Peer-reviewed journal publishes hoax attributing climate change to penises

A peer-reviewed academic journal published on Friday a hoax gender studies paper titled, “The Conceptual Penis As A Social Construct.”

Two academics, Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay, used pen names to successfully submit the hoax paper — which argued that “the penis vis-à-vis maleness is an incoherent construct” — to the peer-reviewed journal Cogent Social Sciences. Boghossian and Lindsay cited 20 sources, none of they say they read, and five of which are fake papers that were “published” in journals that don’t actually exist.

The paper — which the authors said was “actively written to avoid having any merits whatsoever” — opened by stating, “The androcentric scientific and meta-scientific evidence that the penis is the male reproductive organ is considered overwhelming and largely uncontroversial.” It went downhill from there.

The conclusion stated in part:

We conclude that penises are not best understood as the male sexual organ, or as a male reproductive organ, but instead as an enacted social construct that is both damaging and problematic for society and future generations. The conceptual penis presents significant problems for gender identity and reproductive identity within social and family dynamics, is exclusionary to disenfranchised communities based upon gender or reproductive identity, is an enduring source of abuse for women and other gender-marginalized groups and individuals, is the universal performative source of rape, and is the conceptual driver behind much of climate change.

“You read that right. We argued that climate change is ‘conceptually’ caused by penises,” Boghossian and Lindsay wrote in a celebratory article announcing the success of their hoax.

They supported the argument that penises cause climate change by writing in part:

Toxic hypermasculinity derives its significance directly from the conceptual penis and applies itself to supporting neocapitalist materialism, which is a fundamental driver of climate change, especially in the rampant use of carbon-emitting fossil fuel technologies and careless domination of virgin natural environments. We need not delve deeply into criticisms of dialectic objectivism, or their relationships with masculine tropes like the conceptual penis to make effective criticism of (exclusionary) dialectic objectivism. All perspectives matter.

Some of the article’s paragraphs were just downright nonsensical. Like this one:

Thus, the isomorphism between the conceptual penis and what’s referred to throughout discursive feminist literature as “toxic hypermasculinity,” is one defined upon a vector of male cultural machismo braggadocio, with the conceptual penis playing the roles of subject, object, and verb of action. The result of this trichotomy of roles is to place hypermasculine men both within and outside of competing discourses whose dynamics, as seen via post-structuralist discourse analysis, enact a systematic interplay of power in which hypermasculine men use the conceptual penis to move themselves from powerless subject positions to powerful ones

“No one knows what any of this means because it is complete nonsense,” the authors wrote afterwards of the above paragraph. “Anyone claiming to is pretending. Full stop.”

“The most potent among the human susceptibilities to corruption by fashionable nonsense is the temptation to uncritically endorse morally fashionable nonsense,” the authors wrote afterwards. “That is, we assumed we could publish outright nonsense provided it looked the part and portrayed a moralizing attitude that comported with the editors’ moral convictions.”

The paper, they said, “was rooted in moral and political biases masquerading as rigorous academic theory. Working in a biased environment, we successfully sugarcoated utter nonsense with a combination of fashionable moral sentiments and impenetrable jargon. Cogent Social Sciences happily swallowed the pill. It left utter nonsense easy to disguise.”

“‘The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct’ should not have been published on its merits because it was actively written to avoid having any merits whatsoever,” the authors concluded. “The paper is academically worthless nonsense. The question that now needs to be answered is, ‘How can we restore the reliability of the peer-review process?’

Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson

This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller


About the Author: Peter Hasson

Peter Hasson is Associate Editor at The Daily Caller

  • model94

    He should have saved it for a dissertation and at least gotten a phd out of the thing. It is actually no different than non-spoof examples that occur all over academia. Since none of it makes any sense, it’s actually unfair to expect peer reviews to separate intentional bs from unintentional bs.

    • A deplorable NNYer

      Well said, but how would you go about doing 3 years of research to come up with this as part of the pH D program. Would you have do document a bunch of penises causing climate change perhaps. How would you take measurements of this? Would you have to do a regression analysis to see if size corresponds with temperature. What would the standard deviation be? Now we are are getting a bit kinky!

      • model94

        No data necessary, sir. As long as it complies with rules of the religious earth and anti-west zealots, it will be accepted.

        • 4TimesAYear

          This is true; climate scientists admit “The data doesn’t matter”

      • Scara·Mouche

        NNYer, your argument applies to what you rightly classify as “pH D”, i.e., the kind of bs that is published under the cover of the “Natural Sciences”. Actually, the kind of stuff regarding conceptual body parts is the stuff of “PhD”.

    • CB

      “He should have saved it for a dissertation”

      Uh huh, and how do you know “he” even exists?

      Did you check the sources to see that they were correct?

      You do realise this is a propaganda outlet funded by the fossil fuel industry to mislead the public about climate change, do you not?

      “Climate Depot is sponsored by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a conservative think tank that has received funding from ExxonMobil and Chevron.”

  • This is the greatest scam in the history of science and done under the cover of, “…getting more money for science!” Yeah…. The facts are very simple:

    CO2 is a “trace gas” in air and is insignificant by definition. It would have to be increased by a factor of 2500 to be considered “significant” or “notable.” To give it the great power claimed is a crime against physical science.

    CO2 absorbs 1/7th as much IR, heat energy, from sunlight per molecule as water vapor which has 188 times as many molecules capturing 1200 times as much heat producing 99.9% of all “global warming.” CO2 does only 0.1% of it. Pushing panic about any effect CO2 could have is clearly a fraud.

    There is no “greenhouse effect” in an atmosphere. A greenhouse has a solid, clear cover trapping heat physically. The atmosphere does not trap heat as gas molecules cannot form surfaces to work as greenhouses that admit and retain energy depending on sun angle. Gases do not form surfaces as their molecules are not in contact. Only liquids and solids have molecules in contact.

    The Medieval Warming from 800 AD to 1300 AD Michael Mann erased for his “hockey stick” was several Fahrenheit degrees warmer than anything “global warmers” fear. It was 500 years of world peace and abundance, the longest ever.

    Vostock Ice Core data analysis show CO2 rises followed temperature by 800 years 19 times in 450,000 years. Therefore temperature change is cause and CO2 change is effect. This alone refutes the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.

    Methane is called “a greenhouse gas 20 to 500 times more potent than CO2,” by Heidi Cullen and Jim Hansen, but it is not per the energy absorption chart at the American Meteorological Society. It has an absorption profile very similar to nitrogen which is classified “transparent” to IR, heat waves and is only present to 18 ppm. “Vegans” blame methane in cow flatulence for global warming in their war against meat consumption.

    Carbon combustion generates 80% of our energy. Control and taxing of carbon would give the elected ruling class more power and money than anything since the Magna Carta of 1215 AD.

    Most scientists and science educators work for tax supported institutions. They are eager to help government tax more money for them and enjoy being seen as “saving the planet.”

    Read the whole story in “Vapor Tiger” at, Kindle $2.99 including a free Kindle reading program for your computer. We have an inexpensive demo-experiment “CO2 Is Innocent,” 99 cents at, showing CO2 has no effect on IR heat absorption up to 10,000 ppm and then it cools the atmosphere by driving water vapor out as it is seven times the IR absorber/heater as CO2.

    Google “Two Minute Conservative” for more.

    • Li D


      • Care to take that back? Leave your apology below.

    • Biologyteacher100

      The statement that a trace gas is “insignificant by definition” is a crock. Just like saying that bacteria are not significant because they are so small..

      • If I were your Chair, Principal or Superintendent I would be writing a letter to your state credentialing authority to have your certificate pulled.

        Bacteria are dangerous because they double in number every eight hours and many produce toxins that poison our nerve systems to shut off our hearts and control nerves for bodily functions. Atoms and molecules do not breed. They require more of specific materials to increase their presence. CO2 is very limited in the atmosphere and when it is doubled, tripled, increased by a factor of ten it does nothing as my demo experiments at clearly show. See “CO2 Is Innocent” at the site. All the stoichiometry is well laid out and even you should be able to understand and validate it. If not find someone who really knows something about physical science and have him, or her, explain it to you. If you, or anyone, doubts my veracity go to: and input “Adrian Vance” to the search routine to see about 700 of my film, filmstrip, audio programs and other materials sold here, in Europe and the Soviet Union, when it was together. Every one of our 17,000 high schools has had something in it with my name on it by a major publisher. Same story in Russia, 25,000 schools and Europe in many countries.

  • djaymick

    In a liberal world where males are considered clueless baffoons, who think with their “little heads”, this would have given more fuel to the reason Hillary lost. It’s good to see these guys wholeheartly, bellylaugh at the “scientific experts” before the media was able to use it as a tool against the Republicans.
    The Republicans have to come out, united, and blast the scientific community. Trump should use this to pull out of the UN agreement. Get out and then let Congress decide if they want to allow this. Let do an investigation into the “peer reviewed” rules. They may find out how papers are passed to “like thinkers”, eliminating any scrutiny.

    • Where it is so easy to set up a test atmosphere in a 2.5 liter plastic soda bottle with simple stoichiometry (quantatitive relationships) that show increasing CO2 does not heat the atmosphere all we are left with is the simple truth that our Federal government is buying science off with grants because they want to tax carbon based fuels. It is just that simple and the fact is the atmosphere needs more CO2 to reduce our use of water in agriculture as it would as shown by simple tests and data from greenhouses where CO2 supplementation has a profound reducing effect on the amount of water needed to grow a superior crop in less time! The “warmers” are ruining progress in agriculture and the economy.

  • Biologyteacher100

    Don’t worry, the high quality science journals that scientists read and cite are rigorously reviewed. I am on two editorial boards and have reviewed over 1200 manuscripts for over 50 journals during a 35 year career. Science journals publish articles with data and evidence, not essays of dribble. Weak paper are rejected by editors before being sent out to reviewers. I can’t vouch for obscure social science journals. Unfortunately, there are now more “fake” predatory journals that are not peer actually peer reviewed and which make money by charging authors fees. Publishing in such journals is an embarrassment. Fake journals have “impact factors < 1. At universities, professors going up for promotion or tenure now need to document the impact factors of the journals that they are publishing in.

    • I have written and produced for SVE, Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, Universal Education and Visual Arts, Doubleday & Co., ROA Films, Ziff-Davis, ABC and several small publishers. Consulted as a script and production “Doctor” for many, been an expert witness in court trials where writing, production and copyright questions were the issue, was a witness to the 1972 US Copyright Convention, written for “Photography” and “The Journal of the Royal Photographic Society” in Great Britain, there made “Fellow,” “…for his contributions to our understanding of vision and photography” for my development of The Two Channel Information Theory of Vision and Photographic Analysis.” And believe it or not, there is more…