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A hoax is an attempt to trick one or more people into believing something is real that is not. Unlike a fraud or con, which is performed for illicit financial or material gain, or a pious fraud, which is perpetrated for pious reasons, a hoax is perpetrated for reasons of humor, to cause embarassment, for personal aggrandizement or to serve political purposes.

Many hoaxes are also motivated by a desire to satirize or educate by exposing the credulity of the public or the absurdity of the target: literary and artistic hoaxes are often of this sort, although political hoaxes are sometimes motivated in part or whole by the desire to expose failings in politicians or political institutions. --http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoax

The Sokal Affair [...]

  1. Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science - Alan D. Sokal, Jean Bricmont [Amazon US]
    In 1996, an article entitled "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" was published in the cultural studies journal Social Text. Packed with recherché quotations from "postmodern" literary theorists and sociologists of science, and bristling with imposing theorems of mathematical physics, the article addressed the cultural and political implications of the theory of quantum gravity. Later, to the embarrassment of the editors, the author revealed that the essay was a hoax, interweaving absurd pronouncements from eminent intellectuals about mathematics and physics with laudatory--but fatuous--prose.

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