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. 

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/13/if-we-must-have-celebrities-can-they-at-least-have-some-principles/

Facts:

Wow.

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.

Analysis:

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.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/14/nobody-is-above-the-law/

Facts:

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.

Analysis:

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.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/13/if-we-must-have-celebrities-can-they-at-least-have-some-principles/

Facts:

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.’ ”

http://www.startribune.com/rape-joke-flyer-on-university-of-minnesota-morris-campus-gets-attention-of-president-gabel/562872952/?refresh=true

Analysis:

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.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/11/how-awful-was-last-nights-trump-rally/

Facts:

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.

https://www.rev.com/blog/donald-trump-minnesota-rally-speech-transcript-minneapolis-mn-rally-october-10-2019

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.

Analysis:

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.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/06/28/free-speech-is-the-new-religious-excuse/

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.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/11/we-are-making-some-progress-locally/

Interesting.

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.

8 Oct – PZ Lies About a Bunch of College Kids

Yesterday, we noted that PZ Myers continued an annual tradition of sorts by verbally abusing a group of college-aged kids because they hold different political opinions than he does.

He kept on that same theme today, but it’s unclear the campus College Republicans were actually responsible for the posters he goes on an incoherent rant about.

Once again, we’ve reached out to the College Republicans at the University of Minnesota, Morris, who haven’t responded in time for this post to go live.

PZ Myers Lie [in bold]:

It’s happening again. Our local [SATIRE!] campus troglodytes and assholes, the College Republicans, are splattering corkboards with their messages of resentment. They really don’t like the fact that we’ve got students who don’t think like they do and expect to be tolerated, so they’ve been putting up argumentative, emotional posters in reaction to statements of fact. Like these two in the science building.

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/10/08/poster-wars/

The “messages” PZ refers to above are here:

Campus Republican Fliers?

There are any number of things wrong with PZ’s statement. First, it’s not clear that these “posters” were produced by the College Republicans. Except for the letters “CR” in small font at the bottom right of the “poster” in the top left-hand portion of the pic, absolutely nothing identifies these as being affiliated with the Morris College Republicans.

We’ve reached out to them for comment, and will update this post when it happens.

Even if we assume, however, that these two messages were posted by the College Republicans, they are at best respectful and at worst incoherent. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the one on the right – which echoes sentiments PZ has stated many times – and the only thing that could be construed as “resentful” on the left is this sentence: “Your Gender Identity and Pronouns are not real & not Valid.”

But, immediately following that sentence is this tolerant, respectful statement: “Freedom of Speech applies to both genders equally Stand up for your fellow Students Even if they have differences.”

This is simply incoherent and in no way can be construed as a sentiment of “resentment.” And both “posters” offer entreaties to “stand up for your fellow students.” It’s hard for us to square what PZ wrote about this “posters” with what’s actually on them, they differ so much we started to wonder if PZ didn’t accidentally put up the wrong picture in this post, but he not only put up the picture, he reproduced the words in each “poster” below the picture itself. So we know he read it.

And lied about it, from start to finish.

Analysis:

This looks to us like a troll – a student deliberately trying to provoke a reaction by posting two diametrically opposed statements, one of which sounds like a caricature of something a College Republican might say in jest. We wouldn’t be surprised to find out that a progressive group on campus put these fliers up to make the College Republicans look bad.

But let’s assume they didn’t, and these are actual Morris College Republican fliers. So what? It’s a group of college kids acting out to try to get a reaction. Why does PZ feel the need to continually berate them instead of – oh we don’t know – teaching them? It’s been a while since we were in college but that’s what professors used to do…

PZ Myers Lie #2 [in bold]:

It’s almost amusing how pissed off the CR’s are at people who affirm their own identities, that they then have to print up posters insisting that “NO, WE KNOW YOUR IDENTITY BETTER THAN YOU DO. SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.” Except of course that these conservative clowns want to pass legislation to restrict everyone’s freedoms, and some of them are likely to express their hate with violence.

Facts:

Three lies here.

Again, assuming both of these are authentic fliers produced by the Morris College Republicans, nowhere do they tell anyone to shut up. In fact, both fliers advocate for freedom of speech for everyone. That’s the first lie.

The second is PZ’s claim that the College Republicans “want to pass legislation to restrict everyone’s freedoms.” He does not back up that claim with evidence, but restricting the freedom of “everyone” cannot be seen anywhere on the Republican platform.

The third lie in this snippet is the idea that some of these College Republicans (once again, assuming that’s who made the posters) will become violent. We’ve seen no data to suggest that college students who identify as Republican will become politically violent at a greater or lesser rate than college students who identify as Liberal or Progressive, and PZ doesn’t offer any. Anecdotally, we’d say the opposite is true given the violence we’ve seen reported involving antifa in Portland and elsewhere.

Analysis:

We thought we’d seen PZ at his despicable worst back in July when he was excusing antifa violence against journalists, but this might be worse. These are college kids with what we assume are immature ideas about political philosophy. We certainly had some screwy ideas when we were that age, and we’re glad we didn’t have a tenured professor verbally abusing us while we worked them out.

PZ could use an opportunity like this to start a dialogue. He could use an opportunity like this to educate, to share ideas, and to bring people together. But that’s not what he’s all about, even when it involves young adults he’s paid to teach.

Final Tally:

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

Since 30 May 19: 117 science-related posts, 445 non-science posts.

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

Today: 2 PZ Myers Lies

Since 30 May 19: 136 PZ Myers Lies

Over to you, PZ. Until tomorrow.