So…when creationists sneak bad papers into legit journals, does evolution collapse?


A few days ago, a paper was pointed out to me as a particularly horrible example of bad social science: it was titled “The conceptual penis as a social construct”. I glanced at. It was a murky mess and so bad that I couldn’t even get past the first paragraph, so I abandoned it as simply too much effort to criticize. As it turns out, it was a hoax: the authors were trying to pull a Sokal and expose “‘academic’ fields corrupted by postmodernism”.

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.

The lead author is Peter Boghossian, whose own biases are rather obvious in that passage, and I think he overplayed his hand. He actually completely failed to demonstrate what he set out to do.

He sent the crap paper to NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies, a journal with an impact factor of 0, and it was rejected. So, wait, the fake paper was punted? How does that demonstrate that “gender studies is crippled academically”?

NORMA nicely sent them off to resubmit to an even more poorly ranked journal, Cogent Social Sciences, which is so new it doesn’t even have an impact factor, and which is also a pay-to-publish journal. Boghossian then coughed up $625 to convince them to publish it.

At this point the hoax has become completely meaningless. There are bad, predatory journals out there that will take anything a hack scribbles up and publish it for a profit. This is not news. It is also not unique to gender studies or sociology. I’ve pointed out these bad papers more than a few times in journals in science fields.

So when I point out that Erik Andrulis published, in complete seriousness, a paper titled Theory of the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life that attempts to explain chemistry, development, and evolution as functions of spiral gyres, does that discredit those fields? When David Abel of the Department of ProtoBioCybernetics and ProtoBioSemiotics publishes a paper on the origin of life that is packed full of buzzwords and pseudoscience, does that mean that Nick Lane and Bill Martin are full of crap, too? Because the Journal of Cosmology exists, astronomy is fake science? John Bohannon created an automatic molecular biology paper generator that churned out garbage papers. They were accepted by 157 science journals. I guess we can scratch the entire field of molecular biology.

As I wrote about that last example:

I agree that there is a serious problem in science publishing. But the problem isn’t open-access: it’s an overproliferation of science journals, a too-frequent lack of rigor in review, and a science community that generates least-publishable-units by the machine-like application of routine protocols in boring experiments.

The lesson to be learned here is that Boghossian executed a poorly performed experiment that didn’t succeed in what he engineered it to do, and which was embarrassingly derivative, and then analyzed the results poorly. At least it cost the hack $625 to attempt some click-bait sensationalism.


There’s more. See Kris Wager, and Ketan Joshi lists lots of examples of hoaxes in science disciplines that didn’t indict entire broad fields of research.

Comments

  1. says

    These two went out, with an admitted axe to grind and a hypothesis they were seeking to DEMONSTRATE, and managed to get a result that can be twisted to fit their prior beliefs. The amazing thing is that what they were trying to demonstrate is that OTHER PEOPLE are pseudoscientific ideologues. If this weren’t so deeply pathetic, the irony would be hilarious.

    Anyone praising this bizarre showcase of motivated reasoning and weaponized ignorance is flashing a bright neon sign that says “YOU SHOULD NOT TAKE MY OPINIONS ON SCIENCE SERIOUSLY”. Looking squarely at you, Richard Dawkins and Michael Shermer.

  2. Siobhan says

    @Crommunist

    These two went out, with an admitted axe to grind and a hypothesis they were seeking to DEMONSTRATE, and managed to get a result that can be twisted to fit their prior beliefs.

    What? How can that be so?! Boghossian did the requisite finger-wagging and declared himself an ultra rational dudebro, therefore logic. Post hoc ergo propter hoc, bitches!

    (*dies of sarcasm poisoning*)

  3. Siobhan says

    @Crommunist

    These two went out, with an admitted axe to grind and a hypothesis they were seeking to DEMONSTRATE, and managed to get a result that can be twisted to fit their prior beliefs.

    I’m not sure they see the problem there.

  4. says

    And after the fact, Sokal said the publication of his hoax itself didn’t prove much at all, just that a few people happened to be asleep at the wheel. (His words: “From the mere fact of publication of my parody I think that not much can be deduced.”) Then he wrote two books of footnotes and caveats to show that he had lampooned some views he himself held in more moderate form.

    Meanwhile, Pinker—who happily boosted the Skeptic hoax—strips all the technical content out of physics, mixes the jargon up with trite and folksy “wisdom,” and uses the result to support pompous bloviation.

    … Which, funny story, is one of the main things that Alan Sokal was criticizing.

  5. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    Who wants to bet the mass of the skeptic community laughs in his face, turn their backs and walk away after this amazing display of skeptitudinosity?
    Any takers?

    Anyone?

    In my dreams, it’s totally happening.

  6. hemidactylus says

    As useful as his street epistemology book seemed to me Boghossian has a knack for saying odd and disturbing things as PZ and others have pointed to before.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/peterboghossian/status/527862167152758784

    “I’ve never understood how someone could be proud of being gay. How can one be proud of something one didn’t work for?”

    And the Areo interview:
    https://areomagazine.com/2016/12/08/peter-boghossian-on-critical-thinking-the-atheos-app-and-the-post-modern-influence-on-universities/

    “(Boghossian quoting himself: “If sex were really a cultural construction, why don’t men menstruate? Why don’t men have babies? Why are there no women on professional football teams?”

    [and more from that article]

    “A friend of mine is a physician and she told me an interesting story. She had a guy to come in to see her who was born biologically female who transitioned to male. Who by every indication looked like a male — beard, the whole thing. And he came in because he had a yeast infection.

    Now you can go around denying reality all you want, but isn’t it funny that we only deny reality in regard to some things and not other things.”

    This in an article where he slams gender studies. Then we witness the recent hoax article which has a strange fixation on the socially constructed penis.

    From that “paper”:
    “Furthermore, there are many women who have penises. These are specifically pre-operative transgendered women and chromosomal “males” who choose to identify as women without indicating a desire to transition, and despite damaging cultural tropes against their womanhood and femininity, these constitute critical examples of a human demographic for whom their genital organ, while it may be utilized reproductively in some cases, is not best under- stood as being a male genital organ”. Is this mocking of transgender? Or are we not to take it seriously since intended as a hoax?

    There’s more: “Consequently, what coherent role can a monolithic concept like “the penis” hope either to achieve or to describe for pre-operative and non-operative male-to-female trans women and post-operative female-to-male trans men who choose to retain their identity as women? Likewise, what meaning can the anatomical penis as a male organ possibly hold for gender fluid individuals or certain other individuals within the queer community? In the paradigm of the dominant penis-centered narrative, we find these questions in- trinsically unanswerable.”

    And then we get to the trope about rape culture:
    “Often, hypermasculine behavior therefore centers upon boasting, even if falsely, about size, potency, and desirability, and many socially problematic gender-demon- strative behaviors defining both toxic masculinity and rape culture emanate from the machismo braggadocio isomorphism as a form of social staging applied to the objective conceptual penis”…”We see further linguistic evidence for this phenomenon as hypermasculine men often use the word “dick,” casual slang for the penis, as an actionable verb: to dick someone might mean to take advantage of them or to have sex with them, depending upon the constructural context of the application (The inherent connotations of “dicking” and “dicking over” to rape culture are, here, obvi- ous but run too far a field to our purposes to develop independently).”… “The usual excuse given for manspreading is centered directly in the conceptual penis as a male social dis- course: the (anatomical) penis and testicles are attributed as needing space in order to facilitate the male individual’s “comfort.” This behavior, seen from the perspective of the (conceptual) penis as a (performative) social construct, is clearly a dominating occupation of physical space, akin to raping the empty space around him, that is best understood via the machismo braggadocio isomorphism to toxic hypermasculinity”

    In an attempt to be funny are they just wantonly pushing buttons with veiled slights on transgender identity and the criticism of rape culture? What audience are they playing to? Shouldn’t we take some of the content in this “paper” seriously even if couched as pseudo profound bullshit?

  7. says

    I gotta quote this part of their boast:

    Most of our references are quotations from papers and figures in the field that barely make sense in the context of the text. Others were obtained by searching keywords and grabbing papers that sounded plausibly connected to words we cited. We read exactly zero of the sources we cited, by intention, as part of the hoax. […] Some references cite the Postmodern [sic] Generator, a website coded in the 1990s by Andrew Bulhak featuring an algorithm, based on NYU physicist Alan Sokal’s method of hoaxing a cultural studies journal called Social Text, that returns a different fake postmodern “paper” every time the page is reloaded.

    But the Postmodernism Generator is not based on Sokal’s method, because Sokal’s method was to read actual papers, find quotations and string them together. He was not a Markov bot. He writes,

    In fact, the article is structured around the silliest quotations I could find about mathematics and physics (and the philosophy of mathematics and physics) from some of the most prominent French and American intellectuals; my only contribution was to invent a nonsensical argument linking these quotations together and praising them.

    Which was exactly the point, and what he really wanted to talk about: Not the single failure on the part of one “rather marginal journal,” but the widespread examples of famous (or at least academic-famous) people taking about important questions with apparently no feedback or quality control. Sokal argues at length that philosophical, cultural and sociological studies of science are good things we should be doing; his beef is that people were doing them badly.

    If you subtract out the shoddy publication practices of Social Text, you still have real substance to discuss—in fact, it’s the more important substance. Were all of the examples that Sokal found really as bad as they first appeared? There’s the possibility of a productive conversation there. If you subtract out the shoddy publication practices of Cogent Social Sciences, you’re left with nothing, because there’s no actual work behind Boghossian and Lindsay’s stunt. Peel back the surface, and underneath, there’s just no there there.

  8. Tethys says

    Particularly, we suspected that gender studies is crippled academically by an overriding almost-religious belief that maleness is the root of all evil.

    I’m sure he will now concede that his suspicions were proved baseless, right? Or will his inherent evil maleness prevent him for understanding that fabricating studies that attempt to discredit the field of gender studies and paying to have them published is exactly the sort of evil stupid misogyny that adds a data point to the notion to the observed phenomenon of evil small minded men being misogynist for fun and profit.

  9. kellym says

    Too bad the Center for Inquiry is an antifeminist garbage org. I was a paying participating member for years and always thought I would return someday. No chance of that ever happening now and relieved that I no longer have any reason to think that CFI will ever improve with regard to feminism. Plenty more orgs to choose to spend my limited time/money on.

  10. Holms says

    They are trying to be the next Sokal, and yet they are far more grandiose in their conclusion. The original was submitted to a peer reviews journal, and that was considered a blow against the credibility of that particular journal but not an entire discipline. Boghossian has done less – he has tricked a pay-to-publish journal with lax peer review – but has declared a far more sweeping victory: all feminism has been routed.

  11. hemidactylus says

    Actually they may have “intended” it to be meaningless jargonized tripe to show how shoddy the bogey of gender studies is, but meaning is in the eye of the beholder and it reads to me as an attack on the evil regressive left. Look, we duped them by getting nonsense published in a journal, nonsense that veils tongue in cheek attacks on gender identity and concerns about rape acceptance.

  12. says

    The hoax article uses the word transgendered in the first sentence of the abstract, and again in the first graf of the introduction. By my PDF reader’s count, it only uses the word trans three times. This is, I think, a clue to a couple things: First, the authors aren’t as good at faking Feminist Librul Tumblr SJW as they think they are, and second, whatever reviewers the bottom-tier journal had weren’t all that knowledgeable either. See, e.g., the GLAAD Media Reference sheet:

    The adjective transgender should never have an extraneous “-ed” tacked onto the end. An “-ed” suffix adds unnecessary length to the word and can cause tense confusion and grammatical errors. It also brings transgender into alignment with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer. You would not say that Elton John is “gayed” or Ellen DeGeneres is “lesbianed,” therefore you would not say Chaz Bono is “transgendered.”

    See also the Guardian style guide, or this in Vox, etc.

  13. says

    Now I’m wondering what sort of review process Skeptic uses. Did they at any point consult an expert who can assess journal quality?

  14. chrislawson says

    A very important distinction with Sokal. He was a self-identified leftist trying to improve the discourse of the social academic left with regard to science.

    Boghossian, by contrast, is hoping to dismiss gender studies as a valuable subject of inquiry.

  15. says

    I used to enjoy buying Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer but haven’t bought them for some time now. This has managed to demonstrate that these magazines are horribly unreliable, as is organized skepticism.

  16. chigau (違う) says

    We spent the whole day doing garden stuff; digging, planting, watering, composting, etc.
    I don’t think I used my moral architecture…

  17. hemidactylus says

    #19- chrislawson
    Yeah gender studies is a definite bugbear of *his*. Upon my further critical analysis of the hoax article, it effectively boils down to being a sick rape joke that also delegitimizes trans concerns and represents a veiled paean to dudebro cisnormative legitimacy. Should be a hit with the *machismo braggadocio* crowd. At least we were gifted with a new term of derision to apply towards knuckle dragger dudebros. Thanks Pete.

  18. Russell Glasser says

    Tune in next week, when Peter Boghossian pays $1,000 to have his name printed in a book called “Who’s Who Among American Social Scientists.” Thereby successfully proving that all of written history is a sham.

  19. says

    “Penises are problematic, and we don’t just mean medical issues like erectile dysfunction”

    “these include the terms “beaver basher,” “cranny axe,” “custard launcher,” “dagger,” “heat-seeking moisture missile,” “mayo shooting hotdog gun,” “pork sword,” and “yogurt shotgun” [2011]).”

    “At best, climate change is genuinely an example of hyper-patriarchal society metaphorically manspreading into the global ecosystem.”

    “the usual excuse given for manspreading is centered directly in the conceptual penis as a male social discourse: the (anatomical) penis and testicles are attributed as needing space in order to facilitate the male individual’s “comfort.” This behavior, seen from the perspective of the (conceptual) penis as a (performative) social construct, is clearly a dominating occupation of physical space, akin to raping the empty space around him”

    Too funny.

  20. says

    Actually, the hoax paper becomes slightly less ridiculous when compared to some legitimate published papers in the social sciences:

    “Although breastfeeding is assumed to be “natural” and a biological function, we problematize the practice as both gendered and heteronormative.”

    “Despite a great deal of feminist work that has highlighted its social construction, menstruation seems a self-evidently “natural” bodily process.”

    “This article examines the symbolic whiteness associated with pumpkins in the contemporary United States. Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte, a widely circulated essay in McSweeney’s on “Decorative Gourd Season,” pumpkins in aspirational lifestyle magazines, and the reality television show Punkin Chunkin provide entry points into whiteness–pumpkin connections.”

    “The conclusion is that all of science may be androcentric, and the approach to attaining feminist science may need to be radical, a total replacement of the scientific enterprise with one not based on the scientific method.”

    “I develop the term black anality to describe how black pleasures are represented as peculiarly and particularly oriented toward the anus”

    “The second is the fact that, usually, sex and gender come together in the way that is expected, i.e. the fact that most females are women and most males are men needs to be explained.”

    “In addition, the bodily production of pregnancy has been socially gendered as feminine because of its association with female-bodied people.”

    “Sport is founded upon a belief in dimorphic sex”

  21. says

    That’s a lot of work to go to, to prove they can write a bad paper. I have written bad papers effortlessly (perhaps why they were bad) and at least I listened to the program committee and didn’t publish them. I don’t think Boghossian has collapsed anything, other than that his own paper. Or at most he’s given an entirely unneeded black eye to social sciences and philosophy. Way to disprove the stereotype of philosophers being useless wankers.

    The Sokal prank was not even very funny.

  22. says

    Jessie Foster
    I assume you have also read all these papers and have the necessary qualification to understand what is actually written. Right?
    See, that’s the thing: People start out with their belief that you don’t need to know anything about culture studies to participate and understand the subjects, then find something that is plain ridiculous at a superficial glance and then decide it’s all nonsense anyway.
    It’s plain obvious that most people have no idea what cultural construct even means.
    Hint: it does not means “made up”.

  23. says

    “necessary qualification to understand”

    What, specifically, are the qualifications I would need to understand the connection between basic white girls and pumpkin spice lattes?

  24. chrislawson says

    To Jessie, seconding Giliell’s comment,

    1. Unless you know the detail of those papers, you can’t tell how egregious the quotes are. To choose just one of the given examples, menstruation is clearly a biological process with social and cultural implications (for instance, Jewish women are not supposed to attend synagogue during menses, but it’s got nothing to do with any biological difference between them and gentile women), and vice versa (various social and cultural factors affect menstruation as well, such as anorexia leading to amenorrhoea from loss of body fat). So the quote you have presented as a terrible example of shoddy science is actually the authors acknowledging the biological basis of menstruation as part of their discussion of its cultural trappings. Perhaps they could have worded it better, but I doubt they wrote it with the thought in mind that malicious quote-miners would seize on it as an example of antiscientific publication.

    2. Even if those papers are bad papers (I haven’t read them so I don’t have an opinion on their quality), the fact remains that any field of research can be made to look ridiculous if you pick the most dramatic quotes from the worst papers. I can say from from bitter experience that even the top journals publish utter bilk from time to time (Wakefield in the Lancet, arsenic-DNA organisms in Science). You can’t use that to dismiss the entire field those journals cover.

  25. says

    Jessie Foster
    Let me drop a few names: Bourdieu, Hall, Gramsci, Butler, Said, Althusser, Foucault, Fiske, De Beauvoir, Barthes, Derrida ,…
    You familiar with their work? The terminology? The philosophical frameworks?
    If not, that’s what I mean by “lacking the qualification”.

  26. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Fucking hell, I see that the argument from personal incredulity is not just for the religious anymore.

    Jesse Foster, you want to prove something? Go on, do it. Read one of the fucking studies that your quotes are cheery picked from and demonstrate, with citations, how it’s lacking in worth. Until you do you’re no better than an other quote mining axe-grinder.

  27. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    All also point out that that spew of contextless quotes is a form of the Gish Gallop. Intellectual honesty, how does it work?

  28. says

    Seems your bud Jerry Coyne thinks is the best laugh this century:

    Well, at least we can say this about the whole thing: It serves as a nice bit of litmus test to who’s about as scepticto tehir own preconceptions as an old catholic grandma is of the Pope.

  29. says

    @Giliell
    Wow, guess I got a lot of work ahead of me. Can you point me to the work these philosophers have done in the field of basic white girls and pumpkin spice lattes?

  30. says

    @FossilFishy
    I think it is a bad idea to eliminate the scientific method because our progress as a species in medicine, technology, transportation, agriculture, etc has been and continues to be dependent on the method.

  31. Rob Grigjanis says

    Marcus @27:

    The Sokal prank was not even very funny.

    I thought his skewering of some philosophers’ ridiculous notions about physics was pretty funny. For example, Note 30, on Bruno Latour’s “A Relativistic Account of Einstein’s Relativity”;

    According to the traditional textbook account, special relativity is concerned with the coordinate transformations relating two frames of reference in uniform relative motion. But this is a misleading oversimplification, as Latour (1988) has pointed out:

    How can one decide whether an observation made in a train about the behaviour of a falling stone can be made to coincide with the observation made of the same falling stone from the embankment? If there are only one, or even two, frames of reference, no solution can be found since the man in the train claims he observes a straight line and the man on the embankment a parabola. …

    Einstein’s solution is to consider three actors: one in the train, one on the embankment and a third one, the author [enunciator] or one of its representants, who tries to superimpose the coded observations sent back by the two others. …

    [W]ithout the enunciator’s position (hidden in Einstein’s account), and without the notion of centres of calculation, Einstein’s own technical argument is ununderstandable … [pp. 10-11 and 35, emphasis in original]

    In the end, as Latour wittily but accurately observes, special relativity boils down to the proposition that

    more frames of reference with less privilege can be accessed, reduced, accumulated and combined, observers can be delegated to a few more places in the infinitely large (the cosmos) and the infinitely small (electrons), and the readings they send will be understandable. His [Einstein’s] book could well be titled: `New Instructions for Bringing Back Long-Distance Scientific Travellers’. [pp. 22-23]

    Latour’s critical analysis of Einstein’s logic provides an eminently accessible introduction to special relativity for non-scientists.

    It’s funny because Latour is so spectacularly wrong about what Einstein was saying.

    Lest you think Sokal might be cherry-picking, Latour’s paper can be found here.

  32. says

    @Giliell

    But maybe start with “Orientalism” by Said and the try to critically apply his theory to white girls and pumpkin spice latte.

    Since you’ve read it, how about you do that?

  33. hjhornbeck says

    Jessie Foster @39:

    I think it is a bad idea to eliminate the scientific method because our progress as a species in medicine, technology, transportation, agriculture, etc has been and continues to be dependent on the method.

    *blink blink*

    At times, the prevailing answers were almost as simple as Gray’s suggestion that the sexes come from different planets. At other times, and increasingly so today, the answers concerning the why of men’s and women’s experiences and actions have involved complex multifaceted frameworks.
    Ashmore, Richard D., and Andrea D. Sewell. “Sex/Gender and the Individual.” In Advanced Personality, edited by David F. Barone, Michel Hersen, and Vincent B. Van Hasselt, 377–408. The Plenum Series in Social/Clinical Psychology. Springer US, 1998. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-8580-4_16.

    Correlational findings with the three scales (self-ratings) suggest that sex-specific behaviors tend to be mutually exclusive while male- and female-valued behaviors form a dualism and are actually positively rather than negatively correlated. Additional analyses showed that individuals with nontraditional sex role attitudes or personality trait organization (especially cross-sex typing) were somewhat less conventionally sex typed in their behaviors and interests than were those with traditional attitudes or sex-typed personality traits. However, these relationships tended to be small, suggesting a general independence of sex role traits, attitudes, and behaviors.
    Orlofsky, Jacob L. “Relationship between Sex Role Attitudes and Personality Traits and the Sex Role Behavior Scale-1: A New Measure of Masculine and Feminine Role Behaviors and Interests.” Journal of Personality 40, no. 5 (May 1981): 927–40.

    Women’s scores on the BSRI-M and PAQ-M (masculine) scales have increased steadily over time (r’s = .74 and .43, respectively). Women’s BSRI-F and PAQ-F (feminine) scale scores do not correlate with year. Men’s BSRI-M scores show a weaker positive relationship with year of administration (r = .47). The effect size for sex differences on the BSRI-M has also changed over time, showing a significant decrease over the twenty-year period. The results suggest that cultural change and environment may affect individual personalities; these changes in BSRI and PAQ means demonstrate women’s increased endorsement of masculine-stereotyped traits and men’s continued nonendorsement of feminine-stereotyped traits.
    Twenge, Jean M. “Changes in Masculine and Feminine Traits over Time: A Meta-Analysis.” Sex Roles 36, no. 5–6 (March 1, 1997): 305–25. doi:10.1007/BF02766650.

    Male (n = 95) and female (n = 221) college students were given 2 measures of gender-related personality traits, the Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI) and the Personal Attributes Questionnaire, and 3 measures of sex role attitudes. Correlations between the personality and the attitude measures were traced to responses to the pair of negatively correlated BSRI items, masculine and feminine, thus confirming a multifactorial approach to gender, as opposed to a unifactorial gender schema theory.
    Spence, Janet T. “Gender-Related Traits and Gender Ideology: Evidence for a Multifactorial Theory.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 64, no. 4 (1993): 624.

    An unfortunate side-effect of cherry-picking is that you miss the forest for the cherries. If you only look at philosophic side of gender studies, you never see the scientific side. You’ve got four decades of science to catch up on, so I suggest you roll up your sleeves and hit the books.

  34. says

    I still have trouble wrapping my head around how people who spend a lot of time pointing out the flaws and ridiculousness of tactics creationists use to attack biology but then turn around and use the exact same tactics against feminism, gender studies, and etc with the same confidence as the creationists.
    (Yes, that specifically includes Jessie’s cherry picked out of context quotes in addition to the long list of professional skeptics who think this silly hoax debunks a field of study.)

  35. says

    @hjhornbeck

    The results suggest that cultural change and environment may affect individual personalities

    What a fucking revelation. This is definitely something most people are unaware of. Obviously those four decades of scientific research have been immensely productive.

  36. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Jessie Foster, 48
    Yes, it is indeed a shame that this one sentence fragment encapsulates the entirety of the research on the topic, is it not?

  37. says

    Jessie Foster

    Since you’ve read it, how about you do that?

    You paying me?
    Really, you are not clever. You cannot argue your way out of a wet paper bag. If you want to understand the theoretical framework of Said’s work so you can understand the references and terms of art in any given paper/conversation on the subject then you must do the work. You cannot just make claims and then demand other people support/reject them for you.

    Uh, I already did @26. Here it is again:

    No, you didn’t. You posted something that looks like a title or part of an abstract and it does not even support what you claim it does.

  38. says

    @John-Henry Beck
    Biology isn’t comparable to gender studies. The practical application of the biological sciences has saved probably billions of lives. Gender studies is less useful than my fucking toaster.

  39. says

    Yes, I was right. Line from an abstract, quotemined out of an abstract about breastfeeding and identity in lesbian women, full article not immediately available. Lots of specific terminology.
    In short, Jessie Foster having no clue talking out of their ass feeling clever. Like Donald Trump with a basic command of grammar.

  40. says

    @Giliell

    You cannot just make claims and then demand other people support/reject them for you.

    You cannot demand someone read 300 pages of philosophy in order for them to reject the importance of research into basic white girls enjoying pumpkin spice lattes.

  41. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Jessie Foster, 54
    You seem quite intent on this pumpkin spice latte paper. What does it argue?

  42. says

    Jessie Foster

    You cannot demand someone read 300 pages of philosophy in order for them to reject the importance of research into basic white girls enjoying pumpkin spice lattes.

    Yes, I can.
    You’re the one who made a claim.You’re the one who demanded to have your intellectual food chewed for you. I’m not going to do that. I’m just pointing out that you’re terribly uneducated and bragging about it.

    The practical application of the biological sciences has saved probably billions of lives.

    Also gave you chemical and biological warfare, tbh.

  43. says

    @Giliell
    “quotemined”

    You don’t get to cry about something being out of context if you can’t demonstrate how that context transforms the meaning of the quote. Tell me how it does.

  44. says

    @Giliell
    And you’re the one who made the claim that I need to have read certain philosophy to appreciate the importance of the whiteness-pumpkin paper. You have not backed up your claim of the relevancy and importance of that philosophy in interpreting that paper, you’ve just asserted that it is so.

  45. Hj Hornbeck says

    Rob Grigjanis@55:
    Sorry, I didn’t lay out my argument explicitly. Before 2015, we had excellent evidence that gravitational waves existed via indirect means, as my link shows. We had no alternative explanation. Ergo, we didn’t need to search for them directly.

    But we did anyway. Because science does not take “popular wisdom” for granted, and because science depends on consensus building.

  46. says

    Jessie Foster
    Well, maybe you explain first what you think the “meaning” is. Because “breastfeeding is problematic because it’s done by women” does not seem a reasonable interpretation.
    Again, I have not read the paper, but neither have you. That’s how abstracts work: The authors tell you what they are going to do and then do it in the actual paper.
    That’s the problem with you. You keep demonstrating what I said in the beginning: You lack the qualification to understand what is being talked about and then you think you don’t need to because that stuff is stupid.
    Of course there’s tons of feminist writing about breastfeeding. Some of it is really good, some of it is really crap. I cannot tell to which category or any other category this paper belongs because I have not read it. But you keep demonstrating why these things are necessary.

  47. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Jessie Foster

    Pumpkin spice lattes are an example of white privilege.

    That’s a conclusion. What does it argue?

  48. says

    And you’re the one who made the claim that I need to have read certain philosophy to appreciate the importance of the whiteness-pumpkin paper.

    And you’re amply demonstrating that I’m right. Why on earth should I have to refute your unevidenced claim first?
    I have not read that paper, I’m not going to make a critical evaluation of it. You’re the one who made the claim, and who started the whole thing. You’re trying that good old gish gallop where you just throw things at people and try to make them to endlessly explain things to you.

    Gender studies is less useful than my fucking toaster.

    Funny thing, just this afternoon I read an article (and no, not in a gender studies journal) about how (statistically), being a man in a relationship with a woman improves your chances of surviving a heart attack, while being a woman in a relationship with a man lowers it*.
    Is this grounded in biology? Or is this grounded in gendered behaviour?

    *Spoiler alert: basic mechanism: women will call the paramedics for their men while men tell their women to calm down. Really , nothing to see here, especially nothing to do with centuries of portrayal of women as delicate whiny creatures.

  49. lumipuna says

    The conceptual penis as a social construct

    Alison Bechdel could write better social science parody titles in Dykes To Watch Out For.

  50. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    Betting a tenner they didn’t read it.

    I was just about to take you up on that when I realised that would put me in the position of betting they did, and I can’t really afford to be giving my tenners away this month.

  51. says

    @Athywren – not the moon you’re looking for
    “Whiteness associated with pumpkins marks who resides where on the spectrum of U.S. social power. The entrenchment of such associations in daily lives and the spaces and places in which they are lived create the environments of Keene versus Ferguson—specific perils of today’s pumpkins”

    “When Ferguson activists wrote RACISM and WHITE PRIVILEGE on pumpkins, they destabilized the whiteness of pumpkins and the comfort and normalization accompanying it. Bringing pumpkins into the demonstration, and then smashing them on the ground to show outrage at injustice (as opposed to the “holiday mischief” generally ascribed to pumpkin smashing), activists brought pumpkins into a space where racial inequality and instability could not be ignored or glossed over. Their actions made the white privilege encoded in pumpkins explicit and challenged its future.”

  52. pita says

    The comments on the Skeptic article are just about the biggest circlejerk I’ve seen in my life. “Thank god we’re so rational and skeptical that we make up stuff to hate on a social science branch that thinks critically and skeptically about our society.”

  53. Vivec says

    Quote mining the body of a paper isn’t substantially different from quote mining the abstract.

  54. says

    @Vivec
    Again, to make the accusation of quote mining you first have to demonstrate how the context surrounding the quote changes the meaning of the quote. It’s not enough to claim that something is out of context without actually addressing what that context is.

  55. says

    Again, to make the accusation of quote mining you first have to demonstrate how the context surrounding the quote changes the meaning of the quote.

    Remember what I said about Gish-Gallop? Sending everyone on a treasure hunt across the internet to track down quotes, read papers, agree or refute, only to be met with another dozen quotes.
    Yeah, that’S intellectually honest.

  56. says

    @Giliell
    It’s not intellectually honest to claim a quote is out of context when you haven’t read the context.

    Remember what I said about Gish-Gallop?

    Oh yeah, it went something like this:

    Bourdieu, Hall, Gramsci, Butler, Said, Althusser, Foucault, Fiske, De Beauvoir, Barthes, Derrida ,…

  57. Vivec says

    Except you’re taking the position, presumably, that those quotes by themselves and devoid of context are enough to reject the paper in question, and I’m rejecting that claim due to lack of evidence, especially due to knowledge of the fact that it is really easy to make paper’s look bad by picking out small quotes.

    Now, if you were to make a comprehensive criticism of the paper on its own merits and not on cherry-picked quotes, I might be willing to countenance that skepticism.

  58. Vivec says

    If the usage of “quote mining” is the sticking point here, I’d be more than willing to substitute “cherry picking” instead.

  59. says

    So it’s unfair to demand you get a clue about the theoretical framework of the field you’re criticising, but expecting people to track down papers, buy/get access after you post just some quotes is totes OK.
    One of these things is not like the others…

  60. Bill Buckner says

    #61,

    We had no alternative explanation. Ergo, we didn’t need to search for them directly.

    That is an extremely bad view of science. “No alternative explanation” is never a valid reason not to look for something directly. We really did, scientifically speaking, need to look for direct confirmation of gravitational waves. In the same sense we really do need to do dark matter searches. And we needed to look for the Higgs.

  61. says

    @Giliell
    Yeah, it is. You’ve made no attempt to establish the necessity of understanding previous philosophical works in reference to the papers I brought up, and that’s because you haven’t read the papers, and therefore CANNOT KNOW the relevancy of the philosophy you cited.

  62. Hj Hornbeck says

    Bill Buckner @80:

    That is an extremely bad view of science.

    Agreed. I just hope Jessie Foster agreed too, once they quit ignoring the peer reviewed science I dropped.

  63. says

    “The language of war, destruction, competition, and violence circles around the pumpkin in another eddy of the pumpkin entertainment complex. It illuminates one more aspect of the racial politics of contemporary pumpkins.”

    THE PUMPKIN ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX
    RACIAL POLITICS OF CONTEMPORARY PUMPKINS

    THIS IS DEFINITELY IMPORTANT SOCIAL SCIENCE

  64. says

    Jessie Foster
    Wait, what?
    You dismiss an entire field of studies without having the theoretical foundation to understand the field, but I need to demonstrate that you need to know what a term of art means in order to understand what a paper that uses that term of art means?
    You cannot accept, criticise or reject a particular piece unless you understand what that piece is based on and what the words actually mean.
    This makes completely no sense at all.
    It’s like you criticising rhyme patterns in Don Quijote when you don’t speak Spanish.
    What does discourse mean? Heteronormativity? Gendered? Identity? Unless you understand those terms in context you cannot understand the context. You sound like a creationist going on about “evolution is just a theory”.

  65. Vivec says

    More cherrypicked quotes with no actual explanation about the content of the paper aren’t substantially different or better than the initial cherrypicked quotes.

  66. says

    Have you considered that you may be being fooled by pumpkins?
    And did you actually understand that even if that’s a horrible paper published in a legit journal it doesn’t say anything particular about the field as indicated by the title of this post?

  67. says

    Lol. Understanding those terms requires a 5 second google search, not thousands of pages of philosophical text.

    There is nothing wrong in being ignorant, but you shouldn’t be proud about it.

  68. says

    @Vivec
    Here is a summary:

    Many pumpkin pickers are Mexican.
    The enjoyment of pumpkin spice lattes by basic white girls is an example of white privilege because pumpkin spice lattes are expensive and not a necessary part of nutrition.
    Decorative gourd season signal class privilege and white privilege, as demonstrated in Martha Stewart’s lifestyle magazine, which is a white space.
    The televised launching of pumpkins out of cannons is a mostly white/masculine activity.
    The Keene riots, which were largely white and began at a pumpkin festival, received a different police response than the Ferguson riots. Pumpkin rioters were allowed to dialogue with police. Ferguson activists used pumpkins to protest this white privilege.

  69. says

    @Kristjan Wager
    This is the definition of heteronormativity from google:
    “denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation.”

    Correct my ignorance and tell me how experts in the field of gender studies define this term differently, and why the google definition is incorrect. Or you’re just talking shit.

  70. says

    @Vivec
    No, it is. White people enjoying pumpkins isn’t a demonstration of privilege, its a demonstration of preference. There is nothing that prevents black people from enjoying pumpkin spice lattes.

  71. says

    Anti-feminist bigots in atheism are a great demonstration of how you get shit like people believing in creationism.

    Like, it’s the same origins. You’ve got powerful white men spreading misinformation and saying that believing the misinformation makes you “right” in a way a huge swath of other people are trying to deny. You’ve got reinforcement of existing biases to push forward even when presented with evidence of your inaccuracy. You have dedicated lists of refutations to people critiquing your nonsense that you faithfully repeat often repeating the same tactics for derailing conversations including gish gallop, shifting goalposts, and demands for special attention so as to feel like an equal participant in a “debate”. You’ve even got aggressive quote-mining and believing that discredits an entire field of academic study despite the fact that the sole amount of knowledge you have on a subject is a bunch of frantic googling.

    And it all demonstrates something that deeply terrifies these dedicated anti-feminist atheists deeply. That they are not inherently better than the creationists they mock. That they are just as prone to delusional thinking and arguments from ignorance. That they aren’t some reasoned super-genius that is immune to being taken in by a bunch of rubes spouting bad science.

    And that’s a bitter pill for folks who only clinged to atheism because it made them feel morally superior to people of faith and nothing else.

  72. Vivec says

    The ability to purchase luxury goods is tied to wealth, and poverty rates are comparatively higher among people of color than among whites. Being able to routinely purchase luxury goods is a demonstration of privilege.

  73. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Cerberus, 96

    That they are not inherently better than the creationists they mock. That they are just as prone to delusional thinking and arguments from ignorance. That they aren’t some reasoned super-genius that is immune to being taken in by a bunch of rubes spouting bad science.

    And to be fair, the same is true of us. I’ve seen a fair bit of evidence to suggest that it’s, at least to some extent, the belief in their own intellectual superiority and immunity to delusional thinking that makes some people so vulnerable to it.

    The price of [good thing] is eternal vigilance and all that.

  74. says

    @Vivec

    The ability to purchase luxury goods is tied to wealth

    Which makes it a demonstration of class privilege, not race privilege. You cannot determine how easy it is for someone to purchase a pumpkin spice latte by looking at their race, because poor whites are in the exact same position as poor blacks in regards to their ability to purchase lattes.

  75. ragdish says

    What the penis article does for social science scholarship, this is similar:

    “Evolved foraging psychology underlies sex differences in shopping experiences and behaviors”

    Published in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of Social, Evolutionary, & Cultural Psychology.

    And this article was no hoax. Interesting that Boghossian et al. never mock those articles.

  76. Vivec says

    Right, but if you’re selecting for someone who doesn’t have the income to purchase luxury goods, you are substantially more likely to select a person of color than a white person.

  77. says

    @Cerberus

    something that deeply terrifies these dedicated anti-feminist atheists deeply.

    You may be a bit too confident in your ability to offer cutting psychological insights about people you’ve never met.

  78. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Which makes it a demonstration of class privilege, not race privilege.

    Wrong, since there is also difference in wealth/class between the “races”. You aren’t convincing anybody with logic that has holes the size of Montana in it, and appear to be only trolling us.

  79. says

    @Vivec
    And the determining factor is still wealth, not race.

    Since the privilege vanishes for poor whites, but is still present for rich black people, that would mean that not all white people have that aspect of white privilege, and some black people do.

    That is, I could line up a black CEO next to a homeless white dude and say that the black person has white privilege and the white person doesn’t. Which seems nonsensical to me.

  80. Vivec says

    Income inequality deals with populations, not individuals.

    People of color as a whole are disproportionately more likely to be poor than white people, even though there are indeed individuals within those groups that defy that inequality.

    In addition, income inequality isn’t the sum-total of white privilege, and privilege isn’t an all-or-nothing matter. It’s possibly to, for example, be a rich black person, and still have social disadvantages in fields other than income. Hence, say, Wiz Khalifa being slammed and cuffed for using a hoverboard in an airport, despite being a substantially rich person.

  81. says

    @Vivec
    But I was talking about privilege in reference to individuals, not income inequality in reference to individuals. And privilege is something that can be talked about on an individual level, hence your mentioning of Wiz Khalifa. And since we’re describing the ability to purchase lattes as an aspect of white privilege, that would mean that rich black people would have that aspect of white privilege.

    That’s why white privilege is a poor descriptor for this. If I make the statement that rich people can afford lattes, and that this is an aspect of class privilege, I am going to be right 100% of the time. If you make the statement that white people can afford lattes, and that this is an aspect of race privilege, you’re going to have some false positives and you will necessarily be defining rich black people as having this aspect of white privilege.

  82. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Like I’ve said in previous threads, I’m not interested in arguing with you. Sorry.

    Like I give a shit. My opinion was expressed, and you will deal with the consequences.

  83. says

    Nerd @110:

    Pfft, really? The troll who demands everyone debate her on her terms really tried to play the “I don’t want to argue with you” card. Well, no points for self-awareness I suppose.

    Also, apropos of nothing, I love Killfile.

  84. Vivec says

    Sure, “White people can afford lattes” wouldn’t be correct on the whole, but “White people are as a demographic more likely to be able to buy them than people of color, and this income inequality is a facet of racial inequality” is plainly obvious from the data.

  85. says

    If you want to demonstrate that an entire academic field is pathological, you have a tough task ahead of you. But it’s a task I’ve tried myself (for evopsych), so here are my tips: Look in an authoritative journal, find a recent paper you can understand with a bunch of citations. Then explain how the paper is fundamentally flawed, and nobody in the field should have taken it seriously.

    Just showing that there exists a weak paper is not enough. As a physicist, I see weak physics papers all the time, and so what.

  86. A. Noyd says

    The sad thing is, a paper or book about the socially constructed aspects of penises could be really interesting. Quite obviously we make a whole lot more of penises than the bare, biological fact of them. Like their imagined role in “taking” someone’s virginity—how they cause psychic contagion and loss of purity to the partner but not the owner. Or how and why so many people are scared of trans women’s penises. Anyone who can’t see the value in analyzing beliefs like that is the real fool.

  87. Vivec says

    Which, as mentioned, isn’t an all or nothing thing. A black cop isn’t likely to be the victim of police violence, for example, but might still be paid less for being black.

  88. says

    A fun thing to do is look to see why this random article about pumpkins is serving as the main thesis for this rant. A simple google search of “white people pumpkin spice latte” shows that there was a little right-wing flurry a bit ago (October 2016) about this article, same shallow takes mocking the concept, little digging into the meat, using it as a general argument against the value of the liberal arts and anti-racism work in particular:
    https://www.google.com/search?q=white+people+pumpkin+spice+latte

    Names of the veneral journals ranting about this include National Review, The Daily Caller, and probably most damning for our erstwhile troll, Heat Street.

    Y’know the paper that basically rose out of the Gate of Gators and still employs Ian Michael Cheong and has been for awhile now trying to argue that Google has a liberal bias.

    Now, am I saying that our ignorant anti-feminist troll is a veteran of the Gate of Gators or a reader of trash right-wing publications? No. But I guarantee she got her list from someone who absolutely is one of those two.

    So yeah, that’s what we’re dealing with.

    And the whole thing is completely idiotic because well, the article she’s trying desperately to move goalposts to mock is based on a real thing. We do have a cultural association of pumpkins with whiteness. White suburbia jack-o-lanterns at Halloween, white friendship with natives, pumpkin spice lattes being an easy weapon for misogynists to rant about white women*. And this is despite the origins of pumpkins and many pumpkin based activities being more indigenous or Mexican in origin. As such, there is value in unpacking that and its impact on culture and that has a lot of relevance as it underpins what is perennially a means of bagging on white women by lazy journalists:
    https://mic.com/articles/125839/white-people-and-pumpkins-a-history#.d77u1Zk7p

    *And let’s ignore the elephant in the room that is the fact that articles use things that are hot in the pop culture all the time. Which is why there are a ton of scientific papers on or inspired by the Sonic Screwdriver from Doctor Who:
    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=sonic+screwdriver

  89. says

    A. Noyd @117 Yup, it’s a veritable gold mine of useful analysis and there have been good scholarship on a lot of those aspects. Like, there’s so much meat there that ties into hugely relevant aspects of people’s lives but anti-feminists choose to remain so deeply hostile to the idea of even paying attention to it out of some weird tribal loyalty to a false idea of STEM as “male”, which is in itself a very recent cultural invention.

  90. says

    Addendum to myself @121

    Honestly, the whole thing reminds me a lot of right-wingers ranting about ramps for ducks or various ecological studies for their supposed “frivolity” because they lack any willingness to appreciate what those things they mock are actually doing and instead react like pavlovian dogs to things that have been carefully sold to seem “silly” by ideologues.

    And the fact that “skeptics” don’t get that they are doing the same thing as anti-science politicians and their followers and largely at the behest of the same sources of deliberate misinformation is tragic but sadly only too predictable.

  91. says

    @Vivec

    No, but they lack certain elements of racial inequality.

    Is this at all functionally different from the white privilege of being able to afford a latte?

  92. Vivec says

    Yes, “white privilege” specifically describes the phenomena of white people receiving social advantages as a demographic, so it’s definitionally contradictory to say that a black person has white privilege.

  93. chigau (違う) says

    Has anyone had a second pumpkin spice latte?
    I didn’t finish my first. I gave it to the pan-handler and they spat it out and tossed the cup in the dumpster.
    (I also gave them a toonie and change)

  94. says

    @Vivec
    Okay, so a rich white person and a rich black person both enjoy a pumpkin spice latte. The rich white person has just exercised his white privilege. The rich black person has just exercised his lack of certain elements of racial inequality. Is that right?

  95. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    What do you need to study for when a definition looked up on google lets you understand anything?

  96. Rob Grigjanis says

    Jessie Foster:

    I have finals I need to study for

    Advanced Intermediate Beginner Trolling? I don’t fancy your chances, but you might get points for effort.

  97. chigau (違う) says

    Jessie Foster #129
    Thanks for sharing your perspective. I think I’ll have to wrap it up here because I have finals I need to study for. Bye.
    confirmed troll

  98. says

    Shout out to some great comments lost in the back and forth:

    @101, ragdish

    What the penis article does for social science scholarship, this is similar:

    “Evolved foraging psychology underlies sex differences in shopping experiences and behaviors”

    Published in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of Social, Evolutionary, & Cultural Psychology.

    And this article was no hoax. Interesting that Boghossian et al. never mock those articles.

    Yup, that’s one field that does seem to seriously have major issues. But it’s not liberal enough for them to despise, I guess.

    @122, Cerberus

    Honestly, the whole thing reminds me a lot of right-wingers ranting about ramps for ducks or various ecological studies for their supposed “frivolity” because they lack any willingness to appreciate what those things they mock are actually doing and instead react like pavlovian dogs to things that have been carefully sold to seem “silly” by ideologues.

    And the fact that “skeptics” don’t get that they are doing the same thing as anti-science politicians and their followers and largely at the behest of the same sources of deliberate misinformation is tragic but sadly only too predictable.

    Now I’m reminded of my Trump supporter brother (and some of his traits which unfortunately rubbed off on me). An impulse to despise things that is sometimes extreme and misguided. Like (for a while): despising poetry (all of it, I guess), PlayStation, Wood Elves (from Morrowind, an otherwise awesome game on X-Box! Not PlayStation!), and Shakespeare, and John Kerry, and Paul Martin. My bro eventually made a book of poetry titled “Life’s Too Short For Shakespeare” (Available on Amazon! I also have a copy). Poetry was no longer entirely despised because he found that Bob Dylan-esque poetry suits him (he took on a Bob Dylan persona for a while). The movie “I’m Not There” about Bob Dylan had parts where I recognized my brother in the character, even the way my brother was before the movie was even made. His attitude, etc.

    I recently rediscovered my plans (and his reaction to my plans) for the Morrowind editor many years ago. He was horrified that I planned to create a nation where no Wood Elves would be allowed. They would have to either leave or die. He called this a holocaust, and planned to set up a place in his own nation to accept them as refugees (even though he didn’t like Wood Elves!). Me and him were like 12 and 14 at the time. I’m disturbed that I came up with that idea.

    And I’m disturbed about my related behavior at school, once or twice spewing my hate for poetry (until I saw its charm in grade 11), and PlayStation, and writing “Life’s Too Short For Shakespeare” on the public writing board as part of a feud between him and the teacher of that classroom.

  99. Hoosier X says

    I wonder what it’s like to be half as clever as Jessie Foster thinks he or she is?

    Does such a person exist?

  100. says

    I wonder what it’s like to be half as clever as Jessie Foster thinks he or she is?

    I’m more interested in what it’s like to have mind-reading superpowers like Hoosier X.

  101. says

    What do you need to study for when a definition looked up on google lets you understand anything?

    Unfortunately I’m not taking a gender studies class.

  102. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    You might think that google university only works on subjects you’re too ignorant to consider worthwhile, but look, I can do it with my own field of study:

    Relativity: the dependence of various physical phenomena on relative motion of the observer and the observed objects, especially regarding the nature and behaviour of light, space, time, and gravity.

    Are you honestly saying that we define relativity differently than google has done here? Truly, such mighty scholars as Deepak Chopra have used your powerful 5 second google technique to attain astonishing insights! See, google doesn’t just find definitions that you can copy and paste to signify understanding for topics you disdain – it does it for pretty much anything you want to look up. It really is that simple. So long as you’re not intellectually honest.

  103. says

    @Athywren – not the moon you’re looking for

    1. “the dependence of various physical phenomena” What does this mean? What physical phenomena ? What dependence?

    2. ” especially regarding the nature and behaviour of light, space, time, and gravity.” Please define the nature and behavior of light, space, time, and gravity.

  104. chigau (違う) says

    HTML lesson

    Doing this
    <blockquote>paste copied text here</blockquote>
    Results in this

    paste copied text here

    this works, too
    <b>bold</b>
    bold
    and this
    <i>italic</i>
    italic
    and just FYI
    <a href=”paste address here”>your cute linkname</a>
    your cutelinkname

  105. says

    Did I miss it? A guy paid $625 to have his prank paper published in a journal that no one reads?

    Tell me I’m not the only one to think of the bit played by Steve Carell and Dana Carvey:

  106. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Jessie Foster
    Ah, so what you’re saying is that, even if you have studied the subject in depth, and have a degree in it, merely quoting a definition from Google demonstrates no understanding at all? Gosh, that’s a useful insight!

    Relativity may be a bit more difficult to understand than heteronormativity, lmfao.

    You’d think so, but you’d be amazed at the stumbling blocks that people deliberately put in their own way, simply because they don’t like the implications of understanding. rotflmaoutmlteoashij

  107. lotharloo says

    I don’t know much about gender studies and I’m not going to dismiss it because of my ignorance. I’ll assume that there should be really good works published there as well as some really crappy ones. However, I don’t think people’s responses against Jessie Foster are very convincing. It is not a convincing defense to say “please read these 20 books”. You should be able to convey the gist of the rebuttal regardless of how technical it is because I read such rebuttals constantly whether they are done against climate science deniers or creationists. Afterall, we are having the debate on a blog that invented “Courtier’s Reply”.

  108. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @lotharloo
    I think something worth keeping in mind here is that Jessie is not responding to a claim made in this post or in the comments, nor by anyone commenting here. The closest thing to an actual argument being made is about this pumpkin spice paper, which seemingly nobody here had previously read, nor had much cause to read. (For what it’s worth, based only on the fragments which have been quoted, it seems like pumpkin spice lattes are simply being used as the nucleus of a discussion, in which the object referred to is of less relevance than the phenomena being discussed. I’d have to actually find and read a copy of the paper to be sure, but it seems like a safe bet so far.)
    This isn’t a case where we’re refusing to defend our own statements. This is someone dumping their own pet hate on us, demanding we defend it as if our failing to defend it would reflect the supposedly broken state of the social sciences, and pretty much being told to do their own homework.

    If Jessie truly wished to discuss the content or value of the paper, I would suggest that, as with the creationists, flat earthers, and climate change deniers who call in to the Atheist Experience demanding answers, they should probably go to the source of the claim, or, if that is too much to ask, at​least to actual experts in the relevant field.

  109. Hj Hornbeck says

    Amateur @142:

    Did I miss it? A guy paid $625 to have his prank paper published in a journal that no one reads?

    And then when it was published he and another guy bragged they’d discredited an entire field of study, and half the skeptic community bought into it, but you’re at least halfway there.

    lotharloo @144:

    However, I don’t think people’s responses against Jessie Foster are very convincing. It is not a convincing defense to say “please read these 20 books”.

    PZ linked to a specific rebuttal in the OP. The failed paper of Boghossian/Lindsay is going viral, earning two thinkpieces on Salon. I myself argued against a number of Foster’s arguments, and got ignored for my efforts. That says it all right there; we’re awash in basic defenses written for lay people, yet people like Foster are somehow clueless of the basics.

    Foster isn’t arguing in good faith, so there’s no obligation to take them seriously.

  110. says

    @Hj Hornbeck

    Foster isn’t arguing in good faith, so there’s no obligation to take them seriously.

    Clearly, you’re a troll who is just lying about everything. I am not going to take you seriously.

  111. says

    @Athywren – not the moon you’re looking for

    Ah, so what you’re saying is that, even if you have studied the subject in depth, and have a degree in it, merely quoting a definition from Google demonstrates no understanding at all? Gosh, that’s a useful insight!

    Nope. The definition you quoted was inadequate. Some words and concepts are actually more complicated than others.

    So you explain the nature and behavior of light, space, time, and gravity in reference to relativity, and I’ll gladly explain any aspect of the definition of heteronormativity which may be confusing to you:

    “denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation.”

  112. emergence says

    @ Jessie Foster

    I really don’t get your hostility to gender studies. There’s nothing unscientific about observing that people have certain cultural and social attitudes about gender, and then studying how people develop those attitudes and how they affect people. It’s not difficult to find papers on gender studies that meaningfully analyze how society treats gender. It’s almost like you and other people like you find the weirdest paper you can and fixate on it obsessively.

    Here are a few examples:
    A study on how sexism against women can lead to alcohol and tobacco abuse

    A study on how sexist beliefs can pass from mothers to daughters and how certain sexist beliefs can affect women’s and girls’ academic performance

    An overview/rethinking of the concept of hegemonic masculinity (the standard a society uses to define what a “real man” is)

    You should really ask yourself how you’re any different from those conservatives who always rant about scientific research they think is useless. They think they understand the contents of the papers they attack too.

  113. Ichthyic says

    Seems your bud Jerry Coyne thinks is the best laugh this century:

    Coyne, like Dawkins, should have retired a decade ago.

    really.

    they both did such a horrendous job analyzing the “impact” of this, which has FUCK ALL to do with gender studies, and everything to do with shoddy online journals, which are propagating apace, and actually are a serious issue.

    funny how Coyne entirely missed that it was panned by the first REAL gender studies journal they submitted it to.

    fuck these clowns, they have become worse than useless in the fight for good science.

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