Science Wars: The Next Generation


Science Wars: The Next Generation

By Michael Harris

Volume 22, number 1, The Return of Radical Science

In October 2018, three professors revealed an elaborate hoax: they had written specious articles using the jargon of cultural studies and had succeeded in publishing them in prestigious academic journals. Their feat was widely heralded as a revival of the infamous “Science Wars” of the 1990s. In both episodes, science “warriors” sought to defend scientific objectivity from perceived threats posed by scholars who treated science as a cultural phenomenon. Today, right-wing attacks on science, alongside the escalating climate crisis, have raised the stakes of defending scientific facts and of highlighting the political nature of science.

The revival of the Science Wars coincides with the return of radical science. The contributions of radical scientists and scholars to the 1990s debates were under-appreciated at the time and are now all but forgotten. We have the opportunity to correct that history and provide a more visible platform for their perspectives. Radical analyses have much to offer on the enduring problems of truth and politics, and they will provide essential insights as we tackle the challenge of defining the priorities of the newly energized mass movement symbolized by the March for Science.

The First Science Wars

By most conventions, the Science Wars started with the 1994 publication of Higher Superstition by biologist Paul R. Gross and mathematician Norman Levitt. The book’s subtitle—The Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science—makes it clear, however, that the authors saw their sortie as a defensive reaction to an aggression by hostile outside forces. While their book targeted a vast array of intellectual trends, neither limited to the academy nor especially leftist, what particularly incensed Gross and Levitt was the facile view of objectivity in science exemplified by the following quotation from cultural studies scholar Andrew Ross:

While the original story of science is still being told in opposition to the humanist tradition of rhetoric, in recent years critics have come to see science itself as just another form of rhetoric; one with particularly aggressive claims on objectivity.1

Like some (but by no means all) of the authors attacked by Gross and Levitt, Ross argued that scientific claims on objectivity served as an ideological smokescreen for domination and oppression. This situated their critique of science on the “left.” However, their academic arguments were rooted in the field of Science Studies, an international, interdisciplinary, and critical tendency in the history and sociology of science.2 Science Studies drew on the philosophy developed by Ludwig Wittgenstein in the later part of his career and on the perspective on the history of science, often labelled “social constructivism,” that was initiated in the 1960s by figures like T.S. Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend, and that emphasizes the complex interdependence of science and “external” factors in the realm of society and politics. Precursors and contemporary scholars were all lumped together in the Gross-Levitt book as “relativists,” “deconstructionists,” or “postmodernists”—or even more implausibly as the “academic left,” although Science Studies had no intrinsic political orientation.

In his scathing review of Higher Superstition, radical SftP biologist Richard Lewontin highlighted Gross and Levitt’s lack of rigor in tackling complex philosophical issues and portrayed the book and the surrounding commotion as one more, inevitably futile attempt to settle once and for all the epistemological tension underlying western philosophy since its beginning:

Gross and Levitt know that there are serious problems in epistemology, but they announce their intention to ignore these problems because they have already been disposed of by others: “This is a book about politics and its curious offspring, not about epistemology or the philosophy of science; we cannot therefore refute, in abstracto, the constructionist view. . . . Nor are we obliged to do so: serious philosophers have been at it for decades” (p. 48). Decades, indeed! Since Plato’s cave.3

Then, in 1996, Andrew Ross, together with fellow literary scholar Bruce Robbins, edited a special issue of the journal Social Text that they intended as a critical response to Higher Superstition. But, soon after the issue’s release, Alan Sokal, a physicist and NYU colleague of Ross, revealed that he had published a nonsensical article in the very same issue of Social Text and said he had done so in order to expose the pretensions of the academic critics of scientific objectivity targeted by Gross and Levitt. This revelation sparked a media deluge that all but drowned out the sophisticated voices of radical critics. Some prominent scientists, including evolutionary theorist Richard Dawkins, sociobiologist E. O. Wilson, and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg came out in vigorous support of Sokal. In contrast, historians and sociologists of science, and social scientists more generally, condemned Sokal for his lack of collegiality and characterized the affair as an attempt by scientists (especially physicists) and analytic philosophers to assert their right to police the boundaries of their disciplines. Although the combatants ultimately ceased fighting without any clear victories, the “war” produced years of often harsh recriminations and left bitter memories.

IQ, Sociobiology, and SftP

Readers are free to date the outbreak of the Science Wars to any time between Plato, Kuhn, and Gross-Levitt. My own Science Wars began in 1973 when I heard Lewontin speak at Harvard, where I had just arrived as a graduate student. His topic was the recent rash of claims by professors at prestigious universities4 that IQ was both heritable and indicative of intellectual potential. The implication, they argued, was that the socioeconomic status of a given racial group in the US was determined by their collective DNA, and thus it was pointless to hope that this would change through social or political intervention.

Lewontin would soon join SftP’s Sociobiology Study Group (SSG), which had formed in 1975 to analyze and respond to E. O. Wilson’s attempts, in his new book Sociobiology, to apply insights from the study of animal societies to human politics. As summarized in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Wilson argued “that many problematic or harmful features of current societies, such as oppressive gender roles, negative race relations and interpersonal aggression might be unchangeable”5 because they are rooted in our genes. As SSG members Jon Beckwith and John Durkin wrote:

Sociobiologists suggest that  “mother nature is sexist,” and that such social facts as the sexual double standard, heterosexual rape and the dearth of women in “science, government and business” are a consequence of natural selection which operated on males and females differently. Others propose that evidence exists for different brain structure in men and women, which in turn leads to the different sex roles found in society (including differential math performance). Or, it is suggested that the different hormonal make-up of men and women can explain the social differences we observe.6

Three of my close friends joined the SSG, and over the next ten years I was fortunate to attend a number of their meetings—I specifically remember attending one at Harvard in which the prominent feminist scholar Evelyn Fox Keller criticized one of the first of many studies that claimed that women were biologically less capable than men in mathematics.7 In his articles and public talks, Lewontin specialized in pointing out that sociobiological conclusions were hopelessly flawed by their authors’ misunderstanding of the basic principles of population genetics, as well as of elementary statistics. He further challenged the association of genes with social behavior and even diseases except in some singular cases, and he questioned the logic of separating environmental and hereditary factors when genetically related people share environments and cultures. Lewontin’s colleague Stephen Jay Gould dismantled the IQ debate in The Mismeasure of Man, which demonstrated how efforts to reduce intelligence to a number (like IQ) were consistently accompanied by the motivation to justify existing racial, ethnic, class, and gender hierarchies.

Science Studies scholars would call these interventions social constructivist; consistent with their Marxist orientation, Lewontin and Richard Levins called them dialectical.8 It’s not an accident that the coalescence of Science Studies as an academic discipline coincided with SftP’s two decades of existence. Many foundational texts of Science Studies9 were written while SftP Magazine was being published. An examination of the literature of the time shows that the overlap was not merely temporal but also intellectual: Science Studies scholars engaged with (and as) members of SftP and sometimes contributed to SftP publications.10 Moreover, the entry on “Feminist perspectives on science” in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy includes SftP activists Ruth Hubbard, Evelyn Fox Keller, Richard Lewontin, and Richard Levins, in its list of “most frequently cited feminist science scholars,” along with Hilary Rose who worked with SftP’s British counterpart.

Review of the Science Wars

So many long-simmering conflicts were superimposed upon each other at the height of the Science Wars that it should really be described as a conflict of caricatures, rather than an opportunity for serious intellectual exchange; “talking past one another” was the preferred form of discourse, as one participant pointed out at the time.11 Sokal himself created a major distraction when he joined forces with the Belgian physicist Jean Bricmont in a book-length attack, entitled Fashionable Nonsense, on the French intellectual scene and the supposed propensity of some of its leading figures to inflate their reputations by inept or meaningless allusions to the hard sciences. Apart from this academic remake of the Hundred Years’ War, Science Wars face-offs included (but were not limited to) oppositions within academic philosophy (analytic/continental, realism/nominalism, empiricism/postmodernism, and many more) and between campus departments (social sciences/”hard” sciences, humanities/sciences, canonical disciplines/interdisciplinary “studies” programs), or more generally the confrontation of anti-intellectual “common sense” with academic jargon, or alternatively with “political correctness.” Making things worse, the Science Wars’ noisiest battlefields were the international news media, and even the coarsest of the subtle distinctions within opposing camps dissolved in a soup of soundbites. As we’ll see in a moment, there were scientists on both sides of the demilitarized zone where I found myself.

Amidst this confusion of overlapping altercations and missed signals, Sokal and his supporters were driven by the perceived need to defend scientific objectivity from irrational attacks, whether from religious obscurantism on the right, standpoint epistemologies on the left, “fashionable nonsense” translated from French, or relativism at any point on the political spectrum. The case of physicist Steven Weinberg, one of Sokal’s most outspoken advocates, illustrates the danger of oversimplifying the motivations of the main Science Warriors. As a professor at the University of Texas, the Nobel laureate was deeply involved in the fight to keep creationism out of Texas schools—the kind of concern that has resurfaced recently with the March for Science, and in the many posters of the resistance to the Trump administration that affirm that “Science is Real.” At the same time, Weinberg was the most visible leader of the project to build the superconducting supercollider (SSC) in Texas, and the support Sokal received from high-energy physicists like Weinberg was widely interpreted (with little evidence) as spite at declining federal support for science, symbolized by SSC’s cancellation. As Dorothy Nelkin wrote,

I believe that the moral outrage of scientists stems from changes occurring in the field of science itself and in its relationship to sources of financial support. Many scientists seem to believe that their status in society is at riskand they are looking for someone to blame.12

Whatever his motivations may have been, Weinberg’s popular books and articles display a commitment to a positivist epistemology at odds with the critical approaches typical of Science Studies. This is one of the unresolved differences that has continued to divide academics and provided the fuel for the next generation of Science Wars, to which I will turn following a brief account of the forgotten voices of the radical science movement in the 1990s.

Where was Radical Science?

Unfortunately, another effect of [Sokal’s] prank will be to feed the anti-intellectualism of the media and the public. Now people who have been doing brilliant, useful work for years in the social construction of science—some of whom (Dorothy Nelkin, Hilary Rose, Ruth Hubbard) are represented in that same issue of Social Text—will have to suffer, for a while, the slings and arrows of journalists …

– Katha Pollitt, The Nation, 1996

From my early apprenticeship in radical science I drew two lessons. The first is that science needs to be critiqued when its applications sustain violence or injustice, or when it is manipulated to serve the interests of the powerful. Alan Sokal was outspoken in his identification with the political left and had no quarrel with this aspect of radical science. But there was also a second lesson: that science is not self-justifying, that its meaning is inseparable from presuppositions and prejudices that are embedded in the social structure, and that not every question that can be raised is necessarily best answered through science. The leftists among Sokal’s supporters assumed that scientists were naturally fair-minded and would make every effort to control for these prejudices. Activists in SftP had always found this assumption questionable.

It’s therefore not surprising that a handful of prominent figures from the radical science movement were visible in the Science Wars—on the Science Studies side. Ruth Hubbard, Richard Levins, and Hilary Rose all contributed chapters to the Social Text issue containing Sokal’s hoax, and Lewontin joined them in the expanded version published by Duke University Press.13 But the radical science movement as such was not represented, for the simple reason that its institutions had largely ceased to exist when SftP stopped publishing in 1990. The Social Text editors acknowledged the presence of radical tendencies in science by inviting Hubbard and the others; but they gave no hint that they had ever belonged to an organized movement. Science for the People had a twenty-year archive of critical science, including articles on many of the topics subsequently taken up by Science Studies;14 but not one of the Social Text articles mentions SftP. One can’t overestimate the importance of this absence. It made it possible for the “anti-intellectual” media—including those that primarily served the academic community—to promote the perception that scientists were united in their opposition to Science Studies. Moreover, it created a lasting impression that the only significant axis of difference lay between realists and constructivists, thus setting a precedent for the marginalization of political critique of power that continues to plague debates surrounding the nature of scientific truth today.

“Sokal Squared”

Scientists who came of age in the twenty-first century would, until recently, have viewed the “Science Wars” as yesterday’s news, a minor postscript to the Culture Wars of the 1990s. If they thought of them at all, it was most likely in connection to the Sokal Hoax. Journalists must have been counting on the survival of the Sokal label when they used the expression “Sokal Squared” to announce, in October 2018, that three professors had carried out a successful guerrilla operation across academic lines, getting not one but seven nonsensical articles through the refereeing process of journals specializing in what they called “Grievance Studies.” By the time the authors revealed the reasons for their hoax, four of the seven had already been published online.15

The “Sokal Squared” authors address themselves to “those who believe in liberalism, progress, modernity, open inquiry, and social justice” in decrying “the identitarian madness coming out of the academic and activist left”:

Scholarship based less upon finding truth and more upon attending to social grievances has become firmly established, if not fully dominant … within these fields, and their scholars increasingly bully students, administrators, and other departments into adhering to their worldview. This worldview is not scientific, and it is not rigorous.16

For grievance studies scholars, science itself and the scientific method are deeply problematic, if not outright racist and sexist, and need to be remade to forward grievance-based identitarian politics over the impartial pursuit of truth.17

Lindsay et al. identify “radical constructivism” as the core problem of “grievance studies,” and they see it at work throughout the social sciences and humanities.

All kinds of things accepted as having a basis in reality due to evidence are instead believed to have been created by the intentional and unintentional machinations of powerful groups in order to maintain power over marginalized ones.18

The authors thus establish an axis of political orientation that places scientificity along with progress and social justice at their end, with “the academic and activist left” nursing its grievances at the other end. Spurred by the media, some prominent veterans of the original Science Wars, including Richard Dawkins and Sokal himself, reformed their battalions in defense of Peter Boghossian, who faces disciplinary proceedings at his home institution of Portland State University for his role in Sokal Squared.19

Today’s radical science movement, including the revived Science for the People, arose during the same political moment, but with a very different orientation. However, and very unfortunately, it was nowhere to be seen when the Sokal Squared story broke! Here again, one can’t over-emphasize the significance of this absence. The radical science movement could, and should, be alert to these opportunities to redirect media attention away from endlessly recycled arguments about relativism and toward a critical analysis of the political stakes of scientific knowledge.

Feminism as Privileged Target

It’s consistent with the history of the Science Wars that feminist and women’s studies journals were the primary target of the “next generation’s” twenty hoax articles. The feminist approach to Science Studies took off in the same years as, but not solely in reaction to, sociobiology. Feminist critiques of sociobiology in the 1970s and 1980s (the same years SftP was active) in turn provoked the ire of scientists seeking to defend their fields as immune from politics. Ironically, the science warriors, then and now, have vividly displayed their own politics through their selection of feminism as a privileged target.

Most journalists reporting on “Sokal Squared” were amused by the titles of some of the articles.20 None commented, however, on the irony of the authors’ choice of “grievance studies” to designate the target of their censure, at a time when the most loudly aggrieved on the contemporary lecture circuits and blogospheres are precisely those who speak in the name of white males, and when two of the authors publish regularly on the website Quillette, whose main function is to grieve over the alleged substitution of leftist or “postmodernist” ideology for the “free exchange of ideas” in the academy. In this respect, as in so many others, the champions of “Sokal Squared” reveal its thematic continuity with the original Science Wars.

Today’s academic science warriors would probably be ashamed to repeat this sentence from the 1994 Gross-Levitt book—

…sexist discrimination, while certainly not vanished into history, is largely vestigial in the universities; … the only widespread, obvious discrimination today is against white males.

That sort of talk is reserved for the alt-right media celebrities who have turned their grievance over hostility to their ideas on campuses into a national industry.21 Nor did the most visible science warriors, then or now, accuse colleagues of antiscience bias for rejecting the racist theses of the IQ controversy, as repackaged by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray in The Bell Curve (published, like Higher Superstition, in 1994).22

On the other hand, this sentence, also from Gross-Levitt—

Among all the pressing possibilities for a searching-out of error in important and problematic science … the most examined case of distorting male contextual values is that perennial feminist whipping boy, biological and behavioral differences between the sexes.23

—was practically paraphrased twenty-four years later by the “Sokal Squared” team:

Common “social constructions” viewed as intrinsically “problematic” and thus claimed to be in need of dismantling include: the understanding that there are cognitive and psychological differences between men and women which could explain, at least partially, why they make different choices in relation to things like work, sex, and family life.24

The contrast between the broadness of these claims of “cognitive and psychological” gender differences and the slenderness of the evidence was pointed out long ago in the article by Beckwith and Durkin already cited, and in Keller’s talk at Harvard, both of which were concerned with claims of inherent differences in mathematical ability. Yet the persistence of interest in the topic is demonstrated by the extensive and growing literature evaluating such claims, in spite of their glaring lack of intellectual coherence. As I wrote recently,

I sympathize as much as anyone with the hope that study of the cognitive and neurological basis of mathematical activities can shed light on the meaning of mathematics … but given how little we know about the relation between mathematics and the brain, why is it urgent to establish differences between the mathematical behavior of male and female brains? The gap is so vast between whatever such studies measure and anything resembling an appreciation of the difficulties of coming to grips with the conceptual content of mathematics that what really needs to be explained is why any attention, whatsoever, is paid to these studies. Ingrained prejudice is the explanation that Occam’s razor would select.25

Or, as SSG members had already written in a 1975 letter to the New York Review of Books:

Each time these ideas have resurfaced the claim has been made that they were based on new scientific information. Yet each time, even though strong scientific arguments have been presented to show the absurdity of these theories, they have not died. The reason for the survival of these recurrent determinist theories is that they consistently tend to provide a genetic justification of the status quo and of existing privileges for certain groups according to class, race or sex.26

Reading the comments on a recent article on this very topic—one of Quillette‘s top ten stories for 2018—it’s hard to escape the impression that ingrained prejudice remains a significant motivation.27 But within the academy, this prejudice doesn’t map in a straightforward way onto contemporary political alignment. The two “problematic” quotations above allude to theses about the biological roots of sex differences that are as old as the theory of evolution28 and whose modern “synthesis”—E. O. Wilson’s sociobiology—was the theory that the SSG rebutted in their letter to the New York Review of Books. Wilson’s generous blurb figures prominently on the cover of Higher Superstition, whose longest chapter is devoted to “feminist criticism of science.” But like the rest of the Science Wars, the texts Gross and Levitt cite are politically and intellectually all over the map, as are the rejoinders to Gross and Levitt that figure in more than half of the Social Text articles. The subtleties of academic debate tend to be lost when reported in the media.

SftP magazine served as a catalyst for radical science in general, and for feminist Science Studies in particular. It’s thus shocking that, though the Social Text “Science Wars” issue devoted much attention to feminist Science Studies, there was no mention of the sixty-two articles SftP devoted to women and science in its twenty-one years of publication.29 The following paragraph, published in 1986 by Ruth Hubbard in SftP and two years later (slightly modified) in Hypatia—perhaps the best known of the “Sokal Squared” targets—symbolizes the role SftP played in articulating a radical, feminist critique of science:

I am not sure, and indeed rather doubt, that women as gendered beings have something new or different to contribute to science. But women as political beings do. And one of the most important things we can do is to insist on the political content of science and its political role.30

Objective Reality and Radical Science

One paragraph in Sokal’s explanation in 1996 of the reasons for his hoax has special contemporary resonance:

For most of the past two centuries, the Left has been identified with science and against obscurantism; we have believed that rational thought and the fearless analysis of objective reality (both natural and social) are incisive tools for combating the mystifications promoted by the powerful—not to mention being desirable human ends in their own right. The recent turn of many “progressive” or “leftist” academic humanists and social scientists toward one or another form of epistemic relativism betrays this worthy heritage and undermines the already fragile prospects for progressive social critique. Theorizing about “the social construction of reality” won’t help us find an effective treatment for AIDS or devise strategies for preventing global warming. Nor can we combat false ideas in history, sociology, economics and politics if we reject the notions of truth and falsity.31

In a recent interview, Science Studies pioneer Bruno Latour, faced with the accusation that STS contributed to today’s environment of “alternative facts,” appeared to accept some responsibility:

…we were so happy to develop all this critique because we were so sure of the authority of science…[a]nd that the authority of science would be shared because there was a common world…Now we have people who no longer share the idea that there is a common world. And that of course changes everything.32

Latour—a prime target of both the Gross-Levitt and Sokal-Bricmont books—went on, nevertheless, to disagree that an analysis of the social conditions for the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge was irrelevant to the success of science. On the contrary:

…facts remain robust only when they are supported by a common culture, by institutions that can be trusted, by a more or less decent public life, by more or less reliable media.33

In France, Latour has been a prominent public intellectual for decades. His interventions at the time of the original Science Wars were uninspired,34 but I find his recent comments to be absolutely on the mark. The March for Science of 2017 was a powerful rejoinder to the new Trump administration’s efforts to discredit scientific findings inconsistent with policy choices, by treating them as the mere opinions of one of many interest groups, no more reliable than their preferred alternative facts. But the reaffirmation of a commitment to objectivity in the disinterested search for knowledge, while welcome in itself, is insufficient for restoring the common culture in which the authority of science can be acknowledged, not to mention adopted as a guide to political action.

An article entitled “The New Science Wars” appeared late in 2018 as a reminder that tensions between the sciences and the humanities had been building, well before the “Sokal Squared” incident, in reaction to new attempts to incorporate the subject matter of the humanities in the natural sciences, now including neuroscience as well as genetics.

For many defenders of scientific approaches to human behavior, science requires suspending our moral judgments in pursuit of dispassionate objectivity. But that can’t be the ideal of the humanities. There is a moral concern at the core of humanistic research, one that cannot be extricated by appeals to objectivity.35

This already helps to clarify the limitations of science in political action. But we need to return to Hubbard’s 1986 article to see the power relations underlying the moral concern, in language closer to Latour than to Sokal.

Ever since I began to think critically about science, and about my own activities as a scientist, I have been fascinated by “facts”, what they are and how they get to be. After all, facts aren’t just out there. Every fact has a factor, a maker. As people move through the world, how do we sort those aspects of it that we permit to become facts from those that we relegate to being fiction… In other words, what criteria and mechanisms of selection do scientists use in the making of facts? Making facts is a social enterprise.36

And something else should be clear: it’s not only the industrial lobbies, anti-vaxxers, and climate deniers who sometimes find it convenient to question the authority of science. Radical science has historically arisen within and alongside popular movements precisely because we can’t count upon the institutions of scientific authority to promote social justice on their own. Readers and activists tempted to enlist in the new Science Wars should bear in mind how Hubbard summarized their political stakes in a single sentence, ten years before the Sokal affair.

The pretense that science is objective, apolitical, and value-neutral is profoundly political because it obscures the role that science and technology play in underwriting the existing distribution of power in society.37

About the Author

Michael Harris is a mathematics professor at Columbia University. He was involved with SftP in the 1980s as an organizer of the Science for Nicaragua program. He taught in Paris for more than twenty years at Université Paris-Diderot; before that he taught at Brandeis University. He has also held visiting appointments at the Steklov Mathematical Institute in Moscow, Bethlehem University in Palestine, and the Institut des Hautes-Études Scientifiques in France, among other places. In France he was a founding member of AURDIP (Association des universitaires pour le respect du droit international en Palestine). His blog is mathematicswithoutapologies.wordpress.com.

References

  1. Andrew Ross, Strange Weather (London: Verso Books, 1991), 113.
  2. Important Science Studies texts included David Bloor’s Knowledge and Social Imagery (London: Routledge, 1976); Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature (New York: HarperOne, 1976);Bruno Latour and Stephen Woolgar, Laboratory Life (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979); Karin Knorr-Cetina, The Manufacture of Knowledge (Oxford:  Pergamon Press, 1981); Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1985); and Donna Haraway, Primate Visions (New York: Routledge, 1989). Most of these books were trashed by Gross and Levitt.
  3. Richard Lewontin, “A la recherche du temps perdu: A Review Essay,” Configurations 3, no. 2 (spring 1995): 261.
  4. Most prominent were Arthur Jensen (Berkeley), Hans Eysenck (King’s College, London), William Shockley (Stanford), and Richard Herrnstein (Harvard).
  5. “Sociobiology,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, last modified Jan 16, 2018, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sociobiology/.
  6. Jon Beckwith and John Durkin, “Girls, Boys, and Math,” Science for the People 13, no. 5 (September/October 1981), 32. The paragraph cited includes numerous quotations from Wilson’s On Human Nature and other books and scholarly papers by sociobiologists.
  7. The article by Beckwith and Durkin was an early response to these studies.
  8. Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin, The Dialectical Biologist (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985).
  9. See note 5. To oversimplify: Science Studies:Science Wars::Cultural Studies:Culture Wars.
  10. Sigrid Schmalzer, Daniel S. Chard, and Alyssa Botelho, eds., Science for the People: Documents from America’s Movement of Radical Scientists (Amherst, Mass.: University of Massachusetts Press, 2018), 6-8.
  11. Peter Saulson, “Life Inside a Case Study,” in The One Culture?: A Conversation about Science, ed. J. A. Labinger and H. Collins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), 73-81.
  12. Dorothy Nelkin, “What Are the Science Wars Really About?” The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 26, 1996, A52.
  13. Andrew Ross, ed., Science Wars (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996) and Val Dusek, who had worked with the SSG, contributed to the “Postscript” to the Sokal affair published in Social Text. See Dusek, “Philosophy of Math and Physics in the Sokal Affair,” Social Text 50 (1997): 135-38.
  14. See, for example, Norman Diamond, “The Politics of Scientific Conceptualization,” Science for the People 18 (1976), no. 3: 14-17, 40; J. Bandyopadhyay and V. Shiva, “Western or Indigenous Science,” Science for the People 13 (1981), no. 2: 22-28; Elizabeth Fee, “A Feminist Critique of Scientific Objectivity,” Science for the People 14 (1984), no. 4: 5-8, 30-33.
  15. James A. Lindsay, Peter Boghossian and Helen Pluckrose, “Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship,” Areo, Oct. 2, 2018, https://areomagazine.com/2018/10/02/academic-grievance-studies-and-the-corruption-of-scholarship/.
  16. Lindsay et al., “Academic Grievance Studies.”
  17. Lindsay et al., “Academic Grievance Studies.” The authors cite no examples.
  18. indsay et al., “Academic Grievance Studies.”
  19. Katherine Mangan, “Proceedings Start Against ‘Sokal Squared’ Hoax Professor,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 7, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Proceedings-Start-Against/245431.
  20. For example: “Expression of Concern: Human Reactions to Rape Culture and Queer Performativity at Urban Dog Parks in Portland, Oregon.”
  21. Toby Young, quoted in Dorothy Cummings Lean, “UK University Caves in to Student Pressure and Rescinds Fellowship Invitation to Jordan Peterson,” LifeSite, March 22, 2019, https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/uk-university-caves-in-to-student-pressure-and-rescinds-fellowship-invitation-to-jordan-peterson.
  22. See, however, Noah Carl, “How Stifling Debate Around Race, Genes and IQ Can Do Harm,” in Evolutionary Psychological Science (2018) 4:399–407; and “Academics’ Mobbing of a Young Scholar Must be Denounced,” Quillette, December 7, 2018, https://quillette.com/2018/12/07/academics-mobbing-of-a-young-scholar-must-be-denounced/.
  23. Paul R. Gross and Norman Levitt, Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), 110, 145.
  24. Lindsay et al., “Academic Grievance Studies.” The article goes on to list other phenomena whose social construction they hesitate to acknowledge.
  25. Michael Harris, “Do Mathematicians Have Responsibilities?” in Humanizing Mathematics and its Philosophy: Essays Celebrating the 90th Birthday of Reuben Hersh, ed.  B. Sriraman (Cham, Switzerland: Birkhäuser, 2017), 117.
  26. Elizabeth Allen et al., “Against ‘Sociobiology,'” New York Review of Books, November 13, 1975, https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1975/11/13/against-sociobiology/.
  27. Theodore P. Hill, “Academic Activists Send a Published Paper Down the Memory Hole,” Quillette, September 7, 2018, https://quillette.com/2018/09/07/academic-activists-send-a-published-paper-down-the-memory-hole/.
  28. See Freda Salzman, “Are Sex Roles Biologically Determined?” Science for the People 9 (1977), no. 4: 27-32, 43.
  29. Adrien Peter, “Women and Science Article Guide,” Science for the People: The 1970s and Today, http://science-for-the-people.org.
  30. Ruth Hubbard, “Facts and Feminism,” Science for the People 18 (1986), no. 2: 20. A later version was published as “Science, Facts, and Feminism,” Hypatia 3 (1988), no. 1: 5-17.
  31. Alan Sokal, “A Physicist Experiments with Cultural Studies,” Lingua Franca, May/June 1996, 62-64 (emphasis added).
  32. Ava Kofman, “Bruno Latour, the Post-Truth Philosopher, Mounts a Defense of Science,” New York Times Magazine, Oct. 25, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/25/magazine/bruno-latour-post-truth-philosopher-science.html.
  33. Ava Kofman, “Bruno Latour, the Post-Truth Philosopher, Mounts a Defense of Science,” New York Times Magazine, October 25, 2018.
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