The Irrationality of Feminism: Remembering the Sokal Affair

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School 3

Author: Theodore Labadie

Some
time
ago
I
was
talking
with
a
feminist
of
long
acquaintance
about
our
different
reasons
for
going
to
school.
I
wanted
to
learn
something
useful
and
dig
myself
out
of
poverty.
She,
quite
to
the
contrary,
had
no
interest
in
learning
anything
useful,
only
to
learn
how
“to
talk
like
academics”
having
overheard
their
discussions
around
town
in
cafes
and
the
like.
They
had
impressed
her,
using
a
language
with
unfamiliar
words
whose
meaning
she
could
only
guess
at,
discussing
such
“impressive”
and
esoteric
subjects
as
the
construction
of
femininity
in
literature.
Although
she’s
never
read
Simone
du
Buvoir
I’m
certain
that
she
would
agree
with
her
thesis
that
our
understanding
of
the
female
mind
as
a
consciousness
quite
different
and
distinct
from
the
male
mind
has
no
origin
in
biology
whatsoever.
As
I
understand
the
theory,
the
female
mind
is
completely
an
artificial
construct
forced
on
women
by
culture.

Which
is
nonsense.
Women
are
not
made;
they
are
born.
It
should
be
inconceivable
that
the
sex
endowed
with
the
biologic
machinery
to
gestate,
breastfeed,
and
nurture
infants
would
not
by
necessity
also
be
endowed
with
the
mental
machinery
to
use
their
sex-specific
organs
of
procreation
for
maximal
genetic
and
evolutionary
advantage
and
it
should
not
be
a
surprise
that
this
template
informs
their
entire
psyche.
Yet,
this
is
exactly
the
message
we
get
from
the
academy:
there
is
no
such
thing
as
human
nature.

The
study
of
the
biological
provenance
of
human
nature
was
at
one
time
called
sociobiology,
but
feminist
and
leftist
propaganda
has
so
demonized
the
word
that
it
can
no
longer
be
used
safely.
Instead,
euphemisms
like
“evolutionary
psychology”
were
invented,
but
they
too
are
used
only
with
difficulty
and
with
great
resistance
from
most
leftist
academics.
I
remember
reading
how
the
progenitor
of
sociobiology,
Edward
O.
Wilson,
a
venerable
old
Southerner
who
is
perhaps
the
world’s
preeminent
biologist
and
a
writer
of
Pulitzer
Prize-winning
caliber
was
assaulted
by
members
of
the
leftist
International
Committee
Against
Racism
who
dumped
a
pitcher
of
water
over
his
head
during
a
conference,
chanting
that
he
was “all
wet.”

Good
thing
they
had
never
heard
him
say, “Karl
Marx
was
right,
socialism
works,
it
is
just
that
he
had
the
wrong
species.”

So
much
for
the
sanctity
of
reasoned
academic
discourse.
But
to
my
mind,
there
is
no
event
that
better
illustrates
the
intellectual
poverty
of
leftists
and
feminists
and
in
particular
the
language
they
use
in
our
institutions
of
higher
learning
than
the Sokal
affair
.

In
1996
Alan
Sokal,
a
professor
of
physics
at
New
York
University,
became
dismayed
by
the
lack
of
intellectual
rigor
in
the
humanities
and
by
the
pervasive
notion
that
science
was
socially
constructedan
unprivileged
method
of
acquiring
knowledge.
Determined
to
do
something,
he
submitted
a
paper
to
an
interdisciplinary
postmodern
journal, Social
Text
.
The
paper,
“Transgressing
the
Boundaries:
Towards
a
Transformative
Hermeneutics
of
Quantum
Gravity,”
was
a
hoax.
It
was
purposely
crammed
with
obscure
leftist
and
feminist
jargon,
appealed
constantly
to
academic
authority
through
the
prodigious
use
of
quotations,
made
outrageous
scientific
claims
that
anyone
with
some
knowledge
of
physics
would
recognize
as
suspicious,
and
although
grammatically
correct
was
completely
impenetrable.
It
made
no
sense
at
all.
The
paper
was
accepted
uncritically
and
published
without
peer
review.
Here’s
a
taste:


One
characteristic
of
the
emerging
postmodern
science
is
its
stress
on
nonlinearity
and
discontinuity:
this
is
evident,
for
example,
in
chaos
theory
and
the
theory
of
phase
transitions
as
well
as
in
quantum
gravity.
At
the
same
time,
feminist
thinkers
have
pointed
out
the
need
for
an
adequate
analysis
of
fluidity,
in
particular
turbulent
fluidity.
These
two
themes
are
not
as
contradictory
as
it
might
at
first
appear:
turbulence
connects
with
strong
nonlinearity,
and
smoothness/fluidity
is
sometimes
associated
with
discontinuity
(e.g.
in
catastrophe
theory);
so
a
synthesis
is
by
no
means
out
of
the
question.

Every
statement
makes
an
unsubstantiated
claim,
except,
apparently,
in
Sokal’s
use
of
quotations
which
seem
to
be
always
taken
out
of
context
in
a
cut-and-paste
approach
to
mimic
the
evidence-follows-claim
convention
of
academic
writing.
Yet
the
evidence
is
false
and
nonsensical,
in
no
way
explaining
his
postulates.
For
example,
what
does
he
mean
by
“nonlinearity”
in
the
context
of
an
“emerging
postmodern
science”
and
how
is
it
evident
in
chaos
theory,
phase
transition
theory,
and
quantum
gravity?
Phase
transition
is
the
transformation
of
the
physical
state
of
matter
from
solid
to
liquid,
liquid
to
gas,
etc.
It
is
not
a
theory;
it
is
a
fact
that
anyone
can
observe
by
watching
ice
melt.
In
the
sense
that
effect
immediately
follows
cause
(as
when
you
apply
heat
to
ice
it
turns
to
liquid
water)
it
is
also
perfectly
linear.
As
to
quantum
gravity,
I’ve
read
that
there’s
no
evidence
as
of
yet
to
show
that
it
actually
exists.
It’s
still
only
a
gleam
in
some
scientist’s
eye.
Being
non-extant
there
is
only
one
thing
that
quantum
gravity
can
say
concerning
the
philosophy
of
science
or
even
of
society:
nothing.

On
publication
of
his
paper
Sokal
exposed
his
hoax
in
the
journal Lingua
Franca
.
The
editors
of Social
Text

immediately
cried
foul
and
added
a
misplaced
criticism
of
Sokal’s
writing
style.
They
missed
the
point,
entirely.
Sokal’s
intent
was
to
write
badly
(and
think
badly)
yet
have
his
poor
scholarship
overlooked
due
to
its
superficial
accordance
with
leftist
ideology.
It
is
very
simple:
most
people
will
accept
anything
uncritically
provided
that
it
sounds
like
something
they
already
believe.

The
Sokal
affair
is
described
as
famous
but
I
have
never
heard
anyone
in
the
academy,
student
or
instructor,
discuss
it
or
even
to
have
heard
about
it
without
my
introduction.
I
suppose
this
is
because
leftists
find
the
Sokal
affair
so
deeply
embarrassing.
They
should.
It
exposes
the
deep
poverty
of
intellectual
discourse
in
our
universities,
a
pry
bar
laying
waste
to
rusting
scrap,
the
impressive
language
so
admired
by
my
feminist
acquaintance
hot
air.

I
should
point
out
that
Sokal
is
not
an
anti-feminist.
In
fact,
he
is
a
leftist
who
wanted
to
point
out
that
his
compatriots
were
shooting
themselves
in
the
foot
by
accepting
uncritically
the
kind
of
claptrap
he
parodies
in
“Transgressing
the
Boundaries.”
No
matter.
A
writer
takes
what
he
needs
where
he
finds
it.
I
suppose
I
should
also
disclose
that
at
one
time
I
uncritically
accepted
the
label
of
“leftist,”
though
no
longer.
I
am
neither
left
nor
right,
only
a
man
who
out
of
life
desires
nothing
more
than
for
his
mind
to
be
completely
free
of
false
convention
and
ideology.
And
although
such
perfect
freedom
may
be,
as
it
is
with
the
possession
of
perfect
truth,
unattainable
it
is
nonetheless
a
very
worthy
goal
on
which
to
base
a
silly
little
life.
There
are
indeed
some
people
who
will
die
for
the
fact
that
2
plus
2
equals
4.

The
entire
text
of
Sokal’s
“Transgressing
the
Boundaries:
Towards
a
Transformative
Hermeneutics
of
Quantum
Gravity”
is
available
in
pdf
form here.

Original Story on AVFM
These stories are from AVoiceForMen.com.
(Changing the cultural narrative)

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