Well, really for revealing what kind of rubbish passes for social science today.
Back when Alan Sokal first did Sokal hoaxes on social science (= publish something intended to be meaningless and watch social scientists take it seriously), he wasn’t at much risk. Recently, some social scientists, hoping to spur reform, tried it again and were astoundingly successful. Reform? Are you kidding? In today’s world of the angry aggrieved and woke, they’re the ones who are feeling the pain:
A professor who fooled prestigious journals into running absurd hoax papers, as a test of their bias, says he may now lose his job because of his actions.
Peter Boghossian was one of three people who collaborated last year to test the standards of various university disciplines, submitting papers loaded with left-wing buzzwords to journals in fields like feminism, race studies, queer studies, and cultural studies.
Many prestigious journals fell for their absurd hoax papers. A leading feminist journal published a section of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf that had simply been re-written with fashionable buzzwords. Another journal published a paper about “rape culture and queer performativity” in dog parks…
The three hoaxers all say that they are liberals, but they feared some university disciplines had gone off the deep end and now value politics over truth. Maxim Lott, “Portland professor behind journal paper hoax fears he could lose his job” at FOX News
Being “liberals” is part of the problem. Liberalism doesn’t survive the world of 2+2=5. Liberals might come up with Incorrect findings. And it might matter to them that the Correct stuff is just junk.
Boghossian’s breach of ethics was that he was supposed to get the consent of the journal editors before hoaxing them because they are human subjects. No, really. That is the explanation.
From Aaron Mesh at the Willamette Week:
A public relations team working with Boghossian has already released statements of support from academic “free thinkers” including Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker and Jordan Peterson.
“If the members of your committee of inquiry object to the very idea of satire as a form of creative expression they should come out honestly and say so,” Dawkins writes. “But to pretend that this is a matter of publishing false data is so obviously ridiculous that one cannot help suspecting an ulterior motive.”
Boghossian’s papers—which claimed to study the rate at which Portlanders interrupted canine sex at dog parks, among other unlikely findings—were designed to mock gender studies, race studies and feminist theory by showing that the top journals in those fields had low standards for publication. The admission of the hoax sparked heated debate over whether Boghossian and his colleagues had demonstrated the absurdity of those disciplines or the ease of getting bad-faith research published. More.
The authorities here are as laughable as the journal editors. What’s the harrumph! about “the ease of getting bad-faith research published” supposed to mean? If you left the office cat in charge, you’d doubtless get the same result but whose fault is that?
If science of any kind survives, the question will be not “Why are the journals allowed to be so debased?” but “Why is this field publicly funded?” Oh and, “Why do degrees in the subject matter?”
More on the Sokal hoax
See also: Sokal hoaxes strike social science again
Exposing gender studies as a Sokal hoax
Social Science Hoax Papers Is One Of RealClearScience’s Top Junk Science Stories Of 2018
Alan Sokal, Buy Yourself A Latte: “Star Wars” Biology Paper Accepted
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