I have long thought that someone should perpetrate a Sokal-style hoax on the New York Times opinion page—a page which has become, under the careful stewardship of David Shipley, a stronghold of pseudoscience, preening relativism, and religious apology. Paul C. Davies’ recent op-ed, “Taking Science on Faith,” would have been a magnificent hoax text, and I am genuinely ashamed that I wasn’t clever enough to write it myself. By equivocating on the meaning of the term “faith,” Davies manages to obliterate every useful distinction between scientific empiricism and intellectual honesty on the one hand and religious superstition and self-deception on the other. Regrettably, I do not think Davies intended his essay to be a hoax, and the New York Times seems unlikely to learn that is has pandered, yet again, to the least discerning of its readers with another piece of rank obscurantism.
November 28, 2007