But the numerous discussions we have had during which the theory-ladenness of observation, the underdetermination of theory by evidence or the alleged incommensurability of paradigms have been put forward in order to support relativist positions leave us rather skeptical.
This quote appears in the 50th page - a point where the authors can safely assume that the reader is well in tune with the context and subject matter of the book. I was, in fact. Even then I had to read the sentence twice to understand what the authors are trying to convey. I've read books by professors written for mainstream audience and I've found most of them strikingly clear in getting the message across. Richard Feynman once said that however a difficult a concept may be, if you understand it thoroughly you should be able to explain it to a 17-year old satisfactorily. The authors of this book (Sokal & Bricmont) are professors and from what I've read of the book I can say that they know their stuff. But frequent sentences like this where the reader is expected to perform vocabulary gymnastics can be tiresome.
I understand that authors sometimes are so deeply immersed in writing journal articles for elite societies and keep talking among themselves when evolving ideas for a book which might result in chapters that are jargon loaded like this. But it should have been the responsibility of the publisher to make the authors' ideas more accessible (without diminishing or simplifying) - if at all their target audience are general public. I'm going to try to continue reading, but if I find myself rereading frequently I'll have to shelve it for there are many more in my wish list.