The following is published on the front page of today's Australian -
(Justine Ferrari & Samantha Maiden)
The man who accused fellow historians of fabricating accounts of colonial settlers massacring indigenous Australians has unwittingly published scientific nonsense in the respected right-wing journal Quadrant.
An unrepentant Quadrant editor Keith Windschuttle, a leading antagonist against the cultural Left and black armband brigade in the history wars, yesterday admitted being "tricked" into publishing an article on biotechnology scares.
A blog titled "Diary of a Hoax", with entries dating back to November 2007, details a plan to target Windschuttle with a pseudoscience article that agreed with his ideological views. The mystery hoaxer — published under the fictional author's name of Sharon Gould, was revealed in the internet newsletter Crikey — which has been a merciless Windschuttle critic.
Crikey admits it had been aware of the plot for the past three weeks but agreed to stay silent until Quadrant went to print. Windschuttle yesterday said the Sharon Gould article in Quadrant was not a "genuine hoax" but an example of "fraudulent journalism submitted under false pretences". "There's only a very small number of untruths in it," he said. "The great majority of what the article says, 85 per cent of what it says, is perfectly legitimate points based on real footnotes, real sources and factual information.
But Mr Windschuttle admitted the article was unsolicited from an unknown author, and had failed to even Google the author's name or check easily validated facts, such as the claim that the paper was first presented at the 19th International Conference on Genome Informatics in Brisbane last year.
A check of the program on the internet by The Australian yesterday revealed there was no such paper or author listed. Windschuttle said his practices were the same as any editor of a publication, and checking every fact and quotation in an article was impractical.
"I guess I could have done more to investigate the author but the content was something I did investigate because I was interested in some of the sources," he said.
The latest entry on the hoax blog says, "So neatly did my essay conform with reactionary ideology that Quadrant, it seems, didn't even check the putative author's credentials". "Nor it seems did they get the piece peer-reviewed. Nor did they check the facts; nor the footnotes. Nor were they alerted by the clues. Nor it seems did they get the piece peer-reviewed. Nor did they check the facts; nor the footnotes. Nor were they alerted by the clues. I'm almost embarrassed for you."
"Windschuttle. Just look at you above, a pea in a pod alongside those other culture warriors."
The point of this is that Windschuttle has been well and truly shown up as guilty of exactly what he rails against.
No further comment is necessary.