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Does the last sentence of this paragraph:

"The paper was a hoax, produced to demonstrate that postmodernist, socially constructed analyses of science were based on ignorance, prejudice and hilariously muddled thinking. Peppered with scientific errors, the paper had been accepted without question because it supported the prevailing political and cultural orthodoxy of the journal and its constituency. It was difficult for even the most rigorous cultural theorist to come up with a defense that had any clear credibility in the science world."

mean :

  1. It was difficult for even the most rigorous cultural theorist to defend this hoax paper the way that it may gain credibility in the science world.

  2. It was difficult for even the most rigorous cultural theorist to write papers that enjoyed credibility in the science world.

  3. It was difficult for even the most rigorous cultural theorist to write such a hoax paper without any scientific credibility.

1 Answer 1

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Alan Sokal wrote a hoax paper and submitted it to a journal of cultural theory called SocialText. The paper was a parody of the nonsense that the journal routinely published, but in his paper, Sokal deliberately made nonsensical scientific claims that were easily demonstrable as nonsense. SocialText published it anyway.

When Sokal revealed what he had done, it became difficult for any "cultural theorist" to defend the laziness and incompetence of the editors of SocialTest for not spotting the hoax. Certainly any pathetic defense of the editors by any "cultural theorist" would have no credibility among scientists.

So,

  1. No. The paper was a hoax that scientists would know was a hoax. It wasn't meant to be taken seriously, even though the editors of SocialText did exactly that.

  2. No, although your statement is true, Ede is talking about Sokal's hoax paper, not papers written by "real" cultural theorists.

  3. No, although your statement is true, Ede is talking about Sokal's hoax paper, not one that a "real" cultural theorist might (deliberately) write.

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