Unite to condemn right-wing attacks on science
Alan Sokal is is a professor of physics famous for perpetrating the Sokal Hoax, wherein he submitted a parody article to a postmodernist journal of semiotics called Social Text. The editors
and peer reviewers [correction: it’s not peer-reviewed] there saw nothing amiss with a "transformative hermeneutics of gravity," so the piece got published. While the actual lessons involved tend to be somewhat more subtle than conservative academia-bashers would have you believe, the episode is generally portrayed as a devastating expose on the abuse of science by left-leaning humanities professors.
Then there’s Chris Mooney, who made his name exposing right-wing attacks on science.
It’s notable that Mooney and Sokal have co-authored an op-ed in the L.A. Times that makes a simple point: whatever threat postmodernism once posed to science, it has been eclipsed by a more direct and ham-handed attack on science by the Republican Party. It’s just not sufficient to say that "both sides do it." Turns out one side does it way, way more.
It’s worth reading the whole thing, particularly the recommendations toward the end.
More from Tim Lambert.