Day by Day

Monday, May 22, 2017

B-b-b-but it's been PUBLISHED! In a PUBLICATION!

I salute these people.  I truly do.

NYU physicist Alan Sokal thought very little of the research performed by his colleagues in the social sciences. To prove his point, he wrote a paper that used plenty of trendy buzz words but made absolutely no sense. As he later explained, Dr. Sokal wanted to find out if a humanities journal would "publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions." 
It would. His paper, "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity," was published in the journal Social Text in 1996, and his hoax has earned him a place in scientific history.

And the newest entry:

In their tell-all article in Skeptic, the authors admit they jammed the paper full of jargon and made it purposefully incoherent. They said, "After completing the paper, we read it carefully to ensure it didn't say anything meaningful, and as neither one of us could determine what it is actually about, we deemed it a success." Finally, they made this particularly damning observation: 
We assumed that if we were merely clear in our moral implications that maleness is intrinsically bad and that the penis is somehow at the root of it, we could get the paper published in a respectable journal. 
It worked. That's the state of social science in 2017.

That's science today, folks.  THERE IS A CONSENSUS!  Or something.  It's becoming perfectly clear that "peer reviewed" and "published in a science journal" has become the newest cargo cult mentality.  It's "SCIENCE!" because it's been peer reviewed, but the reviewers have absolutely no idea what actually constitutes science, and so we get junk.  Flat out junk, as proven by the people in the article.

1 comment:

Steve Berven said...

I'm pretty sure that most of these "academics" write in such a convoluted way so they can say, "If you can't understand this stuff, clearly you're not smart enough for me to talk to." So their peers pretend to understand it even though no else does either.