SIO45: James Lindsay, Co-Author of the ‘Conceptual Penis’ Hoax Paper

Last week you heard Eli Bosnick’s side of why the ‘Conceptual Penis’ hoax paper was disingenuous and unskeptical, and today I speak with one of the paper’s authors, James Lindsay. James has been a previous guest on the show; he’s been someone I have always admired for his intellectual rigor and willingness to back up what he believes and to have the tough conversations. For that much I really, really respect him coming on. But I can’t hide my opinion on this hoax. I think it was garbage and it was latched onto unskeptically by people who fancy themselves critical thinkers. I challenge James on the paper and we get to hear his side of it.

Today’s episode is actually 2 in 1, because after the conversation I reminded James to send me the links corroborating his arguments. When I received them, I was appalled that each description of the scholarly articles he sent was a lazy and ideologically motivated strawman. As such, I emailed him a heads up that I would be going in depth into his sources and describing exactly how he (or maybe Real Peer Review, if that was his source) is either intentionally or just ignorantly misunderstanding these abstracts. I’m incredibly disappointed at this dishonest or careless behavior. If you are going to waltz into a field that ISN’T your expertise and claim that the bulk of it is bunk, it is incumbent upon you to do the research and know what you’re talking about. For the sake of transparency, I will paste word for word the sources email James sent me:

“Hi Thomas,

In all the fuss, I can’t remember what I was supposed to send you, but I’ll give it a try.
Curing erectile dysfunction reinforces hegemonic masculinity: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1097184X00003001004 (we cited this paper in ours)
Fat men’s penises might not exist, social construction: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1363460716640734
Male lactation can exist through social construction: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2916660
Pregnancy shouldn’t be associated with femininity: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10894160.2012.653766
Wikipedia shouldn’t demand sources because sexism: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S8755461515000547
STEM syllabi are sexist because focus on facts: http://nsuworks.nova.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2467&context=tqr
Feminists see themselves as activists to infect other fields of study with ideological biases, compare themselves favorably to viruses like HIV and ebola: http://hipatiapress.com/hpjournals/index.php/generos/article/viewFile/1983/1624#page=78
Meanwhile, almost 15000 kids a year are graduating from such programs: https://datausa.io/profile/cip/05/

 

Those are all the papers. In the later half of the episode I discuss the research I did on all of them and how atrocious James’s descriptions were.

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SIO44: Debunking the ‘Conceptual Penis’ Stunt with Eli Bosnick

An embarrassingly unskeptical article appeared in Skeptic Magazine recently featuring a hoax paper published in a Gender Studies journal  by two authors: James Lindsay (past guest of the show) and Peter Boghossian.  Michael Shermer, the editor of Skeptic magazine, and several major figures in the skeptic movement like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins took the conclusion that Gender Studies as a field has been demolished by this hoax. This is incredibly irresponsible. The hoax paper accomplished no such thing, and Eli is here to explain in depth why.

Links:

Skeptic Magazine Article

Other sokal hoaxes:

  • A US nuclear physics conference accepted a paper written entirely in autocomplete.
  • A trio of MIT grad students created an algorithm that creates fake scientific papers – in 2013 IEEE and Springer Publishing found 120 published papers had been generated by the program.
  • A paper entitled “Get me off your fucking mailing list” was accepted for publication by computer science journal.
  • A 2013 hoax saw a scientific paper about fictional lichen published in several hundred journals.

Cogent OA FAQ

Lichen Paper published in 45% of DOAJ publishers

Gender Studies Journal Rankings

Excellent Debunk by Bleedingheartlibertarians

Other Excellent Debunk, with Source for Sokal Quote

 

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SIO43: Debate and Discussion with Dan Arel

I’m pleased to bring you Dan Arel, of danthropology.net, who is self-admittedly far, far left. While last week had me debating free speech with a more right-wing friendly Michael Shermer, this week I’ll be debating from the other side. Dan, in my opinion, is quite extreme in his tweeting and online expression. I do not hide the fact that I disagree adamantly with a lot of what he has said, but I wanted to try to have a conversation because I imagined I might be a bit of a bridge since I agree with him that a lot of the atheist community is enabling the right while pretending not to. The resulting discussion I think was very productive and a must listen!

Links:

I found the Bill Maher thing, looks like from 2014 and then he changed his mind a year later. I wasn’t following him as much back then so that’s why I didn’t remember. First link, second link.

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SIO42: Trump Impeachment Talk; Fox News Is A Fairytale Land Right Now

We’ve reached the point where it might actually be reasonable to talk impeachment. Can we let ourselves get carried away though? I don’t know. I’ve definitely got some thoughts on it for you! Also, I watched Fox News this week and it made me fear for the future of our politics….
But in happier news, Gad Saad was obliterated in the Canadian Senate while testifying about C-16. I play an amazing clip and talk briefly about it. Link below! After that, it’s my favorite segment, your voicemails!

Republicans Believe Comey Firing Had Nothing To Do with Russia; Presidential Poll Numbers; Great Politifact Article on Potential Indictment; Gad’s Full Testimony (The Last 3 Minutes Are Magic!!!)

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SIO41: Talking Free Speech, with Michael Shermer

I’m very pleased to be speaking to Michael Shermer this week, someone who has been more on the free speech war side of things, and someone who has said previously that liberals won’t dialogue with him. Well, to his credit, he eventually noticed my Twitter chirpings at him and was willing to have a long form conversation about our disagreements. I think there’s a lot of room for optimism at the result, so check it out!

Links discussed: Overblown Piece on WaPo Advocating Censorship; Study on Racism and Trump Voting; George Mason Study on Dissonance and Party Affiliation; 538 Article on Perceived Discrimination;

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SIO40: Actually, Berkeley Is A Fierce Defender of Free Speech

This might be my magnum opus on the overblown “war on free speech” in Universities. In my research I discovered that, to a degree even further than I thought, Berkeley administration has gone above and beyond in protecting free speech. They were willing to have Milo on campus despite the fact that intended to call out individual undocumented students AND call for the defunding of Berkeley itself. They offered several acceptable times and places to have Ann Coulter speak and she and the groups who invited her refused to comply with them. I go into more detail in the episode. I also discuss some recent studies and what they have to say about this whole free speech thing. I believe I have outlined a nuanced and principled position on this that will likely piss off people on either side of this debate. Give it a listen!

Sources:

Coulter Withdrew; Milo’s Disgusting Attack; Berkeley Chancellor Statement on Milo; Breitbart Article on Milo’s Intentions; Milo Riot; Liberty University Policy; Jail Time for Chuckling; Kansas Study on Free Speech Defense; Partisanship Study

Keep sharing my video!! Honest Republican Campaign Ad

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SIO39: Seth Andrews of The Thinking Atheist

Joining me today is Seth Andrews, of the immensely popular podcast The Thinking Atheist! I’ve long followed Seth’s work and have always wanted an excuse to talk to him on the show, but somehow only just now gathered the courage! But Seth is here to talk about something he has seen cropping up recently which is a sort of “inactivism,” or people who want to discourage others from speaking up and speaking out about the harmful effects of religion in our country. We get into that and more!

Here’s the link to the video I played at the end of the show, please please share everywhere you can! Honest Republican Campaign Ad

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SIO38: Obama’s Unfortunate Payday

When I saw the news of Obama’s $400k paycheck for a speech to a Wall St bank, I posted this reaction on Facebook. The slew of comments that resulted was quite surprising to me. In my view, a lot of liberals are doing some logical backflips to justify Obama’s payday, or to obfuscate and divert attention away from it. I think these gymnastics are unbecoming of skeptical people. I hope to add a little nuance to this black and white thinking!

White Liberals BS clickbait, Obama Record Setting Book Deal, Obamas Could Earn $200 Million, Obama $2 Million Donation

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SIO37: Josh Zepps of #WeThePeople LIVE

Joining me today is Josh Zepps! I first came across Josh’s work when Sam Harris and Hannibal Buress had a bizarre interaction on his podcast #WeThePeople LIVE (here’s a SoundCloud link). I was impressed with how Josh handled it and have followed him ever since. He has interviewed people like Gad Saad and ACTUALLY challenged them on their narratives. Josh is an impressive thinker and interviewer, and we talk about his broadcasting history (which might not be what you expect!) and about where our focuses are and should be in today’s political climate. It’s a fascinating conversation on many fronts and I look forward to many more with Josh!

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SIO36: The New Version of Trumpcare Should Scare You

Trump is closing in on 100 days as president, something that he simultaneously has said means nothing but is also important enough to have him scrambling for any sort of policy victory. I’m going to give you the details of two very important pieces of legislation to keep an eye on – that is the new version of the AHCA, and Trump’s Tax Reform bill. They’re both…. not good. So tune in and find out the details!

Definitely check out this site on whose cage to rattle over this terrible healthcare bill!!!

Changes to the AHCA, Trump’s Tax Reform Bill, ABC News Poll on Obamacare ProvisionsTrump’s Border Wall, Inciting Incident 100th Episode Live Show!!!

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