Sokal – the hoaxer who made a serious point – speaks at UCL

February 24, 2014 at 6:51 pm (academe, intellectuals, Jim D, left, philosophy, relativism, satire, science, socialism, spoofs, truth)


Do you remember the so-called ‘Sokal hoax’? For those who don’t (or whose memories have faded), here’s a good article explaining what happened and why it was – and still is – of significance. I say “still is” because of the recent nonsense on sections of the UK left concerning “intersectionality” and the like.

Anyway, Alan Sokal spoke at a packed Left Forum meeting in UCL on 12th February – here’s the recording:

The sound quality’s not great (especially when it comes to contributions and questions from the audience), but Sokal’s opening talk is easy to follow, and well worth listening to.

I think it’s particularly important to note that Sokal describes himself as “an unabashed old leftist who never quite understood how ‘deconstruction’ helps the working class.”

Well done to Omar and the other comrades at UCL for pulling this off!


  1. Sokal – the hoaxer who made a serious point – speaks at UCL | OzHouse said,

    […] Feb 24 2014 by admin […]

  2. dagmar said,

    This is interesting too:

    The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense.

    Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, has catalogued computer-generated papers that made it into more than 30 published conference proceedings between 2008 and 2013. Sixteen appeared in publications by Springer, which is headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, and more than 100 were published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), based in New York.

  3. kharty said,

    Reblogged this on Outbursts by Kharty.

  4. Jim Denham said,

  5. dagmar said,

    I had seen the Guardian piece as well and thought “cheeky buggers, not citing the source of their entire article”, but they seem to have “amended” it. They do that quite often (the “nicking stuff from more academic articles and turning it into journalism with a snappy and often misleading headline, without giving the source”), as does the BBC website, and probably most of them do.

    (The annual “Chaos Communications Congress”, held between Christmas and New Year in Germany seems to be the main source for many IT stories over a number of months, particularly if it’s a slow news week in technology, computing and data protection-land. The CCC rarely gets mentioned, and something that is months old and has entirely been in the public domain for all that time is hardly “news” either)

    Remember that next time the Guardian complains about the Daily Mail website doing the same.

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