Knowledge Straight from the Field
by Renata Aulagnier
– The Hoax Article in English
Description of my hoax from POOR POTHECARY by Ray Girvan:
Thursday, 8 November 2007
Via Modne Bzdury via Bad Science, this looks interesting. A psychologist in Poland, Tomasz Witkowski, hasannounced how he conned Charaktery (a scientific monthly focusing on popularising psychology) with a Sokal-style hoax article about a fake psychotherapeutic method. Here’s his original article, Wiedza prosto z polaKnowledgestraight from the field), written under the pseudonym Renata Aulagnier.
I don’t know Polish, so have had to get the drift by machine translation. Knowledge straight from the field leads with a postulated scenario: that a patient could be MRI-scanned to measure their morphogenetic field. If the morphogenetic resonance is out of kilter, the patient can be exposed to appropriate influences to correct it, such as listening to different kinds of music in various proportions, or going into a large crowd of people with the correct vibes (e.g. a theatre or a football stadium) to get into tune with their field. Thus psychotherapy could be achieved without lengthy analysis, issues of resistance, disclosure of embarrassing sexual secrets, etc.
But this is not science fiction, the article says, and goes on to describe a “Strasbourg experiment” in which such a technology has been developed (the idea inspired by Carl Jung and Henri Bergson, the mathematics from Lacan – who “first discovered the possibility of employing mathematical topology in the analysis of the structures of intellectual diseases”, and the mechanism from Sheldrake).
Witkowski’s motivation appears to have been disillusionment at the quality of peer review – despite Charaktery here on his explanatory page, Witkowski’s particular indictment of Charaktery is that not merely did the piece get past the editorial system, but the editors actually collaborated in expanding it with uncredited material from writings elsewhere about Rupert Sheldrake.
This is currently all over the Polish blogosphere. As I said, I don’t know Polish, but if anyone who does would care to translate properly, it looks rather an excellent sting. ( having various professorial-level academics on the editorial board, he argues that it’s been playing to the popular market by publishing articles about topics like neuro-linguistic programming and morphogenetic resonance. And as he describes here on his explanatory page, Witkowski’s particular indictment of Charaktery is that not merely did the piece get past the editorial system, but the editors actually collaborated in expanding it with uncredited material from writings elsewhere about Rupert Sheldrake.
This is currently all over the Polish blogosphere. As I said, I don’t know Polish, but if anyone who does would care to translate properly, it looks rather an excellent sting.
Description of my hoax from Random Journeys through Science:
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
A short while ago, a Polish psychologist, Tomasz Witkowski, has replayed the Sokal hoax. He has managed to publish, in a psychology journal Charaktery, an article on morphic resonance. Most of the `facts’ in the article were completely false. Not only did the journal Editors check the data, but they actively `helped’ to write the article, by proposing to add to it pirated excerpts from and old review of Rupert Sheldrake. This goes beyond the stupidity of Lingua France editors, who could not tell science from pseudoscience, here a journal boasting more than twelve professors and PhDs in its board, actively worked to make the hoax `better’.
JAMES RANDI EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION
A more detailed description of my hoax and discussion you can read here:
T. Witkowski, (2010) Psychological Sokal-style hoax. The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practices.