A Glaring Omission
I’ve been reading Richard Dawkins’ A Devil’s Chaplain lately. It’s not available in the States yet, but my colleague sent it to me from the UK. It’s great stuff, of course – Dawkins is a brilliant polemicist, essayist, explainer, persuader. His review of Sokal and Bricmont’s Intellectual Impostures/Fashionable Nonsense is hilarious (though of course it could hardly help it, having such rich material to work with). And Dawkins mentions one fact in passing which I feel compelled to make a fuss about.
Sokal was inspired to do this [his famous hoax] by Paul Gross and Norman Levitt’s Higher Superstition: the Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science, an important book which deserves to become as well known in Britain as it already is in America.
Indeed it does, and I have reason to know that it’s not and it can’t be, because it’s damn well not in print there. It’s an outrage! There you all are in the UK, lulled into a false sense of security, calmly and cheerfully going about your daily lives not realizing what demented foolery gets published and admired in the US. It’s worth knowing about, because it’s influential stuff – it’s a meme, in fact. All the knowing sneers and/or impassioned tirades about the social constructedness and patriarchalism and Eurocentrism and horrid cold rationalism of science that one hears on every hand, they come from somewhere, and Higher Superstition gives a detailed account of where that somewhere is. It ought to be in print. At once, please.