Last month, two academics wrote a hoax paper. Their preferred journal didn’t accept it, but did suggest an alternative publication. They sent the paper to the recommended outlet, and it was published.
The paper? “The conceptual penis as a social construct.” The Skeptic provided an overview; Professor Gad Saad chortled over its sheer genius. Though a brilliant parody, as a send-up of postmodern academic insanity it fell a tad flat: it was merely published online, and probably not peer-reviewed.
But before you could say “Western civilization is in the toilet and circling the drain,” an equally idiotic paper came to light, published in The Minnesota Review, and apparently offered in earnest by an academic working in “women’s and gender studies.” Entitled “Assembled Bodies: Reconfiguring Quantum Identities,” the abstract (worth reading in full*) does not mention truth, predictive power, or evidence to advance knowledge of physics. Instead, it pushes the “combining” of “intersectionality and quantum physics” to “provide for differing perspectives on organizing practices long used by marginalized people,” etcetera. Basically, the problem of physics is not that it is hard, but that it is “oppressive.”
Meanwhile, historian Tom Woods** discovered a University of Hawaii math teacher who admits to not finding math interesting. She blogged her confession about wanting white cis-male mathematicians to quit their jobs “or at least take a demotion” and — if in a “position of power” — resign.
None of this is about the advancement of learning. What we see here is
- a new racism — from non-whites directed against white people — and
- a new sexism — from women and others who are not heterosexual males directed against, you guessed it, heterosexual males
. . . all packaged in cryptic, pretentious, prolix nonsense.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* I found it quoted on the Powerline blog: “In this semimanifesto, I approach how understandings of quantum physics and cyborgian bodies can (or always already do) ally with feminist anti-oppression practices long in use. The idea of the body (whether biological, social, or of work) is not stagnant, and new materialist feminisms help to recognize how multiple phenomena work together to behave in what can become legible at any given moment as a body. By utilizing the materiality of conceptions about connectivity often thought to be merely theoretical, by taking a critical look at the noncentralized and multiple movements of quantum physics, and by dehierarchizing the necessity of linear bodies through time, it becomes possible to reconfigure structures of value, longevity, and subjectivity in ways explicitly aligned with anti-oppression practices and identity politics. Combining intersectionality and quantum physics can provide for differing perspectives on organizing practices long used by marginalized people, for enabling apparatuses that allow for new possibilities of safer spaces, and for practices of accountability.”