25 Sep – PZ Lies About Random Dude On Twitter

We haven’t seen this in a while from PZ, but he did something today we think is the laziest, least serious thing someone can do: find a random oddball tweet, criticize it, then suggest the sentiment is representative of X group.

It’s a good way to take shots and score partisan political points at the expense of X group, but it’s at best dishonest and at worst a disgusting slur (both of which are in PZ Myers’s wheelhouse).

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

He’s not even being provocative! He just thinks girls can’t have credible opinions if raping them makes you a pedophile. That’s probably the Catholic side of his bio speaking. Well, maybe the Libertarian side, too. By the way, he’s quite proud of his tweet, and is bragging that Twitter didn’t see any problems with it, either.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/09/25/children-are-to-be-sold-quietly-to-billionaires-not-heard/

Facts:

The target of PZ’s ire is the following tweet by someone named Justin Murphy:

Not even being provocative but if you think Greta Thunberg has the maturity to guide global policy-making then you cannot object to Jeffrey Epstein paying 16-year-olds for sex.

https://twitter.com/jmrphy/status/1176703990056267777

We’ll ignore the part where he claims he’s “not even being provocative,” because it’s fairly obvious he was trying to do exactly that. But what of the rest of the tweet?

He’s trying to make a general point about the maturity of a 16-year-old. As a society, we have collectively decided that, before someone turns 18, they are not entitled to do certain things: vote, enter into a contract, consent to sex with an adult at least 4 years older. By extension, Murphy is trying to point out that Greta Thunberg – who is 16 – should not be mature enough to “guide global policy-making.”

Let’s go back to what PZ said: “He just thinks girls can’t have credible opinions if raping them makes you a pedophile.”

There are multiple ways this a lie, so we’ll start at the beginning. Murphy didn’t say “girls can’t have credible opinions,” the specific thing he said was “guide global policy making,” two very different things. Everyone has an opinion about climate change, vanishingly few people have the power or reach to effect global policy.

Epstein certainly committed statutory rape multiple times, which by definition makes him a pedophile, but that is irrelevant to Murphy’s point.

According to the indictment filed in US District Court, Epstein paid all of his victims “hundreds of dollars” for each encounter and used them to recruit new victims using the promise of cash. The indictment does not accuse Epstein of using violence or threats of violence to coerce his victims (neither “violence” nor “force” appear anywhere in the document), so the entirety of the moral case against Epstein rests on the idea that a sixteen year old is not mature enough to consent to having paid sex with a sixty-year-old man.

And if a sixteen-year-old isn’t mature enough to give consent, can they be mature enough to guide global policy on climate change? That’s the provocative question Murphy asks, and PZ lies about.

Analysis:

Murphy describes himself as a “Libertarian communist Catholic.” We’re going to assume there’s a story behind this, as two of those things (libertarian and communist) are diametrically opposed and neither one plays very well with the third (Catholic). In other words, we don’t believe he simultaneously has a foot in all three camps, but PZ wants to use the opportunity of this tweet to take a swipe at two of them – libertarian and Catholic. Somehow we’re supposed to think libertarians are bad because Murphy used the word in his Twitter bio. Ditto for Catholics.

We’re not persuaded, and can’t imagine who would be, but this appears to be the only reason PZ chose this tweet to post on his blog. Why else highlight some random person on Twitter if you can’t make a broader point about two groups you hate? Would PZ have gone on a rant about some random 16-year-old’s tweet if they had no political or religious affiliation in their bio?

We don’t think so.

This is simply an extension of PZ’s argumentative style: never, under any circumstances, correctly describe a political position your ideological opponents hold. Always lie. Always obfuscate. Always exaggerate. In this way, you’ll always be arguing against a straw man you can easily set alight.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 109 science-related posts, 395 non-science posts.

22% of the posts on a “science blog” are about science. 

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lie

Since 30 May 19: 125 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.

12 June 2019 – A Twitter Lie, and PZ is Worried About Content Control?

One of the things that keeps us reading PZ Myers is his brazenness. His only real principle is power: he wants his progressive allies to have it all and his political enemies to have none. There are no objective standards in PZ’s world, no principles that apply equally to both the right and left side of the political spectrum. If he likes you, you can do pretty much anything. If he doesn’t, you’re screwed.

Today, PZ blogged about content control in the comments section at Patheos and linked it to a incident two years ago where bloggers purportedly “jumped ship…concerned that the religious conservatives who owned the network were meddling with the content.”

This is the same PZ Myers, mind you, who actively meddles with the content of the comments on Pharyngula. He has deleted entire comments of ours for asking him uncomfortable questions and he actively bans users who point out the shortcomings of his arguments.

We used to live in Texas and they have a word for this: cajones.

PZ’s are gigantic.

PZ Myers Lie:

“The problem here is that Twitter insists on implementing the cheapest, most superficial, most easily gamed methods to sniff out bad actors on their medium, meaning that the dishonest thrive and the forthright are silenced.”

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/12/everything-wrong-with-twitter-in-one-story/

Facts:

PZ is referencing a story here about David Neiwert being banned from Twitter for supposedly posting the cover of his book as his profile picture. That’s Neiwert’s conclusion anyway, Twitter didn’t specifically tell him what rule he’d broken or why.

So if Neiwert isn’t certain why his account was suspended, then how can PZ have already diagnosed the problem?

We searched in vain for any sort of evidence to back up the claim that Twitter implements “the cheapest, most superficial, most easily gamed methods to sniff out bad actors,” but came up empty. PZ doesn’t cite any sources for this claim, or for the claim that “the dishonest thrive and the forthright are silenced.” He apparently expects his readers to take his word for it.

Additionally, it’s not clear that Twitter’s goal is to “sniff out bad actors,” whatever that phrase means. Twitter recently updated its rules to make them easier to understand, and says that process is ongoing. That doesn’t look either cheap or superficial to us, and it makes a clear statement to people who may attempt to use the service in a way that is not intended. In our view that’s enough to rule PZ’s assertion a lie.

Analysis:

We think Neiwert might be trying to take advantage of the Streisand effect here to sell some more books, but we could be wrong. PZ is happy to oblige in any event, and get a little Twitter bashing in along the way. Again, it doesn’t matter if Twitter is in the process of doing exactly what PZ wants them to do and silencing not only white supremacists but a good chuck of the right wing as well. He won’t be satisfied until all voices, starting somewhere to the right of Joe Biden, are silenced.

Think about this in the context of our introduction to this post – PZ complaining about the possibility of content control on another site – a site owned by people he describes as ‘religious conservatives.’ He doesn’t care that content is being banned, he just wants the ‘right’ people to do the banning.

Final Tally:

Today: 1 science-related posts and 5 posts on other stuff.

Since 30 May 19: 14 science-related posts, 46 non-science posts.

23% of PZ’s posts on a “science blog” have been about science. 

Note: Most of PZ’s posts on science since 30 May have been dedicated to a spider data gathering initiative he’s running. There have been precious few posts on anything else having to do with science. When the spider data gathering is complete, we’ll take a look at the numbers and parse out how much other science content he provides.

Today: 1 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 19 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.