[ Top : Articles : "Response to the Fish Op-Ed" : Other Articles ]
New York Times. 23 May 1996
To the Editor:
Once the titillating story of Alan Sokal's hoax against Social Text was out, the Times is to be commended for Janny Scott's responsible and fair- minded job of reporting it. But your readers should not be left with the impression that Sokal has caught the editors of Social Text championing a disbelief in the existence of the physical universe. There is every difference in the world between such nonsense and questioning, as we do, the scientific community's abuses of authority, its priestly organization and lack of accountability to the public, how it sets its agendas and allocates its resources.
Sokal claims that the work Social Text publishes "won't help us find an effective treatment for AIDS or devise strategies for preventing global warming." He is dead wrong. It's exactly public-interest critiques from outside science that have forced it to devote its often reluctant energies to such insufficiently profitable areas in the past, and that will hopefully help us avoid disastrous scientific irresponsibility in the future. This seems real enough to us. One would have expected that, as a self-declared progressive, Sokal would have been glad to agree.
Those interested in a full editorial response can find it at: http://www.designsys.com/socialtext.sokal.html
Co-editors, Social Text