Stossel: Academic Hoax

Journals applaud seven outrageously fake papers.

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Three academics conducted what they call a "grievance studies" experiment. They wrote fake papers on ridiculous subjects and submitted them to prominent academic journals in fields that study gender, race, and sexuality.

They did this to "expose a political corruption that has taken hold of the universities," say the hoaxers in a video which documented the process.

John Stossel interviewed James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian who, along with Helen Pluckrose, sent so-called research papers to 20 journals.

They were surprised when seven papers were accepted. One claimed that "dog humping incidents at dog parks" can be taken as "evidence of rape culture." It was honored as "excellent scholarship."

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The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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  1. My dog is so ugly, none of the other dogs at the park will hump her. Where can I sue, who can I sue? Who has the deep pockets around here?

    1. So they have their hands in their pockets? What are their hands doing?

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  2. Fake science is nearly as prolific as fake news these days. The institution of science is being corrupted every day by soft sciences, the news media and politicians. Sad.

    1. I think the argument was more that social sciences are not science. in fact, I think they were arguing that they are not even academic disciplines.

      1. There’s a way to have a disciplined approach towards social sciences. The problem is that many of these academic departments don’t care about discipline or objective truths. They are basically the Bob Jones Universities of the left, where students attend for indoctrination, rather than to learn.

        1. There’s a way to have a disciplined approach towards social sciences.

          Without gulags? Either you’re putting people in prison, accumulating knowledge pointlessly, or amassing knowledge that is, as an institution, inherently unethical to use.

          1. You’re thinking Gender Studies, Lesbian Dance Theory and other bullshit “disciplines”.

            Political Science, Sociology, Economics, Anthropology and Psychology are all social sciences that respected scholars have attempted to apply discipline (think libertarianism).

            1. think libertarianism

              Has libertarianism been more successful than socialism at applying discipline to Poly Sci, Sociology, Econ, Anthropology, and Psych?

          2. “Without gulags? Either you’re putting people in prison, accumulating knowledge pointlessly, or amassing knowledge that is, as an institution, inherently unethical to use.”

            That makes no sense. You can collect social data the same way as medical data is collected. It’s not perfect but there are ways of doing it to minimize noise (blinding, blocking, replicating etc) and actually gain insight into a question, if posed right. The problem is, many people are already biased and simply looking to confirm their bias. That is the problem and, I believe, the point of this article.

            1. I think you are right. Properly designing an experiment in any of the social sciences is really difficult. Much more difficult than designing a physics experiment or a chemistry experiment. Objectives and points are very difficult to come by. Rooting out bias is extremely difficult. Designing proper controls is sometimes almost impossible.

              That being said, the agenda departments like African American studies and women’s studies are essentially publishing editorial opinion pieces as scientific study. I have a couple of friends who circulate in that orbit and they do not understand the basic scientific process. Yet they get published and get plenty of grants.

              The analogy to religion is very apt. Their version of research is usually to find things other people have written and build upon that. So it is like a theology paper. There is no objective truth involved in it. Just a bunch of opinions dancing around on the head of a pin.

              1. Jeez Google, thanks for the last second auto correct.

                Objective end points

                Not objectives and points.

                Sheesh

                1. Agreed. To do a proper social study, you must have solid comprehension in statistics (a real hard science) and experimental design. Even then, most people use statistics improperly to make a totally biased conclusion. I would guess the majority of people in the socialism department do not have the proper discipline to attempt to understand the problems they are investigating so they write position papers and pass them off as scientifically rigorous. Of course, I could be wrong.

                  1. a real hard science

                    LOL! Statistics is the gateway whereby a hard science becomes soft… almost literally. Not saying we should do away with statistics of course, but anybody who comes away from statistics with the idea that statistics doesn’t allow you to effectively subvert empiricism wasn’t paying attention the founders of modern statistics (or were not heeding the warnings of the half that said you could lie and do immoral things with statistics and ignoring the other half that were using statistics to lie and do immoral things).

                    1. “Statistics is the gateway whereby a hard science becomes soft… almost literally. Not saying we should do away with statistics of course, but anybody who comes away from statistics with the idea that statistics doesn’t allow you to effectively subvert empiricism wasn’t paying attention the founders of modern statistics (or were not heeding the warnings of the half that said you could lie and do immoral things with statistics and ignoring the other half that were using statistics to lie and do immoral things).”

                      Yea not really. Unless you consider probabilistic physics soft science. Although I’ll agree it is the most abused of the sciences and people use it incorrectly to lie with often……which is why the credibility of these journals is in question (in the unlikely event they were ever credible to begin with). Statistics is a class many people take, and few understand/use properly. Like many things.

                    2. Although I’ll agree it is the most abused of the sciences and people use it incorrectly to lie with often……

                      Statistics is the most abused and misunderstood of the sciences and Marxism is the most abused of the political philosophies. Seriously, the ‘state’ in statistics isn’t referring to a state of being but specifically referring to The State, top-down observation, and manipulation. Graunt’s Natural and Political Observations upon the Bills of Mortality is widely regarded as the origin of statistics and Francis ‘The no-shit father of eugenics’ Galton is among the most prominent practitioners and advocates of modern statistics. The only statistician who looms larger is Fisher, whom repeatedly laments that statistics is a narrowly defined science

                      Unless you consider probabilistic physics soft science.

                      The exception that I make to statistics is probability and is akin to the neutrality I have towards voluntary communism. The impartial and abstract suggestion about the likely behavior of a particle gets lumped together with what is otherwise social policy masquerading as science. Even in probabilistic physics, you’ve got to admit that it’s softer than just physics:
                      If your experiment needs a statistician, you need a better experiment. – Ernest Rutherford

                    3. laments that statistics is a narrowly defined science

                      “laments that statistics *should be considered a more* narrowly defined science” that is. That a statistician’s “authority” in no way supersedes a more empirical authority such as a doctor or a mechanic.

                    4. Statistics is a branch of mathematics. It’s no more a science than music or art history is a science.

                    5. So…….. statistics is the Marxism of Science. Got it. Thx

                    6. So…….. statistics is the Marxism of Science. Got it. Thx

                      You’re right, I’m being slightly too harsh. As someone who isn’t resolutely opposed collectivism, it’s the collectivism of Science.

            2. That makes no sense. You can collect social data the same way as medical data is collected.

              To me, reduction to practice is the sine qua non.

              Root all the bias out of your experiment you like anywhere that bias exists or can’t be confirmed not to exist, your data doesn’t apply.

            3. “The problem is, many people are already biased and simply looking to confirm their bias. That is the problem and, I believe, the point of this article.”

              That’s certainly part of the problem. Another is funding. Minimizing noise means spending money. Scientists depend on grants for funding experiments, and the getting of grants probably plays a bigger part of a scientist’s daily concerns than we laypersons imagine.

              1. Actually it takes more planning than money. The key is that you must genuinely want to understand something instead of just proving your bias. Easier said than done.

                1. A sample of a million will yield more valuable results than a sample of ten. More expensive too. Same with a double blind protocol versus a study without a control. All the planning in the world isn’t going to change that.

                  1. Yea not really. A properly powered, well thought out design will typically yield much more useful information than a poorly designed/executed one with a million observations. Although, larger sample sizes are generally better.

                    1. “Although, larger sample sizes are generally better”

                      Of course. And more expensive. For the third time.

                    2. Way to ignore the point of my comment and simultaneously prove that people are only interested in proving their biases.

                    3. “Way to ignore the point of my comment ”

                      I’m not ignoring the point of your comment. Actually I acknowledged it in my very first comment in the thread, viz:
                      “That’s certainly part of the problem. ”
                      That’s the first sentence of my first comment.

                      I’m not ignoring your point. I’m expanding upon it. You blame the problem on unscrupulous researchers, I point out that under funding (smaller sample sizes etc) leads to dubious statistical results. (fourth time now)

        2. I put it down to increasing demands that every kid go to college. Most college students are punching the clock to get a diploma good for nothing bu proving the ability to be a drone for four years regardless of whether anything was learned. Those students have to attend some classes, which need equally vapid teachers; thus Gender Studies and all those other faux-sciences which used to be lumped together as basket weaving.

      2. Social sciences could be real sciences, but the academics in those fields don’t want them to be. Economics is the closest, but even there you have Austrians shitting the pants at the first whiff of data collecting.

        The problem is that people in the social sciences want them to be normative sciences. Why bother replicating a study when the results match your world view?

        1. “Social sciences could be real sciences”

          Science is the study of phenomena which are observable, measurable and repeatable. Social phenomena don’t fit the bill, and don’t let economists tell you otherwise. Economists can’t even define their terms, non-tautological definitions of ‘value,’ for example. I’d look to linguistics if you want to see social phenomena studied in a scientific way.

          “The problem is that people in the social sciences want them to be normative sciences. ”

          I’d say rather that the problem is the view that science is the ultimate arbitrator of what is truth, hence the need to illegitimately dress up social studies as though they were a variation of physics or chemistry.

          1. “Economists can’t even define their terms, non-tautological definitions of ‘value,’ for example. I’d look to linguistics if you want to see social phenomena studied in a scientific way.”

            This is a really good point regarding the definition of terms. I’m constantly confused by different uses of the terms liberal/conservative and right/left with regards to politics. Researchers define these terms using different parameters and that results in conclusions such as “Liberals have higher IQs than Conservatives” or “Conservatives donate more to charity than Liberals”. Whenever I see studies like this, I immediately question how the researcher determined what made a liberal/conservative?

          2. Yeah, don’t listen to mainstream “Economists” who don’t know the term literally means the efficient use of scare resources.

            You want definitions? Here:
            http://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Main_Page

            Economics, or really Praxeology, is the study of human action and choice. Data doesn’t really help that, as every person is different than every other person, and choses “A” over “B” for a different reason, and even a person will change what they do at different times.

            Remember, there isn’t one economy, or a national economy. There are over 7 billion economies.

  3. Stossel!!! You end on a TEASE?!?

    Ok, you officially suck! you finally get to some new content that I’m interested to hear, and you say, “wait for the next video!”. You suck, you suck, you suck you suck!

    Okay, I’ll wait. But hurry up and publish that damn video. I want to see how he justifies himself.

  4. I like the ‘Pyramid of Oppression’. It’s like you should consume 5-7 Prejudicial Attitudes and 1-2 Acts of Prejudice every day to maintain proper health. Genocides should be consumed only sparingly.

    God I hope it was built by a Jew.

  5. Aren’t these professors being disciplined by the University for what they did? I thought so….

    That way the rest of the faculty sees what happens to independent thinkers!

    1. Uncovering academic fraud is a valuable service to academia.

      Demonstrating that an entire academic discipline is fraudulent it is not a service to academia. It is a danger to the power structure and the powers-that-be.

      1. Killing one person is despicable murder. Killing millions is honorable war. Somehow that gets inverted in the faux-sciences.

  6. The really funny thing is that the people who tested the system are now getting grieved by their institutions for a bunch of crap, since the people who got shown to a bunch of fools are now claiming that they ‘faked data’, rather than admitting that the whole review process needs serious revision, since only an idiot could think that any of these studies were anything but satire. Typical. Just proves their point twice over.
    Best title “Going in Through the Back Door: Challenging Straight Male Homohysteria and Transphobia through Receptive Penetrative Sex Toy Use”. That paper was published!

    1. It was published because the editors believe straight men should have a dildo shoved up their ass.

  7. As I mentioned in a comment that disappeared, these vanity journals publish whatever they are paid to publish. If any apologies are needed, look to the author.

    1. And as I mentioned in my disappeared reply to your disappeared comment, these were not vanity journals, nor pay-to-publish. They are peer-reviewed journals and this was done to show the serious problems in their peer-review process

      1. “They are peer-reviewed journals ”

        Do any of these journals have names? Not trying to be too snarky here, but still.

        1. Gender, Place & Culture, Fat Studies, Sexuality & Culture, and Sex Roles published papers (all since retracted). Hypatia, Journal of Poetry Therapy, and Affilia accepted papers but did not publish them before the experiment was revealed.

          Gender, Place & Culture published the dog humping paper, and Affilia accepted the Mein Kampf excerpt

          1. They will probably step up their efforts to screen for fraudulent submissions. Creating an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust in the journal business might improve the publishing process. Sounds like a fine research project.

            1. Maybe, but they are so hopelessly entangled in intersectionality, they have no reliable way to unravel hokum from gimcrackery.

            2. They will probably step up their efforts to screen for fraudulent submissions

              That’s kinda the point. If you had a real academic discipline with real reviewers skilled in the field, you wouldn’t need to “screen for fraudulent submissions”, at least not in this way.

              These papers were not just using “made up data” to support a fake paper on a legitimate subject. They were written on intentionally ridiculous topics that had no prospect of being real, but that held a “world view” that the researchers supposed that the reviewers would support.

              Hence “dogs humping in the park” being a part of “rape culture”. It isn’t just a fraudulent paper. It is an obvious parody that ridicules their entire field. Yet they were so close to the parody that they couldn’t distinguish parody from their actual work.

              Further, their academic rigor was so weak that they couldn’t spot obviously implausible experimental designs.

              In the review process in a real field, experts within the field dissect the paper and look for weaknesses in the experimental design, results and interpretations. It doesn’t work 100% of the time, but it certainly wouldn’t fail the “laugh out loud parody” test presented by these researchers at nearly the rate these journals did. These guys were able to get their fake papers published at much higher rates than real papers get published in even second tier scientific journals.

              1. “These guys were able to get their fake papers published at much higher rates than real papers get published in even second tier scientific journals.”

                The journals make a point of being more inclusive, and obviously the review process is less rigorous than it could be. This leaves them open to fraudulent submissions. A discerning reader should treat anything they read as potentially fake.

  8. My intersectionality score is : 8

    I am more privileged than 88% of others!!!

    https://intersectionalityscore.com

  9. So we see what happens when you reach your conclusions first, and then search for data to support them. You’ll accept anything that has the right key words and phrases related to your preferences, even if they add up to nonsense. And if someone points out your error, they must be evil and should be punished.

    1. “So we see what happens when you reach your conclusions first, and then search for data to support them.”

      I don’t think that’s so unusual or reprehensible. Inspiration comes first in a lot of scientific enquiry. Newton and the apple, that German guy’s dream about orusborous (snake eating tail) and the benzine ring, Einstein’s gazing into a mirror, pondering travel at the speed of light. Conclusions first, then the academic leg work to make it stick.

      1. “Conclusions first, then the academic leg work to make it stick.”

        Sounds like a Supreme Court decision.

    2. “and then search for data to support them”

      Scientists have been guilty of much worse than this. They out-right fabricate data to fit their theories. Ptolemy and Mendel come to mind. But dig this: they were both right. A theory backed up by fraudulent data can still be correct. These journals may have the last laugh yet.

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  11. If these guys still vote Democrats are this and all the identity politics crap we see, their work is for naught and they remain part of the problem indirectly.

    The DNC (and Liberal party of Canada) are loons.

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