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Mon May 6, 2013, 10:23 AM

Would any of our Sophisticated Theologians™ here at DU care to comment on this?

Last edited Mon May 6, 2013, 01:42 PM - Edit history (2)

I’m a big fan of Dr. Maarten Boudry, a Belgian philosopher who’s a research fellow in the Department of Philosopy & Moral Sciences of Ghent University. Boudry has spent a lot of time showing that religion and science are incompatible, attacking the distinction between “metaphysical naturalism” and “methodological naturalism” (a distinction much beloved by accommodationists), and generally pwning “Sophisticated Theologians™.”

--snip--

But today I’m presenting something else: a real Sokal-style hoax that Boudry has perpetrated. He informed me yesterday that he had submitted a fake, post-modernish and Sophisticated-Theological™ abstract to two theology conferences:

By the way, I thought you might find this funny. I wrote a spoof abstract full of theological gibberish (Sokal-style) and submitted it to two theology conferences, both of which accepted it right away. It got into the proceedings of the Reformational Philosophy conference. See Robert A. Maundy (an anagram of my name) on p. 22 of the program proceedings.

To save you the trouble of downloading it, I reproduce below, with Boudry’s permission, “Maundy’s” abstract. Note that he made up a college, too, but the quotation from John Haught is real.

The Paradoxes of Darwinian Disorder. Towards an Ontological Reaffirmation of Order and Transcendence.
Robert A. Maundy, College of the Holy Cross, Reno, Nevada


In the Darwinian perspective, order is not immanent in reality, but it is a self-affirming aspect of reality in so far as it is experienced by situated subjects. However, it is not so much reality that is self-affirming, but the creative order structuring reality which manifests itself to us. Being-whole, as opposed to being-one, underwrites our fundamental sense of locatedness and particularity in the universe. The valuation of order qua meaningful order, rather than order-in-itself, has been thoroughly objectified in the Darwinian worldview. This process of de-contextualization and reification of meaning has ultimately led to the establishment of ‘dis-order’ rather than ‘this-order’. As a result, Darwinian materialism confronts us with an eradication of meaning from the phenomenological experience of reality. Negative theology however suggests a revaluation of disorder as a necessary precondition of order, as that without which order could not be thought of in an orderly fashion. In that sense, dis-order dissolves into the manifestations of order transcending the materialist realm. Indeed, order becomes only transparent qua order in so far as it is situated against a background of chaos and meaninglessness. This binary opposition between order and dis-order, or between order and that which disrupts order, embodies a central paradox of Darwinian thinking. As Whitehead suggests, reality is not composed of disordered material substances, but as serially-ordered events that are experienced in a subjectively meaningful way. The question is not what structures order, but what structure is imposed on our transcendent conception of order. By narrowly focusing on the disorderly state of present-being, or the “incoherence of a primordial multiplicity”, as John Haught put it, Darwinian materialists lose sense of the ultimate order unfolding in the not-yet-being. Contrary to what Dawkins asserts, if we reframe our sense of locatedness of existence within a the space of radical contingency of spiritual destiny, then absolute order reemerges as an ontological possibility. The discourse of dis-order always already incorporates a creative moment that allows the self to transcend the context in which it finds itself, but also to find solace and responsiveness in an absolute Order which both engenders and withholds meaning. Creation is the condition of possibility of discourse which, in turn, evokes itself as presenting creation itself. Darwinian discourse is therefore just an emanation of the absolute discourse of dis-order, and not the other way around, as crude materialists such as Dawkins suggest.


I defy you to understand what he’s saying, but of course it appeals to those who, steeped in Sophisticated Theology™, love a lot of big words that say nothing but somehow seem to criticize materialism while affirming the divine. It doesn’t hurt if you diss Dawkins a couple of times, either. This shows once again the appeal of religious gibberish to the educated believer, and demonstrates that conference organizers either don’t read what they publish, or do read it and think that if it’s opaque then it must be profound.


http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/a-sokal-style-hoax-by-an-anti-religious-philosopher-2/



Would any of our resident Serious Theologians™ care to respond?

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Reply Would any of our Sophisticated Theologians™ here at DU care to comment on this? (Original post)
cleanhippie May 2013 OP
cleanhippie May 2013 #1
hrmjustin May 2013 #2
cleanhippie May 2013 #3
hrmjustin May 2013 #4
Iggo May 2013 #6
cleanhippie May 2013 #8
rug May 2013 #5
struggle4progress May 2013 #7
dimbear May 2013 #9
cleanhippie May 2013 #10
Sekhmets Daughter May 2013 #11
cleanhippie May 2013 #12
muriel_volestrangler May 2013 #13
cleanhippie May 2013 #14
skepticscott May 2013 #15
cleanhippie May 2013 #16
goldent May 2013 #17
cleanhippie May 2013 #18
dimbear May 2013 #19
Dorian Gray May 2013 #20
Goblinmonger May 2013 #21
Dorian Gray May 2013 #39
LTX May 2013 #22
trotsky May 2013 #23
LTX May 2013 #24
trotsky May 2013 #25
LTX May 2013 #26
trotsky May 2013 #27
LTX May 2013 #28
thucythucy May 2013 #31
trotsky May 2013 #32
LTX May 2013 #33
trotsky May 2013 #34
LTX May 2013 #35
okasha May 2013 #36
trotsky May 2013 #37
LTX May 2013 #38
trotsky May 2013 #40
Jim__ May 2013 #30
mike_c May 2013 #29

Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon May 6, 2013, 03:28 PM

1. I guess this hits too close to home for our resident Serious Theolgians.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon May 6, 2013, 04:40 PM

2. I guess the words are just too big for me.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #2)

Mon May 6, 2013, 04:53 PM

3. There are some posts by another here who espouses "serious theology", you should read those.

They read about the same as the spoof above.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #3)

Mon May 6, 2013, 04:56 PM

4. I tried reading this and it made my brain hurt.

 

Now you want me to read more.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #4)

Mon May 6, 2013, 05:26 PM

6. Ha!

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #4)

Mon May 6, 2013, 05:44 PM

8. Now you know my pain!!!!

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon May 6, 2013, 04:58 PM

5. Nacirema

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nacirema

It's not hard to parody academia.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon May 6, 2013, 05:37 PM

7. I'm not a Calvinist and don't understand their thinking, so I can't comment

on what gibberish a neo-Calvinist philosophy conference would find thought-provoking

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon May 6, 2013, 05:47 PM

9. I've visited their campus, and can recommend the slots. n/t

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon May 6, 2013, 05:51 PM

10. Well, none of our Serious Theologians want to respond, but they DO want to hide it!


At Mon May 6, 2013, 03:24 PM an alert was sent on the following post:

Would any of our Sophisticated Theologians™ here at DU care to comment on this?
http://www.democraticunderground.com/121878839

REASON FOR ALERT:

This post is disruptive, hurtful, rude, insensitive, over-the-top, or otherwise inappropriate. (See <a href="http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=aboutus#communitystandards" target="_blank">Community Standards</a>.)

ALERTER'S COMMENTS:

This is baiting and trolling, especially with the "TM" in the title.

You served on a randomly-selected Jury of DU members which reviewed this post. The review was completed at Mon May 6, 2013, 03:35 PM, and the Jury voted 2-4 to LEAVE IT.

Juror #1 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given
Juror #2 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: Baiting and trolling? For what... a discussion? Please alerter, get a life!
Juror #3 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No, it isn't. Don't you have anything better to do than trying to shut down a thread you don't like?
Juror #4 voted to HIDE IT and said: No explanation given
Juror #5 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: I think it's a crappy in-your-face post, but I don't see it as a CS violation. The alerter can trash the thread or post their opinion.
Juror #6 voted to HIDE IT and said: I agree with the alerter - it is baiting and trolling. Could be an interesting dialogue if the OP wasn't a smug asshole.

Thank you very much for participating in our Jury system, and we hope you will be able to participate again in the future.



Had the alerter even bothered to read the article, they would have seen that the "TM" was part of the article.

And juror #6 shows why the jury system is flawed. Jurors are supposed to make a ruling on the POST, not the smug asshole that posted it. I guess it takes one to know one.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon May 6, 2013, 05:55 PM

11. An alert was sent for this post. A jury voted 4/2 to Leave It Alone

At Mon May 6, 2013, 03:24 PM an alert was sent on the following post:

Would any of our Sophisticated Theologians™ here at DU care to comment on this?
http://www.democraticunderground.com/121878839

REASON FOR ALERT:

This post is disruptive, hurtful, rude, insensitive, over-the-top, or otherwise inappropriate. (See <a href="http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=aboutus#communitystandards" target="_blank">Community Standards</a>.)

ALERTER'S COMMENTS:

This is baiting and trolling, especially with the "TM" in the title.

You served on a randomly-selected Jury of DU members which reviewed this post. The review was completed at Mon May 6, 2013, 03:35 PM, and the Jury voted 2-4 to LEAVE IT.

Juror #1 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given
Juror #2 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: Baiting and trolling? For what... a discussion? Please alerter, get a life!
Juror #3 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No, it isn't. Don't you have anything better to do than trying to shut down a thread you don't like?
Juror #4 voted to HIDE IT and said: No explanation given
Juror #5 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: I think it's a crappy in-your-face post, but I don't see it as a CS violation. The alerter can trash the thread or post their opinion.
Juror #6 voted to HIDE IT and said: I agree with the alerter - it is baiting and trolling. Could be an interesting dialogue if the OP wasn't a smug asshole.

Thank you very much for participating in our Jury system, and we hope you will be able to participate again in the future.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #11)

Mon May 6, 2013, 06:03 PM

12. Yep. I guess our Serious Theologians would rather hide it than respond.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #12)

Mon May 6, 2013, 06:18 PM

13. I'm going to have to remember to use ™ the next time I need to wind someone up here

A shame we can't tell who it winds up, though. I'll just have to experiment a lot, I guess.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #13)

Mon May 6, 2013, 06:26 PM

14. Do you think it's because they are illegally using the trademark Serious Theologian?

Maybe they just want to be able to keep using that term, including "Serious Theology" in their posts?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #14)

Mon May 6, 2013, 06:38 PM

15. I'm surprised they haven't trademarked

 

Excellent Post! (r) too..

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #15)

Mon May 6, 2013, 06:40 PM

16. Don't you mean "Solid Post"?




Thanks, Sister!

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Mon May 6, 2013, 09:15 PM

17. Need funding first

Serious theology ain't a hobby.

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Response to goldent (Reply #17)

Mon May 6, 2013, 09:18 PM

18. Funding? "Serious Theology" is like homeopathy.

IOW, it's bullshit made-up nonsense designed to fleece suckers.

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Response to goldent (Reply #17)

Mon May 6, 2013, 10:31 PM

19. Not only that, but wrong answers are often defunded. The list is long,

I've posted some over the years.


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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Tue May 7, 2013, 07:11 AM

20. Word Salad

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Response to Dorian Gray (Reply #20)

Tue May 7, 2013, 09:36 AM

21. You do understand that's the point, right? n/t

 

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #21)

Tue May 7, 2013, 09:40 PM

39. Of course

I'm not a slack jawed yokel unable to read a post for context.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Tue May 7, 2013, 10:21 AM

22. Would any of the Sophisticated Scientists here at DU care to comment on this?

With respect to thiotimoline and its contra-indication as a rudimentary "Heisenberg failure" --


Now once more we can broaden our scope. We can pass from the 'tetrahedral carbon atom' to the 'endochronic carbon atom', in which the two planes of carbon valence bonds are not both spatial in the ordinary sense. One, instead, is temporal. It extends in time, that is. In the temporal plane, one bond extends toward yesterday and one toward tomorrow. Such a carbon atom cannot be presented on paper in the ordinary way and no effort will be made to do so.

Such an endochronic carbon atom is obviously very unstable and can occur only rarely, in fact only within the molecule of thiotimoline as far as we know. What there is in thiotimoline structure to cause this, what sort of super steric hindrance is as yet unknown, but the endochronic atom undoubtedly exists. As a result of its existence, a small portion of the thiotimoline molecule exists in the past and another small portion in the future. It is this small portion of the molecule existing the future which is dissolved by water which also exists in the future. The remainder of the molecule is dragged into solution in the process and thus 'dissolves' in water which to all appearances is not there.

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Response to LTX (Reply #22)

Tue May 7, 2013, 11:19 AM

23. A humorous spoof of a scientific paper, written by Isaac Asimov...

and published in a science *fiction* magazine. He had requested the publisher use a pseudonym, as Asimov was about to go through his oral exams for his Ph.D. and feared the professors wouldn't appreciate the piece. To his horror, his real name WAS used. But to his delight, the professors joked about it just before they awarded him his degree.

The piece in the OP was submitted to actual theological conferences and was only discovered when the author himself announced it was a hoax.

So the point you were trying to make was what, exactly?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #23)

Tue May 7, 2013, 12:02 PM

24. Oh. You mean like the Alan Sokal paper,

Or the CRAP paper,

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17288-crap-paper-accepted-by-journal.html

Or the Elseiver publications,

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/27383/title/Elsevier-published-6-fake-journals/

Or “Deconstructing Access Points”,

http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2009/06/10/nonsense-for-dollars/

Or Marcie Rathke's "Independent, Negative, Canonically Turing Arrows of Equations and Problems in Applied Formal PDE",

http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2012/10/17/paul-taylor/stochastically-orthogonal/

You mean like those?


(I just thought Asimov's spoof was funnier all the way around.)

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Response to LTX (Reply #24)

Tue May 7, 2013, 12:58 PM

25. Asimov purposely wrote it as a spoof, so it should be no surprise.

The author in the OP submitted it as an original work to two theological conferences.

Yes, there have been multiple faux papers submitted to and published by journals. In most cases, journal editors aren't necessarily going to be familiar with technical content. They are looking for common terminology, subject material, etc.

The hoax in the OP was special, though. It fooled the Sophisticated Theologians.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #25)

Tue May 7, 2013, 01:04 PM

26. Well, I guess you're right.

At the end of the day, folks like Diederik Stapel, Dipak K. Das, Milena Penkowa, H. Zhong, T. Liu, Jan Hendrik Schön, Andrew Wakefield, Teruji Cho, Jon Sudbø, Hwang Woo-Suk, Victor Ninov, Eric Poehlman, Luk Van Parijs, Weishui Weiser, Eric J. Smart, Werner Bezwoda, Joachim Boldt, etc., etc. (who fooled the Sophisticated Scientists) aren’t really very funny. Bullshit has a nasty way of cross-pollinating.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/talking-back/2013/05/02/spring-and-scientific-fraud-is-busting-out-all-over/

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Response to LTX (Reply #26)

Tue May 7, 2013, 01:07 PM

27. Just so you know, you're attempting to change the subject.

A fraud is not the same as a hoax. But if you need to equate the two to make yourself feel better about how easily your experts were fooled by someone who wrote as much silly gibberish as he could, rather than falsify research, you go right ahead.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #27)

Tue May 7, 2013, 01:31 PM

28. "A fraud is not the same as a hoax." I'll have to remember that one.

As for the comment about "my experts," I guess that pretty much synopsizes the base intent of the o/p. Point, laugh, guzzle a beer, and go burn another pile of straw to the ground. Them theology people is just ignerint. Ain't they?

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Response to LTX (Reply #28)

Tue May 7, 2013, 02:25 PM

31. Thank you LTX.

"A fraud is not the same as a hoax" is as much gibberish as the "paper" cited in the OP.

But I guess that's what it takes for some folk to feel superior to others.

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Response to LTX (Reply #28)

Tue May 7, 2013, 02:40 PM

32. Good, you should remember it.

Because a fraud is generally something that is intended to result in personal or financial gain. A hoax is more of a publicity stunt, or social experiment. Are there areas of overlap? Certainly, but it is clear what the author mentioned in the OP did is nothing at all like falsifying data in order to receive grant money. Can we agree on that?

And no, this isn't about the ignorance of Sophisticated Theologians. I don't doubt they are highly intelligent people who think they are coming up with Very Deep Thoughts Indeed. What this shows is that their "field of work" can be replicated by someone writing word salad, and they can't tell the difference.

"Whoever knows he is deep, strives for clarity; whoever would like to appear deep to the crowd, strives for obscurity. For the crowd considers anything deep if only it cannot see to the bottom: the crowd is so timid and afraid of going into the water." - Nietzsche

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Response to trotsky (Reply #32)

Tue May 7, 2013, 03:40 PM

33. Perhaps we can agree that

there are many academic "fields of work" that can be replicated by someone writing word salad. Rather my point above. Sometimes that replication is a joke, and sometimes people get paid for it. If you wish to classify the former as a hoax, and the later as a fraud, that's fine by me.

And while I'm sure you "don't doubt" that the field of theology is full of "highly intelligent people who think they are coming up with Very Deep Thoughts Indeed," I am having some difficulty distinguishing that choice of words from your assertion that "this isn't about the ignorance of Sophisticated Theologians." Perhaps it's the selective use of capitalization. Or the careful placement of the word "think." Or maybe it's just one of those hoax vs. fraud kind of distinctions.

In any event, in my youth I learned a great deal about human nature, philosophy, history, the varying perceptions of divinity, the ebb and flow of culture and civilization, morality, law, and yes, even science, from my Rabbi. It didn't seem like gibberish at the time. I was innocent, I suppose.

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Response to LTX (Reply #33)

Tue May 7, 2013, 03:48 PM

34. Quite simply, "replicating word salad" is not the same as falsifying research.

That much is patently clear, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. So cite all the instances of academic/scientific fraud you want, you aren't doing a thing to take the egg off the faces of the Sophisticated Theologians.

Here's a great project: go to the original link and read the entire hoax paper, then show us how it's obviously fake by using the tools of theology that you learned from your Rabbi. Much like other research scientists have debunked scientific fraud by using the tools and framework of science that they learned from their teachers.

Are you up to the challenge? Is anyone?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #34)

Tue May 7, 2013, 04:30 PM

35. And here is a test for you.

Please describe how the following is obviously fake:

Let ρ = A. Is it possible to extend isomorphisms? We show that D´ is stochastically orthogonal and trivially affine. In (10), the main result was the construction of p-Cardano, compactly Erdős, Weyl functions. This could shed important light on a conjecture of Conway–d’Alembert.


It is, in fact, gibberish. It nevertheless received an acceptance letter from Advances in Pure Mathematics, which included comments by an anonymous peer reviewer that are themselves a study in gibberish:

For the abstract, I consider that the author can’t introduce the main idea and work of this topic specifically. We can’t catch the main thought from this abstract. So I suggest that the author can reorganise the descriptions and give the keywords of this paper.


How is that possible? Well, just as the gibberish in the "hoax" paper in the o/p passed initial muster with some superficial and pretentious theologians, Marcie's paper passed muster with some superficial and pretentious mathematicians. In both cases, to actually discern the lack of cogency one need only apply the basic tools of human reasoning.

You seem to be under the impression that academic tom-foolery and pretension is unique to theology. I find that surpassingly strange, given the abundance of evidence that it is shared by any number of other disciplines.

And just in passing, my Rabbi was a mathematician first, and only later a theologian. But as I said, I was young and innocent. I guess I just failed to recognize him as an ignorant old fool.


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Response to LTX (Reply #35)

Tue May 7, 2013, 05:00 PM

36. Many artists' statements are equally dense.

That's why I limit mine to «Loren McCracken (or Shoji Hamada or Frans Lanting, depending on the medium) is god.»

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Response to LTX (Reply #35)

Tue May 7, 2013, 05:21 PM

37. For the record, you are the one to use the term "ignorant."

I'm not interested in defending that straw man.

As I pointed out, scientists have used their tools to root out scientific fraud.

I would request just one example of theologians doing the same in their field - using theological research tools to confirm or disprove a theological proposition. Is that also too much to ask? If you have an example (just one!), that would definitely help prove your point that this level of "tom-foolery" isn't unique to theology.

I will understand, however, if you choose to beat that straw man again. It appears to be the only item you have left.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #37)

Tue May 7, 2013, 07:33 PM

38. Since the examples

I have provided do not suffice to demonstrate that tom-foolery "isn't unique to theology," I concede. You win by assertion. Human reasoning, and a rudimentary appreciation of cogency, cannot be brought to bear on the nonsense that is in the o/p. It is theology, after all. And theology has contributed nothing to human understanding or reasoning. Free at last. (No references to ignorance, you'll note. I hope you appreciate that.)

But just as an aside, the common human sensation of the divine is not subject to "proof." It simply is. I have no non-subjective evidence of god. Nobody does. All I have are a plethora of questions about the ubiquity and power of the immaterial. And my cultural history. I find these things both puzzling and meaningful.

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Response to LTX (Reply #38)

Tue May 7, 2013, 10:33 PM

40. I didn't win, you just failed to prove your point.

The rest of your post is more straw men, not worth any more of my time. Sorry you weren't interested in exploring this issue.

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Response to LTX (Reply #24)

Tue May 7, 2013, 02:22 PM

30. Well played!

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Tue May 7, 2013, 01:59 PM

29. bwahahahaha....



I especially like this part: "This shows once again the appeal of religious gibberish to the educated believer, and demonstrates that conference organizers either don’t read what they publish, or do read it and think that if it’s opaque then it must be profound."

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