3 Oct – Another Lie, And One We Missed

One of the perks of being non-ideological is we can go where the truth leads us. We’re not wedded to a narrative and don’t have to skew facts to fit that narrative. If PZ Myers were struck by lightning and suddenly started telling the truth, we’d shut down and be happy to do so.

It also means that we admit we’re fallible. We make mistakes from time to time and when those are pointed out to us, we fix them.

Yesterday, on Twitter, we were advised that we missed a lie PZ told about Steven Pinker, and boy is it a doozy.

And in our second lie of the day, we dig into yet another lie about the Grievance Studies Hoaxers, Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Heh, yeah — The Blank Slate is the terrible piece of crap that totally soured me on Pinker. It’s a dishonest polemic contrived to advance a dead perspective by pretending it was obviously true while taking malicious swipes at everyone who had a more nuanced, sophisticated view of the interplay between genes and behavior. I am not surprised that he became a proponent of evolutionary psychology, which was just more of the same old ignorant adaptationist [sic] garbage. When I compare the careers of two Harvard professors, Gould and Pinker, one of whom wrote two great books, The Mismeasure of Man and Ontogeny and Phylogeny, and a multitude of essays revealing his fundamental humanism, and the other of whom is a darling of modern racists and rapists, I have to think that the wrong one died early.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/02/evolutionary-psychology-the-favorite-discipline-of-old-white-men-everywhere/

Facts:

Aside from wishing Steven Pinker were dead, PZ claims in this snippet that he is “a darling of modern racists and rapists.”

The ‘racist’ claim has at least a tenuous relationship with the truth. Pinker believes – we’re paraphrasing here – IQ tests have some predictive ability and are at least in part the result of heredity. PZ does not. Some racists will point to disparities in average IQ scores between races as proof of superiority/inferiority, but if you simply dismiss IQ scores altogether, as PZ appears to do, then you sidestep all of this. It’s still not a fair representation of Pinker’s beliefs, but it’s not an out-and-out lie.

The rapist claim, however, is. Pinker’s views on rape are public, and there is nothing to suggest that he promotes rape or apologizes for rapists. We think PZ might be trying to insinuate a connection with Jeffrey Epstein, but there’s nothing there. This is just another PZ Myers lie about someone he hates.

Analysis:

Not only does he appear to hate Steven Pinker, he wishes Pinker were dead! As we wrote on Twitter, that’s unusually deplorable, even for PZ. He’s never been one to hide his disdain for ideological enemies, but he normally stops short of wishing them dead.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

Now [Peter Boghossian’s] come out with this book, How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide, which is just nuts. What next? Trump writing a book on modern physics, Deepak Chopra writing about mathematical rigor, PZ Myers becoming an Instagram model, Uwe Boll producing a movie classic? Boghossian and his coauthor, James Lindsay, are temperamentally and intellectually incapable of writing a guide to handling challenging conversations. They’ve always relied on simply pandering to the biases of their right-wing friends.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/03/there-clearly-is-big-money-in-self-help-books-and-pick-up-artistry-though/

Facts:

In case you missed yesterday’s lies, Boghossian, Lindsay and co-author Helen Pluckrose are the people behind the “Sokal Squared Hoax.” They wrote and submitted fake academic papers to peer reviewed journals in an effort to expose shoddy scholarship. The results of their hoax?

By the time of the reveal, four of their 20 papers had been published, three had been accepted but not yet published, six had been rejected, and seven were still under review. One of the published papers had won special recognition.

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

Pluckrose is the editor-in-chief of Areo Magazine, and describes herself as:

Helen Pluckrose is an exile from the humanities with research interests in late medieval/early modern religious writing by and about women. She is currently writing a book about postmodernism and critical theory and their impact on epistemology and ethics in the academy and more widely. She is editor-in-chief of Areo.

https://areomagazine.com/author/hpluckrose/

Boghossian and Lindsay have the following bios on their Amazon author page:

Peter Boghossian is a full time faculty member in the philosophy department at Portland State University and an affiliated faculty member at Oregon Health Science University in the Division of General Internal Medicine. He is a national speaker for the Center of Inquiry and an international speaker for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. He is the author of A Manual for Creating Atheists. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

James Lindsay holds degrees in physics and mathematics, with a doctorate in the latter. He has authored two previous books: Everybody is Wrong about God and Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.

https://www.amazon.com/How-Have-Impossible-Conversations-Practical/dp/0738285323

Nowhere in any of these bios, nor in the Sokal Squared Hoax itself, is there any evidence that any of these three are at all right-wing, but not only that, there is also no evidence that they’ve ever relied on “pandering to their right-wing friends.”

PZ just makes this up out of thin air.

Analysis:

If you question PZ Myers’s evangelical progressive ideology, you automatically become a right-winger. It doesn’t matter if it’s the truth or not. Boghossian and Lindsay self-identify as liberals, and there’s no reason to doubt their claim, but it doesn’t matter to PZ. He’ll continue to lie about them because they lack the ideological purity he desires.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 113 science-related posts, 430 non-science posts.

21% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 132 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

30 Sep – 2 Oct – No, We Haven’t Quit, And Neither Has PZ

The good part about taking a few days off is getting away from it all and relaxing. The bad part is the work still manages to pile up while you’re away. This is one of several project we’re working on currently, and because it is volunteer, unpaid work, it gets pushed to the back burner when there are more important – paid! – things to be done.

We don’t think we can stress this enough to our readers, few though you may be. We fact-check PZ Myers on our free time. It’s not hard, and it’s certainly not a full time job. Finding and documenting his lies is relatively easy. It’s also a little sad, but that just means we should probably re-evaluate our life choices at some point.

Not today, however. We have 3 lies to cover. Onward!

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

O’Fallon has obsessions about Marxism, about the Holy Mother Church, about George Soros (call that what it is: anti-semitism), about post-modernism, about retaining the privileges of class and race.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/09/30/oh-richard-dawkins-no/

Facts:

PZ is writing here about Michael O’Fallon, who founded an organization PZ doesn’t like. O’Fallon is clearly a conservative, and has views that are clearly at odds with those of George Soros, but is O’Fallon or his organization anti-semetic?

No.

As evidenced by the stories posted to the Sovereign Nations website PZ references, neither O’Fallon nor his organization are at all anti-semetic. To the contrary, with titles like, ” It is Not Surprising to See an Increase in Jew-Hatred in Western Europe,” and ” Why Postmodern Intersectionality Imperils Israel & Jews,” they appear to be allied with Jewish interests.

Analysis:

It must be so freeing to be PZ Myers. You can throw around claims like this without any evidence whatsoever, knowing that no one who reads your website will say word one about it.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

Furthermore, this is a “conference” with just 3 speakers, Boghossian, Lindsay, and Pluckrose, who have a deplorable reputation as bad scholars who make up shit in their crusade against post-modernism, just like Peterson, while not having the vaguest notion of what it is.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/09/30/oh-richard-dawkins-no/

Facts:

Boghossian, Lindsay and Pluckrose are the people behind the “Sokal Squared Hoax.” Their purpose was to “make up shit” and submit it to respected, peer-reviewed journals for publication. Here are their results:

By the time of the reveal, four of their 20 papers had been published, three had been accepted but not yet published, six had been rejected, and seven were still under review. One of the published papers had won special recognition.

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

PZ infers that “making shit up” contributed to the perception that the three were bad scholars, but in fact it was integral to the execution of the hoax. How else to expose a faulty peer-review process than to submit made-up papers? What was their alternative, to submit real research? What point would that have proven?

Additionally, PZ intimates that the trio has no knowledge of post-modernism, but that is belied by the success of their hoax. They were able to fully integrate the language of post-modernism into their papers, enabling them to not only be published but to win an award!

Analysis:

This may be our favorite PZ Myers lie of all time. We literally fell off our chair when we read what he had written. Before this, we would have thought a lie this brazen, this comically bad, would never have made it through whatever malfunctioning lie-detector circuits he has in his brain.

We resolve to never again be surprised by anything this man writes. It’s a truly stunning sight to behold.

PZ Myers Lie #3 [in bold]:

Jeffrey Epstein loved evolutionary psychology because it was used to justify rapey behavior and abuse of women — it’s good for the species, don’t you know, rich abusers wouldn’t exist if they didn’t have an adaptive advantage. So Epstein threw money at helpful apologists like Robert Trivers and Martin Nowak (boy, did he throw a lot of money at him), and they obliged by rationalizing the worst activities of men. Meanwhile, other hangers-on [Steven Pinker] who did not even like, let alone get paid by him, were still well-pleased by the chauvinism of EP [evolutionary psychology], and heaped praise upon it without even requiring any quid pro quo. I don’t know which is worse.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/02/evolutionary-psychology-the-favorite-discipline-of-old-white-men-everywhere/

Facts:

There are two lies in this snippet. First, the idea that Steven Pinker was a “hanger-on” of Jeffrey Epstein is simply untrue, and PZ knows it. After the most recent allegations against Epstein came to light, Pinker offered a defense/explanation of his relationship with Epstein in light of pictures that were circulating around social media. The short version is, there was no relationship. Their paths intersected on occasion, but he never took any money from Epstein and certainly never tried to cultivate a relationship with him.

Second, the idea that Pinker is “well pleased by the chauvinism of EP” is absurd. PZ offers no support for that claim, and we highly doubt he could produce any quotations from Pinker’s published works or speeches or podcasts supporting it. Here is a more likely explanation for PZ’s dislike of EP, and a more thoughtful and nuanced explanation of Pinker’s thoughts on it.

Analysis:

At the Why Evolution Is True website, Jerry Coyne has this to say about opponents of EP: “Second, it’s pretty clear that the opposition to evolutionary psychology from these quarters is ideologically rather than scientifically motivated. “

That is PZ Myers in a nutshell. Anything he writes about, apart from the science of his particular field (and we’re not even sure about that, to be completely honest) is more ideologically than scientifically motivated. That is why PZWatch exists. And it’s why we find it fascinating that a man so seemingly devoted to rationality and the truth lies with such regularity.

Final Tally:

30 Sep – 2 Oct: 1 science-related posts, 18 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 113 science-related posts, 424 non-science posts.

21% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

30 Sep – 2 Oct: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 130 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.