I just read about a phony 1996 study an NYU physics professor submitted to a journal for publication as part of an experiment. Alan Sokal’s study, titled “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity,” was riddled with academic jargon and intentionally made absolutely no sense.
But the author wanted to see if the big words and fancy talk would dupe unsuspecting journal editors. The experiment worked. None of the six reviewers even detected the study was a hoax, and all approved its publication.
The hoax ticked off a lot of people, not the least of which because it exposed just how full of themselves some academics can be — and how jargon too often is confused with intelligence.