As readers may know, I have been very critical of Peter Boghossian in the past. Nevertheless, when the man pulls off a stunt that is both enlightening and entertaining, I have to acknowledge it.
Boghossian, and his sidekick James Lindsay, were able to get a paper published in a social science journal. The problem? It was all a hoax. Boghossian and Lindsay, using fake names and fake affiliations, actually published a paper that not only argues penises are social constructs, but blames climate change on them.
Here’s the abstract:
Anatomical penises may exist, but as pre-operative transgendered women also have anatomical penises, the penis vis-à-vis maleness is an incoherent construct. We argue that the conceptual penis is better understood not as an anatomical organ but as a social construct isomorphic to performative toxic masculinity. Through detailed poststructuralist discursive criticism and the example of climate change, this paper will challenge the prevailing and damaging social trope that penises are best understood as the male sexual organ and reassign it a more fitting role as a type of masculine performance.
This easily passed peer review. Do we need any further evidence of just how much postmodernism intellectually corrupts academia?
Anyway, I love the humor they snuck into the article:
ABOUT THE AUTHORS Jamie Lindsay, PhD, and Peter Boyle, EdD, represent a dynamic team of independent researchers working for the Southeast Independent Social Research Group, whose mission is obvious in its name. While neither uses Twitter, both finding the platform overly reductive, they incorporate careful reading of the relevant academic literature with observations made by searching trending hashtags to derive important social truths with high impact. In this case, their particular fascination with penises and the ways in which penises are socially problematic, especially as a social construct known as a conceptual penis, have opened an avenue to a new frontier in gender and masculinities research that can transform our cultural geographies, mitigate climate change, and achieve social justice.
And then this:
PUBLIC INTEREST STATEMENT Penises are problematic, and we don’t just mean medical issues like erectile dysfunction and crimes like sexual assault. As a result of our research into the essential concept of the penis and its exchanges with the social and material world, we conclude that penises are not best understood as the male sexual organ, or as a male reproductive organ, but instead as an enacted social construct that is both damaging and problematic for society and future generations. The conceptual penis presents significant problems for gender identity and reproductive identity within social and family dynamics, is exclusionary to disenfranchised communities based upon gender or reproductive identity, is an enduring source of abuse for women and other gender-marginalized groups and individuals, is the universal performative source of rape, and is the conceptual driver behind much of climate change.
Newsflash to the social scientists. When your peers can’t tell the difference between a joke and science, it’s probably because your science is a joke.
Here is their account of the hoax.