Thursday, January 08, 2004

THIS IS A REAL KNEE-SLAPPER

Well, maybe not for everyone . . .

Alan Sokal is a professor of physics at NYU. He wrote an article a number of years ago and got it published in Social Text, a "journal of cultural and political analysis".

That wasn't the funny part. You see, Social Text is a hoity-toity journal whose editors are decidedly closeted academic intellectuals (literary and humanities types). As a scientist, Sokol decided to do an experiment to test his thesis. His thesis was simple: these particular intellectuals would publish anything that sounded scholarly, provided it reached the right (er, left) conclusion politically.

He was right (er, correct). The article was published in 1996. Buried in it, he used a lot of technical terms that were essentially meaningless. Amongst his conclusions were the belief that science was corrupted by capitalists and the military.

He fessed up in another article where he discusses what he did and why, and also admits that he too is a leftist, making it (in my mind) even funnier.

For more on this visit Professor Sokol's website.

(Hat tip to Steven den Beste.)


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