Scholars Behind ‘Penises Cause Climate Change’ Hoax Claim Academia Is Overrun by ‘Left-Wing Zealots’

Deena Kennedy, left, holds a sticker for a new gender neutral bathroom as members of the cheer squad applaud behind during a ceremonial opening for the restroom at Nathan Hale high school Tuesday, May 17, 2016, in Seattle. President Obama's directive ordering schools to accommodate transgender students has been controversial …
AP/Elaine Thompson

Following the publication of their hoax paper that claimed male genitalia causes climate change, a professor and his writing partner are claiming that academia is overrun by “left-wing zealots.”

Breitbart News’ James Delingpole covered the story this way on May 20: “A pair of enterprising hoaxers has proved it scientifically by persuading an academic journal to peer-review and publish their paper claiming that the penis is not really a male genital organ but a social construct.”

Now, the duo behind the “conceptual penis” hoax are using their platform to condemn the excesses of the evangelical and postmodern left that dominates the social sciences and the humanities on college campuses around the country.

“The academy is overrun by left-wing zealots preaching dangerous nonsense,” Professor Peter Boghossian of Portland State University said. “Viewing the university as an ideology mill, these ideologues indoctrinated an entire generation of students into postmodernism and relativism.”

“They’ve taught students to turn off their rational minds and become moral crusaders,” he added. “Consequently, they’ve made a mockery of our institutions, jeopardized the legitimacy of the academy, and done a grave disservice to the intellectual lives of their students.”

Boghossian co-wrote the hoax with James Lindsay. Speaking to Andy Ngo of The College Fix, Lindsay blasted the academic left for often behaving like the religious right.

“Much like members of a zealous church or religious cult, argument and persuasion no longer work to convince many of these people,” he said. “While an event like this will be unlikely to stop them, it can put a significant crack in the intellectual edifice they are using to protect and promote their ultimately morally motivated beliefs.”

“It’s utterly unclear to me how it can possibly be sexist to lampoon the fact that a moral prejudice against men constitutes an act of prejudice against women,” he added. “Certainly, we’ve stereotyped, but we didn’t stereotype women. We stereotyped the linguistic and moral styles present in some corners of academic gender studies, which we assume is a highly gender-diverse field of thought, per their own firmly stated beliefs.”

In a comment to The College Fix, Cogent Series, the company that owns the journal to which the hoax paper was published, claimed that they are investigating how the paper was able to be published.

“We are currently investigating the publication of this paper and will be commenting on it once we have had the opportunity to look into this thoroughly,” Cogent Series spokesperson Elaine Devine said.

Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about economics and higher education for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at



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