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Dining and dog sex get into the medical journals where it gets passed on to you. All that nonsense about eggs, coffee and fats were put out by hoaxers; people and doctors bought it and…well you know the results.

Hoaxers Slip Breastaurants and Dog-Park Sex Into Journals

One paper, published in a journal called Sex Roles, said that the author had conducted a two-year study involving “thematic analysis of table dialogue” to uncover the mystery of why heterosexual men like to eat at Hooters.

Another, from a journal of feminist geography, parsed “human reactions to rape culture and queer performativity” at dog parks in Portland, Ore., while a third paper, published in a journal of feminist social work and titled “Our Struggle Is My Struggle,” simply scattered some up-to-date jargon into passages lifted from Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”

Such offerings may or may not have raised eyebrows among the journals’ limited readerships. But this week, they unleashed a cascade of mockery — along with a torrent of debate about ethics of hoaxes, the state of peer review and the excesses of academia — when they were revealed to be part of an elaborate prank aimed squarely at what the authors labeled “grievance studies.”

“Something has gone wrong in the university — especially in certain fields within the humanities,” the three authors of the fake papers wrote in an article in the online journal Areo explaining what they had done. “Scholarship based less upon finding truth and more upon attending to social grievances has become firmly established, if not fully dominant, within these fields.” [snip]

The authors — Helen Pluckrose, James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian — said that four papers had been published; three had been accepted but not yet published; seven were under review and six had been rejected.

Embarrassed journal editors quickly stamped the word “Retracted” across published papers this week, while the hoax drew appreciation from scholars who tend to be skeptical of work focusing on race, gender, sexuality and other forms of identity.

“Is there any idea so outlandish that it won’t be published in a Critical/PoMo/Identity/‘Theory’ journal?” the psychologist and author Steven Pinker tweeted.

Yascha Mounk, a political scientist at Harvard, called the hoax “hilarious and delightful” on Twitter. In an interview, he said of the authors, “What they have shown is that certain journals, and perhaps to an extent certain fields, can’t distinguish between serious scholarship and a ridiculous intellectual hoax.” [snip]

But where some saw a healthy unmasking of pernicious nonsense, others — including a number who work far from the more outré realms of the humanities — saw a sour, nasty rerun of a culture-wars chestnut that proved little more than that you can always fool some of the people some of the time. [snip]

Historical happenings

10/22/1824 The Tennessee Legislature adjourns ending David “Davy” Crockett‘s state political career.

10/22/1907 ~ Ringling Brothers buys Barnum & Bailey.

10/22/1999 Maurice Papon, formerly an official in the Vichy France government during World War II, is jailed for crimes against humanity for his role in deporting more than 1,600 Jews to concentration camps.

Stilton’s Place

Ponder this

Unity in faith is theocracy; unity in politics is fascism.

~ Maajid Nawaz


If for some reason, you missed the Orionids this morning, there is a good chance that the show will be good tomorrow AM.

More data at Space Weather.

THE ORIONID METEOR SHOWER–UPDATE: This weekend, Earth is crossing through a stream of dust from Halley’s Comet, source of the annual Orionid meteor shower.The shower is expected to peak on Sunday, Oct. 21st, with rates of ~20 meteors per hour. However, Halley’s debris stream is broad and the shower could spill into Monday, Oct. 22nd, as well. The best time to look is during the hours before local sunrise when Orion is high in the sky and the waxing-full Moon is hanging low in the west.