Making the case for reason, sometimes loudly and sometimes quietly

Filling the pail

In 1996, Alan Sokal, a physicist, submitted a hoax paper to the academic journal, Social Text. To many, the fact that such a silly paper could be published highlighted the absurdity of postmodernist* philosophy, a philosophy that had started to take over the humanities departments of universities. In contrast, postmodernists and their apologists tended to focus on the fact that Sokal had done a Bad Thing by submitting a hoax paper and passing it off as a serious one, which is an interesting position to take for a postmodernist.

Yesterday, we learnt of a new hoax perpetrated by James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose and Peter Boghossian. This time, the researchers wrote a total of 20 papers and managed to get seven accepted by peer-reviewed journals operating in the postmodernist arena of social theory. The accepted papers are clearly nonsense. I won’t focus on the lurid details except to point…

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