Friday, 19 October 2012

And you thought this was only about postmodernism....

It turns out that academics who do complex mathematics can be a lot like academics who do complex critical theory. At least, they can both fall for the same hoaxes. Paul Taylor over at the LRB blog writes of how the journal Advances in Pure Mathematics seems to have fallen for a hoax similar to the one that Alan Sokal played on the journal Social Text. That is, they took seriously an article that was nonsense - but nonsense that sounded familiar.

See it here.

Well, at least it couldn't happen in history. Could it? I do wish someone would try.


  1. Of course, the Sokal hoax was actually published. This hoax was only peer reviewed by an anonymous reader for a publication that, according to the LRB blog comments, is not a serious journal.

    This blogger provides further evidence suggesting the publisher might not have the most rigorous of standards.

    It would be amusing, though, to see someone try it in history.

    1. Yes, good point Jeremy. It wasn't actually published. But it did get some way into the process and it might have gone further. Amusing, too, that the anonymous reviewer was so modest in his/her criticism.

  2. Agreed.

    By the way, when I wrote "this blogger" above I actually meant to link to the following: