And reveals an uncomfortable fact about the response:
My own take on this is that while the hoax was duplicitous and deliberately so, it did expose the rot in some parts of the humanities in a way that would have been hard to do by other means. I can write critiques of papers on feminist glaciology or the othering, gendering, and fat-shaming of urban squirrels, but these paper-by-paper critiques showed only that an occasional howler slips through the cracks. (These papers are, however, seen as serious scholarship.) It’s another thing entirely to confect bogus papers that align with Regressive Leftist ideology, and then get these risible “studies” published in decent journals. (One remembers Alan Sokal’s famous Social Text hoax.) In other words, Pluckrose et al. got a lot more attention than I did. And that’s fine. For they did, to my mind, expose a creeping rot in the floorboards of academic humanities, which has becoming increasingly solipsistic, tendentious, propagandistic, and devoid of critical thinking but besotted with intersectionalist ideology. Were it up to me, I would not have punished Peter.
But academics went wild with rage, for, unable to stand the idea that the humanities has been infected with tendentious pomo junk scholarship, they performed what animal behaviorists call “displacement behavior”: they ignored the message and tried to kill the messengers. And you’ll see some of that in a discussion in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the meaning of the Grievance Studies hoaxes. There are seven pieces involving eight scholars on both sides of the issue.Jerry Coyne, “The “grievance studies” hoax: a forum at the Chronicle of Higher Education” at Why Evolution Is True (blog)
The distinction is that low-quality papers might happen to fall through the cracks now and then and a cherry picker could gin up an indictment of a whole field unjustly. BUT when a number of hoax papers get accepted by various journals, that points to deeper systemic rot. Especially when the social science profs are enraged rather than ashamed.
It has a lot to do with the absolute, measurable decline in scholarship overall. And it is starting to infect science.
See also: Portland U prof who hoaxed social science journals to prove a point is punished The rap is “research misconduct,” of all things. Oh and get this: “An academic journal is continuing to sell a viral article on “rape culture” and “queer performativity” in Portland dog parks despite expressing concerns about the veracity of the research. Veracity? It was a genuine hoax, that’s what kind of veracity it had.
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