Alan Sokal's Postmodern Hoax

1996 was not the best year for the humanities journal Social Text. NYU physics professor Alan Sokal submitted an article titles "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity." The essay was a parody of "postmodern" thinking, containing a lot of decent physics but liberally sprinkled with nonsense and "howlers" that any physics student would catch immediately.

After the article was published, Sokal exposed the hoax via an essay in "Lingua Franca." He has said that he did it to expose "postmodern" fuzzy thinking and lack of academic standards in certain cultural journals. The editors printed a work on quantum physics (which they knew nothing about) without consulting even one physicist. Had they done so they would never have published Sokal's essay.