A Response to PZ Myers

As most of you will know, I recently published a blog post and video critical of a talk given by Rebecca Watson on the subject of evolutionary psychology. Both were received relatively well but also attracted the attention of some very harsh critics including the professor of biology PZ Myers. PZ took it upon himself to write a blog post called “Myles Power’s dishonest defence of evolutionary psychology” in which, I was told, my claims are shown to be “nonsense”. However, in reality, it did nothing of the sort.

To start off and to give credit where credit is due, PZ did bring up one error in both my blog and video. I said the number of changes in DNA required to generate lactose tolerance pales in comparison to the number of changes you would need to change complex behaviours without referencing it. It was sloppy of me and I thank PZ and the others who pointed this out in the comment section. Regarding the Google+ hangout tweet, it’s hard to fit in a lot of information in 140 characters. The truth is I don’t have much free time at the moment and so contacted various EP academics and asked if they would like to write anything on the subject. Somewhere along the line, a Google+ hangout was mentioned but nothing ever came of it.

The rest of PZ’s blog failed to counter the 3 core sections of my video and blog. The first core criticism of Watson’s talk was for her using media reports of EP rather that the scientific literature to unfairly cast a shadow on the subject. PZ responded by saying that I also never referenced the scientific literature, but why would I? My point was that it was disingenuous to base all your arguments of the media’s bastardised science reporting not to promote any particular EP paper.

The second core criticism was when Watson said that EP is based on the belief that the human brain has not evolved for the past 10k years. I responded by saying that they do believe that humans are constantly evolving, but believe that 10k years is not enough time for any significant changes. PZ simply counters with “they do” and hilariously links to an EP FAQ page which backs me up and says that they believe humans can evolve in that time but not much. 

The third core was that Watson misleads her audience into thinking that an EP satire paper was published in a reputable journal. PZ counters by saying that I must have mind reading powers to deduce that when in reality all you have to do is watch the video as it’s so painfully obvious that this was her intention.

The rest of the blog is vapid nosiness designed to discredit and belittle me. It’s also hypocritical through out like when he for some unknown reason bring up the fact that some have said that Watson should not be talking about science related subjects with only a major in communications before unironically doing the same to me for not having a degree in evolutionary bio or being a population geneticist. Or like when he said I must be some sort of mind reader before probing my mind to discover that the only reason I made the video was to pander to a mob or MRAs.

At the end of the day, I do not run a drama based YouTube channel and have no plans to change it. I am grateful for the one correction PZ pointed out, but after he responded to the guest blog post with essentially TL:DR, I don’t think I will be interacting with him in the future. Quite frankly (and I know this is over used, but it’s true) PZ is not worth my time and I don’t want to give his blog any traffic.

I wish him all the best.

About Myles Power (760 Articles)
Hello Internet! My name is Myles Power and I am a chemist from the North East of England, who loves to make videos trying to counter pseudoscience and debunk quackery in all of its various forms! From the hype around GMOs through to Atrazine turning the freakin’ frogs gay, I’ll try to cut through the nonsense that’s out there!

5 Comments on A Response to PZ Myers

  1. Harry Twinotter // July 19, 2016 at 10:53 pm // Reply

    Well done Myles. Poor arguments should always be pointed out, that is the skeptic way.

    It is sad Rebecca Watson and PZ Myers resort to ad hominems.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like PZ when he talks about science, because he is fairly good at it.

    But he tends to go way overboard whenever you criticize one of his pet peeves outside of science, as in having the audacity to show that certain feminists are being disingenuous.

    Honestly, I dislike PZ for the exact same reason I dislike thunderf00t. Their personal vendettas for or against feminism overshadow the really great things they can do to teach science. Its why I find you awesome Myles, and I hope you’re able to get some free time for more science stuff. And to point out quackery wherever you find it.


  3. chuxter007 // July 20, 2016 at 1:07 am // Reply

    I agree that their arguments against you are incredibly poor.

    The fact that you can admit fault and sloppiness when called out, shows just how much of an advocate for truth and clarity you are. In contrast, the way they dismiss, deny, and double down on their mistakes is very telling of how stubborn and deceitful they are at heart.


  4. One of your ‘points’ is that you “believe that 10k years is not enough time for any significant changes”
    But what you ‘believe’ is an argument from incredulity, considering the fact that such significant and now widespread mutations like the ASPM gene for brain development regulation is probably less than 6000 years old (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jeffrey_Anderson/publication/7611130_Ongoing_Adaptive_Evolution_of_ASPM_a_Brain_Size_Determinant_in_Homo_sapiens/links/0fcfd5094074ec556e000000.pdf)


  5. Jonathan McAlroy // July 21, 2016 at 7:57 pm // Reply

    Pure Class Myles.


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