A convoluted April Fool’s joke

I’m not really sure who perpetrated this, but bear with me, this may be a wee bit complicated.

The various folks at scienceblogs.org and pandasthumb.org have recently had great fun debunking a character at the Discovery Institute named Michael Egnor. (From Pharyngula: Example 1, Example 2.) Egnor claims to be both a neurosurgeon and an evolution skeptic, and he holds some truly laughable creationists views.

Today, both Panda’s Thumb and Pharyngula are reporting that the Discovery Institute revealed, through their evolutionnews.org site, that Michael Egnor is an elaborate hoax. Egnor is not real, they say, he is a construct to see how “gullible” these “Darwinists” are and bait them into silly ad hominems. And boy, did it ever work!

Only one problem. I noticed, and apparently so did several other commenters, that the link above actually goes to evolutionnews.NET, not evolutionnews.org. And furthermore if you try to get to the main page of evolutionnews.org, as I did, you can’t — there’s a 404 error.

Cleverly, though, all the links on the .net page redirect to the appropriate areas of evolutionnews.org, so to the careless reader, it appears that they are all part of the same site. Also cleverly, the header was stolen from the .org site and so were the stylesheets, so it looks nearly identical.

The thing that tipped me off was that I went to the main site to look at what else was posted before and after the alleged “April Fool’s” post, and found that the post itself was not there. There was, however, a NEW post by Michael Egnor, which begins: “I am a devout Catholic…” I thought: “Hmmm, that’s odd that they would try to keep up the pretense after they just revealed that it was a joke…”

So, dear readers, the joke’s on YOU. As crazy as Michael Egnor sounds, he’s the genuine article. Assuming that PZ himself is in on it, sorry for ruining your joke, but I figure people will read your site before ours. :)