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Paul Z. Myers

Biology Professor

PZ Myers is a biology professor at University of Minnesota Morris best known for his blog "Pharyngula", named for a stage in the development of embryos. On this blog, he frequently, frankly, and eloquently talks about news and other matters of interest in the field of biology, engages in the creation-evolution debate, and discusses his views on matters political and philosophical. Professionally, he studies evolutionary developmental biology, particularly in Zebrafish.

Paul Z. Myers' Opinions


What should a scientist expect from an idea? That it be a reasonable advance in knowledge; that it be built on a foundation of evidence; that it be testable; that it should lead to new and useful questions and ideas. If we look at religion from that perspective, it doesn't help. At best, the hypothesis [...] is vague, unfounded, and inapplicable in any practical fashion [...] At worst, religion is confused, internally contradictory, and in conflict with evidence from the physical [...] world.
29 Jun 2006    Source

As anyone who has looked into homeopathy at all knows, these are very high dilutions—dilutions that mean there is no active agent present at all, so [a homeopathic remedy is equivalent to] a drink of water.
24 Jul 2006    Source

Neuroscience does not propose that molecules merely combine randomly in the brain. There's also the additional element of organization. ... The salt and water and membrane aren't conscious, but they do generate patterns of activity that contribute to that property of the whole brain, consciousness.
25 Nov 2006    Source

The mediocrity principle simply states that you aren't special. ... Most of what happens in the world is just a consequence of natural, universal laws — laws that apply everywhere and to everything, with no special exemptions or amplifications for your benefit — given variety by the input of chance. Everything that you as a human being consider cosmically important is an accident.
21 Jan 2011    Source

It's 2008 — I think astrology has been dead for a few centuries. But OK, it's been shown to be worthless again. A large study of thousands of "time twins" — people who were born at the same time — has concluded that there are no correspondence between them.
24 Apr 2008    Source

One of the oldest canards in the creationists' book is the claim that evolution must be false because it violates the second law of thermodynamics [...] I usually rebut this claim about the second law in a qualitative way, and by example - it's obvious that the second law does not state that nothing can ever increase in order, but only that an decrease in one part must be accompanied by a greater increase in entropy in another.
10 Nov 2008    Source

Atheists don't believe in God. We deny the Holy Spirit. Jesus was just a man, at best, as were Buddha, Mohammed, and every other prophet and religious figure in history.
11 Apr 2010    Source

There is a way to make it stop, though [...] stop hiding the facts, and show people that secular reasoning works and is far superior to faith-based delusions. Science will not and cannot adopt religious thinking without being destroyed, but citizens can learn about the power of secular reasoning, and become stronger and better people for it. That's where our attention should be focused, not on trying to reconcile science with its antithesis, but on getting everyone to think.
23 Jan 2009    Source

Free will is philosophical bullshit. You can have an entirely natural biology that is subject to investigation by science that is not some kind of clockwork, predestined sequence of events. I decide what to put on my sandwich, but "I" is an unpredictable product of very complex neurological activity, colored by history over a baseline of biological predispositions.
27 Mar 2010    Source

Sam Harris recently and infamously proposed that, contra Hume, you can derive an 'ought' from an 'is', and that science can therefore provide reasonable guidance towards a moral life. ... I don't think Harris's criterion — that we can use science to justify maximizing the well-being of individuals — is valid. We can't. We can [only] use science to say how we can maximize well-being... Harris is smuggling in an unscientific prior in his category of well-being.
04 May 2010    Source

We [atheists] don't believe in souls. Now that's a heresy, and should be even more distressing to people than our denial of gods. There is no immortal, constant part of any of us that will survive after death — our minds are the product of a material brain. We are literally soulless machines made of meat, honed by millions of years of ruthless, pitiless evolution. And so is everyone else.
11 Apr 2010    Source

Comparisons with Other Experts and Influencers

The similarity between Paul Z. Myers and each expert and influencer is calculated by looking at how the same questions were answered. These figures are used to calculate conforming, nonconforming, and projected opinions. The accuracy of the analysis depends on Paul Z. Myers' coverage, which grows with the number of their opinions entered into TakeOnIt.

Richard Dawkins
Evolutionary Biologist, Writer, Atheism Activist
100% agreement / 4 opinions

Austin Cline
100% agreement / 4 opinions

Daniel Dennett
Philosophy Professor
100% agreement / 3 opinions

World's Largest Encyclopedia
100% agreement / 3 opinions

Seth MacFarlane
Animator, Writer, Creator of Family Guy
100% agreement / 2 opinions

Friedrich Nietzsche
Iconic Philosopher of 19th Century
87% agreement / 2 opinions

Mostly Agree
Ayn Rand
Philosopher, Novelist
66% agreement / 6 opinions

Robert Todd Carroll
Philosophy Professor
66% agreement / 3 opinions

Eliezer Yudkowsky
Artificial Intelligence Researcher
66% agreement / 3 opinions

Steven Novella
66% agreement / 3 opinions

Sam Harris
Writer, Speaker, Atheism Activist
62% agreement / 2 opinions

Steven Pinker
Psychology Professor
75% agreement / 1 opinions

James Randi
Magician, Illusionist, Writer, Skeptic
50% agreement / 2 opinions

Mostly Disagree
Robin Hanson
Economics Professor
25% agreement / 2 opinions

Michio Kaku
Physics Professor
25% agreement / 1 opinions

The Catholic Church
Largest Christian Church
0% agreement / 4 opinions

William Dembski
Intelligent Design Theorist
0% agreement / 3 opinions

Deepak Chopra
Inventor of Quantum Healing
0% agreement / 3 opinions

Massimo Pigliucci
0% agreement / 2 opinions

Andrew Sullivan
Journalist, Author
0% agreement / 2 opinions

Kenneth Miller
Biology Professor, Christian
0% agreement / 2 opinions

Conforming Opinions

Paul Z. Myers' conforming opinions are opinions that align with the group of experts and influencers Paul Z. Myers typically agrees with.

Coverage Answer Question
High Disagree Does God exist?
High Disagree Does astrology work (is personality correlated with the positions of celestial bodies at birth)?
High Agree Should atheists directly challenge religious beliefs?
High Disagree Does everything happen for a reason?
High Disagree Do we have an immaterial soul?
High Disagree Does evolution violate the second law of thermodynamics?
Medium Disagree Does homeopathy work?

Nonconforming Opinions

Paul Z. Myers' nonconforming opinions are opinions that contradict the group of experts and influencers Paul Z. Myers typically agrees with.

Coverage Group Answer Expert Answer Question
High Mostly Agree Agree Is free will an illusion?
Medium Mostly Disagree Disagree Is "ought" derived from "is"?
Medium Neutral Agree Can science prove or disprove the existence of God?

Projected Opinions

Paul Z. Myers' projected opinions are opinions Paul Z. Myers is expected to have if their opinions align with the experts and influencers that they typically agree with.

Coverage Answer Question
Medium Agree Did complex life evolve through the process of natural selection?
Medium Mostly Disagree Are the core truths of science and religion complementary?
Medium Mostly Agree Would the world be better off without the Catholic Church?
Medium Agree Is self-deception a fault?
Low Disagree Must God exist to explain how the universe began?
Low Disagree Are psychic powers real?
Low Mostly Disagree Are our enemies innately evil?
Low Agree Can we handle the truth?
Low Disagree Is God just?
Low Disagree Is the unconscious philosophical zombie possible?
Low Neutral Is a technological singularity likely?
Low Disagree Is truth relative?
Low Disagree Have aliens from outer space visited Earth?
Low Agree Is morality objective?
Low Disagree Can poor eyesight be improved with eye exercises?
Low Disagree Is the theory of evolution falsified by fossil evidence?
Low Disagree Is it ethical to eat meat?
Low Disagree Is there life after death?
Low Agree Do we work unnecessarily long hours?