Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture
Famed for his 1996 hoax that parodied the extreme postmodernist criticism of science, Alan Sokal here exposes many other examples of charlatanism, deflating the postmodernists of the left, the fundamentalists of the right, and the muddle-headed of all political and apolitical stripes. Sokal does revisit his infamous hoax--the original article is included in the book, with new explanatory footnotes--to illuminate issues that are with us even more pressingly today. But the book ranges far beyond this one famous case, to reveal for instance how conservative politicians and industry executives are happily manipulating the vaporous tenets of postmodernism to obscure the scientific consensus on global warming, biological evolution, second-hand smoke, and a host of other issues. Written with rare lucidity, a lively wit, and a keen appreciation of the real-world consequences of sloppy thinking, Beyond the Hoax offers an engaging argument for the vital importance of evidence-based science, showing that clear thinking, combined with a respect for evidence, are of the utmost importance to the survival of the human race.
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