Monday, May 08, 2006

Al K., master of pseudoscience

On April 8 I created a hypothetical government spying program and asked the folks at the Hooah Wife blog how they'd feel about it. I was appalled that several people thought it was a good idea. The hypothetical I'd described was inspired by a government spying program in Communist China. When I revealed this, and called them commies, some took umbrage. Not Hooah Wife commenter Al K., he cooked up a plan to hoist me on my own petard. Or at least, I assume he did. We've emailed each other before. A few days after my hypothetical, he emailed me a scientific article called "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity."

Usually I read all of what Al K. sends me. But this time my opinions jumped right to the fore. As soon as the author wrote

It has thus become increasingly apparent that physical "reality," no less than social "reality," is at bottom a social and linguistic construct...

I emailed Al K. and informed him I didn't buy it. I think I used the words "horse puckie."

That's when he let on that the paper had been written as a joke, a sort of social experiment.

I think Hemingway once described as education as a B.S. detector. I didn't detect that this paper was a joke, but I did detect that it was intellectually bunk. I give myself a pat on the back for passing Al K.'s test, if it was one, with flying colors.
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