Talk:PZ Myers

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I reverted NBeale's addition stating that Myers has 11 scientific pubs since it was credited to his online CV, which was last updated in July 2003. That's far too out of date to be a reliable source. Guettarda (talk) 11:55, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

The idea that documents published more than 3 years ago are not reliable sources is pretty novel! If there are more scientific publications we can always add them (if that isn't OR :-)). Actually Google Scholar shows nothing since 2004 (a book review in Nature is not a scientific publication) which may explain why he has not updated it. NBeale (talk) 14:53, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
A six-year-old CV is not a reliable source. For example, it says that he's an assistant professor. Which he isn't. You are using it to source the statement that he has published 11 papers. It doesn't support that statement. It doesn't include his main achievements (tenure, teaching-related achievements, outreach; all things that are valued at least as much as research at a liberal arts college). The internet is littered with web pages that are badly out of date. If I had to guess at the reason, it may be related to the fact that he isn't job-hunting. As for search engines - it's pretty well established that Google scholar doesn't capture everything, nor does pubmed, nor does Web of Science. So the absence of a paper on any single database isn't reliable evidence that such a paper doesn't exist. Aside from the issue of OR (which it is), you simply cannot use a search engine to demonstrate the non-existence of something. (You're also making an artificial distinction between research publications and review articles, but that's another issue.)
In addition, we don't usually list how many papers an academic has published. It's not encyclopaedic, it's not terribly interesting. More to the point, Myers doesn't have an article here because of his achievements in research. He's notable in the world of outreach and science education. But some people see his lack of pubs as a stick to beat him over the head, or as a way to make snide, belittling remarks like yours. Since the primary reason to include this information is to disparage the subject (ooh, look, he isn't a productive scientist!), it's reasonable to expect that information like this be (a) reliably sourced, and (b) be supported by a secondary source to demonstrate its salience. Find a better source, and find a source that demonstrates salience. To make matters worse, you have a COI on this subject - Myers has mentioned you[1] and Polkinghorne in, if not negative, then at least a less-than-favourable, light. Someone with a COI should not be adding poorly sourced, negative material. Guettarda (talk) 18:55, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Ah, is this a question of Truth? Good point about the need for a reliable secondary source to establish notability, and the question of listings of papers which doesn't seem to be standard, even for the most eminent of scientists. So, good call deleting a very dubious paragraph with implied WP:BLP issues. . dave souza, talk 19:31, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the removal of the paragraph that attempts to establish the subject's academic credentials using WP:OR. The article makes no claims about the subject's academic standing, so using the obviously broken CV from 2003 plus some Googling is not required. This article would still exist, pretty much as it is now, even if Myers were a janitor at the university since his blog is notable and well-known for criticism of intelligent design. Johnuniq (talk) 02:33, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
We often mention people's publications record which is one of the first things many people want to know about a scientist. See eg Martin Nowak. NBeale (talk) 14:20, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it's worth mentioning if that's why the person is notable. Guettarda (talk) 14:32, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
It borders on the hilarious that you are so desperate to defend your "hero" that you want to suppress his publication record. What is it about atheists that makes them so anxious to hide facts that they find inconvenient? NBeale (talk) 18:58, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
This talk page is for discussion of the Wikipedia article PZ Myers. If you want to goad or prod atheists on their personal failings, please go elsewhere. WhyDoIKeepForgetting (talk) 19:08, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

<ri> This is amusing. A chappie who N. Beale appently considers "one of the greatest living writers and thinkers on science and religion"[2] doesn't have that sort of total given on his Wikipedia page, as far as I can see, but does have an external link to a "* Google Scholar List of Papers" which gives an impressive number of Ghits. The same search gives about 60 for PZ. However, as his notability arises from his work as an educator I remain of the opinion that it's not a significant aspect of his notability, and see no reason to add that search to the external links here. . . dave souza, talk 19:55, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

For the record, the publications information which for some reason these editors want to hide is "Myers has 11 published scientific papers to his credit, including one in Nature in 1986 and 3 in the Journal of Neuroscience (1986 and two in 1993)[1]." WP articles are not confined to the things that make someone notable, but is your point that Myers is not a working scientist anymore? NBeale (talk) 21:09, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Hmmm...let's see. Given how Beale threaded his comment, it seems like it's directed at me. For what it's worth, my opinion of Myers has little bearing on this matter, as do my religious beliefs. Of course, my religious beliefs and my opinion of are irrelevant. What matters is our content guidelines and policies. Myers is notable as a blogger and an advocate. One's impact in these fields isn't closely tied to one's scientific output. In fact, it would be reasonable to expect a negative correlation. Myers' main job is a professor of biology at a liberal arts school. Again, this is an environment that stresses teaching and service far more than does an R-1 institution. So being notable in that context (which he isn't, really) doesn't really hinge on one's publication record. So again, his research output doesn't appear to be terribly relevant. Finally, in my experience, the only people who make an issue of this are people who are trying to disparage him.

So, we have material which is meant to cast Myers in a negative light. Obviously that doesn't mean that it should be left out of the article. But it does mean that we need a reliable source. An out-of-date web page isn't a reliable source. It's also important to establish that the information is salient. So far, no secondary source has been provided that indicates anything of the sort. All we have is the advocacy of someone who appears to have a conflict of interest on the matter, who seems intent on assuming bad faith on the part of his fellow editors. And, not that it matters in the least, I do not consider Myers to be a "hero", and I'm not an atheist. Bit more of a know, one of those liberal, wishy-washy accommodationists that everyone hates? Guettarda (talk) 21:45, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

I think an old CV is a reliable source for a lower bound on Myers's publications. Also, Natalie Portman's article lists her scientific publications, and they certainly are not relevant to what she is mainly notable for. WhyDoIKeepForgetting (talk) 02:34, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Now why can't I see you making those exact same arguments in regards to negative material about someone of an opposite religious persuasion from Myers, Guettarda? (talk) 16:26, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Where precisely is Myers published in Nature (journal)? There does not appear to be anything. This is a claim that needs evidence.Anocide (talk) 01:41, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

There's a supporting footnote after the statement. It's not ideal - a secondary source would be much better - but click the link and you'll come across this. Guettarda (talk) 02:31, 20 March 2012 (UTC)


An allegetion[edit]

PZ Myers have climbed the back of a saddled Triceratops intended as a photo op for children under twelve during his visit to Creation Museum. There is a photo here and Answers in Genesis noting the same here. I added the allegation twice in the article and they got reverted twice by USer:Aunt Entropy and User:Mark Shaw on the accounts of Ken Ham's blog not being a reliable source which I do think is on this matter. Should the allegation be added back or should the articke be left as it is? --12:15, 21 April 2010 (UTC)EvilFlyingMonkey (talk)

It's not a reliable source, and it's non-notable trivia. So no, it should not be in the article. Guettarda (talk) 12:47, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
In this case, the blogs are limited reliable sources as primary sources; they may be used as reference for their content. Establishment of relevance and analysis must come from a secondary (or less preferably tertiary) source, and I don't know of any that have picked up on this. The crux of the matter is that an argument between two bloggers is not a controversy, for purposes of Wikipedia, unless an outside reliable source has noted it (establishing notability) and defined it (no original research) as a controversy. I was aware of the event when I wrote the description of the visit, but did not include it for the reasons stated above: I limited the content to what was in news sources. Novangelis (talk) 14:35, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Desecration of the Koran[edit]

Unsourced speculation on sufficiency of "desecration"
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

It's worth pointing out that although PZ claimed that he desecrated the Koran as well as the Eucharist, in fact he only desecrated an ENGLISH TRANSLATION of the Koran. This is important because the Koran is only sacred to Muslims in the original Arabic, not in translation. (talk) 17:36, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Firstly, your claim is not in the cited source, and WP:V is sacred here. Secondly, why should it matter? "By the way, I didn't want to single out just the cracker, so I nailed it to a few ripped-out pages from the Qur'an and The God Delusion. They are just paper. Nothing must be held sacred." Nothing there saying that either is sacred, and while I hate to disillusion you, The God Delusion isn't sacred to anyone. While people very reasonably get upset about any book getting damaged, that doesn't mean it's sacred. . . dave souza, talk 17:59, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
It matters because if he had actually desecrated the Koran in the original Arabic, his name would be on several muslim hit-lists. Instead, he cleverly kept himself safe by desecrating an English version. (talk) 01:54, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Nothing in his statement indicates it's an English translation. You're reaching for an excuse here. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 14:10, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
If you actually have evidence that he was cognizant of this (or that violent Muslims believe it to be true), then by all means, post it. Otherwise save the propaganda for the pulpit, theist. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:23, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Well i heard a rumor that the cracker he desecrated was made in China! Ha! That clever Meyers, by desecrating a Chinese cracker he kept him self safe from the American Catholic clergy. Those clever atheists are always one step ahead! How do they manage to do it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:12, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

why a controversies section?[edit]

wikipedia:criticism: "Sections and articles dedicated to controversies about a topic are generally discouraged, for many of the same reasons discussed above for criticism-related material" and "Rather than create a section dedicated to criticisms, instead try to incorporate negative material into the appropriate topical or thematic section that the negative material relates to (such as a particular event, policy, or product)."

My proposal: separate section for the Expelled appearance/screening, the Eucharist controversy under Internet involvement, and Creation Museum visit under education & activism.

Andrewlp1991 (talk) 02:51, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Sounds good. I agree that "Controversies" sections are not a good idea. An article is for encyclopedic material, not what some describe as a controversy. Johnuniq (talk) 03:56, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Fix the many incorrect references to ""[edit]

The Pharyngula blog URL is

Dr. I. Needtob Athe —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:13, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

It has been changed to with the scienceblogs still there, but not regularly updated. JHobson2 (talk) 14:24, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

I don't believe the information that is linked to via has been moved to is still active, the latest post is dated 24 Aug 12. "Controverial" topics are only posted on freethoughtblogs, I believe. If you can find the same material on, you can change it yourself, or put the changes here and someone else will edit the article. Thank you Jim1138 (talk) 18:53, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

PZ Meyers officially leaving Skeptical Movement[edit]

As per his post here:

In there he says, "So don’t call me a “skeptic”. I’ll consider it an insult, like calling a writer a stenographer, a comedian a mime, a doctor a faith healer, a scientist a technician."

So how should his article reflect this new stance? Should we remove those categories that include him in the Skeptical Movement? Should we reword anything? Rjmail (talk) 22:13, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

I think it would be appropriate to remove the category "American Skeptics" but I don't really see a lot of skepticism (separate of his more pure scientific work) in this article.
I am pretty strongly against mentioning this "divorce" in the article itself. I do not think it is encyclopedic nor important enough to his entire biography.

Allecher (talk) 22:35, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

American sceptics is about the only category of relevance here. Since he appears to find the term offensive (although I still think it is accurate), I'd suggest replacing it with the Freethought Cat. IRWolfie- (talk) 22:42, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
I did the switch, any thoughts? IRWolfie- (talk) 23:48, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Works for me. Also he is referred to as a 'skeptic' in the article. While that could just mean the simple meaning, it is linked to Scientific Skepticism. Do you think we should unlink it, or is that pretty benign? Rjmail (talk) 01:08, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
I think changing the category is sufficient: I don't see anything in the article itself. TechBear | Talk | Contributions 01:45, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
He still analyses things sceptically, so I think it's a little bit over the top to remove all mentions of the word. It's an accurate descriptor. IRWolfie- (talk) 15:56, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

2005 Koufax award[edit]

The article lists PZ Myers as awarded a 2005 Koufax award. The only references to a Washington Montly, but it shows the award given to Informed Comment. Was Myers awarded this? Did I find the wrong citation? Jim1138 (talk) 05:58, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

And what the hell is a "Koufax Award", anyway? Some poll on the internet seven years ago? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:40, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

it seems to have been some sort of popularity contest type thing that disappeared (the domain appears to have been taken over), rather than an actual award. I've removed it as such, IRWolfie- (talk) 22:00, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

"Can you provide third part references"[edit]

The quote is in the linked article, though difficult to relate to the rest. You can also look at the earlier articles in Myers' blog to get the context. What did you think the whole thing was all about? As it is, the paragraph does not make sense. It is just useless abstract concepts. All it says is Myers does not like Swiss but not why. The original author [3] botched it, and I tried to repair that.

Also, would you please restore my NPOV change "what he saw as" that you reverted? This is unacceptable behavior bordering on vandalism. --Hob Gadling (talk) 07:48, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Again! What is the matter with you people? You revert me, I talk, you are silent. I reinstate, you revert, so I will try to talk again.
User:Jim1138, would you please consult the Talk page before reverting? Especially the part would you please restore my NPOV change "what he saw as" that you reverted? This is unacceptable behavior bordering on vandalism.
Now explain what is wrong with my NPOV insertion "what he saw as"! Do you really want Wikipedia to state as fact, instead of as Myers' opinion, that the skeptic movement does misappropriate the label "scientific"? Here, on the article Talk page, not on my Talk page or your Talk page.
I am not accustomed to such disruptive behavior. --Hob Gadling (talk) 09:14, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
There is nothing to discuss here. I said everything needed on your talk page. Per wp:verifiability, you need to wp:cite a wp:reliable source to put that information on the article. Where is the source for "by which he meant that skepticism gives religion special privileges." and "what he saw as". Use of wp:synthesis or wp:original research is not allowed on Wikipedia. Jim1138 (talk) 09:21, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
You people just do not listen! You are hiding behind letter salad but you ignore the actual reasoning.
The sentence "He also expressed his frustration at the skeptic movement's misappropriation of the label "scientific"" implies that the skeptic movement does really misappropriate that label. That may well be, but Wikipedia cannot say it is, since it has an WP:NPOV policy. I am finished talking to brick walls, I will now just remove the POV statement. --Hob Gadling (talk) 12:00, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
Actually, the whole chapter should go. It does not clearly say what the differences are about, and its content can be reduced to "Myers and Swiss had a row", plus sources, without much loss of information. I read Myers' articles back then, and the responses. What the chapter says is just a small part of the actual disagreements, which were about the organized skeptics' handling of women, minorities, misogynism, molestation, and religion.
The chapter was added by User:Approaching, who has inserted creationist POV in articles before. I guess that user is just happy noting that the enemies of creationism have disagreements, and the subject of the disagreement does not matter, leading to that meaningless chapter. --Hob Gadling (talk) 12:49, 30 March 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Hi, I'm Approaching, and I notice I've been tagged in this discussion. For the record: It is not true that I am a creationist. It is not true that I am happy noting disagreements among the enemies of creationism. I advocate evolution, and endorse the teaching of evolution in schools. I request you cease the false and slanderous accusations you have made towards me, Hob Gadling. If anybody here is interested in my views, I request you get in touch with me directly. Thanks. BabyJonas (talk) 06:42, 31 March 2017 (UTC)

Nobody said you were a creationist. You did try to brand those who want to call ID a pseudoscience as "culture warriors" [4], removed the word from the article [5], and your edits on Evolutionary argument against naturalism [6] qualify as "inserting creationist POV", or replacing NPOV wording by POV wording. --Hob Gadling (talk) 12:16, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
Your quote-mines and selective misinterpretations of my statements do not justify your attempt to poison the discussion on this talk page. Stop harassing your fellow editors. BabyJonas (talk) 12:24, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
Not quote-mining. You were trying to water down the scientific... you know what, this does not matter. This is about the Myers/skeptics section. I maintain the section does not serve a useful purpose. As I said above, its content can be reduced to "Myers and Swiss had a row". It is not a sensible addition to Myers' biography. --Hob Gadling (talk) 12:32, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
Your interpretation of the situation disregards the plain reading of Myers' statements distancing himself from the skeptical movement. Instead if keeping the focus on Myers' views, your reinterpretation focuses on the conflict and the people involved in the feud. Two things: (i) First, Wikipedia is not a gossip column. We are not here to relay drama and conflicts to the audience. (ii) Second, Wikipedia BLPs are the place to mention notable views and positions of living persons, of which one famous position happens to be Myers' rejection of the Skeptic Movement which he previously called home.
As pointed out above, your edits violate Wikipedia standards, particularly wp:synthesis and wp:original research. I'd rather see only verifiable information in the article. BabyJonas (talk) 05:45, 1 April 2017 (UTC)
I can see why people would want to revert one of the changes I made but not the other. When you wrote "his frustration at the skeptic movement's misappropriation" you clearly introduced Myers' POV and thus probably your own POV into the article. When I added "what he saw as" I just moved it in the direction of NPOV. Then those two revertbot wannabes put your POV back in.
What do you mean, my interpretation? That actually were the subjects of disagreements that had been going on for years. But as I said, the whole section is not needed so you can hardly accuse me of trying to turn WP into a "gossip column". Rather, I am trying to move it away from that. The section is misleading. --Hob Gadling (talk) 08:55, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

Atheist Ireland publicly dissociating itself from PZ Myers[edit]

Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland wrote in 2015, "Atheist Ireland is publicly dissociating itself from the hurtful and dehumanising, hateful and violent, unjust and defamatory rhetoric of the atheist blogger PZ Myers."[7]

Atheist Ireland is the largest atheist organization in Ireland and it is a notable enough organization that Wikipedia has an article on it. Michael Nugent is a notable figure and Wikipedia has an article on him.

Shouldn't this matter be included in the article?Knox490 (talk) 08:22, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Which article? This one? It is already there. Look for "atheist ireland". Nugent is missing though. --Hob Gadling (talk) 19:30, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your feedback and correcting me about this matter. And it's ok that Nugent's name remains missing from the article. The main weight/power of the proclamation is that it is from Atheist Ireland. Knox490 (talk) 20:49, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Michael Nugent taking Myers to task about his bestiality comments[edit]

Michael Nugent, who is the president of Atheist Ireland, took Myers to task about his comments relating to bestiality. [8]

Myers is primarily known for: his atheism; his opposition to creationism; desecrating a Communion host; his advocacy of leftist views (feminism, etc.); his his refusal to condemn bestiality and controversial remarks about bestiality.

Wikipedia's Peter Singer article notes his views about bestiality[9], shouldn't the article on PZ Myers do likewise? Knox490 (talk) 21:14, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

I don't see why not, if done in an encyclopedic manner. This is a topic of disagreement between two major figures (Myers and Nugent) over a noteworthy issue (the ethics of sex with animals), with significant implications for atheism and secular humanism (sexual ethics in a secular humanistic mode). Approaching (talk) 03:54, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
I don't think it's accurate to describe Nugent as "taking Myers to task" about bestiality in the post linked by Knox490. Nugent says "I am not condemning PZ for his views on cephaloporn. I am asking him and his colleagues to act ethically consistently when judging others." Myers' references to tentacle porn are tongue-in-cheek, more like a running gag than an endorsement of bestiality. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 05:54, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
PZ Myers said: "So, to answer clueless thick-skulled Christian idiot’s question, I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions, but do not support it in any way."[10]
What are the limited set of circumstances where Myers thinks bestiality is acceptable? Isn't this a horrid/controversial enough statement to be noted in the article? What public figures have publicly indicated that bestiality is ok in a limited set of circumstances? Very few public figures have publicly said this and for good reason (animal welfare, injury to people, the vileness of the practice, etc.). In civil societies engaging in bestiality is extremely frowned upon and it is commonly illegal.Knox490 (talk) 11:11, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Literally none of this is mentioned in reliable sources, and if you have to run around pulling out-of-context quotes from 5-year-old blog posts to make your point, it probably doesn't belong in an encyclopedia biography. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 02:56, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
NorthBySouthBaranof, please explain why the quote of PZ Myers was out of context. PZ Myers said: "So, to answer clueless thick-skulled Christian idiot’s question, I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions, but do not support it in any way."[11] Myers believes bestiality is ok in a limited set of circumstances. How many public figures publicly indicate that bestiality is ok in a limited set of circumstances? Such a thing is very rare, is it not? Knox490 (talk) 06:57, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
Myers writes several blog entries per day. Meaning, he says a lot, and if you add everything of this level of relevance, the article will become about 500 times as long as it is now. --Hob Gadling (talk) 09:17, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

Hob Gadling, the Wikipedia article on the atheist Peter Singer mentions his very unusual stand on bestiality. It is highly unusual for a public figure to say bestiality can be acceptable is it not? Myers says bestiality can be acceptable in a limited set of circumstances. So that is also highly unusual for a public figure to say, is it not? If Myers wrote 1,000 books, but said that bestiality can be acceptable in limited set of circumstances that would certainly stand out, would it not? If not, why wouldn't it stand out? How many public figures do you know of who have publicly stated that bestiality can be acceptable in some cases? I only know of two: Peter Singer and PZ Myers. Knox490 (talk) 12:38, 24 July 2017 (UTC)