How thoroughly should editors check a source?

1 view
Skip to first unread message

Jan 6, 2009, 8:43:35 PM1/6/09
Interesting controversy raging in Australian science communication circles at the moment, as outlined in this article:
I'm in two minds about the hoax at the moment. 'She' compares herself with Sokal, only I find 'her' anonymity somewhat cowardly. Sokal - who I admite enormously - was open from the start about his hoax.  In addition, Sokal was highlighting not so much the fact that editors don't check their sources, but rather that specifically post-modernist paradigms are full of meaningless language which only faintly resembles science in appearance.
That said, I agree that science editors should do a proper job of checking information. I'm not excusing Windschuttle here, who I've never had much respect for, however I also find this hidden author to be a little too full of her own cleverness.
In any case, I thought I'd bring it to your attention.
Mike McRae
Science by Email, CSIRO Education
PO Box 225, Dickson  ACT  2602
Phone: 02 6276 6291     Mobile:  0423 596 774
Email: | Web:


Jan 7, 2009, 12:46:38 AM1/7/09
to Critical Teaching
Editors are fully responsible for the content of their publications.

However, I totally agree with you about the pretentiousness of the
author, and I find the unwillingness to name his/her self more than
cowardly. I could see giving the magazine a bogus name, but failing to
reveal their identity afterward is suspicious.

Quadrant is a MAGAZINE, right? It hardly compares to the Sokal hoax.

It is surprising that an editor of a science magazine would not
realize that the discussion of GM appears to have been written by a
teenage beauty pageant contestant or someone whose knowledge of it is
limited to a misunderstanding of a 30-second news blurb or
conversation with a buddy over tea.


Jan 7, 2009, 5:09:03 PM1/7/09
Well, Windschuttle is a rather controversial character as it is, having stirred the pot of Australian historians by acting as something of the equivalent of a Holocaust denier (might be a bold comparison, however genocide of Aboriginal Australians has been compared as such). I have little opinion one way or another for the audacity of his conclusions, yet his research methods have been less than rigorous, which is why I suspect the author chose this magazine in particular. It does have a good reputation in some circles, so it's not really some backwater rag here...however as you said, it isn't a journal, as such.

Mike McRae
Science by Email, CSIRO Education
PO Box 225, Dickson ACT 2602
Phone: 02 6276 6291 Mobile: 0423 596 774
Email: | Web:


Jan 8, 2009, 4:00:08 AM1/8/09
to Critical Teaching
Best summary of 'who it was' - by Aust Skeptic Helen over at Skeptic
Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages