Sunday, June 24, 2012

Alan Sokal's "Fashionable Nonsense"

About the critical theorists and how they abuse science at times to make their points, literally blabbering on about things they know nothing about to make themselves look more intelligent. Sokal was first known for creating a paper that was a montage of the writing of critical theorists that refuted the notion of gravity as a social construction, that was accepted into the journal "Social Text".

I like the fact that they've taken down some of these people, but I can't help but think that more attention should be paid to the opposite trend: people who know nothing about the social sciences, but have a hard science background, making pronouncements about society and being taken seriously. The folks that Sokal cites use hard science and math concepts improperly and are accepted for it, but scientists who have either purely studied genes, like Richard Dawkins, or who have spent most of their careers studying birds, like Jared Diamond, and who have either never studied the behavior of actual, living, people or societies, or have done so only briefly, get more respect than folks who professionally study actual, living, individuals. Sociologists are looked down on as being non-scientific, while folks who spend all their time looking at genes are thought to be experts on how society functions, simply because they have a hard science PhD. So called "Evolutionary Psychologists" get more attention than Anthropologists who have actually lived among isolated tribes studying them for years at a time.


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