A new academic hoax: a bogus paper on “the conceptual penis” gets published in a “high quality peer-reviewed” social science journal

It’s been 21 years since physicist Alan Sokal submitted a bogus paper to a special “Science Wars” issue of the cultural studies journal Social Text. His paper, “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity“, maintained that quantum gravity was a social construct, using many bizarre quotes from postmodern scholars to make its case. Almost immediately after the paper was published, Sokal revealed it was a hoax in an article in Lingua Franca.

The “Sokal Affair” inspired a lot of debate, as well as accusations that Sokal himself was unethical in submitting the paper, but I thought it made its point superbly: much of the social sciences and “culture studies” in academia is intellectually vacuous—a repository for dumb ideas couched in bad prose.

Now we have another hoax: a piece on the “conceptual penis” published in the journal Cogent Social Sciences, self described as “a multidisciplinary open access journal offering high quality peer review across the social sciences: from law to sociology, politics to geography, and sport to communication studies. Connect your research with a global audience for maximum readership and impact.”

Here’s the article; click on the screenshot below to see it in the journal (though it will probably be removed very quickly!). The paper has, however, been archived, and you can find it here.

Have a gander!:

Like the Sokal paper before it, this one also deals with social constructs, but this time the construct is  “the conceptual penis”: a transformation of the male genital apparatus into a social meme that is harmful to nearly everyone.  You can read the paper for yourselves, and I recommend it so you can see how low the standards of some humanities journals are (this paper, unlike Sokal’s, was peer reviewed by two scholars). Here are a few choice bits:

Still, even as a social construct, the conceptual penis is hopelessly dominated by recalcitrant social constructions that favor hypermasculine interpretations of the penis as a notion unjustly associated with high male value (Schwalbe & Wolkomir, 2001). Many cisgendered hypermasculine males, for instance, seem to identify those aspects of their masculinity upon which they most obviously depend with the notion that they carry their penis as a symbol of male power, domination, control, capability, desirability, and aggression (The National Coalition for Men “compile[d] a list of synonyms for the word penis [sic],” these include the terms “beaver basher,” “cranny axe,” “custard launcher,” “dagger,” “heat-seeking moisture missile,” “mayo shooting hotdog gun,” “pork sword,” and “yogurt shotgun” [2011]). Based upon an appreciable corpus of feminist literature on the penis, this troubling identification results in an effective isomorphism linking the conceptual penis with toxic hypermasculinity.

But wait! There’s more!

Nowhere more does this problematic construction compare than with the “hegemonic masculinity and cultural construction” presented in the “essence of the hard-on” (Potts, 2000). Potts (2000) illustrates that the functioning (or lack thereof) of the [conceptual] penis “demonstrates the inscription on individual male bodies of a coital imperative: the surface of the male body interfuses with culture to produce the ‘fiction’ of a dysfunctional nonpenetrative male (hetero)sexuality.” This is clear power-dynamical repositioning to alleviate the internal psychological struggle of weakness via hypermasculinity and an essential fear of weakness that characterizes hypermasculinity itself. We therefore further agree with Potts that “by relinquishing the penis’s executive position in sex, male bodies might become differently inscribed, and coded for diverse pleasures beyond the phallus/penis,” and we insist that understanding the objective isomorphic mapping between phallus and (conceptual) penis is a necessary discursive element to changing the prevailing penile social paradigm. The constructed intersection of the anatomical penis and the performative conceptual penis defines the problematic relationship masculinity presents for male bodies and their impacts upon women in our pre-post-patriarchal societies.

And this is my favorite part:

2.2. Climate change and the conceptual penis

Nowhere are the consequences of hypermasculine machismo braggadocio isomorphic identification with the conceptual penis more problematic than concerning the issue of climate change. Climate change is driven by nothing more than it is by certain damaging themes in hypermasculinity that can be best understood via the dominant rapacious approach to climate ecology identifiable with the conceptual penis. Our planet is rapidly approaching the much-warned-about 2°C climate change threshold, and due to patriarchal power dynamics that maintain present capitalist structures, especially with regard to the fossil fuel industry, the connection between hypermasculine dominance of scientific, political, and economic discourses and the irreparable damage to our ecosystem is made clear.

Destructive, unsustainable hegemonically male approaches to pressing environmental policy and action are the predictable results of a raping of nature by a male-dominated mindset. This mindset is best captured by recognizing the role of the conceptual penis holds over masculine psychology. When it is applied to our natural environment, especially virgin environments that can be cheaply despoiled for their material resources and left dilapidated and diminished when our patriarchal approaches to economic gain have stolen their inherent worth, the extrapolation of the rape culture inherent in the conceptual penis becomes clear. At best, climate change is genuinely an example of hyper-patriarchal society metaphorically manspreading into the global ecosystem.

The reveal. Who are these scalawags who perpetrated this hoax? Well, “Peter Boyle” is none other than philosopher Peter Boghossian, and “Jamie Lindsay” is Peter’s frequent collaborator James Lindsay. And, like Sokal, they’ve revealed and explained their hoax in a paper at the Skeptic Magazine site called “‘The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct’: A Sokal-style Hoax on Gender Studies“. Here’s how Peter and James start their reveal:

“The androcentric scientific and meta-scientific evidence that the penis is the male reproductive organ is considered overwhelming and largely uncontroversial.”

That’s how we began. We used this preposterous sentence to open a “paper” consisting of 3,000 words of utter nonsense posing as academic scholarship. Then a peer-reviewed academic journal in the social sciences accepted and published it.

This paper should never have been published. Titled, “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct,” our paper “argues” that “The penis vis-à-vis maleness is an incoherent construct. We argue that the conceptual penis is better understood not as an anatomical organ but as a gender-performative, highly fluid social construct.” As if to prove philosopher David Hume’s claim that there is a deep gap between what is and what ought to be, our should-never-have-been-published paper was published in the open-access (meaning that articles are freely accessible and not behind a paywall), peer-reviewed journal Cogent Social Sciences.

Assuming the pen names “Jamie Lindsay” and “Peter Boyle,” and writing for the fictitious “Southeast Independent Social Research Group,” we wrote an absurd paper loosely composed in the style of post-structuralist discursive gender theory. The paper was ridiculous by intention, essentially arguing that penises shouldn’t be thought of as male genital organs but as damaging social constructions. We made no attempt to find out what “post-structuralist discursive gender theory” actually means. 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.

This already damning characterization of our hoax understates our paper’s lack of fitness for academic publication by orders of magnitude. We didn’t try to make the paper coherent; instead, we stuffed it full of jargon (like “discursive” and “isomorphism”), nonsense (like arguing that hypermasculine men are both inside and outside of certain discourses at the same time), red-flag phrases (like “pre-post-patriarchal society”), lewd references to slang terms for the penis, insulting phrasing regarding men (including referring to some men who choose not to have children as being “unable to coerce a mate”), and allusions to rape (we stated that “manspreading,” a complaint levied against men for sitting with their legs spread wide, is “akin to raping the empty space around him”). 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.

That last sentence is a doozy, and is so true for the field at issue. What does it say that two reviewers were taken in by this? If the authors didn’t understand what they were saying, how could the reviewers? The reviewers didn’t even check the references, as fully a quarter of them were complete fakes: references to nonexistent journals and papers. One referee even said the references were “sound”! Finally, a bit of their rationale; why did Boghossian and Lindsay do this?

Sokal exposed an infatuation with academic puffery that characterizes the entire project of academic postmodernism. Our aim was smaller yet more pointed. We intended to test the hypothesis that flattery of the academic Left’s moral architecture in general, and of the moral orthodoxy in gender studies in particular, is the overwhelming determiner of publication in an academic journal in the field. That is, we sought to demonstrate that a desire for a certain moral view of the world to be validated could overcome the critical assessment required for legitimate scholarship. Particularly, we suspected that gender studies is crippled academically by an overriding almost-religious belief that maleness is the root of all evil. On the evidence, our suspicion was justified.

Well, you can read the rest of Peter and James’s explanation. Was it ethical to fool a journal this way? I think so—especially if the journal takes the article down. Further, it makes a point far more important than any paper in that journal: it shows that over the past 21 years since Sokal’s hoax, the social sciences remain rife with obscurantist nonsense—an academic miasma. Of course, not all people or areas in social science or the humanities are full of such nonsense, but cultural studies, including women’s studies, are particularly prone to the toxic combination of jargon and ideology that makes for such horrible “scholarship.”

Yes, 21 years on and cultural studies are just as bad as ever—or worse. I’m so glad I spent my career in science, where you can’t fob off craziness so easily—and hoaxes or made-up stuff inevitably gets found out.


  1. Joseph McClain
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    OMG (conceptual G, of course). How can you get past the fourth word of the abstract?

    • Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      It’s actually word five that stops me in my tracks… but that’s just me

      • Tony M
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Unless you count the word “Abstract” itself, then word five of the abstract is “but”. How could this be the word that “stops you in your tracks”? Ah yes, now I remember, former president Clinton staring straight into the camera and boldly stating: “I did not have sex with that woman”. Later on we heard Clinton redefine (his idea of) the meaning of the words “sex”, and then the words “did”, “not”, have”, etc. So, of course, just about any word (even “but”) could potentially be the one to stop someone in their tracks!

        • Posted May 23, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

          The apotheosis of Clinton as the first postmodern president was when he said “. . . it depends what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”
          Since pondering the meaning of existence is philosophical, Clinton might also be the first Sartria existentialist president; I could see how Clinton, thinking of Monica Lewinsky & and his wife Hillary, would agree that “Hell is other people.”

          • Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

            Clinton was correct, though not “conversationally appropriate”: “is” has several meanings in English.

    • A. Zalik
      Posted May 20, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      But you must soldier on if you are to enjoy the full flavor of the paper. It does read enough like an academic paper at least to confuse peers, if not fool them.

  2. Martin X
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    “Was it ethical to fool a journal this way? I don’t think so”

    Er…did those sentences come out the way you intended?

    • alexander
      Posted May 20, 2017 at 1:13 am | Permalink

      There is some nonsense that appears on arXiv. But scribd is a reading app, and not a scientific journal. Generally arXiv deletes nonsense papers.

      • John Nunes
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        The paper I posted is obviously a deadpan humor piece. Quite a hoot.

  3. BJ
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Well, isn’t this germane to our discussion of women’s studies earlier?

    The saddest part is that, after reading all of this, there are probably tons of women’s studies and other humanities professors and regressive students who would agree with this fake paper. Even knowing it was fake, they would say it makes great points and is valuable and probably right. Especially the abstract.

    Anyone disagree?

    • Craw
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Exactly as with Sokal where the journal defended the piece even after the exposure.

    • DK
      Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Just as a trivial point of logic: a conclusion can be true even if the argument that reaches it is spurious.

    • DK
      Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      As others have pointed out: the article was rejected from one journal of gender studies, but accepted by an ‘open access’ thing called “Cogent Social Sciences,” which says on its website that there is a “minimum charge” for publishing an article in its ‘pages.’

      This seems worth pointing out. The culprit here is more plausible pay-for-play journals than gender studies. And it is dishonest of the authors not to point these facts out, if in fact they have not.

      • BJ
        Posted May 21, 2017 at 5:37 am | Permalink

        So then try reading the articles produced by the supposedly “better” journals. You’ll just find more useless, non-research-based pomo crap useless for anything but indoctrination.

        • Jessica
          Posted May 21, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

          Oh come on. A pay-to-publish journal publishes crap that sounds to you like something a better gender studies journal might publish (despite the authors’ failure to convince editors of any such journal to do so),so you take that as evidence of the poor quality of gender studies journals in general? Sure, “good” gender studies journals sometimes publish things I think are dumb. So do the more mainstream journals. But this “hoax” is evidence of nothing but the fact that actual peer review actually matters. Which we already knew.

          • FullMcIntosh
            Posted May 21, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

            Gender Studies journals have been getting away with posting misandrist crap for far too long. New Real Peer Review has given plenty of examples, and popular feminists such as Anita Sarkeesian regularly cite these poorly designed studies.

          • BJ
            Posted May 22, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

            We’ve all seen what these journals publish and what these ideologues teach. Hell, we’ve seen their insane textbooks, too. We won’t be fooled by someone saying “it’s just a handful.” It’s not.

        • MCWittmann
          Posted May 21, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

          I’ll use a previously published paper to make a look to about these journals:


        • Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          It kind of looks like people who think that gender studies are worthless don’t have either the familiarity with academic publishing nor the critical investigation skills necessary to detect a hoax.

          It’s like replying that because there’s crap on other blogs, this blog must be crap. It doesn’t follow and makes the ostensible defenders of reason against the pomo hordes look hypocritical or foolish (or both).

          • BJ
            Posted May 25, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

            No, it’s like replying because even their “best” journals regularly publish complete crap, their “studies” departments are crap.

  4. Sean
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Typo? “Was it ethical to fool a journal this way? I don’t think so”

    • Sean
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Never mind, already fixed.

  5. Barry Lyons
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    “Beautiful” is the only word for this.

  6. MKray
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Did you mean `was it ethical?’ or `.. unethical?’

    • Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      I fixed that; I mis-wrote it in the first draft. It’s okay now. It’s ethical, in my view.

  7. Frank Ch. Eigler
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Don’t be too comfy over in the sciences. Feminists have made it a specific target for entryism. You already get looney political or post-modern junk show up in teachers’ colleges, to teach in STEM classes to kids, and mathematics PhDs that complain about misogyny.

  8. mikeyc
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Too funny and so very sad.

    • mikeyc
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Follow the link in Boghossian’s and Lindsay’s Skeptic’s article to the Uromycitsis poisoning hoax.

      It’s a scream.

      And very sad.

  9. rickflick
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    The frequent references to “male bodies” sounds like decapitation. That’s a problematic construction, to say the least. An amusing read.

  10. Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink


  11. GBJames
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    This puts me in mind to go get a socially constructed pint of conceptual beer.

    • Phil Giordana FCD
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      I’m intersectionalizing with you so hard right now.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:11 am | Permalink

        😀 😀

  12. Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    One of the biggest problems is the use of jargon ‘big words’. Karl Popper rightly referred to this kind of conduct as intellectual ‘sin’.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:37 am | Permalink

      It suddenly struck me that what we really need is the opposite of the famed post-modernism generator. A program where you load a paper and the Post Modernism Simplifier reduces all the long and complex jargon into simple words. The output may, however, be rather longer. A bit like the Devils Dictionary, but less snarky.

      It could work for Philosophy and Theology too. I’ve come to the conclusion that the more complex the jargon the more likely people are to be unaware of the assumptions built into the terms they use.

      • earwicker
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        Even better if it could condense the writing down to its essence – even if the result was usually “blah blah blah.” It could reward genuine thinking with a terse summary. But that would be an extremely difficult algorithm. As Pascal said: I’m sorry this letter is so long – I didn’t have time to make it shorter.

        In the battle against entropy, postmodern social science writers have deserted and joined the enemy’s forces.

      • efd12015
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        I would be very surprised indeed if anything remotely like this obvious nonsense made it into a top philosophy journal like Analysis or Mind or Philosophical Studies. I can’t speak for theology, however.

      • Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately, transforming what passes for thoughts into pomo-ese is a “lossy transformation”.

  13. kevin
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Lol this is so funny.

    However, as a pushback I would say that just as embarrassing papers as this are being published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Of course no one mentions them because they don’t fit the outrage culture narrative. And because they offer the illusion of rigor by providing quantitative statistical analyses.

    I think there are fundamental flaws with the peer-review method. I am pretty sure I could make up a hoax paper add some statistical analysis for the sake of it and get it published in a scientific journal with >=2 impact factor.

    Like just a couple of weeks ago Nowak and Wilson published another embarrassing anti kin selection paper on PNAS.
    Or the fraud scandals in social psych.

    • Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Kevin – any examples outside of PNAS? The Proceedings don’t count as peer-reviewed IMHO. And while you could make up some data and publish a paper, as some have done, it will fairly quickly be uncovered as fake.

      • kevin
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        Well for starters Nowak and Wilson published a similarly embarrassing paper in 2010 and as Dave Queller’s grad students showed later, their model directly contradicted their conclusions!

        “it will fairly quickly be uncovered as fake”

        You say fairly quickly, but that’s not true. See for example here: http://www.timvanderzee.com/the-wansink-dossier-an-overview/

        This guy literally plagiarized himself, manufactured data and so on, in the span of 20 years.

        I could also point to the opposite side of the culture war at some of the bad findings of evo psych but Jerry Coyne has had his fair take on them in the past. There is literally a peer-reviewed study that shows macaque monkey sex toy (trucks vs dolls) preference as evidence for human sex toy preferences. Any behavioral ecologist would facepalm at this case study of anthropomorphism.

        But of course the “realpeerreview” twitter will never post bad examples of evo psych! I think the political bias is kind of obvious.

        There are also lots of examples from PLOS but I don’t think they are worth mentioning since we already know that PLOS has often bad peer-review and they get retracted immediately. I still remember the “Creator” blunder.

        I completely agree though. Fraudulent data and bad experimental designs can and will be easier uncovered eventually, when others try to replicate them.
        While on the other hand bad philosophical papers will get ignored in the depth of the literature and an outsider would never be able to tell whether they actually amount to anything substantial or not.

        • BJ
          Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

          That monkey experiment is very different from what we’re discussing. It was an experiment, it produced results, the results were recorded. You may not like or agree with the conclusion, but it wasn’t just a buzzword-laden piece of fiction. It was an actual study carried out in an attempt to show something. And, if we indeed evolved from apes and share so much in common in terms of brain structure with these monkeys, I don’t see why it’s not at least a valid (I’m not necessarily saying correct) conclusion that it proves something about us.

          • kevin
            Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

            I think we sidetracked to the importance and quality of our peer-review process and how reviewers often sloppily review papers, which would indicate why fraudulent papers like the OP are being accepted.

            As far as the part of your defense of the experiment goes. I don’t think the study is conceptually coherent in any extent.
            There is a thing called anthropomorphism. Behavioral ecology has adapted since the influential criticism of Kennedy in 1992. Evo psych seems that it hasn’t adapted.

            If you are trying to say that macaque monkeys have a concept of dolls and trucks then I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe read Kennedy’s criticism of anthropomorphism.

            “if we indeed evolved from apes and share so much in common in terms of brain structure with these monkeys”

            This is armchair evo psych more than anything and it doesn’t excuse being accepted in a journal. We have sophisticated techniques to infer phylogenetic bracketing even if macaques did have an abstract concept of dolls and trucks.

            Of course worth noting that I use the term armchair evo psych for bad evo psych because there are very good and rigorous examples of evo psych in the literature.

            • BJ
              Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

              I know what anthropomorphism is. I just think there’s a very fundamental difference between an experiment with set parameters that reports its outcomes honestly, and what we’re discussing here. Whether or not you personally think the experiment/study itself has merit isn’t the issue.

              • kevin
                Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

                We agree. But my original point was about the failures of peer review that are more general rather than restricted to sociology/gender studies.
                You say that it is an experiment, but that’s a fundamental difference on what gets published in scientific journals, which are focused on the scientific method, and what gets published in sociology or philosophical journals. Qualitative methods and philosophical essays are a thing. If you are trying to make the point that philosophy and sociology should be 100% quantitative then I couldn’t disagree more.

                I generally agree with the points raised by Jerry Coyne. I just think we ought to remind ourselves that the past 2 decades has shown us how peer-review can fail. As I said I could make up fraudulent data and get published, as others have. I think we are putting too much importance on the peer-review method and how important this hoax supposedly is.
                Maybe we should conduct similar experiments with scientific journals and I would be surprised if you wouldn’t find similar results.
                If we would approach this in a scientific manner we would ask “Where is your control group?”. If you test this only in sociology of course you will think it happens only there but I digress. I am a scientist after all. All I want is to make science more rigorous, not sociology (of course I would want sociology to become more rigorous too).

              • kevin
                Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

                Well of course. My point was that the issue is not with peer-review in sociology/gender studies, but with the peer-review in general.
                The difference that you mention is nothing other but the fundamental difference between sciences and other fields. What gets published in scientific journals will follow the scientific method. What gets published in sociological/philosophical journals will follow other methods. Qualitative and essay approaches are a thing after all. If you are trying to say that sociology and philosophy should be 100% quantitative, then I couldn’t disagree more.
                What I am trying to say is that I think I could write a hoax and get published in scientific journals too. Of course I would have to follow the scientific method. If we were to approach this with a scientific way we would want a control. Maybe we should test the scientific journals too. Of course you imagine what the consequences would be if a hoax was to be published in a scientific journal. All the science deniers would be full of joy. Which is why you won’t see the skeptics trying to test that.
                The point I am trying to make here is that your own biases determine the outcome in this case. If you were to publish a hoax in a scientific journal you would have different reactions, but no one chose to do that.
                I agree with Jerry Coyne’s points in general and I think the hoaxes would be found out faster in science.
                But after all I am a scientist and I am interested in making science more rigorous most of all (of course I would want sociology to be more rigorous too).

              • kevin
                Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

                Oops my bad. I thought it deleted and I had to post it twice….

            • Forreal
              Posted May 20, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

              I have my own logical reasons to remain deeply skeptical of anyone whose political inclinations lead them to desperately look for ways to scientifically validate the notion that male and female humans are essentially unique in the world of mammals (certainly higher mammals) in that their dimorphism amazingly stops abruptly short of affecting any part of the brain that influences behavior. It’s not that there’s no place for such scholarship, but the type of journal it’s worthy of sits in the desk drawer of a 12 year old girl.

        • Posted May 20, 2017 at 3:00 am | Permalink

          Off topic.
          In that context I’d appreciate a comment of our host on that newest Nowak and Wilson paper.

        • gmmay70
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          Perhaps if the fields and journals you criticize had the reach, cultural influence, and political power that New Peer Review tends to target, then your argument wouldn’t seem so weak. Anyone can cite all sorts of marginalized whackos as examples of “yeah, but the other guys do it too!” as a way to grind any discussion to a halt.

          The point is not about trying to expose “science deniers” (whoever they are), but in exposing fields masquerading as science. You’re correct in predicting that there would be a different reaction were this to happen in a scientific journal, and that’s because it’s an apples to oranges comparison. One is subject to legitimate testing, while the other’s veracity apparently centers on how many nominalizations the writer can cook up.

    • Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Also – I certainly agree with the flawed nature of much peer review.

      • KD33
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        As many have said – peer review has its problems at times. It’s just that there’s nothing better.

        • kevin
          Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think that’s a good attitude to have.
          We CAN improve our peer-review process and we should. For the shake of more rigorous science.

          • Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

            And in particular, if there were sane sociologists of science, this is one of the “applied” or “technological” tasks they could work on. Unfortunately they seem to drop the ball here – or don’t exist. (The work in this area that I am dimly aware of is from philosophers like Philip Kitcher and Kevin Zollman.)

    • KD33
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      “Just as embarrassing” – I think not, at least I’d like to see an example. And it wuld be a lot harder than you think to get a hoax paper into a decent (non social science) journal. (“Decent” defined as reviewers are competent in their field.)

      • kevin
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        You are right. The “just as embarrassing” is a hyperbole and of course subjective to an extent.

    • Tyler
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      I agree with Kevin in not being too sanguine about peer review, but at least the articles he’s worried about were not written with the intent of being meaningless. There is a lovely expression which I assume most of you know–“not even wrong”. The Nowak and Wilson article may be nuts, but I suspect they were at least wrong.

      • kevin
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. I imagined that we would all agree with that, which is why I tried to provide a more thoughtful comment concerning the peer-review in general and the endless and, in my opinion, pointless science wars.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted May 20, 2017 at 4:28 am | Permalink

          Appreciate your posts. There’s something a bit smugly complacent about this hoax, certainly by comparison with the Sokal hoax which felt like a genuine expression of frustration rather than point-scoring.
          You should follow through and do your own hoax. They serve as useful correctives.(NB. not that I think evolutionary psychology is anything like as riddled with bullshit).

          • kevin
            Posted May 20, 2017 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

            Well at least Sokal had done his research and submitted his paper in a well regarded journal in the field (even though it wasn’t peer-reviewed).

            Boghossian and Lindsay first picked a gender studies journal that is not even ranked! It’s as if they randomly searched “gender studies journals”. Then when they were rejected and redirected to a pay-to-publish journal, they decided to publish it there. By the way, after some more research I did, Cogent journal seems to be one of those journals that spams your email after a conference. It’s more of a blunder than anything else.

            At first I thought Cogent was a humanities version of PLOS, but it’s worse than that. It’s a borderline predatory journal that most people in the humanities haven’t heard of.
            So much for skepticism.

            And I don’t want to publish a hoax even for testing. I think most scientists are well aware of the flaws of peer-review. I think the only thing it would accomplish is making the public more close to science denialism. Especially if it was in evolutionary psych, I can imagine creationists’ reaction. And of course how it would be a point scored for the feminist team in the pointless science wars.

  14. Heather Hastie
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad the paper wasn’t supposed to make sense, because I didn’t understand it. I would have thought the inclusion of climate change might have been a warning to the reviewers, but it seems not. I hope they’re suitably embarrassed and change their ways. Probably their anger will be directed outwards instead of inwards in this pre-post-patriarchal world.

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Heh, same!
      When I got to Climate Change I laughed out loud. You’d think at this stage any editor or reviewer would have a nasty little sensation that this was a joke and one at their own expense.

      Anyway, how long do you think until someone calls this paper “violence” or “hate speech”?

      • Jonathan McIntosh
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        Social justice warriors have alrrady taught us that speech = violence. To them, Antifa does less harm than politically incorrect words.

      • Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        Grania, I read the abstract about 5 minutes before Jerry put it up online and I think I’m pretty well-tuned to the difference between satire and the real thing. But I must admit I was 50-50 on whether it was a hoax.

        I think it’s because so much of what we call the SJW style (and the term ‘SJW’, which I never liked anyway, is becoming a bit tiresome) is so unfunny and puritanically po-faced. Even SJW comedians are laughable, but in the wrong sense. Think Andy Kindler.

        I think they have taught us to expect no laughs and the vague, infantilizing discomfort of being told off, because they really mean it, maaaan (Sex Pistols). So when I read it I was still caught half-way between believing and not.

        The more you read it the funnier it gets.

        • rickflick
          Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

          The ambiguity must mean something fundamental about our current social gestalt. I can’t yet put my finger on it.

        • DiscoveredJoys
          Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:43 am | Permalink

          “A Poe, or not a Poe, that is the question:”

      • reasonshark
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        They’re using hoax-face! That’s unbelievably offensive! Micro-aggression! Cultural appropriation! Offensive! Offensive! Offensive!

        (Still got that Simpsons clip in my head from way back, for some reason).

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        Yeah – it should have been a bit of a hint! Especially after that glacier paper.

    • Denise
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Change their ways? How can they? This is all they know how to do to earn a living.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        That’s true – good point! While those of us with consciences struggle to make a living, they cruise around making all women look bad. I could write and teach like this. I wouldn’t do it, and nor would any other decent person.

        • Jonathan McIntosh
          Posted May 19, 2017 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

          Good on your for having principles. Anita Sarkeesian made a killing by applying what she learned in teleseminars to gender studies and then spread thr virus to an industry which was already infested with SJWs. Several hundred thousand dollars later, she’s still preaching about the evils of cultral appropriation. Her former partner in crime wasn’t able to hack it as a male preaching the same gospel, though.

          • Bob Murray
            Posted May 20, 2017 at 4:25 am | Permalink

            Are you or have you ever been a “Pop Culture Defective”?

            • Jonathan McIntosh
              Posted May 20, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

              My parents forced me to read sexist drivel such as the Hardy Boys, but I rebelled and read Nancy Drew, added that skill to my resume, and took my sleuthing skills to YouTube to investigate the villains behind shows in which men don’t cry. Next, I plan to investigate the conceptual penis as it applies to hunting in Duck Dynasty.

              • Bob Murray
                Posted May 21, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

                Fellatio, the hunter and Christ. My poor attempt at a working title.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted May 20, 2017 at 6:23 am | Permalink

            Which industry is that out of interest? Because I see almost no evidence of the video game industry being awash with SJW ideas. Even the field of games journalism is relatively unaffected: the particular, historic examples of SJW bias are concentrated on a few sites like Polygon and Kotaku.

            • Jonathan McIntosh
              Posted May 20, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

              I was referring to game journalism. I’ve followed the industry closely most of my life, and used to write about games at a website founded by the Editor-in-Chief of a major gaming magazine and most of the major sites are full of SJWs, it’s not just Polygon and Kotaku. IGN (the most popular site) and Gamespot also have a lot (in fact, some of their hires are from Polygon). Back when game journalism was mostly magzines and in most of the first decade of this milennium, games writing was actually about games rather than authors using their platform to spread their “progressive” agenda. It’s been interesting watching some of these individuals who used to express politically incorrect views tell us what games are appropriate and how we should act perhaps out of guilt for their former behavior.

              The situation is not as dire in the video game industry itself, but the Game Developers Conference, the International Game Developers Association as well as indie game conferences have recently had a major social justice push, and people who speak up about it often do so anonymously so they don’t lose their jobs. Some of the major developers have also changed their games in detrimental ways, I suspect, to appease these people.

              One thing that amuses me about Polygon and Kotaku is that their audience is still over 90% male despite their feminist preaching.

          • Posted May 20, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

            “Her former partner in crime wasn’t able to hack it as a male preaching the same gospel…”

            I guess he was white as well. Poor luck.

            • Posted May 20, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink


            • Jonathan McIntosh
              Posted May 20, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

              Yep, white as well. On Twitter, he mentioned having to move to another city because his YouTube series wasn’t enough to pay rent.

  15. Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Worth the wait! The paper is indeed worth perusing, and I found myself reading it until my brain started to shut down.
    The About the Authors and Public Interest Statement are also plain hilarious. How those simple paragraphs got by the reviewers reveals much.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      AtA and PiS (deliberate use of acronym!) are hilarious.
      I was rather hoping that the address given would resolve to something like a coffee shop, but it just seems to be made up. Having a couple of gmail email addresses would certainly run an amber flag up the pole for me. Not a killer shot, but it would raise my suspicions considerably.
      Who’s the “Reviewing editor”? Ohh, there are going to be tears at the University of
      Huddersfield on Monday morning.

      • Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        Aidan, I spot a sly reference to the mother of all rugby commentators, the most fearsome P.E. teacher in Hawick, the semi-demented Bill McClaren.

        What a try! They’ll be a breechin’ their keekies in the streets o’ Kirkcaldy, the night! Goodness knows what the old sadist was on about, but it sounded greeeeet.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          You completely lost me on the rugby commentator. My games master tried to beat an interest in that sport into me using a stick, but that one failed too.

          • GBJames
            Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

            A stick? Well there’s the problem! Your games master got rugby and hockey mixed up!

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted May 20, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

              We didn’t do hockey, I think. The stick was a bamboo cane brought annually for the purpose of beating pupils.

              • GBJames
                Posted May 20, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

                Yeah, I know the drill. I spent some time at a Brit school in Kenya. The housemaster had a supply of those sticks.

          • Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

            Ah well, coincidence, then. “There’s gonna be tears…” is a McClaren starter, usually followed by a bathetic predicate. And the University of Huddersfield definitely counts as that. My nonsense Scots English is precisely that: made-up sports journalist semi-English. (In no other circumstance do people talk about being “on the stretch”).

            A female old friend was his P.E. pupil in the Borders. He was the stereotypical Games master: mean, but fair. He was mean to everyone.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted May 20, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

              I am familiar with “there will be tears before bedtime”, though what it’s ultimate source is, I don’t know.

          • Colin McLachlan
            Posted May 20, 2017 at 6:09 am | Permalink

            To get feel for Bill McLaren’s talent as a rugby commentator, have a look at Great quotes from Bill McLaren, or listen to this video to hear how he sounded. He was, to me, the voice of rugby.

            • Carl
              Posted May 20, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

              My favourite rugby memories are all soundtracked by Bill! Simon Geoghegan “all arms and legs, like a mad octopus”

  16. Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    The thesis is a hoot. Great job to the writers. I read Fashionable Nonsense only a few years ago when the suspicion mounted that this current madness is an update of the same postmodern rubbish. That was eye opening, because it still is the same rubbish. Seemingly little has changed in certain departments, and this intellectual “rot” (Noam Chomsky) still wrecks havoc in activism — as we saw with atheism, too.

    • Jonathan McIntosh
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      So much of what Chomsky says is absurd. I wonder why Lawrence Krauss likes the guy enough to have interviewed him. That Anita Sarkeesian likes him, though, is no surprise.

      • Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        I like him. And I don’t think “much” what he wrote is “absurd”. On the contrary. Like with Sam Harris, fleas of critics have twisted most of what he wrote out of context and have little idea about his actual position is.

        In this matter, he’s also a persistent critic of postmodernism and has zero to do with so-called “Regressives” like Sarkeesian.

        • rickflick
          Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

          My sense of Chomsky is that he has some specific hangups rather than a total philosophical aphasia. There are places where he sounds totally coherent and others where he sound deeply flawed. That’s just my vague sense after little exposure to his work. For one thing he seems to be fixated on Western culture and power as an oppressive force for evil in the international scene.

          • Jonathan McIntosh
            Posted May 19, 2017 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

            I used to be a fan of his as a former progressive, but now I can’t stand how he blames America and Israel for everything. In a recent BBC interview he said that the Republicans are the most dangerous force in world history. Much of the interview was about climate change, so it was probably in regards to that, but still, it’s not like ISIS or North Korea would be doing anything about it if they were the number one global power. He’s also quite conspiratorial and has been fairly nasty to “New Atheists.”

            • somer
              Posted May 20, 2017 at 12:30 am | Permalink


            • rickflick
              Posted May 20, 2017 at 5:23 am | Permalink

              His language theory has taken quite a beating over the years too.

            • Bruce Gorton
              Posted May 20, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

              They absolutely are.

              What is the major threat to our species right now? Climate change.

              The Republicans have repeatedly stymied efforts to do anything about it, and worked to undermine efforts by the rest of the world in that direction.

              A lot of global climate deals are generally geared to try and win the approval of America, which is impossible so long as the utter cancer that is the Republican Party doesn’t get excised.

              In terms of global influence whether there is much in the way of real progress on the climate really depends on which party gets into power in America.

              The net result is for example, the City of Cape Town having to issue level four water restrictions as its dams get dangerously close to empty.

              While it isn’t sexy danger like ISIS, in real terms from a South African point of view? ISIS hasn’t done jack shit to us.

              The Republicans meanwhile have, through sheer willful ignorance and utter whorishness, become a threat to our water supplies.

              And that threat is repeated on a global scale in a thousand different ways, as the Republicans threaten funding for the precise scientific agencies America and the rest of the world rely on to fight climate change.

              And a lot of the research done outside of America is threatened too – which means the Republicans are a threat to everything from food security to our species’ ability to fight disease.

              The actual heroes that make America great aren’t the ones carrying guns, they’re the ones carrying out research, and they’re the ones the Republicans most love to shit on from dizzying heights.

              And science is just one example of how dangerous those fuckers really are.

              I may no longer be on the left, mainly because the left has been swallowed up by its own anus to the point where it is incapable of coherent thought, but I am on the side of reality.

              And the reality is that the ignorance that defines the Republican Party is far, far more dangerous than Americans really give it credit for.

              • Jonathan McIntosh
                Posted May 20, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

                There is undoubtedly a lot of ignorance in the Republican party, and they’re dangerous, but they aren’t always the dominant power, and I’ll take our republic that has limited terms with some ignoramuses over ISIS any day. ISIS is being kept in check by various forces, but if they had the manpower and technology, they would undoubtedly try to conquer the West, and then we’d have Sharia AND climate change denial.

                If the left had gotten its act together, we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in now. How are Republicans going to take us seriously when there are many on the left who also deny science other than climate change? Far too many young self-righteous Democrats will go on a social justice crusade yet can’t even be bothered to vote in midterm elections. There is so much focus on the president, that it’s as if the other branches of government don’t matter. And even with their focus on Trump pre-election, they decided to spend more time making fun of his “tiny hands” or his stupid remarks rather than focus on his horrible budget proposals and views on science that would affect everyone.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted May 20, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

                Most thoroughly agree with Bruce, particularly with reference to the fact that the US (and hence any nutcases aka Repubs in power) have an inordinate effect on the rest of the world. In everything from scientific research to stupid drug laws to ‘intellectual property’ to family planning to military adventures. In many cases this influence may not be asked for (by US) and/or isn’t deserved, but it exists nonetheless.

                Unfortunately (?) the rest of the world doesn’t get a vote.


              • Posted May 20, 2017 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

                (Standing and applauding!)
                Israeli entrepreneurs are developing and producing solar powered condensers which yield potable water from the air’s humidity, even when that humidity is quite low. Perhaps the government of South Africa is already looking into this. India and Viet Nam are.

              • Ronnie Nelson
                Posted May 22, 2017 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

                Convincing all interested parties that the science is settled regarding ‘a “major threat to our species” from CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) driven climate change’ is likely a greater danger to humanity than the prophesied progress represented by a calculated one half of one degree Celsius egress from the Holocene (or Anthropocene -if you prefer) Ice Age in which we are currently ensconced.

                Perhaps the authors of this literature realized or intuitively understood the sacrosanct nature of climate change dogma within the scientific and political communities. So by hooking their hypothesis to AGW’s (Anthropogenic Global Warming) inviolable bandwagon -by proxy their paper also becomes a bit less assailable. Even if the vigor of the reviewers were assuaged by only a small amount it appears to have been enough to give the missive a passing grade (^:; (funny)

    • Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Say what you want about Noam Chomsky, but he’s *not* a pomo or the like – in fact he’s criticized them too.

      • Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, my quotation was too subtle. I once transcribed this:

        (in an interview): It’s all very inflated, you know a lot of prestige and so on– it has a terrible effect in the Third World. In the First World, rich countries, it doesn’t really matter that much. So if a lot of nonsense goes on in the Paris cafés or Yale comparative literature department – well, okay. On the other hand in the Third World, popular movements really need serious intellectuals to participate. And if they’re all ranting postmodernist absurdities… well, they’re gone. I’ve seen real examples – could give them to you.

        But –so there is that category. And it’s considered very left wing, very advanced. Well, some of what appears in it, actually makes sense. But when you reproduce it in monosyllables, it turns out to be truisms. So yes, it is perfectly true that when you look at scientists in the West, they’re mostly men. And it’s perfectly true that women have had a hard time breaking into the scientific fields. And it’s perfectly true that there are institutional factors determining how science proceeds that reflect power structures. I mean ALL of this can be described literally in monosyllables, and it turns out to be truisms when you look at it. On the other hand, you don’t get to be a respected intellectual by presenting truisms in monosyllables.

        Now a lot of the left criticism-so when the left criticism (so called), I don’t consider it left-the left criticism, so called, happens to be accurate. Well okay, that’s fine. So if you point it out, a lot of things, like I mentioned, well that’s fine. Point it out. Everybody understands it. Take a look to see if it’s true, and so on. On the other hand, a lot of so-called left criticism seems to be pure nonsense. In fact, that’s been demonstrated.

        Conclusively. […refers to Sokal and Bricmont’s “Intellectual Impostures” (Fashionable Nonsense)…] where they simply go through the — they happen to concentrate on Paris which is the center of the rot, but it’s all over [gestures an explosion]… [He then mentions an example in which a French postmodernist who actually did have a background in science claimed that it would be nonsense to say that an Egyptian pharaoh had died of tuberculosis, since the disease had not been categorized in Pharaonic times. As this postmodernist considered everything to be a social construct, such a diagnosis had to be wrong by definition.


  17. Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin and commented:
    Had to reblog this on joke academic papers . Some academics are dickheads or worse

  18. Randy schenck
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    You would think by the time they got to the part connecting Penis and climate change, somebody would ask a question.

    • Craw
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Meh. Al Gore’s a dick.

  19. Sixtus
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    If my penis is a social construct, it must have been built with an Erector Set™.

    (Sorry, but it was too hard to resist, so to speak.)

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      For those outside America, I think he means the “Me-can-no” boy entertaining system. Or, if used to the full … length of it’s capabilities, “Me-can-now“.
      Oh, I’m surprised. A genetics link to Meccano.

      • rickflick
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        Boy entertainment? What were girls doing in the 1930s?

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

          Enough. The species did not go extinct.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:23 pm | Permalink



            • Eric Hayman
              Posted May 22, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

              Do not deride Meccano (TWO Cs) as “boy [sic] entertainment” Are dolls “girl entertainment”? Is chess “men’s entertainment”? Engineers used Meccano to model new designs in the days before computer graphics. Many boys who built miniatures of real machines and buildings went on to become engineers themselves.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted May 24, 2017 at 5:14 am | Permalink


                Not sure how that comment relates to my amusement at gravelinspector’s subtle innuendo.

                Did you mean to comment on rickflick’s comment and hit the wrong button?


              • Eric Hayman
                Posted May 24, 2017 at 5:27 am | Permalink

                It was in response to one of the many replies about the hoax article.

  20. Harrison
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I’ve often wondered why some of those within the A/S sphere hostile to evolutionary psychology never tried hoaxing an EP journal. It could be that they’re not so easily duped as pomo rags, but according to the critics they don’t seem to think that’s likely. And for some of those critics it might be the first paper they’d gotten published in a decade or more.

    • Phil Giordana FCD
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      “And for some of those critics it might be the first paper they’d gotten published in a decade or more.”

      Any name comes to mind?


      • allison
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        LOL! I can think of one…

    • Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      You know the answer to that question: ideology.

  21. Stephen Barrett
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink


  22. Jonathan McIntosh
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Some feminists aren’t shy about their misandry these days, whether it’s the American Mathematical Society http://blogs.ams.org/inclusionexclusion/2017/05/11/get-out-the-way/
    or this journal that fell for this hoax.

    • John Taylor
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Wow. Her CV is an interesting read. I like the deserved but unrewarded prizes bit best. The SJW is strong in that one.

    • John Taylor
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Check out her CV!


      • Henry Fitzgerald
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        Ah, but that’s only her “liberated” CV.

        Having convictions (inasmuch as it’s possible to understand what they are) but not the courage of them, she also has a “professional” CV, in which the red flags are less obvious.

      • GM
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        Please tell me I am reading this right — it took her 6 years to get an MA in math (who the hell gets a master in the sciences unless he/she failed her PhD program) then somehow she got back into it and after another 7 years she got a PhD, i.e. she got one in 13 years

        And after all this time she has one (1) publication.

        Well, what can I say…

        • compuholio
          Posted May 20, 2017 at 12:06 am | Permalink

          who the hell gets a master in the sciences unless he/she failed her PhD program

          Probably depends where you live. Although not a formal requirement you pretty much have to have a master degree to get a job as PhD student at my university.

          Probably has historical reasons. Before we switched to the bachelor/master system, German universities usually awarded a diploma (usually a 5 year degree). And since the master is usually also a 5 year degree, it is now the de-facto entry requirement. A bachelor degree is usually regarded as the smaller idiot brother of a diploma.

          And since a PhD typically takes 5 years, I will have spent 10 years at university when I am done.

        • Jack
          Posted May 20, 2017 at 12:14 am | Permalink

          “(who the hell gets a master in the sciences unless he/she failed her PhD program)”

          Depends on where you get the MSc. In Canada at least, you do not get a MSc for failing the comprehensive exams for a PhD program; you actually have to earn the MSc. But a MSc should only take 2 to 3 years, not 6 (if it takes 6, you might as well get the PhD).

          For an alternative scenario, I imagine that one may get a MSc before a PhD if he/she decides to change subjects of study but wants to get something out of the work that he/she has done so far.

          But yeah, that CV is cringe-worthy.

          • Posted May 20, 2017 at 12:18 am | Permalink

            I will confess my old fuddy-duddiness, but if that CV came to our department/division/college for a tenure track position, I doubt that it would have gotten a second look other than for some head shaking at the non-professional peculiarities.

          • Posted May 20, 2017 at 12:24 am | Permalink

            Also, at least the ‘professional’ cv loses the attitude, but raises the obvious question – why does one need two cv’s?

          • GM
            Posted May 20, 2017 at 12:37 am | Permalink

            The Princeton math department doesn’t have an MA program though, and neither do any of the other top programs in the US

      • Jonathan McIntosh
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

        Oh man, that CV is ridiculous to the power of infinity. How did she ever manage to get a PhD in Mathematics. I’m surprised Social Justice Queen isn’t on her resume. That certainly is a deserved but unrewarded prize.

        • Craw
          Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          I perused the thesis. There is math in it! She says somewhere it’s an expansion on the “published” one. I think that published means the submitted one, as accepted theses are published. So my guess is her real thesis is the math without the hipster riffing. I hope so .

    • Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Wow, I found that a positively shocking read. This bit in particular:

      “What can universities do? Well, that’s easier. Stop hiring white cis men (except as needed to get/retain people who are not white cis men) until the problem goes away. If you think this is a bad or un-serious idea, your sexism/racism/transphobia is showing.”

      So the recommended solution to combat sex/race/trans inequality is to punish all young male/white/cis academics by systemically blocking them out of academia? How could anyone think that this is a fair, just, or wise proposition?

      • GM
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        recommended solution

        In order to propose solutions, there has to be a problem first.

        As far as I can tell, there is no such thing in math — it has been developing just fine with or without female participation.

        P.S. The people who are hurt the most by the inequality are not the females — there might have been good female mathematicians whose career progress was blocked back in the days, but this is most definitely not the case today when everyone is so desperate to hire women. The highly unequal sex ratio is set up in people’s teens, long long before any hiring decisions are made, by their individual choices. And the people who are hurt the most by it are the male mathematicians who are forced to either not marry at all or to marry a non-mathematician, which, because of the nature of a mathematician’s life and work, requiring deep intense concentration over long hours, often makes for torturous martial situations. It is absurd to think that male mathematicians are interested in blocking the careers of female ones, quite the opposite. It’s just that there are very few good female mathematicians…

      • Jonathan McIntosh
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

        To get rid of men, she could just start the department of Galgebra:

      • Posted May 20, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        I pity her students, particularly the white ones.

    • nicky
      Posted May 20, 2017 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      The ‘get out of the way’ is not presented as a scientific paper, but as an ‘opinion’. It has quite a bit of sarcasm in it and is a good, sometimes humorous -intended as such- read, while still addressing a serious issue.
      No shame in publishing it, methinks, since it makes some sense, contrary to the ‘penis paper’ hoax.

      • Jonathan McIntosh
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        I doubt people would be saying the same if every use of ‘men’ in the article was substituted with ‘women’ and vice versa.

    • Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      These days? Sandra Harding has been a misandrist since at the latest 1986, when she slanders Newton by calling his laws of motion a rape manual.

  23. finknottle
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Can’t shake the darling concept that we all must “pre-transgendered.”

  24. finknottle
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    must be…

  25. Ido Pen
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Ha, when I saw the reference to climate change, I immediately imagined that it was going to refer to the “hockey stick” graph as symbolizing an erect penis – but it didn’t. Just my sick mind I guess.

  26. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink


    A big long sub

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      A big long sub full of seamen, or mayonnaise?

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        What have I done

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          Don’t worry, he’s always like that.


  27. Sebastian
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    I understand that they couldn’t but I wish they could have held back that clarifying letter for a while. I would have loved to see far-left media like HuffPo pick up the paper and celebrate these “new scholarly insights on how toxic masculinity is responsible for climate change”.

    Well done to the authors! And lets hope the mainstream picks up the story and reveals the bankruptcy of the academic left to a wider public.

    • Posted May 20, 2017 at 4:44 am | Permalink

      I’m afraid, hilarious as this stunt was, it will give fodder to Rebiblicans to claim elite intellectuals are unworthy, implying that, when it comes to knowledge and intellect, less is more, in that oh so sacred way of historical Christianity.

      In other words, I’m freakin’ scared the Dark Ages are returning, on the way to earth burning up, and this will add fuel to the fire as Trump-like leaders twist it to their own purposes.

    • Posted May 20, 2017 at 4:44 am | Permalink

      I’m afraid, hilarious as this stunt was, it will give fodder to Rebiblicans to claim elite intellectuals are unworthy, implying that, when it comes to knowledge and intellect, less is more, in that oh so sacred way of historical Christianity.

      In other words, I’m freakin’ scared the Dark Ages are returning, on the way to earth burning up, and this will add fuel to the fire as Trump-like leaders twist it to their own purposes.

      • nicky
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        Well, that really is the sad crux: as long as the XX-‘studies’ continue to publish nonsense, and their authors have tenure, and taxpayers pay for it, the Trumpistas have a solid point.
        [I mean, “feminist glaciology”, how can anybody take that seriously, even if it were only about ‘frigidity’ (which should belong in a psychology and/or sexuology department, immo).]

    • stephajl
      Posted May 21, 2017 at 12:03 am | Permalink

      That was my thought, as well. As a researcher in a humanities field, I find that, lately, some of the most frequent responses to criticism focus on the notions that theory takes a ‘watered-down’ form in the public sphere; or that, since no one outside of the field actually reads papers published in academic journals, they lack real-world impact. Whether such claims were accurate in the past or not, they certainly aren’t accurate now.

  28. Niek den Harder
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Emma Greenwood, the editorial director of the cogent series, has as favourite fact ‘Venus is the only planet that spins backwards relative to the other planets.’.

    Well, Venus and Uranus both have retrograde rotations. That really cracked me up!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Pluto-Charon too, IIRC. 122.5 degrees axial tilt to orbit ; more than Uranus (97.8°), less than Venus (177°).
      But Pluto’s not a planet any more.

    • Alpha Neil
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      Uranus is a social construct

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        Mine’s more an anti-social nuisance, frankly.


      • DiscoveredJoys
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:52 am | Permalink

        Actually you could reasonably argue that “the planet Pluto” is a social construct even though “Pluto the Kuiper belt object” exists in reality.

      • Sixtus
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Mine welcomes all comers

  29. Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  30. Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    From journal website: “Our recommended Article Publishing Charge (APC) is $1,350”

    The publishers are Taylor and Francis, and Glasgow Uni carries this journal. Should we campaign against them as predators?

    • Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      I have written to my University library. Others whose library carries this journal may want to do the same.

      • rickflick
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink


    • Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      T&F is a good publisher, but I hate their websites. What usability nightmares.

  31. Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    OMG! I coughed and inhaled my own spit when I read “pork sword”!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      So, you’ve not heard of a “mutton dagger” either?
      I’m trying to recall the lyrics of a very rude song that includes discussion of the hole of a mole. And the ear of a deer.
      Oh, hang on. Wrong very rude song. The one I should be trying to remember is to the tune of “Another Brick In the Wall”

    • rickflick
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      I skimmed and missed that one. Now I have lewd Porky Pig dancing through my visual cortex.

    • revelator60
      Posted May 20, 2017 at 12:50 am | Permalink

      On that note, here’s Monty Python’s “Penis Song”:

    • nicky
      Posted May 20, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      I have heard a lot of references to a penis. Most are rather innocuous: Dick, sausage, Johnny, Harry, the biggest finger, little devil, cucumber, gherkin, little head (or: ‘your real brains’), stalk, Humpty Uppity, Nosey Posey, Jack in the box, piston (or ‘throbbing piston’), etc, etc,…
      There is only 2 instances where I heard something not quite so peaceful, one by Salvador Dali, who noted that his classmates referred to ‘melon crackers’ or ‘melon splitters’ (can’t really remember what), and my own beloved (deceased) young wife, who referred to it as ‘your gun -or occasionally ‘your pistol’.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        The ‘gun’ reference is ancient and well-established. I expect in Elizabethan times, when guns had to be loaded by hand and fired by (literally) setting fire to them, the rude soldiery were making jokes about misfires and ‘going off with a bang’.

        (The jokes about ‘going off half-cocked’ had to wait for later developments).


        • Posted May 23, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

          Shakespeare makes a few as we say now, “dick jokes”, some involving guns. (See Henry IV – I forget which part.)

  32. Armando
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    This is indeed awesome, but I wonder if this doesn’t say more about the explosion of Open Access Journals than about the specific field of the social sciences. It would be by far a stronger hoax if it had been submitted and published not has Open Access.

    • Posted May 20, 2017 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      I believe the paper was rejected by NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies. It was accepted in the journal Cogent Social Sciences after they paid to have it published there.

      This is certainly more of a test of the Open Access system and predatory journals.

      • GM
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        Is it really?

        I see a lot of people using that as an excuse to dismiss the case as irrelevant.

        But here is what we know from the authors: NORMA rejected their paper but suggested that they transferred it ti CSS.

        Directly that tells us little about why NORMA rejected it, but we can speculate.

        It could be that NORMA rejected it because they thought it was crap.

        Or it could be that they rejected it because they thought it wasn’t significant/novel enough.

        If it was the former, then why would they suggest publication elsewhere?

        That makes the latter more likely.

        And if that is the case, it is even more damning, and it also makes a lot of sense — that sort of misandric nonsense has been published countless times over the last few decades. Of course another such paper would not represent much of a novelty. So they rejected it. But not because it was BS, but because they have published so much of that exact same BS in the past that they didn’t feel there was need to publish more of it.

        • Posted May 21, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

          Lot of speculation and an argument from ignorance. You can’t think why they would fob something full of crap onto a journal that takes money to publish such things?

          There is simply no indication that the paper has achieved what they set out to achieve. They could try again with a different silly paper. Or maybe third time lucky?

          Are there low quality,redatory journals? Yes.
          Are there high impact, high quality, peer reviewed journals that accept bad papers from time to time? History says yes.

          Is it limited to a particular field? History says no.

  33. Prof Wilson
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    The “journal” is part of a conglomerate of open-access, for pay vanity journals — never heard of it. Likely this piece is worse than those in the company’s science journals but you might want to check first.

  34. Rich Sanderson
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Guess which anti-science regressive has just tweeted this:

    “this shit is bigoted and disgusting.

    i’m so fucking embarrassed to have done any business with the parties involved.

    new atheism is cancer”

    Yup. The one and only Desperate DAN AREL!

    • Harrison
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      He accused Dawkins of writing it.

      Arel didn’t even do the most basic research of “clicking the link.”

      What a buffoon.

      • Rich Sanderson
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, I noticed that.

        Dan Arel is so angry shaking his fists, and frothing at the mouth, he can’t even concentrate properly.

        His downfall is glorious, and serves as a dark fable to tell children about the dangers of “going regressive”.

    • Jonathan McIntosh
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

      Careful, he’s going to call you a Nazi, and punch you (if you’re not bigger than him).

  35. Kevin
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m quite pleased that I have a copy of this extraordinary paper.

  36. ladyatheist
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    The head editor could have looked up the “authors” to see what their dissertations had been about, at least. Peter Boyle, more famous as Frankenstein’s Monster in Mel Brooks’s version, also wrote a dissertation on urology.

    He gets around

  37. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    “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.”


    I literally burst out laughing on reading that.


  38. Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Behold, this Thingy of Beauty.

    A naked emperor is a good litmus test for ideological purity, I’ve been told.

    But if I were so “enlightened”, I would not be falling for the “social construct” that the penis has any role to play in “conception”.

  39. Stephen D
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    In case anyone missed it, the “About the Authors” section on the first page of the paper is also pure gold.

  40. henryrambow
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Eerie. I once wrote a humble, Onion-style piece called “The Penis Is a Mere Social Construct.” Lindsay and Boghossian take the idea to a much higher level. Masterfully done.

  41. Merilee
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 11:25 pm | Permalink


  42. squidmaster
    Posted May 20, 2017 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    I’d love to see the reviewers comments. Do these predatory publishers even send stuff for review?

    • Posted May 20, 2017 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      I get a feeling that having paid over $600 to get it published the “high quality peer-review” didn’t happen.

  43. Posted May 20, 2017 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    This reminds me of Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory who has said: “The social sciences are mostly hoakum and hooey.”

    • Jonathan McIntosh
      Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:35 am | Permalink

      I don’t watch the show regularly, but of what I’ve seen, Sheldon has the best lines.

      • nicky
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink


        • Posted May 20, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

          Either that or Sheldon has the best delivery.

        • Jonathan McIntosh
          Posted May 20, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          The people i know who love the show hate Sheldon, but they are religious and do accept a lot of pseudoscience.

  44. Diane G.
    Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    ” The penis, in the words of Judith Butler, “can only be understood through reference to what is barred from the signifier
    within the domain of corporeal legibility” (Butler, 1993).”


    • nicky
      Posted May 20, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Shoo, I posted the ‘Obviously’ before I read your contribution. My apologies.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        No apology necessary! I’ve yet to copyright it…;)

  45. Rebecca
    Posted May 20, 2017 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    Sigh. This is one of these for-profit journals that says “we will publish your paper!” It is not a journal anyone knows, anyone cites, or anyone I know has been asked to do peer review for. So the “hoax” here is that they can’t even tell the difference. If they published in Signs or Feminist Theory or Feminist Studies, fine, have a laugh. But it is not, in fact, a journal applying any quality control. Should the blogger do due diligence and find out about the quality of the journal instead of taking the “journal’s” word for it? I suspect there are academics posting here–how can we expect our students to know fake news and recognize well-researched stories when our colleagues can’t tell the difference?

  46. Posted May 20, 2017 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    So two sociopathic christian nobodies try to spite trans people out of kicks?

    I guess people are are really desperate to stick it to sociology.

    • Posted May 20, 2017 at 6:04 am | Permalink

      I knew that some social-justice loon would try to interpret this paper as homophobic or transphobic. Well tag, you’re that person! Join Dan Arel in the corner having a time-out.

      You are not only wrong (the authors are both atheists!) but you’re rude and ridiculous. “Sociopathic”–to make a point? You will be posting at this site no more.

      • Jonathan McIntosh
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        Christians sure do make good manuals for creating atheists.

    • Posted May 20, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      I’ve never seen so much wrongness in just two lines. They aren’t Christians, sociopaths, or nobodies, and the academic genre they are satirising bears no relationship to the actual study of society.

      You think Durkheim, Weber or Goffman would recognise what’s being taught in women’s studies classes as ‘sociology’?

  47. Posted May 20, 2017 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Ten years ago a spoof paper was published claiming that the increase in atmospheric CO2 came from oceanic bacteria rather than from human activities. It was made to look very real, including equations and scientific jargon. But it was all made up. Story retold https://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2008/08/17/climate-hoax/ and https://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/11/the-life-and-death-of-a-climate-hoax/?_r=0

  48. Colin McLachlan
    Posted May 20, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Out of curiousity, I followed the link at the foot of the paper to Kaijser & Kronsell, “Climate change through the lens of intersectionality”, and here is the abstract:

    Investigations of the interconnectedness of climate change with human societies require profound analysis of relations among humans and between humans and nature, and the integration of insights from various academic fields. An intersectional approach, developed within critical feminist theory, is advantageous. An intersectional analysis of climate change illuminates how different individuals and groups relate differently to climate change, due to their situatedness in power structures based on context-specific and dynamic social categorisations. Intersectionality sketches out a pathway that stays clear of traps of essentialisation, enabling solidarity and agency across and beyond social categories. It can illustrate how power structures and categorisations may be reinforced, but also challenged and renegotiated, in realities of climate change. We engage with intersectionality as a tool for critical thinking, and provide a set of questions that may serve as sensitisers for intersectional analyses on climate change.

    Please tell me this is a hoax as well.

    • nicky
      Posted May 20, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      It is vapour.

      • nicky
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        I mean: ‘context-specific’, ‘intersectional approach’, and even ‘intersectional analysis’, ‘dynamic social categorisations’, ‘critical feminist theory’, ‘situatedness in power structures’, etc.
        Yeah, it must be a hoax, so much vapour is difficult to obtain ab nihilo, isn’t it?

        The fact we can’t distinguish between vapour and hoax was the whole point of the hoax, methinks. The hoax exposed vapour for what it is: just vapour.

      • Craw
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        It is the stuff of tenure, of funding, of power over broader policies in the university. These kind of people make up a large portion of the humanities now, possibly even a large majority of the professoriate in the humanities.

  49. Prof_21
    Posted May 20, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    So… Everyone reading this understands that there is NO evidence that anyone with ANY background in gender studies reviewed this paper, right? It takes about five minutes of reading Cogent’s website to figure out that the authors PAID to publish this in “Cogent Social Sciences.” If the journal sent it out for review (which I doubt), the journal’s remit implies that they didn’t even send it to reviewers in gender studies.

    There is a real criticism here of the pay-to-publish model, and an ethical question about who reviewed this article and whether it was actually reviewed at all. But the self-congratulatory nature with which the authors present this as a take-down of the field of gender studies is disingenuous and disappointing to those of us who think researching women’s issues is actually kind of important.

    • Posted May 20, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      If you read the reveal, you’ll see that the paper was reviewed by two reviewers (the authors give examples of their comments). Since the reviews were anonymous, there’s no way of knowing about the background of the reviewers.

      And you’re new here, so don’t come barging implying this is the only takedown of gender studies. Try searching for “whiteness of pumpkins,” “feminist glaciology”, or “racist Pilates”.

      Yes, studying gender differences and history is important, but that doesn’t mean that all the pieces of tripe noted above should have been published. The fact is that the field is rotten and rife with obscurantist and meaningless papers. Read the journals.

      • Posted May 20, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        “so don’t come barging implying this is the only takedown of gender studies”

        But a hoax article in a pay-to-publish unranked journal isn’t a takedown. It’s a joke, and you’re having a laugh, which is fine. But this particular example says nothing about the field of gender studies as a whole.

        • Craw
          Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          Of course it does. Such publications in such journals are the stuff of tenure applications. That such journals exist tells us about the field they service.

          • Craw
            Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

            And the reply, “it’s pay to publish” is no rebuttal, but reinforces my point. Why does such a journal exist? Because it benefits its clients, who count the publication towards tenure and other credentials.

            • Posted May 20, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

              At my uni, we quit counting these sort of journals.

              But yes, some of our older (now retired) faculty used to build their CVs on such articles; the crack-down is relatively recent.

          • Posted May 20, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

            Cogent Social Sciences is not a gender studies journal. It’s a multidisciplinary journal. So why would publication in such a journal tell us about gender studies in particular? Who even knows who the anonymous reviewers are?

            My wife recently got reviews back on a psychology manuscript from a multidisciplinary journal (but not a pay-to-publish one). One review was about a different paper entirely, and the other criticized it because it wasn’t relevant to the field of management, even though the paper had nothing to do with management in the first place. She complained to the paper editor, and when he/she never responded, she wrote to the head editor about the problem. Now it’s been sent out again for review. Even the peer review process can break down and fail. Peer review, for the most part, is a thankless job, and some people treat reviewing accordingly unfortunately.

      • Posted May 20, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink


        According to this, it was first rejected by NORMA, which is ranked 115th in gender studies. IMHO this is more of a criticism of the pay to publish model. I’m not claiming I know anything about gender studies.

    • Jonathan McIntosh
      Posted May 20, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Researching women’s issues is fine, but the misandry common to that field and nonsense like feminist glaciology is not.

  50. Posted May 20, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Evidently, they got their fake paper published in one of those “fake journals”.

    I know that in mathematics, there are a number of these including those that accept “math gen” papers; papers that are cooked up by a computer program that strings together “math-sounding” jargon.


    • Abe
      Posted May 20, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      It is disappointing the Jerry Coyne and so many commentators above fell for this hoax and took the journal’s *self-description* (“high-quality peer reviewed”) as an indicator of its deemed quality in the field of Gender Studies without doing the minimal due-diligence. For example, they could have easily checked how highly it ranks in the journals in the relevant field:


      Spoiler: it is not even listed in the top 115.

      This “hoax” is akin to someone publishing a sham paper in an sham journal, say, ”Cogent Nature and Science”, and then using that fact to pooh-pooh all of natural science and scientists.

      • Posted May 20, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Sorry you’re disappointed; perhaps you should frequent a website where you’re not disappointed.
        And who cares? It’s a peer-reviewed journal and some professor can use a paper there to get tenure.
        Finally, you’re new here–have you read all my posts showing hoaxes and stupid scholarship in the humanities? This is but one small example of a general poo-pooing that has gone on here.
        Oh, but you wouldn’t know that, as this is your first post and you’ve simply barged on in here to say you’re disappointed. LOL! Read the Roolz and then do a site search for

        Whiteness of pumpkins
        Feminist glaciology
        Racist Pilates

        • Posted May 20, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

          Just a bit off topic:

          “It’s a peer-reviewed journal and some professor can use a paper there to get tenure.”

          I teach at a 9-12 hour “undergraduate teaching” institution that requires research. We have gotten to the point where we do not count papers that appear on the “predatory journal” lists. We do the same thing on search committees; we do not count those.

        • Jonathan McIntosh
          Posted May 20, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          Dr. Coyne, did you ever see that abomination in Science on that feminist glaciology paper? http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/03/qa-author-feminist-geology-study-reflects-sudden-place

          I only just found out that they discussed it. I don’t know what’s worse that, or the fact that they promoted that water device Thunderf00t debunked.

          • Jonathan McIntosh
            Posted May 20, 2017 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

            NM, just found your old blog post and looks like you saw it.

  51. Steve
    Posted May 20, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Interesting but not surprising or big. Most published papers are not really useful or great , even in science, but I expect it is more so in humanities.
    What I would like to know is how many gender studies journals rejected this paper. That would give a good idea. I mean publishing a hoax in a low quality journal is no indication of the general attitude of an entire field.

  52. daveyc
    Posted May 20, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I wonder how many nonsensical anti-vax papers have been published in gutter-tier scientific journals lately.

  53. Bruce Morgan
    Posted May 20, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    If you thought that was interesting research, read this paper:

  54. Harrison
    Posted May 20, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    By way of Paul Krugman I’ve just heard of Noah Smith’s “two paper rule.”


    I think it would be a good challenge for those who wish to defend the field of gender studies and insist that this hoax doesn’t disparage the whole field or accuse critics of cherry picking. Produce the two best genuine papers from the field and see how they hold up methodologically.

  55. Posted May 20, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    The references to climate change probably are key to the acceptance of the paper. Anything that blames climate change on anything that man does or is, especially male men (as opposed, of course, to trans men or female men), will garner wide acceptance and acknowledgement, in this frenzied climate change world.

  56. somer
    Posted May 20, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Regarding the section in the reveal
    “We intended to test the hypothesis that flattery of the academic Left’s moral architecture in general, and of the moral orthodoxy in gender studies in particular, is the overwhelming determiner of publication in an academic journal in the field. That is, we sought to demonstrate that a desire for a certain moral view of the world to be validated could overcome the critical assessment required for legitimate scholarship.”

    In a recent Connatus article “Interpretation is not an acceptable reply to criticism of religious texts” a commentator criticised the article referring to Derrida and the Postmodern notion that words are effectively so variable in meaning that they do not have a fixed meaning. This is of course wrong – in reality words DO have an agreed meaning or range of meanings – though this can change over generations. The meaning is initially taught to us by others – and if the word has several meanings we determine which one is meant from the context in which the speaker or writer uses it. I agree with POMOS that meanings are contextual in social matters and very seldom reducible to absolute mathematical precision. However words as opposed to situations or developments or actions – are pretty clear – otherwise we could not function or survive as societies and families

    What the vast majority of POMOs and Crit Theorists really want to say is that words and language is largely an artefact for wielding power by a hierarchy but only those with the right Ideology can decode the real meaning of language. This is decidedly priestly. Words and everything else really means what their ideology intends it to mean. Thus, the west and capitalism is uniquely bad – and there is a hierarchy of naughtiness – starting with the white male, specifically any white male who is not frenzied in his attempts to support their orthodoxy. The ideology holds that there are various marginalised groups for whom power must always be rebalanced, and there is a hierarchy of oppression. Nature itself is held to reflect this ideology where everything is blurred – except the ideology. Often this is accompanied by the view that all language is deceitful colonial power play in need of straightening out with political rebadging that practically or completely strips it of meaning.
    Hence especially in where academics of like mind address each other – every topic must be reduced to the political ideology with the subject matter in between the ideology a maze of meaningless or barely meaningful contrived words and illogical sentences.

  57. j. baldwin
    Posted May 20, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    The disciplinary field of ‘cultural studies’ has as a matter of fact two independent points of origin. The more well known is the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCS),aka the Birmingham School. It was founded in 1964 by a handful of Marxist literary critics. It was popularized in the U.S. by scholars inspired by Marx, Lacan, and the Frankfurt School theorists, like Adorno and Marcuse.

    The second and less well known outside the field is found in the work of James Carey. Carey is regarded among many as the “father of American cultural studies.” In fact, he claims to have coined the term to describe his own work, independently of the CCS. However, the CCS and Carey’s early work arose more or less at the same time.

    “Scholarship” of the sort being unmasked and scorned here is a descendant of CCS thought, mixed with contemporary pomo ‘logic’.

    Carey, on the other hand, was a communication scholar working under the influence of pragmatism, particularly Dewey, and the Chicago School of sociology. He had much less interest in Marx because he believed Marx’s analysis irrelevant to American society due to the lack of class consciousness among Americans. The U.S. had a different history. Unfortunately, Carey felt it politically necessary to cozy up to American Marxist academics in order to survive the academy. His legacy has largely been subsumed into the current mess that is cultural studies.

    That’s a shame, because Carey himself was committed to what Jerry here often calls, “science broadly construed.” His method was empirically grounded and interpretive. In his own words, Carey wrote that “[cultural studies]” does not entail doing away with [empirical] research methods.” Instead, it is a commitment “to certain valued habits: full disclosure, willingness to provide reasons, openness to experience, and an arena for systematic criticism.” How this view of cultural studies lost out to the nonsense that passes under that banner today is beyond me.

    For an excellent example of how cultural studies was originally and thoughtfully done, read Carey’s essay, “Technology and Ideology: The Case of the Telegraph.” Written in clear English prose, I guarantee, if you’ve not read it before, you’ll learn something interesting, whether or not you accept his assumptions. The field, in my opinion, would do well to return to Carey and reset its course. Here’s a link to a .pdf of his Telegraph essay housed at Georgetown U: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwiv0eqPzv7TAhVC6CYKHaa9DIMQFggnMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Ffaculty.georgetown.edu%2Firvinem%2Ftheory%2FCarey-TechnologyandIdeology.pdf&usg=AFQjCNHLeOq1HeLTKHS_2YkYYxArGxNJTQ&sig2=LmE15hmG-wfG2-pGshC1pg&cad=rja

    • Posted May 20, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Your comment brings to my mind Debra Tannen, who wrote the book, “Talking, from 9 to 5”, about gender differences in communication among white collar employees in the United States. I found it on a quick sale table for cheap, absorbed it from cover to cover, learned things which had gone unnoticed right in front of my eyes, and decided this was an excellent beginning for more research.

      Then, someone stole her research results (IIRC, the book was based on her Ph.D. research), watered it down into pablum and puke, and made millions with his cheap take-off, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” Sugar water for the masses.

      Dr. Tannen wrote another book I also found quite insightful, though I don’t recall its name this instant.

      • somer
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        Tanner’s book sounds great and I was really not trying to denigrate good work in the humanities here.

        I knew a practising female psychologist acquaintance who thought “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” was just wonderful. Sounds more like commercialised psychobabble, and insulting to boot to me.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted May 20, 2017 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

          Yes to the psychobabble. Also, since there are no living things on Mars or Venus to compare to, it’s palpable nonsense on every possible level.

          From Wikipedia –
          “The book and its central metaphor have become a part of popular culture and the foundation for the author’s subsequent books, recordings, seminars, theme vacations, one-man Broadway show, TV sitcom, workout videos, a podcast, men’s and ladies’ apparel lines, fragrances, travel guides and his-and-hers salad dressings.”

          I love how a simple list can take on all the attributes of irony.


        • Posted May 20, 2017 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

          Do, by all means, check out Tannen’s book, then. You’ll start recognizing things that were previously so part of the environment, since birth and societal indoctrination, that it might make your head spin. And that’s just focusing on communication in the white collar workplace, let alone blue collar, academia, home and recreation.

    • Posted May 23, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Dewey is an interesting case – he would have no truck with the pomos, and “starting there” – or even with Marx – wouldn’t be so horrible. But what I don’t know is how much of that is left in the field – the stuff I’ve seen connected to the philosophy of technology has been at best boring, at worst totally ignorant about even the relevant social systems. I saw an analysis of software piracy, for example, that did not think to analyze the writings of, say, the Pirate Party.

  58. Ohko T.
    Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    This is worse than a mere joke; the agenda of the article is quite clear. It has it’s illogical parts, but it DOES make a point, a clear one; that toxic masculinity is absolutely at the root of the vast majority of problems (I hesitate to say all – but even that would probably not be far off).

    Now, we all know that the scientific publication system has it’s issues; the cynical might say it is broken. So one can drop a whole bunch of serious failures around a paper, and expect that given a few tries, it will still eventually go through on some maybe not exactly good, certainly not top-level, but a semi-decent journal.

    So what the authors did here, was write a bad paper about the concept they wish to silence talk around : toxic masculinity. They are simply trying to make the whole idea of toxic masculinity appear ludicrous. And sadly, it appears many of the people commenting here are taking the bait, hook line & sinker.

    Sorry to break it to you but the cis-gendered white male with his toxic masculinity IS at the root of almost everything that is wrong with this world and just because one paper failed to properly peer review one paper does nothing to change that. No matter how much the hoax paper’s authors wish they can ridicule the truth they hate, truth has the annoying quality that it cannot be destroyed. Hidden for a while, temporarily silenced – maybe. But destroyed – never.

    • GBJames
      Posted May 20, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      “cis-gendered white male with his toxic masculinity IS at the root of almost everything that is wrong with this world”

      Especially childhood cancer.

      • Ohko T.
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Obviously there are things that are simply beyond our species to cause or to prevent. However, to the extent that cancer IS caused by the actions of our species, it is indeed very much an outcome of toxic masculinity: nuclear weapons, nuclear power, and a whole bunch of artificial chemicals that have ended up in our biosphere because one cis-het male or another had seen an opportunity to make a profit, to hell with consequences.

        • Posted May 20, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          Well, I’ll let this continue, but I have to say that this you’re showing a horrible degree of sexism. Aren’t GAY males in there somewhere?
          I’ll let the readers deal with this sexism.

        • GBJames
          Posted May 20, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

          I, cis white old male, am personally responsible for malaria and guinea worm. It is something I’m particularly proud of. Women and gay guys could never pull such maladies off, but the patriarchy made it easy for me.

          • Posted May 21, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

            I blame the Patriarchy for the typeface Helvetica manspreading itself to the exclusion of otherly-serifed faces.

        • somer
          Posted May 20, 2017 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

          Nature doesnt make it easy for us to live without major material strife. Risk taking and the grit to produce something for mass use also has many benefits – its about toning down/modulating the bad side
          Plea for culinary modernity
          Diseases of the renaissance period

        • Posted May 20, 2017 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

          I’m not sure we know, for a fact, that the same wouldn’t have happened had women held the seat of so much power instead of men. I’ve met some women who, once given authority, abused it, and were more abusive even to women beneath them in the hierarchy than the men. It has been called Queen Bee syndrome, unfair as that might be to bees.

    • Jonathan McIntosh
      Posted May 20, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Now we know why Kim Jong Un and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi are so bad: they’re cis-gendered white males!

      • Ohko T.
        Posted May 21, 2017 at 5:57 am | Permalink

        So nice to see all the strawmen and anecdotes abound.
        Laugh all you want but the colonial oppression and later neocolonialism that created the context in which both North Korea and ISIS were created was very much a product of cis-gendered white males. Furthermore, while it is obviously true that Kim J-U and al-Baghdadi not white, it is not a coincidence that they are indeed cis-gendered males. People at the top of violent, oppressive regimes are almost without exception. (And I am sure somebody will next dig out from somewhere one of those exceptions and “disprove”. The remaining 99% must be pure coincidence.)

        • Posted May 21, 2017 at 6:09 am | Permalink

          What about Boko Haram? There’s NOTHING you cannot explain as the result of cis-gendered males, though I see you’ve dropped the adjective “white”.
          Actually, I suspect you’re pulling our leg!

        • John Taylor
          Posted May 21, 2017 at 7:02 am | Permalink

          While it is true that males of the species are, on average, more prone to violence, crashing cars, crime and other forms of malfeasance I find it a little strange that any thought that males may exhibit traits that are superior in any way to females are immediately met with cries of misogyny and patriarchy.

          If the patriarchy is real why am I paying more for car insurance than my wife? Why doesn’t the patriarchy just have all the women out there subsidize all of our car crashes?

          Was Japanese aggression in China and Korea caused by white males? Lots of human history is full of oppression and warfare. Most of it male but not necessarily white male.

        • FullMcIntosh
          Posted May 21, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

          ISIS was around before the Iraq War, just with a different name. But, I’ll be generous and grant you your premise and say that they and North Korea were created by neocolonialism thanks to cisgendered white males. Are cis white males forcing them to continue to behave terribly? Are you saying Kim Jong Un couldn’t stop his reign of terror and unify with South Korea? Is whitey forcing ISIS to burn people alive in cages?

          Is whitey also responsible for the over ten million people enslaved by Muslims and mass human sacrifice that was carried out by the Aztecs pre-Spanish encounter?

          People at the top in general are cisgendered so of course there is going to be more bad from that camp. It seems strange to expect otherwise when transgender people are a very small minority.

    • Posted May 21, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      … toxic masculinity is absolutely at the root of the vast majority of problems….

      It is known, Khaleesi.

  59. Posted May 20, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    This was published in an open access “pay-to-publish” journal. Plenty of bullshit science gets published in those journals. And plenty of bullshit science gets published through bogus peer review: http://retractionwatch.com/2017/04/20/new-record-major-publisher-retracting-100-studies-cancer-journal-fake-peer-reviews/
    I wish these pay-to-play journals didn’t exist; but they do.

    • Posted May 20, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      Is there a peer review of journals? Seems they need it.

    Posted May 20, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    The author of this hoax erred: patience is a virtue! I would have left the hoax up for at least six months to see if (a) anybody recognized it was a hoax but (b) most importantly, how many other pseudo-academics CITED the hoax in their research. THAT would have been particularly illuminating!

  61. Graham Sanders
    Posted May 20, 2017 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Wait, these guys call themselves philosophers? Their “argument” indicting the field of gender studies is based on slipping a single bogus paper past the editors and then immediately jumping to the conclusion that the entire enterprise under their “exacting” scrutiny is invalid. I think there is a technical term for this practice. Oh, yeah, shitty logic. n=1 does not support a generalization

    Also, plenty of bogus science gets published. Anyone remember Andrew Wakefield in a little journal called The Lancet? That fake paper has led to the resurgence of diseases that threaten the health and lives of millions of people.

  62. Posted May 20, 2017 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Fabulously fun!
    Decades ago, Women’s studies aimed at studying the place of women in society. But then postmodernism came around and Women’s studies were replaced with GENDER studies, where a bunch of males in dresses calling themselves women have been selling this postmodernist shit of female penis and male clitoris to the general population. From the general population, I expected to better.
    But that the atheist and sceptic communities bought into the moralising postmodern shtick has dumbfounded me.
    I am excited that the atheist community may have finally gotten nauseous from this postmodern erasure of biology.
    I hope news of this hoax spreads like wildfire fanned by climate change winds!

  63. Arthur O'Keefe
    Posted May 21, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I’m reminded of the English language media reaction to the case of the artist who was arrested and accused of violating Japan’s obscenity law. (She had 3D printed her genitalia and used the images to make a kayak.) I would say this sort of thing is an issue in journalism as well as academia. Here’s an article I wrote on it. Different issue, similar mind-set among those who are supposed to be experts. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/…/western-media-cherry…/

  64. nOMAN
    Posted May 21, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Good jokes are short, with unexpected punch-lines. I suggest reading a paper I wrote for a Sociology Class at a South Louisiana College some 50 years ago, to wit: ” The Anaheim Banana Dichotomy, ” wherein I demonstrated to the chagrin of my professor that ” feral fecal infarct renained constant at 98.6 and also at 68.9!!”

    I still have that groundbreaking paper, and if anyone is interested I would be glad to contribute it in que continuing quest for exponential, revelatory, apocalyptic metabullshit couched in unintelligible academese.

    Pofessor Irwin Corey, is sadly missed.


    Norman De Sola

    P.D. I flunked the course.notwisthstnding my trailbrazing contribution to the Social Sciences.

  65. Kate
    Posted May 21, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Whilst I appreciate the writing and satire at work here, I can’t help but think this article is part of a wider trend that dismisses social sciences (gender studies in particular) as unworthy. Much of what is being sent up here, gender as a construct, masculinity and femininity not being defined only in terms of morphology, are the basis of many trans rights activists groups, not to mention LGBT communities, and provide much comfort to those who don’t identify as cis gender. The idea of gender as being subject to social conditioning is a hugely important argument in the advancement of LGBT rights.

    So, yeah – it’s funny that a hoax article got through: its not funny that the basis of this joke is that arguments about gender and sexuality as constructs is held up for ridicule because it can’t be plotted on a graph or tested in a lab.

    • Posted May 21, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, but you’ve severely misunderstood the point of the paper. Read Pluckrose’s article here.

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 24, 2017 at 2:44 am | Permalink

      “The idea of gender as being subject to social conditioning is a hugely important argument in the advancement of LGBT rights.”

      I don’t understand why scientific hypotheses about hormonal influences, be they genetic or developmental, along with data on homosexual behavior/gender fluidity in other animals, isn’t a stronger a argument for LGBT rights than an “idea of gender as being subject to social conditioning.”

      Assumptions about social conditioning caused a lot of strife back in the day when everything from homosexuality to autism was ascribed to it, e.g., the weak father/overbearing mother premise.

      • Posted May 24, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        I understand the “born this way” vs. “gender expression is a social construct” (in the pomo absurd way) are now *both* involved in the “please accept people because …” stuff.

        In my view – who cares? Love, lust for, whatever who you want to love, lust for etc. (consent required in the case of expressing it). Why does one need to care why except if one is assuming the bigotry anyway? Work to change *that*, I’d think, would make better sense. This is the activist answer: the scientific one is still very interesting in spite of this. This shows to me the difference between activism and scholarship. But the pomo end cannot ever figure out the answer to the question – if they really do care about it – because they have dismissed the idea of objective truth – however hard it is to find.

  66. Lily
    Posted May 21, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I saw this coming 25 years ago at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. (I was a student at Harvard at the time.) When the jack-booted lesbian spoke, everyone in the audience… ehem… /*class*/… moaned in appreciation. Having been reared by lesbians, I was less impressed by the extremist, ill-considered and fanatical nonsense I was hearing. I wisely dropped the class rather than flunk it for questioning the powers that be. I don’t recommend college to any young people I meet now. I tell them to go to community college and get several associate degrees in something useful, and skip the BS. Alas.

  67. Kelly Coble
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    My complaint is not with the hoax article, but with Coyne’s use of the article to feed the increasingly popular and self-congratulatory narrative that only “science” has any real value, and that all that other “stuff” in academia–Humanities, Social Sciences, it’s all the same–is comparative junk, lacking standards of rigor. Why does Coyne downplay the fact that the debunking article was written by philosophers, whose area is the Humanities? Does Coyne seriously want us to believe that misleading nonsense does not get published by folks in scientific fields? Look through any book published Michael Gazzaniga, and one can find heaps of twaddle. (I can easily back this point up.) Rigorous research and conceptual work in History, Philosophy, and other Humanities and Social Science fields should be championed and affirmed in this context. Instead, Coyne is using the incident as an opportunity to play the “science-good,” “humanities-worthless,” card. No matter that the journal is not Humanities. A bit of conceptual rigor–a focus of the Humanities–would go a long way here.

    • Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      You clearly haven’t read this site. The point is, yes, the humanities are far more riddled with garbage scholarship than is science. That’s the way it is. And if you don’t think that much of the humanities has devolved to a bunch of scholars writing worthless articles for other scholars, just to advance their careers, you haven’t been looking. I never said that nonsense was never published in science, but simply that it’s published far more often in culture and gender studies journals. I’m not the only one who has noticed this. And actually, the fact that humanities people wrote the hoax article is a point in favor of their thesis, for crying out loud.

      Finally, the journal surely is in the humanities.

      My job is not to constantly affirm how good all the humanities are. That’s not my interest, though if you read the articles on this site, which you apparently don’t, you’d see a constant extolling of books, cinema, art, music, and so on. Is that saying that “only science has real value”? I think not. It says that you don’t know how to read, and are outraged because the hoax shows that your ideological bias is unfounded.

      • GM
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        the humanities are far more riddled with garbage scholarship than is science.

        And that is a very charitable statement because the truth is that there are whole fields in the humanities that are 99% garbage.

        The only thing that is equally bad is young earth creationism, because it is the only other movement that completely rejects the philosophical foundations of science and goes on a frontal assault against them. In different ways but the effect is the same. This is exactly what the likes of gender/queer/colonial studies do.

        At least the non-fundamentalist theologians will engage in serious philosophical discussion from time to time. You won’t hear this from them:


        The scientific method is a tool for the construction and justification of dominance
        in the world. The invention of statistics was a major methodological advance in the descriptive sciences causing a shift from descriptive analysis to mathematical analysis. The new methodological techniques were invented by men who were interested in explaining the inheritance of traits in order to support their
        political ideology of natural human superiority and inferiority. The statistical techniques transformed the scientific method and resulted in a process that constructs knowledge and establishes “significant differences” between the dominant group as the norm and the subordinate group as the “Other.” The five steps in the process that integrates domination into the scientific method and results in the scientific construction the Other are: (a) Naming, (b) Quantification, (c) Statistical Analysis, (d) Reification, and (e) Objectification.

      • Scientific Author
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        If you want to publish a similarly non-rigorous paper in a science journal, you need go no further than the sister publications Cogent Biology, Cogent Chemistry or Cogent Physics. Imagine the elaborate hoaxes (or impenetrable nonsense) one could place in Cogent Mathematics!

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 24, 2017 at 2:49 am | Permalink

      ” Why does Coyne downplay the fact that the debunking article was written by philosophers, whose area is the Humanities?”

      Just where does he do that?

  68. Posted May 22, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    All those saying this is a junk journal are probably correct, but if that is the case, why are people not holding the following academics to account (this is the senior editorial board of Cogent Social Science):
    Angela Benson (University of Brighton, UK)
    John Martyn Chamberlain (Swansea University, UK)
    Ben Derudder (Ghent University, Belgium)
    Vassil Girginov (Brunel University, UK)
    Jamie Halsall (University of Huddersfield, UK)
    In addition, countless others serve as editors and their names and affiliations are listed on the website as well.
    And finally, countless academics who hold regular jobs in universities seem to have published in Cogent journals. Are they all OK with the claim that this is just a junk journal?
    And of course, Taylor and Francis has this to say about their Cogent journals:
    “Taylor & Francis Group publishes quality peer-reviewed journals under the Routledge and Taylor & Francis imprints. The newest part of the group, Cogent OA, offers a purely open access program.”

    Have people asked Taylor and Francis to remove this statement from their website? What is their response?

  69. Posted May 22, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    There is truly one answer to all of this: defund. Restrict the tax dollars to the hard sciences only.

    Half the reason obscurantist inanity flourishes in the social “sciences” is because we — the taxpayers — have allowed it to flourish. We put money out to the federal system, then we turn around and put money out again to the universities, in the form of tuition. For the sake of what? Insipid verbal masturbation which even the self-professed cognoscenti are not wise enough to discern from a slyly-written Poe’s Law lampooning?

    Thing is, we’re not dealing with minds who grasp provability. They know — on some level — that the Grievance Studies field is a game of pure assertion. Get enough people to go along with you, your junk theory magically becomes doctrine.

    Not fact. Doctrine.

    Thus the Great Minds of Grievance Studies serve as a kind of gnostic priesthood, meting out judgment for various moral failures of mankind. Tangible, actual evidence of immorality — sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, cisnormativism —
    doesn’t matter. The gnostic priesthood has pronounced a thing, therefore that thing must be true.

    We are all guilty until proven . . . guilty.

    Criticism of the doctrine — or even the mere act of disbelief — is sure sign that you are a double-plus ungood sinner.

  70. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    One of my favorite Onion articles :

    Grad Student Deconstructs Take-Out Menu


    • Merilee
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Love it!!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      Brilliant. But I fear for the author’s sanity. Learning to talk like that has got to strain the brain to breaking point.


  71. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 7, 2017 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    Couple things:

    • what we need to see is someone take a good clear science paper, then in a side-by-side presentation, the post-modernized version. What I propose is expected to be distinct from the auto-pomo paper generator results, but we need an experiment to show it.

    • lots of work goes into writing, and it would be interesting to see the drafts of the papers – Boghossian’s and Sokal’s, for instance.

    • Bearing the two above points in mind, how many science papers has anyone read that are just plain bad? Usually the authors go into what I call belly-button staring, where the authors seem to relish their brain activity while losing sight of the shore. This is analogous to the musician who goes on extended improvisations while the audience feels embarrassed.

  72. Posted June 7, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    • lots of work goes into writing, and it would be interesting to see the drafts of the papers – Boghossian’s and Sokal’s, for instance. Dit is zijn favoriete passage, en je bescheurt je werkelijk als je ziet wat voor links-regressieve mannenhaat op Westerse universiteiten als ‘wetenschappelijk’ wordt geslikt: […]

  73. jimenobaeznarvaez
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    • lots of work goes into writing, and it would be interesting to see the drafts of the papers – Boghossian’s and Sokal’s, for instance. Dit is zijn favoriete passage, en je bescheurt je werkelijk als je ziet wat voor links-regressieve mannenhaat op Westerse universiteiten als ‘wetenschappelijk’ wordt geslikt: […]

  74. Posted July 5, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand why scientific hypotheses about hormonal influences, be they genetic or developmental, along with data on homosexual behavior/gender fluidity in other animals, isn’t a stronger a argument for LGBT rights than an “idea of gender as being subject to social conditioning. It kind of looks like people who think that gender studies are worthless don’t have either the familiarity with academic publishing nor the critical investigation skills necessary to detect a hoax.

  75. Posted July 6, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    • Bearing the two above points in mind, how many science papers has anyone read that are just plain bad?
    In my view – who cares?

19 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/a-new-academic-hoax-a-bogus-paper-on-the-concept… […]

  2. […] Como apunta en su blog el biólogo Jerry Coyne, “las ciencias sociales se mantienen llenas de tonterías oscurantistas, un miasma académico. Por supuesto, no todas las personas o áreas de las ciencias sociales y las humanidades están llenas de tales tonterías, pero los estudios culturales, incluidos los de la mujer, son particularmente propensos a la combinación tóxica de jerga e ideología en aras de una erudición horrible”.  […]

  3. […] Source: A new academic hoax: a bogus paper on “the conceptual penis” gets published in a “high quality… […]

  4. […] couple of philosophers using non-de-plumes just performed the same experiment successfully again, demonstrating that you […]

  5. […] Dettagli dagli autori della beffa; applausi su twitter e da Jerry Coyne. […]

  6. […] Como aponta em seu blog o biólogo Jerry Coyne, “as ciências sociais são mantidas cheias de bobagens obscurantistas, um miasma acadêmico. Claro que não são todas as pessoas ou áreas das ciências sociais que estão repletas de absurdos, mas os estudos culturais, incluindo o da mulher, são particularmente mais propensos à combinação tóxica do jargão e ideologia que contribuem para essa horrível erudição“. […]

  7. […] This one is called “The Conceptual Penis,” and is laden, Sokal-style, with postmodernist jargon. HERE. […]

  8. […] Writing as “Peter Boyle” and “Jamie Lindsay,” the authors submitted an absurd-on-its-face, 3,000-word paper titled, “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” to a peer-reviewed journal, Cogent Social Sciences. Despite packing it full of what they described afterward as “utter nonsense,” the journal published the paper in its May edition. Here’s a screengrab: […]

  9. […] morning TV shows who are now threatening doggies, but we like to maintain a high tone. Higher than this, at a […]

  10. […] A new academic hoax: a bogus paper on “the conceptual penis” gets published in a “high quality… […]

  11. […] via A new academic hoax: a bogus paper on “the conceptual penis” gets published in a “high quality… […]

  12. […] Boghossian und James Lindsay ist es gerade gelungen, in einer sozialwissenschaftlichen Zeitung einen Text zu veröffentlichen, der absichtlich absurd und kenntnisfrei, aber mit großem Gestus dah… Er geht grundsätzlich davon aus, dass „man sich Penisse nicht als männliche Genitalien, sondern […]

  13. […] forlag? I denne uge er der blevet talt en del om “the conceptual penis”. Forfatterne, to amerikanske filosoffer, har her indsendt en artikel under pseudonym til Cogent Socia…, et efter sigende anerkendt tidsskrift inden for sociologi udgivet af Taylor & Francis, et af […]

  14. […] блоге Why Evolution Is True американского биолога Джерри Койна рассказывается о том, как двое биологов направили в […]

  15. […] Paleo-Bioloog Jerry Coyne-schrijver van Why Evolution is True- brengt het nieuws naar buiten. LOL! Dit is zijn favoriete passage, en je bescheurt je werkelijk als je ziet wat voor links-regressieve mannenhaat op Westerse universiteiten als ‘wetenschappelijk’ wordt geslikt: […]

  16. […] https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/a-new-academic-hoax-a-bogus-paper-on-the-concept… […]

  17. […] conceptual penis” gets published in a “high quality peer-reviewed” journal. https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/a-new-academic-hoax-a-bogus-paper-on-the-concept… … 23: 04 – 19 May 2017 Photo published for A new academic hoax: a bogus paper on “the […]

  18. […] Speaking of fake, a spoof paper fooled a social science journal and two referees […]

  19. […] studies journal. In it he “maintained that quantum gravity was a social construct,” and made copious use of the typical “sophisticated” postmodern academese.Now, Peter Boghossian of Portland State […]

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