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Remembering the Great Evolution Hoax

During Jason Thibeault and JT Eberhard’s gameapalooza event, I logged on with them on Skype and we had an amusing conversation. I don’t remember how this came up, but I was recounting the story of the Onyate Man hoax, pulled off by my friends at New Mexicans for Science and Reason in 1999. You can read the original hoax here, which was first published at darwindisproved.com.

The hoax involved the “discovery” of an amazing paleontological find — a fossil showing a dinosaur eating a human, thus proving that the earth is young and that man and dinosaurs lived together. And to make sure they enticed the suckers to fall for it, they claimed that the scientific establishment and the government was trying to hide that evidence from the world:

Hello. My name is Stefan. My last name is not important, but my story it is. I have a incredible story to tell, which is being hushed up by scientists and goverments all over the world.

Darwin’s theory of the evolution of species has been disproved. But everyone is covering it up. I kept some photographs of this event, and now I am telling the world. An American friend is helping me post this story to the internet. It is the only way I could think of to get these amazing facts out before it is too late. I don’t know how long I can keep this web cite up. I use my own words so it is my story. Sorry about not perfect english.

What follows is a lurid tale of armed men from fake government agencies trying to prevent the truth from coming out, a story designed to feed into creationist beliefs and overcome whatever latent skepticism they might have about such a find. Even the fact that the professor in the story was named Heinschvagel and the government official was named Hochs didn’t give them much pause. Within 24 hours, Kent Hovind was citing this in his revival meetings as proof that evolution was a lie.

The hoax was revealed a short time later and you can read all the details here.

Comments

  1. Christoph Burschka says

    “STOP! EVOLUTION POLICE! We have reason to believe you have illegal evidence of creationism in this house. Here is our search warrant.”

  2. criticaldragon1177 says

    Ed Brayton

    Haven’t creationists been making this claim almost since day one? It seems they will never stop, that many people will never accept reality, no matter how overwhelming the evidence is, if they just want to believe desperately enough. I think we can safely say that a hundred years from now there will still be at least some people claiming evolution is a hoax, despite the massive conspiracy that would have had to fool the scientific community for well over two centuries.

  3. mattjackson says

    Just fyi, Onate is spelled with a tilda over the “n”, not with a “y”.

    -new mexican

  4. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Just fyi, Onate is spelled with a tilda over the “n”, not with a “y”.

    -new mexican

    On~ate. Better? *eyeroll*

  5. Mal Adapted says

    Slightly OT: I enjoyed Douglas Preston’s novel “Tyrannosaur Canyon”, also set in New Mexico (where I live now), about the discovery of a complete skeleton of Tyrannosaurus rex, and the ruthless attempt by a shadowy government agency to sequester it for military purposes. The scientific elements of the plot go just a little beyond current knowledge, which the author gets mostly right. Not only that, but it’s a pretty gripping action-adventure yarn, and the good guys win, for freedom and for science! Some suspension of disbelief is of course required, but at least you know it’s fiction 8^).

  6. drizzt says

    All you need is to add some fluoride to the water the human the dinosaur drank and you’ve got the perfect conspiracy theory!
    :)

  7. drizzt says

    bah, edit function pretty plz ? forgot to add an «and» between the human and the dinosaur…

  8. jeffreykramer says

    I seem to recall somebody hoaxing a Noah’s Ark project who gave his name as Alis Buls Hite.

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