PZ Myers Is Still A Liar


At the start of January, I caught PZ Myers in a blatant lie about the stated views of the late Christopher Hitchens. In short, he accused Christopher Hitchens of ‘proposing genocide’ and being in favour of ‘wholesale execution of the population of the Moslem world’’. What was particularly useful about Myers’ claims was the fact that he named the time, place and precise moment Hitchens was alleged to have expressed these views. Unfortunately for Myers, this precise moment in time was also documented on video for all to see. The footage conclusively reveals that Hitchens neither said, implied or hinted at any such thing. Not to mention such views are antithesis to the solidarity Hitchens so vocally expressed for Muslim dissidents throughout his career.

Given PZ Myers was so spectacularly exposed for his dishonesty, I wondered how he would respond. First came another lie wrapped in a denial:


Rather predictably, Myers has now chosen to respond to my writing with even more lies in a new blog post. Given there is zero wriggle room to justify his accusations of ‘proposing genocide’, he has no choice but to construct a straw man to take aim at instead. Myers would have you believe that the criticism levelled at him is comprised of people denying that Hitchens was in favour of war or military action. Myers writes:

‘So we now have an atheism that cheerfully denies reality to declare that Christopher Hitchens was practically a pacifist, because it’s so important to defeat Islam’.

Odd given that I wrote this in the very article Myers is responding to:

‘Call Hitchens’s comments hawkish, call them wrongheaded, call them whatever you like. But just don’t try to claim he was ‘proposing genocide’ or advocating ‘wholesale execution of the population of the Moslem world’.

Hawkish’Advocating an aggressive or warlike policy, especially in foreign affairs: the administration’s hawkish stance.1

So, let me spell it out once again. I’m not denying that Hitchens was in favour of military intervention, right or wrong with all its potential consequences – I am denying that he ever proposed the ‘genocide’ of Muslims. I am denying that he ever advocated ‘wholesale execution of the population of the Moslem world’. I am denying these things because Hitchens never said or advocated them. They are lies conjured by a proven liar.

Myers avoids this fact in favour of attacking straw men because he knows he can’t possibly justify his claims. It’s particularly laughable to claim atheists are whitewashing Hitchens’ support of military intervention when the Iraq War is one of the main points of contention atheists (and Hitchens’ friends) have with the man.

In another embarrassing display, Myers recommends reading the works of Richard Seymour for ‘lots of direct quotes’ of Christopher Hitchens presumably saying some awful things. Coincidentally, earlier this month I reported that Richard Seymour attributed the following quote to Christopher Hitchens in his dreadful book ‘Unhitched’:

As for that benighted country [Iran], I wouldn’t shed a tear if it was wiped off the face of this earth.”2

The source for this quote? Someone told Richard Seymour that they had heard some other people say that they had heard Christopher Hitchens say it once. It seems Myers’ understanding of the word ‘direct’ is about as competent as his understanding the word ‘genocide’.

Continuing the trend of smearing people who expose his lies, PZ Myers brands me a ‘dishonest apologist’:


If anyone can locate a more encompassing example of projection, please let me know.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

  1. Definition of Hawkish, Oxford Dictionaries
  2. Seymour, R. (2013). Verso Books, p.92.


  • Might want to use donotlink if you are linking to FTB http://www.donotlink.com/hztz

    Also interesting to see that the FTB/Skepchick lot are *still* trying to flog the dead horse of Elevatorgate. We’ll be seeing a revival of Atheism Plus next!

  • The worst part of all this is that you know PZ’s FTB fanboys and fangirls won’t be bothered for a second to fact check his rant.

  • None of this is as bad as his blog post about the death of Robin Williams. I’m still trying to work out what he was trying to achieve by trying to link the coverage of Williams’ death to events in Ferguson. On first reading I thought that Myers was claiming that Williams had martyred himself to protect racist police; that, I’m told by Myers’ allies, is not the case, but the premise that the media were ignoring Ferguson has been shown to be untrue.

    • The Robin Williams post was the last straw for me. I used to enjoy his blog – but never his hoard – up till a few years ago. Then he went off the rails, increasingly hateful and regressive. I’ve never gone back.

  • The Trash-talking Hypocrisy of PZ Myers – http://rationalrazor.com/the-trash-talking-hypocrisy-of-pz-myers
    The above describes an exchange I had on Myers site after disagreeing with his post that labelled Sam Harris a bigot based on what a “correspondent” said.
    I think his incautious approach smacks of desperation and a feeling of not receiving enough credit within the atheism community. Perhaps if he acted in good faith and was more generous to others he receive more credit himself.

  • Myers doesn’t seem to know what atheism is either. He says:
    “So we now have an atheism that cheerfully denies reality to declare that Christopher Hitchens was practically a pacifist, because it’s so important to defeat Islam’”
    He clearly thinks it’s a religious or moral philosophy, and he has his own brand. Maybe it’s an American thing. He may well be an atheist but he’s certainly religious, and he conflates the two things. In the same way that dishonesty is essential to the perpetuation of all organised religion, Myers is also being dishonest.

    PZ Myers was very good, I thought, when he stuck to science. But when it comes to critical thinking outside that sphere of expertise, he imbues it with all his own confused personal baggage and prejudices. He seems to me now like a narcissist who has taken to heart the adulatory fawnings of a (sometimes) not very bright but sycophantic following. He seems to believe he is infallible and morally unimpeachable. A very silly, shouty man with an over-inflated view of himself and his importance. Very sad.

    • Yes, Myers calls people who think that atheism is just about not believing in God “dictionary atheists”. Apparently to be an atheist you also need to be a liberal (except when it comes to Islam), on the political left, and the right kind of feminist. It devolved into the Peoples Front of Atheism long ago.

    • Narcissist, yup. Both Myers and CJ Werleman display self-aggrandising behaviour and respond via injured outrage (despite the facts) and bitter personal attacks when caught out. The facts are and always will be secondary to protecting their over-inflated egos/ reputations and surrounding themselves with sycophants. Textbook narcissists, the pair of them.

  • That blog post of Myers contains an extraordinarily high bullshit ratio, even more than is usual for him. What about this sentence for example: “We have an atheism where it is acceptable to rail against feminism, because feminists should be raped and killed”.

    Yes, that’s right, he’s not talking about (say) ISIS, but atheism.

  • People’s Front of Atheism!? They’re the Atheist People’s Front you splitter!

  • ElectroMagneticJosh

    Can’t we just disagree with someone without exaggerating their views?

    I didn’t agree with Hitchens’s views on the Iraq war then and, by the way things have played out, I think he was proven wrong. However I don’t have to paint him as a genocidal/religo-cidal* nutcase when he clearly wasn’t either of those things. Some people, it seems, can only be satisfied if they can distort the views of people they disagree with.

    In the case of Hitchens it becomes even more obvious that these are smears you only need to read a couple of articles he wrote or watch speeches/interviews he made. It is very clear he would have supported almost anyone who proposed military action in Iraq – such was his dislike for Saddam and the Baathist regime. He was very open about the fact he considered them one of the worst governments on the planet and a danger to the rest of the world. If Iran teamed up with Russia to invade Iraq he probably would have supported that action as well.

    Regardless the fact remains that Hitchens’s was very vocal about his views. He was more than happy to express what he thought publicly – usually both in writings and speech. The fact no one can substantiate the genocide quote speak volumes about the likelihood it had of ever existing.

    I am concerned that this is part of wider trend of attacking people for views they don’t actually hold. Harris is another example of someone who gets unfairly attacked for views he doesn’t have and hasn’t expressed but there are many more out there.

    *Is there such a word?

    • ” I think he was proven wrong.” Nah, we elected a president who decided not to heed Hitchens advice any more. He withdrew from Iraq even thought we still have troops in enemy countries since WWII like Japan, Germany, etc.

  • A LIE is a Lie!Defaming a great man against overwhelming evidence and a man too dead to defend himself smacks of stupidity. Myers should be ashamed of himself.I am embarrassed for him. As an atheist , I don’t believe in God . I also approve of prideful Atheists trying score useless argumentative points against each other as it strongly suggests that “intellectual” Atheists are not much different than the religious lunatics that harass me in my daily life

  • Oops bad typo….I do not approve of prideful Atheists trying to score useless argumentative points against each other

  • Yet despite his milquetoast offline persona and legendary spine of jelly, PZ insists that he knew Hitchens personally and even argued with him in private. So you see, that completely excuses lying about a dead man. It also doesn’t matter that we have no transcripts of these exchanges. PZ says they totally happened, so listen and believe. And so what if you have incontrovertible video evidence that PZ’s account of things does not comport with reality? PZ wasn’t talking about what he actually said, but what PZ knew he was thinking deep down in his heart of hearts, which he has special insight into on account of them being so close and chummy despite PZ hating him.

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  • Eugh, not PZ again. He and his band baffle and frustrate me. They frustrate me because of the pointless conflict they create, and the massive waste of time and energy that entails. They baffle me because they seem like reasonable people on the surface: reading their analyses, and the comments, most seem fairly well reasoned. But the reasoning is based on lies and dishonesty – or, at best, self-delusion. And it amazes me that his followers don’t see the dishonest way his comments are moderated: only the mouth-frothing crazy criticism gets through, to show how insane PZ’s opposition is and how he and his group are beset by evil people on all sides (yeah, I’m looking at whoever posted that comment about Watson being a Special Olympian. Slow clap, genius). But any well-reasoned, calm posts aren’t allowed because they would show PZ’s arguments for what they really are.
    I’m just amazed his following hasn’t self-destructed already. His methods should be transparent to anyone by now, and I really don’t understand why he still seems to have a fair number of people agreeing with him even when he’s so obviously out of line.

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  • Myers is the worst type of looney nerd, and his followers are even worse. I’ve wondered if maybe his heart problems have caused some degree of intellectual decline, because he used to be different – never great but better than now. Atheists should let pharyngula wither on the vine and concentrate on other things.

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