by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
How did so many supposedly educated people fall for a hoax study about male sex organs causing global warming? Elizabeth Harrington of the Washington Free Beacon offers some helpful hints.
That the scientific method and zoos are sexist, that menstrual periods are a social construct, and that Pilates teaches white privilege are just a few subjects of gender studies papers that inspired the biggest hoax since the Sokal affair.
It did not take James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian long to get their fake paper that claimed the penis is “conceptual” and causes climate change published. A reading of over a dozen gender studies papers provided to the Washington Free Beacon by Lindsay makes it easy to understand why.
“We, like many, have been seeing stories and examples of ridiculous papers coming out of the far-left activist wing of academia, fields like gender studies, women’s studies, and so on, based upon what’s sometimes called ‘critical race and gender theory’ or ‘radical constructivism,'” Lindsay said.
He first pointed to an infamous taxpayer-funded paper published last year that studied the “relationship between gender and glaciers.” One goal of the study was to “improve human-ice relations.”
“As many did, we strongly suspected the feminist glacier study was a hoax,” Lindsay said. “But the journal and author stood by it.”
Lindsay said he and Boghossian decided after the feminist glacier study that it was plausible to hoax the gender studies field, as Alan Sokal did in the 1990s. Sokal successfully submitted a paper that claimed gravity is a social construct.
Lindsay, a scholar and author, also said they witnessed many examples of gender studies proponents bullying other academics skeptical of their work, mostly by accusing their critics of racism and sexism.
“Thus we thought a hoax might be worth doing, not just possible,” he said.