16 Oct – What Master Taught PZ Myers To Lie?

Media Matters, perhaps?

PZ glommed on to a highly dishonest video they released comparing the words of Tucker Carlson with those of white supremacist Jared Taylor. The only problem? Carson didn’t actually say anything racist, so they had to keep cutting back and forth in order to make you think he did.

It’s exactly the sort of technique a sceptical mind should ferret out in an instant. But, as we know very well by now, PZ Myers does not have a sceptical mind.

PZ’s title for the post in question today is “Tucker Carlson has learned at the feet of his master.” Our question – to which master does PZ Myers bow?

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

Translation: I don’t like [Jared Taylor] very much. But you know who does? Tucker Carlson! He’s been taking racism lessons from him. Like two worm-infested, slimy, moldy peas in a pod. I’d say that Carlson was in the business of white-washing the statements of more loudly racist folk except that he’s just as filthy as they are.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/16/tucker-carlson-has-learned-at-the-feet-of-his-master/

Facts:

PZ links to the Media Matters video as his only evidence for these claims, but the video does not make the case. The eight sentences the video quotes Carlson as saying are pasted below without the misleading context:

1. Happy Columbus Day anyway, enjoy it while you can. Your grandchildren won’t even know it existed.
2. In LA the City Council just voted to rename Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples Day.
3. But it seems to have spread to — again normal places like Columbus, Ohio, which is a great town actually, filled with normal people. How did it get to Columbus?
4. What does it mean? You don’t have a right to be here and neither did your ancestors. We hate you. You get the point.
5. I mean they turned it into America, which to this day is a beacon of hope for this world. That’s why everyone wants to come here. So you’re trying to delegitimize that.
6. Christopher Columbus, his crime? Violating the sovereignty of the people who lived here already. Plus, he had the wrong ethnicity. Now try making that argument about any other immigrant to America and see how long you keep your job.
7. Things are in fact better on this continent than they were 700 years ago, in case democracy and penicillin and the internal combustion engine didn’t make that obvious. Far less human sacrifice and cannibalism.
8. So when they come for the Columbus statue in your town, it’s worth fighting back because it’s not about the statute, it’s about something much deeper.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjWraet5WZ0

Confused? You’re meant to be. Media Matters are professionals. They want you to think Carlson is a racist so they intersperse his statements with actual racist things Jared Taylor said which happen to use some of the same words. It’s the opposite of truth. It’s propaganda. And for PZ to repeat and amplify their propaganda is a lie.

Analysis:

We’d never heard point #6 Carlson makes above, but it is interesting to juxtapose the current immigration debate with the debate about Columbus. PZ is all for open borders. He wants anyone and everyone to come to America. But, isn’t that what Christopher Columbus did? Wasn’t he just practicing his own open borders policy?

These are the types of questions a sceptic might ask – but don’t expect that sort of analysis from PZ Myers. He has his ideology and he’s sticking to it, truth be damned.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post, 5 posts on other stuff

Since 30 May 19: 120 science-related posts, 482 non-science posts.

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

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 151 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

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

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

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

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

Or something.

PZ Myers Lie:

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

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

Facts:

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

Analysis:

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

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

PZ Myers Lie #2:

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

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

Facts:

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

Analysis:

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

PZ Myers Lie #3:

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

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

Facts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Analysis:

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

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

Final Tally:

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

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

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

Today: 3 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 49 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

6 June 2019 – Source Material? What Source Material?

Let’s imagine we started a website calling out the lies of a once prominent atheist and skeptic.

Sounds far fetched, we know, but stay with us on this.

If we tried to call out PZ Myers on his lies without, you know, actually quoting his lies, we would expect precisely no one to take us seriously. But this is exactly how PZ frames one of his arguments today. Consider:

PZ Myers Lie:

“The Industrial Revolution was not a product of British Imperial measurements, it was just the system they were historically using while they went through that period.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/06/that-creepy-inelegant-metric-system/

 Facts:

PZ wants to rail against Tucker Carlson and a guest who appeared on the show, but even though a transcript of the show is available online (we found it in 2 seconds) PZ doesn’t quote from it. He quotes from a Newsweek article about the show instead.

Had PZ actually watched the show or read the transcript, he would have found this sentence, spoken by Carlson’s guest, which makes the same point:

…we should stand tall on our own two feet, I say, because it was customary measures that measured out the Industrial Revolution…

https://www.foxnews.com/transcript/can-the-us-continue-to-stand-alone-against-the-metric-system

The guest doesn’t imply causation. He doesn’t say the Industrial Revolution was a “product” of customary measures. He just said those measures were in use at the time, which is exactly the same point PZ makes and why we’ve labeled it PZ’s first lie of the day.

Analysis:

Warning bells went off in our heads when we noticed PZ wasn’t quoting the show itself. If he wants to criticize or lie about someone or something, but doesn’t want to engage with the actual person or issue itself, he’ll often use a third party as a foil. Here the interlocutor is Newsweek’s description of Tucker Carlson’s show, not the show itself, so it’s inevitable that lies like this will occur. PZ would probably give a failing grade to a student who tried to pull this crap, but for him it’s a feature, not a bug, of his argumentative style.

PZ Myers Lie #2:

“[Making money has] always been the goal of the companies that dominate social media. They aren’t altruistic in the slightest. However, the decision to support only combative content isn’t the only way to make money, it’s just the easiest, least mindful way.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/06/welcome-to-the-new-wasteland-same-as-the-old-wasteland/

 Facts:

It would be tempting to claim there are two lies in this quote. The claim that social media companies are in no way altruistic feels like a lie, because they often do things for altruistic reasons, but it is true that the primary objective of not only social media companies but nearly every company on the planet is to make money. This seems to us so self evident as to be laughable – if a company didn’t make money they would cease to exist.

But we digress.

The lie here is that social media companies “support only combative content.” This is self-evidently wrong. We just finished up a 30-day yoga challenge and watched dozens of hours of peaceful, non-combative yoga content on YouTube – the specific social media company PZ screeches against in this post. There is uplifting, supportive, dare we say altruistic content galore on all social media platforms, all supported by the platforms themselves.

Which makes this yet another PZ Myers Lie.

Analysis:

Various versions of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ have over 150 million views, and that’s pure 80’s gold. We know just reading the name of the song put the tune into your head, and we’re not going to pretend to apologize for that.

But, if Steve Perry and Neal Schon aren’t your thing, you can search YouTube and probably find every song that’s ever been played anywhere on earth at any time during it’s four and a half billion years in existence.

And if that’s a lie, it’s not by much.

Our point is, social media companies like YouTube are revolutionizing how we communicate with each other, connect, and share content. It’s not just Journey, you can also watch (and we have) a series of physics lectures by Leonard Susskind. Want something in between those two extremes?

You’ll find it. The average person today has so much more access to online content than we did just a decade ago, it’s almost too astounding to think about. We think it’s a great example of emergent order – where norms emerge out of a complex substructure of chaotic, sometimes combative, elements. All of which is something PZ doesn’t really care about at all, he just wants to use this topic to bash people he doesn’t like, in this case a media personality who has the temerity to come down on the right side of the political spectrum.

A final point. We’d never heard of Steven Crowder or Carlos Maza before reading PZ’s post, but we do know other media personalities, like Howard Stern, who have mastered the art of using conflict – often manufactured out of thin air – to boost ratings. Our cynical side suspects this is a tactic both Crowder and Maza are attempting to use, and only time will tell if they’re successful.

Usually, you have to have talent in order to keep people listening after the initial controversy has died down, but the Kardashians are still around so we’ll admit we might not know as much as we think we do about all this.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related post (another anticipatory post about his spider project) and 2 other posts that we discuss above with one lie in each.

Since 30 May 19: 5 science-related posts, 27 non-science posts.

We think we have enough data now to start assigning a percentage to the amount of science content appearing on Pharyngula. In just over a week, 15.6% of the posts have been about science. We’ll update this percentage regularly moving forward.

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 14 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.