T Nation

White Privilege


But is that really what they were trying to say?

Because I definitely took it as a knock on those fields I mentioned above and not necessarily all areas of academics.

Like to say look how ridiculous this field is they published this garbage. How can they have any sort of credibility why are they given so much power on university campuses. Its this social influence that at first infiltrates the university and then the rest of society like they mentioned.

They’ve literally made certain things taboo to discuss.

For instance I was discussing one day the high percentage of archaic human DNA found in the genome of present day indigenous Australians and I noticed my peers dart their eyes to make sure no one was in earshot to hear. As if I had said something so offensive. This was among grad students. I firmly believe thats the product of the environment being cultivated by those departments and its incredibly pervasive.

It offends me that these people could potentially interfere with honest academic pursuits. Maybe I am wrong and just pay too much attention to the fear mongering alternative media. Like Louder with Crowder haha.


I laughed when I first saw this circulating. I roared when I watched the video and realized that WMFZ, my old hometown station, was one of the stations that had been punked. And I love WFMZ - they do an absolutely fabulous high school football highlights show that nearly rivals SportsCenter for production quality, I have no idea how they get that much highlight footage together and put together a show on a Friday night within 1-2 hours of the games being done with - and it’s all posted online by the next morning, so guys like me that don’t live there any more can still watch it!

But this still was a “Aw, guys, next time someone gets onto your show claiming to be a Strongman, maybe check their bona fides first…”


If true, then yes, that is a problem. And I’m certainly not blind to the possibility that attitudes within academic departments can move towards groupthink and/or discourage pursuit of some things that seem taboo to discuss. I don’t think the stuff that Boghossian and Lindsay did says anything about that.

Not trying to spool up the fight from above again, but that’s certainly how you seemed to be intrepreting their hoax’s intent when you first brought this up:

We might be slightly talking past one another though.


@ActivitiesGuy I think I understood most of what you said, but I’m still confused about a few things.

Why do these so-called “lower-tier” journals exist in the first place?

Presumably there must be people out there who take their work seriously. Presumably there are students who cite “research” from them and professors who will accept those citations. I understand all schools are not created equal, nor are all students or faculty, but c’mon, something in academia has to feeding the monster here.

Who are the peers in this case doing the reviewing? Presumably people who’ve got some type of credentials, no? Not, say, a anonymous person off of Tumblr or something?

Is it reasonable to say that a gender studies program at Harvard would not accept a citation from a lower-tier publication, but maybe it could slip through at some 200 level class in your local community college?

Like @oglebee said, I don’t think the point was a knock on academia in general, the peer-review process in general or anybody doing work the way you and your colleagues are accustomed to doing it.

I took it as a knock against ideological motives being so strong in these new “fields of study” that it shrouds basic judgement. Not even against all liberal ideas, but these relatively new, emerging fields in particular.


Yeah I realized that then. I should have worded that differently. I meant the journals that publish research in those areas. Like gender studies, feminism etc etc. The two journals that I found that did publish the hoax articles did not strike me as the predatory type of journal you mentioned. Why would they publish such absurd articles. As you mentioned before with out having hoax articles with the opposite conclusions you really can’t make the claim that they will publish any article provided it supports some specific agenda/narrative.


But you can make the claim that they’re intentionally creating fake news that has the ability to be believed and abused down the line.


Crowder has become embarrassing.


Will try my best to clarify/respond.

Much ink has been spilled wondering this exact question.

I think this was an inevitable journal-creep once the Internet came into being and boomed. You used to have to have some real resources to produce a medical journal: the editorial staff, the capacity to print, ship and distribute, and a subscriber base that kept the money flowing in (since authors would not have paid to publish their own work). Doctors used to pay good money to be subscribers to NEJM, JAMA, etc and there used to only be a few of them. All the medical news that was fit to print in the 1980’s and 1990’s would have appeared in, oh, maybe a dozen or so journals?

Now anyone with a website and twenty bucks can start a “journal” that’s online-only (and even the high-brow journals are moving away from print editions and towards online-only, for obvious reasons). There are a couple separate factors driving the “but why?” now that this is the case, some of which are sort of okay, some of which are not okay:

  1. legitimate expansion in the amount of research being done / emergence of new fields: there’s plenty of money in research these days, statistical software has dramatically increased the speed and ease with which we can analyze data (double-edged sword, but that’s a separate topic) so there is indeed more research done these days than before, and various fields of medicine are becoming ever more specialized. Whereas there used to be just “cardiology” there is now “interventional cardiology” (docs that treat you mid heart attack), “structural heart disease” (docs that replace your aortic or mitral valve when it’s deteriorating), “cardiac electrophysiology” (docs that manage arrhythmic disorders and put in your pacemaker), “cardiovascular imaging” (docs that know how to use the assorted nuclear imaging, MRI, CT, etc to diagnose and refer you to the right guy), genetics, and more. The research in each area has gotten progressively more specialized to the degree, so instead of just Circulation we now have the menu of journals you can see here:


(there are 12 journals on that page dedicated to various aspects of cardiovascular medicine)

This creates sort of an item 1b) since it’s still hard to publish in those journals, there is a natural creep to creating another layer of journals. There’s the American Heart Journal, the American Journal of Cardiology, the International Journal of Cardiology, Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, Heart Rhythm, Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions, etc. All of the journals named in the preceding sentences are real journals that have peer review - I have submitted work to and/or reviewed work for all of them - but their standards are somewhat lower than the fancy AHA and ACC sponsored journals. You can’t really publish total-BS there,but you may be able to publish lower-impact work that has some methodological or statistical issues which the journal is not rigorous enough to weed out.

  1. shameless attempts at self-promotion by faculty: I know a faculty member at my institution who has very poor-quality research knowledge and relatively few achievements who “founded” a “journal” (that’s online only, has published three total articles in 2018) presumably because they believe it enhances their chances for promotion to be an “Editor-in-Chief” of a journal. I sincerely hope that the promotion and tenure folks that review this person’s file are smart enough to see right through this. I would say “I’ve never heard of that journal” -> Google it -> see that the website is complete shit & know what the game was, but maybe it will fool someone.

  2. the money-grubbers. There are still places where publishing something, anything, is better than nothing, even if you have to pay money to do it. This is going to sound horribly prejudiced but we see some papers from outside the U.S. / Canada / U.K. that are truly terrible science: bad study design, comically inept statistical analysis, etc. Once they’ve been rejected by all the real journals, they still want to publish somewhere. Enter the predatory journal: the open access place that will publish anything for a couple bucks. (Of course, this isn’t a real “journal” in any meaningful sense of the word - it’s a bank account that you send money to for them to post your paper online and call it a publication). These are pretty easily spotted by real academics; maybe not so much by your average joe. They usually have real-sounding names but one look at the website or the emails they send and you can see they’re BS.

If I listed papers from those journals on my CV or tenure/promotion file, I’d be laughed out of the room, but yes, I suppose someone, somewhere may be reading these articles and/or using them for some purpose.

Worth clarifying that there are two separate problems here: the “poor quality but with actual peer review” journals and the “totally fake” journals. The journal that published the “Deconstructing Access Points” hoax obviously had absolutely no review at all, and that sting caught them pants down (it was one of the fake “journals” mentioned in #3 above - will publish anything for cash).

Then there are “poor quality journals that do have actual peer review, it’s just lazy” journals. I’m not the first to bemoan this in academia - a staggering number of even very accomplished folks may be brilliant in a chosen pursuit (biology, chemistry, etc) but that doesn’t mean they all have a good grasp of research methods. I regularly have to explain elementary statistical principles to MD’s with >100 papers published in their careers. I see crappy work published in second-tier and third-tier journals every week. Not fraudulent work, just bad work (datasets too small to draw conclusions, wrong statistical analyses, etc).

I can’t really speak to gender studies programs, but in general, I would like to think standards at real research universities do not allow such things to count. Ultimately I’m not judged on the total number of papers, but moreso the quality and the prestige of the biggest projects that I’ve worked on (have I brought in the funding/award for us to lead or conduct a major clinical trial? have I innovated a new statistical approach that will change the field? that sort of thing) but there are likely places where “any scholarly activity” > “no scholarly activity” that may lead people to publish work in the cesspool just because it looks like a real publication on a CV.

Sorry if that’s a long ramble.


No it was very well-stated.

I think you live in a completely different world, the real world, where words like “research” and “peer-review” have meaningful and fairly rigid definitions, even if the waters can get murky sometimes. The productiveness of the people who do research on your level is fairly self-evident as I send my thoughts racing across the internet with a computer.

It makes complete sense that, given the volume of study being done and the finite resources available to provide impeccable review, lower-tier journals are needed and still perform a meaningful role in advancing our collective body of knowledge.

I think there is another world that’s borrowed the terms and loosely applies the peer-review methods you and other actual researchers use to grant itself legitimacy, but probably has more in common with a circle jerk than high-level research with sound methodology.

It would be less alarming if it was in another country, had little to no influence on campus life and never funded with tax dollars, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Anyway I have to add another JRE episode to the dozens that are on my list.


You did bring up education, your post even says that.


Yeah after you first did. Did you forget that? Scroll up and take a look. If I brought it up first I will own up to it but I did not.


I don’t think its fake news whatever that means. I know what is generally meant by that but your definition of fake news may differ from mine.

To me fake news would be something along the lines of a political candidate trying to highlight the issue of rampant alcoholism among Native Americans and then media outlets reporting it as so and so says all Native Americans are alcoholics.

In other words fake news is a gross misrepresentation of the facts/information to further some sort of agenda.

I don’t think the individuals in the video were making any ridiculous claims or misrepresenting anything necessarily.

To quote myself from earlier:

I really thought they were just trying to illustrate how insane those fields are. Although they did try to present it as supporting the notion that if you march to the beat of their drum you can get anything published. Which as activities guys stated is a claim that cannot be substantiated with the manner in which they constructed this little experiment of theirs.

Having said that I still think there is some insight to be gained from this stunt. And not just that there are journals out there with low standards.


I took one stats course in my undergrad. When reading research papers I still have look up how to interpret certain values and what they mean. P-values and z-scores. What the fuck is that.

I was always curious about the history of stats and the theory around it.


So was I, so I took a Six Sigma course at one of my old jobs and then downloaded minitab. Now I can impress my colleagues with continuous improvement projects of dubious viability but plenty of graphs and statistical terms I don’t really understand.


They intentionally submit fake research to journals with the intent of getting it published. It’s literally intentionally publishing lies.

Did they not grossly misrepresent both the purpose, intent, and legitimacy of their work to dozens of journals?

To further the agenda that academia will take anything if it’s slanted?

I agree. The insight that was not previously known is how the hell these types of people still retain a following. Being the literal perpetrator of fake news in a world where fake news is actively used to manifest and strengthen tribal divides in this country.

People that create and/or intentionally spread fake news to further their agenda are pieces of shit


Well I think a distinction between what they did and what I described as fake news should be made.

They are not publishing lies with the aim of convincing people that these lies are facts. Their intention the whole time was to come forward and tell everyone about the false articles they published.

I perceived their intent to be an effort to illustrate the absurdity in what Journals of those fields within the humanities and social sciences are willing to publish.

Vastly different than the fake news scenario I presented. A person says there is a huge drinking problem among Native Americans. Media says that person says all Native Americans are alcoholics.

Yeah, what I posted with the link to the podcast was my own hastily written two sentence summary of the podcast and I don’t think it is accurately reflective of what they were discussing.

As I mentioned above I think their goal was slightly different.

What they did was not “fake news”. Yes the articles they published were fake but that was for a purpose. If they had published them with intent of convincing people those articles were true I would agree with you. Fake news.

To me it seemed very obvious that this was an attempt to address one of the sources of the growing discord among college campuses regarding everything I mentioned in several posts now. The ostracism occurring with those who oppose this communities dogma. The incremental infringement on speech and the blatant attempts at censorship.

Do you think this is something that is occurring on our college campuses? If not what are your thoughts on the incidents at Evergreen college? Mizzou university? Nearly every university that decides to host the Young America Foundation for talk/QA. Or the increasing number of people in academia whose stories and experiences echo that of Dr. Soh the guest in the second podcast I linked up above.


I agree. What they did is far more heinous. It was planned out lies with a distinct political goal.

Did they not publish in those journals pretending they were submitting something factual?

I don’t. I think you nailed it the first time. Pretty slam dunk analysis.

No I don’t. At least not in enough numbers to care about. I say that as a recent college grad, with a recent college grad wife (different college different major) and a dozen+ people I personally know thats currently attending college. In a liberal dominated metro at a liberal college.

I’m sure it happens somewhere, but I’ve never heard of or seen it outside of fox news articles.

I’ll be honest I barely follow any of that. It doesn’t come anywhere near ranking as an important topic for me

Edit: and hell, stunts like this, of intentionally spreading fake news, only give all these journals an out


What was the political goal?

They did. But their intention wasn’t to get people to believe the content of those articles.

Can you elaborate on why you think that was their goal?

Fair enough. I don’t watch Fox at all except for the occasional Tucker Carlson segment. Yet I am well aware of it and when I searched I found many people who used to be in Academia or who are still in academia who echo these sentiments. Gal Saad, Jordan Peterson, the Weinsteins, Debrah Soh just to name a few off the top of my head. None of which are right wing conservatives. Their testimonies plus my own experiences have led me to believe that there is certainly cultural crisis/shift taking place.

That might be why you don’t think its an issue. You are unaware of whats going on.


To discredit academia (control by the liburuls) and scientific journals (same)

You said it yourself.

So when they submit these papers, the header of their submission said ‘blatant lies’ or was it sold as fact?

For the same reasons you did I’d imagine. Occums razor with a sprinkling of a duck quacking.

Sure, maybe somewhere

I also don’t put as much stock into the actions of children as I do the actions of adults.

And given republicans are actually gaining market share with young people post Obama, I can’t even see examples of the downstream effects in reality. It’s another GOP spawned boogieman so people have a reason to distrust information sources that aren’t owned by them.


So these journals should never have been exposed? Any blame for them publishing such gobbledygook?