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.

30 May 2019 – No Science and Two Lies

Welcome to PZWatch! We were so excited to get the ball rolling we decided to start cranking out content a day early. Think of this as a trial post that gives us a chance to work out the format, which is shaping up to look a little like this:

Introduction

PZ Myers Lie

Facts

Analysis

Rinse. Repeat.

We’ll tally up the scores at the end of the post, including the total number of lies (you can see a running tally on the sidebar to the right) and the number of science vs. non-science related posts (Nature describes Pharyngula as a “science blog”).

Let’s get started!

Our first lie might sound like sarcasm and/or hyperbole at first, but we’ll explain why it’s actually important below.

PZ Myers Lie:

“Conservatives don’t think at all, they just assume their prejudices are true, and demand that you accept them, too.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/05/30/yes-tomi-lahren-i-do-think-dont-you/

 Facts:

If we wanted to be pedantic, we could say there are actually three lies in this sentence — 1. Conservatives don’t think, 2. they assume their prejudices are true, and 3. they demand you accept those prejudices — but since we’re just warming up here at PZWatch we’ve decided to score it as a single. Like many of PZ’s lies, we don’t need to spend a lot of time on a refutation. He smears an entire subset of the population, suggesting their political beliefs aren’t grounded in facts or reason. And before you argue that PZ is joking here and doesn’t really mean it when he says Conservatives don’t think, bear with us while we get into his head a little bit.

Analysis:

Conservatives, in PZ’s world, are evil. We’ll spend a lot of time documenting this moving forward. Evil people cannot have a point. Evil doesn’t think rationally. The evil that is conservatism is an unthinking, unfeeling, capitalist machine squashing people to bits in its gears. And we completely understand that, at this point, all of the above is an assertion on our part, but one we will return to time and time again as additional evidence comes in.

PZ will never, ever admit conservatives have an actual argument, much less a valid one.

 PZ Myers Lie #2:

“The boy in this ad is not a teenager, he’s a young man, capable of thinking for himself.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/05/30/yes-tomi-lahren-i-do-think-dont-you/

Facts:

PZ is responding to a tweet from Tomi Lahren which says:

“The new @Gillette ad features a transgender boy shaving for the first time. It’s a little much to normalize and promote high-school-aged kids undergoing hormone therapy and gender reassignment. Don’t ya think?”

https://twitter.com/TomiLahren/status/1133506356885872642

Lahren doesn’t use the word ‘teenager’ in her Tweet, so PZ’s formulation is a bit clunky. We think he equated ‘high-school-aged’ with ‘teenager’ in his head and just went with that. For our purposes it doesn’t matter, it’s the second part of the sentence we’re interested in. Lahren doesn’t assert that the transgender person featured in the ad is incapable of thinking for himself. She’s clearly concerned with normalizing and promoting high-school aged kids undergoing hormone therapy and gender reassignment [Edited, see update below]. So what’s going on here?

This is classic PZ doublespeak. In the very next paragraph, he writes, “We should normalize the decision to be a trans person. It does no one any harm and it does help some individuals.” PZ has completely shifted the goalposts. Gone is Lahren’s concern about ‘hormone therapy and gender reassignment.’ PZ now criticizes her for something she did not say.

Of note — Lahren’s tweet isn’t entirely truthful, either. The Gillette ad says nothing about hormone therapy or gender reassignment. The best one could argue is that the ad infers those things. She inserted those issues into the argument to fit her own political purposes. But, we’re not named Lahrenwatch.com and we’d need a much bigger staff to keep up with her lies as well as PZ’s, so we’ll let it slide.

Analysis:

PZ Myers will never agree with anything Tomi Lahren writes, so her appearance on Pharyngula is of no consequence except as a useful foil to give PZ a chance to voice his support for the trans agenda and shout down anyone else who voices concerns. For PZ, there is no debate about whether or not adolescents benefit from puberty suppression. He will always and everywhere claim that the evidence is clear and straightforward in favor of hormone therapy and gender reassignment, even if there is an ongoing scientific and philosophical debate. See here for a short scientific introduction to the issues:

https://www.endocrineweb.com/professional/gender-identity/transgender-youth-benefit-puberty-suppression

This was a short post, but PZ also manages to take a cheap shot at capitalism at the end, saying:

“I look forward to the day that Tomi Lahren realizes that social attitudes are being manipulated by capitalism, and tweets out her rejection of capitalist values.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/05/30/yes-tomi-lahren-i-do-think-dont-you/

We’ve little idea what PZ is talking about here. Capitalism isn’t doing anything; Gillette is trying to sell razors. But this is another common theme on Pharyngula: Capitalism = bad. That’s about as deep as PZ ever gets on the subject. We’d be surprised to see him actually lay out a coherent anti-capitalist argument, but we’ll be sure to share it with you here if he does.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this post used some sloppy language when describing Tomi Lahren’s tweet. The sentence originally read, “She’s clearly concerned about the effects of hormone therapy and gender reassignment on high-school-aged kids.”

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 4 posts on politics and 1 post on Steven Pinker (a fave PZ punching bag).

Since 30 May 19: 0 Science posts, 5 non-science posts

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.