5 Sep – Biased Sources, Motivated Reasoning, And Two Lies

Today, PZ Myers continued his abject lesson in how to be entirely un-self aware by accusing someone else – Michael Nugent – of using biased sources and motivated reasoning.

And PZ would know a bit about each of those things because he uses them extensively. They nicely complement his lying.

We detail two lies today, one about Michael Nugent and another about perpetual PZ punching bag Jeffrey Epstein. Let’s get right to the action.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

I am not going to address most of it, because I think the perspective most needed here would be that of actual trans people, not another cis het man. It is intrinsically offensive that a couple of guys would meet for lunch and decide what should be done about the LGBTQs, and another guy chiming in doesn’t help matters.



PZ does, of course, chime in, but wants to get credit for at least saying he shouldn’t. And what a way to start! He lies about the very first paragraph in Nugent’s post:

Since my recent lunch with my friend Graham Linehan, I have been learning more about the issues of biological sex and socially-constructed gender. Thank you to everyone who contacted me with constructive comments. In this article I am sharing my current opinions on the following topics:


PZ’s version of this paragraph is exactly the opposite of what Nugent says actually happened. Instead of deciding what to do “about the LGBTQs,” at the lunch, Nugent left and decided he needed more information. He’s learned more about the issues since and solicited comments from others as well.


It’s not just this snippet, PZ misrepresents Nugent’s entire post, just not in a way we could classify as a lie. Reading PZ alone, you would get the idea Nugent is a transphobic bigot trying to deny the existence of people who don’t neatly fit into one of two binary biological sex “boxes.” But, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Nugent appears to be genuinely wrestling with the issue in a thoughtful, respectful manner.

The problem is he doesn’t agree, totally and wholeheartedly, with PZ Myers. That’s more than enough to get you banned from commenting at Pharyngula, and it’s also enough for PZ to lie about you.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

Negroponte just got up and admitted that all the great things that benefited all the lucky people at MIT were the product of unclean hands, and that he’d happily take any money from anyone, no matter how they acquired it.
I guess ethics isn’t one of the scholarly disciplines MIT is known for.



PZ is writing about this article from Technology Review, and we’re going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he read it before it was updated. The original article made it sound like Nicholas Negroponte would have encouraged MIT Media Lab director Joichi Ito to take money from Jeffrey Epstein even if he had known Epstein was a sex trafficker.

But, for the purposes of this lie, it doesn’t matter what version of the story PZ read, because the very paragraphs he quoted expose the lie. These two are reproduced in the post:

Negroponte said that he prided himself on knowing over 80% of the billionaires in the US on a first-name basis, and that through these circles he had come to spend time with Epstein. Over the years, he had two dinners and one ride in Epstein’s private jet alone, where they spoke passionately about science. (He didn’t say whether these occurred before or after Epstein’s 2008 conviction.) It was these interactions, he said, that warmed him to Epstein and made him confidently and enthusiastically recommend that Ito take the money.
It was at this point that Negroponte said he would still have given Ito the same advice today. Different people in attendance had conflicting interpretations of his statement. Some understood him to mean he would act the same way even knowing what he knows now about Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking. But Negroponte told the Boston Globe that in retrospect, “Yes, we are embarrassed and regret taking his money.”


In other words, Negroponte did not say “he’d happily take any money from anyone, no matter how they acquired it. And he most definitely did not admit “that all the great things that benefited all the lucky people at MIT were the product of unclean hand.”

Once again, PZ just makes this stuff up out of whole cloth.


Negroponte might have been trying to make a similar point to the one we made a few days ago, but the backlash was so swift and severe that he walked it back pretty quickly. Our question still stands: are pedophiles irredeemable? Should they be banned from participating in life after serving time for their crimes?

If your answer is yes, then the real issue is with the criminal justice system and pedophilia sentencing guidelines. If your answer is no, then why shouldn’t they be allowed to give their money away to science?

PZ will never explain. Taking money from Epstein was bad because he says so. End of story.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 3 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 99 science-related posts, 317 non-science posts.

24% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 112 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:


PZ Myers Lie



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.”



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.


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.”



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?”


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.


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:


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.”


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.