Gender studies is a fake academic industry populated by charlatans, deranged activists and gullible idiots.
Now, a pair of enterprising hoaxers has proved it scientifically by persuading an academic journal to peer-review and publish their paper claiming that the penis is not really a male genital organ but a social construct.
The paper, published by Cogent Social Sciences – “a multidisciplinary open access journal offering high quality peer review across the social sciences” – also claims that penises are responsible for causing climate change.
The two hoaxers are Peter Boghossian, a full-time faculty member in the Philosophy department at Portland State University, and James Lindsay, who has a doctorate in math and a background in physics.
They were hoping to emulate probably the most famous academic hoax in recent years: the Sokal Hoax … [F]or this new spoof, Boghossian and Lindsay were careful to throw in lots of signifier phrases to indicate fashionable anti-male bias:
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.
Now, when it comes to religious issues, Peter Boghossian is, in my view, a light-weight not worthy of serious consideration. However, in this case, he deserves our gratitude and applause. Not because he informed us of something that we did not already know, but rather because he has now provided us with a tangible “peer-reviewed” example to point to of something that we did know: namely, that certain fields in academia are intellectually bankrupt, retarded, and a waste of time. So in this respect, Boghossian has done us a service.
However, one other thing that this whole incident does — and something which I am sure Boghossian did not intend — is that it gives us pause concerning the whole peer-review process. Granted, we cannot necessarily extend the failure of peer-review in gender studies to other fields, but humans are humans, whether scientists or gender studies professors, and they all have their own biases and prejudices, and so if peer-review fails so spectacularly in this case, it does indeed serve as some evidence that the peer-review process is itself questionable, at least in an environment where their is ideological conformity. But that is exactly what is seen in biology or climate science. So again, the point is not that this specific failure of peer-review can be used to call into question specific peer-review cases in other domains, but it does make one slightly more skeptical of the whole peer-review process in general, especially given the heightened ideology war facing the West today, which has not left science untouched.