Back in late 2018, a story came out about a Portland State University professor and his two colleagues (above) writing “hoax” research papers, about 20 of them, sending them to be peer-reviewed, edited and published, and successfully published 7 of those hoax papers.
The hoax papers discussed insane topics such as rape culture in dog parks, fat bodybuilding, and toxic masculinity in “breastaurants” like Hooters, as well as others, and were ultimately reviewed and published by esteemed academic journals despite a distinct lack of facts to support the arguments being made.
The three professors, Peter Boghossian, Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay referred to their little hoax project as an analysis of “grievance studies”, suspecting that some fields in academia have focused more on “ideologically-motivated scholarship” rather than the pursuit of scientific fact or truth.
In an essay in which the trio announced this project, they wrote: “Scholarship based less upon finding truth and more upon attending to social grievances has become firmly established, if not fully dominant, within these fields, and their scholars increasingly bully students, administrators, and other departments into adhering to their worldview. This worldview is not scientific, and it is not rigorous. For many, this problem has been growing increasingly obvious, but strong evidence has been lacking. For this reason, the three of us just spent a year working inside the scholarship we see as an intrinsic part of this problem.”
The three professors received worldwide support for their work to expose the problems of academic research. Campus Reform sent Mark McLellan, PSU’s vice president for research and graduate studies, a public records request for his e-mails that had to do with what Boghossian did. Campus Reform gathered thousands of e-mails from all over the world addressed to McLellan in support of Boghossian.
One notable e-mail came from Alan Sokal, a physicist teaching at New York University who had actually done something similar to Boghossian back in 1996 with an article titled: “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity.” To the normal person, what Sokal wrote might seem confusing but might be taken as the truth, given it’s an academic paper. But to any scientist or mathematician that knows his stuff, they’d be able to tell that what is in the paper is utter garbage. Sokal himself said: “Throughout the article, I employ scientific and mathematical concepts in ways that few scientists or mathematicians could possibly take seriously… In sum, I intentionally wrote the article so that any competent physicist or mathematician (or undergraduate physics or math major) would realize that it is a spoof. Evidently, the editors of Social Text felt comfortable publishing an article on quantum physics without bothering to consult anyone knowledgeable in the subject.”
But despite the honestly good work the three professors did, at the very least Professor Boghossian is likely to be punished, as he was placed under investigation and was found guilty of research misconduct by the Internal Review Board. Boghossian was accused, and later found guilty of, fabricating data and studying human subjects, specifically the journal editors, without their consent. While technically that is what he did, the guilty verdict is ridiculous. The fabrication of data served entirely to prove a point, a point that was further proven not only by the actual publishing of this data, but by the response from the IRB and PSU, that academic journals hold the responsibility of sticking faithfully to data and to the facts, despite of the topic being discussed, but many do not actually do that.
The fact that Boghossian will be punished for EXPOSING the fact that academic journals don’t do their due diligence in verifying the claims being made in the articles shows us just how truly rotten the system is. If the article says something supposedly “woke”, such as perpetuating a “rape culture” in DOGS VISITING DOG PARKS IN PORTLAND, then whatever is used to “prove” the thesis is irrelevant. Much in the same way as a paper that claims illegal immigrants commit less crimes than American citizens, if the thesis is “woke” and SJW-friendly, then facts be damned. This is the point professors were trying to prove, that ideologically-motivated papers, even if entirely fictitious, will be approved and spread as “truth”, goes entirely against what scientists, real scientists, are trying to do: find and discuss what is actually TRUE.
For example, let’s take a look at an article from Breitbart about a high school kid in Scotland being suspended for saying that there are only two genders. Despite the fact that science is behind the kid, the 17-year-old was suspended for saying something that is not “inclusive” aka something that is not part of the “right-think” of the British school system. The teacher and the entire school board do a disservice to society not only by banning a dissenting thought, but also perpetuating the idea that there are more than two genders when the truth and facts completely disagree with that.
Whether someone says they are a different gender from what they are is entirely up to them. If a man wants to claim he is a woman, fine. But let’s not distort what science says about genders. Let’s not throw away the fact that our chromosomes dictate what gender we are. For the thousandth time, an XY set of chromosomes makes someone a male and an XX set of chromosomes makes someone a female. There is no third option, there is no destroying this fact. To challenge this proven scientific concept is to challenge reality and truth itself, all in the vein effort to be more “inclusive”. No one benefits from destroying science.
The three professors wanted to stick to the idea that science is the pursuit of truth about different things in our universe (which is why I so often say that science and faith are not mutually exclusive but often work together, as we study the creation) and challenged the unscientific views some, if not most people within academic journals hold with regard to what is truth.
In essence, those in academic journals take a Pontius Pilate sort of stance of: “what is truth?” They believe truth is subjective when it is, in fact, objective and as such, see actual science as an enemy while pretending to be in favor of “science” that “shows” them to be right about things like climate change (of course, they are entirely wrong there too) and the theory of evolution (which they dropped the “theory” part and pass it off as fact, an entirely unscientific thing to do).
While the professors ought to be commended for their work to IMPROVE the academic journals’ research and publishing standards to not pass off what is essentially SJW-feeding crap as truth, they are more likely to be punished for it than anything else.
The reason for which is likely not simply the ones being given to us: that they gave false data, conducted research on people who did not consent to it (which is the point of a project to expose something like this). The reason is likely so that academic research papers can continue to be useful for Leftists who use it as “arguments” against people who actually have science and reason behind them. It’s no secret that academia belongs to the Left. As such, they get to control what kind of “information” is published in academia, to certain extents. Rogue professors that expose the heavily-biased nature of at least some people within the academic journals are counterintuitive to the purpose of academic journals. So those professors must be punished for exposing the truth in an effort to keep these things in the dark in the future.
“For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”
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