The Science Wars

Before there was the War on Science, there were the Science Wars. In the 1990's, the Science Wars were a set of debates about the nature of science and its place in a democratic society. This little-known and long-forgotten academic squabble became surprisingly contentious, culminating in an audacious hoax. Today, some scholars say the Science Wars might just explain how we got our 'post-truth' moment. To figure out if they're right, we go back to the beginning.

Your browser doesn't support HTML5 audio. Here is a link to download the audio instead.

The Science Wars


Collins, Harry, et al. “STS as Science or Politics?” Social Studies of Science, vol. 47, no. 4, Aug. 2017, pp. 580–86.

Fuller, Steve. Post-Truth: Knowledge As A Power Game. Anthem Press, 2018.

---. “Science Has Always Been a Bit ‘Post-Truth.’” The Guardian, 15 Dec. 2016.,

Gross, Paul R., and Norman Levitt. Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science. Revised ed. edition, Hopkins Fulfillment Service, 1997.

Latour, Bruno. Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern. p. 24.

Lynch, Michael. “STS, Symmetry and Post-Truth.” Social Studies of Science, vol. 47, no. 4, Aug. 2017, pp. 593–99.

Segerstrale, Ullica. Beyond the Science Wars: The Missing Discourse about Science and Society. SUNY Press.

Sismondo, Sergio. “Casting a Wider Net: A Reply to Collins, Evans and Weinel.” Social Studies of Science, vol. 47, no. 4, Aug. 2017, pp. 587–92.

---. “Editorial: Post-Truth?” Social Studies of Science, vol. 47, no. 1, 2017, pp. 3–6.

Sokal, Alan, and Jean Bricmont. Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science. St. Martin’s Griffin, 1998.

Sokal, Alan D. The Sokal Hoax: The Sham That Shook the Academy. U of Nebraska Press, 2000.


Produced by Gordon Katic. Edited by Sam Fenn, with further support from from Polly Leger, Alex Kim, Adam Zendel, and David Tobiasz. Our composer is Mike Barber, our graphic designer is Dakota Koop, and our production manager is David Tobiasz.

Cited is funded in part by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council. This episode was made possible with a grant to discuss public distrust of science. The project was advised by Dr. Dave Ng at the University of British Columbia’s Michael Smith Labs. With further research advising from Professors Alan Richardson, and Heather Douglas.