Respectful Insolence

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?

I have to admit that it seems plausible. After all, how could a man like Dr. Egnor make it through an undergraduate biochemistry degree program, then medical school, then the often brutal and–dare I say it?–Darwinian culling process of a neurosurgery residency program, only to go on to become a respected Professor of Neurosurgery at SUNY Stony Brook, and, with all seriousness, still actually believe that evolution explains nothing about how bacterial resistance to antibiotics occurs? After reading his misstatements and misinformation about evolution and suffering through a couple of his podcasts, in which Casey Luskin keeps is nose inserted firmly in Dr. Egnor’s behind, as he breathlessly asks him about how he became a “Darwin skeptic,” I have to admit that, as a fellow surgeon, I was beginning to have a hard time believing that Dr. Egnor was for real, given the way he ignored all evidence and rebuttals, explanations of his misinformation, and soldiered humorlessly ahead claiming that Darwin was responsible for eugenics, that evolution has nothing to do with understanding bacterial resistance to antibiotics, that, because scientists studied comparative anatomy before Darwin, evolution tells us nothing about comparative anatomy, and that evolution contributes nothing to our understanding of genetics, all claims that I’ve rebutted multiple times now. How could someone intelligent enough and driven enough to become a highly respected academic neurosurgeon believe such easily refuted nonsense?

It turns out that maybe Dr. Egnor had a sense of humor after all, and all we “Darwinists” have been suckered. All I can do is tip my hat to the Discovery Institute for a ripping good April Fool’s Day prank. I should have trusted my instincts that no fellow surgeon could be as willfully ignorant and obtuse as Dr. Egnor’s parody of an “intelligent design” creationist has been over the last couple of months!


  1. #1 richCares
    April 1, 2007

    it appears this is not a DI April Fools joke but a joke on the DI. A well done put down of the DI is what it really is.
    carefully URL of DI disclaimer
    I Loved it!

  2. #2 Benjamin Franz
    April 1, 2007

    It’s an April Fool’s Day joke. But it isn’t by the DI or Dr. Egnor. The Panda’s Thumb appears to be the prankster (and PZ appears to have ran with it in good humor). 😉

  3. #3 Science Avenger
    April 1, 2007

    Indeed, as I go into more detail on in my blog, the DI pulled a prank on itself. How are the rest of us to tell the difference between their sincere idiocy and their fake idiocy?

  4. #4 drcharles
    April 1, 2007

    always a good exercise in critical thinking, these april fool’s things. i don’t follow this evolution debate too closely… but the discovery institute is sincere in its defense of ID, while Dr. Egnor was joking around, right? If that’s the case, then he rose through the hierarchy quite stealthily in his ultimate effort to discredit it. well done if i’ve understood it correctly. i’m going to read PZ quick too.

  5. #5 The Science Pundit
    April 1, 2007

    Yes, this was a (very funny, in my opinion) Panda’s Thumb April fool joke. If you have any doubts, go to the DI’s official website and try to find the April fool’s post.

    The question now is how the DI will respond to the joke.

  6. #7 sailor
    April 1, 2007

    This is a hysterical joke by Panda’s Thumb. I suspect PZ was the guest blogger who wrote it.

    Creationists are serious guys and parody is quite beyond them. And yes, Egnor is a joke in his own way. A neurosurgeon who ranks along side the banana guy and the peanut butter guy for complete ignorance.

  7. #8 PZ Myers
    April 1, 2007

    No, I can’t take credit for it. Reed Cartwright is the bad boy here.

  8. #9 kemibe
    April 1, 2007

    Folks, the first thing y’all should have done is look at the domain registration info for evolutionnews dot NET (not to be confused with evolutionnews dot ORG). Sweet!

  9. #10 Blake Stacey
    April 1, 2007

    The next question is, now that Wesley Elsberry owns, what is he going to do with it? You can’t let that kind of opportunity pass you by, and you certainly can’t waste it on a single joke!

  10. #11 Blake Stacey
    April 1, 2007

    The next question is, now that Wesley Elsberry owns, what is he going to do with it? You can’t let that kind of opportunity pass you by, and you certainly can’t waste it on a single joke!

  11. #12 Wesley R. Elsberry
    April 2, 2007

    For a good chunk of time, pointed to PT. Somewhere along the way, that redirection got lost. Reed will be setting it up to point to PT again shortly, IIRC.

  12. #13 Blake Stacey
    April 2, 2007

    I recall that a while back, Wired misprinted Instapundit’s URL as, so some enterprising individual nabbed the domain and set it up so that it displayed Daily Kos’s content inside the Instapundit template. A similar trick could be very fun here.


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