Pharyngula Wiki

John Kwok was a persistently annoying commenter at Pharyngula. He was sent to the Dungeon during the first (and only) Survivor: Pharyngula games.


John Kwok first appeared at Pharyngula to complain that PZ Myers had called Ken Miller a creationist. He annoyed many commenters by his constant name-dropping and frequently mentioning that he had attended the prestigious Stuyvesant High School. Kwok was in fact a very vocal critic of Intelligent Design and proponent for evolution. He seemed a natural ally of Pharyngula commenters, and may have been had it not been for his personality.

In March of 2009 Myers launched Survivor: Pharyngula, a 'game show' where certain kook commenters were voted off. Kwok was among these commenters. Myers had not expected him to get much votes, and indeed he hadn't until he wrote the following:

@ PZ - If I am bounced off Pharyngula, then you may find yourself losing some friends over at Facebook.

Following this lame Facebook threat there was a huge surge in the 'ban Kwok' vote. The games ended with Kwok being banned from Pharyngula. He did not take the banning well, famously emailing colleagues of Myers at the University of Minnesota Morris and attempting to blackmail Myers into buying him a Leica M7 rangefinder camera.

The Intersection[]

Following his banning from Pharyngula, Kwok started commenting at The Intersection, run by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum. Many at that blog were critical of Myers and Pharyngula but were also pro-science, so this seemed like a natural alliance for Kwok. Again, Kwok ruined it. His attempts to defend Mooney and Kirshenbaum were often counterproductive.

He was eventually banned, with Mooney and Kirshenbaum writing:

We can’t tell you how heavily we have had to moderate John Kwok, for instance, and he often agrees with us–albeit usually unhelpfully. (Kwok was recently banned.)

To date, he is the only known person banned at both The Intersection and Pharyngula.


Kwok has inspired many Pharyngula memes. These include:

  • Go Kwok youself
  • Leica M7 rangefinder
  • Mentioning that Frank McCourt taught you in high school
  • Mentioning you attended a prestigious high school
  • Kwokesque name-dropping
  • Kwokkian clichés of “breathtaking inanity”, especially: “mendacious intellectual pornography”
  • Kwok is often referred to as "Kw*k" because he likes to use google to find his name to see what is being said about him. Replacing the "o" with an asterisk possibly defeats this purpose.


As of August 2013 Kwok "wish[ed] Shermer much success" and was "looking forward to seeing you [PZ] earn your just desserts." [1] What type of Desserts did Kwok mean? As of 2016 nothing had happened though The Grenade remains online as of early 2016. Anyway any type of legal fireworks look increasingly unlikely.