Anyone want some Linguistics and Medievalists snark on Twitter? Because some rando got a ridiculous article claiming to have decoded the Voynich Manuscript past peer review in an journal unrelated to either Linguistics or Medieval studies (or cryptography for that matter). No he hasn’t decoded the damn thing. Apparently someone makes a crackpot claim every year or so, and this guy has been shopping his paper around for a couple years trying to get it published. The university where this guy achieved a PhD in Human Behavioral Ecology saw the alert and published a glowing press release that got picked up by credulous journalists. So, he got his fifteen minutes of fame because that’s about how long it took for scholars who know anything at all about the Voynich manuscript, or indeed, about linguistics in general, to scan his article and debunk it.
Worth noting: this guy claimed to have cracked the code of an undecipherable (likely) 600 year old manuscript that has been a curious puzzle for Medievalists, Linguists, and Cryptographers (even the NSA has published a paper), etc. for a hundred years. Because unlike everyone else, he applied “ingenuity and lateral thinking”.
A good intro and discussion:
A linguist’s take:
Other people take on what this says about the state of peer review and calling for more critical thinking:
Others have noticed not just the mansplaining but the umm... interesting perspective on women.
In the meantime, others are just having fun mocking.
Don’t ask me which Twitter is the best, but #medievaltwitter and linguistics twitter are both pretty damn good.