A few days ago, it was noted that Roger Ebert had posted an article titled, “Creationism: Your questions answered“. The article gives a straight-faced accounting of creationist beliefs, which was somewhat shocking to many fans who were familiar with Ebert’s long agnosticism and support of evolution. The curious article was noted in many places, including Pharyngula, sparked an intense debate: was Ebert writing satire? had his website been hacked? was he losing his mind?
Ebert himself has answered the question in a blog post: it was a satirical piece. One of the clues, which I hadn’t quite understood when I read it, was the retitling of his Adaptation review with, “Evolution is God’s intelligent design.” The post was a demonstration of Poe’s law in action.
What was the point? If I understand Ebert correctly, it was a test/demonstration of the too-ready credulity of people these days. I’m not sure it was quite the right test: people of all ages, even scientists, have been known to start believing crazy and weird things without much provocation.