SUCKERED

| 105 Comments | 7 TrackBacks

OK, well, we have to admit it, this time our adversaries at the Discovery Institute completely fooled us. For several weeks many of us have been involved in a back-and-forth with Michael Egnor, a neurosurgeon at Stony Brook who, ironically, displayed an amazingly thick skull about anything concerning evolutionary biology. Not only did he deny the obvious facts of evolution and its importance for medicine and biology, but he kept contradicting himself, repeating empty statements, ignoring the evidence and demanding answers to questions which had been already answered many times over. It was maddening to think that a person with a high-level degree and an academic position in a major educational and research institution could be such a know-nothing fool.

Well, he isn’t, apparently. It was all a ruse by ID advocates to see how far they could pull our chain, and lead us to take his progressively more outlandish statements for real. The Discovery Institute Media Complaint Division site has now come clean, admitting to the prank and giving us a well-deserved raspberry. We should have known better: imagine having a guy who denies the obvious homology of our neural system to that of other vertebrates in charge of slicing off chunks of it in an operating room! Or someone who doesn’t believe bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics dealing with the risk of post-operatory infections.

While we are ashamed to have fallen for such a crass caricature of a “dumb Creationist”, and apologize to our readers for the time wasted in countering his ludicrous arguments, we applaud the cleverness of the ID folks involved in this April Fool’s joke and their effortless impersonation of such a character.

How stupid of us not to have thought of that!

The PT Crew

April 2nd Update:

The above post is part of our April Fools’ prank on you, our readers. The Discovery Institute did not admit that Egnor was pranking us. That faux page was part of our ruse. Read all the comments in this thread to see who fell for it and who didn’t. Also check out this post, where we come clean.

7 TrackBacks

A world-class neurosurgeon couldn't possibly have been as stupid as Michael Egnor — the denial of even the most basic and medically relevant evidence of evolution in bacteria, the outright denial of the importance of the scientific literature, di... Read More

April Fools on Me from De Rerum Natura on April 1, 2007 12:12 PM

We’ve been had. It sucks being the butt of an April Fools’ joke. PZ is right. The DI needs to put some THIS IS A JOKE warning labels on their posts.... Read More

I guess we all fell for it. It turns out that the whole Michael Egnor cafuffle was an elaborate ruse to have us Darwinists make fools of ourselves. Boy, do we feel dumb! Still, Egnor has managed to outdo his... Read More

Suckered from A Blog Around The Clock on April 1, 2007 8:51 PM

Suckered Suckered! Suckered?... Read More

This Panda's Thumb entry makes me wonder if I was wasting my time with all those rebuttals of Dr. Michael Egnor's astoundingly ignorant attacks on "Darwinism." Could it be that Dr. Egnor really was just pulling our legs all along?... Read More

Yesterday, the Panda's Thumb revealed that Michael Egnor had only been pretending to be a creationist. They even linked to his confession at Evolution Views and News. I chimed in, defending our prior work on Egnor's absurd claims with argument... Read More

105 Comments

But how are we supposed to tell when advocates of ID are NOT joking? The arguments that are supposedly for real are just as silly as the ones that are supposed to be jokes. Is there some sort of ‘design’ test we can apply?

Wow, for a place that “accurately delivers misinformation” they do an awesome job. Now I know why realpc was always trying to tell us what Egnor really meant. Obviously he was in on this scam all along. No wonder his arguments were so absurd.

Just one question, doesn’t Egnor really exist? Didn’t we get all kinds of details about his publication record and hear all about the people in his department? Was he in on this as well? Man that guy must have a real sense of humor. Oh well, no matter who scammed who or why this still looks really bad for ID and the DI.

“Regardless of how ridiculous my posts were, the Darwinians seriously thought that I was sincere. “

I think it speaks volumes when a parody of a creationist cannot be distinguished from the real thing.

Bravo Guest Contributor, had me going for a little while.

Or is Egnor for real and the DI’s April 1st press release claiming he’s a parody the actual April Fool’s joke?

Inquiring minds couldn’t care less.

[yawn]

Oh, man, I should have known Egnor was too stupid to be true.

Do you think maybe he was selected because his name opened up a lot of very obvious jokes? Or was the name a clue, too?

We should check all those sites we used to determine that Egnor was an actual surgeon at SUNY Stony Brook. Maybe the DI also went to the trouble of constructing fake links to really sucker us in. (Nah, no one would be that elaborate, would they?)

Seriously, it is no surprise that people fell for Egnor’s little joke. He sounded no different than the standard creationists, and people over at Uncommon Descent say the same things all the time.

Are you saying that UD is one big April Fools’ joke? That would explain a lot.

Or is Egnor for real and the DI’s April 1st press release claiming he’s a parody the actual April Fool’s joke?

My money’s on this one. The press release says this: “Intelligent Design theorists embrace evolutionary science and its implications for modern biology and medicine. Common descent is a fine working hypothesis; natural selection can produce some limited forms of information; it would be foolish to deny these.”

Coming from the Discovery Institute, that’s either a prank or just plain crazy.

Am I the only one who doesn’t get the joke? We are supposed to believe that he was playing dumber than he really is to pull a fast one on us; while in his confession he still holds fast to a disbelief in macro-evolution. Ha Ha.

It is possible that as a liberal I am humour-impaired, but I think that this is even less funny than the Farting Jones.

“Street theater” indeed. Nice one.

April fool to you too!

I still think they are liars, and this latest lie is an effort to look a little less stupid.

How can anyone tell the difference?

So, their joke is that their arguments are so dumb they’re indistinguishable from parody?

Wow. They showed us!

Well played, panda’s thumb, well played. You even had me fooled.

ben Wrote:

Or is Egnor for real and the DI’s April 1st press release claiming he’s a parody the actual April Fool’s joke?

Inquiring minds couldn’t care less.

[yawn]

My thoughts exactly.

I’m happy to say I skipped over all the Egnore posts.

Because, despite the IDists protests, there really is no border between the ridiculous and [what they seem to think is] sublime.

Sorry, the April fools day joke is the April fools day joke. However, Dr. Egnor is the fool either way. His rhetoric was the same as any other creationist. The only difference between he and “any” other is the expectation that he knew some science.

For me, I think he remains a creationist in denial of reality.

Why does the banner change from ‘Evolution Views and News’ to ‘Evolution News and Views’ if you go from the ‘coming clean’ site to the main page? The URL also changes.

I’m sure that, as Greg hints, this is an April Fool joke. What I’m looking forward to now is the reaction from the real Egnor, Dembski and the rest of the gang.

OK, “Guest Contributor,” you got me. But I still want to know how we would tell the difference between a parody of an ID argument and an actual ID argument. You wouldn’t have been able to pull this prank off if that didn’t present a real difficulty.

How would they fake this, and this?

Actually the joke is on the ID scam artist at the Discovery Institute, and they should be embarrassed to have perpetrated what they call an obvious fraud for the simple reason that the vast majority of their true believers probably thought that it was for real. Look how long they perpetrated the ID fraud and got people to think that they had something worth teaching in the public schools. Now, the claim is that teaching ID is “premature.” Yeah, and Egnorance was just a joke, so what was ID all these years if they have to admit that ID is premature today? What was ID when the Discovery Institute scam outfit was founded in 1995? Why have they been pulling that joke on their supporters for over a decade?

It is a simple fact that you can’t parody a creationist, no matter how outlandish you make their arguments there is always some boob that has gone that far. I bet that everything that Egnor put up has been proposed seriously by quite a few creationists at sometime or another. My guess is that they got the material from ARN and places like AIG and didn’t even have to make it up.

I wonder if Jay Richard’s presentation at Knoxville was “street theater?” How can anyone tell when his ID junk is just as verifiable as his “street theater” and probably suckered the same people?

Ron Okimoto

No one could tell the difference between a satire of their position and the real thing? Sounds like they missed the mark on just who was made the fool here.

it took a second or two to realize that this is not a DI joke but a Panda’s Thumb joke on the DI. Was really great and a great big laugh was my response. You guys otdid yourself, Loved it. The phony URL and the “misinformation” statement at bottom of DI confession gave it away

THANKS, needed the laugh

Let me see if I understand this correctly? The DI trots out every ID argument ever devised to get everyone all worked up, then disavows it all as a practical joke? Stating, in effect, that they are aware that it’s all bullshit.

By doing this, didn’t they just deny their entire program? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

You guys don’t give the DI enough credit. As Bill Dembski recently wrote,

Believe it or not, it really helps that the other side thinks we’re such morons.

http://www.evolutionnews.org/ is the site for the DI; your link goes to http://www.evolutionnews.net; that site gives me a 404 error.

Now, I get it. I just have to read a little more closely next time.

Didn’t the whole Egnor thing begin with his views being critiqued by a science writer at TIME magazine? For this to have been a ruse,one would have to account for how TIME was brought into the game. Either DI got really lucky, or TIME was also in on it.

Is it more likely that there was no ruse, and that Egnor decided he wanted “out” - and rather than conceding that he was wrong, or simply disappearing, this story about “street theater” was concocted?

The cynic in me would suggest that Egnor thoroughly got his butt kicked, knows it, and is looking for a graceful exit. But that’s just the cynic in me. Since when do April Fool’s jokes start a month before April 1st? (or however long it’s been …)

We wouldn’t have done it if we thought that the DI didn’t have a sense of humor. I’m not sure why they’d be angry because taken literally the prank makes us look like fools and makes them look like geniuses.

a) They don’t have a sense of humor.

b) The prank did make a lot of fools here look like fools.

c) The prank makes Egnor and the other folks at DI look like morons, because Egnor’s posts aren’t “an outlandish parody of the bona fide Intelligent Design position”, they’re the real thing … and really outlandish and “ridiculous”. People here were momentarily foolish to gullibly accept this post and not even consider what day it was posted on (whereas Egnor’s supposed parody posts, editorials, and on-line chats did not occur on April 1st), but the real Egnor, and the rest of the IDiots, are truly outlandish and ridiculous in their fundamental views and behavior, and compared to the fake Egnor are complete dunces. Making that point as well as you did ought to make them angry.

Believe it or not: Dr. Michael Egnor is real. There are all these comments that seem to indicate a degree of disbelief as to his existence

This disbelief long predated this hoax; some particularly stupid people here suggested that Egnor wasn’t real because of his name. This sort of disbelief reflects an unfortunate elitist insularity – many people here don’t have a clue just how many people like Egnor there are out there, despite the polls.

You got me too. Now we just have to decide if Egnor’s most recent article is meant seriously:

Egnor Wrote:

Materialism is nonsense, because if matter and energy are all that exist, then truth doesn’t exist (it’s neither matter nor energy). If truth doesn’t exist, then materialism can’t be true.

Difficult, isn’t it?

No, it isn’t difficult, because the real Egnor isn’t writing parody, in that piece or any of his other pieces – something that people inexplicably have difficulty understanding. It is only the fake Egnor piece that isn’t stupid – the real Egnor isn’t capable of it. Just because he’s a stupid loon doesn’t mean that he doesn’t expect to be taken seriously, or is writing humor.

How could we have know better?

Because the fake Egnor post isn’t what the IDiots believe, whereas the real Egnor writes stuff quite typical of IDiots. It’s quite simple, really. What’s disturbing is that anyone here could think that the real DI would put forward something like “Intelligent Design theorists embrace evolutionary science and its implications for modern biology and medicine. Common descent is a fine working hypothesis; natural selection can produce some limited forms of information; it would be foolish to deny these. We, as ID theorists, simply recognize one additional fact about our Universe that the Church of Darwin refuses to: when all else fails, laughter is still the best medicine.” Jeez.

Just so everyone knows, we faked this one too. C’mon, no neurosurgeon would say stuff that silly.

No doubt there are some here who believe that.

Judging by all the swallowed hook, line and sinkers, the Flock of Dodos has us pegged.

That’s unfortunately astute.

And I still can’t tell the difference between a parody of ID and the “real” thing.

Um, the parody of ID (DI) says that Egnor’s posts are “outlandish parody of the bona fide Intelligent Design position, liberally injected with many of the more simplistic errors of the Young Earth Creationists” whereas the real IDiots embrace Egnor and his nonsense.

People here talk about Poe’s Law; are they really unable to distinguish between a parody of Egnor’s nonsense, which would have been uninteresting, precisely because of Poe’s Law, and pretending that the real Egnor is a parody? They’re vastly different.

My first instinct was that Egnor was a hoax because of the name and the arguments the DI had abandoned long ago. However, Popper’s Ghost and others insisted he was real and there were the web sites that indicated the man really existed.

Indeed I did, and anyone who thought then, or after reading this post and it’s link, that Egnor was fake or was faking his views should check in their instincts and get knew ones – or stop depending on instincts and use facts and logic instead. Did people here actually think that all the IDiots who made complimentary and sympathetic comments about Egnor on UD and elsewhere for these months were the butts of some joke by Dembski – that Dembski and Egnor actually set out to show what ignorant morons their sycophants are? Give me a break.

Popper's ghost Wrote:

People here talk about Poe’s Law; are they really unable to distinguish between a parody of Egnor’s nonsense, which would have been uninteresting, precisely because of Poe’s Law, and pretending that the real Egnor is a parody? They’re vastly different.

Actually, I didn’t understand what the joke was until I checked back in this morning (been busy with a paper). I had thought the whole Egnor character had been created as a joke, not only a single entry.

I’m familiar with Poe’s Law. Applying it is the hard part, particularly when looking at rank-and-file ID advocates on the Internet. The assertions that Egnor makes are nothing in comparison to some that I’ve run across. One European true-believer, for instance, insists that the pigmentation of fungal fruiting bodies are the result of the designer’s desire for self-expression, not of selective pressures.

Once you’ve bumped into this sort of a claim, Egnor’s assertions don’t seem nearly as bizarre.

Reading this article about how silly we were to think a surgeon of all people could have such a ‘cockamamie’ (for lack of a better word) idea of evolutionary processes makes me think of a one man… Bill Frist. He is the perfect example of a man with an advanced degree, in charge of keeping people alive on the operating table, who has quite an odd idea of the reality of disease transmission, evolutionary process, and biology in general. Also, (and I really do not intend any offense to anyone out there… but), we must remember that a physician is not actually an intellectually trained scientist. Medical school is a trade school, just like any other. Yes, physicians need to be very skilled at their job, as people’s lives are at risk, but that is about all. As much as medical school trains one to be excellent at anatomy and diagnostics, it does not emphasize the intricacies and abstract ideas of science. Parrishsd

Once you’ve bumped into this sort of a claim, Egnor’s assertions don’t seem nearly as bizarre.

And yet there are people who do find them bizarre – so bizarre that they are ready to believe that Egnor was only pretending to hold the views he professed, despite that being utterly implausible. These people – so many people here – seem to have virtually no understanding of the scope and variety of counter-evolutionary beliefs. What sorts of lives do these people lead, that they can be so clueless about the society they live in?

Popper's Ghost Wrote:
Anton Mates Wrote:

You got me too. Now we just have to decide if Egnor’s most recent article is meant seriously:

Egnor Wrote:

Materialism is nonsense, because if matter and energy are all that exist, then truth doesn’t exist (it’s neither matter nor energy). If truth doesn’t exist, then materialism can’t be true.

Difficult, isn’t it?

No, it isn’t difficult, because the real Egnor isn’t writing parody, in that piece or any of his other pieces — something that people inexplicably have difficulty understanding. It is only the fake Egnor piece that isn’t stupid — the real Egnor isn’t capable of it. Just because he’s a stupid loon doesn’t mean that he doesn’t expect to be taken seriously, or is writing humor.

Yes, I know. I was joking about that part.

What I found believable, at least until about 3/4 of the way down the faux Egnor piece, is that he would claim something he’d said previously was a joke. When I first saw the PT post, I figured he’d made a “street theater” comment like Dembski had, and PT was simply making fun of it.

uh words.…..words.…hatred.…words.…so defensive.…..insults, and yet a chimp is still a chimp and evolutionists still claim origin of life doesn’t apply and you still can’t decide if homolgy is proof of common ancestry or not. what happened to your consensus?

Levi asked:

a chimp is still a chimp

And green is still green, every little step of the way along the light spectrum. But keep taking enough of those steps, and you have purple. Your inability to grasp such small steps does not make them unable to travel such distances.

evolutionists still claim origin of life doesn’t apply

It doesn’t, it’s a different subject. Evolution is akin to the theory that a falling domino is capable of knocking over the domino in front of it, and thus once one domino is falling, my Falling Domino Theory explains the sequence of fallen dominos. This is a completely different question than the one of what toppled the first domino. The Falling Domino Theory is valid regardless of whether the First Domino Theory finds that the cause was intelligent (a god) or materialistic (a strong wind). It just doesn’t matter.

and you still can’t decide if homolgy [sic] is proof of common ancestry or not. what happened to your consensus?

The consensus is that creationism/ID is intellectually dishonest crap. There will always be disputes between scientists on the details of the legitimate science. Growth is its power, and stagnation is creationism’s weakness. Science changes, pseudoscience changes names.

Prank is over. Comments closed.

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This page contains a single entry by Guest Contributor published on April 1, 2007 9:17 AM.

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