Not To Think Skeptically, Brought To You By PZ Myers

We found skepticism over a decade ago. Before, we considered ourselves skeptical without really knowing what it was. We were intrigued by events like Bigfoot and UFO sightings, but were always inclined to believe in a rational explanation. Natural contrarians, we challenged authority and wanted to know how things worked and why. Once we learned about skepticism and science-based-rationalism, we were armed with a tool set that helped shape our initial skeptical impulses, with perhaps the most important tool being: follow the evidence.

If the evidence leads you to a conclusion different from the one you had in your mind, there is only one option: change your mind.

Not only is there nothing wrong with changing your mind after reviewing the evidence, we think of it as the hallmark of skeptical thinking.

PZ Myers does not.

PZ railed against Michael Shermer yesterday on Twitter for doing exactly that: changing his mind after being presented with new evidence.

If it sounds incongruous for a skeptical atheist like PZ Myers to blast someone for following the evidence, that’s because you’re not as well acquainted with PZ as we are. We know Myers isn’t skeptical about anything related to politics. In that arena, his mind is granite, inflexible, immovable, and unchangeable no matter what data you throw at him. It allows us to predict, generally, what he’s going to say about any given issue. It’s how we knew he would lie about Antifa and continue his efforts to rehabilitate the group’s reputation after they seriously injured a journalist covering their march.

It’s also how we’re able to predict what he will say tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July. It’s supposed to be a celebration of America, the founding, and freedom, among other things. PZ has never thought much about America, and has written before that it should be a “national day of mourning.” Expect more of that tomorrow, but with a twist.

Antifa has been in PZ’s mind lately, and in just the last few weeks he’s gone from pretending progressive activists never get violent to embracing Antifa’s violence on the streets of Portland. We expect he will call them “patriotic” tomorrow.

There will be a 4th of July spectacle in the streets of the nation’s capital, and in writing about it, PZ should compare it to both Nazi Germany and Tiananmen Square. He’ll call Trump an autocrat, and then he’ll say that violent groups like Antifa are necessary to resist the coming right-wing tyranny. Indeed, it will be the only patriotic thing to do, in his mind.

That’s our prediction for what’s in store tomorrow.

In the meantime, enjoy a few lies about Michael Shermer and Nazis, all of which we think are setting up the post he’s going to write tomorrow.

PZ Myers Lie:

Yeah, right. As we’re seeing in the American concentration camps today, German Nazis didn’t have a monopoly on evil. 

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/03/shermers-disgrace-continues-apace/

Facts:

PZ is responding to a tweet from Michael Shermer which says:

The best books I’ve read on Nazism are Ian Kershaw’s Hitler trilogy, Vol. 2 especially. As tempting as it is to analogize groups we don’t like today to the Nazis, Nazism was unique, and uniquely evil.

https://i1.wp.com/freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/files/2019/07/shermerstupidity.jpg?ssl=1

We’re going to ignore the concentration camp lie from here on out. Given its usage in social media and popular culture today thanks to a certain Congressperson from New York, it’s impossible to precisely define the term anymore. It now means only what people on opposite sides of the isle who use it want it to mean.

But, we did identify another lie. PZ claims Shermer said Nazis had a monopoly on evil, but Shermer made an entirely different claim. He said Nazi evil was unique to Nazism, meaning its hard to equate Nazi evil with any other kind of evil. We think that’s a self-evident, if rather banal, observation nobody should have much of a problem with. Nobody except PZ Myers, of course, who feels the need to lie about it.

Analysis:

PZ is fond of comparing generic Republicans – before and after Trump entered the political scene – with Nazis, so it’s no surprise to see him tear into Shermer for calling Nazi evil unique. But we think he has a bigger purpose in mind. If Trump were, in fact, leading an authoritarian Nazi party, it would be both virtuous and necessary to resist that party using force. After all, you can’t wait until tanks are rolling through city streets (like they will be on the 4th) because it will already be too late. See our analysis opening this post. PZ is setting the stage here for tomorrow.

PZ Myers Lie #2:

Shermer had even more to say, though, including this astonishing canard: Good to remember that Nazi=National Socialism. Not far right but far left. Do we really need to debunk this exercise in naive etymology anymore?

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/03/shermers-disgrace-continues-apace/

Facts:

While it is true that fascism has been characterized by many as a right-wing ideology since WWII, opinions on this question are changing. In 2008, Jonah Goldberg wrote the book Liberal Fascism which makes the following claim:

…both modern liberalism and fascism descended from progressivism, and that before World War II, “fascism was widely viewed as a progressive social movement with many liberal and left-wing adherents in Europe and the United States.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_Fascism

The book received mixed reviews, as detailed at the Wikipedia link, but we’ve read the book and believe it makes a persuasive argument. Lots of the people at Quora think so, too, although some of the arguments get a bit muddled.

But it none of this matters, because the argument that Nazism was left-wing is not, as PZ claims, an “exercise in naive etymology.” Every argument we’ve read relies not on the Nazi use of the word “socialism,” but on the actions of Hitler and the Nazi party. The debate is not etymological, but historical, and that makes this another PZ Myers lie.

Analysis:

Nazis have to be right-wing mainly because PZ Myers identifies as left-wing. This is another one of those areas where no matter what evidence is presented to PZ, he will never, ever warm up to the notion that Hitler’s ideology was left-wing in nature. Republicans are the Nazis, which is why Antifa has to resist them, with violence if necessary.

PZ Myers Lie #3:

Also, in case you didn’t get the memo, Nazis were not atheists, but were generally Lutherans and Catholics. 

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/07/03/shermers-disgrace-continues-apace/

Facts:

This is an interesting one. We internally debated not calling this a lie, because it’s not clear whether he’s speaking about the Nazi leadership or the rank and file. But if we assume he is talking about the religious leanings of the Germans who would eventually make up the Nazi Party, then the point he wants to make about Nazi ideology makes no sense. Sure, people might have been Lutherans or Catholics before Hitler took power, but what did Hitler intend the Nazi party to do with religion?

Interestingly enough, we have an answer [bolded for emphasis]:

Christianity remained the dominant religion in Germany through the Nazi period, and its influence over Germans displeased the Nazi hierarchy. Evans wrote that Hitler believed that in the long run National Socialism and religion would not be able to coexist, and stressed repeatedly that Nazism was a secular ideology, founded on modern science. According to Evans: “Science, he declared, would easily destroy the last remaining vestiges of superstition.” Germany could not tolerate the intervention of foreign influences such as the Pope, and “Priests, he said, were ‘black bugs,’ abortions in black cassocks.'”

During Hitler’s dictatorship, more than 6,000 clergymen, on the charge of treasonable activity, were imprisoned or executed. The same measures were taken in the occupied territories; in French Lorraine, the Nazis forbade religious youth movements, parish meetings, and scout meetings. Church assets were taken, Church schools were closed, and teachers in religious institutes were dismissed. The Episcopal seminary was closed, and the SA and SS desecrated churches and religious statues and pictures. Three hundred clergy were expelled from the Lorraine region; monks and nuns were deported or forced to renounce their vows.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Nazi_Germany#National_Socialist_attitudes_towards_Christianity

Analysis:

Read the Wikipedia analysis above and then ask yourself again why Nazism is considered a right-wing ideology. Hitler was all about science! Sounds a little too close for comfort to our favorite Biologist, but we’re not yet ready to call PZ a fascist. He is, however, definitely a liar.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 41 science-related posts, 97 non-science posts.

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

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 44 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.