23 Oct – Epistemic Humility From PZ Myers? Nah…

Really interesting day at Pharyngula. After a six-lie day yesterday – which included creating a fictional historical event out of thin air – PZ appeared to have learned some humility overnight. This is one of the first things we read today:

“Intellectuals” seems to be acquiring a new meaning here in the 21st century. It refers to well-off white people who use their illusion of academic prestige to defend 18th century ideas against all reason…


We wondered…is he talking about himself? He’s a well-off white male who uses the fact that he has a PhD in Biology and teaches at a small state school in western Minnesota to defend 18th century ideas like socialism against all reason and evidence.

Turns out he was actually talking about the so-called “Intellectual Dark Web” – except PZ, like a six-year-old, calls them the “Intellectual Dork Web.” Classic. He rails about “Pinker and Harris being bad scholars,” and is aghast that their “fellow travelers flock to defend even their more egregious errors.”

For realsies? We have 163 examples (and counting) of lies he’s told just since the 30th of May. PZ Myers is the last person on earth who should be complaining about someone else getting something wrong.

And speaking of getting things wrong, PZ tells another lie today:

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Can we all agree that this is totally antithetical to the principles of a free Republic? No one can be above the law. Trump wants to be an autocrat, like his heroes Putin, Kim, and Erdogan. This alone is sufficient cause to impeach him, kick him out of office, and toss his orange ass into jail.



In between the first and second sentences above – which constitute PZ’s entire contribution to this blog post – he inserts this snippet from a Politico story:

A lawyer for Donald Trump argued in federal court on Wednesday that the president could shoot someone on 5th Avenue in New York City and not be prosecuted.


That in itself is a lie, as is PZ analysis of it. Trump’s lawyer, using an argument the US Department of Justice has made consistently since 1973, said a sitting President could not be prosecuted for a crime until after leaving office.

“Once a president is removed from office, any local authority” could prosecute him, Consovoy told a panel of three judges from the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals. “This is not a permanent immunity.”



This is much ado about nothing, and PZ knows it. He read the article, he knows the argument, and he was around during the last two impeachment efforts of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, when it last reared its ugly head. He knows what he posted is a lie, he just doesn’t care.

Except for us, nobody calls him on any of his lies, least of all the useful idiots who make up the bulk of his dedicated readership.

And still he has the balls to call the members of the Intellectual Dark Web “poseurs.”

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 122 science-related posts, 507 non-science posts.

19% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 163 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

18 Oct – Two More PZ Myers Lies, And Why We Count Some Lies But Not Others

We’re sometimes asked what, exactly, constitutes a PZ Myers lie. Our answer always goes something like this: we document PZ’s verifiable falsehood, we don’t fact-check his opinions. Things like blatant hypocrisy, while interesting to us, don’t count as a lie.

PZ gave us a really good example today of something we don’t count as a lie when he wrote about Trump’s Syria policy – which amounts to pulling US troops back, out of the conflict zone – saying this:

[Trump] sold out the Kurds to protect his Turkish hotel interests, turning a good chunk of the Middle East policy into chaotic shambles and causing the deaths of thousands.


Reading that quote, in isolation, might give you the impression that PZ Myers comes down more on the interventionist side of foreign policy debates. He sounds like he wants to see a more muscular US military throwing its weight around the Middle East. Except he doesn’t.

Killing civilians, or anyone for that matter, with nerve gas is a crime against humanity, and something should be done…I just don’t know what, except that wrecking a country with a hail of missiles doesn’t seem to be a very practical way to protect “beautiful babies”. It’s also not just Trump — Obama seems to have killed a lot of civilians with drone strikes, and clearly both parties are blithe about murdering foreigners.


PZ’s only common foreign policy denominator appears to be a hatred for Trump. His affinity for interventionist foreign policy solutions appears to stem from which political party – and leader – is doing the intervening. That’s hypocrisy on a massive scale, but it’s not a lie.

This, however, is:

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

It’s astonishing that the governor essentially banned a scientific conclusion from any discussion, especially when the fact of climate change is going to hit the state so hard.



The governor in question here is Rick Scott, former governor of Florida and now a US Senator. PZ is claiming here that, as governor, Scott banned anyone in his administration from discussing climate change.

That seems like a weird charge, and a weird thing to do in general, but it has some reporting to back it up:

DEP officials have been ordered not to use the term “climate change” or “global warming” in any official communications, emails, or reports, according to former DEP employees, consultants, volunteers and records obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.


Note the source – “former DEP employees.” That turns out to be important. This claim, made initially in 2015, four years after Scott became governor, was widely reported and investigated at the time. Turns out it’s bogus:

[The] investigation involves relying on the claims of former employees, most prominently one who was fired. And, well, it turns out the department says it doesn’t have such a policy. Two different employees denied the claims of the policy. 

Molly Hemingway, the author of the linked piece above, goes on to document how often the terms “climate change” and “global warming” are used on the DEP’s own website:

A search of the Florida DEP web site for the term “global warming” yields, according to the site, 244 results. And, according to the site, another 1,640 for “climate change.”


In other words, there was no ban. PZ repeated a lie that’s been simmering on the internet for four years.


This is the kind of lie PZ will always repeat and will never, ever try to correct. It appeals directly to his biases against Republicans and their climate-science-denying ways. He once against violates Feynman’s First Principle: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.”

When it comes to Republicans and politics, PZ Myers will always violate that principle.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

[Trump] is so tone deaf that he tried to stage a reality-show style confrontation between grieving parents and their son’s killer. 


The “reality-show style confrontation” is pure hyperbole. Not even the family’s statement suggests that this was their impression of the meeting. In fact, the family says:

President Trump hinted at the end of the meeting, having heard Charlotte’s appeal, that he may look at approaching the problem from a different angle. Notwithstanding the nature of the meeting yesterday, the family would welcome any such further intervention so that this nightmare scenario can be brought to an end. They look forward forward to engaging with the President again as soon as possible.


The real lie here is the claim that Trump was so tone deaf that he “tried to stage” the event in the first place. First of all, he didn’t bring the woman who accidentally killed Harry Dunn in a vehicle accident into the room, he simply asked the family if they’d like to meet her. And when asked about the meeting, Trump claimed it was done at the behest of the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. Johnson has apparently denied the claim, but the idea that Trump tried to “stage a reality-show style confrontation” is a lie.


A story like this could be an opportunity for PZ to bash Boris Johnson – another politician he hates – but this post was all about Trump. And as a result, the person most forgotten in this whole episode has perhaps been Anne Sacoolas.

At the scene of the accident, Sacoolas, whose 12-year-old son was reportedly a passenger in the Volvo, was hysterical over what she had done. The car had diplomatic plates, but witnesses who rushed to the crash site told Northamptonshire police that Sacoolas immediately took the blame and gave all her details, including her British and American cellphone numbers…When police went to the Croughton base the next day to tell Sacoolas that Dunn had died, she was understandably upset and assured them she had no plans to leave the country. When they came back a second time to get more information, she was lawyered up and assisted by officials from the U.S. Embassy to the U.K..


This was a bad, bad accident all around. It’s bad for the Harry Dunn and the Dunn family. It’s bad for Anne Sacoolas and her family.

But, the only kind of bad PZ Myers cares about is the kind that makes Donald Trump look bad.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 4 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 121 science-related posts, 489 non-science posts.

20% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 153 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

14 Oct – Perhaps The Biggest Lie PZ Myers Has Ever Told

A couple weeks ago, we identified what might be our favorite PZ Myers lie of all time. Today, we think we’ve identified the biggest lie he’s ever told.

In a post discussing epistemic humility, testing assumptions and how we “know” what we know, PZ dropped this bomb on his readers:

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

I’m a fan of testing my assumptions, mostly. We have this scientific method we use that allows us — even encourages us! — to examine and verify the stuff we don’t know, even if, to be perfectly honest, we can’t possibly examine everything. A scientist or a philosopher is going to inspect key assumptions now and then, and try to build better models of the world as they go, sometimes throwing out perfectly serviceable models, like religion, for others that get some, but never all, of the details better. 




We have 147 examples – and counting – of lies PZ Myers has told since May 30th of this year. Many of those result from his continued refusal to examine and verify the gaping hole in his political knowledge: what his ideological enemies actually believe. He doesn’t know, not even a little bit, and shows no inclination to ever find out.

We have never, ever seen him inspect his key political assumptions and/or throw out his evangelical progressive ideological view of a subject because it does not get the details right. Consider economics. He is almost incapable of writing honestly about economics because it does not tell a doom-and-gloom story about capitalism. His key assumption is: socialism works better. And he wants a revolution to make socialism a reality. But, he refuses to throw out or reconsider his model of the world even when the other model gets more of the details right.

That’s just one example. We document four other examples below – and that’s just today! PZ’s lie here is staggering in it’s scope.


There’s two possibilities here. Either PZ is one of the least self-aware people on the planet, or he has so effectively insulated himself from facts and opinions that don’t comport with his ideology – which is consistent with his banning all those opinions from his blog and social media feeds – that he actually does think he is telling the truth.

Either way, the implications are astounding. He is, apparently with a straight face, telling us he inspects his assumptions in the hope of building a better model of the world, when the evidence we’ve collected in the last few months indicates that he’s doing the opposite. He’s holding on to false assumptions – lies – and building a worse model of the world.

Of all the lies he’s told over the years, including the ones we’ll cover below, this might be the biggest.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

Trump thinks he’s above the law. McConnell thinks he’s above the law. Cops think they’re above the law. Rich people think they’re above the law. So far I haven’t seen any evidence to the contrary. It’s pretty clear that there are some comfortable delusions we all hide behind.



PZ makes five claims here, all of which are lies. And here’s the key thing – he knows they’re lies. These are blatantly partisan statements meant to advance a political agenda. They are assumptions about the world that he refuses to test because it is in his political interest not to do so.

There is no evidence Trump thinks he’s above the law. He heads the Department of Justice – an Executive Agency branch – and has many, many lawyers in his employ. Presidents have certain powers, and PZ and the media have a field day when Trump decides to use those powers, but suspending the laws of the United States is not one of them.

Senator McConnell has, as far as we know, never broken the law. In fact, he’s the Majority Leader of one of the institutions in the US Government charged with making laws. If he thought he was above the law, he wouldn’t have to worry about petty things like passing laws, would he?

There may be a tiny percentage of cops who think they are above the law, but do take note of this: they always hide their actions. Someone who truly thinks they are above the law should feel no urge to hide their actions. Why should they?

Ditto for “rich people.” And if PZ hasn’t seen any evidence to the contrary, it’s because he’s willfully blind.


In keeping with today’s theme of epistemic humility, we hereby formally request PZ Myers examine each of these assumptions about how the world works. Maybe there’s a better model, like maybe Trump’s an ass, but he really didn’t collude with Russia to steal an election from Clinton. Or, maybe McConnell isn’t doing anything Harry Reid didn’t do during his tenure as Majority Leader. Or, maybe cops do a lot more good than bad.

Maybe there is evidence out there that might give PZ a better model of how the world works.

If only he’d look.

PZ Myers Lie #3 [in bold]:

Thier little hate signs have gotten attention from Newsweek. That’s all they really wanted, was to be outrageous and stupid enough that they’d get written up and win their 15 seconds of fame.
One catch: the College Republicans are eager to disavow the flyers, while speaking out in favor of what the flyers said. So maybe some aren’t so thrilled at being in the spotlight over their regressive views.



There’s an interesting omission in the first sentence of this lie. Newsweek did, indeed, pick up on the story we covered here about the flyers in the corridors of UMM, but not before a Twin Cities newspaper, the Star Tribune, did.

Why would PZ ignore the local article in favor of the national one? Two reasons. First, it helps make his point that all the College Republicans wanted was a little attention (not true). Second, the Star Tribune story exposes PZ’s lie. He wants to say the Morris College Republicans spoke out in favor of what the flyers said, but the exact opposite is true. Here’s the Star Tribune:

In a statement Friday, Lehmann said that Campus Republicans didn’t condone “the content of the poster.” But he added that free speech was “being attacked” on campus, and that “those who hold conservative religious beliefs are seen to be ‘inciting violence.’ ”



This is another absolutely amazing phenomenon. You would think a tenured college biology professor could engage with a group of college-aged Republicans without lying about them, but PZ seems incapable of doing that. Every post, every mention, has to include something he knows to be untrue. Who was it that said, if you’re catching flak, you must be over the target? The UMM College Republicans are catching a lot of flak from Professor Myers.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 7 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 118 science-related posts, 472 non-science posts

20% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 147 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

11 Oct – The UMM College Republicans Are Really Getting to PZ

We knew it was coming. President Trump held a rally last night in Minneapolis, Minnesota, roughly 3 hours away from Morris. PZ couldn’t not comment – and lie – about it.

Stick around after the lie – we cover a Bonus PZ Myers Hypocrisy Moment. He continued his crusade against college-aged Republicans again today and urged his readers (and presumably those students looking to get a better grade from him) to throw their flyers in the trash.

Quite the mature reaction from a 60-something year old tenured professor!

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

It’s chilling how the audience boos when he mentions Somalia. Then they cheer when he claims to have stopped the flow of refugees, and is going to insist on more local control of who is allowed to settle here.



PZ makes two claims here, both of which are a lie. First, he claims that Trump claimed to have stopped the flow of refugees. As the transcript from Trump’s speech below shows, he did nothing of the sort.

The second lie is when PZ claims Trump “is going go” – future tense – insist on more local control of who is allowed to settle in Minnesota. Once again, Trump did not say that.

Let’s go to the speech:

As you know, for many years, leaders in Washington brought large numbers of refugees to your state from Somalia without considering the impact on schools and communities and taxpayers. I promised you that as president, I would give local communities a greater say in refugee policy, and put in place enhanced vetting and responsible immigration controls. And I’ve done that. Since coming into office, I have reduced refugee resettlement by 85%, and as you know, maybe especially in Minnesota, I kept another promise. I issued an executive action, making clear that no refugees will be resettled in any city or any state without the express written consent of that city or that state. So speak to your mayor. You should be able to decide what is best for your own cities and for your own neighborhoods, and that’s what you have the right to do right now. And believe me, no other president would be doing that.


The words are quite plain and clear. PZ cannot have misunderstood the message Trump was trying to get across. Unless he wanted to lie about that message.


As lies about Trump go, these two are relatively anodyne. But it is amazing how the simplest sentiments uttered by Trump are completely and willfully misunderstood by those who hate him.

BONUS PZ Myers Hypocrisy Moment:

Lie #6 on our Top Ten Lies of PZ Myers was this:

We had Ben Shapiro give a talk at UMM, and if that dishonest twerp can get a platform here, you’ve got no grounds to claim that conservatives are censored.


He insisted at the time – way back in June – that in no way were conservatives censored at US universities, his own included. We noted that The College Fix had quoted PZ as telling people to dispose of copies of the University of Minnesota, Morris’s alternative newspaper, The North Star.

He did it again today, but this time he encouraged his readers – including, presumably, his own biology students – to throw out lawful, legal signs posted by the College Republicans announcing an upcoming meeting.

I walked through that tunnel this morning, and everyone of those signs was gone. Torn down and not replaced. Instead, there were a lot of signs affirming gender identity. The only one I could find is the one above, which has a red date stamp, as is required for any flyers posted in the student union. Other places on campus are more of a free-for-all, but apparently whoever was taking out the trash was careful to obey the informal regulations on signage.

Good. Throw ’em all out.



So, which is it, PZ? Are conservatives censored on campus, as they should be? Or are they free to debate their political ideas?

We think we know where you stand.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 117 science-related posts, 459 non-science posts.

20% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 141 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

10 Oct – Ho Hum, Just Another PZ Myers Lie

We’re breaking an internal rule today, something we feel is warranted by particularly egregious circumstances.

We promised ourselves to give PZ a pass on pretty much everything he says about Trump. The words he’s used to describe the current occupant of the White House are usually reserved – by more sober analysts – for genocidal maniacs. There’s essentially nothing PZ could say about Trump that would shock us – he’s the professor who cried outrage so often nobody can hear it anymore.

But, today he didn’t just compare Trump to Hitler, he compared a campaign rally to a Nazi rally, disparaging everyone in attendance and trivializing what the actual Nazis did. Quite a feat for a two-sentence post!

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

All these people I know are hanging out around the Target Center in Minneapolis, which seems to be the happening scene tonight.
It goes without saying that everyone I know is there to protest the Nazi rally going on, not attend it.



PZ uses the word fascist as a general term to describe someone he disagrees with, politically. He’s called Trump a Nazi before, of course, and he’s also used the same word to describe popular YouTuber Pewdiepie.

But, he’s never used that word – as far as we can tell – to describe people who freely attend a Trump campaign event. It’s disgusting. And it’s a lie.

The actual Nazi Party Rallies, held in Nuremberg on a parade field that still exists (we’ve visited many times, we used to live in Nuremberg), had the following purpose:

Held annually in September from the early 1920s until 1938, the Nazi Party’s Nuremberg Party Day rallies were intended to show the world a German State in lockstep with its leader and his ideology.  The Nuremberg Party Day rallies thus represented an example of the “mobilization” of German society by National Socialism.  As such, the rallies provide scholars with an excellent vantage point for studying the Third Reich as a totalitarian political system.


Outside of people like PZ Myers and other fringe progressives, does anyone really think the United States currently has a totalitarian political system? Has the Constitution been upended? Has the rule of law been suspended? Trump is the leader of one of three co-equal US Government branches, and the other two have checked his power continually in the years since he’s been elected. Did we miss the executive order Trump issued dissolving Congress and the Supreme Court?

Also, in what way is the US in lockstep with Trump and his ideology? Half the country wants to see him impeached and removed from office!

Most of the other half, by the way, is convinced the Democratic Party and progressives like PZ are trying to overturn the results of the last election, first with the Russia probe and now the Ukraine. They’re convinced socialists, like PZ, are much closer to the National Socialists of the Nazi Party than Trump will ever be. And if the conservative right in this country has any unifying principle, it is a return to the limited form of government found in the US Constitution. In no way can that principle be compared to anything the Nazis stood for.

PZ offers no evidence – he never does – for his claim that Trump and/or the Republican Party has any Nazi-like qualities whatseover. To suggest the two are so similar as to be indistinguishable is a bald-faced lie.


This would be humorous if there wasn’t a deadly serious side to this equation. The actual Nazi Party, the one that ignited World War II and exterminated millions of innocent people, was perhaps the greatest evil the world has ever known. To suggest that Trump – someone who wants to curb illegal immigration, pull out of Afghanistan and Syria and engage in talks with rouge regimes like North Korea – can be realistically compared to genocidal, militaristic and aggressive Adolf Hitler is insane and unserious. To insist that his supporters and/or the people who voted for him as the lesser of two evils are the equivalent of Nazi Party supporters is simply beyond the pale.

And worse still – PZ doesn’t believe it.

If he did believe the Nazi Party was alive and well in America, he would be arming himself in preparation for the coming revolution. If he believed that, he’d be advocating for insurrection and rebellion. If he sincerely believed the United States was about to turn into pre-WWII Germany, he’d derelict in his duty to his family not to move them to Canada.

No, he stays – and probably feels quite good about it – because he knows what he says isn’t true.

We know it, too.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 117 science-related posts, 453 non-science posts.

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

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 140 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

9 Oct – Forget It, PZ Is Rolling

Some days it feels like PZ Myers is struggling to hold on to a tenuous grasp on the truth. He’ll dance atop the fence separating fact from fiction, never straying too far into one side or the other.

And then there are days like yesterday and today, where it feels like he’s so far gone he can’t even see the fence. Yesterday, his target was a bunch of college kids at UMM. Today, it’s two frequent punching bags – Richard Carrier and Donald Trump – and one who is relatively new – Andrew Doyle.

Lots to get through today, so let’s jump straight in.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

By the way, while we wait for a decision on the Minnesota case, the next step is a hearing in the Arizona case, in which Carrier, acting as his own lawyer, gets to depose the woman he harassed, which is all kinds of fucked up. Isn’t it nice how the legal system enables his ongoing harassment?



PZ is shilling for money in this post, asking his readers to help pay for the high-priced lawyer he hired (at a discount, apparently) to defend himself against a different Carrier’s lawsuit. Here, he’s talking about a lawsuit Carrier filed against a woman named Amy Frank.

PZ is convinced Carrier harassed Frank, but if you’re interested in Carrier’s side of the story, go here. We’re not in a position to judge the truth of any statements made by either Frank or Carrier, so we won’t do that.

We are in a position, however, to judge whether or not PZ Myers is being truthful, and in this case (heh) he is most certainly not being truthful.

Civil lawsuits, like the one filed by Carrier, can sometimes be purely motivated by the desire to harass. There are rules in some states – including Arizona, where this suit was filed – that try to limit this effect in circumstances similar to those in this case, called Anti-SLAPP laws. Carrier would be, therefore, disincentivized to file a frivolous lawsuit to harass which could get in him trouble. But that’s not the whole story here.

What makes this claim from PZ a lie is the fact that Frank is both counter-suing Carrier and demanding a jury trial.

Frank had several options on the table both before and immediately after Carrier filed his lawsuit. She could have: a) acquiesced to his demands, b) cut a deal that would likely not have involved her paying Carrier any money (we think Carrier probably would have settled for an apology, deserved or not), c) defend herself or hire a lawyer to help defend her in court, or d) what she did, both play defense and offense by counter-suing Carrier.

She chose option (d) knowing full well Carrier was representing himself and that she would have to face him, at some point, in a deposition. But it will not be harassment. There’s no way it could be considered harassment. I cannot imagine a scenario in which Frank’s lawyer – the same high-priced lawyer representing PZ Myers – will allow Carrier to harass Frank in any way. We have no doubt it will be an uncomfortable situation for her, but our legal system – thankfully! – requires evidence and testimony from all parties concerned to help encourage the truth to emerge.

PZ knows that. He just doesn’t like it.


If you’d like to donate to PZ’s legal defense fund, here is the link. They’ve raised $65K to date, which is impressive. We wonder just how much of a discount their lawyer is giving them.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

There’s going to be some kind of ridiculous Trump rally in Minneapolis tomorrow — I reserved two seats, but somehow, I don’t think my butt is going to be filling them. The Minneapolis mayor has the right idea, though: he is billing the Trump campaign in advance for security and the venue. Smart move. Trump has a reputation for stiffing the cities he visits… Of course, Trump’s countermove is to threaten to sue the city, claiming the bill is inflated. I suspect it’s a conservative estimate



Two separate lies here. First, the idea that the mayor of Minneapolis can bill anyone for the use of the Target Center, a privately-owned facility, is farcical. The Trump campaign and AEG had previously – before the Minneapolis Mayor entered the fray – signed a contract to host the event. The only thing that changed between the signing of that contract and now is the Mayor’s insistence that it will cost well over half a million dollars to provide security for the event.

There’s only one problem with that. Here is Trump’s response to AEG’s demand:

Your position is clearly wrong under the plain wording of the contract. Neither the Campaign nor AEG is responsible for arranging or paying for rally-related security. Rather, the U.S. Secret Service – and the U.S. Secret Service alone – is “solely and directly” responsible for coordinating law enforcement services in connection with the rally. “As such, no law enforcement costs shall be coordinated by [AEG], charged through [AEG] to [the Campaign], or shall otherwise be reimbursable expenses in connection with the [contract].” 


The second lie is PZ’s claim that $530,000 is a “conservative estimate.” We wondered if any other Presidents had visited Minneapolis in the recent past and, lo and behold, we found that Obama had visited the very same venue just ten years ago in 2009. The cost? A mere $20,000, or 4% of what the Minneapolis Mayor wants to charge.

What’s more, the Mayor has been quite open about his hatred of the current President, going so far as to suggest that while there is no legal means of preventing Trump from appearing in Minneapolis, he could take actions to make the visit painful.


This is another one of those PZ Myers lies we just don’t get. He’s no doubt thrilled the fact that the Minneapolis Mayor is trying to stick it to Trump – why be all coy and pretend like it was a valid request? PZ presents it as if it’s some ordinary, unbiased bill for services rendered when it’s clearly a rabidly political act. Laugh about it and move on, we say, but don’t treat your audience like children and pretend like all this is on the up and up.

Who, exactly is he trying to fool?

PZ Myers Lie #3 [in bold]:

[Andrew] Doyle is the living embodiment of Mr. Gotcha, that smug know-nothing who pops up to declare that criticisms of society by people who benefit from society are invalid because they live in a society, and who thinks that you can’t decry the abuse of privilege if you have any hint of privilege yourself. It’s a cunning ploy to universally reject the voices of everyone on the planet who finds the status quo intolerable.



This is another PZ Myers lie that is exposed by the very source material he cites. Immediately above this paragraph he posts a paragraph written by Doyle to explain why he set up the fictional Twitter account in question:

Last April, I decided to set up a satirical account on Twitter under the guise of radical intersectionalist poet Titania McGrath. She’s a po-faced young activist who, in spite of her immense privilege, is convinced that she is oppressed. She’s not a direct parody of an existing individual, but anyone who regularly reads opinion columns in the Guardian will be familiar with the type. Given that such individuals are seemingly impervious to reason, and would rather cry ‘bigot’ than engage in serious debate, satire seemed to be the only option.


You can read the rest of Doyle’s reasoning here, and it’s a shot directly across the bow of people like PZ Myers, so it’s no wonder PZ’s up in arms. But there’s no good reason for PZ to lie about Doyle’s claims as he does here, given that they’re fairly straightforward.

First of all, Doyle never claims “criticisms of society by people who benefit from society are invalid.” PZ, as he so often does, just made that up. Doyle also never claims people “can’t decry the abuse of privilege if you have any hint of privilege yourself.” What he did say, in sum, is that it’s ironic to be a person of immense privilege, yet be convinced you are oppressed.

And if that wasn’t enough, the suggestion that Doyle wants to “universally reject the voices of everyone on the planet who finds the status quo intolerable” is a baseless lie. Again, a simple reading Doyle’s own words that PZ himself posted belie this claim. Doyle wants to engage in “serious debate” with those who find the status quo intolerable. He resorted to satire when he discovered that those people, like PZ Myers, don’t really want to debate.


Doyle has PZ’s number. We read the Spiked-online piece and thought virtually every sentence could apply to Myers and the horde at Pharyngula. It’s no wonder PZ is antagonistic towards Doyle, but it is interesting that PZ allowed Doyle’s words to appear on his blog. Normally, if he refers to those types of arguments at all, he will link to a friendly analysis of them, not to the actual arguments themselves. PZ must be slipping, or he must think his readers are too indoctrinated to be swayed by satire emanating from the right. Either way, good on him. We wish he would engage more with conservative ideas. We also wish he’d stop lying about them, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 117 science-related posts, 449 non-science posts.

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

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 139 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

21 Aug – The One Where PZ Myers Forces Us To Defend Trump

There is something about Donald Trump that drives PZ Myers nearly insane.

We’re no fans of the current President, but we would like to think we hold a nuanced, evidence-based position. PZ, on the other hand, is incapable of looking at anything Trump says or does in a neutral or positive light. Everything must be lampooned, ridiculed, and, most importantly, lied about.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Here’s an attempt to list the lunacies expressed by Trump just today.
So far today, Trump has called himself:

The Chosen One
The King of Israel
The Second Coming of God

Just thought you might like to know that the person with his finger on the trigger of America’s nuclear arsenal appears to be losing the last of his marbles.

He also called American Jews disloyal if they voted for a Democrat, threatened to turn captured ISIS members loose on Europe, claimed that victims of shootings in El Paso and Dayton loved him, suggested that suicidal veterans could be treated with a stimulant, and suggested once again that he’d run for president again after his second term.
But he wasn’t done!

Later, President Bone Spurs says he thought about giving himself a Medal of Honor.



So much ground to cover here. Let’s take these claims one at a time. To start with, PZ links to this post at Little Green Footballs, which is apparently run by someone with a similar casual relationship to the truth. PZ’s lies – all of which we’ll only count as one – have their origin here, but had he applied even a casual critical eye he would have determined they were false.

Uno: Trump called himself the King of Israel and the second soming of God. No, he didn’t. Here’s what Trump wrote on Twitter:

Thank you to Wayne Allyn Root for the very nice words. “President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world…and the Jewish people in Israel love him…like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God…But American Jews don’t know him or like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense! But that’s OK, if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s good for…all Jews, Blacks, Gays, everyone. And importantly, he’s good for everyone in America who wants a job.” Wow!


In case you’re wondering (we were) who Wayne Allyn Root is, he’s a conservative talk show host and Vice Presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party in 2008. He compared Trump to the King of Israel and the second coming of God in the context of his support for the state of Israel. Trump did not call himself those things.

Dos: Trump suggested that suicidal veterans could be treated with a stimulant. No, he didn’t.

This lie comes out of a press conference the President gave earlier today. The transcript is here. We had to find it ourselves because PZ Myers can’t be bothered to link to source material anymore.

Here is what Trump said in context:

Q Veteran suicides. AMVETS says it’s their top priority. Talk with me about what the administration’s task force has done since its creation.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’re doing a lot having to do with veteran suicide. We have a task force that’s set up. There’s a product that’s made right now, that just came out by Johnson & Johnson, which has a tremendously positive — pretty short term, but nevertheless positive — effect.

I’ve instructed the head of the VA to go out and buy a lot of it. And we are buying a lot of it. Hopefully, we’re getting it at a very good cost. And this is a — I guess it’s a form of a stimulant where, if somebody is really in trouble from the standpoint of suicide, it can do something. It’s pretty well known. Just came out. It’s made, I believe, by Johnson & Johnson. And we have calls in now to Johnson & Johnson. Those calls — we’ve been dealing with them for two months, on buying a lot.


One could argue PZ was technically not lying because Trump did use the word “stimulant” in his answer, but that would be missing the point. PZ wants to make Trump look like an idiot by suggesting any old stimulant would work on the suicidal, when the President said essentially the opposite, that a specific Johnson & Johnson product showed great promise in this area and the US Government is in talks to purchase it.

To put it another way, if the US Government weren’t in talks to purchase a drug that showed tremendous promise in preventing suicides, PZ would probably say Trump was incompetent for not taking action.

Tres: Trump says he thought about giving himself a Medal of Honor. No, he didn’t. Trump made a joke, and lots of partisan ideologues took it seriously, including PZ Myers.

“Thank you, Woody. You’re looking good, Woody. Woody’s looking good,” Trump said.

“That was a big day, Medal of Honor. Nothing like the Medal of Honor,” he continued. “I wanted one, but they told me I don’t qualify, Woody. I said, ‘Can I give it to myself anyway?’ They said, ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea.’”

Amid scattered chuckles, Trump concluded: “Great, great people. These are great, great men and women that get congressional Medal of Honor. Thank you, Woody.”


This reminds us of the time during the campaign when Trump joked that the Russians probably had the 30,000 missing Clinton emails, and the entire press corps took that as evidence of him either asking a foreign nation to hack a political rival or colluding Putin to rig the election. To suggest, with a straight face, that Trump wanted to give himself a Medal of Honor is the height of partisan stupidity.

And a lie.


Other assertions above – we couldn’t call them lies – were mostly taken out of context or not well explained. It sounds silly to think Trump would release ISIS fighters in Europe until you look into the matter:

U.S. officials have been urging allies—largely unsuccessfully—to take back and try their own citizens. But European governments, concerned that the kind of battlefield evidence they have about the fighters won’t prove admissible in domestic courts, have so far resisted calls to repatriate either the men or their wives and children. The situation is straining the SDF’s capacity, and the U.S. has already been forced to call in surveillance support to help put down a jailbreak from a detention facility in Derik, in northeastern Syria. 


Trump did suggest Jews would be disloyal to vote Democrat because of the Party’s apparent acceptance of Antisemitism in the form of Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib and others. PZ Myers likes to suggest Trump is a white supremacist, but refuses to acknowledge the troubling positions of politicians on his side of the aisle. Another blog we regularly read has a running gag where they call Trump the Worst. Nazi. Ever. every time positive stories about him and Israel come up in the press. It’s a subject about which PZ Myers will never have anything to say, because it is evidence that cuts against his theory of this President.

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 5 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 88 science-related posts, 267 non-science posts.

25% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 94 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

5 Aug – A Lie PZ Myers Will Never Correct

About a month ago, we noted two lies PZ Myers told about the US National Women’s Soccer team. We noted at the time he and the people at Skepchick used some dodgy numbers and articles that predated the current collective bargaining agreement.

Following up on those stories, US Soccer recently released an open letter addressing the charges of unequal pay made by the members of the World Champion women’s team. They were right, they are definitively not being paid the same as the men.

They’re being paid more.

At my request, U.S. Soccer staff conducted an extensive analysis of the past 10 years of U.S. Soccer’s financials.  Based on this analysis, we’ve produced the following fact sheet, which has been reviewed by an independent accounting firm…

Over the past decade, U.S. Soccer has paid our Women’s National Team more than our Men’s National Team.  From 2010 through 2018, U.S. Soccer paid our women $34.1 million in salaries and game bonuses and we paid our men $26.4 million—not counting the significant additional value of various benefits that our women’s players receive but which our men do not.


Were PZ Myers intellectually honest, he would cover this astonishing news, explain his error and apologize. Except he’s not, so he won’t. This news will sail past, unnoticed, like everything else that doesn’t conform to his evangelical progressive ideology.

Just one lie to cover today. Ho, hum, PZ Myers claimed the President of the United States is a white nationalist based on no evidence whatsover.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

We are in an intolerable situation. The president is a white nationalist bigot, and the senate is controlled by another greedy bigot. The Democrats are in denial and are avoiding doing anything about the putrid, rotting elephant in the room — impeachment proceedings are vital at this point.



We’ve mentioned before that we’re not going to count PZ calling Trump a racist as a lie anymore, but this is different. PZ isn’t just claiming Trump holds racist views or tolerates those who do. He’s not claiming Trump takes it easy on white supremacists because he’s pandering for votes. No, he claims Trump is a white nationalist based on, well, nothing. This is an extraordinary claim and those usually require extraordinary evidence, but not in this case. Never with Trump. Any claim about Trump, no matter how extraordinary, apparently requires no evidence because PZ provides none.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, is just collateral damage here. We have no idea why PZ think’s he’s a bigot, and once again no evidence is offered in support of his claim.

Two lies, but given our longstanding practice to give PZ the benefit of the doubt, we’re counting it as one.


We note that PZ was on a rant here about the mass murder in El Paso, TX, but failed to mention – as we predicted he wouldn’t – the mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. That murderer was a progressive antifa leftist and as such will remain forever invisible to PZ Myers.

For the record, we don’t think that progressive political ideas had anything to do with the mass murders he committed, just as we don’t think conservative political ideas have anything to do with the murders in El Paso. But PZ Myers thinks one side of the political spectrum is guilty in that regard and the other is completely innocent.

And it’s a lie.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 4 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 81 science-related posts, 205 non-science posts.

28% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 80 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

29-30 July – PZ Myers Goes On a Science Spree! And Two More Lies!

We took yesterday off due to other commitments and we came back to a stunning development: a scientist actually blogging about science! PZ Myers has been talking more about science these past two days than he has about politics, which is a first since we started keeping tabs here at PZWatch. We’re excited about this development and hope it continues, but we’re also realists who know every time we’ve praised PZ, he’s immediately gone back to his old ways. So there’ll probably be no science for the next week, given our track record and his.

But there will be lies. We have two to cover today.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Child murderer was a white nationalist



The lie this time is in the title of the post, which goes on to discuss the recent murders at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. PZ linked to a Heavy.com article about the murders as substantiation of his claim, but there is a problem. Santiago William Legan, the 19-year-old who killed three people at the festival before being killed by police, does not appear to be a white nationalist.

Heavy.com does not make the claim that Legan was a white nationalist, PZ Myers does. And he bases it off a single post on Instagram that reads, in its entirety: “Read Might Is Right by Ragnar Redbeard. Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to make room for hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white twats?”

We’re not sure what to make of the second sentence, but it doesn’t seem to be typical of white nationalist talk. And we haven’t read Might is Right, but Leo Tolstoy apparently did and describes it as follows:

The substance of this book, as it is expressed in the editor’s preface, is that to measure “right” by the false philosophy of the Hebrew prophets and “weepful” Messiahs is madness. Right is not the offspring of doctrine, but of power. All laws, commandments, or doctrines as to not doing to another what you do not wish done to you, have no inherent authority whatever, but receive it only from the club, the gallows, and the sword. A man truly free is under no obligation to obey any injunction, human or divine. Obedience is the sign of the degenerate. Disobedience is the stamp of the hero.


Others have described it as containing “open sexism and racism” or as a “proto-fascist white power manifesto.”

PZ apparently relies on this last description to base his claim, however he leaves something out. Legan self-identified as half Italian and half Iranian. Another of Legan’s Instagram posts contain a picture of his maternal grandfather, Ali Ashgar Vahabzadeh.

Additionally, this LA Times story contains the following tidbit:

Amid the screams, flying bullets and bloodshed that erupted on a warm summer evening at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday, someone shouted a pivotal question at the gunman: “Why are you doing this?”

Because I’m really angry,” the gunman replied, according to Jack Van Breen, who spoke with reporters after performing at the festival with his band, TinMan.


All of which leads us to classify this as a lie. There is not enough information about Legan’s views for PZ to claim that he was a white nationalist.


This is a classic case of confirmation bias. PZ wants to see a connection – any connection – with white nationalism/fascism so he can claim once again that antifa are the good guys simply fighting for right. Except its unclear how antifa would have ever known about half Italian, half Iranian Legan, as there does not appear to be much of a digital/social media record of him.

But PZ doesn’t really care about these kinds of nuances. He has a point to make and he won’t let facts get in the way of that.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

Whoa. When my kids were starting college, I was making $40K/year, and we didn’t even own a home — we were renting. Yet we managed to scrimp and save and get all three kids through four years of college. So that family is bringing in a quarter million per year, and they haven’t managed to set aside any money for their kids’ education? What have they been spending their money on? 



PZ is discussing a Wall Street Journal article about wealthy parents transferring guardianship of their children in order to get legal aid. And the bolded questions above seem perfectly legitimate, except the article answers them in the exact snippet PZ posts in the blog.

One Chicago-area woman told The Wall Street Journal that she transferred guardianship of her then 17-year-old daughter to her business partner last year. While her household income is greater than $250,000 a year, she said, she and her husband have spent about $600,000 putting several older children through college and have no equity in their home, which is valued at about $1.2 million, according to the property website Zillow. She said she has little cash on hand and little saved for her daughter’s education.


According to the article they had set over a half-million dollars aside for their kids education, but spent it on their older children. Note: we are in no way condoning what these parents did, we’re just saying PZ Myers lied about it.


PZ started off the post on another rant about Trump, and these people were just caught in the crossfire. And speaking of his Trump rant, it serves as a great example of the pettiness of PZ Myers. He tries to suggest Trump doesn’t understand that he has to hit the “heart” next to a tweet in order to “like” it. Instead, PZ quotes from a NY Mag column that says:

The president has even been known to sends printouts of tweets he likes. After he liked one Gaetz tweet, he had it printed by a staffer, signed it and requested that it be sent to Gaetz’s congressional office, where the now-framed tweet hangs.


Except, there’s a perfect normal reason for Trump to not hit the “heart” button – everyone else will see it. He may not wish to advertise what Tweets he likes, simple as that.

Trump uses Twitter more than any other President and we find it unbelievable to suggest he doesn’t understand a key feature of the platform. But not for PZ.

Final Tally:

Today: 7 science-related posts, 4 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 76 science-related posts, 178 non-science posts.

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

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 75 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

18 July – Everyone Who Doesn’t Agree With PZ Myers is a Racist!

Also, the sky is falling.

Casablanca is one of our favorite movies of all time. Made in 1942, it no-so-subtly urged a reluctant America to enter the war against the Nazis in Germany. At one point Rick, the protagonist, references the bombing of Pearl Harbor and asks, “If it is December 1941 in Casablanca, what time is it in New York?”

PZ asks a similar question today, “It’s 1932. What are you doing?”

We’ll tell you at the end what we’re doing. First, the lies.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

If you are a Republican, you’re racist. If you vote Republican, you are a racist. If you live in a county that voted for Trump, you live in a racist county. Trump himself is an unabashed racist.



Just a week ago we mentioned that we weren’t going to call PZ’s assertions that Trump is racist a lie anymore because PZ has defined the word racism to mean whatever he wants it to mean. But, here he just goes overboard and smears half the country with a lie. We don’t see the need to spend too much time rebutting this obvious falsehood – we’ve talked about it before – but if you need further proof it’s a lie, try Scherie Murray on for size. She’s challenging Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – one of PZ’s favorite members of congress – for her seat next year. We wonder if Scherie thinks the Republican Party is racist.


This sort of thing is what keeps us fascinated in PZ Myers. As a scientist, he would never issue blanket declarations like this about half of the spider research community, for instance. But, he has no problem branding half the country with the racist label simply for having ideas different to his. This hatred has nothing to do with Trump. It pre-dated Trump and will go on long after Trump is gone. His first two sentences above don’t mention Trump at all.

No, this is all about people who think differently, and PZ wants to smear them all.

That, in another context, would be easily identified as bigotry. On Pharyngula, it counts as reasoned thought, we suppose.

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

We’ve got a demagogue holding rallies (Why is he still doing that? Doesn’t he have work to do?) and leading mobs in racist chants, threatening to deport or jail people, journalists and opposition politicians, for being brown. 



Leaving aside for a moment the question of whether or not “Send her back” is a racist chant, the fact is that the President didn’t “lead” the chant, he didn’t instruct the people present at the rally to say those words, and later on disavowed the chant altogether.

Additionally, the President has never threatened to deport or jail anyone for being brown, but especially not an opposition politician. PZ just makes it up whole cloth, turning this into yet another patented lie.


In our open, we noted the fact that PZ Myers thinks 2019 resembles 1932 and wonders what all right (left) thinking progressives are going to do about it. The situation sounds bleak, ominous, even “edgy,” perhaps, but it occurs to us we’ve heard all this before.

Steven Heyward, over at the conservative Powerline blog, gives a great rundown of examples in US history where people seemed to be at least as divided as they are today.

Here is a smattering of thoughts from 1964:

San Francisco Mayor John Shelley said Republicans “had Mein Kampf as their political bible.” Columnist Drew Pearson, for example, wrote that “the smell of fascism has been in the air at this convention.” The Chicago Defender ran the headline: “GOP Convention, 1964 Recalls Germany, 1933.”


So it appears nothing much has changed in the last 55 years. We note, with a small degree of curiosity, how the United States turned out not to have descended into fascism after the Republican Party made Barry Goldwater their nominee in 1964. In fact, the years since have seen the demise of totalitarian regimes around the world while the United States has increased representation and the rights of its citizens on almost every front since then.

Is there any reason to think that, since the sky didn’t fall in 1964, it’s going to fall today? No.

That’s why, to answer PZ’s question, it might be 1932, but we’re not doing much.

Except exposing his lies.

Final Tally:

Today: 0 science-related posts, 3 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 52 science-related posts, 143 non-science posts.

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

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 61 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.