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I Don't Speak German

Sep 29, 2021

So, in rank defiance of our recent promise to 'get back to the nazis' instead we continue our James Lindsay coverage.  (What... me? Irony? How dare you?)  This time, Daniel patiently walks a distracted, slightly hyperactive, and increasingly incredulous Jack through the infamous 'Grievance Studies Hoax' (AKA 'Sokal Squared') in which Lindsay and colleagues Helen Pluckrose and Peter Boghossian tried (and then claimed) to prove something or other about modern Humanities academia by submitting a load of stupid fake papers to various feminist and fat studies journals.  As Daniel reveals, the episode was an orgy of dishonesty and tactical point-missing that actually proved the opposite of what the team of snickering tricksters thought they were proving.  Sadly, however, because we live in Hell, the trio have only raised their profiles as a result.  A particular highlight of the episode is Lindsay revealing his staggering ignorance when 'responding' to criticism.

Content warnings, as ever.

Podcast Notes:

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Show Notes:

James Lindsay, New Discourses, "Why You Can Be Transgender But Not Transracial.""

James Lindsay has a day job, apparently. "Maryville man walks path of healing and combat."

Areo Magazine, Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship.

Full listing of Grievance Studies Papers and Reviews.

'Mein Kampf' and the 'Feminazis': What Three Academics' Hitler Hoax Really Reveals About 'Wokeness'.

"First and foremost, the source material. The chapter the hoaxers chose, not by coincidence, one of the least ideological and racist parts of Hitler's book. Chapter 12, probably written in April/May 1925, deals with how the newly refounded NSDAP should rebuild as a party and amplify its program.

"According to their own account, the writers took parts of the chapter and inserted feminist "buzzwords"; they "significantly changed" the "original wording and intent” of the text to make the paper "publishable and about feminism." An observant reader might ask: what could possibly remain of any Nazi content after that? But no one in the media, apparently, did."

New Discourses, "There Is No Good Part of Hitler's Mein Kampf"

On this episode of the New Discourses Podcast, James Lindsay, who helped to write the paper and perpetrate the Grievance Studies Affair, talks about the project and the creation of this particular paper at unprecedented length and in unprecedented detail, revealing Nilssen not to know what he’s talking about. If you have ever wondered about what the backstory of the creation of the “Feminist Mein Kampf” paper really was, including why its authors did it, you won’t want to miss this long-form discussion and rare response to yet another underinformed critic of Lindsay, Boghossian, and Pluckrose’s work.

The Grieveance Studies Affair Revealed.

Reviewer 1 Comments on Dog Park Paper

"page 9 - the human subjects are afforded anonymity and not asked about income, etc for ethical reasons. yet, the author as researcher intruded into the dogs' spaces to examine and record genitalia. I realize this was necessary to the project, but could the author acknowledge/explain/justify this (arguably, anthropocentric) difference? Indicating that it was necessary to the research would suffice but at least the difference should be acknowledged."

Nestor de Buen, Anti-Science Humping in the Dog Park.

"What is even more striking is that if the research had actually been conducted and the results showed what the paper says they show, there is absolutely no reason why it should not have been published. And moreover, what it proves is the opposite of what its intention is. It shows that one can make scientifically testable claims based on the conceptual framework of gender studies, and that the field has all the markings of a perfectly functional research programme."

"Yes, the dog park paper is based on false data and, like Sokal’s, contains a lot of unnecessary jargon, but it is not nonsense, and the distinction is far from trivial. Nonsense implies one cannot even obtain a truth value from a proposition. In fact, the paper being false, if anything, proves that it is not nonsense, yet the grievance hoaxers try to pass falsity as nonsense. Nonsense is something like Chomsky’s famous sentence “colorless green ideas sleep furiously.” It is nonsense because it is impossible to decide how one might evaluate whether it is true. A false sentence would be “the moon is cubical.” It has a definite meaning, it just happens not to be true. 

"So, if the original Sokal Hoax is like Chomsky’s sentence, the dog park paper is much more like “the moon is cubical.” And in fact, a more accurate analogy would be “the moon is cubical and here is a picture that proves it,” and an attached doctored picture of the cubical moon."

Reviewer 2 Comments on the Dog-Park Paper

"I am a bit curious about your methodology. Can you say more? You describe your methods here (procedures for collecting data), but not really your overall approach to methodology. Did you just show up, observe, write copious notes, talk to people when necessary, and then leave? If so, it might be helpful to explicitly state this. It sounds to me like you did a kind of ethnography (methodology — maybe multispecies ethnography?) but that’s not entirely clear here. Or are you drawing on qualitative methods in social behaviorism/symbolic interactionism? In either case, the methodology chosen should be a bit more clearly articulated."


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Inside Higher Ed, "Blowback Against a Hoax."

Peter Boghossian Resignation Latter from PSU.