The Questionable Authority

Over the weekend, another “Egnor” post appeared on the Discovery Institute blog. This one addresses a post I wrote two weeks ago discussing the “Framing Science” article. In his “response,” “Egnor” manages to completely distort pretty much everything about my article, in a way that is so ham-fistedly inept that it is simply impossible for me to continue to believe that the “Michael Egnor” articles are being written by a real person who really believes what he (or she) writes.

(For the record, I’m neither a “prominent Darwinist” nor a “prominent scientist.” Also, there are only two possible ways that someone could claim that “find a way to get people who aren’t interested in the science behind an issue to care about the issue itself” is the same thing as “recruit people who don’t care about science to the cause of Darwinism.” The author either has a level of respect for honesty that falls below the Roveian, or he has the reading comprehension skills of a repeatedly concussed chipmunk. In either case, I have real problems believing that it’s coming from a reportedly well-respected neurosurgeon.)

It’s been fun while it lasted, but the game’s over now. Would whoever is really writing this stuff please take this opportunity to own up to it? Please? Come on, I know it’s got to be someone who is a regular here.

We did have some fun with “Egnor” during the April Fools’ prank this year, but it’s clear that whoever is doing this can’t be associated with the Intelligent Design movement. The “Egnorant” posts are so subtle in their satire, and so funny, that it’s simply inconceivable that any of the ID regulars could possibly be pulling this off. It’s probably also worth noting that the “Egnor” posts are written in such a way as to further damage the few pitiful remaining shreds of the ID movement’s reputation for open and honest debate. So if it’s not the ID folks, who could it be?

I doubt it’s any of the regular PT authors, but if it is my hat’s totally off. Anyone who could continue to keep from blowing it during the lead-up to the April Fools’ joke would have to be a prankster with skills far beyond anything I’ve ever seen before. There are people involved at PT who are good, but I don’t know if any of them is that good.

Orac springs to mind as a possibility. He’s definitely got a good sense of humor, and I recently found out that the fictional computer that he takes his pen name from was created by a scientist named “Ensor.” It’s only one letter off, and “Egnor” does have that onomatopoeic ring to it. Still, Orac put a hell of a lot of time into beating up on “Egnor’s” stupidity, and I really doubt that he’d so harshly attack a fellow surgeon, particularly a real one. (For starters, I don’t think he’s dumb enough to commit libel, and if anyone but the real “Michael Egnor” is writing that nonsense, I think they really might be at risk of facing legal consequences for the severe harm that they would be inflicting on the poor man’s reputation.)

So, really, I don’t know who it could be. Whoever it is, though, it’s time to stop. Take a bow, if you are so inclined. If not, feel free to just vanish. Either way, the joke’s over. It’s finished. It’s been taken as far as possible, and it’s reached the outer limits of funny.

But my hat’s off to you, whoever you really are.

Comments

  1. #1 afarensis
    April 23, 2007

    H’mm, now that you mention it, I don’t ever recall seeing Orac and Egnor together, and Orac is a Tigers fan, and he did seem strangely certain that Egnor and DaveScot are two different people…

  2. #2 Roland Deschain
    April 23, 2007

    Well this Michael Egnor is real. Write him an e-mail to see if he is THE Egnor.
    http://www.upsb.org/xq/asp/code.966/qx/html_patient/physician.htm

  3. #3 peter irons
    April 23, 2007

    Anyone who wants to can reach Egnor by e-mail at michael.egnor@stonybrook.edu, or at megnor@notes.cc.sunysb.edu. I’m sure he’d love to hear from you.

  4. #4 Ex-drone
    April 23, 2007

    Egnor writes:

    Darwinists … seek to enlist “people who do not care about science” to help the Darwinist cause.

    It’s not that bad; it’s just written in code. By “Darwinists” he means “Evolutionists”. By “people who do not care about science” he obviously means “IDiots” because, if they really cared about science, they wouldn’t abuse it so much. And, in fact, they do “help the Darwinist cause” because the stupider they sound, the more likely people will reject their inanity.

  5. #5 John Pieret
    April 23, 2007

    Andrew Arensburger at Ooblog did email Egnor but got back some truly inspired satire where the purported doctor actually said that “we know biological information when we see it” and went on to say that anyone who didn’t agree with that is a “sophist.”

    Very Monty Pythonish.

  6. #6 Karen
    April 24, 2007

    Perhaps it was Professor Steve Steve.

  7. #7 Mark R. B.
    April 26, 2007

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    In exploring our shared genetic heritage 51 annotation tracks in- equilibrium can be attributed to punctuation evolution allows the attribution of clinical findings response to the islands (Who (or what) what did I ever do to deserve this?) chemokine receptor CCR5.

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