These Heroes Just Pulled Off the Greatest Academic Hoax of the Modern Age

by Phrost | October 3, 2018 07:33

It’s 4 AM CST as we’re typing this, and in a few hours a lot of people are going to wake up to a whole world of shame and embarrassment.

For those of you who have time, please read the full write-up of this landmark event over at Aero Magazine[1]. Trust us, it’s worth it. If you don’t, here are the highlights:

A Short History of the Hoaxers

A couple of years ago, philosopher Peter Boghossian and mathematician James Lindsay, exposed some of the glaring flaws in the academic field of Gender Studies by managing to publish a paper in one of its respected journals, entitled “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct[2]“.

There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and the only seemingly valid criticisms that emerged from the screeching was the assertion that the journal in which it was published, just wasn’t that prestigious, and that it was just one paper.

Yeah, well, that’s when they went to work, recruiting Helen Pluckrose to their team to create a triumvirate of academic badassery and bullshit stomping. And after 18 months of working in secret…

The Papers

Each of these were submitted to respected, academic, peer-reviewed journals. So take a seat, because once you’re done reading this part, you’re going to need a few stiff bottles of whisky and a few hours of sweet unconsciousness:

Methodology

Haha, just kidding:

Our papers also present very shoddy methodologies including incredibly implausible statistics (“Dog Park”), making claims not warranted by the data (“CisNorm,” “Hooters,” “Dildos”), and ideologically-motivated qualitative analyses (“CisNorm,” “Porn”). (NB: See Papers section below.) Questionable qualitative methodologies such as poetic inquiry and autoethnography (sometimes rightly and pejoratively called “mesearch”) were incorporated (especially in “Moon Meetings”).

Again, read the whole thing over at Aero. Then maybe hit them up on their Patreon[3] for their amazing contribution towards stemming (get it) the tide of bullshit in the academic world.

Heroes

So why are we calling these three heroes? Well as the Wall Street Journal[4] points out, Peter Boghossian doesn’t have tenure as a professor, and suspects he’ll be fired over this, Helen Pluckrose is concerned this will completely end her academic journey, and James Lindsay also expects there will be serious repercussions. Still, all three put their livelihoods, and their lives’ work on the line to expose this scabby wart on academia’s backside, and all three agree that it’s worth it, whatever the risk.

Endnotes:
  1. Aero Magazine: https://areomagazine.com/2018/10/02/academic-grievance-studies-and-the-corruption-of-scholarship/
  2. The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct: https://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/conceptual-penis-social-contruct-sokal-style-hoax-on-gender-studies/
  3. Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Areo
  4. Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/fake-news-comes-to-academia-1538520950

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